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Readings, in a Martyrology

Readings, in a Martyrology

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1150

Shelfmark: Royal MS 7

Item number: f.96v

Length: 34

Width: 24

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Manuscript

A martyrology was a collection of lives of saints (especially stories of their martyrdoms), lists of names and dates of death of members or patrons of a monastery arranged according to the calendar of feast days, and the 'Rule'--the guidelines for conduct and daily prayer, the most common being the Rule of St Benedict (benedictine rule). It was made to be read from during the meeting called 'chapter', which was held after early morning prayer (about 6 am) for the purpose of commemorating the dead and reading a chapter of the rule. After the reading, assignments for various tasks were made and any necessary punishments or complaints delivered. This martyrology belonged to the priory of Christ Church, Canterbury, and records the names and death dates of many of its monks, as well as brothers from Glastonbury, Faversham and others in its confraternity.

This martyrology manuscript includes a section of readings which may have been used for the daily prayer services of the monks. Each reading consists of a brief excerpt from the Gospels followed by a thematic statement for the day which could be used as the basis of a sermon. The feast days indicated for the readings include saints' days (the sanctorale) and the other feasts (temporale), although usually sanctorale and temporale are kept separate. This page gives readings for ferials (weekdays) in the spring. In the second column, readings are given for a Saturday (Sabbato) and Sunday in the octave of Easter. Sunday's is for St Alphege, archbishop of Canterbury martyred by the Danes, early 11th century.

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