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libri ordinarii of the Salzburg metropolitan province (Beta-Version)

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Seckau und Passau Chorherren

The three Libri ordinarii from the Augustinian monastery of Seckau in Upper Styria.

In January 1140, Adalram von Waldeck, who came from the house of the lords of Traisen (Lower Austria), endowed a chapter of canons and canonesses regular in Feistritz/St. Marein near Knittelfeld (Styria) together with his wife Richiza. The couple transferred the foundation to Archbishop Konrad I. of Salzburg (c. 1075-1147), who had it settled on 12 July 1140. In May 1141, the canons of the chapter chose Wernher von Galler, a former canon of Salzburg Cathedral, as their first provost in the presence of Bishop Roman of Gurk (before 1100-1167). In 1142, however, the foundation was already moved to a quieter location a few kilometres away: Seckau. The three Libri ordinarii presented here come from the library at Seckau.


These codices are among around 340 manuscripts from Seckau that ended up in the possession of Graz University Library following the dissolution of the monasteries under Emperor Joseph II (1741-1790) in 1782.

Codex Graz, Univ.-Bibl., Ms 208 (Seckau-1)

The oldest Seckau Liber ordinarius A-Gu 208 is an unremarkable Romanesque parchment manuscript (12th/13th century). It has not survived in its entirety. Most of the manuscript is written by a single hand also found in further codices of Seckau library. The codex's incipit identifies it as "ORDO siue Breuiarium de ecclesiasticis obseruationibus quomodo legendum vel canendum sit per circulum anni" (Ms. 208, fol. 1r). Its 46 folios detail the liturgy of a community of canons regular in short form. At a later point in time (16th/17th century) a paper appendix was added, which contains parts of liturgical chants, written in Roman square notation (Ms 208, fols. 47-70).

The Graz manuscript catalogue describes this source as "Directorium liturgicum Salisburgense ad usum ecclesiae collegiatae Seccoviensis". In its original form, it transmits liturgical customs from the medieval diocese of Passau and was only later revised by a very practiced, small hand and adapted to the liturgical use of Seckau. The "new" formulary contains elements of both the Passau and the Salzburg liturgy and can be seen as a hybrid of both liturgical families.

To the Liber ordinarius Seckau 1.

Codex Graz, Univ.-Bibl., Ms 756 (Seckau 2)

The second source is the Seckau Liber ordinarius A-Gu 756 of 1345, written roughly 150-170 years later. This manuscript was first presented by Inga Behrendt in 2009 as part of a Ph.D. thesis written at Graz University of the Performing Arts, titled "The Seckau Liber ordinarius of 1345 (A-Gu 756) – Edition and Commentary". The manuscript provides an insight into the varied liturgy of the medieval Augustinian monastery in the 14th century. The codex is an expanded copy of the older Liber ordinarius Ms 208 and is bound together with a collection of cantiones that records local liturgical songs, including in the vernacular, from Seckau. Behrendt's thesis provides a table of the incipits in this liturgical appendix and is the first work to discuss the 14th-century lined notation (adiastematic neumes) in Seckau. This digital edition has been newly transcribed and encoded by Gionata Brusa on the basis of the original manuscript Ms 756.

Codex Graz, Univ.-Bibl., Ms 1566 (Seckau 3)

The third Liber ordinarius A-Gu 1566 is the most recent of the three manuscripts. This codex dates to the last decade of the 16th century (between 1595 and 1600) and provides an insight into the more than 250 years of continuous liturgical and musical development in Seckau's liturgy since it was first written down in Ms 756. This manuscript also formed the topic of a doctoral thesis, completed in 2016 by Réka Miklós. This Liber ordinarius represents one of the latest examples of its kind and stands upon the threshold of the radical liturgical and musical changes that took place in the wake of the Council of Trent. It thus constitutes the last documentation of Seckau's local liturgy before the adoption of the Roman rite in 1600.

by Thomas Csanády

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