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les Enluminures

Chapter Book [Liber Capituli] (use of the Celestines of Paris), including Martyrologium romanum (Paris, J. Kerver, 1584); Obituary for the Celestines of Paris (dated 1488, with later additions all through the 16th c.); Regula Sancti Benedicti or Regula monachorum [Rule of Saint Benedict] (dated 1472) and other additional texts including a Versified Rule of Saint Benedict (dated 1471)

In Latin (with some French), imprint on paper and manuscript on parchment
France, Paris, respectively dated 1471; 1472; 1488 [with later additions 16-18th c.]; dated imprint of 1584.

TM 680

Imprint, large in-8 format, [12] + [1] + 334 pp., complete although some text missing and supplied in manuscript form (signatures a6 (+ [1] f. inserted between a1 and a2), A-V8, X8), some pages of imprint restored because of intensive use with strips of paper reinforcing outer margins of leaves, paper ruled in red, text printed in red and black, some ornamental initials, printer’s device on the title-page.

Manuscript, 128 ff. (mistake in foliation f. 23 indicated twice), last leaf blank, complete (collation impracticable), two distinct works with modern foliation in pencil (i.e. ff. 1-49v; ff. 50-127), text copied by a number of distinct hands mostly in brown ink, many additions and entries to the Obituary added after its initial date of copy of 1488, in a variety of hands, some gothic and some humanistic, a few cursive later hands, rubrics in bright red, paragraph marks in blue with red filigree ornamentation, small initials in red with dark blue filigree ornamentation, larger calendar initials KL in red and blue with red and blue filigree ornamentation, introducing each month, large opening 5-line high initial in blue with white tracery patterns on a gold ground and colored vine infill (f. 1), a small section of bracket border on a reserved ground with a blue flower and burnished vine leaves on black hairline stems (f. 1), alternating red and blue painted initials in the Rule (f. 51 et sqq) of varying height, two large initials of the same type as f. 1, introducing the Prologue of the Rule (f. 55) and the Rule itself (f. 58v), syllabic stress marked with red checks for public reading aloud; attached to white leather strips are two parchment square strips, used to mark where reading has been left off after a daily Chapter Office at prime, general formulae used after the readings taken from the Martyrology and the Obituary, the first reads: “Et alibi animorum plurimorum sanctorum martyrum et confessorum, atque sanctarum virginum”; the second reads: “Commemoratio omnium fratrum familiarium ordinis nostri atque benefactorum nostrorum necnon.”

Bound in a later 18th c. binding of dark brown calf over wooden boards, back sewn on 5 raised bands, brass fittings on upper and lower boards (cornerpieces and arms of the Celestine order at center “Letter S and cross”), parchment pastedowns and flyleaves, wanting leather straps (Traces of continued use throughout the 15th and later 16-17th centuries; some paper restorations to the imprint, some parts supplied in manuscript form when wanting portions of text; manuscript portions on parchment in very good general condition). Dimensions 230 x 155 mm.

This is the Chapter book of the Celestines of Paris, a composite volume assembled in the sixteenth century, reusing two sections (Obituary and the Rule of Saint Benedict) dated in the fifteenth century. The Obituary is full of obits and references to the main patrons of the powerful convent, many of whom tied to the Crown of France chose the Celestines as their preferred place of burial. Along with the Rule of Saint Benedict, an essential component of a Chapter Book and read aloud at chapter, there is a versified Rule in Latin, which merits further study.   


1. Copied, bound and used by the Celestines of Paris, as per a number of elements (mostly textual, see Text below), including an inscription on the first front flyleaf: “Celestinorum Parisiensium” (17th c. hand) and again on the title-page of the first printed work: “Celestinorum Parisiensium” (19th c. hand). The Celestine provenance is further confirmed by the presence on the upper and lower boards of the binding of the brass fitting with the Celestine symbol of a Cross associated with the letter S. This symbol is found in many objects and books related to the Celestines (see S. Di Carlo, I Celestini di Parigi : spiritualità e mondanità, 2003, p. 10, with a reproduction of the Celestine arms “S” and Cross [d’azur à la longue croix d’or, entortillée d’un S (for “Sulmone”, accostée de deux fleurs de lis d’or]; see P. and M.-L. Biver, Abbayes, monastères et couvents de Paris, 1970, p. 56).

2. Redemptorists of France. Manuscript deaccessioned, with stamp of the Redemptorists of France on the title-page of the first printed work: “Cong. SS. Redemptoris. Prov. Gallica. Domus studiorum.” The Redemptorists (Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer) were a missionary society, founded in 1732 by Saint Alphonsus Maria Liguori, near Amalfi, and which spread rapidly first around Naples, then in Italy and France. On all their missions, the Redemptorists were expected to preach a sermon on prayer and one on the intercession of the Blessed Virgin.

3. European Continental Collection.


The present codex is a special one, first because it is an uncommon type of liturgical service book called a Chapter Book [Liber capituli] and secondly because it contains so much testimony of continued and cherished use within the monastery of the Celestines of Paris (Prieuré de l’Annonciation des Célestins). A Chapter Books is the service book used during Chapter Office at prime, held circa 6:00 AM), containing the texts from which are taken the readings read aloud. Chapter Books traditionally contain a martyrology, from which excerpts of saints’ lives are read aloud, an obituary or necrologium from which relevant names of the dead honored on specific days of the calendar are also read aloud, and finally a monastic Rule, here fittingly of Saint Benedict since the Celestines were a Benedictine congregation, from which the monks read passages, again aloud (on Chapter Books, see esp. Lemaitre, 1984). The present book contains traces of this obligation that the texts read be read aloud, with stress marks placed on the accentuated syllables traced in red (see in particular accents added in the printed martyrology, and on some entries of the Obituary, and very systematically placed above the words in red in the Rule). This Chapter Book was likely put together in the later sixteenth century (after 1584, date of the imprint containing the Martyrology), but using a previously dated Obituary (1488) and Rule of Saint Benedict (1472) along with its versified form (1471).

The Chapter Book was used by a community of monks, here the Celestines of Paris, who met daily in the chapter house with the abbot to “hold chapter”, that is for the reading of the “Martyrology” and the “Necrology” (or Obituary), for the correction of faults, the assigning of the tasks for the day, and for the exhortation of the superior, and again for the evening Collation or reading before Compline.

A Benedictine congregation, the Order of the Celestines owes its name and foundation to Saint Peter Celestine or Pietro del Morrone (1215 – May 19, 1296), later Pope Celestine V (1294, his papacy lasted five months and eight days), who is remembered as the only medieval pope to abdicate. Dante in his Inferno levels harsh words at Celestine V because of his abdication: “I saw and recognized the shade of him / Who by his cowardice made the great refusal...” (Inferno, III, 59-60). He was canonized in 1318 (his feast is May 19), and his relics were transferred to the Basilica Santa Maria di Collemaggio in Aquila in 1327.  Before becoming Pope, Pietro del Murrone retreated to live as a hermit in a cave on the Monte Murrone, and in 1263 his foundation adopted the Rule of Saint Benedict by Pope Urban IV: the new Benedictine congregation was definitely organized in 1275. The movement rapidly expanded in Central and Southern Italy. Philip the Fair, King of France introduced the Order in France around 1300. The mother house of the French branch of the Order was endowed by King Charles V in Paris. By 1400, the order had as many as 96 houses in Italy and 21 in France.

The Paris dwelling was situated near the Hotel Saint-Pol in the Marais, more specifically between the rues du Petit-Musc (west), rue de l’Arsenal (east), rue de la Cerisaie (north) and the quai des Celestins (south), taking over in part the former convent of the Carmelites, buying and inheriting from the Marcel family (this family is well remembered in the Obituary). The King of France, Charles V, resided nearby in the Hotel Saint-Pol, and it was Charles V who endowed the new convent and oversaw the laying of the first stone of the Church, consecrated in 1370 by the Archbishop of Sens, Guillaume de Melun, also well represented in the Obituary. There are over 400 known benefactors to the Celestines, including princes and other members of the ruling noblesse (see S. Roussel, Thèse d’Ecole des chartes, see Online Resources below). The Celestines were closely tied and favorable to the notaries and secretaries of the King of France, and the confraternity of the notaries held their assembly in the Church. The Celestines of Paris also housed many funerary monuments and tombs for the princely deceased, second to Saint-Denis in importance and number of funerary monuments, including the tomb of Louis d’Orléans and his family (now in St-Denis), and that of Anne de Bourgogne, wife of the Duke of Bedford. The Church was destroyed in 1795, and the wonderful cloister, that Alexandre Lenoir fought so hard to save, was destroyed in the first years of the nineteenth century.  Precious little is left of this important monastery. 

