Missale ad vsum ecclesie Eboracen[sis]

The Mass dates from the earliest days of the Christian Church. The practice joined the Jewish tradition of teaching from the scriptures with celebration of the Last Supper. The first part, the Mass of the Catechumens, was open to all and included readings from the Bible and a sermon, ending with the congregation’s recital of the Creed. The unbaptised were dismissed before the liturgical second part, the Mass of the Faithful (the Canon). It began with the Offertory, which leads to the Consecration of the bread and wine. 

The belief in transubstantiation—that the offered bread and wine actually becomes the body and blood of Christ—became official Church doctrine at the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215. The Mass evolved into the medieval High Mass, a mysterious sacrificial spectacle, which greatly detached the congregation of the faithful from participating in the sacred liturgy in the Canon. The laity could see the Host and the Chalice when raised by the priest at the moment of transubstantiation, but they were deemed unworthy to handle the body and blood of Christ. They only received communion on Easter and Pentecost. 

Many local customs affected how the Mass and other rites were performed: the ornaments, the vestments, the feasts celebrated, and ceremony specifics. In England, William the Conqueror appointed St. Osmund to be bishop of Salisbury (Sarum). His fellow Normans established rites in early versions of what became missals, breviaries, and rituals. More than 50 editions of the Use of Sarum Missal were published prior to the Reformation, most by Continental printers. Sarum usage predominated in England, although several cathedrals—most notably York, with the largest Gothic cathedral in northern Europe —established their own rites.

The present copy is the fifth and final edition (1533) of the much rarer Use of York Missal, signed and briefly annotated by a contemporary owner. It is clear the Missal primarily served the clergy, providing ample rubrics (instructions printed in red) in the liturgy to guide proper performance of the Mass. The volume begins with a liturgical calendar and the remainder is filled with detailed guidance as to appropriate seasonal prayers, starting at Advent. Easter is followed by the Mass itself, which is inserted at the center of the book. Musical passages are noted (including the Pater Noster in the Mass) and the missal features a two-page spread before the Canon illustrating God the Father with the four Evangelists and the crucifixion of Jesus.

Chrzanowski 1533m *

STC 16224

Title List

1479–1550 | 1551–1580 | 1583–1608 | 1609–1675