The Image of St Knud Lavard in his Liturgical Offices and its Historical Impact

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The offices and masses of St Knud Lavard as preserved in a thirteenth-century
manuscript, that was in itself probably a copy of the liturgy composed for
the Feast of the Translation of St Knud Lavard in Ringsted Church on 25
June 1170, were edited by Professor John Bergsagel in 2010. Building on
John Bergsagel’s commentary and findings and on other recent work on the
liturgy of St Knud Lavard, a consideration of the texts, as well as the way the
texts and music were composed together, forms the immediate background
for this investigation of the image of St Knud Lavard as it is expressed in the
liturgy. Because the young Danish Duke Knud Lavard had been murdered
in 1131 by his cousin, and was later canonized by the pope at the initiative
of Knud’s son King Valdemar the Great, the Feast of the Translation in 1170
became an important political as well as religious event in Danish history. It
marked the end of decades of political instability and the establishment of
a Danish royal dynasty that was comparable to the other major dynasties in
Latin Christendom. This solemn event became the occasion for the construction
of a dynastic identity, which brought general ideas of royal sainthood
and justice into the story of Knud Lavard and his personal cult. The historical
impact of this image of St Knud in the sixteenth century and its reappropriation
for a notion of national identity in the nineteenth century, as well as in
different ways in more recent times, is also examined.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOf Chronicles and Kings : National Saints and the Emergence of Nation States in the High Middle Ages
EditorsJohn Bergsagel, David Hiley, Thomas Riis
Number of pages30
Place of PublicationCopenhagen
PublisherMuseum Tusculanum
Publication date2015
ISBN (Print)978 87 635 4260 9
Publication statusPublished - 2015

ID: 151495695