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This antiphonary (a book containing the choral parts of the Holy Office) was transferred to the Biblioteca comunale degli Intronati di Siena in 1811 from its place of origin, the Augustinian monastery of San Salvatore in Lecceto near Siena. By virtue of its specific liturgical function, the antiphonary, designed for the use of the monastic community, contains both the daytime and the nocturnal services. It was illuminated in 1442 as part of an extensive artistic program within the monastery promoted under priors Bartolomeo Tolomei and Girolamo Buonsignori. A bull by ...
The Apostle Lectionary, written on parchment in the second half of the 13th century, is one of the important linguistic sources delimiting the early (Preslav) from the later (Athonite) redaction of this liturgical book. The lectionary contains the portions of scripture, the lessons, to be read at divine service on particular days of the church calendar. This manuscript is remarkable for the completeness of the readings from the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles, and for its detailed menologion, a monthly calendar indicating the feast days of saints that ...
This parchment manuscript, of which only a part has survived, is from the first quarter of the 13th century. The year 1221 was written on the manuscript at a significantly later date and may have been copied from an original colophon by a later owner. Known as the Dobreisho Gospel, the manuscript is an important witness to the history and early development of the Bulgarian language. Of particular interest is the rich illumination, including two full-page miniatures of the evangelists Luke and John. The portrait of the latter is accompanied ...
The Banitsa Gospel, written on parchment in Church Slavonic in the late 13th century, is one of the manuscripts testifying to the end of the anonymity of Bulgarian men of letters at around this time. The colophon indicates that the scribe who made the manuscript was the priest Ioann at Saint Nicholas Church in the village of Banitsa (presumably in the Vratsa region of present-day northwestern Bulgaria). The characteristic script and the ornamental illumination, elaborated in black, red, and yellow ink, reflect a local manuscript tradition. The menologion (calendar) includes ...
Menaion for June-August with Synaxarion
This parchment manuscript of the Menaion for June–August with synaxarion (a collection of brief biographies of the saints) can be dated to the second half of the 13th century. It is important as the earliest known manuscript to include the service of Saint Ioakim Osogovski (Joachim of Osogovo), hermit and founder of the monastery known as Sarandapor. His memory, celebrated on August 16, was popular in Bulgaria and elsewhere in the Balkans during the Middle Ages and in the period of the Bulgarian National Revival of the 18th and ...
This chasoslovets (book of hours or horologion) is the first book printed by the first Bulgarian printer, Iakov (Jacob) Kraikov. It is a collection of prayers, eulogies, saints’ lives, and apocrypha that both served as a daily handbook for priests and was valued by lay readers in search of knowledge and enlightenment. Kraikov printed the book in Venice, at the largest Slavic Cyrillic printing-house for Serbs and Bulgarians in the city, which he acquired in 1566. The selection of font, typesetting, pagination, and the rich artful decoration (more than 30 ...
Horologium Olomoucense is a collectarium (liturgical book of collects or prayers) that is recited during the Divine Office at horae (specific times) during the day. The manuscript was written for the cathedral chapter in Olomouc in the southern part of the present-day Czech Republic before the year 1150. A famous image depicting Pope Gregory I (circa 540–604) is found at the beginning of the liturgical texts. The pope is on a throne and dictating to his friend and pupil, Petrus Diaconus, who is sitting at his feet. He is ...
The Garden of the Virgin Mary
The 1510 manuscript Jungfru Marie örtagård (The Garden of the Virgin Mary) is the work of an anonymous nun at the Brigittine monastery at Vadstena in eastern Götaland, Sweden, and is the sole surviving source for the Swedish psalms, collects and lessons, hymns, and commentaries used in daily office by the nuns at the monastery. From the late 14th century to about 1530, the Vadstena monastery contributed significantly to the development of a nascent Swedish cultural identity, largely through the language that developed and was taught there. Most of the ...
The Drogo Sacramentary
The sacramentary was a liturgical book used for prayer during the High Middle Ages, containing the prayers, prefaces, and canons for mass. Drogo (801–55), bishop of Metz, son of Charlemagne, and famous patron of his era, had a gorgeous copy of the sacramentary made in Metz around 845–55. The manuscript, which is on vellum, is the work of several artists employed by the imperial court. It is written in a clear Latin script and includes some of the most beautiful fleurons ever produced in Metz. The illumination is ...
This late-17th-century volume in Arabic is a Euchologion, the prayer book and book of ritual for the Byzantine Rite. The text includes Arabic and Greek prayers side by side, along with extra notes and instructions in Arabic. Not surprisingly, there are a number of Greek loanwords in the text, for example: qundāq, from the Greek kontakion, referring to the liturgical book itself; aghrubnīya, from the Greek agrupnia, meaning “vigil”; and afšīn, from the Greek euchēn, meaning “prayer.” The Byzantine Rite is the liturgical rite used by the Eastern Orthodox churches ...
This liturgical manuscript is the daily office (Šḥimto) of the Maronites, partly in Syriac, but with some of the prayers in Garshuni (Arabic in Syriac letters). Each page has the text blocked off in red ink. At the end of the manuscript, the ink has bled through in several places, and within the text, several folios have missing pieces (for example, folio 144v). The Maronite Church is an Eastern Catholic Church in communion with the Holy See in Rome. Centered in Lebanon, the church takes its name from Saint Marun ...
