Cantus Network

libri ordinarii of the Salzburg metropolitan province


St. Nikola

The Liber ordinarius of Mengotus from the Augustinian monastery St. Nikola outside Passau.

In the diocese of Passau, there was a strong response to the movement of Augustinian canons initiated by Pope Gregory VII (†1085) at the Lateran synod of 1059. Bishop Altmann (†1091) subsequently founded the (Augustinian) chapter of canons regular St. Nikola outside Passau's city gates (around 1067). This community was to be both the model and the educational establishment for the cathedral and diocesan clergy, spreading the ideas of the Gregorian church reform. The movement of canons initiated by Altmann was influential far beyond the borders of the diocese. Around 50 years later, Archbishop Konrad I of Salzburg (†1147) became a proponent of this movement. He changed Salzburg's cathedral chapter, which hitherto had been inhabited by canons who did not follow a particular rule, into a chapter of Augustinian canons regular. Many monasteries, including from the diocese of Passau, joined the group of Salzburg canons initiated by Konrad.

The Liber ordinarius of Mengotus (A-Wn Cod. 1482), written down around 1150-60, belonged to the library of Salzburg's cathedral chapter until 1806. Counter to earlier ascriptions, this Liber ordinarius can be identified as clearly from St. Nikola in Passau. The codex is famous as the earliest source of the German vernacular Easter song "Christ ist erstanden". "Mengotus" includes a liturgy of the Passau canons. It sets out the following formulary for the feast of the monastery's patron saint: "In festo s. Nicolai ad vesperas R. Beatus Nicolaus. Te deum laudamus et Gloria in excelsis dicitur. Officium Statuit ei. Festive omnia sicut de apostolo. … Postea de s. Andrea". St. Nicholas's Day is celebrated as a solemnity and the octave of the monastery's second patron saint, Andrew, is commemorated. Furthermore, there are formularies for the main feast day of St. Andrew (including a vigil on the preceding day and notes for the days of the octave after St. Andrew's Day) and for Pantaleon (the monastery's third patron saint, "novem lectiones et non vacatur"). The feast of St. James (patron saint of the monastery's parish church St. Jakobus) is emphasised particularly. The first Christmas mass took place "ad sanctam Mariam", in the church of St. Nikola's infirmary. The Second Vespers of Christmas commemorates St. Stephen "ad sanctum Stephanum" – the altar dedicated to this saint. In 1227, an endowment was made for this altar, which already existed. Architectural history verifies the existence of an atrium (porch, westwork) mentioned in the Palm Sunday procession.

The abovementioned scribe Mengotus immortalised himself at the end of the Liber ordinarius: "Obsecro te, quicumque hec legeris vel transscripseris memento in bonum Mengoti peccatoris …". In the regesta of the bishops of Passau, Egon Boshof mentions a Mengotus, a canon and archdean of Passau, who appears as a witness in documents after 1187. Perhaps this cathedral canon is the same person as the scribe who produced the ordo.

The Liber ordinarius of St. Nikola was the model for both the Passau and the Salzburg rulebook. All ordinarii have numerous liturgical comments in common. Furthermore, the rulebooks from St. Nikola, the Passau chapters of canons (A-Gu 208, fragmentary ordo from St. Florian) and the cathedral and diocese (incl. A-SPA 83/3) share a largely consistent liturgical tradition. The so-called "world seasons bracket" (a report on the "sex aetas") links "Mengotus" to ordinarii dependent on Salzburg (Salzburg, Vorau, Suben, Ranshofen, Waldhausen and St. Florian). Furthermore, both the diocesan and the canonical traditions exhibit a clear dependency on the 11th-century liturgical developments in the region around Lake Constance, which were initiated in south-eastern Germany in Altmann's time, not only during the Hirsau reform. Thus the earliest sources contain the "Rheinau" special offices for Pope Gregory, Afra, Maurice (Mauritius) and Gallus. Furthermore, many rubrics were adopted from the Micrologus by Bernold of Constance (†1100). Bernold and Altmann were like minds and staunch supporters of the Gregorian Reform. In some rubrics, "Mengotus" mentions Pope Gregory VII as an authority and quotes from his "Regula canonica", which among other things sets out the rules for the communal, propertyless life of canons determined at the Lateran synod.

Until recently, no medieval or early modern musical-liturgical sources from St. Nikola were known. Three 15th-century breviaries without musical notation, now held in the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich under shelfmarks Clm 16141-16143, convey a comprehensive picture of St. Nikola's liturgical tradition. A breviary (winter part) with unlined neume notation in use in the milieu of St. Nikola has survived in the library of the Augustinian monastery of Vorau (Styria), where it bears the shelfmark 90. This lavishly illuminated codex was probably created in the last quarter of the 13th century. It also contains special chants for Valentine, the patron saint of the diocese of Passau, and for the monastery's two patron saints Andrew and Nicholas, including the cantioNicolai solemnia sua praesens familia for the latter. The neumed antiphonary Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Clm 16141 is noteworthy. This book of chant, written around 1300, was in use in a monastery parish of St. Nikola. It is one of the oldest sources of offices with musical notation for Passau's diocesan liturgy. An elaborate choir missal, which is now held in Melk monastery library under the shelfmark 74 and was probably produced in the last quarter of the 15th century, also contains references to St. Nikola. However, it seems unlikely that it was intended for monastic use, as it contains a Passau diocesan, not a canonical tradition.

