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Purification of the Virgin, in a Missal

Purification of the Virgin, in a Missal

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1345

Shelfmark: Additional MS 39675

Item number: f.129r

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. Prayers and readings for the feast of the Purification of the Virgin are written on this page. About halfway down the left column, the red heading 'In die purificationis sc mariae' indicates them. The large decorated initial marks the first prayer, the introit, which would have been sung with responses as the priest and attendants entered the cathedral and walked in procession to the altar. The reading on the purification of Mary from the Gospel of Luke can be seen in the right column. ?

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