TextmanuscriptTextmanuscripts - Les Enluminures

les Enluminures

Devotional Miscellany on the Passio Christi, including HENRICUS SUSO, Centum meditationes; JEAN GERSON, Officium sacrum in festivitate conjugio sancti Joseph et virginis Marie, etc.

In Latin and French, manuscript on paper
[France, Champagne-Ardenne, likely Reims or Châlons-sur-Marne, c. 1500-1510, before 1515]

TM 132

109 ff. preceded and followed by [4] blank flyleaves, complete [scribe might have been interrupted as sentence on f. 100 left dangling], on paper (watermarks close to Briquet no. 10034 and no. 10040 “licorne simple,” respectively Troyes, 1505, Châtillon [Haute-Marne], 1519; see also Piccard, Wasserzeichen Fabeltiere … Einhorn, 1980, no. 2104 and 2117, Metz, ca. 1490; no. 2111, Andernach [Rhein] ca. 1495; Briquet, no. 11399-11408 “main au naturel, face interne,“ Troyes 1494-1520; Piccard, Wasserzeichen…Hand & Handschuh, 1997, no. 222-223 and 228-229, Trier [ Rheinland], 1506/1512), mostly in quires of 8 (collation i8, ii8, iii8, iv8, v8, vi8, vii8, viii8, ix8, x12, xi8, xii8, xiii8+1), written in dark brown ink in a semi-bâtarde script, on up to 21 long lines (justification 90 x 125 mm), some remnants of parchment tabs, horizontal catchwords, ruled in ink, rubrics in red, passages underlined in red, some capitals touched in yellow, some pen flourishing or calligraphic cadels in the margins, 1-line high initials in alternating red or blue, 2-line high initials in alternating red or blue, some initials descending in the margin with pen flourishing, large 3 to 5-line high opening parti-colored initials in red and blue (f. 1 and f. 10v), added later annotation in purple ink: “Passio Domini Nostri Jesu Christi Variae preces. 1515.” CONTEMPORARY BINDING of blind-stamped calf over pasteboards, back sewn on 3 raised thongs, back decorated with crossed single blind fillets, boards decorated with frame composed of triple fillets and saltire pattern equally of triple fillets, vellum pastedowns, traces of rope ties (for a similar saltire pattern, although not a perfect match see Exh. Cat., Reims, 1991, no. 75, BM Châlons-sur-Marne, on a 1477 incunable)(some traces of thumbing but generally in fine condition). Dimensions 130 x 180 mm.

In an original early sixteenth-century binding in excellent condition, signed and dated by an unrecorded scribe, this manuscript includes, in addition to the popular meditations by Suso, a rare mass for Saint Jouvin, especially venerated in Reims and Châlons-sur-Marne, and a mass by Gerson on the Espousal of Joseph and Mary, attesting to the growing importance of the cult of Joseph and also pointing to a localizable provenance in the Champagne.


1. Dated manuscript (terminus ad quem) with unrecorded named scribe on f. 109v: Hunc librum scripsit dominus Johannes Perdriz, qui obiit .xxvi. junii s[cilicet] 1515 (“This book was written by master Johannes Perdriz, who died 26 June 1515”; not in Bouveret, Les colophons). The eastern French origin of this manuscript is confirmed by script and watermarks (either Champagne or the Rhineland) as well as a short passage in French (concerning indulgences granted by pope Urban V, f. 76v) and the inscription copied in the margin (f. 91) Le .xixe. jour de mars, la sourveille saint Benoist est la feste de sainct Joseph (“March 19th, the day before the feast of Saint Benedict, is the feast of Saint Joseph”). Monastic origin is further confirmed by the mass entitled “Collecta monachorum”(f. 91v), dedicated to monks. A possible origin in Reims (or perhaps Châlons-sur-Marne) is inferred by the presence of the rare saint quoted on f. 91, and his mass: “De S. Jovinio.” Saint Jouvin or Juvin (October 3) was particularly honored in the Dormois region (Champagne-Ardenne) as well as in Reims and Châlons-sur-Marne (where both Joseph [see feasts of Joseph and Espousals of Joseph and Mary, respectively ff. 91 and 97v] and Juvin were also honored) [on Saint Juvin, see Grotefend, I, p. 123; Acta SS. Octobris, II, pp. 214-219; Vies des saints, X, p. 50].

