Opening to new Rites: Ambrosiana


So far, Usuarium was limited to those Uses of the Latin West that fit into the structure of the Roman Rite. With the processing of the printed Ambrosian Missal of 1499, the Rite of the ancient Metropolitan See of Milan also became available. The full text of the entire book can be analyzed and compared to the various Roman parallels, only the biblical lessons with standard wording have been abbreviated to their opening and closing phrases. In the 'Genre' field of the 'Research' menu (Filter), you can select the specific Ambrosian genres of e.g. Ingressa, Super populum, V. in Alleluia, Post evangelium, Super sindonem, Offerenda, Super oblatam, or Confractorium. Other genres that are analogous with their Roman equivalents like Prophecies, Epistles, Gospels, or Prefaces can be surveyed according to the usual nomenclature.

Queens and empresses


As we promised in May, the already available material for the coronation of kings and emperors has now been supplemented with evidence concerning queens and empresses. As their inauguration is often included in or attached to the ordines of their male counterparts, relevant research can only be accomplished when consulting the records under all four labels.

Index liturgicus ad Corpus Consuetudinum Monasticarum


Monastic liturgies are difficult to access. Certainly, plenty of service books survived, but their majority comes from a period when a comprehensive scope and detailed rubrics were something that most liturgical books still lacked. Moreover, such books practically never refer to their mother institutions. Monastic houses were far more numerous and changed their customs more frequently than cathedral chapters. In the age when chapters began to compile detailed and comprehensive books, monasteries were already declining or being reformed according to international standards. This is why source material that is both informative and reliably refers to mother institutions is so invaluable from the perspective of liturgical history.

Customaries are normative texts regulating monastic communities in terms of liturgy and beyond. Liturgical evidence is, however, often hidden or somewhat disguised in them. This is why their excellent and extensive edition, the Corpus Consuetudinum Monasticarum, could not have been fully utilized in this respect. Now the obstacle is removed by the present volume, a thorough and systematic work of our Usuarium team member Ábel Stamler that offers both an indispensable tool for researchers, and a mental map for the fields of worship in the monastic programme of life.

Statistics and mapping


For the standardized records, two new research functions have been made available. Thus far, queries of any liturgical assignation returned lists of the items that fitted the filter of the query. By clicking the 'export' button, the result could be exported in xlsx format. From now on, you can survey the same result with the help of statistical tools alike. The raw statistics (third button) refer to an overview of the records as they are actually stored in the database. As raw statistics rely on a variety of incipits that denote the same text, the exact numbers are irrelevant and even misleading. Yet it is easier to form an idea of the diversity of the assignation and the possible choices by their means than by browsing lists of hundreds of incipits. The chief advantage of raw statistics is that they are at hand for every query. About the readings, however, as they are already fully standardized, real statistics (fourth button) can also be consulted. Firstly, they show the absolute diversity of the given assignation with a numeral that indicates the number of items that occur in the corresponding function. Secondly, a list of standard incipits follows with their frequency of each as compared to the whole set of data. Lastly, the total of records demonstrates the number of occurrences on which the result is based.

In the liturgical position of the Gospel of the first Sunday of Advent, for example, five pericopes can appear. That of the triumphal entry to Jerusalem according to Matthew 21 is the most popular, more than 72% of the results. The eschatological discourse of Luke 21 is placed second, featuring mostly in the Mediterranean regions. The third is the preface of Marc 1, a typical choice of Burgundian and Norman dioceses and their sphere of influence. The fourth and fifth come forth only sporadically in southern Europe: the annunciation scene from Luke 1 in Girona and Puy (and it is definitely the temporal Gospel, not that of the votive Marian Mass), the parable of the wicked husbandmen from Matthew 21 in Valence. The result is based on 180 records, roughly matching the number of dioceses from where full Temporals have already been processed on Usuarium. The geographical distribution of the records can be comfortably examined by clicking the 'map' button.

Search and filter by assignation


In 2014–2015, our research group processed the temporal parts of more than 160 Missals of different Uses. The outcome of this project can still be consulted in the Texts menu. Its advantage is that it contains all the regular propers, i.e. the changing parts of the Mass (lessons, prayers, chants) and each item is linked to a precisely identified standard full text. Hence not only the incipits but any part of the texts can be entered into the search box and the query will produce relevant results if the words actually belong to an item of the temporal propers. The disadvantage was that the material was restricted to the temporal and queries could only start out from the texts. It means that we could research in which an assignation a specific text comes up, but could not investigate directly the assignations with regard to the different texts that figure in them.

We have been entering full Missals and even other types of service books with their entire content for a few months now: ordinary, sanctoral, commune, votive parts, occasional rites included. All their records can be consulted with the help of the searching panel of the Research/Conspectus menu. By using the 'filter' button, however, more elaborate queries are possible, too. After clicking 'OR criteria' and 'Add field', you can select the categories in which you are interested. There are a great many of these, but from an average researcher's point of view season, week, day, ceremony, layer, and genre prove to be the most typical. This standard query can be comfortably saved by its url.

When you have arranged the aspects of your query, you can choose the relevant categories from a dropdown list (for ceremonies, type the labels in our Ceremonies menu). Click the 'Search' button and the result will appear soon. You can also download it for further analysis in an xlsx file. If, for example, you are interested in the possible introits of the 2nd Sunday of Lent, search for season=Qu, week=H2, day=D, genre=Intr, as here. You will come to a very informative and geographically characteristic pattern of variety. Or if you are interested in the Gospel that was recited before or during the procession of Palm Sunday (not the Passion in the Mass), type ceremony=Palm Sunday, genre=Ev, as here. In this way, any assignation of the Latin liturgies that can be exactly described became accessible, and the catalogue of items and information that fit into these categories ever increases.

Standardization of the Mass Lectionary


All the records that belong to the layer of the Lectionary, more than 89 300 incipits thus far, have been grammatically corrected and orthographically normalized. Those of the Mass Lectionary, i.e. the Gospels and the Lessons (Prophecies and Epistles) have been standardized as well. This means that the records that actually refer to one and the same pericope are now connected to a standard incipit that consists of the first distinctive words of the item and its biblical chapter (in brackets). At the present stage of the research, there are 1491 such items. With the help of the standard items, each pericope can be analyzed in a pan-European context. The Temporal records are based on an already comprehensive sample of each relevant diocese and religious order. The Sanctoral, Commune and Votive items draw on an ever-increasing dataset that now covers the secular Uses of Eastern and Central Europe. You can browse through the repertory by clicking the pull-down button 'Filter' in our 'Research' menu and selecting the season, week, day, genre etc. you are interested in. We will soon report in another write-up on the statistical facilities available.

The blessing of an abbess


Our earlier sample of the ordines of abbatial inauguration has been enriched by the texts of its female equivalent, the blessing of an abbess. The material can be accessed here.

Rogation Days


We have uploaded all the liturgical texts and rubrics that regulate the processions of either the Greater or Minor Litanies (April 25 and the three ferias before Ascension Day, respectively) and are listed under the corresponding label of our list of ceremonies. The material can be studied and downloaded via this link.

Collaboration with The Lutheran Missal project


Based on our shared interest in the Missals of pre-Reformation Germany, our research group has gained an unhoped-for contribution from a project initiated by pastor Evan Scamnan in the USA, Greenwich, Connecticut. English speaking Catholics may associate the abbreviation TLM with the Traditional Latin Mass; in this case, however, it refers to The Lutheran Missal. The basic principle of the project is that to restore an authentic Missal for the use of Lutheran faithful in the sense of ecclesiastical continuity, one must not depart from the tradition that the reformers had at hand, namely the service books of Germany at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries. For an introduction, you may listen to this podcast, and for the gradual progress of the work, you may visit this blog. The team of Usuarium was pleased to support the endeavour with its resources. In return, our colleagues at TLM were kind to provide us with extracts of 35 German diocesan Missals that are step-by-step being converted into full conspectuses according to our standards. For now, Missals of Osnabrück, Paderborn, Passau, Ratzeburg, Salzburg, Schwerin, Speyer, Straßburg (Strasbourg), Trier, and Würzburg can be researched here. The rest will follow in the autumn.

Missalia Project expanding (Dalmatia, Southern Italy)


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.

Ceremonies of the Holy Week


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.

Missalia Project expanding (Hungary, Czechia)


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.

The blessing of an emperor


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.

Candlemas ordines


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.

Funeral services and the rites around the sick


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: 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.

The largest collection of coronation ordines


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:

The ordines of blessing an abbot


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.

More than 200 new indices uploaded


In last year's report about the methodology and the achievements of our indexing project (see:, 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.

All-inclusive conspectuses


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.

Extended source material


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.