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les Enluminures

Processional (Cistercian Use?)

In Latin, illuminated manuscript on parchment with musical notation
Central Italy (Rome or Florence), c. 1500-25

TM 718

i (paper) + 38 + i (paper) on parchment, modern foliation in pencil top outer corner recto, complete (i12 ii8 iii10 iv8 [-8, cancelled with no loss of text and then replaced by a later leaf]), no catchwords or signatures, ruled in ink or lead with double vertical bounding lines, text copied between narrow double horizontal rules with ascenders and descenders extending above and below (added?) (justification 143 x 124-103 mm.), written by a number of scribes in traditional rounded southern gothic bookhands, ff. 1-12, and 31-37v, and in an upright somewhat artificial script influenced by humanistic scripts, ff. 12-29v (possibly copied in several stints by an unpracticed scribe with varying results, or by several contemporary hands, ff. 17v-18 and ff. 22v-23 may be by different scribes), square musical notation on red four-line staves (some neumes in red and blue), black mensural notation, and white mensural notation on a five-line staff (f. 38 only), red rubrics, alternately blue and gold one-line initials, numerous (c. 90) one-line (and some larger initials extending above the text into the staff) polished gold initials infilled and on grounds of green, red and blue decorated in gold, a few with touches of white, infilling often divided in two with two colors, floral borders in the inner and/or lower margins of forty-five pages with narrow red, blue and green flowers and leaves, set within a background of small gold balls with hairlines and stems in black ink, the volume has been well-used, some soiling throughout, lower margin of border abraded on ff. 1 and 2, initials and borders rubbed and damaged on f. 18v, trimmed, with occasional loss of part of the decorative borders or occasionally initials (ff. 1v, 3v, 7v 10v, 18v, 19v, 21v, 22v, 23v, and 25v).  Bound in handsome seventeenth-century (?) brown leather over pasteboard, tooled in blind with two sets of five fillets forming an outer border gold-tooled with a winding floral pattern, and a rectangular center panel with gold-tooled fleurons at the corners, and center medallions lettered on the upper board, “D. M.//DIACI//NTA”, and on the lower, “PAVOL//SANTI”, spine with four raised bands, tooled in blind and with small gold stamps, upper board partially detached (supports broken at the joint), covering at the top and lower portion of the spine damaged, covers slightly bowed, and with some worming. Dimensions 187 x 142 mm.

Although the first section of the Processional includes texts characteristic of Cistercian processionals and mentions the brothers of the abbey and the abbot, the concluding two sections, which include Office chants as well as texts for processions, mention the sisters and the abbess, suggesting this book was copied for a nun. Small in format, with graceful decoration, this manuscript may be an example of how a female house adapted the liturgy for its own needs. Details of its musical notation are of interest, since it includes modifications in the square notation (some notes in red or blue), black mensural notation, as well as white mensural notation.


1. Copied in Central Italy, probably in Rome or Florence, in first quarter of the sixteenth century, c. 1500-25, as indicated by evidence of the script and decoration. The manuscript includes three sections, each copied by different groups of scribes, although the initials and marginal decoration in the manuscript are uniform throughout. The first texts, ff. 1-12, are processions for use in a monastery (the abbot and the brothers frequently mentioned in the rubrics), possibly copied from a Cistercian Processional (text agrees with Huglo, tableau V, p. 49) – although many of the processions proper to Cistercian monasteries at this time are not included.  The second section of texts, ff. 12-29v, consist of noted texts for the Office of the Dead, the Mass and the Divine Office, including a tonary, setting forth different ways to chant the Psalms. Another hand added feminine forms above the line, f. 13 (peccatore, with peccatrice, added). The concluding section, ff. 31-37v, includes the procession for Corpus Christi and for the adoration of the Cross; this section was clearly copied for nuns, since the rubrics mention the sisters, “sorores” (e.g, ff. 34v and 35), and the abbess (e.g., f. 33v). It therefore seems possible that this was copied for Cistercian nuns, adapting texts written for monks for their own use.

2. The binding is later, probably dating from the seventeenth century, and includes a name on the front cover, “D. M. Diacinta”, with “Pavol Santi” (that is, St. Paul), on the back cover.

