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les Enluminures

DANIEL VON WICHTERICH, Liber episcopalis officii, revised by AEGIDIUS VON BITBURG [the 'Wichterich-Bitburg Pontifical']

In Latin, manuscript on paper
Germany, c. 1490, with additions, c. 1520

TM 417


13 leaves (collation: i11 [12-1, after fol. 11] + ii2; the leaf after fol. 11 cut away, leaving a stub with remnants of text), two watermarks are present: [1] in the first quire, a letter P, angular, consisting in two lines, with a diagonal stroke through the descender, and a four-leafed clover above a shaft (a type attested with the measurements of this example within a 2 mm. tolerance between c. 1478 and c. 1512, and identical in all important respects and with identical measurements, insofar as can be established, to Piccard-Online nos. 113801/02 (attested in Antwerp, 1495, and Münster, 1499, respectively), with final confirmation requiring an exact measurement of the vertical axis, impossible to achieve with a watermark sliced horizontally to form an octavo manuscript); [2] in the adjacent bifolium, the lower half only present of a hand emerging from a cuff; this lower half in shape and form similar, and in such measurements as can be taken identical, to Piccard-Online no. 155284 (attested in Arnhem, 1523), modern foliation in pencil, top, outer corner, recto, 1-13; written (ff. 1-11) in a late fifteenth-century northern European cursiva currens in black ink on 21-24 lines, unruled, with an addition in this hand in brown ink in the lower margin of f. 9r, and an addition in a later hand in brown ink in the lower margin of f. 11v, continuing onto the adjacent stub; and (ff. 12-13) in a sixteenth-century cursive script in black ink on 18-19 lines, unruled (justification 110 x 80 mm.), two-line and one-line initials in red at the start of new sections, and one-line initials in red otherwise, with additional rubrication and underlining in red, ff. 1-11; ff. 12-13 without rubrication. Unbound, kept inside an unmarked parchment bifolium, not contemporary, to which the leaves were once sewn; detached parchment sewing supports preserved between ff. 12-13. Dimensions 145 x 102 mm. (parchment bifolium); 146 x 105 mm. (paper).

This is a fragmentary copy of extracts from a narrowly-transmitted Pontifical written for use within the dioceses of the German Empire, the Liber episcopalis officii of Daniel von Wichterich (d. 1364), revised by Ägidius von Bitburg (d. 1442). The present manuscript, no more than a single quire, differs from the few other, more formal manuscripts of this Pontifical and was probably copied as a personal handbook for use by a bishop. It is accompanied by a bifolium of sixteenth-century origin, c. 1520, containing a small selection of Episcopal blessings.


1. No hard evidence for the origin (or subsequent provenance) of this manuscript exists, yet it is difficult to conceive of the use of a Pontifical outside of an Episcopal context. The small format of this manuscript and the cursive script, however, are quite unlike the norm for Pontificals, and unlike any other extant manuscript of this particular Pontifical. We may reasonably assume that this manuscript was copied for or by a bishop (or a person in a proximate role, such as a member of an Episcopal staff or a cathedral canon), as a personal handbook, and not as a representational copy intended for use in a formal liturgical context. The evidence of the watermarks regarding provenance is inconclusive, but it is difficult to imagine the manuscript copied outside a German diocese.


ff. 1r-11v, Daniel von Wichterich, “Liber episcopalis officii”, revised by Aegidius von Bitburg;

ff. 1r-2v, § 2: ›De regulis‹, rubric, Regule generales In pontificalibus seruande, incipit, “PRimo est sciendum quod Episcopus in omni officio pontificali debet portare baculum in manu sinistra propter benedictiones per manum dexteram dandas // Item in officio misse semper debet baculus pastoralis sequi librum missalem...”

Editions: Gerbert, Monumenta, vol. 1, p. 347a-b; Martène, De antiquis ritibus, vol. 1, cols 603-04.

