Our lives

Renovation and restoration of the Baroque reading room, 2001-2002

No matter how carefully our predecessors took care of and preserved the library, following its two-hundred-year old life, the library was in need of some renovation and restoration work. The most visible changes were the mechanical adjustments that took place in the 20th century (electrification, heating system, and later fire alarms and safety systems were installed). Due to the lack of adequate financial resources and a comprehensive concept, the authenticity and artistic value of the room was in some cases overlooked. The wooden interior including the shelves and their decorations were also damaged primarily during the alterations in the 20th century. A lacquer coat was painted on the wooden surfaces as a result of which the wood was not exposed to air (thus preventing the natural movement of wood).
The renovation was scheduled for the thousand-year-anniversary of the foundation of the Archdiocese (in 2001-2002). Planning of the restoration started at the end of 1999. The renovation work had two main parts according to the damages mentioned above: mechanical renovation and wood restoration. These two work areas were united in a well-designed concept. The aim was to restore the authenticity of the room with as little visible mechanical changes as possible, or if not possible, the changes should be clearly indicated. Restoration work began in September 2001. New electrical equipments were installed ensuring the long-lasting application of the modern devices. The decorative paint and the wood furnishings of the room was renewed. Removal of the library books was executed following the necessary preservation requirements. Due to the restoration works, the library of Archbishop Ádám Patachich shines in its original glory. "Shines" might be an unusual term to describe a library but in our library, looking at the gilded volumes, it seems appropriate to use this word. It's no surprise that the room used to be called the "golden room".

The opening ceremony of the restored library took place on the 15th August 2002 and the library was opened by Dr Ferenc Mádl, then president of Hungary, and by Dr Balázs Bábel, Archbishop of Kalocsa-Kecskemét.
Restoration work by:
Master planning: Conservator Walter Madarassy and architect Ervin Vass-Eysen (Építészműhely Kft.)
Mechanical work: Building contractor Gábor Tiszavölgyi, Komplex
Decorative painting: György Gajda
Wood restoration:. Conservator Walter Madarassy jr.

Each phase of the work and the planning was funded by the Ministry of National Cultural Heritage.




Removing the collection of 20,000 volumes took a lot of organising and hard work.

The room during the renovation of the decorative painting

After the work of the wood conservators, the furniture and books were returned to the room


The restored library room and the library exhibition on the corridor before the opening

Then President Dr Ferenc Mádl and Archbishop Dr Balázs Bábel at the opening ceremony

College of Bishops at the opening ceremony

Article on the ceremony in Hungarian

The library among the 12 most beautiful old libraries of the world

The Renaissance Library Calendar is a publication in English by the Swedish ISIM publishing house presenting the most beautiful libraries of the world since 2001. Our library was honoured to be selected in the 2014 calendar along with other great and famous libraries of the world such as the libraries of the Vatican and Sorbonne, the Library of Congress, or the El Escorial. The Kalocsa Cathedral Library was the first Hungarian library to be selected in the calendar. The Baroque reading room of Archbishop Ádám Patachich, founder of the library, was selected for the month of June along with a short description of the history and the collection of the library. Today, the calendar is published and available in 38 countries of the world. The Swedish company is proud to publish its calendar in the following countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Finland, France, Greece, The Netherlands, Hong Kong, Croatia, India, Ireland, Island, Israel, Japan, Cambodia, Canada, Lithuania, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Great Britain, Germany, Norway, Russia, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Singapore, New Zealand, USA, the Vatican.


Photo of the Patachich room in the Swedish calendar




Bible Exhibition - 2008

The 150,000-volume collection of the Cathedral Library of Kalocsa is uniquely rich in codices and incunabula from the first decades of the publishing industry. A collection of nearly 1000 editions of the Holy Scriptures is kept here. Over 100 rare items of this rich collection are on display at The Bible exhibition held this year in one of the most beautiful baroque library halls of the country. In the 18th century, Archbishop Adam Patachich decorated the Baroque reading room with great care and artistic taste, which - thanks to the long-lasting gilded leather bindings of the volumes - still shines in its original splendor. This beautiful interior is housing the Bible exhibition of the Library. Our oldest Bibles can be seen quite rarely as they are the treasured gems of the collection. However, several parchments from the 13th century are now exhibited. Before the 13th century there were only few complete Bibles the copying of which was expensive and time-consuming, and the result was a giant-sized book that could be read only on a lectern. Instead, parts of the Bible - the Psalms, the Prophets, and most often the Gospels - were copied and bound together. The portable Bibles appeared in the 13th century and they quickly gained great popularity. Such an interesting and unique small pocket Bible written on a tissue-thin parchment with just a few-millimetre letters can also be admired at the exhibition. One of our most valuable 13th-century codices contains St. Paul's letters. The scriptural text was commented by Petrus Lombardus, the Archbishop of Paris in the 12th-century. This commentary is a jealously guarded treasure of just few libraries and is read by only a few scientists. Archbishop Adam Patachich bought one of the most artistically decorated parchments of the manuscript collection at a Viennese auction. The 15th-century Psalter is richly decorated with gilt initials and small pictures and miniatures between pictures.


We selected the finest Bible editions from among the incunabula, the first books printed in the 15th century. Hand-coloured engravings and Bibles decorated with pen-and-ink motifs originating in the famous ancient printing press in Nuremberg, Venice and Basel can also be seen.

The Catholic Church recognize the Vulgate as an authentic text since the Decision of the Council of Trent (1545-1563). Among the various Latin translations, Vulgate is the one that was mostly done by Jerome. Based on the Decision, a Committee was formed from the members of the Council to determine the flawless text of the Vulgate. In 1589, the Committee might have passed the text of the Vulgate to Pope Sixtus V, then the text was issued in Rome in 1590. This Roman Vulgate edition of 1590 can be seen along with several subsequent editions.

The collection is very rich in Protestant editions as well. Besides the first German translations by Luther, the Scripture that was signed by Luther and that was probably owned by himself is also on display at the exhibition. The scientific text editions are represented by the most famous polyglot (multi-language) Bibles. Along with the 16th-century Antwerp edition published in four languages (Hebrew, Chaldean, Greek and Latin) the 17th-century London edition is also exhibited. This Hebrew, Greek, Chaldean, Samaritan, Arabic and Persian six-volume work is a milestone in Biblical and Oriental languages research. In addition to the authentic texts, the exact Latin translations of them can be read facilitating their comparisons.

The motto of the exhibition comes from the Italian librarian of the library founder, Archbishop Adam Patachich: "Here is the Divine Scripture opening in thousand languages…” This quote suggests the library’s inexhaustible richness in Bibles in different languages. Of course, it is impossible to present all of them at the exhibition, but the most beautiful and interesting ones are on display: in addition to the editions in European languages (English, Italian, French, Polish, Czech, Romanian) Coptic, Persian, Chinese and Eskimo translations can be viewed.

Besides foreign language editions, the Hungarian translations of the Bible are featured as well. Together with the oldest printed, full-Hungarian translation of the Bible, the so-called Bible Vizsolyi, the first printed Hungarian-language Bible, the Vienna-edition of 1626 translated by György Káldi is also part of the exhibition.

Bibles decorated with artistic engravings, old and rare Biblical maps and special-sized editions make the exhibition a truly unforgettable and memorable experience.



Híradások - beszámolók az eseményről:








Astronomy exhibition - 2009

Exhibition in Honour of the International Year of Astronomy

2000 years of astronomy books in

From Ptolemy to Gyula Fényi
A selection of rarities of the History of Astronomy from the Cathedral Library of Kalocs

Ptolemy Copernicus Tycho de Brache Kepler Galilei

The International Astronomical Union and UNESCO designated 2009 as the International Year of Astronomy. This anniversary is closely related to the great events of the history of astronomy, as it was four hundred years ago, in 1609, when a telescope for astronomical observations was first used. Galileo Galilei was the one whose observations confirmed Copernicus' Sun-centred worldview, so the beginning of modern astronomy is strongly linked to the observations made 400 years ago. The book, “Astronomia Nova” (“New Astronomy”) by Kepler was published 400 years ago.

The 150 thousand volumes of The Cathedral Library of Kalocsa is a uniquely rich collection of scientific works including a number of rarities in the history of astronomy. The exhibition comprises milestones of astronomy history of the last centuries: the selection of works by Ptolemy, Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, as well as the handwritten drawings of solar eruptions by the world-famous Jesuit astronomer, Gyula Fényi from Kalocsa.

According to its title, “From Ptolemy to Gyula Fényi”, the book exhibition offers a selection of aspirations of two millennia for a comprehensive understanding of the world. At the same time it provides both a longitudinal and cross section views of the picture and understanding of the Universe. Longitudinal section view as it presents the works in chronological order through thousands of years; cross-section view, as it provides different world descriptions written for readers of different interests.

In the Bible, we read about the Bethlehem star, one of the most famous astronomical phenomena that appeared in the sky at Jesus Christ's birth two thousand years ago. The exhibition features numerous woodcuts and medieval depictions of the star and the "three kings" who followed the star of Bethlehem. The story of the star and the Magi is one of the most interesting parts of the New Testament and perhaps the most depicted motifs of the Christmas festivities.

Scientific astronomy and calendar calculation developed from sky observations made by past civilized peoples. Beyond practical use, one always looked curiously at the world: how it formed, how it developed. But sometimes perhaps even the most down-to-earth mathematicians and philosophers of the most abstract thinking looked at the sky dreamily admiring the global phenomena. Probably there is no other astronomer whose name was written many times, as the second century’s Ptolemy working in Alexandria. The view of the world that was named after him (geocentric) determined the thinking of the scientific public opinion until the Copernican revolution. In the renaissance Europe his work was an incentive model. Visitors can admire several editions of his work published in the 16th century.

One of the oldest items of the exhibition is a richly illustrated Code of 1432, by Christian Brachaditz which presents the path of the planets and the distance of the stars. Examples of the practical application of astronomy and calculations typical to different ages can be found among the works presented. We should draw special attention to the great astronomer-mathematician Johannes Regiomontanus's copies of calendars dating from 1492. Christopher Columbus sailed and defined his geographic location based on the data of such a calendar.

Copernicus wrote his theory in the book called “Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres”. The Basel edition of his work from 1566 is one of the curiosities of the exhibition.

An exceptional rarity is Tycho Brahe, Danish astronomer's book printed in 1598, only a few recorded copies of which exist in the world.

Image and ideas about the world of astronomy can be seen in the late-medieval and Renaissance works. They are sometimes naively charming or of artistic pictures such as the engraving of the Schedel World Chronicle.

Papers on the celestial spectacles and the Planet are for a wider range of interested parties. In the Roman Imperial period “Poetic astronomy” was written by Hygius listing stories related to constellations. This tradition continued in the “modern constellations” by the Hungarian-born Miksa Hell in the 18th century.

The Hungarian aspects of the exhibition deserve special attention. For instance, Georg Peuerbach of Vienna, the admirer of János Vitéz and especially the German Regiomontanus, the astronomer of King Matthias and Archbishop Vitéz are closely related to the Hungarian Renaissance. Their work is represented in number of early printed works.

The representative of the Hungarian science resurging in the 18th century is Maximilian Hell, the director of Vienna observatory, whose first report on one of the most important expeditions in the north of Norway can be found in the library.

In addition to Kepler’s, Galileo’s and Newton’s works, astronomical atlases and books richly illustrated with stars make the exhibition unforgettable.

Of course, the Cathedral Library exhibition series would not be complete without the presentation of the publications by the Jesuit Astronomer of Kalocsa, the solar researcher Gyula Fényi. Thanks to Fényi’s supremely industrious solar observations, Kalocsa was better known than Budapest among the astronomers in the 19th and 20th centuries. 

Walking through the exhibition, we can get an overall picture of the journey mankind covered in two millennia to understand our universe better.  Behind the simple engravings of the incunabula and the valuable and still highly accurate observations by Gyula Fényi, one must feel the human pursuit of learning about nature, and disseminating knowledge.



The exhibition can be visited between March 21, 2009 and January 6, 2010.



Képes beszámolónk képeit Láng Klára és Gyarmati Szilvia készítette: Csillagászati kiállítás 2009

dr. Sajó Tamás ismertetője: Csillagképek

A Kalocsai Néplap tudósítása

Kalocsai Néplap: Csillagászati est

Kalohírek: Hit és tudomány találkozása Kalocsán

Magyar Csillagászati Egyesület: Régi csillagászati könyvek kiállítása Kalocsán

Keresztény Élet: 2000 év csillagászata Kalocsán

Evangélikus Élet: Csillagászattörténeti ritkaságok az érseki könyvtárban

Missionary Exhibition - 2010


Jesus' last command to the disciples was: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthias 28,19-20). The fulfilment of this command lasts until the end of time, and if intelligent beings are found somewhere in the Universe, our mission would also apply to them. Jesus gave a parable of what our mission will be like when He taught us about the tiny mustard seeds which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches. In other words, the Church provides accommodation for all the people within its walls. You might say that the history of the missions is the history of civilization and culture, as the Christ’s Ambassadors transmitted not only His teachings but other values of humanity as well to peoples to be evangelized.  At the same time we learned from them the history and the way of life of distant peoples. It happened in Hungary too, where King Saint Stephen asked for missionaries from the Pope and the neighbouring Christian peoples. Christianity in Hungarian became so strong that it had the power to evangelize other peoples in the most remote areas. This strength is proved by the work of the Jesuit monks who once lived in Kalocsa and the Kalocsa school nurses. They reached as far as the Far East where there are Christians today who are aware of the fact that missionaries came not only from Europe but also from Hungary, Kalocsa to be precise. The exhibition of the Archbishop Library and Treasury commemorates their arduous jobs, which often required imprisonment, suffering and martyrdom.

Balázs Bábel
Kalocsa-Kecskemét Archbishop


The temporary exhibition of the Archbishop Library called "Ambassadors for Christ, Missions, Trips and Pilgrimages” presents the story of preaching from the early apostles until the end of the 18th century. The history of the mission begins with the mission of the apostles. Jesus Christ sent his disciples to all people to preach the Gospel. Typical medieval depictions of the apostles can be seen in coloured wooden engravings in of one of the most magnificent incunabula of the Library, the “World Chronicle” by Hartmann Schedel that was issued in Nuremberg in 1493 as well as in prayer books illustrated with 16th-century engravings.

Liber chronicarum
Nürnberg: Anton Koberger, 1493.
GEORG RHAW: Hortulus animae.
Lustgarten der Seelen: Mit schönen lieblichen Figuren.
Wittemberg, 1550.


BIBLIA LATINA. Párizs, 13. sz.

The oldest codices of the library can be seen quite rarely as they are the treasured gems of the collection. However, several parchments from the 13th century are now exhibited. One of the most unique items of the exhibition is an extraordinary 13th-century edition of a small pocket Bible written on a tissue-thin parchment in just a few-millimetres’ letters. One of the most valuable codices of the library contains St. Paul's letters from 1250. These letters provide poignant details about the Apostle of the peoples. In addition to the manuscripts, the Apostle's missionary paths can be followed in an atlas published by Nicolas Sanson in 1711. Reports on travels to the Holy Land and on medieval pilgrimages are also on display.  Konrad Beck, a German traveller took part in a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 1483. In his handwritten diary, he describes his experiences and dangers they had to face during the trip. What is the most special in this book is that one of his late successors – to honour Konrad Beck - had the traveller’s 500-year-old beard piece bound in the cover of the book. Along with this masterpiece, the accounts of the Dominican monk, Felix Fabri of Ulm and the canon of Mainz, Bernhard von Breidenbach are also presented. The latter ones became the most popular medieval Holy Land guides. In addition to travel books, the natural science works by Konrad von Berg Megen that was published in 1475, and which is decorated with the engravings of imaginary creatures living in remote continents is also on display.

Prerequisites for the missionary activities that gained great momentum at the beginning of the modern age were set by the big discoveries. There are many rare maps and illustrated travelogues about the discoveries made in the 15th and 16th-century are on display at the exhibition. Especially valuable ones are the atlases by Abraham Ortelius or Gerardus Mercator.





Atlas novus. Amszterdam, 1638.

Ortelius's America is one of the most famous "New World" representations. "Atlas Novus" by Gerardus Mercator published in 1638 in Amsterdam is hand-coloured. “America”, a multi-volume collection with high-quality engravings was published in a Flemish copperplate engraver’s, Theodor de Bry's workshop in the late 16th century. Bartolomé de las Casas a Spanish Dominican monk devoted all his strength and ability to the Indians’ cause and endeavoured to alleviate their fate. In his work he published his accounts on the atrocities the Spanish and Portuguese conquerors committed. Many documents of the exhibition commemorate the missionary activities of various religious orders. The Jesuits and members of the mendicant orders brought the Christian faith undertaking enormous difficulties, often superhuman sacrifices or even a martyr’s death. Besides the Bengali, Tahiti, Hindustan and Tatar-language Scriptures that were used to present the faith, a meditation book copied on palm leaves is also available for visitors to see. This exotic manuscript was bought on the island of Ceylon in the 16th century. Original letters written by Jesuit missionaries from China in the 18th century are also on display along with the Chinese New Testament and the works of Matteo Ricci. The spread of Christianity in Japan dates back to St. Francis Xavier’s arrival on the island in 1549. His letters along with Arnoldus Montanus’ illustrations and maps from the 17th and 18th century provide insight into the history of the Japanese missions. The Japanese translation of the “Our Father” copied by a Kalocsa priest, Gyula Kanyó. His manuscript contains the prayer in 254 different languages.     




Híradások az eseményről:




Book History Exhibition - 2011

Könyvtörténeti kiállítás




Celebrating Great Anniversaries

Walking tour on Book History int he Archbishop Library

Selection of Book Rarities of Kalocsa Archbishop Library

The exhibition can be visited between April 1, and November 1, 2011



Celebrating Great Anniversaries – Walking tour on Book History in the Archbishop Library

In 2011 several anniversaries are commemorated: the peace agreement of Satu Mare closing the Rákóczi War of Independence was signed 300 years ago. Franz Liszt was born 200 years ago. The year of 1711 is a decisive date in publishing of books in Hungarian. The printed half of our national literature from the beginning up to the Satu Mare peace agreement was explored by Károly Szabó, a 19th-century historian and bibliographer in his book called “Old Hungarian Library”. The exhibition at the Kalocsa Archbishop Library commemorates both periods. Visitors are heartily welcome to a comprehensive walking tour in one of the most beautiful library rooms of the country, the Baroque reading room of the 18th-century Archbishop Adam Patachich to explore the collection of old Hungarian books and presentation of contemporary documents of the War of Independence. The exhibition presents the history of books from the beginning to the 18th century through bibliographical rarities. The exhibition shows the collection of the oldest written documents. The terracotta clay and rolling pin written in cuneiform is from the era of the priest-king Gudea of Lagas from the ancient Mesopotamia (around 2500 BC).

