Johannes Giorderi Praest
by Roger Andersson
Johannes Giorderi Praest (d. 1391), priest brother at the Birgittine abbey of Vadstena, Sweden, 1384–1391, and a famous preacher.
As one of the first members of the male convent at Vadstena, Johannes Giorderi was present at the official inauguration of the Abbey in 1384 (NYBERG 1963, 36). In the years preceding this event, he probably functioned as deputy confessor general (cf. DV 53 n.). But already in the spring of 1374 he is known to have preached to large numbers of pilgrims gathered in Vadstena when the bones of the newly deceased >Sancta Birgitta were brought to Sweden from Rome. According to a contemporary account: “In the beginning, when the relics of our holy mother Saint Birgitta were translated from Rome to Vadstena, this worthy servant of God preached excellently and with the highest and utmost devotion every day of Lent to the people coming in crowds from all parts of the land” (Et in primordio, quando reliquie sacrosancte matris nostre sancte Byrghitte de Roma Watzstena sunt translate, iste dignus Dei famulus quolibet die per totam quadragesimam egregie predicauit plebi ex omnibus finibus terre cateruatim venienti cum summa et maxima deuocione; Uppsala, University Library, C 270, fol. 156r–v). Shortly afterward Johannes Giorderi appears as a member of the group which was commissioned by Bishop >Nicolaus Hermanni to examine the authenticity of the miracles that had been ascribed to St. Birgitta (A&P, 105, 107, 143, 176, 351; cf. FRÖJMARK 1992, 32, 106). He died on 11 June 1391 (DV 53).
The reputation of Johannes Giorderi rests mainly on his qualifications as preacher. The Diarium Vadstenense makes the following remarks after his death: “He had a great gift of preaching and was most fervent in preaching. By some people he was called the second Chrysostom, since he knew the whole Bible almost by heart. He collected and compiled several volumes of sermons for the whole year, both for saints’ days and for Sundays” (… qui graciam magnam habuit predicandi et ad predicandum ferventissimus erat. Hic ab aliquibus dicebatur secundus Chrysostomus: omnem enim bibliam scivit quasi cordetinus. Plura enim volumina sermonum tocius anni tam de sanctis quam de dominicis congregavit et compilavit; DV 53). Of these books only one has been handed down to our time, namely the important collection in C 270 of Uppsala University Library, which contains an ordered set of sermons for the Sundays of the entire liturgical year, apparently compiled after the author’s death (see the note from this manuscript quoted above). Whether this is the “…librum sermonum collectum per fratrem Johannem Prest” mentioned in DS 2941 is uncertain. Occasional references to sermons of Johannes Giorderi (for example in C 299, fol. 12v and C 308, fol. 218v) provide support for the popularity of his sermons. In ANDERSSON 2001 (98 ff.) it is demonstrated how Johannes in one of his sermons uses material from the Franciscan preachers Franciscus de Abbatibus and Philippus de Monte Calerio, and also how parts of this sermon are reused in Vadstena Abbey. A sermon on the biblical account of the wedding in Cana has been discussed briefly by HÄRDELIN (1998, 350 ff.) and the way he ends his sermons by means of formulas is studied in HEDLUND 2000 (esp. 139 f.).
- ANDERSSON, R. 2001: De birgittinska ordensprästerna som traditionsförmedlare och folkfostrare. En studie i svensk medeltidspredikan på den 8:e söndagen efter Trefaldighet (Runica et Mediævalia), Stockholm.
- A&P = Acta et processus canonizacionis beate Birgitte (SFSS ser. 2, 1), ed. I. Collijn, Uppsala 1924–1931.
- DV = Vadstenadiariet. Latinsk text med översättning och kommentar (Kungl. Samfundet för utgivande av handskrifter rörande Skandinaviens historia. Handlingar del 19), ed. C. Gejrot, Stockholm 1996.
- FRÖJMARK, A. 1992: Mirakler och helgonkult. Linköpings biskopsdöme under senmedeltiden (Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis. Studia historica Upsaliensia 171), Uppsala.
- HEDLUND, M. 2000: “Quod nobis concedat eller: Hur man slutar en predikan,” in Språkets speglingar. Festskrift till Birger Bergh, ed. A. Jönsson & A. Piltz, Lund, 137–45.
- HÄRDELIN, A. 1998: Kult, kultur och kontemplation. Studier i medeltida svenskt kyrkoliv (Opuscula selecta 2), Skellefteå.
- NYBERG, T. 1963: “Vadstena klosters pionjärer. En studie i Vadstenadiariets formelsystem,” Personhistorisk tidskrift 61, 1–40.