Religion Past and Present

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Boy Bishop
(255 words)

[German Version]

The “boy bishop” is the central figure of the boy-bishop ceremonies found from the 10th century through the 18th, primarily in France, the Netherlands, England, Germany, Italy, and Spain. On the feast of the Holy Innocents (Dec 28), the cathedral subdeacons – and later the schoolboys in monastic and municipal schools (Monastery schools) – were permitted to select from their number a “bishop” with a youthful entourage, invest him with the insignia of office, hold processions, and officiate at religious and secular ceremonies. The si…

Cite this page
Hartinger, Walter, “Boy Bishop”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 09 August 2022 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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