The library of the Celestines, to which the present manuscript belonged (although this specific service-book probably was kept in the chapter house in which were held the chapter meetings), benefited initially from the liberality of King Charles V and his successors, who provided the monastery with the main liturgical books and texts, renewed according to the evolution and needs of liturgy (see Lebigue, 2009, p. 20, who speaks of a “chapelle” of manuscripts made for Mass, Offices and other ceremonies). The library was constantly enriched over the centuries, in particular by donations such as that quoted in the present Obituary, that of Charles Hénault, conseiller au Grand conseil, who left his collection of books to the Celestines (see f. 9v: “Clarissimi viri domini Caroli de Henaut...legavit nobis bibliothecam...”), but also Jean Coeur (son of Jacques Coeur) and Jean Budé who both also left some books to the Celestines of Paris. Hence, this library was in the eighteenth century one of the richest in Paris and boasted in 1722 some 12,000 volumes. The monastery was suppressed in 1778, thus before the Revolution, and the volumes were subsequently dispersed and sold, many to the duc de la Vallière and Antoine-René de Voyer, marquis de Paulmy. This explains why many books from the Celestines of Paris are found in the Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal (see A. Franklin, Anciennes bibliothèques de Paris, 1899, p. 128).

There are three (3) distinct works bound in this codex:
Martyrologium Romanum, Paris, J. Kerver, 1584:
This is the second French edition of the Martyrologium romanum. See A. Pettigrew and M. Walsby, French Books. Books Published in France before 1601 in Latin and Languages other than French, Leiden, 2012, no. 79324, p. 1177.

sig. a1, Title-page, Martyrologium romanum. Ad novam kalendarii rationem, & Ecclesiasticae historie veritatem restitutum. Gregorii XIII. Pont. Max. jussu editum, Parisiis, apud Jacobum Kerver, via Iacobea, sub signo Unicornis. Cum privilegio Regis, 1584.

f. 1 (manuscript leaf on paper bound between sig. a1 and a2), List of moveable feasts, rubric, Festa mobilia que singulis annis post Kalendarium, & Lunarium immediate pronuntiantur; Added in brown ink in a cursive script, “Dedicatio ecclesiarum ordinis Celestinorum” [Dedication of the churches of the Order of the Celestines];

sig. a2, Royal Privilege granted to Jacques Kerver; sig. a2 verso-a6 verso, Explicatory pages (Golden number; Tabella temporaria litterarum martyrologii);

sig. A1-X2 verso (pp. 1-326), Martyrologium Romanum, months January to December;

sig. X3-X6 verso (pp. 327-334), Additional readings for the liturgical year, rubric, Lectiones per totum annum ad absolutionem capituli; added final ecclesiastical approbation, dated Sens 1583, signed Dion[ysius] Rollet : “Ego frater Dionysius Rollet doctor theologus et alme provinciae franciae humilis minister...” (see anastatic edition Rome, D. Basae, 1584, CittaĚ€ del Vaticano, 2005). Added note in manuscript on restored paper : “Habes (candide lector hoc martyrologium multo accuratius auctum, tersum ac emendatum, quam hactenus fuerit aliud typis excussum propterea eo secure utere, & labore eorum qui vineam domini colere desiderant, libentius fruere.”

The bottom portion of the last page has been damages and repaired. We have checked a copy found in Paris, Arsenal, 4-H-6408, and the last page contains indeed the colophon: “Parisiis. Excudebat Jacobus Kerver. Anno M.D. LXXIIII, 1584.” The date 1584 has been supplied in pencil at the bottom of the restored title-page. 

The first edition of the Martyrologium romanum published in France was ensured by G. Rouillé, Lyon, 1583 (see French Books, 79323). This is thus the second French edition of the Martyrologium romanum, here printed by J. Kerver (active 1535-1583), son of Thielman I Kerver. For all practical purposes, Jacques Kerver died in 1583 so this imprint might also be ascribed to his widow Blanche Marentin who succeeded her husband from 1583 to 1585 (see Renouard, Répertoire des imprimeurs parisiens (1965), pp. 225-226). The editio princeps of the Martyrologium romanum was first printed in Rome in 1582, under the title: Martyrologium romanum ad Idibus octobris anni correctionis MDLXXXII usque ad finem eiusdem anni, Rome, Dominici Basa, 1582. This edition was followed by a 1583 edition, also printed by D. Basa. Finally the authorized version of 1584 (third edition) was printed by the same Domenico Basa under the title: Martyrologium romanum ad novam Kalendarii rationem ey ecclesiasticae historiae veritatem restitutum, Gregorii XIII Pont. Max. iussu editum (on the successive editions, see the anastatic edition: M. Sodi and R. Fusco ed. Martyrologium romanum: editio princeps (1584), Vatican City, 2005, pp. XXXIII-XXXVI). The edition of 1584 was approved and imposed on the entire Roman rite of the Church by Pope Gregory XIII. Baronius revised and corrected this work and republished it in 1586, with the Notationes and the Tractatio de Martyrologio Romano. The Antwerp edition of 1589 was corrected in some places by Baronius himself. A new edition of the text and the notes took place under Pope Urban VIII and was published in 1630.

