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les Enluminures

Hagiographical and Patristic Lectionary (Franciscan Use)

In Latin, decorated manuscript on parchment
Germany, perhaps Rhineland or Westphalia?, necessarily after 1307 (c. 1400-1410?)

TM 320

61 ff., fragmentary, missing an undetermined number of leaves, at least the first 20 quires, leaves bound out of sequence, rendering collation unrepresentative of its primitive structure but nonetheless currently as follows (collation: i6 [missing at the beginning at at the end, likely originally a quire of 10 or 14], ii14 [quire numbered xxii in lower margin of f. 20v, with catchword], iii4 [quire numbered xxiii, also with catchword], iv4 [of 10?, missing between ff. 26-27; quire numbered xxiiii [24], catchword in red]; v10, vi13 [of 14, missing last leaf of quire, between ff. 51-52], vii10 [of 14? likely missing i-ii and xiii-xiv]), written in a gothic liturgical bookhand, in dark brown ink, text in 2 columns (justification 145 x 105 mm.), ruled in brown ink, rubrics in red, some capitals touched in red, 1-line high initials in red throughout, numerous 2- to 3-line high initials alternately in red or blue with yellow-light green or red filigree penwork extending in the margin, two 5-line high larger initials in red and blue with extending baguettes of red and blue filigree ornamentation extending the entire height of the column (ff. 36, marking the Feast of the Dedication of Saint Michael and 43, marking the beginning of the Lectionary for the Sanctoral, some yellow associated to the red and blue colors in the second initial), some contemporary marginal inscriptions and corrections ( a few in red ink), some guide letters and words for rubricator. Modern binding, with covers with reused parchment from a Gradual [Jubilate deo...] of German origin, with German neumes (Hoefnagel), smooth spine (Leaves bound out of sequence; a bit of smudging to decorated initial on f. 43, else in clean condition). Dimensions 210 x 155 mm.

Amongst the extant liturgical manuscripts, Office Lectionaries are not very common, often overshadowed by the development of the Breviary. Although fragmentary and missing almost all of the readings for the Temporal and the Common of Saints, the present hagiographical and patristic Office Lectionary contains most of the lessons for the Sanctoral and presents numerous elements attesting to its Franciscan use.


1. Script and decoration suggest perhaps a Rhenish or Westphalian origin for this manuscript (the spelling of “ewangelia” would confirm this manuscript was copied in a Germanic or Flemish environment). Internal liturgical evidence allows for a dating after 1307 (see Text below), with a date of copy c. 1400-1410. Further comparisons might allow for a better dating, solely based on script and ornamentation. This manuscript was clearly copied for an unidentified Franciscan foundation given the presence of a number of specifically Franciscan offices and liturgical characteristics. The Feast of the Dedication of the Archangel Saint Michael is introduced by an elaborately decorated initial (f. 36) that could suggest the unidentified Franciscan convent could have been dedicated to Saint Michael or at least fostered a special devotion to Saint Michael.

2. The codex rebound with reused parchment from a Gradual must have been at one stage in a Dutch-speaking environment. There is later inscription on the lower cover, apparently in Dutch that reads: “tol bar ter va[n] warteer m.m.(?).” Perhaps something about the cost of a toll charge (?).

3. Two unidentified shelfmark numbers, the first pasted on a paper label on upper pastedown: “3”; the second penned in black ink in lower left-hand corner of first folio: “503”.


