MS M.917/945, pp. 118–121

Download image: 

Man of Sorrows and the Cross

The Netherlands, Utrecht
ca. 1440
7 1/2 x 5 1/8 inches (192 x 130 mm)

Purchased on the Belle da Costa Greene Fund with the assistance of the Fellows, 1963

MS M.917/945, pp. 118–121

The Mass of the Holy Cross originally had a large miniature that is now missing. It faced this smaller image showing Christ as the Man of Sorrows standing on his lowered Cross. The scene does not represent a narrative event; rather it is an allegorical image of Christ's triumph over his Cross, his victory over death. The border vignette offers another allegorical image: Christ in the Winepress. Just as grapes are squeezed, Christ is crushed by the winepress; his salvific blood flows into a Eucharistic chalice.

Hours and Masses for the Seven Days of the Week

The most unusual texts in Catherine's manuscript are the series of Hours and Masses for every day of the week. Medieval Christian tradition associated certain figures or themes with different days. Thus Sunday, the day of the Resurrection, was the Lord's Day; Thursday was connected with the Eucharist since that sacrament was instituted on Holy Thursday; and Monday was the day of the dead, since their torments were suspended on Sunday but recommenced the following day. In Catherine's prayer book, the themes for the Hours and Masses of the seven days of the week are:

Sunday the Trinity
Monday the Dead
Tuesday the Holy Spirit
Wednesday All Saints
Thursday the Blessed Sacrament
Friday the Compassion of God
Saturday the Virgin.

Image courtesy of Faksimile Verlag Luzern