The proposed exhibition itinerary includes anassortment of Missals and Pontificals from the Cathedral, recently restored, which belonged to bishops of the Agrigento church, among the 17th and 19th centuries.
Liturgical books are an essential part of the life of the Church and of the Christian community, and their formation developed with the growth of Christianity. The attention given to these written expressions of the liturgical tradition (lexorandi) is due to the fact that they constitute a living demonstration of the variety and richness of the one faith (lexcredendi) present in the various Churches in different and distant times and places.
In the first four centuries of the Christian liturgy, neither the celebrant nor the other ministers had a specific book for their functions; for all the only text was the Bible which must be considered the first and main liturgical book that Christians drew on for readings, songs, psalms, etc.
With the evolution of Christian communities, each minister will have his own book: the Sacramentary for the celebrant, the Gospels for the deacon, the Lectionary for the reader, the Antiphonary for the singers, and so on. Later also the Bishop will have his own liturgical book called Pontifical.
The Missal is the book which, starting from the 10th century, was formed by adding together fundamentals taken from the Lectionary and the Ordinescontaining the rubrics for the celebrations, taking the title of Missalisplenarius. The 1570 edition, following the Council of Trent, sanctioned the use of this book only for the priest, so much so that neither the other ministries nor the assembly were appointed anymore. It was made mandatory in 1572 by Pius V, who suppressed all the others. The texts of the liturgy of the missals from 1570 until the Second Vatican Council remained the same.
The Pontifical is the book that contains the formulas (taken from the Sacramentaries) and the ceremonies (taken from the Ordines) reserved for the Bishop.