Leaves misbound and out of sequence, proper liturgical occasions restored here according to the Ordo Breviarii Fratrum Minorum of Haymo of Faversham (1243-1244):

ff. 40-41v, De Tempore [Lectionary for the Temporal, Biblical Lessons for the 4th Sunday of November before Advent], incipit, “tam ignem in domum azahel...” (f. 40); following rubric, Abdias propheta lectio prima; last rubric, Malachias l[ectio] .iii. [see Ordo breviarii. De Tempore: Menses octobris et novembris (Van Dijk, ed., 1963, p. 114)];

ff. 41v-43, Adventus [General rubric for Advent], long rubric, Adventus domini celebratur ubicumque dominicus dies venerit... [Ordo breviarii. Rubrice Generales (Van Dijk, ed., 1963, pp. 114-121)];

ff. 43-51v, Proprium Sanctorum [Lectionary for the Sanctoral, beginning with the lessons for the Feast of Saint Saturninus], rubric, Incipiunt festivitates sanctorum per totum annum. In sancti Saturnini martiris oratio; incipit, “Deus qui vos beati saturnini martiris tui...lectio prima. Rome natale sancti saturnini martiris...”; explicit, “[...] Thomas hebraice...” [text breaks off at the beginning of the first lesson for the Feast of Saint Thomas] [Ordo breviarii. De sanctis (Van Dijk, ed., 1963, pp. 121-123)];

ff. 7-19, Commune Sanctorum Tempore Paschali and Proprium sanctorum [Lectionary for the Common of the Saints at Easter and for the Sanctoral], incipit, “[...] domini gloriam...” [lacks beginning of De martiribus pluribus sive uno martire as found in the Ordo breviarii (Van Dijk, ed., 1963, p.134)]; fol. 8: following rubric, Oratio ut supra item hic incipi potest si placet. De sermone sancti augustini est lectio prima; fol. 19: rubric, In sancte potentiane virginis lectio prima, explicit, “[...] posita” [Ordo breviarii. Commune sanctorum tempore paschali [and] De sanctis (Van Dijk, ed., 1963, pp. 134-140)];

ff. 19-19v, Proprium Sanctorum [Lectionary for the Sanctoral. Lessons for the Office of the Translation of Saint Francis], rubric, In translacione beati francisci officium sit sicut in natali eiusdem... (ff. 19-19v) [Ordo breviarii. De sanctis (Van Dijk, ed., 1963, pp. 140-141];

ff. 19v-36, Proprium Sanctorum [Lectionary for the Sanctoral], rubric, In sancti urbani papa et martiris. Oratio (f. 19v); incipit, “Da quesumus omnipotens...”; fol. 35, rubric, In sanctorum martirum cosme et damiani oratio; incipit, “Presta quesumus...”; explicit, “[...] edificato sollempniter agit”[Ordo breviarii. De sanctis (Van Dijk, ed., 1963, pp. 141-163];

ff. 36-39, Proprium Sanctorum [Lectionary for the Sanctoral. Lessons for the Feast of the Dedication of Saint Michael], rubric, In dedicacione sancto mychaheli archangeli (f. 36); incipit, “Significavit Deus...”; explicit, “[...] Oratio. Deus qui miro” [Ordo breviarii. De sanctis (Van Dijk, ed., 1963, pp. 163-165].

To be noted, on f. 39, there are marginal corrections in red providing a different capitulum, hymn and versicle, to fit the instructions as prescribed in the Ordo breviarii (mistake or desire to comply with the official Franciscan liturgy?). The final “oratio” is also corrected from the original “Deus qui miro” to be replaced by “O doctor optimus” (in the margin, also in red). Also noteworthy, the day of the Feast of the Dedication of Saint Michael has received a special treatment, with a highly decorated opening initial, with elaborate extending filigree and colored penwork, suggesting greater solemnity (patron saint or specific worship within the original convent for which this Lectionary was made?).