The ninth-century Saint Juvin or Jouvin settled in the forest of Argonne, founded a chapel that later became an important church, and was buried in his eponymous parish. His relics were kept part in St.-Juvin, part in Reims (Abbey of St.-Timothée according to Pierquin [1732], p. 105)[see Boulliot, II, pp. 75-77; ActaSS. 3 oct., pp. 214-219; Bibl. hag. Lat. (1889), p. 684; also on the Life of St-Juvin, see Pierquin, 1732]. Located at the heart of the forest of Argonne, the parish of St.-Juvin was a dependancy of the powerful abbey of Saint-Denis in Reims, granted to the abbey by Manassès II, archbishop of Reims (see Cottineau, III, 2755; and Marlot, III, p. 405). Thus it is possible that the present manuscript was made for the Augustinian monks of St.-Denis de Reims or for its parochial dependency, St-Juvin. The presence of a mass dedicated to Saint Dominic (f. 90v), as well as the choice of Suso’s Centum meditationes, points to a Dominican origin. Interestingly, the prestigious Augustinian abbey of St.-Denis de Reims granted the newly settled Dominican brothers a church, monastery, and land within the parish of St.-Denis de Reims, thus establishing close ties with the new order (Marlot, III, p. 554). Both the canons of St.-Denis and the Dominicans of Reims followed the same rule of St-Augustine, both venerated Joseph and, because of the links between St.-Denis de Reims and the parish of St.-Juvin, also venerated Saint Juvin.


ff. 1-10v, Passion of Christ according to Matthew; incipit, “Passio domini nostri Iesu Christi secundum Matheum. In illo tempore dixit Iesus discipulis suis. Scitis quia post… ”;

ff. 10v-19, Passion of Christ according to Mark; rubric, Passio domini nostri Jesu Christi secundum Marcum; incipit, “In illo tempore erat pascha… ”;

ff. 19-27v, Passion of Christ according to Luke; rubric, Passio domini nostri Jhesu Christi secundum Lucam; incipit, “In illo tempore appropinquabat dies festus… ”;

ff. 27v-34, Passion of Christ according to John; Passio domini nostri Jhesu Christi secundum Johannem; incipit, “In illo tempore. Egressus est Iesus cum discipulis suis… ”;

ff. 34v-52v, Henricus Suso, Centum meditationes [Hundred Articles of the Passion]; “Secuntur centum articuli domini Passionis revelati fratri henrico compillatori Horologii Sapientie de conventu fratrum predicatorum Constanciensis dyocesis… ”; underlined: “Iste vero versiculus genibus flexis est dicendus prius singulos articulos ”; incipit, “Ave benigne Iesu Christe gratia plenus… ”; explicit, “…et consumat ineffabili felicitate. Ubi b[eat]a t[r]initas regnat […] et in personis trinitatis pater et filius et sp[iritu]s sanctus p[er] omnia s[ecula] s[ecularum] a[men] ”;

The Hundred Articles of the Passion, by the Dominican friar Henry Suso survives in more than two hundred manuscripts, containing one of the more than ten different versions of this text of meditations. Among the numerous Passion texts that circulated in the fifteenth century, the Hundred Articles was certainly one of the most popular. Suso’s meditations, which extend chronologically from the Agony in the Garden to the Entombment and the return of Mary to Jerusalem, were intended to be said throughout the day, or divided between the canonical hours, or over the days of the week.

The German tradition of the Centum meditationes has been studied by Bihlmeyer (1907). The Centum meditationes is actually the third part of the Das Buchlein der Ewigen Wesiheit (Little Book of Eternal Wisdom), which Suso translated himself from German into Latin: this translation is known as Horologium Sapientiae (Clock of Wisdom).

Henry Suso (1295-1366) was a German mystic and Dominican friar, honored with the titles “Prince of mystic theologians” and “Angelic mystic.” While studying at Cologne, he came under the influence of Meister Eckhart, whose writings he defended against charges of heresy. He became a popular preacher. At first harshly ascetic, he gradually emphasized detachment rather than mortification as central in the Christian discipline. His mysticism was expressed in terms of the contemporary literary romantic cult of the minnesingers. This gave him the epithet Sweet Suso. He was beatified in 1831.

