Skip to content

Corpus Christi

Definition of Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi is a Latin phrase and means “the body of Christ”. It refers to a celebration of the Catholic church to celebrate the presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

SYNONYMS FOR Corpus Christi

  1. Body of Christ
  2. Host

ORIGIN OF Corpus Christi

This celebration took place during the Middle Ages, when Julienne de Cornillon, a nun, began to establish the idea of a festivity to pay homage to the body and blood of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.

The first celebration of this type took place in the year 1246 in the city of Liege, in what is now Belgium.
In that year Pope Urban IV instituted the feast of Corpus Christi in the bull of August 11, this became known as “the miracle of Bolsena”, and was received as a sacred event that ended up securing the celebration of Corpus Christi.

Its purpose is the remembrance of the institution of the Eucharist and it is celebrated on Holy Thursday, the moment when the Last Supper took place. There Jesus Christ turned the bread and wine into his body and blood and invited his guests (the apostles) to receive communion with him.

This festivity is quite relevant in several countries such as Panama, Chile, Spain, Venezuela, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador. In some of them it is considered a non-working day.


In general, during Corpus Christi celebrations, processions are held in public places where the body of Christ is exhibited followed by crowds of faithful.

It is said that in the year 1263, while a priest was celebrating mass in the church of the town of Bolsena, it happened that blood began to flow from the host when he pronounced the words of consecration.