The Roman Martyrology is directly derived from the historical martyrologies. It is in sum the Martyrology of Usuard (found in earlier Chapter Books), completed by the “Dialogues” of Pope Gregory I and the works of some of the Fathers, and for the Greek saints by the catalogue known as the “Menologion of Sirlet.” A martyrology is a catalogue or list of martyrs and other saints and beati arranged in the calendar order of their anniversaries or feasts. Local martyrologies record exclusively the custom of a particular Church. Local lists were enriched by names borrowed from neighboring churches. Consolidation occurred, by the combination of several local martyrologies, with or without borrowings from literary sources.

ff. 1-49v, Obituary for the use of the Celestines of Paris (dated 1488, with later additions all through the 16-18th centuries).

ff. 1-1v, Prologue to the Obituary, rubric, Prologus; heading, “Versibus hiis disces: apicis retinens numerales. Ista sequens carta quando peracta fuit. 1488 [added date in brackets, 1588, misreading the medieval numeral “4”]; incipit, “Ut ait Bernardus: Nil tam fixum animo quod neglectu et tempori non obsolescat. Igitur brevi sub epylogo hoc opus excerptum de mortuologio nostro maiore ea qua hactenus...”;

ff. 1v-49v, Obituary for the use of the Celestines of Paris, including Calendar in red and brown ink for the use of the Celestines, including in red: Translation of Saint Peter Celestine (f. 8v); Benedict, abbot (f. 13v); Octava sancti Petri Celestini (f. 22).

This very precious part of the Chapter Book is an Obituary for the use of the Celestines of Paris. Particularly interesting is that it is precisely dated 1488 (often dates of obituaries are simply inferred from entries) and contains a large number of later additions and entries, dated well into the eighteenth century (last foundation recorded, 1714, f. 9v: “Clarissimi viri domini Caroli de Henaut parisini, senatoris & decani in magno consilio, qui testamenti tabulis legavit nobis bibliothecam...). 

There are two extant fifteenth-century obituaries known for the Celestines of Paris, and other documents related to the cult of the dead within the convent. The Obituaries proper are listed in J.-L. Lemaitre, Répertoire des documents nécrologiques français (1980), no. 1257 and no.1258.
The first is Paris, Bibliothèque Mazarine, MS 3329, Obituaire des Célestins de Paris (Lemaitre, 1980, pp. 571-572, no. 1257; published A. Molinier, Obituaires de la province de Sens, t. 1 (1902), pp. 706-714; see also A.-M. Genevois et alia, Bibliothèques de manuscrits médiévaux en France: relevé des inventaires du VIIIe au XVIIIe siècle (1987), no. 1253, p. 157). The Mazarine Obituary has been dated circa 1445-1466, and contains only 37 leaves (missing the beginning).

The second is an Obituary also dated 1488 (which makes the study of the present one all the more interesting), Paris, Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal, MS 1148 (see Molinier, 1890, no. 51, p. 164; Lemaitre (1980), p. 572, no. 1258).

Finally, there is also a manuscript that is a revision of the foundations in use at the convent of the Celestines (Réduction des fondations du couvent des célestins de Paris), dated 1436 or little after and completed until the end of the fifteenth century (Paris, Bibliothèque Mazarine, ms. 3330). The text has been published by Molinier (1890), pp. 300-325; see also Lebigue, on-line edition (see Online Resources, below).

