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22 IV: Juliette Day (University of Helsinki), Investigating lay eucharistic experience in the early medieval period

Abstract

By late antiquity the eucharist had ceased to have any direct connection to a meal, being now framed by verbal, spatial, material and institutional aspects of ritualization, by theologies proposed through homilies and mystagogy, and by canonical regulation about eucharistic participation. In the period up to the Carolingian reforms, we lose sight of the laity's eucharistic participation - it is rarely referred to in textual sources and their participation can only be inferred from visual and material sources. The notion of the 'affordances' of material objects is a useful tool when considering lay ritual and sensorial experience of the eucharist; this paper will explore what the material and visual evidence suggests about ritual practice in the early medieval period.