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Office for the soul of Johanna de Mohun, in a Martyrology

Office for the soul of Johanna de Mohun, in a Martyrology

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1395

Shelfmark: Arundel MS 68

Item number: f.61r

Length: 35.9

Width: 22

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

Monasteries had special services everyday in which the dead of the community were commemorated. It took place in the chapterhouse after morning prayers or mass and consisted of reading aloud in turns a chapter from the rule followed by the community, the names of saints whose feasts would be commemorated on the following day and reading of the names of the deceased of the community and names of important friends who had given them support. The lists of names of saints and of the dead along with a calendar and other texts important to the monastery, such as its rule, were collected in a book called a 'martyrology.' A very old, large and important community such as the priory of Christ Church, Canterbury, would have a massive list and collection of texts important to it. This martyrology of Christ Church records names and events from the 14th to 16th centuries. When a great benefactor of a monastery died, he or she would be remembered with special services. Johanna de Mohun, whose heraldry is shown in the first letter of the account of her life, died in 1395. Johanna was also a member of the community, a sister in the convent of Christ Church. Supporting a monastery was important for people of high status in the middle ages because of these special services, in which a powerful community would pray for the benefactor's soul.

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