About this blogger:
A theorist, organist, and conductor, Jeff Ostrowski holds his B.M. in Music Theory from the University of Kansas (2004), and did graduate work in Musicology. He serves as choirmaster for the new FSSP parish in Los Angeles, where he resides with his wife and children.
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Legitimate and necessary concern for current realities in the concrete lives of people cannot make us forget the true nature of the liturgical actions. It is clear that the Mass is not the time to “celebrate” human dignity or purely terrestrial claims or hopes. It is rather the sacrifice which renders Christ really present in the sacrament.
— Pope Saint John Paul II (20 March 1990)

Jaw-Dropping Liturgical Manuscripts (7,055 Pages)
published 6 April 2015 by Jeff Ostrowski

998 Holy Sacred MSS HY DO WE LOVE our liturgical history? Does this love of ours truly make us “partakers of idolatry,” as the founder of the Mundelein Liturgical Institute recently asserted?

I don’t believe so. Our desires are natural and pleasing to God. We wish to pray using the exact same words—on the exact same days—as so many saints did. 1

Many now recognize that the innovations of Bugnini’s Consilium have impoverished the Roman Rite and were not faithful to the decrees of Sacrosanctum Concilium. This is due in large part to the internet, which has made available ancient manuscripts. Catholics can now see with their own eyes the antiquity of our liturgy.

Download 7,055 pages of ancient manuscripts below. They were made available 2 by Heinrich Heine University, and you can obtain high resolution versions by searching. The EF liturgy matches these manuscripts 98% of the time; whereas the OF liturgy sometimes 3 does not match.

Whenever possible, we have an obligation 4 to provide excerpts of ancient manuscripts for our choirs and congregations. Remember, the books below are just the tip of the iceberg!

MS-D-1 • Sacramentary … circa 867AD

506 pages.   Click here for a screenshot showing part of a page. That green circular thing is the famous “Vere Dignum Et Justum Est” monogram.

MS-D-3 • Missale … circa 955AD

621 pages.   Click here for a screenshot. Notice the drawing of Saint Augustine, as well as the famous monogram featured in the Jogues Lectionary.

MS-D-5 • Missale … circa 1507AD

267 pages.   Click here for a screenshot.

MS-D-6 • Cistercian Graduale … circa 1173AD

377 pages.   Click here for a screenshot.

MS-D-10A • Graduale … circa 1285AD

436 pages.   Click here for a screenshot.

MS-D-10B • Book of Hours … circa 1466AD

285 pages.   Click here for a screenshot.

MS-D-11 • Graduale … circa 1372AD

1,397 pages.   Click here for a screenshot.

MS-D-12 • Graduale … circa 1424AD

705 pages.   Click here for a screenshot.

MS-D-14 • Antiphonale/Graduale (Winter Section) … circa 1573AD

439 pages.   Click here for a screenshot.

MS-D-19 • Cistercian Graduale … circa 1491AD

317 pages.   Click here for a screenshot.

MS-D-20 • Graduale … circa 1507AD

241 pages.   Click here for a screenshot.

MS-D-27 • Graduale (Summer Section) … circa 1481AD

189 pages.   Click here for a screenshot.

MS-D-30 • Graduale (Winter Section) … circa 1502AD

427 pages.   Click here for a screenshot.

MS-D-32 • Cistercian Graduale (Winter Section) … circa 1552AD

431 pages.   Click here for a screenshot.

MS-D-35 • Graduale (Winter Section) … circa 1545AD

417 pages.   Click here for a screenshot.

UPDATE   From a reader:

Bayerische Staatsbibliothek has made much available. Go to bsb-muenchen.de and search for e.g. Graduale, limit the search to “online resources” time to before 1600 (or whatever pleases you), and go wild. They have a wonderful policy in that whoever first asks for a digitalization of a particular manuscript pays for it and afterwards they put it online for free. Sample screenshot.

As I mentioned, this is just the tip of the iceberg. The Saint Gall library also has thousands of online images.


1   Moreover, our hearts and minds are lifted to God by the glorious artwork & melodies of our Catholic heritage.

2   The language and website—based in Düsseldorf—can be intimidating for Americans, so a former student kindly created the Google links you see on this page. Be sure to obey usage regulations posted on the Heinrich Heine website.

3   For instance, the Ordinary Form uses the Gradual antiphons for sung Masses, but uses the Missal antiphons for spoken Masses. The Gradual antiphons are ancient, whereas many of the “spoken” propers were created in 1969.

4   The Jogues Lectionary provides stunning manuscripts for the congregation to enjoy—as does the Campion Hymnal—both in full color. Congregations love seeing these!