A processional produced in 1593 can be attributed clearly to the canons of Passau. This book, written in lined Gothic chant notation, is now held in the State Library of Upper Austria in Linz under manuscript shelfmark 209. The small-format codex is made up of 164 numbered folios and contains only chants that were performed during the daily processions in the monastery and in the vicinity of St. Nikola. What is interesting is that the repertory of texts and melodies continues to reflect the medieval liturgical tradition. The title page is decorated with the coat of arms of Provost Abraham Anzengruber (held office 1585-1599) and the year 1593, and contains the following text: "Responsorium. In usum Monasterii S. Nicolai extra muros Passavienses". The contemporary binding is marked with a blind stamp of the provost's coat of arms and the year 1588, the insignia "A" and the text "DOMINUS PRAEPOSITUS NICOL[AI] ABRAHAMUS ÄNTZENGRUEBER" running from cover to cover across the spine.

The order of chants in the processional follows the church year, with the feasts of Jesus Christ and those of saints in separate sections. Numerous rubrics draw attention to particular occasions, processional routes and places or chapels. Thus a procession to the crypt of the monastery church took place on Christmas Eve (as well as on other feast days). During the procession, the "rectores" (the directors of the schola) performed the trope "Facturae plasmator et conditor" as a solo chant. For the solemn procession on Palm Sunday, the first station of which was a chapel, the various actors involved are listed: they include not only the rector, but the "pueri" (choirboys), who sang the hymn "Gloria laus et honor". The following day the boys performed the hymn "Tellus ac aethra". On Good Friday, the Improperia were sung in turn by "duo regentes", "chorus puerorum" and the "chorus". This was followed by the veneration of the Cross by the "clero et praeposito" (the clergy and provost) and the adoration at the Holy Sepulchre. On Easter Saturday, the choirboys and the choir alternatim sang the hymn "Inventor ruti", followed by the saints' litany "circa baptisterium". The processional routes of the Easter vigil – to the Holy Sepulchre, the entrance and the choir of the church – are described in detail; here, the cantor is referred to for the first time. Strikingly, the chants for the Visitatio sepulchri, which were widespread during the Middle Ages, are not mentioned. It is possible that this custom was not longer common in the late 16th century. For the time after Easter, a few suffrages follow for the Holy Virgin, the patron saints Andrew, Pantaleon and Nicholas, and the order's patron saint Augustine. The section with the chants for the petitionary processions before Ascension Day mentions the monastery's parish church St. Jakob and suggests a chant from the saint's special office. Further rubrics added in 1631 refer to stations "ad sanctum Ioannem" (the Johannesspital [infirmary] at the Rindermarkt) and "ad sanctum Paulum" (the parish church of St. Paul at the entrance to the cathedral precinct). The procession ended "ad sanctum Stephanum", that is, in the cathedral. The following day, the route led from the Heiliggeist-Spitalkirche (the infirmary church in the Heiliggeistgasse) to the cathedral and then back to St. Nikola via St. Jakob (Bahnhofsstraße). On Ascension Day and Whit Sunday, processions were made "ad insulam". Here, the procession visited a little church dedicated to Mary Magdalene that was located on the left bank of the River Inn (the site of today's railway bridge) and belonged to St. Nikola. In this church, completely surrounded by the river, the scholares sang verses of the hymn "Salve festa dies". On Corpus Christi the following week, the festive procession once again made a stop in St. Jakob. The Sanctorale starts with "In festivitate D. Nicolai patroni nostri". Chants from the special office for St. Florian are particularly interesting; this source is the only one to transmit them with their melodies. This historia originated in the Augustine monastery of St. Florian near Linz. The manuscript is also the only source of chants with melodies for the monastery's patron saint Pantaleon. St. Agatha also seems to have held particular significance, and thus the suffrages include a responsory for her. It is possible that Agatha's prominence has to do with the old monastery parish of Aidenbach, whose church is dedicated to Agatha.

Processionals usually contain not only the chants performed while walking, but also those required at the various stations (e.g. chants for mass in the station churches, for commemoration at special altars, for particular rites such as the washing of feet on Maundy Thursday or the procession of candles on the feast of the Purification of the Virgin). For these special rites, chants composed solely for this purpose were provided. However, the greater part of the processionals is made up of responsories, antiphons and hymns from the regular office repertory of the institution in question. Thus the large responsories of Matins were used first and foremost. For the Temporale, these are usually the generally common chants. An institution's Proprium is determined by the selection for the respective feast. The chants for the Sanctorale are more interesting, especially if taken from historiae (usually rhymed special offices) for locally important saints. For St. Nikola, these historiae include those for Mary, Mary Magdalene, Jakob, Anna, Augustine, Empress Kunigunde and Ursula, besides the abovementioned ones for Florian and Pantaleon.

by Robert Klugseder

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