Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York
 



Derek Rivard



"Pro iter agentibus: The Ritual Blessing of Pilgrims and their Insignia in MS Rome, Biblioteca Casanatense 614"


Winner of the Loomie Prize for Best Graduate Student Paper, 1995

In this paper, you analyze a previously unstudied manuscript that includes a ceremony for the blessing of pilgrims. Found in a book of episcopal ceremonies intended for the archdiocese of Benevento, the manuscript was probably written there in the late twelfth or early thirteenth century. The great strength of the paper is your attempt to find meaning in an intractable source, especially when much of the supporting literature on comparable texts and on the culture which produced the manuscript has not yet been done.

We are impressed with your success in finding meaning in medieval rituals, which is still a new and tentative field, and ways to understand formulaic prayers and rites. Not only have you shed light upon the meaning of the manuscript's liturgy, but you have also related the themes of its psalms and antiphons to the purpose of the ceremony. In doing so, you have shown that the work was intended for crusaders, and corresponds to a feudal and noble ethos that one would expect from southern Italy at this time. We learn from your paper the themes in the liturgy that conveyed the values of the period, and how participants understood their own aspirations.

"Pro iter agentibus" is a promising contribution to the field, and the members of the Loomie Prize Committee wish to congratulate you on this fine piece of work.

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