Here is told of the Office of Our Lady – University of Copenhagen

Forward this page to a friend Resize Print Bookmark and Share

Home > Here is told of the Of...

06 October 2017

Here is told of the Office of Our Lady

Miracle of the Week

This is Gazo. Gazo refused to pray to the Virgin Mary. Gazo's impiety caused a band of violent men to attack and pillage the entire region. Don't be like Gazo.

“Hér segir af várrar frú tíðum" (Here is told of the Office of Our Lady) marks the beginning of this week's miracle. (Click on the photo for a larger version.)

Our miracle this week tells of the monks of the Benedictine Monastery of Pietra Pertusa (“broken stone”), in Umbria, Italy, whose practice it has been for three years to recite daily the Hours of the Blessed Virgin, even though this is not required of them according to their rule. This is too much for one of the brothers, who persuades his fellow monks to abandon the custom. No sooner have they done this than a series of calamities besets the monastery. These cease only when the monks resume their devotions to the BVM.  

Like last week’s miracle, this one is well known both in Old Norse-Icelandic, where it is preserved in two other manuscripts, and internationally, where versions of it are found in many Latin and vernacular collections of miracles. The Benedictine monk Peter Damian (ca. 1007 to 1072 or 1073) – the “Petrus” referred to in the opening line – tells the story in his Epistles (published in Patrologia Latina, vol. 144, col. 431), and versions of it are given by Helinand of Froidmont (ca. 1160-after 1229) and Vincent of Beauvais (1190?-1264?) in his Speculum Historiale (Book XXV, ch. 54). In most of these sources the name of the offending monk is given as “Gozo” (sometimes spelt “Goço”), while in our version it appears as “Gazo” (the other Icelandic texts have “Gaðo“).

The miracle is found in AM 635 4to, the second of the two volumes, on pp. 41-43. The rubric reads “Hér segir af várrar frú tíðum” (Here is told of the Office of Our Lady).

The Master Class encoded the text using TEI-conformant XML, which can be displayed in a variety of ways, for example as a facsimile transcription (see it here), i.e. a letter-by-letter transcription of the text in the manuscript with no changes, a diplomatic transcription (see it here), i.e. a letter-by-letter transcription of the text with a few palaeographic features and the expansion of abbreviations, and finally a normalized transcription, i.e. a transcription in which the orthography has been normalized with no scribal errors or abbreviations. The normalized version is as follows: 

Svá segir Petrus at í því munklífi sem heitir Petra Pertusa, skamt frá munklífi Heilags Vincencii, var skipat af brœðrum ok haldit um þrjá vetr at eptir þær tiðir sem brœðrunum var skyldugt at syngja skyldi þeir lesa tíðir várrar frú. Einn munkr er Gazo hét, ranglátr ok ills lifnaðar en mj ǫk orðigr ok margtala ðr, gerði sik fast um þat ok sagði eigi réttliga mega leggja svá mikinn þunga á brœðurna um þat fram sem boðit var í þeira reglu. Ok sagði þeim vel mega nœgjast þó at þeir l ǫgðu engar n ýjungar inn í sinn sið. Hann fekk hér til margar greinir ok skynsemdir at sanna sitt mál. Ok með sinni þrætu fekk hann því við komit at brœðrnir létu af at segja tíðir jungfrú Marie. Þegar rísu upp margir v ǫldugir menn ok gerð u otalligar meingerðir ok ska ða þ ví sama klaustri. Var gripit g óðs munkanna ok ræ ntirþeira menn, brendir þeira bœir ok særðir ok drepnir þeira þjónustumenn. Þeir senda ok fara sjálfir til Saxlands keisara, ok at þarflausu, þvíat þeir fá enga rétting sinna mála. “Þá komu þeir til mín”, sagði fyrrsagðr biskup Petrus, “kærandi fyrir mér sína ves ǫld. Sagði ek, sakir þess þeim þetta hafa til borit at þeir h ǫfð u frá sér rekit mó ður hins sanna frið ar.”Þeira sendimenn falla þegar til jarð ar, segjandi sik aldri heðan af skulu uppgefa at segja lof sæ llar jungfrú Marie. Fengu sv á þ egar frið ok n áðir ok hé ldu vel sitt heit. Mǫ rgumárum s íðar, sem lið it var frá hingatbur ð vá rs herra Jesu Kristiþúsund n íutigir ok fimm á r, skipaði Urbanus P áfi á kennimannaþingi vi ð Claromontem í Gallia at lesa skyldi tíðir af jungfrú Marie, ok henni skyldi syngja hátíðliga hvern laugardag.

Which, rendered into English, is:

Peter relates that in that monastery which is called Petra Pertusa, near the monastery of St. Vincent, it was ordained by the brothers and held to for three years, that at those times when the brothers were required to sing they should recite the Hours of Our Lady. A monk named Gazo, a man unrighteous and of evil ways but very loquacious and well-spoken, was adamant about this and said that it was unfair that such a heavy burden should be put on the brothers beyond that which was required by their rule, and he told them that it would well serve them if they introduced no innovations into their custom. He adduced many reasons and arguments in favour of his case, and by means of these arguments he was able to bring it about that the brothers stopped reciting the Office of the Virgin Mary. 

Presently sundry men of violence rose up, committing innumerable atrocities and inflicting damage on the monastery itself. The monks’ possessions were taken, their men robbed and their villages burnt and their servants wounded and killed. They sent messengers and went themselves to the Emperor of Germany, but to no avail, as they received no redress for their case. 

“Then they came to me”, said the afore-mentioned Bishop Peter, “complaining to me of their misery. I told them that the reason why this has befallen them is that that they had cast out the mother of true peace.” Their messengers immediately fell to the ground saying they would from now on never cease giving praise to the Blessed Virgin Mary. They immediately received peace and respite and kept well their promise. Many years later, when 1095 years had passed since the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, Pope Urban decreed at a synod at Clarmont in France that the Office of the Virgin Mary should be recited and that she should be celebrated every Saturday.

The story ends with Pope Urban deciding, many years later, to resume the custom of celebrating Our Lady – every Saturday. We will be back next Friday with a new miracle for you. (Click on the photo for a larger version)