The oldest codices of the library can be seen quite rarely as they are the treasured gems of the collection. However many rare mediaeval manuscripts can be admired at the exhibition. The masterpiece of patience and diligence is 13th-century parchment “Biblia Latina”. This parchment is made of fetal lambs’ skin and on its almost transparently thin pages the entire Old and New Testament were written in tiny, 1 mm (pinhead-sized) letters.

The manuscript from 1250 that is richly decorated with initials contains St Paul’s letters. The scriptural text was commented by Petrus Lombardus, the Archbishop of the 12th-century Paris. This commentary is a jealously guarded treasure of just few libraries and is read by only a few scientists.

Szent Pál

The Aristotle Code includes four of his philosophical and ethical works. According to Code experts altogether only eight Aristotle Codices survived from the 13th century along with the book in Kalocsa. There is no date in the other seven copies but at the end of this thesis “The reasons”, year 1290 is indicated. The Hippocrates, Galenos Code was published in 1360. containing Hippocrates’saphorisms and predictions along with Galenos’s medical regulations translated and explained by a Montecassino monk, Constantine the African. Archbishop Adam Patachich bought one of the most artistically decorated parchments of the manuscript collection at a Viennese auction. The 15th-century Psalter is richly decorated with gilt initials and small pictures and miniatures between pictures.


The greatest rarities include a 15th-century printed board from 1452 glued to a Breviarium. The printed board is a high pressured reproduction process used before the invention of printing. The mid-15th century marks the beginning of a new era in the history of book culture. Thanks to Gutenberg's invention, printed books appear besides handwritten books. The first printed books from the 15th century, the incunabula are represented by the most beautiful editions. Publications with hand-coloured engravings that are decorated with pen-and-ink floral motifs and gilt initials originating in the famous ancient printing press in Mainz, Nuremberg, Venice and Basel can also be seen.


Aldus Manutius’, the famous Venetian master's work is prominent in the history of printing in the 16th century: he created today's small-format book. From his printing house in Venice several rare Greek and Latin language editions are on display together with Johannes Frobenius’ volumes from Basel. The renowned typographer's workshop published the works of the humanist scholar Erasmus of Rotterdam as well. Several of his publications are decorated with woodcuts by an excellent German painter and book illustrator: Hans Holbein. In addition to the works by Aldus, Frobenius’s books are the most beautiful 16th-century editions, outstanding masterpieces of the history of book art.

Reformation printers mainly printed publications in national languages. Our library preserves the most outstanding work of the printer, Hans Lufft from Wittenberg: a full, richly illustrated edition of the Luther Bible and the reformer’s own Bible.

A milestone in the history of astronomy is Copernicus' work “De revolutionibus orbium coelestium” – “Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres” – in which he published his theory on the Sun-centred (heliocentric) world system. Besides Copernicus's theory published in Basel in 1566, an exceptional rarity is Tycho Brahe’s, Danish astronomer’s book “Astronomiae instauratae Mechanica” that was printed in 1598 and only a few recorded copies of which exist in the world.

The founder of modern anatomy, Andreas Vesalius’ main work “De Humani Corporis Fabrica” – “On the Fabric of the Human Body” – is an epoch-making work in the history of medicine. The revised edition of his book published in Basel in 1555 was the peak performance of publication which was a hundred-years old then. Medical books and herbariums from the 16th century are lined up beside Vesalius’ anatomy. Lorenz Fries’ book “der Spiegel Artzney” released in Strasbourg in 1518 is the prototype of the contemporary medical books.

Among the old Hungarian books, visitors can see the Vizsoly Bible, the Chronicle by Heltai Gaspar, the unique copy of Gábor Pesti’s six-language dictionary from 1538, or a document by the famous Hungarian printer and letter-cutter, Miklós Misztótfalusi Kis. Legendary is the fate of a Tekirdag-toured prayer book the “Liliomkert” (“Lily Garden”). Rákóczi's man took it along to Turkey, where a bookbinder rebound it and burned his initials into the cover. The descendants of the exiles returned home only in the late 1780s and then gave the volume as a gift to Laszlo Kollonich, the Archbishop of Kalocsa.


During the 17th century, radical changes took place in the typography and book art thanks to the new artistic direction and style, the Baroque. Mathias Merian, a German typographer and engraver is known especially for his topography work and high quality cityscapes made with copperplate and scratch techniques. Lavishly illustrated volumes of his series “Merian Theatrum Europaeum” or “Topographia” represent this era. During the 17th century, the Netherlands rose to high rank in the European book culture. The Flemish Leiden became a prominent city in Europe thanks to the Elzevir printer family operating here. The exhibition houses the country studies of the Elzevirs, that is a series of small-sized, stylish booklets containing descriptions of the country. Germany did excellent work in illustrating scientific books, especially in terms of plant and animal books. Reference books with bird, insect and plant images became especially popular. In the 18th century a number of publications saw the light of day in this genre, each of which is equipped with a comprehensive series of copperplates including hand-coloured illustrations as well. In addition to the richly coloured science books the gilded volumes of the Great French Encyclopaedia also delight the viewer


The exhibition shows the memories of Franz Liszt’s visit to Kalocsa. Along with Liszt's original letters and some contemporary photographs, visitors can see his chorus with his own handwritten dedication that he offered to Lajos Haynald, the Archbishop of Kalocsa.



