Eusebius and his Gospels

The origins of a library

By Fondazione Museo del Tesoro del Duomo e Archivio Capitolare

Codex A (Second half 4th Century) by Local scriptoriumFondazione Museo del Tesoro del Duomo e Archivio Capitolare

St. Eusebio was the first bishop of Vercelli. Its importance is reflected in the manuscripts of the Capitulary Library of Vercelli. First of all the codex A Vetus Latina of the 4th Century that the tradition ascribes to St. Eusebius.

Codex XII (Late 12th Century) by Local scriptoriumFondazione Museo del Tesoro del Duomo e Archivio Capitolare

The life of Eusebius is told in the Vita Antiqua, a late hagiography composed between the 7th and 9th Centuries. In the text, the life of the saint is enriched by legendary episodes.

Codex C, Stoning of Eusebius (Early 13th Century) by Local scriptoriumFondazione Museo del Tesoro del Duomo e Archivio Capitolare

One of the controversial episodes of the Vita Antiqua, the stoning of St. Eusebius, is represented in codex C, an Evangelistary made in Vercelli between the end of the 12th and the beginning of the 13th Century.

Bookbinding of manuscript C (Second half 12th Century) by Lombard goldsmithFondazione Museo del Tesoro del Duomo e Archivio Capitolare

The codex C, as well as the codex A, has been divided by its binding which is now on display at the Museum of the Cathedral Treasure.

Bookbinding of manuscript C (Second half 12th Century) by Lombard goldsmithFondazione Museo del Tesoro del Duomo e Archivio Capitolare

Bookbinding of manuscript C, Lombard goldsmith, Second half 12th Century

Bookbinding of manuscript A (Second half 10th Century) by Lombard goldsmithFondazione Museo del Tesoro del Duomo e Archivio Capitolare

Bookbinding of manuscript A, Codex Vercellensis Evangeliorum, Lombard goldsmith, Second half 10th Century

Bookbinding of manuscript A (Second half 10th Century) by Lombard goldsmithFondazione Museo del Tesoro del Duomo e Archivio Capitolare

Bookbinding of manuscript A, Codex Vercellensis Evangeliorum, Lombard goldsmith, Second half 10th Century

Codex LXIV (Late 12th Century) by Local scriptoriumFondazione Museo del Tesoro del Duomo e Archivio Capitolare

Codex C is part of a series of manuscripts made between the end of the 12th and the beginning of the 13th century. In this period there was a renewal of the liturgical manuscripts made in Vercelli, in a special way with respect to the feast of St. Eusebius. In such circumstances the celebrations taking a very majestic tone.

Codex XLII (Late 12th Century) by Local scriptoriumFondazione Museo del Tesoro del Duomo e Archivio Capitolare

The Sacramentary, manuscript XLII, was intended for use by the priest and bishop. It contains the complete version of the Mass dedicated to St Eusebius.

Codex CXLII (Late 12th Century) by Local scriptoriumFondazione Museo del Tesoro del Duomo e Archivio Capitolare

Among the new manuscripts of the 12th and 13th Centuries there is also the Evangelistario (CXLII) which presents miniatures similar to those of the codex C. The two manuscripts were probably used in the same period, one for ordinary celebrations and the other for those more solemn.

Dell'antichità e nobiltà della città di Vercelli (1617) by Giovan Battista ModenaFondazione Museo del Tesoro del Duomo e Archivio Capitolare

These and others manuscripts were used to celebrate St. Eusebius in the same place where his burial was. The tomb was found on February 18, 1581, according to the story of Giovanni Battista Modena, canon of the Cathedral.

Urn in lead of St. Eusebius (1581) by Local goldsmithFondazione Museo del Tesoro del Duomo e Archivio Capitolare

When the canons found the remains of Eusebius and other saints, the patron was placed inside a lead urn made from the slab that covered the burial.

Urn of Holy Thursday (1628) by Local goldsmithFondazione Museo del Tesoro del Duomo e Archivio Capitolare

Later, part of Eusebius's body was translated again. In 1628 the relics were placed in the Holy Thursday urn commissioned by Giacomo Goria, bishop of Vercelli from 1611 to 1648.

St Eusebio Urn (1618/1619) by Savoy goldsmithFondazione Museo del Tesoro del Duomo e Archivio Capitolare

In 1733 the relics of Eusebius were moved to the urn that Carlo Emanuele I of Savoy in 1618 had donated to the Cathedral for the body of Blessed Amedeo. Today Eusebio rests in the chapel that was dedicated to him inside the Cathedral of Vercelli.

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