This 17th-century manuscript is a liturgical book in Arabic. It includes the prayers for vespers and matins, as well as the Eucharistic repetitions written by two early fathers of the Christian church, Saint John Chrysostom (circa 347–407) and Saint Basil the Great (circa 330–379). The manuscript is written in a clear Naskh script with rubrication. While there is some damage from worms, very little of the text is lost. Decorative circular designs adorn the front and back covers. The manuscript is from the library of the Monastery of ...
This late-16th-century manuscript is what is called in Arabic a Qundāq (from the Greek word kontakion), that is, a liturgical book. The text is partly in Arabic, partly in Syriac, a dialect of Aramaic once spoken in many of the lands of the Fertile Crescent. The manuscript is extensively rubricated, but the black ink has bled in many places. Of special interest here is that the Syriac script in this codex is of the variety known as Melkite, which is rather more angular than the more commonly seen Serto script ...
Liturgy of John Chrysostom
This 18th-century manuscript contains the Liturgy of John Chrysostom, one of the early church fathers and archbishop of Constantinople, who lived circa 347–407. Directions for the priest and deacon are in Arabic, while what is read aloud is given in parallel columns of Greek and Syriac. The Syriac script is of the variety known as Melkite, which is rather more angular than the more commonly seen Serto script. The decorative title page has ornate writing in black, red, blue, and gold ink. Throughout the manuscript, the black ink has ...
Commentary on the Divine Eucharist
This 18th-century Arabic manuscript contains a commentary on the Orthodox liturgy. The work was compiled from earlier ecclesiastical authors by Yūḥannā Nāṯānā'īl, presumably an Arab monk about whom little is known. A chart at the beginning of the codex presents basic information on the first seven ecumenical councils, which took place between the years 325 and 787 in the cities of Nicaea (325), Constantinople (381), Ephesus (431), Chalcedon (451), Constantinople (553), Constantinople (680), and Nicaea (787). The text, which is in Arabic, is rubricated throughout. There are many water ...
The Acts and the Epistles of the Apostles
The Acts and the Epistles of the Apostles, also known as the Apostle, is the first dated imprint published on the territory of present-day Ukraine. Written in Church Slavic, the liturgical language of the Orthodox Church in Russia, Ukraine, and other Slavic-speaking countries, it was printed in 1574 at the Saint Onuphrius Monastery in Lviv by Ivan Fyodorov (circa 1510-83). One of the fathers of printing in the East Slavic region, Fyodorov graduated from Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland, and later worked in Moscow, where he published liturgical works using ...
The Kiev Missal
Dating from the second half of the tenth century, the Kiev Missal is generally held to be the oldest Old Church Slavic manuscript with a coherent text. The manuscript is a seven-folio text in Glagolitic script that contains parts of a Roman-rite missal (Sacramentarium), a book of texts used by a priest during mass. Written in three different hands, it includes a reading from the Epistle to the Romans by the Apostle Paul (Chapter XIII, verses 11-14 and Chapter XIV, verses 1-4), a prayer to the Blessed Virgin from the ...
This codex is widely considered to be one of the most original of extant medieval mahzorim (Jewish holy day prayer books) from Spain, dating probably from the beginning of the 14th century. Written in Hebrew in Sephardic square characters, it contains two distinct parts that later were bound together. The larger part forms a Haggadah shel Pesach (the text of the order of service used at the beginning of Passover). It includes piyutim (liturgical poems, usually sung or chanted) for Passover and the Aramaic targum (translation) of Exodus, followed by ...
Illustrated Readings on the Saints
This Latin manuscript containing readings for the feast days of selected saints features ten illustrations by the noted German Renaissance painter Berthold Furtmeyr (active, 1460–1501). The illustrations are framed by initials from the text. For stylistic reasons, scholars have dated these illuminations with tendrils to the last decade of the 15th century and ascribed them to the Ratisbon (present-day Regensburg) artist and his studio. Furtmeyr and his followers were important contributors to the age-old Ratisbon School of Illumination. An artist of great renown, Furtmeyr illuminated many impressive works, including ...
The name commonly given to this work, Biblia pauperum (Paupers' Bible), does not reflect the true importance of this outstanding manuscript, which might be said to contain the summa of the religious knowledge of its time. The work was commissioned, together with another remarkable manuscript of the Rule of Saint Benedict, by Abbot Petrus I of the Benedictine Abbey of Metten in Bavaria and was completed in 1414–15. To carry out his demanding program of manuscript creation, the abbot engaged artists of note, who were well versed in the ...
15th-century Missal, with Notes and Initials
This musical manuscript at the Bavarian State Library is decorated with 15 initials with tendrils. The initials frame pictures and refer to the chorales of the church year. For stylistic reasons, scholars have dated these illuminations to the last decade of the 15th century and ascribed them to the illustrious Renaissance painter Berthold Furtmeyr (circa 1435/40–circa 1501) and his school. Furtmeyr and his followers were important contributors to the age-old Ratisbon (present-day Regensburg) school of illumination. An artist of great renown, Furtmeyr illuminated many impressive works, including this ...