Liszt és Haynald

Híradások az eseményről:




World Religions Exhibition - 2012

The world’s religions

The 18th-century Patachich Baroque Reading Room of the Cathedral is housing the “World Religions” temporary exhibition this year. During the walk tour through the reading room visitors can see a selection of our documents about forgotten religious cultures of ancient times representing different world religions. The first formed religious system about which we may have some information thanks to various archaeological findings is the so-called Megalithic religion. Its existence is proved by megaliths – large stones - used in cult installations and burial structures. The religion itself was named after them. The most famous one of these structures is the Stonehenge in England, a German description of which with an engraving from the 18th century is displayed. The oldest written documents of the collection are from the ancient Mesopotamia.  The terracotta clay and rolling pin written in cuneiform is from the era of the priest-king Gudea of Lagas from the ancient Mesopotamia (around 2500 BC). In addition to the precious objects, famous constructions of the ancient Mesopotamian religion, “ziggurats” - temple towers - stretching to the sky are featured on engraved plates in Olfert Dapper’s book called “Asia” published  in Nuremberg in 1681 and in Köhler – Weigel’s “Orbis Descriptio Antique” (“Description of the Ancient World”) atlas from 1720



Pecsethenger Asia Köhler 

The colourful religious mythology of the ancient Egypt is represented by a number of beautifully illustrated works. The real character of the Egyptian religion was the faith in afterlife. The monumental pyramids prove that the matter of life after death was essential. The magnificent pyramids, the ornate sarcophagi, hieroglyphics and pictures painted on the walls of tombs appear in the works of Athanasius Kircher and Laurentius Pignorius in the 17th century.

Kircher  PIgnorius

Today, most of the public knows the stories of the Greek mythology from the Roman poets’ narratives. The richest in this regard is the Roman poet’, Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” (“Transformations”). Homer's Trojan War epics - the Iliad and Odyssey – describes the Olympian gods. Ovid's "Transformations" was published by the Schöffer printing house in Mainz in 1545, Homer's Odyssey was printed by Alexander Weissenhorn in Augsburg in 1538.

Ovidius Homeros

The religion of the once flourishing empires on the American continent disappeared without a trace along with the peoples living there. Compared to the Mayans peaceful, pious, scholarly beliefs Central America's other great imperial culture created by the Toltec-Aztec was much more militant and aggressive. Among the world’s great religious cultures only the Aztecs culture is characterized by mass human sacrifice: tens of thousands of prisoners were sacrificed every year to feed and appease the gods. A multi-volume collection called “America” was published by the Flemish engraver, Theodor de Bry at the end of the 16th century. Thanks to the magnificent engravings, the descriptions in the book played a major role in forming the New World image in European public opinion. Matthäus Merian (1593-1650) a Swiss publisher, printer, engraver and artist who is especially known for his  topography work published “Newe Welt und Historien Americanische” (“New World and the American History”) in Frankfurt in 1653 and contains illustrated reports on the bloody rites of the Aztecs.

America Merian

The Jewish religion is presented in several spectacular documentaries. The exhibition shows the first printed Torah from 1521 and the Rabbinic Bible (in Hebrew: Mikraot Gedolot) printed in Daniel Bomberg’s printing house in Venice between 1546-1548. The book includes the full Hebrew Bible in Aramaic translation with authoritative rabbinical comments of the era. The Pentateuch includes the written portion of the Torah; the Talmud is a rabbinic discourse over the oral law. In addition to the 1765-edition of the Babylonian Talmud from Sulzbach, huge folio volume of the Bibliotheca Magna Rabbinical is also presented. The famous work was published in Latin in Rome between 1675-1694 and it comprises the entire Jewish literature in Alphabet order from bibliographic point of view. The Mishneh Torah Maimonides (1138-1204), Sephardic Jewish rabbi, physician and philosopher’s main work is a summary of Jewish law in 14 volumes. The book, for centuries, had a decisive impact on the science of Judaism, many copied and commented its manuscripts and it had numerous print editions. To this day it is considered one of the major works of the Jewish religion science. The Mishneh Torah from 1809 might be one of the last publications printed by the Dyhernfurt May press.

Tóra Talmud Rabbinica Maimonidesz

The most important sacred text of Christianity is the Bible. One of the most valuable manuscripts of the collection includes St Paul's letters. The code was copied in 1250 in Paris and it is decorated with gilded and painted initials.

Szent Pál I. Szent Pál II.

The masterpiece of patience and diligence is the 13th-century parchment “Biblia Latina” written in tiny letters. Among the codices, the library’s most beautiful, artistically decorated parchment can be seen as well. The 15th-century Psalter is lavishly decorated with gilt initials, floral motifs and small pictures and miniatures between texts.

The Christians belong to many different religious groups around the world. The exhibition houses the three main trends: Catholicism, Protestantism and Orthodoxy. One of the most beautiful pieces in the collection is a richly decorated metal-clad gospel book used in the former Malecz (Russia) Orthodox church. The volume introduction lists the names of all those who financially contributed to the production - printing, binding or decoration -, which also indicates that it is not an ordinary publication, but a liturgical book that was individually produced at high costs and was intended to be set at a special place.

Malecz Malecz II.

The Protestant theology’s most outstanding pieces are also presented: contemporary editions of Luther’s, Calvin’s, Melanchthon’s and Zwingli’s works. The library keeps Martin Luther's own Bible signed by the reformer himself.

Institucio Luther

The most famous historical Atlas of the 18th century is the “Atlas Historique” by Henry Abraham Chatelain issued in Amsterdam. The seven-volume work was constantly made between 1705-1720. The image of the Grand Mosque in Mecca is featured in Volume 5 of the series. The shrine and mosque built around the Black Stone is the Islamic world's most important religious monument, the spiritual home of the Muslim community (umma), the holiest place. Besides the image of the Mecca mosque, Arab-Turkish-language manuscripts are on display from the 16th, 17th century. The 16th-century Arabic manuscript has a golden brown goatskin binding with oriental arabesque decoration, a typical Arab-Persian composition.

Arab I. Arab II.

Along with the India Maps by the French geographer, Nicolas Sanson of the 17th century and the British cartographer, James Rennell of the 18th century, books on Hinduism and Buddhism are also on display. Among others, the “Brahma Vaivarta Purana”, a dissertation in Sanskrit language and a Buddhist meditation written on palm leaves in Pali language from the 16th century can also be viewed. The exotic manuscript comprises one of the most famous and most popular speeches of Buddha: the “Satipatthana Sutta”.

Brahma Ganesa Sanscrit



A series of richly illustrated volumes report on China’s and Japan’s beliefs:  Joseph Marie Amiot and Jean Baptist Du Halde French Jesuit monks presented China, Arnoldus Montanus, Dutch historian and Engelbert Kaempfer German doctor wrote about their experiences encountered in Japan in their travelogues.

