Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Three Historic Ambrosian Missals

Three historically important Ambrosian missals were recently on display at the Bibliotheca Ambrosiana in Milan; the first two as shown here are the oldest complete missals of the Ambrosian Rite. The Missal of Biasca is dated by scholars from the end of the 9th to the middle of the 10th century. It was written for a parish outside Milan, and long kept at Biasca in the Val Levantina region of the Swiss Canton Ticino; parts of the canton were formerly owned by the cathedral of Milan, and still use the Ambrosian Rite to this day. It was donated to the Ambrosian Library in 1776. The typical edition of the Ambrosian Missal published in 1902 was made partly in reference to this manuscript.
The Missal of Lodrino dates to the first half of the 11th century; it was originally written for the church of St Stefano in Brolio in Milan itself, but was long kept in the town of Lodrino, also in Canton Ticino.
The Missal of Robert Visconti is named for a member of Milan’s ruling family who was the archpriest of the Duomo from 1293-1312. The Bibliotheca Ambrosiana also preserves his will, in which he left the missal to the Duomo, together with his chalice, and a legacy to pay for the solemn celebration of the then relatively new feast of Corpus Christi, which is first attested in the Ambrosian Rite in this book. Under the figure of Christ in majesty, he is shown celbrating Mass, the inscription says “The Lord Robert Visconti, archpriest of the major church of Milan, had this missal made.” The other side of the page shows the Preface Dialogue and the common form of the Preface, which varies far more in the Ambrosian Rite than in the Roman.

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: