The cultus of St Gengulphus – seeing Breviary sources in the early 16th century – had fallen into considerable decline by 1500 compared to the evidence of the earliest C11 and C12 music sources of the notated manuscript sources from this period we have been able to locate. These early manuscripts indicate a full celebration of the Saint’s feast day with a complete office repertoire at this time – matins, full lauds, 1st and 2nd vespers.
A couple of manuscript notations of music for the office of St Gengulphus have been located in Langres (a Responsorial – probably around 1400 – the link is directly to the online MS on pages 91-92 with two responses) and Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle – Domarchiv, G 20 – a late C13 antiphonary).
The Aachen Ms has thus Magnificat antiphons for first and second Vespers and Benedictus antiphon for Lauds; the Langres MS two responds (responsoria prolixa).
An unnotated printed 1511 Breviary of Toul (location of a magnificent high Gothic collegiate church dedicated to the Saint with a C13 stained glass window outlining the life of St Gengoult) has only a collect for his feast day, some instructions for the office such as an incipit text for a Magnificat and an additional prayer – no more than that! The whole office was mostly that of the Common of Martyrs. This is a very convincing indication that the full office celebration of St Gengoult had been discontinued by 1500 in Toul itself – the very location of the martyr’s relics after translation from Varennes in the late 10th century.
Pretty much the same goes for a 1501 printed Breviary (see below) from Bamberg (also a location of a C12 collegiate church – dedicated to Saint Gangolf – the oldest church in the city). Again, an indication that a full office celebration of the Saint had been abandoned by this time!
What caused the cultus to decline in the period between the full celebration of his office in the C12 to just a collect and maybe a single antiphon at vespers and readings in the first nocturn at matins on his feast day of May 11 in the very early C16 – or, likely, even sooner?
Perhaps this is because St Gengulphus – as elsewhere noted on this website – had suffered from the peculiar disadvantage that there are elements in the earliest versions of his biography which subsequent ages have found coarse or indelicate. An aversion for such a reason for the commemeration of this Saint is most lamentable.
The life of the Saint is blameless – but the unusual nature of the miraculous punishments inflicted upon his adulterous wife and upon her paramour have been the subject of censorship and criticism.
If such is the case, this is, again, most lamentable and in need of some atonement and redress. We hope this website can make a contribution to such an effort.