Montanus Japán

Walking among the display cases, visitors can admire the antiquity researcher’s, Bernard de Montfaucon’s artistic design albums as well as the great milestones of the history of cartography like Abraham Ortelius’, Gerardus Mercator’s world map or J. Baptist Homann’s, and Matheus Seutter’s folders on America and Asia.

Ortelius Atlas Novus Mercator


The temporary exhibition can be visited between April 1, and November 1, 2012.

A kiállítás plakátja

Képek a kiállításról






Frédéric Barbier was our guest – Oct, 2013

Frederic Barbier és Zita

Frédéric Barbier is a professor and Honorary Doctorate of many universities and he is perhaps the most well-known book and library history specialist in Europe. His works have been translated into many languages.
In his book history blog he accounts his visit to Kalocsa: http://histoire-du-livre.blogspot.hu/

Church history exhibition - 2013

„E Jelben győzni fogsz!”

Church history exhibition

In 2013, the 1700th anniversary of the Edict of Milan, a document proclaimed by Constantine the Great to ensure religious freedom for Christians is commemorated worldwide. Twenty years ago in 1993 Pope John Paul II issued his bulla Hungarorum Gems, in which as part of the national modification of the diocesan boundaries the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kalocsa-Kecskemét came into being. The temporary exhibition of the Archbishop Library of Kalocsa commemorates both eminent anniversaries. Through the documents displayed our visitors can learn about church history from the persecution of Christians to the recent centuries. The proclamation of the Edict of Milan was preceded by the centuries-long persecution of Christians. In his works Eusebius Cesareai ancient historian provides a detailed account of the persecution of Christians of the first centuries. The Eusebius Code of the 15th century collection is decorated with many painted initials.


In addition to the Code many 17-18th century volumes illustrated by copper engravings are lined up in the Library about this period, including the Roma Subterrannae released in 1659 to give one of the first pictorial descriptions of the Original Christian gathering places, the catacombs. Constantine the Great legalized the exercise of Christianity in the Roman Empire and protected from the religious prosecution of Christians. By the 8th century Christianity became the most adopted religion in Europe and the surrounding areas, and the period of consolidation began. There are many 16-17th century depictions of Constantine the Great in our exhibition, including the image of the Emperor by Hubert Goltzius German graphic artist and historian released in 1557.


He created engravings depicting Roman Emperors after finding original coins. He placed the colored wood-engravings in chronological order and wrote a biography of all the Roman Emperors primarily in Latin, but also released them in German, French and Italian. In addition to Goltzius’ book, Schedel’s hand-painted and wood-engraved World Chronicle also depicts Constantinople.
In the centuries following Constantine the Great Christianity spread in the whole territory of the Roman Empire. The exhibition commemorates many missionary apostles, including St. Patrick, St, Columban and St, Martin. In the Golden Legend of Jacobus de Voragine monk the biography of saints can be found. The book’s popularity in the Middle Ages surpassed all imagination, it was translated into almost every European language. For those interested in the Middle Ages the Legend relays a vast millennial cultural treasure. Both the 1488 Nuremberg edition and the 1521 Strasbourg edition of the famous work are shown.


The Codes displayed in the exhibition comprehensively represent the book art and the world of the Middle Ages. The Biblia Latina was copied onto thin parchment film with letters only a few millimeters in size in the 13th century. One of the most valuable handwritten manuscripts of the collection is the letters of St. Paul commented and elaborately decorated with gilded initials by Petrus Lombardus Parisian Archbishop of the 12th century. The commentary had been read by only a few scientists and is the jealously guarded treasure of only a few libraries today.

Szent PálSzent Pál

The founder of the library, Adam Patachich Archbishop bought one of the most beautiful parchment codes of the library in an auction in Vienna. The 15th century Book of Psalms is elaborately decorated with gilt initials, small in-text pictures and miniatures. The preconditions of the dynamic missionary activity in the beginning of the Modern Era were created by great geographical discoveries. The rare pieces of the library’s collection of maps expressively present the newly discovered continents.

Szív alak

Visitors can admire the rare gems of cartography history, including the 1564 world map of Girolamo Ruscelli,


the heart-shaped cosmographical representation of the world map by Janos Honterus from 1558, or one of the large atlases by Gerardus Mercator, Abraham Ortelius or Nicolaus Sanson. At the end of the 16th century in the copper-engraver workshop of Flemish engraver Theodor de Bry appeared the multi-volume collection named America with high-quality engravings. The works of Spanish monk Bartolomeo de Las Casas are the era’s valuable documents and the most important sources of the Spanish colonization. In his work exhibited he reported about the ferocity of Spanish and Portuguese conquerors.

AmericaLass Casas

In the exhibition many documents commemorate the various religious orders and missionary activities of convents. The Jesuits and members of the mendicant orders endured enormous difficulties, often made superhuman sacrifices and even accepted martyr death to spread the Christian faith in distant continents. Besides the Chinese, Hindustan and Tatar-language scriptures used to spread faith Buddhist meditation books written on palm leaves in Pali language can be found. The exotic manuscript was bought in the Island of Ceylon by Jesuit missionaries in the 16th century. St. Francis Xavier arrived in Japan in 1549 and this date signifies the spread of Christianity on the island. The letters of St. Francis Xavier, the guide books of Arnoldus Montanus and the maps and illustrations of the 17-18th century provide insight into the history of Japanese missions. The Tibetan translation of Our Father was copied by Gyula Kanyó priest from Kalocsa. There are versions in 254 different languages in the handwritten volumes. The documents found in the exhibition present the history of the Archdiocese of Kalocsa.

AsztrikSzent Korona

These include descriptions of the Saint Crown illustrated with engravings, documents about St. Stephen King, the founder of the archdiocese, Asztrik, the Archbishop who brought the crown from Pope Sylvester II and the 1575 and 1545 chronicles of Gáspár Heltai and Antonio Bonfini.


