Sacramentary of Bishop Abraham


Many monasteries in Bavaria were destroyed during the devastating Hungarian invasions of Europe in the ninth and tenth centuries. In the period after the Hungarian wars, Bishop Abraham of Freising (957−94) nevertheless succeeded, despite temporary banishment, in enlarging his see, pushing ahead the mission to the Slavs, and promoting completion of the cathedral library and school in Freising. This sacramentary is the only high-quality liturgical manuscript surviving from this time, albeit in poor condition. The prominence given to Saint Corbinian identifies it as a Freising work. Obituary entries in the calendar show that it dates from the last years of Abraham’s life. The opening lines are emphasized by uncial script; the title is set on purple bands (folio 32). The introduction to the preface and the Te igitur (Thee, therefore [the first words of the canon mass]) are lavishly executed in gold; gold and silver on colored grounds are used also for the partially figured initials.

Last updated: August 28, 2015