In this Obituary, regal obits include Charles V (1338-1380), who by Letters Patent of 1367 provided sufficient means and land for the establishment of the Celestines: “Christianissimi regis Karoli quinti principalis...fundatoris nostri...” (f. 19; again f. 33: Charles V and Jeanne de Bourbon); Charles VI, King of France (1368-1422) and Ysabeau de Bavière (f. 40v); Louis, comte d’Etampes (f. 23; f. 23bis verso); Louis, duc d’Orléans (1372-1407) (f. 34; f. 45); Philippe, duc de Bourgogne (f. 37v) and Anne his sister, wife of “Johannis ducis de Bethfordie” (Duke of Bedford) (again f. 43v); Charles de Bourbon (f. 46).  Later regal donors include Henri d’Orléans (f. 16); Henri II (f. 20); François, duc de Luxembourg and Marguerite de Lotharingie (in 1625, f. 36v).

Because of the importance of the Celestines as a quasi-royal abbey, there are obits for some illustrious people such as Jean II Budé (1425-1500/1501), father of the celebrated Guillaume Budé, noted bibliophile and councilor to the King of France: “Obitus trium lectionum dicendus ad modum...cum missa bassa de requiem pro domino Johanne Bude consilario et secretario regis ac cancellarie francie audientiario...” (f. 10v; again f. 30). His wife “Katherine Picard” is also quoted and both are buried in the Church of the Celestines. Another key figure associated with the Celestines of Paris is Philippe de Mézières (1327?-1405), scholar, soldier, diplomat and advirsor to the King of France, buried in the Church of the Celestines, whose obit reads: “Obitus preclari militis domini Philippi de Maseriis quodam canceliarii cypri, consiliariique regis necnon zelatoris et domestici nostri...” (f. 7v; again f. 30; f. 49). Also added, an obit for Philippe de Chabot (1480-1543), comte et amiral de Brion, Admiral of France, close to King Francis I: “Obitus incliti viri ac potentis domini Philippi Chabot militis...” (f. 23). Other important founding members of the Order such as Arthur de Montauban (Bishop of Bordeaux) (f. 8); Robert Jussi, canon of Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois and secretary of King Charles V (f. 15; f. 41); Guillaume de Melun, Archbishop of Sens (f. 26; f. 30v); Jean Coeur, Archbishop of Bourges, son of Jacques Coeur (f. 27; 42); Philippe de Moulins (f. 29v); François de Montaigu (f. 41); André d’Espinay, Cardinal; Jean Rolin (1408-1462), Cardinal (son of the Chancellor Rolin) (f. 46). Another noteworthy donor, is the Marcel family, especially Garnier Marcel who endowed and provided land for the Celestines to settle in Paris (ff. 11). Finally, and often most interesting, are the more anonymous donors, with information on their professions, such as the physician Robert d’Allemagne (or Lallemant?) “Item scientifici viri magistri Roberti de Alemania, doctoris in medicina” (f. 20v); another example of a book-seller associated with the University of Paris, a certain Junien de Langlee: “Circumspecti viri Iuniani de Langlee quondam universitatis parisiensis librarii famosi” (f. 46v).

There is still much to discover and study in this Obituary. A complete edition of its entries is necessary: one finds prosopographical and descriptive elements (such as the exact emplacement of the donors’ tombs and graves in the Church that have since disappeared) and general historical information tied to the Celestines, a powerful monastery associated with the Kings of France and ruling families. There is mention of “tabula missarum” in numerous entries of the Obituary (f. 14v; 21v, 25 et passim) in noteworthy and reflects the tables of masses that were posted in the Church and chapels of the convent of the Celestines of Paris, containing precise liturgical prescriptions, often destroyed (see Lebigue, reference in Online resources below).

ff. 50-119v, Rule of Saint Benedict (this copy dated 1472):

ff. 50-53, Table of the chapters found in the Rule of Saint Benedict, heading in red, Incipit annotatio capitulorum regule beatissimi patris nostri Benedicti abbatis et prior;

ff. 53v-54v, blank;

ff. 55-58v, Regula sancti Benedicti [Regula monachorum], Prologue, rubric, Incipit prologus in regula beati benedicti abbatis patris nostri; incipit, “Ausculta o fili precepta magistri...”;

ff. 58v-119v, Regula sancti Benedicti [Regula monachorum], rubric, Explicit prologus. Incipit regula de quatuor generibus monachorum primum capitulum; incipit, “Monachorum quattuor esse genera manifestum est...”; following rubric, Qualis debeat esse abbas .ii. capitulum; last rubric, De eo quod non omnis iusticie observatio in hac sit regula constituta. LXXIII; explicit, “[...] commemoravimus doctrine virtutumque culmina deo protegente pervenies. Facientibus hec : regna patebunt eterna”; last rubric, Explicit regula beati benedicti abbatis. Deo gratias. Amen. 1472  [Rule of Benedict published by Schmitz (ed.), Règle de saint Benoît, Brepols, 2009, pp. 10-163];

