Hesburgh Libraries has just acquired the first edition of an extremely rare German-language Catholic Martyrology that was edited by the famed Jesuit scholar-saint, Peter Canisius (1521-1597). The work, Martyrologium: der Kirchen-Kalender, darinnen angezeiget werden, die christlichen Feste und Heiligen Gottes beyder Testamente (Dilingen, 1562), was apparently undertaken by one Adam Walasser, who enlisted Canisius’ help while the latter was in Augsburg. Canisius’ name appears prominently on the title-page, while Walasser only takes credit in the dedication leaf—probably because Canisius was becoming well known by this time.
The purpose of this Martyrology seems to have been two-fold: first, the authors wanted to appeal to the German Catholic population in the German language, especially since Protestantism had been making significant inroads using the vernacular language; second, the authors recognized the need for a scholarly revision of Martyrological texts in order to conform more accurately with known historical facts. In this respect, Canisius anticipated the call for similar revisions by the Council of Trent (which would conclude the year after the publication of this work)—by the end of the 16th century, other revised Roman Martyrologies had been published.
We have found no other North American library holdings of this edition.