William Durandus the Elder

Canonist and liturgist, born Puimisson, Provence, France, c.1237; died Rome, Italy, 1296. Uncle of William Durandus the Younger. He studied law at Bologna, taught it at Modena, and was attached to the papal curia. In 1274 he went to the Second Council of Lyons as secretary of Gregory X and drew up its decrees. He was elected Bishop of Mende, Narbonne, and was papal governor of Romagna and Ancona. His most famous liturgical work is the "Rationale divinorum officiorum," written in 1286, which consists of eight books treating of church buildings and their appointments, of the ministers, vestments, the Mass, canonical hours, the Proper of the Season, the Proper of the Saints, the calendar, etc. This book, the most complete medieval treatise of its kind, is still the standard authority for 13th-century ritual and for the symbolism of rites and vestments. In the third book, vestments are allegorically explained as signifying virtues or the garments worn by Our Lord in His Passion. He wrote several other books on canon law.

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