Stephen Katona Jesuit historiographer published a two-volume work in 1800 about the history of the Archdiocese. Besides his precious manuscripts the first printed map of the diocese can be seen from 1801. The church history exhibition is held in one of the most beautiful library rooms of the country, in the 18th century baroque reading room of Archbishop Adam Patachich. The exhibition takes place between April 1st 2013 and December 31st 2013. (daily from 9am to 5pm excluding Mondays). Address: Archbishop Palace -6300 Kalocsa, Szentháromság Square 1.





Híradások az eseményről:




Holy streams, rivers, lakes and seas exhibition - 2014

Holy streams, rivers, lakes and seas
Temporary exhibition in the library of the Cathedral Library of Kalocsa

„Áldott légy Urunk, Víz-Húgunkért, oly nagyon hasznos ő, oly drága, tiszta és alázatos.”
(Szent Ferenc Naphimnuszából)

Water is the source of life, an essential and mysterious element. Earth, air, fire and water – in ancient times it was believed that these four elements make up our world. Earth’s surface is covered by two-thirds of water. This is the fluid that carries the embryo, the egg cell of all development and growth. This is the basic constituent of all organic materials and it is vital for all living things: humans, animals and plants alike. Its existence provides growth and its absence causes death and destruction.
This year in the 18th century baroque Patachich room of the Cathedral Library of Kalocsa a temporary exhibition opened: Holy streams, rivers, lakes and seas. Visitors can learn about the crucial role of water in human life, history, the development of great cultures and civilizations and its rich symbolism of the various religions through thematically placed documents.
We can read about ancient water in the Account of Creation. In the dawn of creation the spirit of God hovered over the waters and made it the source of all assets. The focus of Prehistory is one of the most popular short stories of the Bible, the story of the flood. In the biblical story of the Genesis Flood water signifies life, purgation, recreation and transcendence from the Red Sea crossing and the baptism of Jesus to the episode of foot-washing. On the 15-16th century illustrations exhibited the Bible’s stories come to life illustrated with pictures, including the 1541 Wittenberg edition of Martin Luther’s translation of the Bible and the 1493 World Chronicle of Hartmann Schedel doctor from Nuremberg.


A medieval representation of the six-day long Account of Creation can be seen in a 13th century French parchment Code. The Genesis Flood and an etching of Noah’s Ark in a small rhymed bible summary decorated with the etching of Hans Holbein were created in 1543 in Lyon.


In ancient times Egypt was located in the valley of the Nile while Mesopotamia was situated between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. A common characteristic of Egypt and Mesopotamia was their irrigated agriculture, the regulation of rivers and construction of canals. In ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt and the Greco-Roman mythology water plays a key role.


In Egyptian mythology Hapi is the God of Nile, in Greek mythology Poseidon is the God of Sea, his power extends to rivers and lakes as well. Mythological summaries, ancient maps and spectacular art history albums can also be found in the exhibition. Among the beautifully illustrated works of Joachim von Sandrart 17th century German painter and engraver an outstanding art-historical source is the Teutsche Akaemie der edlen Blau-, Bild – und Malereikünste published in 1768 in Nuremberg.

Water appears as a symbol of cleanness in many world religions, such as the ritual of bathing in sacred rivers or the ritual of washing hands. Hindus believe the Ganges embodies Ganga, the Goddess of purgation and even a drop from the river can purify the souls of the faithful pilgrims from their earthly sins. Ritual bathing is a permanent duty of all Muslim believers, for this very reason their bath culture had become extremely developed in the Middle Ages. Not far from the entrance of the Japanese Sinto Shrines there is a room where the faithful wash their hands and lips before they enter the shrine. In “Asia”, the work of Olfert Dapper published in 1681 in Nuremberg and the 18th century engravings of Swiss engraver, David Herrlieberger Hindu and Buddhist water-related ceremonies come to life.


Many richly illustrated works, such as the travelogues of Arnoldus Montanus Dutch historian and Engelbert Kaempfer German doctor provide information about the religious beliefs of China and Japan. In Georg Bodenschatz’s work (Aufrichtig teutsch redender Hebraer, Lepizig, 1956) we can also read about the mikveh, the bath created for the bathing rituals of Jews.


Water is essential for the human body, since it has to perform many tasks. Of the books related to anatomy, the human body and medicine many rare works about the history of medicine can be found in the exhibition. The Code of Hippocrates and Galen was created in 1360.


It contains the aphorisms and prognostication of Hippocrates and the medical acts of Galen translated and explained by African Constantine. One of our most beautifully bound Codices is a 314 page-long manuscript written in German and copied together by Konrad Schrecken in 1472. The manuscript collection includes 8 important pieces and this is also where we find the description of “water of life” among others.

De humani Corporis Fabrica, the work of Andreas Vesalius published in 1555 in Basel is a landmark in the history of medicine.


In the European and Hungarian Christian culture holy places are pilgrimage areas where often a spring or fountain is in the center of honor, or at least it is a part of it. Beside our holy shrines we often find holy fountains as well. The work Puteus aquarum viventium published in Hungarian in Nagyszombat in 1743 describes the wonders of the Mariavolgy shrine.

The Hungarian Spa culture is more than 2000 years old. The ruins of former baths, frescos and mosaics prove that the even the Romans discovered and used these thermal baths. The dissertation of Elias Oesterreicher (Analyses aquarum Budensium, 1781) describes the chemical composition of the fountains of Buda and other Hungarian springs through 283 pages. In 1783 Janos La Langue published a volume about the medical waters of Hungary. The study of Ferenc Nyulas published in 1800 in Cluj Napoca : Az Erdély országi orvos vízeknek bontásárólközönségesen, is the first major work published in Hungarian with chemical subject. Our visitors can also find two 19th century maps about the Hungarian thermal and medical baths in our exhibition. The thermal spa map of Ferenc Deutsch was published in Hungarian in 1849. His aim was to discover and review impeccable quality mineral waters that are suitable for consumption and are useful for preventing and treating various diseases. The artistically designed album of ancient researcher Bernard de Montfaucon, the big milestones of cartography history, such as the world map of Abraham Ortelius and Gerardus Mercator, or the portfolios of J.Baptist Homan, Matheus Seutter and Luigi Ferdinanso Marsigli delight visitors.

The temporary exhibition is held in one of the most beautiful libraries of the country, in the 18th century baroque reading room of Archbishop Adam Patachich from March 22nd, 2014 to December 31st 2014. (daily from 9am to 5pm except Mondays).





