Gospel Lectionary


Although somewhat overshadowed by the imperial manuscripts, this small Gospel lectionary, a parchment manuscript of 192 leaves, represents the Reichenau Ottonian school of illumination on a similarly high artistic plane. It thus exemplifies the outstanding position of this Lake Constance monastery at the time of the Saxon emperors (919‒1024). The original owner of the manuscript is unknown, as is the location from which the manuscript entered the Bavarian State Library during the secularization of the Bavarian monasteries in the early 1800s. At that time it must also have been stripped of its fine binding, of which only impressions and holes in the now-bare cover give evidence. The decoration is concentrated in ornamental initial pages and full-page miniatures, some of which introduce new pictorial themes into the Reichenau iconography. In addition to the Christological themes and the Pentecost image in the first half of the manuscript (the miniature for Easter is lost), other illuminations depict the annunciation to Zacharias (for the feast of John the Baptist), three parables of Jesus (for different Sundays after Whitsun), and the meeting of Jesus and Zacchaeus (for the kermis, or outdoor festival). A new feature in relation to older manuscripts is the relatively strong emphasis on the parables, which similarly gain significance in the somewhat later 11th-century Echternach illumination, from Echternach monastery in present-day Luxembourg.

Date Created

Subject Date


Title in Original Language

Evangelia in missis celebrandis legenda, cum X tabulis et multis literis bene pictis


Type of Item

Physical Description

191 folios, parchment : Illuminated


  • This description of the work was written by Elisabeth Klemm.
  • BSB shelfmark: Clm 23338

Last updated: January 10, 2018