The Tudor Society

Corpus Christi

Today is Corpus Christi, one of summer's moveable feasts. In medieval and Tudor times, it was an important feast day and was celebrated on the Thursday following Trinity Sunday, and so was just over 8 weeks after Easter.

Corpus Christi is Latin for "Christ's body" and was a celebration of the body and blood of Jesus Christ and the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the miracle of transubstantiation. It was celebrated as a feast day from 1311 until 1548, in Edward VI's reign, when the English Reformation caused it to be abolished. It was usually celebrated with a procession of the Host around the town and also with Corpus Christi plays, mystery plays which told stories from the Bible and which provided entertainment and gave moral messages. Although the feast day was abolished in 1548, we know that these plays carried on until at least 1569.

You can find out more about the Corpus Christi plays in tomorrow's Claire Chats video - see you then!

Picture: Christ with the Eucharist by Vicente Juan Masip (Juan de Juanes)

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Corpus Christi