ff. 39-39v, Proprium Sanctorum [Lectionary for the Sanctoral], rubric, In sancti ieronimi presbiteri et confessoris lectio prima; incipit, “Apud bethleem...”; explicit, “[...] kalendas octobris duodeci[m]” [text breaks off in the midst of lesson 3 for the Feast of Saint Jerome] [Ordo breviarii. De sanctis (Van Dijk, ed., 1963, p. 165];

ff. 52-61v, Proprium sanctorum [Lectionnary for the Sanctoral, Lessons for the Vigil of Saint Francis and for the Octave of Saint Francis] [starts imperfectly in the middle of the second nocturn with antiphon: “Ductus ad loci...”; see [Ordo breviarii. De sanctis (Van Dijk, ed., 1963, p. 166]; In vigilia sancti Francisci confessoris]; fol. 54v: rubric introducing the Octave of Saint Francis, De festivitatibus que infra octavam sancti Francisci...; explicit, “[...] per cocture sub...” [text breaks off in the midst of the first lesson of the fifth day of the Octave] [Ordo breviarii. De sanctis (Van Dijk, ed., 1963, pp. 166-167];

ff. 1-3v, Proprium Sanctorum [Lectionary for the Sanctoral, Lessons for the Feast of Saint Anthony of Padua, with hagiographical readings taken from the Legenda sancti Antonii de Padua (Legend of Saint Anthony of Padua)], Legend here divided into 9 lessons, incipit Pars I, “Est nam ut ferunt in regno portugalye civitas quondam ad occidentalem…” [lectio prima];

The present hagiographical readings for the Feast of Saint Anthony are taken from the first recorded legend known as “Assidua fratrum...,” composed by an anonymous author. The second legend beginning “In Hispaniis...” is now attributed to Julian of Spira (see study and edition by Cambell, 1971; BHL, no. 592-593). The “Assidua fratrum...” legend appears in manuscripts after 1263-1266 and is published in Portugaliae monumenta historica. Scriptores I (1856), 116-130 (see Cambell, 1971, pp. 58-59; recorded in BHL, no. 587, p. 95: Antonius de Padua. 1. Vita et Miracula a); incipit also recorded in Mohan, 1976, p. 136. We cannot provide references to Haymo of Faversham’s Ordo breviarii, since a proper Office for Saint Anthony of Padua was issued only twenty years after Haymo's death]).

ff. 3v-6, Lessons for the Octave of Saint Anthony of Padua, rubric, Infra octavam leguntur cotidie .ix. lectiones de legenda ipsius omnia alia fuit sicut in die; incipit, “Verum quia irruencium in se...”; rubric, Secunda die lectio prima (f. 5), incipit, “Quoniam ait testante domino nostro...”; Tertia die lectio prima (f. 6), incipit, “Igitur postquam servus dei antonius hostium....” [text breaks off after the fifth lesson (lectio quinta), so missing last 4 lessons].

This manuscript contains a substantial fragment of a Hagiographical and Patristic Office Lectionary which provides the full readings (here the vast majority are hagiographical and patristic, but with a few biblical readings) for the Divine Office planned according to the liturgical calendar (per circulum anni). A Lectionary follows the Ordo breviarii, but offers the full readings as opposed to the Breviary that provides only the first words of the assigned readings (see Philippart, 1977, pp. 22-26; Mortimer, 1992, chap. II and III, “La lecture patristique à l'office”; “La lecture hagiographique à l'office noctune et ses livres liturgiques”, pp. 78-102).

Although a fragment, this manuscript preserves enough internal liturgical evidence to confirm it was made for Franciscan use. Its specifically Franciscan character is attested by a number of references to Franciscan saints (with for instance the inclusion of the separate office for the Translation of Saint Francis, founder of the Order, the Vigil of Saint Francis and an Octave for Saint Francis; the hagiographical readings for the Feast of Saint Anthony). In the rubrics there are numerous occurrences where the congregation is addressed as “Fratres,” and there are references to churches built and dedicated to Francis (“in aliquo loco fratrum in nomine beati francisci ecclesia sit constructa,” f. 42v).

