Sermon, In A Volume Of Works By St. Augustine And Others
Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum
Belonging in the Middle Ages to the cathedral priory of Rochester, this manuscript contains a large collection of St Augustine's sermons, mostly on parts of the New Testament. Its attractive bold handwriting is further enlivened by elaborately decorated letters beginning three sermons, while the others have large coloured first letters. Augustine (354-430) was one of the great preachers of early Christianity, his hundreds of sermons being copied many times and distributed throughout the medieval western church. This copy of his sermons may have been read from during the daily prayer services of the canons and monks--although it is not organised according to the calendar of feast days--and probably was used as a resource for the writing of sermons to be delivered at mass.
As in many medieval manuscripts, each major section begins with a large, decorated initial. In this way scribes aided readers by clarifying the structure of the text. This splendid letter begins the section of sermons on the Pauline epistles. Each sermon is numbered and has a title in red (rubric) above it, which gives the theme and scripture on which Augustine wrote the sermon. On this page, the rubric announces the end of Sermon 65 and the beginning of 66, "On the body and blood of the Lord and about the words of the Apostle, 'Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling'" (Philippians 2:12).