3.Belonged to l’abbé Jules Bonhomme, his ex libris, dated 1876. He was curé de Saint-Jean Baptiste de Grenelles, Paris, and chaplain to the Fort de l’Est, Paris, musicologist and author of numerous liturgical studies including Principes d’une véritable restauration du chant Grégorien (Paris, 1857) and the introduction to Les principaux chants liturgiques conformes au chant publié par Pierre Valfray en 1669 traduits en notation musicale (Paris, 1875). His signature (?), front flyleaf, f. i, in pencil, dated 1876.

4. Brief description in French, nineteenth or twentieth century, laid in; in pencil, front flyleaf, “L1514.”


ff. 1-3v, In purificatione beate marie quando cantor abbati candela ac censam obulerit inponat hanc ant., incipit, “Lumen ad reuelationem …”, V., “Nunc dimictis …”, “… In exitum processionis et in prima statione iuxta dormintorium, incipit, “Aue gratia plena …”, Quando hanc antiphona incipitur moueant se fratres ab illo loco et agatur iuxta refectorium statio secunda, incipit, “Adorna thalamum …”, Quando incipitur hanc antiphona procedant conventus ad ultimam staionem iuxta ecclesia, incipit, “Responsum accepit symenon …”; Ad introitum ecclesie incipiat abbas hanc an., incipit, “Hodie beata marie …”;

ff. 3v-8, Dominica in palmis quando cantor abbbati ramum obtulerit inponat hanc ant., incipit, “Pueri hebreorum tollentes ramos …”, Ad exitum processionis …, incipit, “Occurrunt turbe …”, In prima statione iuxta dormitorium …, incipit, “Collegerunt pontifices …”, …procedat conventus ad secunda statio iuxta refectorium, incipit, “Unus autem …, Ad hanc repetitione scilicei“ quod fa ”procedant fratres iuxta ecclesiam qua finita incipiente cantore“ aue rex noster” inclinet conuentus genibus et manibus intra positis exceptis ministris et omnes erecti deinceps stent conuersi ad crucem usque dum incipiatur “Gloria laus” ant., incipit, “Aue rex noster …”, Circa finem euangelii duo fratres intret in ecclesia et clausis ianuis decant antiphonam, incipit, “Gloria laus …”, Ad introitum ecclesie abbas incipiat …, incipit, “Ingrediente domino …”;

ff. 8-10, In ascensione domini ad exitum processionis et in prima statione, incipit, “Uiri galilee quid admiramini …”, … ad secunda statione .., incipit, “Pater cum essem cum eis ..”, In tertia statione …, incipit, “Pater sancte …”, Ad introitum …., incipit, “O rex glorie …”;

ff. 10-12, In asumtione beate marie ad exitum processionis et in prime statione iuxta domitorium, incipit, “Hodie maria uirgo celos ascendit …”, V, Incipit, “Regina mundi …”, … ad secundam statione …, incipit, “Felix namque …”, In tertia statione …, incipit, “Ora pro populo …”, Ad introitum …, incipit, “Ascendit christus …”;

ff. 12-17, incipit, “Clementissime domine qui pro nostra miseria ab impiorum …”; concluding with Psalm 94;

Noted texts for funerals, beginning with the chants sung while the body was brought to the church, followed by the beginning of the Office of the Dead; copied in another hand (the antiphon, Clementissime is characteristic of Cistercian, Dominican, and Augustinian Use; see Huglo, 1999, pp. *53 and *55).

ff. 17v-29v, Noted texts for the Office including the Kyrie, Regina celi, Benedicamus domino (nine settings, including, In festis duplicibus, maior, apostolorum, angelorum, virginis, and xii lectiones), f. 19, tonary, incipit, “Primi toni melodiam psallas indirecto, Secunda in fine et in medio sic narabis, …Octavus secundum in medio respicitur sed in fine contempnit, … [followed by the Magnifcat (eight settings), Bendedictus (eight settings), the Nicene Creed, the Te deum, concluding with the doxology], incipit, “Te decet laus te decet hymnus … in secula seculorum, Amen” [f. 30rv, blank staves];

The musical notation in the Creed, ff. 23v-25v, includes notes copied in red and blue (and fermata, possibly added, on f. 23v).