The Rule of Saint Benedict (Regula sancti Benedicti) is a book of precepts written by St. Benedict of Nursia (c.480–560?) for monks living communally under the authority of an abbot. From the seventh century onward it was also adopted by communities of women. It is said that after the Bible, it is the Rule of Saint Benedict that has been most published. The best Latin text, on which most editions base their critical transcription and edition is Saint-Gall, MS 914. Charlemagne had Benedict’s rule copied and distributed to encourage monks throughout Western Europe to follow it as a standard. Beyond its religious influences, the Rule of St. Benedict was one of the most important written works to shape medieval European thought, embodying the ideas of a written constitution and the rule of law.  It also incorporated a degree of democracy in a non-democratic society and dignified manual labor. The spirit of St. Benedict’s Rule is summed up in the motto of the Benedictine Confederation: pax (“peace”) and the traditional ora et labora (“pray and work”).

Compared to other precepts, the Rule provides a moderate path between individual zeal and formulaic institutionalism; because of this middle ground it has been widely popular. Benedict’s concerns were the needs of monks in a community environment: namely, to establish due order, to foster an understanding of the relational nature of human beings, and to provide a spiritual father to support and strengthen the individual’s ascetic effort and the spiritual growth that is required for the fulfillment of the human vocation, theosis.

St. Benedict is sometimes regarded as the founder of Western monasticism. There is, however, no evidence to suggest that Benedict intended to found a religious order in the modern sense and it was not until the later Middle Ages that mention was made of an “Order of Saint Benedict.” His Rule is written as a guide for individual, autonomous communities, and to this day all Benedictine Houses (and the Congregations in which they have grouped themselves) remain self-governing. Advantages seen in retaining this unique Benedictine emphasis on autonomy include cultivating models of tightly bonded communities and contemplative lifestyles. Perceived disadvantages comprise geographical isolation from important activities in adjacent communities. Other perceived losses include inefficiency and lack of mobility in the service of others, and insufficient appeal to potential members.

Christian monasticism first appeared in the Eastern Roman Empire a few generations before Benedict of Nursia, in the Egyptian desert. Under the great inspiration of Saint Anthony the Great (251-356), ascetic monks led by Saint Pachomius (286-346) formed the first Christian monastic communities under what became known as an Abbot, from the Aramaic abba (father).Within a generation, both solitary and communal monasticism became very popular and spread outside of Egypt, first to Palestine and the Judean Desert and thence to Syria and North Africa. Saint Basil of Caesarea codified the precepts for these eastern monasteries in his Ascetic Rule, or Ascetica, which is still used today in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

In the West in about the year 500, Benedict became so upset by the immorality of society in Rome that he gave up his studies there and chose the life of an ascetic monk in the pursuit of personal holiness, living as a hermit in a cave near the rugged region of Subiaco. In time, setting an example with his zeal, he began to attract disciples. After considerable initial struggles with his first community at Subiaco, he eventually founded the monastery of Monte Cassino in 529, where he wrote his Rule near the end of his life.

In chapter 73, St Benedict commends the Rule of St Basil and alludes to further authorities. He was probably aware of the Rule written by Pachomius (or attributed to him); and his Rule also shows influence by the Rule of St Augustine of Hippo and the writings of Saint John Cassian. Benedict’s greatest debt, however, may be to the anonymous document known as the Rule of the Master, which Benedict seems to have radically excised, expanded, revised and corrected in the light of his own considerable experience and insight.

The Rule opens with a hortatory preface, in which St. Benedict sets forth the main principles of the religious life, viz.: the renunciation of one’s own will and arming oneself “with the strong and noble weapons of obedience” under the banner of “the true King, Christ the Lord” (Prol. 3). He proposes to establish a “school for the Lord’s service” (Prol. 45) in which the way to salvation (Prol. 48) shall be taught, so that by persevering in the monastery till death his disciples may “through patience share in the passion of Christ that [they] may deserve also to share in his Kingdom” (Prol. 50). There follows 73 chapters, with the last chapter being an epilogue which declares that the Rule is not offered as an ideal of perfection, but merely as a means towards godliness, intended chiefly for beginners in the spiritual life.

