Willibrordus

Missionary of Frisia, first archbishop of Utrecht, 658-739.
Feasts:
- Natalis: 7 November.
- Translatio: often 10 November; Utrecht: 19 October.

Willibrord founded the Utrecht cathedral and dedicated it to Martinus of Tours.

Among his disciples and companions: Adelbertus of Egmond, Werenfridus.

Utrecht

A secular office has been in use in the Utrecht chapter churches, such as the Mariakerk and the Dom. The oldest entirely preserved version is found in NL-Uu 406; a version including lessons is in B-Br II 923. This office is composed in Echternach abbey (see below).

The sequentia used for Willibrordus was probably the one for a Confessor Bishop: Ad laudes salvatoris (see the Utrecht Prosarium, p. LXXVI-LXXVII). However, part of the sequence Sit tibi laus et honor is found in a fragment from Oostbroek Abbey, bearing staff notation (NL-Ua, NL-Ua, Coll. Rijsenburg 396).

Echternach

According to Lochner (pp. 168-178) the office for Willibrord was composed ca 900 in Echternach, at first as a secular office, later on transformed into a monastic one. The oldest known source is an 11th century fragment (Pn lat 10837, fol. 1). A complete monastic version is preserved in L-Ln 105, a 15th century summer antiphoner of the Willibrord Abbey, Echternach, fols. 190-198r.
On the last folium of this manuscript a 17th century scribe has written the hymn Ave praeelecte splendor Willibrorde. The hymn is without notation, but the text bears some resemblances to Ave maris stella and fits this melody well (AH, vol. 12, pp. 264-265, nr 495).

Five Willibrord-sequences (from Echternach and other sources) are mentioned by Schmit and Heinz in: Abteitstadt Echternach, pp. 158-188 (with references to AH). According to K.-M. Heinz, two of these have close relationships with Echternach:

* Seq. Laudes Christo die nunc isto (AH 54. p. 120), written ca 1000 by Berno of Reichenau, who was monk of Prm for a while; sources: Sankt Gallen 898 (fols. 25r-26r) and 546 (fols. 203r-204r), and in the writings of Berno of Reichenau
* Seq. Sit tibi laus et honor (AH 54, p. 294), by Thiofrid, abbot of Echternach, d. 1110; sources: F-Pn lat 10510, fols. 71r-72r; for a fragment of this sequence see Utrecht, Rijksarchief, Rechterlijke archieven vr 1811, nr 166-41
* Seq. Willibrodi (!) sancti dulcisona (AH 44, p. 121); source: L-Ln Rs. Prec. I: 11

Xanten

During the second half of the 13th century in the Xanten Dom Willibrordus was venerated with a 'festum trium lectionum' (D-X H 104, fols. 328-329v ). During the 14th-16th centuries this developed into a feast of 9 lessons.

During the 14th-16th centuries the sequentia Festa patris Willibrordi was known (Der lteste Ordinarius ..., p. 40, note 2).

Emmerich

As the legend says that Willibrordus founded the Stift St Martini in Emmerich, he was venerated here. Part of his office is found in D-TRb Abt. 95, nr. 553, breviary diurnale of the St Martini Stift. Most of the chants are found in Utrecht as well; unique for Emmerich is the hymn Letare celi regia (AH vol 12, p. 265, nr 496; melody unknown).

's Hertogenbosch

The sequence Frequentemus hodie and the office are in the manuscripts of St. Jan in 's Hertogenbosch, the sequence is in NL-SHsj 216-2, the office (only incipits) in NL-SHsj 216-1, fols 81r-v.

Varia

The non-Echternach sequences, mentioned (and facsimilated and edited) by Heinz, are:

* Seq. Frequentemus hodie (AH 37, p. 279), known in 's Hertogenbosch and in Trier; sources: NL-SHsj 216-2, Graduale-Sequentiarium of St. Jan in 's Hertogenbosch (f. 103r-105r) and Cues, Bibl. Cusana, ms 147 (fol. 317r) and 148 (fols. 188v-189v). It was also known in north Holland (NL-Hs 184 C 1, NL-Hs184 C 7)
* Seq. Festa patris Willibrordi (AH 9. p. 270); sources: B-Br 1460 (cat.nr. 440), Missale St Martin, Kln (f. 201r-v); mentioned in the Xanten Ordinal as well (see above)

In AH 11, p. 266 (nr 494), the hymne Nunc istat dies annua is mentioned; its text is neutral and it might be used for other saints as well.

Finally, the 17th century Officia Sanctorum contains a completely different Willibrord office.

More manuscripts with Willibrordus-chants

* NL-At 206 A 10, Choir book with mainly office chants, 16th (?) century, contains a one nocturn office and mass chants (incl. seq. Frequentemus)
* NL-Uc BMH 24 (for Augustinian nuns) contains first vespers and lauds
* One of the fragments of NL-DHk 73 B 24 contains part of the Willibrord office

Further literature

* Abteistadt Echternach, pp. 192-193 gives a survey of manuscripts with chants or texts in honour of Willibrordus
* Lochner: La culture musicale ..., pp. 168-178, for a survey of the sources: pp. 168-169
* H.J. Kok: De patrocinia van st. Willibrord in het middeleeuws bisdom Utrecht in: Archief voor de geschiedenis van de katholieke kerk in Nederland 1 (1959), pp. 269-291

Willibrordus is not mentioned in Hughes: LMLO.


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This is to my knowledge a complete survey of the Willibrord chants
Last change: Sat 14 June 2003