Our recent updates comprise the full contents of the most celebrated manuscript of the Beneventan Missal as well as those of the only extant Missal from Dubrovnik (Ragusa). Along with the already available sections from the service books of Capua and Albaneta and with the Missal and Lectionary of Kotor (Cattaro), their analysis and comparison may shed some new light on the relationship of the Dalmatian coast and the Campanian-Beneventan region of Italy.
A vast material of ordines for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday has recently been made available on our website. Besides the basic contents of the Mass and the Mass of the Presanctified, evidence for the consecration of Chrism, the washing of the feet, and the peculiarities of Good Friday (solemn intercessions, adoration of the cross, communion, repose) can be studied. The sample relies both on the testimony of printed Missals and Rituals and that of ancient Sacramentaries and Pontificals.
As a Hungarian research group, we started our world-conquering project, i.e. processing at least one full Missal for each liturgical Use, in this country. Comprehensive evidence has been made available of all the extant printed Missals from the territory of the medieval Kingdom of Hungary, those of Pécs, Esztergom, Zagreb, our first and so far mysterious Hungarian Missal of the Domini Ultramontani and the Pauline Order. In the past few months, the work moved on to the prestigious episcopal sees of Czechia, Praha, and Olomouc: both can also be consulted now.
After having published the ordines for the coronation of a king a few weeks ago, the collection has been completed with the closely related ceremony of imperial coronation. Queens and empresses are coming soon.
From now on we will be uploading independent collections of the extraordinary rites of the annual cycle, i.e. those ceremonies that precede the daily Mass or are incorporated into it but do not belong to the regular series of the Mass Propers. The first sample contains the specific features of Candlemas, namely the procession and the blessing of the candles, and in some Uses, of the new fire. The collection also includes the material transmitted in Rituals and Pontificals.
Six years ago we started to process all the sources containing information on the rites around the sick (visitation, communion, anointing), those around the dying man (commendation of the soul, agony, expiration), and around the dead (vigil, funeral Mass, burial). Now, this venture has come to a temporary end with the uploading of 21659 records from 139 sources. The vast material is open to further research via the link: https://usuarium.elte.hu/l/a8a2. As this complex of rituals is undoubtedly the largest and most diverse of all that can be celebrated by an ordinary priest, we took special care to make it relatively transparent by adding modules, i.e. subdivisions by which the textual items and the rubrics of the long process can be associated with relevant ceremonial and thematic units and thus easily compared.
Rituals of power attract a special interest of medievalists nowadays. After several months of intensive work, 75 variants with 2968 records of the coronation of a king – i.e. all of the sources that are available so far – were uploaded to Usuarium today. The collection is probably the largest extant sample of the history of the rite. It can be consulted and exported for further analysis in xlsx format via this link: https://usuarium.elte.hu/l/c78c
Last week we uploaded the conspectuses of the blessing of an abbot from about 60 Pontificals. With this improvement, we made a decisive step towards the publication of occasional rites, those ceremonies that are beyond the scope of the usual structure of Mass and Office Propers within the ecclesiastical year. Under the 'Research' menu and after filtering for the 'abbot' label (click 'filter', 'Add field', and add the fields: 'Ceremony', 'Name'), you can study every concerning ordo that we could detect until now. With the help of the 'export' function, you can also download the contents in xlsx format for further analysis and comparison. The material is also available here.
In last year's report about the methodology and the achievements of our indexing project (see: poj.peeters-leuven.be), we reported that the liturgical contents of 613 sources are listed on Usuarium. Recently more than 200 new indices have been added to the database; 820 in total. When opening the datasheet of any indexed service book, you can directly consult the detailed table of contents of each and open the relevant pages simply by clicking the page numbers. Moreover, under the heading 'Ceremonies', you can find hundreds of records for any rite of the traditional western liturgy. Each of these titles already provides sufficient source material for a monograph on the concerned field.
With the Missal of Pécs from 1487, the first comprehensive conspectus has been uploaded to our database. By clicking the 'Research' button, you can already search and filter the temporal contents of 133 Missals from all over Europe. From now on, the texts of the sanctoral, common, and votive parts, even some occasional rites (e.g. Baptism, Matrimony, Visitation of the Sick) can be researched through an ever-increasing set of historical sources.
After the inclusion of several catalogues and online resources, the collection of Usuarium currently lists 5398 titles. The amount is over four times the size of our digital library as it was at the end of 2020. By clicking the button 'Uses' above, you can browse the list of dioceses and other ecclesiastical institutions and find plenty of service books. At the present time, about 22% of the books is published, i.e. 1182 sources are available in pdf format and have valid information sheets but we expand this number almost every day.