OFFICIALY called The Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ (Festum Corporis et Sanguinis Christi) in the Roman Catholic Church since 1970. The feast commemorating the institution and gift of the Holy Eucharist, is observed in the Western Church on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday. The natural day in the Christian calendar for this commemoration would be Holy Thursday, on which the Eucharist was instituted; but the memory of the Passion on that day made a separate day for the Eucharist desirable, and the Thursday after Trinity Sunday was chosen as the first free Thursday after Eastertide.
The institution of the feast was largely due to the influence of Blessed Juliana (d. 1258), a devout nun of Liège (also called Julian or Juliana of Cornellon) who was led to take action in the matter c.1230 in response to a vision. In 1264 its observance was commanded by the bull ‘Transiturus’ of Urban IV, and in the 14th cent. the keeping of the feast became universal in the West
The services of the day have traditionally been attributed to St Thomas Aquinas; though modern scholarship has challenged the authenticity of the material on which this ascription is based, it is defended on internal evidence. Outdoor processions with the Blessed Sacrament are common in some countries.
Walters, Barbara R., Vincent Justus Corrigan and Peter T. Ricketts, The Feast of Corpus Christi, University Park, Pennsylvania State University Press, 2006. P. Browe, SJ (ed.), Textus antiqui de Festo Corporis Christi (Münster, 1934). E. Dumoutet, Corpus Domini: Aux sources de la piété eucharistique médiévale (1942). C. Lambot, OSB, and I. Fransen, OSB, L’Office de la Fête-Dieu primitive: Textes et mélodies retrouvés (Maredsous, 1946). Studia Eucharistica: DCC Anni de Condito Festo Sanctissimi Corporis Christi 1246–1946 (Antwerp, 1946). L. M. J. Delaissé, ‘A la recherche des origines de l’office du Corpus Christi dans les manuscrits liturgiques’, Scriptorium, 4 (1950), pp. 220–39; P.-M. Gy [OP], ‘L’Office du Corpus Christi et S. Thomas d’Aquin: État d’une recherche’, Revue des Sciences Philosophiques et Théologiques (Kain and Paris, 1907–12; Paris, 1913 ff.) 64 (1980), pp. 491–507 M. Rubin, Corpus Christi: The Eucharist in Late Medieval Culture (Cambridge, 1991), pp. 164–212. A. Haquin (ed.), Fête-Dieu (1246–1996), 1 (Louvain, 1999), with bibl. 1946–97, pp. 193–225.
This Webpage was created for a workshop held at Saint Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo, California in 2003