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1 May, in a Martyrology

1 May, in a Martyrology

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1390

Shelfmark: Arundel MS 68

Item number: f.93v

Length: 35.5

Width: 24.5

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.

In the section stories of the lives of saints, which were read in the offices of monasteries, the large title in the middle of the page tells the reader that the calendar for the month of May opens on this page. In the middle ages, 1 May was the day on which the martyrdoms of the apostles Philip and James were commemorated. Their stories are given here.

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