Monastic Breviary and Missal (Bethune Breviary)


This early 14th-century parchment manuscript, known as the Bethune Breviary, is a prayer book used for daily monastic prayer. Normally, breviaries (so-called from their nature as condensations of texts from many separate books) contain the calendar, prayers, hymns, and liturgical readings for the Divine Office, but the Bethune Breviary also includes the canon for the mass (as in a missal or mass book). The codex contains the services for the first half of the ecclesiastical year, extending from the beginning of Advent to Easter Sunday, and from the feast of Saint Andrew (November 30) to the feast of Saints Tyburtius, Valerianus, and Maximus (April 14). While the text is highly decorated with red and blue ink, there are only two miniatures—one of the Crucifixion and one of the Annunciation, both located immediately prior to the canon of the mass on folios 344v and 345r. The style of its illuminations allows its origin to be traced to northeastern France in the period of about 1290–1310, but no evidence within the text associates it with a particular monastery.

Date Created

Subject Date


Title in Original Language



Type of Item

Physical Description

ii + 498 leaves : illustrations ; 23 x 15 centimeters


Last updated: September 11, 2012