Of central importance for the development of the liturgical year: a mysterious manuscript with an ancient church calendar

Comes Romanus Wirziburgensis

8th century

Comes Romanus Wirziburgensis

Comes Romanus Wirziburgensis

— 8th century

  1. This manuscript and the mystery surrounding it are central to the study of the Roman calendar year

  2. It follows the course of the church year in the manner of 8th/9th century sacramentaries and lectionaries

  3. The origins of the manuscript are still debated, as is the purpose of the church calendar contained within it

Comes Romanus Wirziburgensis

Alternative Titles:
  • Würzburg Lectionary
  • Würzburger Lektionar
Comes Romanus Wirziburgensis – M. p. th. f. 62 – Universitätsbibliothek (Würzburg, Germany)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

The University of Würzburg Library houses an extremely important piece of church history: the Comes Romanus Wirziburgensis. Also known as the Würzburg Lectionary, the manuscript and the mystery surrounding it are central to the study of the history of the Roman Catholic Church, the purpose of the Roman calendar year specifically, and as such, has been the matter of considerable academic research. Although the provenance of the manuscript remains unclear, its 16 leaves comprise a valuable primary source for researchers nonetheless.

Comes Romanus Wirziburgensis

The special significance of the Würzburg Lectionary (Comes Romanus Wirziburgensis) for the understanding of the history and the development of the Roman Lectionary has long been recognized. Ever since Dom Morin published the Epistle and Gospel lections of this lectionary early in this century, considerable scholarly investigation has been devoted to it. A most significant contribution to the further study of this Lectionary was recently made by the Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt of Graz, Austria when the academy published a facsimile edition in 1968. With an excellent introduction by Dr. Hans Thurn of the University of Würzburg Library and complete bibliographies of the manuscript and its text, this edition finally provides scholars with an accessible tool to probe into the history of the Lectionary. It may be hoped that many of the problems connected with this earliest extant witness of the Roman Lectionary will now be solved. The object of this brief note is to offer a possible explanation to one of these problems: the purpose of the calendar of the Roman church year, which forms the first section of the manuscript.

The Historic Roman Calendar

Comes Romanus Wirziburgensis is now at the Library of the University of Würzburg, and bears the catalogue number Mp th f 62. It is composed of sixteen leaves written in a minuscule hand. The place and date of its composition are still the subject of disagreement. Three divisions can be recognized in the contents of this manuscript. The first is a calendar of the Roman church year with Roman stations. It occupies leaves 1r to 2v. The text on both sides of leaf 1 is divided into two columns; three columns on 2r, and one column on 2v. All 213 items are numbered. No liturgical text is given, simply the day is indicated. Beginning with Christmas, the calendar follows the course of the church year in a manner similar to the sacramentaries and lectionaries of the eighth and ninth centuries. The second section is the Epistle lections from 10v to 16v, which break off with the Vigil of St. Andrew.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Würzburg Lectionary
Würzburger Lektionar
Size / Format
32 pages / 35.0 x 27.0 cm
Date
8th century
Language

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Comes Romanus Wirziburgensis“

Comes Romanus Wirziburgensis
Comes Romanus Wirziburgensis – M. p. th. f. 62 – Universitätsbibliothek (Würzburg, Germany)
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Comes Romanus Wirziburgensis

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Graz, 1968
Binding
Cloth
Commentary
1 volume (36 pages) by H. Thurn
Language: German
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