THE MASS OF THE WESTERN RITES
By the Right Reverend Dom Fernand Cabrol
Theologians, historians, and liturgiologists are to-day in agreement in
recognizing that the Mass is the most important function of all Christian
worship; and that the greater part of the other rites are in close relation
with the Eucharist.
This affirmation rests upon the most serious study of Christianity, in
antiquity as well as in the Middle Ages; and the various works regarding
the Mass, which have been multiplied in recent years, have merely confirmed
this truth. More and more have the faithful, in their turn, become
convinced of it; while even those who are without the Faith are beginning
to interest themselves in the Mass, and to endeavor to know more of its
history and to understand its meaning.
These facts explain the number of books which have recently appeared on
this subject. A glance at the Bibliography printed at the end of this
Preface will suffice to give an idea of their extent, and may serve as a
guide to those who wish to study the question more deeply. This
consideration might have dissuaded us from adding to all these works (some
of which are excellent) another book on the Mass. But we may first remark
that the "Bibliotheque catholique des sciences religieuses" had, from
the beginning, comprehended in its plan a volume on the Latin Mass as one of
the elements of its synthesis.
Further, it may be noticed that the larger number of the books whose titles
we quote are chiefly, and sometimes entirely, occupied with the Roman Mass,
while our own plan comprises a study of the Latin, or Mass of the Western
Rites; that is, of the Mass as celebrated in Africa, Gaul, Spain, Great
Britain, and Northern Italy and in the other Latin countries in the Middle
Ages, as well as in Rome.
Now this comparison of the different Latin rites is most suggestive. Better
than all other considerations it reveals first the relationship of these
rites, and the fundamental unity of all the liturgies under their different
forms. Then, as we shall see, it throws light on the rites of the Roman
Mass which, consequently on the suppression of some of their number, can
only be understood by comparison with more complete rites. It must be added
that the Mass is so rich in material that each may study it from his own
point of view, and while receiving much benefit from the latest works on
the same subject, may present his own under a new aspect. Thus, following
Mgr. Duchesne's book, Mgr Batiffol thought it worth while to give us his
"Lecons sur la Messe;" and assuredly no one will consider that these
"Lessons" are a repetition of the work of his illustrious predecessor, or
of any of the other books already published upon this subject.
To those who may recognize in our own study views already exposed by one or
other of the authors quoted, we may remark that many articles in our
"Dictionnaire d'archeologie chretienne et de liturgie" (anamnese, anaphore,
canon, etc.) had taken chronological precedence of the greater part of
these books, so that in drawing inspiration from them we have but made use
of the "jus postliminii."
This, then, is the line we shall follow in this new study of the Mass; and,
while conforming with chronology, it seems to us at the same time to be the
most logical. We shall first examine the Mass in the first three centuries,
during which a certain liturgical unity reigned, and while the different
Christian provinces of the West had not each created its own special
liturgy. We shall then explain (Ch. II) how and why, from the fourth to the
seventh century, those liturgical characteristics which distinguish the
various Latin families became definite. According to these principles we
shall attempt to establish the classification of these liturgical families
and their genealogy.
In the following chapters we shall rapidly sketch the general
characteristics of the Mass in Africa, Gaul, Spain, Milan, and Great
Britain. It goes without saying that the Roman liturgy having become our
own, as well as that of the West (with rare exceptions), and also that of
the East, the Far East, and the New World--in short, of most Christian
countries--it demands detailed study, as well as a close following of its
historical development from the fifth to the twentieth century.
We have, according to the usual method, placed in an Excursus certain
questions which would have delayed the progress of the work, since they can
be studied separately. Such are: the chants of the Mass, the liturgical
gestures, the meaning of the word "Missa," the ancient books now united in
the existing Missal, the different kinds of Masses, etc. We hope that those
who are willing to follow us on these lines will arrive at certain
conclusions, and, if they are not specialists (for whom this book is not
written), that their ideas as to the great Christian Sacrifice will be
clearer and more precise.
The Mass as it is to-day, presents itself under a somewhat complicated form
to the non-Catholic, and even to a large number of the faithful. The
ceremonies, readings, chants, and formulas follow each other without much
apparent method or logic. It is a rather composite mosaic, and it must be
confessed that it does seem rather incoherent. Rites, indeed, have been
added to rites; others have been rather unfortunately suppressed, and where
this is the case, gaps, or what have been styled "gaping holes," appear.
But the historical and comparative method applied in this book explains the
greater part of these anomalies, making it fairly easy to reconstitute the
synthesis of the Mass, to grasp the guide-line, and, once in possession of
the general idea which has presided at all these developments, to
understand the whole better when light is thus thrown on the details.
The Mass thus studied throughout its different epochs reveals a magnificent
theological and historical thesis. We have not been able to insist on this
point as strongly as we could have wished, because in the first place these
volumes are not intended to be books of spiritual edification, nor,
strictly speaking, of apologetics. But it seems to us that here facts speak
for themselves, telling us why the Mass has from its very origin taken its
place as the true center of the liturgy; how it has drawn everything to
itself; how at one moment it was almost the whole liturgy, in the sense
that, primitively, all Christian rites gravitated round it.
At the same time Sacrifice and Sacrament, the One Christian Sacrifice and,
if one may say so, the most Divine of the Sacraments, it sums up and
sanctifies all the elements which have made of sacrifice the center of the
greater part of all religions; first, by the idea that man owes to God
homage for the gifts he has received from Him and that he recognizes His
dominion over all creation; then, by the idea that he must expiate his
faults in order to render God favorable to him; lastly, by a certain desire
to unite himself to God by participation in that sacrifice. Thus the Mass
raises the idea of sacrifice to its highest expression, whilst purifying it
from all the false notions which had obscured it in pagan religions.
For the Christian, too, it is the best means by which to unite himself with
his brethren in communion with Christ. Prayer in common, the Kiss of Peace,
above all the participation in the same Banquet of the Body and Blood of
Our Lord are so many expressive, living symbols of Christian unity, of
Catholicity, of charity.
For the Christian, again, the Mass is an efficacious help along the road of
the spiritual life. One of his essential duties, common to all men, is to
praise God in His works, to offer Him our thanks, to present our requests
to Him: in a word, to pray. Now the Mass is the center of the whole Divine
Office; we even believe it would be possible to show that at one time the
first part of the Mass was the most eloquent and, indeed, the only mode of
expression of this official prayer.
The Mass, then, sums up the greatest mysteries of our Faith. The faithful
Catholic is present at the Last Supper, at the Passion and Death of Our
Lord upon the Cross ù he realizes what Christ has willed by the institution
of this Divine Sacrament and by the accomplishment of His Sacrifice on
Calvary. He is invited to share in that Banquet which was the Last Supper,
when Our Lord gives Himself in Holy Communion; and, being present at the
bloody Sacrifice of Calvary, he sees what Christ has suffered for the sins
of the whole of humanity as well as those of His own disciples.
Theologians and all mystical writers have dwelt upon these different
aspects of the Mass, and when once the claims of erudition and of history
are satisfied it will be easier and more profitable to go direct to these
authors, for so far from being an obstacle, the exact knowledge of facts
is, on the contrary, of the greatest assistance to true piety.
1. "La Messe en Occident," of which the present volume is a translation,
was published (1932) in the above series.
LE BRUN (Pierre), "Explication litterale, historique et dogmatique des
prieres et des ceremonies de la Messe," remains the most complete and
learned work on the Mass. It has been many times republished, and has not
lost its value. (First edition, 4 vols., Paris, 1726.) The first volume
contains the "Explication de la Messe romaine," the second and third,
"Etude des diverses liturgies orientales et occidentales," the fourth,
dissertations on different subjects, notably on the "Silence des prieres de
The work of Mgr. DUCHESNE, "Origines du culte chretien" which is in reality
an "Etude sur la liturgie latine avant Charlemagne" (fourth edition, 1908),
is an admirable synthesis of the Latin liturgies which has on more than one
point shown the subject in a new light, though several syntheses, even in
the opinion of the writer, are subject to revision.
Mgr. BATIFFOL, in his "Lecons sur la Messe" (Paris, 1919), has laid down on
this subject the latest pronouncements of criticism. In the "Eucharistie
(La Presence reelle et la transubstantiation" (fifth edition, revised,
Paris, 1913) he had already studied the history of Eucharistic dogma from
its origins to the Council of Ephesus.
ADRIAN FORTESCUE in "The Mass, a study of the Roman liturgy"(London 1912),
had approached the same subject a few years earlier; his book treats
specially of the history of the Roman Rite. See also his article "Mass" in
the "Catholic Encyclopaedia."
JOH. BRINKTRINE:, the latest comer, "Die Heilige Messe" (Paderborn, 1931),
has also treated the subject specially as a historian and liturgiologist.
M. GIHR, "Le Saint Sacrifice de la Messe" (2 vols., Paris, 19O1), a
theological, ascetical, and liturgical "summa" upon the Mass, containing a
great quantity of information.
AD. FRANZ, "Die Messe im Deutschen Mittelalter "(I vol., 8vo,
Cardinal SCHUSTER, "Liber Sacramentorum, Notes historiques et liturgiques
sur le Missel romain," translated from the Italian (6 vols., Brussels,
Dom J. DE PUNIET, "La Liturgie de la Messe" (Avignon, 1928). P. MARANGET,
"La Messe romaine" (Brussels, 1925).
Dom E. VANDEUR, "La Sainte Messe "(Maredsous, 1928, seq.).
The articles "Eucharistie" and "Messe" in the "Dictionnaire de Theologie
catholique," and in DACL (which, once for all, may be said to stand for
"Dictionnaire d'Archeologie chretienne et de Liturgie"), and the same
articles in U. CHEVALIER, "Topo-bibliographie," for the Bibliography; there
is also a Bibliography in FORTESCUE, op. cit., p. 541 seq. In our own
pamphlet on THE MASS there is a chapter on the literature of this subject.
See also in DACL the articles "anamnese," "anaphore," "Communion," "canon,"
"Eucharistie," "elevation," and others mentioned in the course of our work.
Ch. ROEAULT DE FLEURY has written a fine monumental work in his "La Messe,"
consisting chiefly of archeological studies (4to, Paris, 1883-1889). The
most valuable information is to be found here upon the furnishing of
churches, the ornaments and sacred vessels, and upon all those things
connected with the service of the Mass.
AUTHOR'S NOTE.--The works of Duchesne, Batiffol, Gihr, Schuster, and De
Puniet mentioned above have been translated into English.
THE MASS, FROM THE FIRST TO THE FOURTH CENTURIES. LITURGICAL UNITY
The Eucharistic Synaxis.--The aliturgical (non-liturgical, or without the
Eucharist) Synaxis.--The days and hours of the Synaxis.--The Eucharistic
It must be laid down from the beginning of this chapter that during this
first period the Mass has what we may call a universal character. No
regional distinctions appear; and our own divisions into Oriental and
Occidental, or Greek and Latin liturgies, had no reality in those days.
It was not until the fourth century that the geographical and political
division between the East and West was truly established. Thus during the
first three centuries it may be said that there were no liturgical
families, but only one single Christian liturgy, where, in a certain sense,
The word "unity," however, must not be taken too literally. It is true that
so far there was no division into liturgical families, but there was great
variety of usages and rites. The law was "great liberty," and it may be
said that there is more difference between the liturgy of the Didache, that
of Hippolytus, and that of Serapion than there was, later, between the
liturgies of Byzantium, of Rome, and the Mozarabic and Gallican liturgies.
The differences are rather those between church and church; the old
churches of Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, Rome, and Carthage were great
But the differences existing between the different churches did not prevent
peace and unity from reigning amongst them. In the second century
Polycratus, Bishop of Ephesus, tells us that Pope Anicetus invited St.
Polycarp to celebrate the Mass. And a little later Firmilianus, Bishop of
Caesarea in Cappadocia, the correspondent of St. Cyprian, remarks in his
turn that the varieties of ritual then existing (in the middle of the third
century) made not the least difference to unity.
What was the Mass during this first period? How was it celebrated? What
were its principal elements and, if evolution has taken place, what were
its different stages? To answer these questions the best method seems to us
to study the following points:
1. The Eucharistic Synaxis.
2. The aliturgical Synaxis (separated from the Eucharist).
3. The days and hours of the Synaxis.
4. The Eucharistic Prayer.
1 THE EUCHARISTIC SYNAXIS.--The word "synaxis" comes from "sunaxis,"
gathering together; "sunaxein," to meet or gather together. It was early
employed in the language of Christians to designate an assembly, and
especially an assembly to hear Mass.
The Church was born in Jewish surroundings. It is a fact that the first
Christians, Apostles or disciples, were Jews by birth, or proselytes, on
the day of Pentecost, the true Birthday of the Church. So it was during the
years that followed, until the day when, by the preaching of St. Paul, the
Gentiles entered the Church, of which very soon they became a majority.
This is of the highest importance, all the more because there was never any
brutal rupture between the Church and the Mosaic religion. The Church
indeed always condemned the Marcionites and all those who, with them,
proscribed the ancient law and those who had come out from it.
Most preciously did the Church guard the Pentateuch and all the inspired
books of the Jews. This means that She preserved faith in the God of the
Old Testament; that She kept the Decalogue--that is, the laws of universal
morality and all the Old Testament theology. But at the same time She was
no Judaiser. She separated Herself from the synagogue and declared Herself
against it, as a distinct society which had its own organization,
institutions, and laws. Just as She condemned the Marcionites, so She
expelled the Judaisers from Her company, as those who desired jealously to
retain circumcision and the other Jewish practices.