Víz világnapja - ADUVIZIG

The History of Music in the Archbishop's Library - 2015




The History of Music in the Archbishop's Library

Download poster

For the 1000th anniversary of European musical notation (Guido of Arezzo /991-1050/ Italian Benedictine and music theorist, inventor of the modern musical notation) and the 330th anniversary of the birth of Johann Sebastian Bach. This year we have made a selection of documents that are related to music and to the history of music to remember and honour the greatest musicians and music theorists.
The first part of the temporary exhibition explores the history of music in ancient times. Only a little musical heritage left from ancient times. Our knowledge of ancient music is very limited and mostly of musical events during festive or cult occasions and of the most common instruments that can be seen in ancient pictures. Decorated instruments found during excavations in Ur prove that instruments were already made in the 3rd millennium BC. Music was a key element of the Sumer civilization. The musicians of the religious ceremonies in ancient Egypt were priests who accompanied female vocalists on their instruments. The texts of the temple ceremonies were sung by choruses. Later, trumpets, recorders, double reeds, clarinets, tambourines, wooden ratchets, drums and sistrums broadened the list of instruments. Sistrum was a sacred instrument in ancient Egypt and it was often used during religious ceremonies. L'antiquité expliquée et représentée en figure (Antiquity Explained and Represented in Diagrams) (1721-1735), a book of 15 volumes by French Benedictine monk Bernard de Montfaucon contains copperplate folio engravings of classical instruments and their usage including the sistrum. The musical heritage of Mesopotamia and Egypt are presented in the works of Olfert Dapper and Laurentius Pignorius illustrated with 17th century engravings.

Vízek  Víz

Among all ancient cultures, the role of music was most significant in the Greek world because that is where music first became part of the general knowledge. Music was an internal part of religious ceremonies, performances of Greek plays and the Olympic Games.

Víz  Víz

Greek music theory was essential in later times, as well. The copper-plate engravings of German painter and engraver Joachim von Sandrart in his 1768 work titled Teutsche Academie der Bau- Bildhauer- und Maler-Kunst illustrate Greek religious ceremonies and instruments. Have a look at the fascinating work of famous Baroque painter of Bologna, Annibale Carracci, titled Bacchanalia (Rome, 1753).


Music is present in the Bible, too. Several books of the Old Testament is about music. Having finished the building of the temple in Jerusalem, Solomon arranged an orchestra: more than a thousand priests played their instruments during major religious ceremonies. The Bible dictionary (Dictionnaire historique… de la Bible, Paris, 1730.) by French Benedictine monk and theologian Augustin Calmet depicts the enthralling musical celebrations in the Temple of Jerusalem. The most famous of all the 16th-century illustrated Bible editions is a 1541 Luther Bible from Wittemberg with the engravings of Luca Cranach and the Latin 1583 Christopher Plantin Bible from Antwerp which contains several music-related engravings.
The codices exhibited represent the world of music, the art of books and Biblical texts through music. In the 13th century Biblia Latina was handwritten in tiny letters of only a few millimetres on film-like parchment. One of the most valuable manuscript of our collection is an edition of the letters of St. Paul with the commentary of 12th century Archbishop of Paris, Petrus Lombardus. The edition is heavily ornamented with gilded initials.


His commentary edition today is considered a rarity owned by only a few libraries and read only by a small number of scholars. Founder of the library, Archbishop Ádám Patachich, bought one of the most beautiful parchment codices of the library at an auction in Vienna. The 15th-century psalm book is richly decorated with gilded initials, small images and miniatures. The initial capital letter depicts the portrait of King David playing the harp.

Víz  Zsoltár  Zsoltár

Words of the Bible are present in Gregorian chants, psalms and antiphons. Gregorian chants are ancient, official, Latin-language songs of the Roman Catholic Church. Pope Gregory I (590-604) was the first to organize the full body of plainchants of the Catholic Church. Moreover, he collected song melodies of his era. In addition to the codices containing 14-15th century Gregorian music sheets,

Víz, kotta  Kotta

hymns and antiphons (Missale ad usum laicorum. Missale cum sequentiis, hymnis, antiphonis),  our exhibition presents a 14th century edition of Dialogues by Saint Gregory the Great.
Secular music of the Middle Ages were represented by courtly poetry which originated in France. Partly influenced by France, musical poetry of the German chivalry called "Minnesang" evolved, too. The old German word, Minnesang, means "love-song" since the main theme of the songs were love. Along with the noble singers, there were minnesängers of the middle-class who added to the glory of the courts. During the Renaissance, there were more and more official and amateur musicians who earned a valued place and fame all across Europe. Renaissance was the golden age of choruses and vocal singers. A wide variety of wind, bowed string and keyboard instruments were known at the time but the favourite instrument of the era was the lyre. Woodcut illustrations of singers playing the lyre and Renassaince dances appear in many books including Schedel's World Chronicle published in 1493 in Nuremberg and the 16th century editions of the works by Cicero, Boethius, Boccaccio, and Petrarca.

Víz  Víz  Víz

Víz  Víz

Baroque music has the biggest influence on music styles. Musical forms and genres that are still common today appeared in the era. Vocal and instrumental music started becoming an individual style of music and within vocal music, chorus and solo singing were differentiated. During this time, chamber music – music that is composed for a small group of instruments – appeared along with the Baroque orchestra that contained various types of instruments. The Baroque orchestra served as the model for today's symphony orchestras. The showcase presenting the history of Baroque music is featuring two works by Johann Mattheson (1681-1764) who was one of the most significant Baroque composers and music aestheticians of his era. His work, Der vollkommene Capellmeister, published in 1739 in Hamburg, serves as a guide for all the composers of any genre.
As part of the temporary exhibition, you can also see some of the moments of Franz Liszt's visit in Kalocsa including letters written by him and photos of him. Moreover, his choral work with his handwritten dedication to his friend Archbishop of Kalocsa Lajos Haynald is also part of the exhibition.

Liszt  Liszt

Please visit our Music History Exhibition in one of the most beautiful library rooms of Hungary, in the reading room of 18th century Archbishop Ádám Patachich. The exhibition is open from 30 Mach 2015 until 31 December 2015. (daily 9 AM – 5 PM, Mondays closed)



News on the event in Hungarian:





MR1 - Esti Séta