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libri ordinarii of the Salzburg metropolitan province



The Brixen (Bressanone) Liber ordinarius.

Up until 1920, the city of Brixen/Bressanone was the episcopal see of a large diocese that extended not only over the Alps to the south, but also into North Tyrol along the River Inn. Brixen became a church centre during the 10th century – definitely from 990 onwards, when the episcopal see was moved there from Säben (Sabiona), a diocese whose origins are still unknown. The diocese of Säben was originally part of the Patriarchate of Aquileia and was allocated to the newly founded metropolitan diocese of Salzburg in 798.

Today, a copy of the Brixen Liber ordinarius is held in the Library of the Collegiate Monastery of Innichen (San Candido) (Codex VII A 10). The text of the rule forms part of a complex liturgical composite manuscript, which among other things includes a calendar – secundum consuetudinem ecclesiae Brixinensis – written during the second half of the 13th century.

Unfortunately, the Liber ordinarius is incomplete. Two important sections are missing – from the Lauds of Maundy Thursday to the feast of Pope Urban and from the Saturday after Pentecost to the feast of Saints Gervasius and Protasius. The rule text ends abruptly with the feast Vincula Petri.

This notwithstanding, the Liber ordinarius is the oldest surviving source of Brixen's liturgy. Even though the text itself does not contain any pointers, we can date it to the second half of the 13th century in line with palaeographic and codicological findings. The presence of the proper office for Ingenuin and Albuin, Brixen Cathedral's second patron saints, is a clear indication of the ordinarius's provenance.

Furthermore, all of the churches and chapels mentioned in the text are associated with the episcopal centre in Brixen: the chapels for St. Mary and St. John are to be found in the cloisters on the right side of the cathedral precinct, while the parish church of St. Michael is on the other side. The fourth church Sancta Crux in Insulam, which no longer exists today, was also not far from the cathedral and could be accessed via a bridge (close to today's seminary) over the River Eisach, which formed a small peninsula together with the River Rienz. Furthermore, the Liber ordinarius mentions two important locations in the cathedral itself: the altar to St. Agnes, whose cult became very important after Pope Damasus II (1047-1048), a former Bishop of Brixen, gave her relics to the diocese, and the sepulchrum beati Hartmanni, Bishop of Brixen, who was beatified directly after his death in 1164.

The manuscript is the only source to transmit the repertory of Introit tropes used in Brixen during the Middle Ages. Even though it is incomplete, it is very similar to the archetype of the so-called "short trope Type β" – to use Andreas Haug's nomenclature. In addition to the standard tropes for Nativitatis Domini, Stephani, Ioannis Evangelista, Epiphania, Purificatio, Ascensio and Pentecosten, the manuscript contains tropes for the diocesan patron saints Ingenuin and Albuinus.

by Gionata Brusa

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