24 Pages


This chapter discusses how the liturgy worked in the society of seventh- and eighth-century Rome. When the liturgy of Rome in the seventh and eighth centuries was staged, the liturgy as a whole was widely understood to be powerful symbol of unity. The unity expressed in the actions of the Mass was not an idea that went unrecognized among the contemporaries of the seventh century. The theme of unity through the liturgy would emerge as a major theme in contemporary theology. In Maximus' view the effects of liturgy exceeded human unity. Two stories from the papal biographies of the Liber pontificalis show how significant the liturgy could be for maintaining relationships with lay potentates. The issue of ritual unity, however, was not only a papal concern. Certain passages of the Bible may have helped to generate and sustain the idea that worship could bring unity. Liturgy could be exploited to reintegrate those who had been outside of Christian community too.