Cemetery and foundation stone

May 27, 2022

There are two rites that can precede the dedication and, indeed, the building of a church: the consecration of a cemetery and the laying of a foundation stone. Liturgically speaking, the cemetery is not a graveyard but a sacred precinct that hosts the future church. Burials are already a consequence of the holiness of the place and the vicinity of the shrine. Thus the cemetery was consecrated and, if necessary, reconciled separately from the church. The laying of the foundation stone evolved as a further service only around the first millennium but became a solid part of the Romano-Germanic type of Pontificals and of those that relied on their model. In the past months, we processed all the available sources that contain such material. The result can be consulted as per source under the related index labels and in its entirety by filtering the ceremony 'cemetery' or 'foundation stone'.

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