The present Office Lectionary – even fragmentary – is in full agreement with the Franciscan tradition and reflects well the changes and liturgical initiatives taken by Haymo of Faversham. Born in the last quarter of the twelfth century, Haymo was the fourth minister general of the Franciscan Order and the main instigator and proponent of the correction and modification of the Franciscan liturgy. The result was the reissuing of Franciscan liturgical books close to the papal Court liturgy. Haymo composed an Ordinal containing new orders for the Breviary, for grace and for the Missal. This threefold Ordinal is predominantly an order of speech and the texts are given in the precise order in which they should follow each other. The order of the Breviary is divided into Temporal, Sanctoral, Common of the Saints and votive offices, thus providing the complete arrangement of text and rubrics for the whole liturgical year. The present Lectionary closely follows the ordo breviarii (order of the Breviary) as fixed by Haymo of Faversham.

Dating and localizing this fragment is not a simple task. The inclusion of readings for the Feast of Saint Anthony of Padua (canonized in 1232) means the manuscript necessarily dates after 1263-1266 when a proper Office for Anthony of Padua was issued. In addition, it necessarily dates after 1307 since the Chapter of Toulouse issued a general statute relating to liturgy that prescribed a change in the capitula (chapters) for the Office of Saint Anthony of Padua, with henceforth at Vespers, Lauds and Terce (Optavi et datus), at Sext (Venerunt autem) and None (Michi autem) (see Van Dijk, 1963, p. 451; see also Cambell, 1971, pp. 6-7). This is a good example of how a closer look at the liturgical variants can provide at least a terminus post quem date for the realization of a manuscript. The celebration of the Octave of Saint Anthony of Padua was extended to seven full days in 1403 by Pope Bonifatius IX (see Cambell, 1971, p. 8). Although the Octave of Saint Anthony is included in this manuscript, the lessons are interrupted on the third day so we do not know whether the present manuscript contained the full Octave of Saint Anthony celebrated over seven days and that would mean a date of after 1403. It is quite possible that the present manuscript dates c. 1400-1410 if the Octave of Saint Anthony was celebrated over seven full days, given the stylistic elements of the decorated filigree and painted initials.


Bibliotheca hagiographica latina antiquae et mediae aetatis, Société des Bollandistes, Bruxelles,1898-1899 [reprint Société des Bollandistes, 1992] [BHL].

Cambell, J. Le culte liturgique de Saint Antoine de Padoue [Legenda liturgica de S. Antonio confessore], 2 vols., Padua, 1971.

Haymo of Faversham. Ordines of Haymo of Faversham, Henry Bradshaw Society, vol. LXXXV, 1953.

Martimort, A.G. Les lectures liturgiques et leurs livres, Turnhout, Brepols, 1992.

Mohan, G. E. “Initia operum Franciscalium (XIII-XV) D-H,” Franciscan Studies 36 (1976), pp. 93-177.

O'Carroll, M. “The Lectionary for the Proper of the Year in the Domincan and Franciscan Rites of the Thirteenth Century,” in Archivum Fratrum Praedicatorum, Rome, 49 (1979), pp. 79-103.

Philippart, G. Les légendiers laltins et autres manuscripts hagiographiques, Turnhout, Brepols, 1977 [Typologie des sources du moyen age occidental, 24-25].

Salmon, P. Les manuscrits liturgiques latins de la Bibliotheque Vaticane. Tome 4: Les livres de lectures de l'office, les livres de l'office du chapitre, les livres d'heures, Vatican, 1971 (Studi e Testi, 270).

Van Dijk, S. J. P. The Origins of the Modern Roman Liturgy. The Liturgy of the Papal Court and the Franciscan Order in the Thirteenth Century, London, 1959.

Van Dijk, S. J. P. Sources of the Modern Roman Liturgy. The Ordinals of Haymo of Faversham and related documents (1243-1307), Leiden, Brill, 1963. In our references, we have used this edition of the Ordo breviarii (Order of the Breviary by Haymo of Faversham, 1243-44).

Online resources

On the Divine Office:

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

“Aedilis”: Catalogue de manuscrits liturgiques médiévaux et modernes

The Franciscan Order:

Haymo of Faversham: