Thorirus Andreae

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by Roger Andersson

Thorirus Andreae (d. 1418), priest brother at the Birgittine abbey of Vadstena, Sweden, 1392–1418; important preacher and zealous worker for the spreading of the Birgittine Order.

On 4 August 1392 Thorirus Andreae entered Vadstena Abbey as one of the thirteen priest brothers (DV 71). During the following decade no documents provide further information about his life. In his own sermon collection (Uppsala University Library, C 259) the sermons seem to have been taken down in the same order as they were delivered. Since the manuscript is dated, his activity as a preacher can be studied for the years 1393¬–1400. We find him preaching about six to eleven times per year, quite in accordance with the regulations (see >Sermones Birgittini). We also know that he was responsible for the Memorial Book (Diarium Vadstenense) during different periods from 1392 on (GEJROT 1988, 18, 24–29, NYBERG 1976). Thorirus traveled abroad no less than three times on errands for the Abbey. Between 1402 and 1405 he visited Rome and the future daughter house, Paradiso, in Florence (HÖJER 1905, 128 ff., 153). Already in the following year (1406) he left again for Paradiso with the commission to work for the diffusion of the Order (DV 143). He returned in 1408 (DV 166). His third journey, which was also to be his last, had the reform council in Constance as destination. He left Vadstena in 1414 (DV 236). By means of letters he reported home about events at the synod and received further instructions from his confessor at Vadstena (cf. LOSMAN 1970, 35 ff.). On his way home in 1418 he died from complications caused by an inflammation in his right foot (DV 288; SD 2023, 2528). During his time in Constance Thorirus bought or made copies of quite a number of books, mostly theological texts and works useful for preaching (LOSMAN 1970, 39–49; FREDRIKSSON 1997, 37).


Thorirus himself compiled and wrote out a collection of both de tempore and de sanctis sermons (C 259, see above). The number of sermons amounts to more than 50. Some of them are copied from collections written by different foreign preachers, whereas others remain unidentified. His handwriting also occurs in a set of sermons in Uppsala, University Library, C 392 (fols. 384r–423v); it is also recorded in the huge copy-book of the Abbey, Stockholm, National Archives A 20, and is described in STÅHL 2003 (47 ff.). Thorirus often expands his sermons by means of quotations from the Revelations of St. Birgitta. His method of transforming a model sermon into a personal product may be studied in his sermon for the eight Sunday after Trinity (ANDERSSON 2001, 53 f., 84 f.). The main part of the sermon (expositio) is copied from Jacobus de Voragine’s sermon for this day, but Thorirus adds an introduction (exordium) in which he speaks in the first person. Hereafter he expounds the Gospel of the day verse by verse, partly using the Gloss of Nicolaus de Lyra (cf. ANDERSSON & BORGEHAMMAR 1997, 228 ff.) before turning to his main source. A sermon on the biblical account of the wedding in Cana is studied briefly by HÄRDELIN (1998, 357 ff.; though he treats it as an anonymous sermon) and HEDLUND 2000 (140) makes a few remarks about his method of ending his sermons. Apparently his sermons influenced other preachers of the abbey. On two occasions the famous preacher >Johannes Borquardi makes references to his sermons and some of them are copied in other Vadstena manuscripts.


  • 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.
  • ANDERSSON, R. & BORGEHAMMAR, S. 1997: “The Preaching of the Birgittine Friars at Vadstena Abbey (ca 1380–1515),” Revue Mabillon, n.s. 8 (t. 69), 209–36.
  • 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.
  • FREDRIKSSON, A. 1997: Vadstena klosters bibliotek: en analys av förvärv och bestånd (Vadstenabrödernas predikan. Meddelanden 3), Uppsala.
  • GEJROT, C. (ed.) 1988: Diarium Vadstenense. The Memorial Book of Vadstena Abbey. A Critical Edition with an Introduction (Acta universitatis Stockholmiensis. Studia Latina Stockholmiensia 33), Stockholm.
  • 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.
  • HÖJER, T. 1905: Studier i Vadstena klosters och birgittinordens historia intill midten af 1400-talet, Uppsala.
  • LOSMAN, B. 1970: Norden och reformkoncilierna 1408–1449 (Studia historica Gothoburgensia 11), Göteborg.
  • NYBERG, T. 1976: “Das sogenannte Vadstena-Diarium, libellulus [sic] des Tore Andersson,” Grundwissenschaften und Geschichte. Festschrift für Peter Acht (Münchener Historische Studien. Abteilung Geschichtischen Hilfswissenschaften 15), München, 218–34.
  • SD = Svenskt diplomatarium från och med 1401 (ed. C. Silfverstolpe & K.H. Karlsson), vols. I–IV, Stockholm 1875–1904.
  • STÅHL, P. 2003: “Vadstena klosters stora kopiebok. En presentation av handskriften A 20 i Riksarkivet,” Kyrka, helgon och vanliga döda (Årsbok för Riksarkivet och Landsarkiven), Stockholm, 35–64.