Echternach Sacramentary and Antiphonary

Echternach Sacramentary and Antiphonary Facsimile Edition

Echternach Abbey (Luxembourg) — Ca. 1030

Purple splendor, Ottonian book illumination, and medieval Neumes: one of the few surviving masterpieces from the famous Echternach monastery

  1. This codex was made ca. 1030 for Echternach Abbey and is a forerunner of the Roman missal

  2. It is considered to be a masterpiece of early German illumination due to its numerous miniatures and initials

  3. The chants with their Neume notation are written in small script between the carefully executed letters

Echternach Sacramentary and Antiphonary

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  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Echternach Sacramentary and Antiphonary

A splendid early medieval manuscript from the famous monastery of Echternach, which can be considered a precursor of the missal: the Echternach Sacramentary was written for the monastery in about 1030, and, as some stylistic features suggest, probably in Echternach itself. Its numerous dignified miniatures and exquisite initials make it a masterpiece of early medieval illumination, as do its unusual purple pages, but this work is also of special interest to the musicologist. It contains an early highlight of musical notation in the form of neumes, which transmit the rhythm and melody of medieval Gregorian chant in a unique way. The neumes from Echternach represent an independent and more down-to-earth neume writing than those from St. Gall.

Echternach Sacramentary and Antiphonary

The arrangement of chants and prayers to be said by the priest in successive groups makes the Echternach Sacramentary and Antiphonary a forerunner of the Roman missal. It is considered a masterpiece of early German illumination due to it numerous miniatures and splendid initials. In each table, the notated chants are set down one after the other, followed by the orations. The chants with their Neume notation are written in small script between the carefully executed letters. The rich ornamentation of both the script and the miniatures gives this manuscript extraordinary artistic value in addition to its great musicological worth. The manuscript was written and illuminated ca. 1030 for Echternach Abbey, although a few stylistic features indicate that it may have originated in Echternach itself.


Alternative Titles
Echternacher Sakramentar und Antiphonar
Size / Format
556 pages / 23.6 × 16.7 cm
Ca. 1030
Carolingian minuscule Carolingian uncial Carolingian capitals
Prayers and chants with Neume notation

Available facsimile editions:
Echternach Sacramentary and Antiphonary – Hs. 1946 – Hessische Landes- und Hochschulbibliothek (Darmstadt, Germany) Facsimile Edition
Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Graz, 1982
Limited Edition: 500 copies
Detail Picture

Echternach Sacramentary and Antiphonary

Incipit Page: Gregorian Introit for Easter Sunday

This fabulous “R” initial has all the hallmarks of Ottonian illumination: an elaborate incipit page created with an acanthus leaf frame, fine interlace, a purple background, as well as both gold and silver leaf. The page presents the opening lines of the Introit, the liturgical celebration of the Eucharist, for recitation at mass on Easter Sunday according to the Gregorian tradition: RESURREXI ET ADHUC TECUM SUM ALLELUIA or “I have risen and am always with you. Hallelujah.”

Das Echternacher Sakramentar und Antiphonar
Single Page

Echternach Sacramentary and Antiphonary

Christ Benedictory

Here we have a splendid Ottonian miniature presented before a burnished, Byzantine-style gold background, which gives a timeless and spaceless feel to the image. Christ has a monumental, statuesque appearance, staring at and even through the beholder. Arms stretched out, he makes the sign of benediction with his right hand and upholds the Gospels with his left.

The scene is presented within a typically-Ottonian frame with a pattern of red, pink, green, and blue with gold leaf highlights. The Apostle kneeling before Christ appears as though he is sitting on the edge of the frame. Aside from adding dynamism to the image, it gives the impression that like the beholder, he is removed from the image and separated from the divine.

Das Echternacher Sakramentar und Antiphonar
Facsimile Editions

#1 Das Echternacher Sakramentar und Antiphonar

Limited Edition: 500 copies
Binding: Embossed Leather. Facsimile and commentary volume in a solid slip case.
Commentary: 1 volume (238 pages) by Kurt H. Staub, Paul Ulveling, and Franz Unterkircher
Language: German

K. H. Staub (codicology), P. Ulveling (musicology), and F. Unterkircher (liturgy)
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Price Category: €€ (1,000€ - 3,000€)
Edition available
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