Pomp and Piety: Processional Practices in Nunneries

  • Anne Bagnall Yardley
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


Pomp and piety, apparently contradictory spiritual forces, unite in the liturgical action of the procession. The participant is at one and the same time part of a public parade and a spiritual journey. The creation of a suitable exterior appearance can, moreover, serve to reinforce the desired spiritual order not to contradict it. In traditional Christian liturgical practices, processions offer a specific sense of beginning or movement to a service so that the mere process of lining up to begin a procession creates a sense of anticipation of the liturgical event that is about to happen. This sense of anticipation is true even within a modern church setting where the community gathers only once a week for worship. Within the medieval monastic framework there were twenty-four services each week most of which did not include a procession. Thus the procession on Sundays or principal feast days signified a notable departure in the regular worship routine.


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© Anne Bagnall Yardley 2006

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  • Anne Bagnall Yardley

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