On the Formation of Cathedral Chapters and Cathedral Culture: Lund, Denmark, and Scandinavia, c. 1060–1225

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)


The cathedral was one of the most important institutions in medieval Europe. The local as well as ecclesiastical elite gathered around it and its bishop; the liturgy was celebrated day and night, year after year; the cathedral served as educational institution of the clergy. The cathedral chapter, i.e. the organized clergy that served at the cathedral, played a decisive part in all this.

The overarching purpose of this doctoral thesis has been to re-interpret essential aspects of the formation and functions of cathedral chapters in Scandinavia in the period c. 1060–1225. This is achieved through a number of articles on the cathedral chapter at St Lawrence’s in Lund, and, to a lesser extent, other cathedral chapters in medieval Denmark and Scandinavia. After a general introduction on the subject, starting with clarifications of those concepts that have been essential to this study and my understanding and application of them, i.e. ‘formation’, ‘functions’, ‘cathedral chapter’, and ‘cathedral culture’, I recapitulate what has been achieved, misinterpreted, or even neglected by previous scholarship by focusing on the formation and functions of cathedral chapters in a Scandinavian setting. In this section, I also present my own hypotheses and methodological approaches and define the chronological and geographical delimitations of this work. Finally, I introduce the sources of this work by categorizing them. In the second major part of the introduction, I present the context, hypotheses, methods, and results of the articles; I also present and discuss whether there has been any subsequent research or similar approaches on the various topics dealt with.

In my articles, I consider four general topics: first, the textual transmission of normative text of the cathedral chapter in Lund and especially the customary, the Consuetudines Lundenses from c. 1120 (Articles 1 and 4); second, the concepts of ‘law & learning’ are examined in the context of the cathedral chapter at St Lawrence’s in Lund in the first quarter of the twelfth century (Article 2). Third, by focusing on the cult of saints in Scandinavia c. 1000–c. 1200 in relation to the emerging capitular institutions, I both introduce a new concept, ‘cathedral culture’, and demonstrate the importance of the local cathedral clergy and chapter are in the introduction and maintenance of both foreign and local saints’ cults (Article 3). Finally, I examine the various legal developments within the process of appointing bishops that were practiced in Latin Christendom until the mid-1220s (Article 5), arriving at the conclusion that this process and the formation of cathedral chapters were reciprocal and resulted in a more legally regulated electoral procedure.

The major results of this work are the following. First, by a redefinition of the concept of ‘cathedral chapter’, meaning that any clerical organization occupied with the liturgical service at the cathedral church of the diocese could be designated as such rather than define this institution from those legal or administrative functions that were added later, and by demonstrating that the liturgical function was the primary function of the capitular institution throughout the Middle Ages, I contribute to a new, more organic view of this ecclesiastical institution. Second, by using a more flexible terminology, I demonstrate that a focus on the process of formation rather than the search for a fixed date of foundation is rewarding when dealing with the capitular institutions in this period, which are characterized by institutional, legal, and ideological transition. Finally, I introduce a new conceptual framework, ‘cathedral culture’, which not only facilitates our understanding of the activities undertaken and performed by the chapters and their members in the cathedral and its surrounding milieu, i.e. as agents of ecclesiastical tradition, but also this concept helps us to see the emergence of a specific culture out of a monastic, contemplative culture and closely related to a nascent scholastic, erudite culture.


  • A. M. Ciardi
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Religious Studies


  • Canon Law, canons, cathedral, cathedral chapter, cathedral culture, Church history, cult of saints, Denmark, education, episcopal election(s), legal history, liturgy, Lund, Middle Ages, monasticism, Scandinavia, textual transmission, ecclesiastical tradition, twelfth century
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
Award date2016 Jun 4
Place of PublicationLund
  • Lund University (Media-Tryck)
Print ISBNs978-91-983171-1-4
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jun
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: [2016-06-04] Time: [13:15] Place: [Sal C116 nedre, LUX, Helgonavägen 3, Lund] External reviewer(s) Name: [Heß, Cordelia] Title: [Docent] Affiliation: [Göteborgs universitet]

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Related research output

Anna Minara Ciardi, 2012, Medieval Nordic Literature in Latin. A Website of Authors and Anonymous Works (ca 1100–1530). Borgehammar, S. & Mortensen, L. B. (eds.).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter

Anna Minara Ciardi, 2010, Saints and their Lives on the Periphery: Veneration of Saints in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe (c.1000–1200). Antonsson, H. & Garipzanov, I. (eds.). Brepols, p. 39-66

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter

Anna Minara Ciardi, 2006, Law and Learning in the Middle Ages: proceedings of the Second Carlsberg Academy Conference on Medieval Legal History 2005. Münster-Swendsen, M. & Vogt, H. (eds.). Copenhagen: DJØF Forlag, p. 63-78

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter

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