ff. 3r-6r, § 9: ›Episcopus ad missam celebrandam plenis pontificalibus‹, incipit, “// Episcopus ad missam celebrandam in plenis pontificalibus solempniter processurus dicat // Adiutorium nostrum In nomine domini Qui fecit celum et terram...” (1) [3r] “// Psalmus QUAM dilecta tabernacula tua domine virtutum . Concupiscit et deficit anima mea in atria domini...” (Ps 84[83]), (2) [3v] “/ BEnedixisti domine terram tuam auertisti captivitatem Jacob [4r] REmisisti iniquitatem plebis tue. operuisti omnis peccata eorum...” (Ps 85[84]), (3) [4v] “Inclina domine aurem tuam et exaudi me. quoniam Inops et pauper sum ego Custodi animam meam quoniam sanctus sum...”, (4) [5v] “CRedidi propter quod locutus sum. ego autem humiliatus sum nimis Ego dixi in excessu meo. omnis homo mendax Quid retribuam domino. pro omnibus que retribuit michi...” (Ps 116b[115]), (5) [6r] “DE profundis clamaui ad te domine. domine exaudi vocem meam Fiant aures tue Intendentes. in vocem deprecationis mee...” (Ps 130[129]). [6v] “Episcopus dicat // Ne reminiscaris domine delicta mea vel parentum meorum neque vindictam sumas de peccatis meis kyrieleyson xpçleyson kyrieleyson Pater noster. Et ne nos inducas etc. // Preces Ego dixi domine miserere mei. sana animam meam quia peccaui tibi // Conuertere domine aliquantulum. et deprecabilis esto super seruum tuum // Fiat misericordia tua domine super nos. quemadmodum sperauimus in te // ...”. [7r] rubric, oratio, incipit, “AVres tue pietatis mitissime DEus inclina precibus meis et gratia spiritus sancti illumina cor meum...”, rubric, oratio, incipit, “URe Igne sancti spiritus Renes nostros et cor nostrum domine. vt tibi casto corpore seruia[m]us et mundo corde placere mereamur”

Edition: Gerbert, Monumenta, vol. 1, p. 345a-b.

ff. 7r-9r,§ 3-4:›Ad benedicendum...pontificalia ‹and› Ad benedicendum...presbiteralia‹,rubric, Hijs dictis induatur caligis et dicat oremus, incipit, “TOtius honestatis auctor [7v] omnipotens deus ad reprimendas antiqui hostis insidias per nostre seruitutis ministerium Iube nos sanctificari caligis istis vt in ingressu earum resplendeat ewangelij veritas...Ad sandalia...Post hoc surgat et supponat humerale dicens / POne domine galeam salutisin capite meo et humeros meos sub vmbra alarum tuarum protege...Ad albam...[8r] Ad zonam...Ad manipulum...Ad stolam...Ad dalmaticam...[8v]...Ad subtile...Ad Cyrothecas...Ad anulum...Ad Casulam...[9r]...Ad mitram...Ad baculum...Nota si archiepiscopus fuerit Ad pallium dicat SAnctissime deus qui es lux vera et veritas figurarum maiestatem tuam humiliter deprecamur...”

Edition: Gerbert, Monumenta, vol. 1, pp. 345b-346a.

ff. 9r-11v, § 10: ›Qualiter episcopus debeat se habere in officio misse‹, incipit, “Qualiter Episcopus debet habere se in officio misse // Primo cum ad altare procedit // Dicat Introibo ad altare dei / Ad [9v] Deum qui letificat Iuuentutem meam // Psalmus // Iudica me deus et discerne causam meam de gente non sancta. ab homine iniquo et dolose eripe me...” (Ps 43[42]). “// Episcopus dicat // Confiteminj Domino quoniam bonus quoniam in seculum [10r] misericordia eius” (Ps 106[105]:1). “// Episcopus mitra deposita dicat confiteor // Confiteor deo celi etc. // Minister dicat...” [11v].

Editions: Gerbert, Monumenta, vol. 1, pp. 346a-347a; Martène, De antiquis ritibus, vol. 1, col. 603.

ff. 12r-13v, Episcopal blessings (›benedictiones‹), title, “Sequuntur benedictiones ¦ verte folium ¦ Adiutorium nostrum ¦ Sit nomen domini ¦ Domine Exaudj ¦ Dominus vobiscum ¦ Oremus”. (1) [12v] rubric, Generalis benedictio, incipit, “Visibilium et Inuisibilium omnium Creator Deus Adesto propicius Inuocationibus nostris / Et hec omnia altarium ornamenta seu vestimenta sacerdotalia...”, (2) [13r] rubric, benedictio corporalium, incipit, “Omnipotens sempiterne Deus benedicere sanctificare et consecrare digneris hec lintheamina vel hoc lintheamen...”, (3) [13v] rubric, benedictio Cyrothecarum, incipit, “Immensam clementiam omnipotens et piissime deus humiliter exoramus vt rore tue bene dictionis has benedicas cyrothecas...”

