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Egeria’s Travelogue

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Father Augustine’s sermons are always rejuvenating. It never fails that I always learn from his insight and historical references. It’s like sitting in a compelling Biblical theology class on Sundays. Today, Father spoke on Egeria’s travelogue (page 2) which he studied while at Oxford. I’m sure the majority of priests have already heard of Egeria… but I hadn’t. She sounds like quite a character and she’s spoken of in correlation with the Feast of The Ascension. This well-traveled and exuberant pilgrim (c. A.D. 381-384) is cited as Egeria/Etheria/Aetheria depending on who is writing. Her daily journals were the first translations to describe the early Church’s liturgical worship and creation of feast days like Christmas and Ascension Thursday.

Here is Egeria’s travelogue. Another translation

Holy Sepulchre Article has pictures from the Church of the Ascension.

Women Pilgrims: Egeria

Finally this is the Wikipedia detail on Egeria that I find fascinating. (And yes, I know Wikipedia isn’t a reliable source for citation but it’s a good place to start.)

Egeria’s record of her travels to the Holy Land also provides a late 4th century account of liturgical worship in Palestine. The liturgical year was in its incipient stages at the time of her visit. This is invaluable because the development of liturgical worship (e.g. Lent, palm or passion Sunday) reached universal practice in the 4th century. Egeria provides a first hand account of practices and implementation of liturgical seasons as they existed at the time of her visit. This snapshot is before universal acceptance of a December 25th celebration of the nativity of Jesus; this is very early and very helpful in cataloging the development of annual liturgical worship.

Reference: Connell, Martin (2007). Eternity Today: On the Liturgical Year. New York: Continuum Publishing. pp. 16–18. ISBN 9780826418715.

To learn more about the 4th Century Church and Egeria’s sightseeing pilgrimages, I have ordered the following book. Looks like a good read for my summertime pilgrimage – I’ll let you know. Wandering Monks, Virgins, and Pilgrims, Ascetic Travels in the Mediterranean World, A.D. 300 – 800


Written by smalltalkwitht

May 24, 2009 at 10:18 pm

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