Twelve Messenger Day

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Charles Gleyre : The Separation of the Apostles (1845)

The Twelve Messenger Day , also All Twelve Apostles Day , Latin divisio (XII) apostolorum (apostle division) is the commemoration day of the sending of the apostles in the church year . It is celebrated on July 15th .


The celebration of this feast of the apostles can only be found in the Western Church . An early evidence is the sequence Caeli enarrant gloriam , which Gottschalk von Aachen († after 1099 or 1107) is assigned. The sequence is evidence that the festival was celebrated during his tenure as provost at the Aachen Marienstift . Durandus von Mende mentioned it in his Rationale in the second half of the 13th century. In the late Middle Ages, the feast of Dimissio , Dispersio or Divisio Apostolorum was celebrated in many dioceses in Europe. The monk of Salzburgelucidated the sequence as us all twelve poten even announce .

At least since the Tridentine Reform , the festival was no longer represented in the Calendarium Romanum Generale . However, it was still celebrated by missionary orders at the beginning of the 20th century and remained in some dioceses until the calendar reform of Pope Pius X.

In the rural sector ( agriculture ) this became the day on which the reapers are sent out to collect the harvest .

Popular belief

In the late Middle Ages, so-called heavenly letters record statements of this kind:

"And whoever works on a twelve-power day is banned and cursed
and dz erdrich gets up and goes away."

"And whoever works on a Twelve Messenger Day is banned and cursed,
and the earth will open up and swallow him up."


  • Hermann Grotefend : Handbook of the historical chronology of the German Middle Ages and modern times. Hannover 1872, p. 85, sv Aposteltheilung
  • John Hennig : To the beginning and end of the liturgical tradition of the Divisio apostolorum. In: Archiv für Liturgiewwissenschaft 12 (1970), pp. 302-311.
  • Silke E. Mentjes: Investigations into the sequences of the Cologne mass liturgy using the example of the sequence “Caeli enarrant gloriam” by Gottschalk von Aachen. In: Albert Gerhards / Andreas Odenthal (ed.): Cologne liturgy and its history. Studies on interdisciplinary research into worship in the Archdiocese of Cologne (liturgical scientific sources and research 87), Münster 2000, pp. 273–290.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b Frederick Holweck: Dispersion of the Apostles. In: Catholic Encyclopedia . Volume 5, 1909, accessed October 29, 2018 .
  2. Franz Viktor Spechtler (ed.): The spiritual songs of the monk of Salzburg (= QF NF 51). De Gruyter, Berlin 1972, ISBN 3-11-001847-0 , p. 358ff
  3. Cf. the letter from heaven (Einbl. 470) printed after 1500 in the Memmingen printing works Albert Kunne and now lost, which is printed in: Ursula Rautenberg: Why single-sheet prints are printed on one side. On the connection between printing processes and media type. In: Volker Honemann et al. (Ed.): Single-sheet prints of the 15th and early 16th centuries: problems, perspectives, case studies. Niemeyer, Tübingen, 2000, ISBN 978-3-484-64012-2 , p. 133.