About the books

Divisions by language and subject in the stock

The major portion of the stock is written in the Latin, German or Hungarian languages. There are many books in the western (French, English, Italian, Spanish), eastern (Arabic, Hebrew, Syrian, Persian), slavonic (Serbian, Croation, Russian) languages, but the library also keeps documents written in Mongolian, Eskimo, Chinese, Hindustani and Kaffir languages.

The ratio of works dealing with theology and religion is some 45%: Bible publications (polyglot, Hebrew, Greek languages, as well as several Vulgate), translations of the Bible (in more than 30 tongues); ethics, priestly duties, church fathers, scholarly writers’ published materials, works of Church history, Church law. Documents of the Counter-Reformation can be found, just as the original texts of the reformers (particularly Luther, Calvin, Melanchton, Erasmus).
Almost every branch of the worldly sciences is represented in the material, those of philosophy, science of history (more than 9000 volumes), including the auxiliary sciences (archaeology, genealogy, chronology, diplomacy, heraldry, about 750 volumes), science of literature, science of nature (about 4500 volumes: medical science, physics, chemistry, mathematics, astronomy, zoology, botany, natural history, minerology, and geology, etc). A significant number of works deal with linguistics, culture and the fine arts. There are many pieces covering the social sciences, (about 2400 volumes), especially from the 19th and the first half of the 20th Centuries.

The library cares for 634 various journals bound in 9000 volumes, 4000 volumes of register of names and personal details of priests, almanacs, 400 volumes of local history style works, more than 50 engravings, small print (such as holy pictures). Some 26,000 volumes deal with geography and related sciences, within which quite valuable are the collection of maps and atlases.

Our digitalized documents

In 2004, with the help of the Ministry of Information and Communications, we were able to digitalize some of the rarities of our library. The work of digitalizing pictures was carried out by Pytheas Kiadói és Grafikai Szolgáltató Kft.  A list of the digitalized documents follows. More information and pictures can be found on our home page, under DIGITALIZED DOCUMENTS.


1.) Psalterium cum canticis (Book of psalms from the Middle Ages)
Prague (?)- Krumlov (?), Lat. Around 1440. 90 ff. 34,3x23,7 cm.
The codex is decorated by 10 figures, several painted ornaments, initials drawn by feather, margin decorations, red and blue coloured sections of text and columns. Its greatest value is in the highly artistic quality of the initials, margin decorations and illustrations that are found in it. The manuscript, the like of which is known only in Prague, the place of origin of the codex, is the subject of international research and references.
CD-edition of Psalterium (Kalocsai Főszékesegyházi Könyvár - Studiolum, 2005.) obtainable by placing an order at our library, price 4.000 HUF
Besides the complete electronic facsimile of the Psaltery, the Reader will also find here the transcription of the Latin psalms and their translation in English, Spanish, German and Hungarian.

2.) Satipatthana Sutta. (Book of Buddhist meditation, in Pali language, with Singhalese characters). 17 pieces of manuscript from the 16th Century written on palm leaves, originating from Sri-Lanka. Reason for choosing it: Its a rare manuscript not only in Hungary but also in Europe, the fabric of the document is really special and it is very fragile.


3.) Konrad von Megenberg: Buch der Natur
Augsburg: Bämler, Johann, an Montag vor aller heiligen Tag [30 Oct] [14] 75.- 292 ff.:
This is the first natural history work in the German language, spreading lots of superstitious views and miraculous impossibilities about nature’s peculiarities. Reason for choosing it: in Hungary this is the only copy of it in Kalocsa, and it is the first edition published in 1475. It is a very decorative presentation, containing many illustrations of colourful engravings.


4.) Tycho Brahe: Astronomiae instauratae mechanica. Wandesburgi, 1598. 84 pp
From this work of Tycho originally only 300 copies were made and it was not sold through booksellers, only the famous people of the time obtained copies of it. The reason for choosing it: at present only 13 copies of it are recorded in the world. An interesting aspect of the specimen held at Kalocsa is that the picture of Tycho on the inner title page is dated one year after the publishing date of the book.

More information about the documents mentioned, as well as their picture content can be found on our home page: DIGITALIZED DOCUMENTS


Traditional index-card catalogues: alphabetical by author, by subject.
Catalogue by computer: using the ORBIS database operating system.
Special database is built of some sections of the collection: the one called Antique-database contains documents originating from the period before 1850; the Book-database contains those of the period after 1850; manuscripts are in the Ms-database; the Periodic-database contains journals; the Map-database maps. The special collections have their own distinct catalogues, records. Separate catalogues are made of the manuscripts, of incunabula, of old Hungarian books, of journals, of maps, local history material, photographs, engravings.
The newest version of the catalogue by computer is available on the computers at the library. Via the internet catalogues are provided by the regularly updated THECA - the Church librarys’ search engine. This collective database contains books published after 1850. The program gives an opportunity for searching in the volumes of several of the Church’s libraries jointly, or looking in the catalogue of a selected library

A selection of the old, rare books of the library (manuscripts, incunabula, antiquities, old Hungarian books)