ff. 53-59, Fifteen O’s of St. Bridget; underlined in red: Quindecim orationes de Passione Christi. Ave benignissime domine Iesu Christe; incipit, “O domine Iesu Christe eterna dulcendo te… ”; explicit, “…Ave potentissime domine Iesu Christe miserere.”;

ff. 59-60, Prayer (unidentified); incipit, “Domine Iesu Christe fili dei vivi fons vite et origo tocius bonitatis… ”; explicit, “…et omni inimicorum visibilium et invisibilium. Amen “ [not recorded in Chevalier];

ff. 60-61, Prayer in preparation for Mass; rubric, Preparatio ad missam et primo dicat sacerdos; incipit, “Veni creator spiritus mentes tuorum visita… ”; prayer, “Deus qui corda fidelium sancti spiritus… ” [Chevalier (1897), II, n° 21205; prayer also found in Paris, BnF MS lat. 2986, “Hymne de la Pentecôte à Vêpres,” in a manuscript from the Abbey of Alpirsbach, diocese of Constance, dated 1510];

ff. 61-61v, Prose of the Holy Spirit, prior to Mass; rubric, Prosa de spiritu sancto ante missa[m] ; incipit, “Veni sancte spiritus et emitte celitus… ” [Chevalier (1897), II, n° 21242];

ff. 61v-63, Prayer of the Holy Spirit, prior to Mass; rubric, Oratio de dominis spiritus sancti an[te] m[issam] ; incipit, “Rogo te domine Iesu ut mihi defectuoso… ”;

ff. 63-64, Prayer before Mass; rubric, Oratio ante missam; incipit, “Summe sacerdos et vere pontifex… ”[S. Anselmus Cantuariensis, PL CLVIII, 921-925; Wilmart, Auteurs spirituels, pp. 114-124; see also Paris, BnF MS lat. 2886];

ff. 64-67, [Thomas Aquinas], Prayer prior to Mass; rubric, Oratio sancti Thome an[te] missa[m] ; incipit, “Omnipotens et misericors deus ecce accedo ad sacramentum… ” [Thomas Aquinas, Opuscula omnia… (ed. P. Mandonnet), Paris, 1927, IV, p. 540; see also Paris, BnF MS lat 3349];

ff. 67-69v, Mass for the Tears of Christ; rubric, De sancta lacrima missa; incipit, “In lachrime preconium erumpebat vox fidelium… ”;

ff. 69v-71, [Pope Celestine V (1294)], Mass for the Crown of Thorns; underlined: Missa de corona domini nostri Iesu Christi quam papa Celestinus composuit…; incipit, “Gaudeamus omnes in domino diem festum celebrantes… ”[Chevalier (1892), I, n° 7054];

ff. 71-75, [Pope John XXII (1316-1334)], Mass for the Five Wounds; underlined, Incipit officium misse quinque plagarum Christi quod Johannes papa .xxii. composuit…; incipit, “Humiliavit sempiterni dominus Iesus usque ad mortem… ”;

ff. 75-76, Three prayers: heading, Secuntur tres orationes de Passione domini multum devote quae a sacerdote possunt dici in missa pro collectis…; incipits, “Domine Iesu Christe filii dei vivi qui pro redemptione nostra nasci… ”; “Auxilientur nobis pie domine… ”; “Domine deus de deo, lumen de lumine… ”;

ff. 76v-78, Indulgences granted by pope Urban V (1362-1370); heading, in French, “Le pape Urban Quint a donné a tous vroiz catholiques confès et repentans plaine indulgence de leurs pechés qui diront le pseaulme Miserere mei Deus secundum etc., a genoiz, les mains jointes et eslevés et la teste descouverte…Item a ceulx qui sont en estat de grace qui diront le pseaulme Deus, Deus respice in me, a donné ledit pape Urban quinze mille ans de pardon, laquelle indulgence double par tous les mercrediz et vendrediz de quaresme ”;

ff. 78-80, Indulgences granted by pope Bonifatius IX (1389-1404) with prayers to the parts of the Cross and the Wounds of Christ; underlined: “Sequentes orationes sunt in ecclesia sancti Pauli urbis Rome ad pedes cuiusdem crucifici qui est ad latus maioris altaris cujus titulus est talis. Papa Bonifacius concessit […] dicenti sequentes orationes… ”; ff. 78-78v, underlined: Oratio ad lignum crucis; incipit, “Triumphale lignum crucis… ” [Chevalier (1897), II, n° 20594]; f. 78v, underlined: Oratio ad caput crucifixi; incipit, “Ave caput inclinatu… ” [Chevalier (1892), I, n° 1709]; f. 78v, Ad vulnus dextre manus; incipit, “Salve vulnus dextre… ”; f. 79, Ad vulnus sinistre manus; incipit, “Ave tu sinistra Christi… ”; f. 79, Ad vulnus lateris Christi; incipit, “O fons ave paradisi… ”; ff. 79-79v, Ad vulnus dextri pedis; incipit, “Salve vulnus dextri pedis… ”; f. 79v, Ad vulnus senestri pedis; incipit, “Levi pedis perforati… ”; f. 79v, Oratio ad ymagiens Christi; incipit, “Omnibus consideratis… ” [Chevalier (1892), II, n° 14081]; f. 80, Christus ad peccatorem; incipit, “Homo vide quae pro te patior… ” [Chevalier (1892), I, n° 7987: quotes Paris, BnF MS lat. 8433];

