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Amalarius of Metz

AMALAR OF METZ (also Amalaric or Amalarius) (c.780-850). Liturgical writer. His work as a disciple of Alcuin* furthered that fusion of Roman and Gallican practice which produced the medieval Mass. He attempted in his chief work De ecclesiasticis officiis and elsewhere a thoroughgoing allegorical interpretation of the Mass which gave every prayer, chant, and ceremony a symbolic reference to the life and work of Christ. Allusions to the OT and other teaching were also introduced. Much of the symbolism was highly artificial. When Amalar was appointed in 835 to administer the see of Lyons in the absence of Archbishop Agobard,* he found considerable opposition to his views, some of which were condemned by the Synod of Quiercy (838). Yet he set the trend for the future and actually influenced developments in ceremonial which were modified to fit in better with his overall pattern of symbolism. Apart from this he remains a fundamental source for the history of the liturgy, being the first to give evidence, for example, of the practices of incensing the altar and of reading the Gospel from a higher place than the Epistle.

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