The Liber episcopalis officii is a Pontifical composed by the senior Carmelite friar Daniel von Wichterich (d. 1364), according to the prologue of the work, during his tenure of a titular bishopric. He is styled episcopus Motensis, although the identity of the bishopric is uncertain, and as a suffragan to Balduin von Luxemburg, the powerful archbishop of Trier, in the period 1320-1342. The work was intended as a revision of the Roman Pontifical for the German Empire, and the rite of royal coronation which it contains (not in this present manuscript) has a significant place in the history of the papal-imperial controversy during the reign of Ludwig “the Bavarian” (1314-47). The insistence in the Pontifical that the German electors (and not the pope) are the sole legitimate authority to dispose of the German kingdom, and the prominence in the coronation rite accorded to the Rhenish archbishops, suggests that the work may have been first composed around the time of the electoral assembly in 1338, when these claims were first vocalized. The Pontifical was extensively revised around a century later by another senior Carmelite friar, Aegidius von Bitburg (d. 1442), at some point after his nomination by Pope Martin V in 1428 as episcopus Rosensis (Rhosus in Cilician Armenia), to become an auxiliary to the bishop of Strasbourg, Wilhelm von Diest. On this work, see Dykmans, Le Pontifical romain, ch. 3, “Le Pontifical de Wichterich et Bitburg”, pp. 41-61, and Schmidt, “Politisches Handeln”, pp. 135-41.

It is unclear whether this manuscript preserves the Pontifical of Daniel von Wichterich itself, or its later revision by Aegidius von Bitburg, in the absence of the crucial prologue, and without full editions (or digitizations) of either Pontifical. Extracts of the Pontifical of Daniel von Wichterich were published from Paris, BnF, MS lat. 948 by Edmond Martène, redistributed into liturgical sequence alongside other texts, and from a now-lost manuscript of the fourteenth century from St.-Blasien by Martin Gerbert: for a conspectus, see Dykmans, Le Pontifical romain, pp. 42-44. The slight variants in § 3-4 compared to the published extracts of Daniel von Wichterich’s Pontifical may indicate that this is a copy in the revision of Aegidius von Bitburg.

Both Pontificals are very narrowly transmitted. The Pontifical of Daniel von Wichterich is known from just four manuscripts: Aschaffenburg, Hofbibliothek, MS 12; Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, MS lat. 948; Verdun, Bibliothèque municipale, MS 90, and Weimar, Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek, Q 24. For the first three, see Dykmans, Le Pontifical romain, pp. 45-47, and Kay, Pontificalia, nos. 24, 636, and 1188, with the Paris and Verdun manuscripts described by Leroquais, Les Pontificaux manuscrits, vol. 2, pp. 29-31 and 414-17, respectively; for the recent discovery of the Weimar manuscript, dated on palaeographical grounds to the second half of the fourteenth century, and thus potentially the earliest known copy, see the description by Matthias Eifler at http://www.manuscripta-mediaevalia.de/hs/projekt-Weimar-pdfs/Q-24.pdf. In the revision by Ägidius von Bitburg, the Pontifical is known in just three further manuscripts: Cambrai, Médiathèque municipale, MS 224; Ghent, Saint Bavo’s Cathedral, MS 14; and Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, MS lat. 10576. For these, see Dykmans, Le Pontifical romain, pp. 51-53, and Kay, Pontificalia, nos. 135, 137, and 713, with the Cambrai and Paris manuscripts described by Leroquais, Les Pontificaux manuscrits, vol. 1, pp. 102-06, and vol. 2, pp. 164-67 respectively. Six of these seven manuscripts have an attested Episcopal provenance.


Dykmans, Marc. Le Pontifical romain révisé au XVe siècle, Studi e testi 311, Vatican City, 1985.

Gerbert, Martin. Monvmenta veteris litvrgiae Alemannicae, 2 vols., St.-Blasien, 1777.

Leroquais, Victor. Les Pontificaux manuscrits des bibliothèques publiques de France, 3 vols., Paris, 1937.

Martène, Edmond. De antiquis ecclesiae ritibus libri [...], 4 vols., Antwerp, 21736-38.

Schmidt, Hans-Joachim. “Politisches Handeln und politische Programmatik im Dienst der Luxemburger: Daniel von Wichterich, Bischof von Verden († 1364)”, Zeitschrift für historische Forschung 16 (1989), pp. 129-50.

Online resources

Matthias Eifler, Description of Weimar, Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek, Q 24

Richard Kay, Pontificalia. A Repertory of Latin Manuscript Pontificals and Benedictionals., University of Kansas, 2007