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date: 14 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Much valuable work has been done in the last fifty years to establish the historical origins and development of early Christian festivals and commemorations; this chapter extends this work by applying selected approaches from ritual studies to explore the meaning and meaningfulness of rituals of/in time for participants and communities. In the application of mythical or sacred time to chronological or human time, sacramental and calendrical rites assert their efficacy by joining together human and divine or divinized participants. These festivals find their place in the calendar due to a variety of reasons—historical, ideological, and chronological. They establish group identity and boundaries not just in terms of membership, but also foster ideological cohesion, as the debates over the date of Easter demonstrate. Finally, the chapter explores the extent to which the conduct of festivals should correlate to the foundational event or myth, and the effect of participants’ emotional response upon memory and belief.

Keywords: Armenian Lectionary, calendar, Christmas, Easter, Egeria, feast, Jerusalem, time

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