Of all the stock, some 90,000 volumes are made up of old books. The collection of more than 800 volumes of manuscripts contain 64 codices of the Middle Ages (11-16th Centuries). Their contents are quite varied, including Scripture, book of psalms, constitution of religious orders, a collection of sermons, as well as medicine, jurisprudence, astronomy and history. The oldest of them, the so-called St Fulgentius codex dates from 1040. A manuscript of the 13th Century contains four works of Aristotle dealing with philosophy and ethics, with numerous comments and annotations on the margins dating from the same era. The most attractive artistically decorated piece in the collection is a book of psalms from the 15th Century. The oldest of the rich collection of medical codices is Compendium medicinae dating from 1330, and deals with types of illnesses accompanied by high temperatures, as well as giving an overall picture of medical knowledge of the era. The book of Brachaditz Christian dating from 1432 deals with astronomy, giving information about planetary motion, the distance of stars, richly illustrated by pictures of horoscopes. Petrus de Crestentius in 1431 wrote Liber ruralium commodorum which deals with agriculture, and his work greatly influenced the development of farming of his time.

Pictures of the St Fulgentius codices (1040)

Segment of the first page of the St Fulgentius codex

Valuable sources of the manuscript collection of the modern age: the letters of István Bethlen from Ecsed castle (1639-1647) in Hungarian; historical summaries in Latin: the Continuatio Bethlenianae (1601-1607), about the history of Transylvania in 1694, about the French revolution in 1791. Highly valued source of the history of the Hungarian Church is the work by György Lippay, Archbishop of Esztergom, Visita Canonica, from 1652, in 3 volumes. The battles fought against the Turks in Hungary are depicted in Raymond Montecuccoli’s work: Dell ‘arte bellica, from 1660-1664. Dating from 1677 come the books of account of the treasury of the court of Emperor Lipót. The collection contains several handwritten works of historian István Katona, Canon of Kalocsa and librarian, as well as letters sent from China by Péter Pázmány, and Jesuit missionaries. Nice illustrations can be found in the album made in 1738 by Lorenz Pachmayr, and the Nürnbergische Chronica of 1626. The Encyclopaedia of Davud el Antaki (David of Antioch) gives explanations of scientific and other subjects in Arabic, for words coming from the Arabic as well as from other languages. The “Our Father in two hundred and fifty-four languages” is the work of Gyula Kanyó, priest of Kalocsa. The manuscript was made in 1894 in Rome.

An illustration from the Chronicle of Nürnberg (Nürnbergische Chronica, 1626)

There are 508 incunabula (books printed before 1500) in the library, several of them are the only specimen in the country. To mention some of the well-known incunabula that can be found here: Peter Schöffer of Mainz, Anton Koberger of Nürnberg, Günter Zainer of Augsburg, Nicolas Jenson of Venezia. The largest group is made up of theology and religious literature. Next are the Greek-Latin classics and the natural sciences (among them Konrad von Megenberg: Buch der Natur, Augsburg 1475; Johann Bämler. Note: the digitalized version of this document can be seen on our homepage: Digitalized documents). These are followed by history (4 specimens of them, Hartmann Schedel: Das Buch der Chroniken, Nürnberg, Anton Koberger 1493), philosophy, jurisprudence and linguistics. One of the most elaborate incunabula is the Decree of Gratianus, published at München in 1472.

Jacobus de Forlivio: Super Aphorismos Hippocratis. Venezia, 1473.

Biblia (Germ.) Nürnberg: Anton Koberger, 1483.

It is during the 16th Century that books assume their modern format (shape, material, apportionment, title page, numbering of pages). The large publishing houses of the era, the French étienne, the Dutch Christoph Plantin, Johannes Frobenius of Basel, in the spirit of humanism, published works of the classical Latin-Greek writers on a high artistic level. From the publishers of Basel came books of theology, philosophy, medical subjects; Aldus Manutius of Venezia published pieces (the so-called Aldinas) of which the works of Hippocrates, Demosthenes, Seneca, Homeros, etc, can be found in the library.

Of the printing houses of the 17th Century the printing family of Elzevir stands out with their publications (the so-called Respublicas) of description of countries. In the 17th Century a noteworthy representative of the Dutch book culture, besides the Elzevirs, was William Janszon Blaeu, publisher of maps and atlases. Several of his maps are kept in the collections of the library.

Petrus Appianus: Astronomicum Caesareum [S.1], 1532.

Birken, Sigmund von: Der Donau-Strand mit allen seinen Ein-und Zuflüssen. Nürnberg, 1664.

From the collection of the old Hungarian books (RMK) which were published before 1711 the works of Pelbárt Temesvári (1509) and Miklós Telegdi (1577) can be found, as well as the chronicles of Antonio Bonfini (1568) and Gáspár Heltai (1575), and the first edition of the Bible of Gáspár Károlyi, or the guide of Péter Pázmány. In 1538 in Vienna Gábor Pesti’s dictionary in six languages was published. Of this first edition Miklós Jankovics stated in 1834, that it was the only specimen that could be found in the Hungary of that time.

On the pictures, left: Miklós Telegdi: The Scriptures, which on Sundays are usually read and about which sermons are given... Holy Saturday, 1580. Right: Gábor Pesti: Nomenclature Sex Linguarum, Vienna 1538.

The first page of the prayer book called “Garden of Lilies”. This book travelled to Rodosto (Turkey).

And on earth peace

Medieval typos