Additional texts:
ff. 120-121, Noted hymn for the Vigil of the Feast of the Nativity (later early 16th c. hand);

f. 121v, Notes in large display script: “Author qui scripsit cum chiostro (?). Vivere possit. Iste liber est de conventu fratrum celestinorum beate marie de parisius”; followed by numbers “354”; crossed out text, still legible, beginning : “Ad laudem beate anne matris gloriose virginis metrice versus”; incipit, “Anna solet dici tres concepisse Marias / Quas genuere viri Joachim Claophas Salomeque...”;

ff. 122-125v, Verses, including a versified Rule of Saint Benedict, dated 1471, rubric, Canon ad cognoscendum praticam operis immediate sequentis; incipit, “Quisquis scire cupis auo norme corde loco sis....”; rubric, Explicit canon. Sequitur prologus in regula beati benedicti abbatis que metrificata fuit anno 1471...; incipit, “Arripe tu normam christi miles benedicti / Auscultare decet te patris ammonita / Sumas milicie fortssima tutius arma...Explicit prologus. Sequitur regula. Aggregat hic genera monachorum bisduo;”

A versified version of the Latin Benedictine Rule has been appended to the Chapter Book. This version would have made reading aloud much easier. In addition it is dated. We have not readily identified other codices with this versified version, but given the number of different vernacular translations, there were also verse and prose adaptations of the Rule that circulated. The text was central to the monks who abided by the Rule and a versified version would have allowed for the text to be learned by heart and recited during Chapter’s office at Prime.

f. 126, Elegy, rubric, Elegiaca deploratio sacre religionis que tota fere corruit propter divitiarum anima habundantiam; incipit, “Relligio peperit vasti per climata mundi...”; 

ff. 126-127, blank.


Antonini, O. Manoscritti d’interesse celestiniano in bibliotheche di Francie, L’Aquila, 1997 [Deputazione Abruzzese di Storia Patria. Quaderni del Bullettino, 16] (this manuscript not recorded).

Besse, J. “Célestins”, in Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, II, 2, Paris, 1909; col. 2064-2068.

Beurrier, Louis. Histoire du monastère et convent des Pères Célestins de Paris, contenant ses antiquités et priviléges, ensemble les tombeaux et épitaphes..., Paris, Vve P. Chevalier, 1634.

Di Carlo, Stefania, I Celestini di Parigi : spiritualità e mondanità, L’Aquila, 2003.

Golinelli, P. Celestino V. Il papa contadino, Milan, 2007.

Lebigue, J.-B. “Chapelles livresques et ministres désignés. Les véritables destinataires des manuscrits de la liturgie pontificale”, in Gazette du livre médiévale 54 (2009), pp. 19-30.

Lemaitre, J.-L. “Nécrologes et obituaires. Une source privilégiée pour l’histoire des institutions ecclésiastiques au Moyen Age?”, in Memoria. Ricordare e dimenticare nella cultura del medioevo, Bologna and Berlin, 2002, pp. 201-217.

Lemaitre, J.-L. Répertoire des documents nécrologiques français, Paris, Imprimerie nationale, 1980. 

Lemaitre, J.-L. Liber capituli. Le livre du chapitre, des origines au XVIe siècle, in Memoria. Der geschichtliche Zeugniswert des liturgischen Gedenkens im Mittelalter, K. Schmid and J. Wollasch (ed.), Münster, 1984, pp. 625-648.

Molinier, A. Obituaires de la province de Sens, t. 1 (1902), pp. 706-714

Molinier, A. Les obituaires français au Moyen Age, Paris, 1890.

Palazzo, Eric. Le Moyen Age. Des origines au XIIIe siècle (Histoire des livres liturgiques), Paris, 1993, especially chapters “L’office de prime au chapitre”, and “Le livre du chapitre”, pp. 173-179.

Online resources

On Pope Celestine V

Lebigue, Jean-Baptiste. “Réduction des fondations du couvent des célestins de Paris (Paris, Bibliothèque Mazarine, ms. 3330)”, in Jean-Baptiste Lebigue, Benjamin Suc, éds, Orléans: Institut de recherche et d’histoire des textes, 2006-2009. (Ædilis, Publications scientifiques, 7).

Stéphanie Roussel: “En pur et vray don”. Donateurs et donations pieuses aux Celestins de Paris à la fin du Moyen Age: