Thursday, October 03, 2019

Online Resources: The Mozarabic Breviary of 1775

I recently found a very high quality scan of a very rare liturgical book on, which has many treasures of this sort: the 1775 edition of the Mozarabic Breviary. This url will take you to the first page of the scan, which is the outside cover of the volume:
From there, you can leaf through it on the site, or download it for free in a variety of formats, including pdf. Many older books are scanned to various websites with each page as an image, but this version is scanned as text, which means you can also do a word-search in the pdf format. There is a Spanish language website with lot of information about the Mozarabic Rite, although it is strangely set up, since most of the pages within it have the same url: One of the articles, which was written in 2004, states that there is no Mozarabic equivalent of the Liturgy of the Hours, and so the 1775 edition is the last, and the one currently used in the Mozarabic Chapel at the cathedral of Toledo.

Here are a few images of the book, starting with frontispiece, which shows St Isidore of Seville in the company of several other great Saints of the early Spanish Church. The ordering of the Mozarabic liturgy is traditionally attributed to him, and there are several features of the rite which are attested in his writings. The figures on the lower left are the various heretics whose teachings he drove out of Spain, including Arius and Pelagius.

The title page. “The Gothic Breviary, according to the rule of the most blessed Isidore, archbishop of Seville, previously edited by order of Francisco Cardinal Ximenes de Cisneros, and now revised at the behest of His Excellency Don Francisco Antonio Lorenzana, Archbishop of the Holy Church of Toledo and Primate of Spain, for the use of the Mozarabic chapel. Madrid, 1775.” Cardinal Cisneros, who became archbishop of Toledo in 1495, found the Mozarabic Rite almost extinct, and it is essentially to his efforts that its preservation is owed. He had all of the books of the rite edited and republished, and established the chapel within the cathedral of Toledo where it is still celebrated every day. The Lorenzana edition is not substantially different from that of Cisneros.
The beginning of the text of the Office, starting with Vespers on the Saturday evening before the First Sunday of Advent. The arrangement of the Mozarabic Office, which is completely different from the Roman in almost every respect, is explained quite well in an article on the old Catholic Encyclopedia.
Decoration for the Office of Christmas Day
The beginning of the Office for Easter. Those who are familiar with the Latinity of the Roman Rite may also find the Mozarabic Rite interesting for its vocabulary, as for example “laetatio” instead of the common word “laetitia.” The whole of the rite is extremely complicated and prolix, which certainly accounts in large measure for the almost complete lack of interest on the part of the Spanish in maintaining its existence. An interesting episode in the history of the rite is an attempt to save it by the bishop of Segovia, Juan Vásquez de Cepeda, who established a monastery dedicated to it in 1436. Within five years, the monks gave up the rite and decided they would rather be Carthusians.

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