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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 ...
Psalter of Frederick II
This remarkable illuminated psalter decorated in the Byzantine style was commissioned by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II of Sicily (1194–1250) for his third wife, Isabella of England (1214–41). Frederick married Isabella in 1235. By design and execution, the manuscript illuminations combine the color palette of Byzantium with the stylistic rendering of the plasticity of the human body common to the Italian school of the period. Probably executed at the scriptorium in Acri, a hill town in Calabria, the manuscript is decorated with a full-page initial letter encompassing ...
A Handbook on Theoretical and Practical Music
This 1825 manuscript, prepared for a print edition, is a handbook on theoretical and practical music, written in Katharevousa, a purist form of Modern Greek developed in the early 19th century and at that time widely used for literary and official purposes. The work is an introduction to the Byzantine notation for the liturgical chant used in the Greek Orthodox Church that most likely was intended for students of Byzantine ecclesiastical music. The text probably was written by a scribe named Basileios Nikolaḯdes Byzantios. On the first page, which is ...
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 ...
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 ...
Rosary and Service Dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and Other Devotions Combined in Honor of the Most Holy Trinity and in Worship of the Most Venerable Queen of the Heavens
Rosarium et Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis (Rosary and service dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary), a Latin devotional book published in Vilnius, Lithuania, in 1678–79, is regarded as one of the rarest and most important Belarusian publications of the 17th century. The book was created by Oleksandr Tarasevych (circa 1640–1727), an outstanding master of book design, engraving, portraiture, and heraldic and panegyric printing, whose best works compare favorably with those of the great West European artists. Tarasevych created his most innovative works, including the prints for Rosarium, in ...
Armenian Liturgical Calendar
Parzatumar (Armenian liturgical calendar) was the second book printed in Armenian, after the Urbathagirq (The book of Fridays). Both books were published by Hakob Meghapart (Jacob the Sinner), who in 1512 settled among the Armenian community in Venice and established the first Armenian press. In this copy, from the National Library of Armenia, the two works are bound together. Little is known about Hakob Meghapart, or why he styled himself “the Sinner” (or “the Sinful”). Armenia was at this time under the rule of the Ottoman Turks, and the Diaspora ...
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 ...
’Ventures among the Arabs in Desert, Tent, and Town: Thirteen Years of Pioneer Missionary Life with the Ishmaelites of Moab, Edom, and Arabia
Archibald Forder was an American missionary, born in 1863, who worked for 13 years in the Middle East, primarily in Al-Karak in Palestine, at that time part of the Ottoman Empire. ’Ventures among the Arabs is Forder’s account of his work and travels in the region. Chapter 12 contains a summary overview of Arabia, with brief treatments of the geography, principal cities, government structures, economy, population and language, religion, animals, and modes of transportation. Several chapters recount Forder’s largely unsuccessful attempts to enter Arabia for missionary work. Their ...
This Flemish Psalter from the library of the Irish College in Paris was made in Bruges (present-day Belgium) around 1500. The manuscript is written in Latin on vellum, and it has a 19th-century binding. Psalters are religious books, especially popular in the Middle Ages, containing the psalms (poems that are sung) from the Bible, often with other devotional texts. Richly decorated, the Psalter includes a fully illuminated page depicting the Tree of Jesse and a miniature of King David, the main author of the psalms. Twelve illuminations, each composed of ...
White Isles of the South Sea: History of the Apostolic Vicariate of the Gilbert and Ellice Archipelagoes, by Father Fernand Hartzer
This work, written by a French Roman Catholic priest and missionary, is a history of the establishment and early growth of the Catholic mission in the Gilbert and Ellice Islands. At the time, the islands were a British protectorate. They became a crown colony in 1915. In 1978, the Ellice Islands became the independent country of Tuvalu. In 1979, the Gilbert Islands, along with two other island groups, the Line Islands and the Phoenix Islands, became the independent country of Kiribati. In addition to the history of the mission, the ...
A Feast Day in San José, Costa Rica
This photograph shows a religious parade in San José, Costa Rica, featuring a cross and white-clad young girls, some with wings, all held above the crowd. The photograph is from the collection of the Columbus Memorial Library of the Organization of American States (OAS), which includes 45,000 photographs illustrative of life and culture in the Americas. Many of the photographs were taken by prominent photographers on OAS missions to member countries. The OAS was established in April 1948 when 21 countries of the western hemisphere adopted the OAS Charter ...
Attending Muslim Festival
This photograph shows men and young boys at a Muslim festival in Trinidad and Tobago. The Muslim minority in Trinidad is comprised mainly of people whose ancestors were brought from South Asia in the 19th century, when Trinidad was part of the British Empire. The photograph is from the collection of the Columbus Memorial Library of the Organization of American States (OAS), which includes 45,000 photographs illustrative of life and culture in the Americas. Many of the photographs were taken by prominent photographers on OAS missions to member countries ...
This early-16th century manuscript, known as a Testerian catechism, is one of the more notable documents in the archives of the Center for the Study of the History of Mexico. In the early period of the Spanish conquest of Mexico, before religious instructors had learned the languages of the indigenous peoples, they used pictorial stories describing basic teachings to spread the Christian Gospel. These catechisms were called Testerians, after Father Jacobo de Testera, a Franciscan priest who pioneered this method of teaching.
In the Name of the Holy... (Papal Bull of Pope Paul III)
This Papal Bull of 1537, in Latin, was issued by Pope Paul III, who was pope from 1534 to 1549. Best known for calling the Council of Trent in 1545, Paul III also was concerned with the role of the church in America. The bull discusses evangelization and conversion, including the proper way to apply the sacraments, in particular baptism. This was especially important in the early days of colonial rule, when hundreds and sometimes thousands of indigenous people were baptized every day. One interesting aspect of this bull is ...
Manifestations of Goodness
Dalā’il al-Khayrāt (Manifestations of goodness) is a manuscript by Abu Abdullah Muḥammad ibn Sulaymān al-Jazūlī, a Moroccan Sufi and Islamic scholar who died in 1465. The contents of this work are known to Muslims as one of the best compilations of litanies of peace and blessings upon the Prophet Muhammad. The book was often given to pilgrims on their voyage to Mecca. The beginning of the manuscript shows the varied names by which Allah is called, and several pages portray the names by which the Prophet Muhammad is ...
The Festive Maronite
This Maronite prayer book was copied in 1888 by the self-styled “wretched, lazy scribe” Yūsuf Dib. The text is partly in Syriac, partly in Garshuni (Arabic written in Syriac letters). Instead of rubrication—indicating titles and important words in red ink—purple ink is mostly used for this purpose. The manuscript provides a fine example of a carefully written and well-preserved text. 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 (died ...
The Four Gospels
This volume contains a lectionary—a collection of biblical texts to be read according to the church calendar—for readings from the Gospels. The language is Arabic, but it is written in West Syriac script (Serto) rather than in Arabic letters, a phenomenon known as Garshuni. The table of readings given at the beginning of the manuscript, however, is in Syriac, not Arabic. Each reading is numbered in the margin, and the proper time in the year for it is indicated in red ink at the head of each reading ...
The Divine Office for Lent
This late 17th century manuscript, copied by a deacon named Jacob, contains the Maronite Divine Office for Lent in Syriac. The numeration, using Syriac letters, is in pages rather than folios. The colophon is in Garshuni (Arabic written in Syriac letters). 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 Maron (died 410), a Syrian monk whose followers built a monastery in his honor that became the nucleus of the Maronite Church.
The Unique Explanation of the Secrets
This manuscript contains a work in Garshuni (Arabic language written in Syriac script) on the sacraments. At the beginning of the manuscript, the work is called The Unique Explanation of the Secrets (i.e., the sacraments), but in the colophon the book is called The Treasure House of the Secrets. The manuscript was copied by Stephen (Isṭifānūs), a monk of the St. Antony Monastery. The colophon mentions the date of completing the manuscript as the 11th day of Tammuz (July), 1740. The work has numerous marginal annotations, also in Garshuni.
Brief Interpretation of the Holy Church, and How Many Holy Vessels and Vestments are Kept There, and of the Everyday Services, of the Divine Liturgy, and of the Holy Church Mysteries
Brief Interpretation of the Holy Church, and How Many Holy Vessels and Vestments Are Kept There, and of the Everyday Services, of the Divine Liturgy, and of the Holy Church Mysteries is a Bulgarian translation of a liturgical work originally written in Greek. Shown here is the second edition. In 1837, when the first edition of this work was published, very few Bulgarian books existed for educational or even religious purposes. The Greek original is by the Hellenistic educator, Demetrios Nikolaos Darvares (1757–1853); the translation is by Raino Popovich ...