Cum Lumine et Oblatione: The Origins of Churching in France

  • Paula M. Rieder
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


Early in the spring of 875, around the first week of Lent, Charles the Bald arrived at the monastery of Saint-Denis, where he stayed until after the celebration of Easter. His pregnant wife, Richildis, was with him. But one night in the week before Easter, the queen had a miscarriage (aborsu). She gave birth to a son who was baptized and soon died. After Easter, Charles resumed his royal peregrinations. Richildis, however, remained at the monastery waiting for the day of her purification after childbirth.1 Exactly what Richildis did when her day of purification arrived the chronicler did not say. The record makes it clear, however, that by the last quarter of the ninth century a custom of purification after childbirth, even if the child did not survive, was known among the Franks.


Jewish Woman Ninth Century Twelfth Century Sexual Abstinence Married Mother 
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© Paula M. Rieder 2006

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  • Paula M. Rieder

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