ff. 80-82, Short Hours of the Cross; rubric, Ad matutinas de Cruce;

ff. 82v-83v, Six Masses for the Holy Cross and for the Resurrection; heading: Sex misse quae secuntur quarum quinque prime sunt de sancta cruce et sexta de resurrectione domini…; incipit, “Obsecro te domine Iesu Christe per tuam innocentem captivitatem… ”;

ff. 83v-84, Exemplum of two widows who heard a Franciscan preaching and who promised each other that whomever lived longer would recite the Mass six times for the soul of the other; “Notandum quod quidam egregius predicator de ordine minorum in suo sermone publice predicavit virtute predictarum missarum quod audientes due honeste mulieres vidue … ”;

f. 84v, blank;

ff. 85-88, Mass for the Transfiguration; rubric, De transfiguratione domini; incipit, “Ecce advenit dominator dominus et regnum in manu eius… ”

ff. 88-90v, Mass for the Sick; rubric, Missa pro infirmo; incipit, “Respice in me et miserere mei domine… ”;

ff. 90v-100, Masses and prayers for the following saints: De sancto Dominico (ff. 90v-91); De sancto Jovinio (f. 91): “Deus qui sanctam nobis huius diei solemnitatem in honore sancti Jovini confessoris tui consecrasti… ”; De sancto Joseph (ff. 91-91v); Colecta monachorum (ff. 91v-92); De sancta Martha (ff. 92-93v); De sancta Barbara (ff. 93v-94v) ; De sancta Margarita (ff. 94v-95v); De sancta Genovefa (ff. 95v-96); Suzanne virginis et martiris (ff. 96v-97); Appolonie virginis et martiris… (ff. 97-97v); [Gerson, Jean, Officium sacrum in festivitate conjugio sancti Joseph et virginis Marie] rubric, Missa devota de conjugio s[ancti] Joseph et virginis Marie (ff. 97v-100): “Gaudeamus omnes in domino diem festum celebrantes sub honore Joseph et Marie de quorum conjugio… ”; explicit, “… eumdem domini nostrum Ihesum Christum filium tuum qui tecum…[text interrupted]” [published in Gerson (ed. Du Pin), IV, col. 740-742 who quotes “extant in MSS. Codd. Colbertino 99 ”and “MS. Codd. Victorino. 138”; published also in Gerson [Glorieux], t. VIII, 404, pp. 55-61; see also Lucot (1870): ”Messe de Gerson pour la fête des Fiançailles de saint Joseph avec la Sainte Vierge”, pp. 254-255].

On the feast of the Espousals of Joseph and Mary, celebrated Thursday of Ember week in Advent (In French: Desponsation virginale de Marie or in Latin: Desponsatio beatae Mariae Virginis), see in particular Glorieux (1971). From 1413 until his death in 1429, Gerson was very active in promulgating the cult and feasts of Saint Joseph. He is the author of the mass included in this manuscript and signed numerous letters and treatises in an attempt to make official the feasts in honor of Joseph (see in the vernacular, Gerson, Considérations sur saint Joseph, in Gerson [ed. Glorieux], vol. VII, pp. 63-94; see also his long poem entitled Josephina in Gerson [ed. Glorieux], t. IV, pp. 31-100). Gerson’s published letters and mass for the marriage of Saint Joseph are found in Gerson (ed. Du Pin), IV, 1706, col. 732D-739D.

Gerson was part of a threesome, including Henri Chicot and Dominique Petit, determined to defend the cult of Saint Joseph in France. All three men were from the region of Reims. The memory of Gerson in Reims was still vivid; Thomas Gerson was canon in Reims from 1450 to 1475 and bequeathed the Chancellor’s manuscripts to the Cathedral library in Reims.

ff. 100v-108v, blank;

f. 109, Added Prayer (16th c. hand) for the Ten Thousand martyrs: “Decem milium martyrum oratio ”;

f. 109v, Named scribe followed by his death date: “Hunc librum scripsit dominus Johannes Perdriz, qui obiit .xxvi. junii s[cilicet] 1515.”


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Online resources

Henry Suso, Hundred Meditations (Part III, Book of Eternal Wisdom)

Henry Suso, Hundred Meditations (Part III, Book of Eternal Wisdom)

Henry Suso, Hundred Meditations (Part III, Book of Eternal Wisdom)

Project Meditation Practice: The Passion Meditations of Henry Suso

On the Feast of the Espousals of the Virgin Mary

On the devotion to Joseph