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First Sunday in Advent, in a Missal f.125r

First Sunday in Advent, in a Missal f.125r

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1345

Shelfmark: Additional MS 39675

Item number: f.125r

Length: 31.8

Width: 20.2

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

The missal presents texts for the celebration of the Mass. Most of the Mass remains constant throughout the year, but within it are read and sung texts which are unique to each day of the calendar, some of them from the Bible, some special hymns and prayers. This missal was produced in the 14th century for use in Hereford Cathedral. The mass that it presents was meant for a lay congregation as opposed to a monastery. Although by the 14th century much of the Mass was standardised, still it could vary from place to place. This manuscript can be identified as being of 'Hereford use' by the kinds of texts in it, the way they are arranged, and the saints whose feast days are 'red letter,' that is, written in red. The simple ornament of vines and leaves, drawn in coloured inks, is typical of missals made for everyday use in the later Middle Ages. In lower part of the left column, the large initial D, decorated with vines and leaves, draws the eye to the beginning of the prayers and readings for the Vigil (Eve) of St Andrew, also indicated by the heading in red 'In vigilia sci Andree.' It begins with the introit, the prayer made up of a fragment from a biblical text--here the calling of Peter and Andrew ('I will make you fishers of men...', Mt. 4:19, Mk 1:17) with responses. The introit was sung as the priest and attendants entered the cathedral and walked in procession to the altar. In the right column, the elongated letter I, of 'In illo tempore...' (the conventional introduction of the gospel reading), marks the beginning of the reading from the Gospel of John 1:33.

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