Saint Gengulphus was a Burgundian knight of Varennes sur Amance in the present département of Haut Marne, France. He was a man of outstanding piety and charitableness who served as a soldier under Pepin the Short, and whose martyrdom took the unusual form of being murdered (ca 760) by his wife’s lover. His name is entered as a saint and martyr in the Roman Martyrology on 11th May, which is generally accepted to have been the date of his death. Whilst being particularly regarded as the patron saint of deceived husbands and unhappy marriages, St Gengulphus also has traditional assocations with shoe-makers, tanners, glove-makers, horsemen, knights and huntsmen.
In this day and age of increasing numbers of divorces, broken and unhappy marriages it seems appropriate to try to breathe some new life into this neglected cultus. Music for this office is not listed in the 55 volume Analecta Hymnica Medii Aevi (an invaluable resource for historians of liturgy, music, and more generally, the Latin poetry of the medieval Church) – an indication of this office’s rarity.
We located much of the office (Magnificat antiphon for the first vespers, full matins – invitatorium, 9 antiphons, 6 readings and 9 responds – and full lauds) of St. Gengulphus in a late C13th/early C14th manuscript. This manuscript (Metz 0461) was lost in a bombing raid in WWII on the French city of Metz (NE France), but survived in a microfilm made by the Abbey of Solesmes in the interbellum years to support their research into chant restoration.
An early hymn for Gengulphus was also found in an 11th century manuscript – text only. This proved more difficult than finding the office material but we did locate it in Monumenta Germaniae Historica (see page 170) in an account by a very renowned 20th century German historian – Wilhelm Levison – on the life of St Gengulphus (Vita I). He refers to an 11th century manuscript in Berlin – but we still have to confirm this in the referred to manuscript itself for 100% certainty. It is not (yet) not online).
The recording was made in the church in Malay (southern Burgundy) in a week long recording session May 1-7 in 2022 (an earlier scheduled 2020 date was delayed due to the corona crisis). This is the same location as used for the Psalterium Project completed in May 2018.
See http://gengulphus.com for more information on this secular saint. Much of the material on on this new site was retrieved from a disused site via the internet archive in the summer of 2019 and transposed by the Foundation to its present location to enable us to expand and edit the material. Most importantly for us: one of the new chapters introduced concerns the music composed for the office of St Gengulphus which we have been able to locate – and put online! Most of the material available has been posted. More will come!
The Psalterium Foundation is very thankful to Paul Trenchard (author/researcher of all the material in the former site – a most serious research effort!) for permission to retrieve this material and to expand and utilize it as an instrument to market our recording of the St. Gengoux office in 2022. And, for what it’s worth, to encourage – perhaps – a revival in the devotion to St. Gengulphus to support those today faced with marital challenges.
Photo: Recording the office of St. Gengulphus May 2022.