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The Feast of Corpus Christi

In the Catholic liturgical calendar, today marks the Feast of Corpus Christi. This religious observance, which celebrates the Eucharist, originated sometime in the 13th century. The Feast of Corpus Christi was the first church rite to be made official through papal decree, by Pope Urban IV in 1264.

L. Tom Perry Special Collections owns an interesting early example of the text and music of the Corpus Christi rite: a manuscript made for the archbishopric of Canterbury and completed in 1343. It is bound together with a copy of a text called Regimen Animarum, a manual for clerics. In fact, book one of the Regimen Animarum contains a chapter on how to celebrate the mass and on the importance of the Eucharist.


The library has fully digitized the manuscript, which is available as part of the HBLL digital collections. A modern edition of the mass as contained in BYU’s manuscript has been published by Thomas J. Mathiesen in The Journal of Musicology Vol. 2, no. 1 (Winter 1983).


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