chapter  2
35 Pages

Shaping the Papal Court by Liturgy

This chapter presents the position prayer held in the society of seventh- and eighth-century Rome. It examines the two figures in this period who can reasonably be described as theoreticians of prayer, Gregory I and Isidore of Seville, and then provides contemporary sources to get a more concrete sense of how prayer operated in this society. One of the most eloquent witnesses to prayer in Roman society comes from the pen of Gregory I, who had no doubt about the power of true prayer. Gregory affirmed the significance of prayer for his listeners, and depicted how elaborate and physical displays in prayer were. Prayers could deliver both temporal and spiritual rewards. To make sense of the role of prayer in Roman society, it is necessary to grapple with the burgeoning field of gift-giving. The chapter finally addresses a modern debate involving prayer in early medieval society.