Religion Past and Present

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Churching of Women
(295 words)

[German Version]

Canon 18 of the Canones Hippolyti (4th cent. ce) first attests to the practice of a new mother going to church with her child 40 or 80 days after the birth (cf. Lev 12; Luke 2:22–28). The Byzantine liturgy initially emphasized the bringing of the child into the church, and later the impurity and sin of the mother (11th cent. until now). In the West, the practice of churching women existed in England around 600 ce (possibly as the result of Eastern influence [van Slyke]). Although according to the Western understanding, it was not a precondition for atten…

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Brüske, Gunda, “Churching of Women”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 04 July 2022 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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