Monday, 5 December 2011

Book of the Week (5th December 2011)

MS. F. 173, a Sacramentary of Old Minster, Winchester

This week’s book is of personal interest to your blogger, who has dabbled in the history of the liturgy in late Anglo-Saxon England!  MS. F. 173 is a sacramentary, a book containing the words to the various Masses performed throughout the Church year.  Sacramentaries were often made for monastic users, and this one is no exception.  It was made for the monks of the Old Minster, Winchester, during the first quarter of the eleventh century.  We know this because the prayers (‘collects’) appended to two Masses invoke Saints Birinus, Ethelwold, Grimbald and (perhaps most famously) Swithun, all of whom were connected with – and venerated at – Winchester.  The book must have been brought to the Cathedral before the Reformation because it is inscribed with the name of Worcester monk, John More.

The image below (folios 3v – 4) includes a special Mass for sailors (‘Missa pro navigantibus’).  It seeks God’s protection against adversities and asks that he provides a safe haven for those on board.

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