ff. 31-34, In festo corporis christi ad exitum processionis …, incipit, Eduxit uos dominus in manu forti de terra …”, In secunda statione …, incipit, “Uerbum caro factum …”, In tertia statione …, incipit, “Melchisedech rex …”, Ad introitum ecclesie incipiat abbatissa hanc antiphona, incipit, “O Sacramentum pietatis …”;

ff. 34v-37v, Perlecta passione omnibus que dictis solemnibus duo sacerdotes siue diacones albis induti absque stolis et manipulis vel due sorores. Inferant crucem in locum quo adoranda est. De hinc applicent se ex utraque parte crucis et dicant tenenetes illam, incipit, “Popule meus quid feci tibi …, Resondeant due sorores ante gradum altaris flectant hic genua, incipit, “Agyos otheos. Agyos yskyros. Agyos athanathos eleyson ymas, Sanctus deus …; ... Post que omnes adorauerunt qui uel que crucem tenant leuantes eam. Inchoent hanc ant. Corus resumat, incipit, “Luper [sic, for Super] omnia ligna cedrom crux sola excelsior … mortem superauit.”

Adoration of the Cross (note rubrics specifying two sisters).

f. 38, Four settings, “Sancta maria ora pro illis ….”

Copied on a five-line staff with white mensural notation.

Although the modern liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church preserves only a few processions, processions were an important part of the liturgy during the Middle Ages and into the early modern era in both secular churches and within religious orders. Processions, for example, were preceded the celebration of the Mass on each Sunday, were an important part of the liturgical observances on saints’ days and on other important liturgical occasions, and were assembled in times of need, to ask for rain, avert famine, or in the face of other catastrophic events. The Palm Sunday procession reenacting Christ’s entry into Jerusalem is a notable example that is still celebrated, albeit usually in abbreviated fashion, in churches today. Rites of death and burial were also accompanied by processions.

A Processional is the liturgical book containing the chants, rubrics, and collects appropriate to liturgical processions. Since Processionals were intended to be carried, they are most often small and portable.  A very few examples are known from as early as the tenth or eleventh century (see Huglo, 2001, p. 388), although the vast majority date from the thirteenth century and later. The first section of this manuscript that includes processions for the Purification, Palm Sunday, the Ascension, and the Assumption, copied for use in a monastery (the abbot is mentioned), agrees with the text found in Cistercian Processionals closely (see Huglo, 1999, p. 49*, “Tableau V, Le processionnal cistercien”). This manuscript does not, however, include processions for St. Bernard, the Nativity of Mary, and the Visitation (added to the Cistercian liturgy in 1476). The matter needs further research. Perhaps this first section of the text was copied from Cistercian sources for monks, adapted for use in a convent for women by the addition of the second and third sections of the manuscript that include texts for funerals, ordinary texts for the Office, and processions for Corpus Christi, and the Adoration of the Cross.

Musically two aspects of this manuscript are of interest. First, it includes a tonary (that is a collection of chants organized by modes, ordinarily used for teaching the chant). And secondly, there are a number of features of the musical notation that are of interest. Even this late example of black square notation includes liquescences (changes in the shape of the neumes, usually used where syllables must be connected in a fluid, soft manner). Other details of interest include the use of blue notes for certain passages, and red notes at the beginnings and ends of pages; exactly what is meant by the change in color is a matter for further research.  Fermata were added in the Credo, which is in part written in black mensural notation (mensural notation indicates the length of individual notes, unlike the square notation used for most chant). The Marian litanies at the end, on f. 38, are in white mensural notation.


Gy, P. M. “Collectaire, rituel, processional”, Revue des sciences philosophiques et théologiques 44 (1960) 441-69.

Hesbert, R.-J. Corpus antiphonalium officii…1. Manuscripti “cursus romanum”, Rome, Herder, 1963.

Huglo, Michel. “Processional”, in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, vol. 20, London, 2001, pp. 388-393.

Huglo, Michel. Les manuscrits du Processional, Volume I, Autriche à Espagne, Répertoire international des sources musicales B XIV (1), Munich, 1999.

Huglo, Michel. Les manuscrits du Processional, Volume II, France à Afrique du Sud, Répertoire international des sources musicales B XIV (2), Munich, 2004.

Palazzo, Eric. A History of Liturgical Books from the Beginning to the Thirteenth Century, translated by Madeline Beaumont, Collegeville, Minnesota, 1998.

Plummer, John. Liturgical Manuscripts for the Mass and Divine Office, New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, 1964.

Processionale Cisterciense juxta veteres codices Ordinis editum, Tornaci, Desclée, Lefebvre et Soc., [1883].

Online resources

Introduction to liturgical manuscripts: “Celebrating the Liturgy’s Books”:

H. Thurston, H. “Processions”, in The Catholic Encyclopedia, New York, Robert Appleton Company, 1911