It was the same thing as regards the liturgy. When the Church was born the
Temple was still standing, with its sacrifices, its highly complicated
ceremonies, its priesthood. It is true that the Apostles still went to pray
at the Temple, but here one most important fact must be noted. The first of
the faithful formed a band apart. The Jews saw in them a sect desirous of
separating itself from Judaism, against which they fought furiously, and
tried to suppress as a disloyal and dangerous body. And this separation was
more keenly accentuated day by day. We can, of course, see how natural it
was that many of the new Christians should still remain attached to the
ancient form of worship. These were the Judaisers. We find them mentioned
in the Acts. St. Paul in his Epistles fights against them; raising his
voice against those who wished to circumcise all new converts, to force
them to observe the new moons, the Jewish feasts, etc.
All that had to cease. He claims the right of liberty for these new
converts. It is not the Law and its observances which will save them; it is
the Faith in Jesus Christ, obedience to His precepts, docility to His
teaching. Naturally, between these two parties there were innumerable
shades of difference, but as time went on these shades gradually effaced
themselves. These practices of the Law were only shadows; figures reflected
in the new worship, but which in the end must give way to it, "et antiquum
documentum novo cedat ritui."
Moreover, in a few years (A.D. 70) a most important event would give the
final blow to the Jewish worship and its sacrifices. The Temple was
destroyed by the Roman armies, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem were
A new form of worship was instituted for the Christians in those private
meetings, which are many times mentioned in the Acts. (Acts ii. 42, 46. Cf.
Acts xx. 7, seq.) Prayer was offered, and the Breaking of Bread took place.
This Breaking of Bread was the Mass.
In what, exactly, did it consist? The converts met to celebrate anew that
Banquet, the Last Supper, which took place in the Cenacle on the night
preceding the death of Our Lord. This is stated in texts of the first
importance, for it is upon their witness that the whole tradition of the
Mass is based. There is first the witness of the three synoptic Gospels,
St. Matthew, St. Mark and St. Luke, whose accounts may be summed up as
On the first day of the "Azymes," which is Thursday, the Apostles, at the
request of Our Lord Himself, prepared a room where He might celebrate the
Pasch with His disciples. It was the Jewish custom, and Our Lord had
assuredly not failed to observe it throughout the preceding years. But this
time the banquet was to have a supreme importance, for He knew that this
meal was the last He should take with His Apostles.
Now, "coenantibus eis," as St. Matthew says, during the meal, and no doubt
towards the end, Our Lord took bread, blessed it, brake, and gave it to His
disciples, saying: "Take, eat, this is My Body." Then, taking the chalice
(the cup containing wine mingled with water), He offered it to them,
saying: "This is My Blood of the New Testament" (the New Covenant) "which
is shed for many for the remission of sins." Then, "hymno dicto," the
prayer being said, they went out to the Mount of Olives. There Our Lord
entered into His Agony, and the soldiers, led by Judas, came to seize Him
(St. Matt. XXVi. 13--15)
We know what followed, and the story of that night whose details the
Evangelists have given us; the scenes of the Crucifixion and Death on Good
Friday. The same account which we have just quoted from St. Matthew is
found with little variation in St. Mark and St. Luke.
As for St. John, faithful to his system, he does not repeat what the three
synoptic Gospels have related; but contents himself with completing them as
occasion arises. Thus he gives us details omitted by them as to the Last
Supper, and the discourse of Our Lord during and after the meal. His
seventeenth chapter contains what is called the Sacerdotal Prayer of
Christ, which may be considered as the Divine commentary on the Eucharist.
In his sixth chapter, on the occasion of the multiplication of the loaves,
he had set forth teaching of incomparable precision upon the Eucharist.
"Except you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood you shall
not have life in you" (vi. 54).
Lastly, St. Paul is a fifth witness, and not the least. He, in his Epistle
to the Corinthians (I Cor. xi. 23-29) gives us a detailed account, the most
ancient in our possession, of the way in which the early Christians
celebrated the Eucharist. These different texts having been explained
elsewhere, I content myself with noting certain principal points upon which
almost every one is agreed. It is a question of a repast which was the
Paschal meal. At its close Our Lord took bread and wine, and in virtue of
His Blessing and of His words they were changed into His Body and Blood. We
use the theological term transubstantiated to mark that of the bread and
wine nothing is left but the species or appearances, the substance having
given place to the Body and Blood of Christ.
It is a new covenant in the Blood of Christ shed to wash away the sins of
the world, and to redeem us, thus it is a sacrifice in intimate union with
that of the Cross, which was to take place the next day; a sacrifice, and
at the same time a sacramental meal.
Upon this point, as upon many others, the synoptic Gospels do not enter
into great detail, they merely sum up and abbreviate. One thing, however,
is certain: the capital importance of this act in the Life of Our Lord.
This can be deduced even from the record of the synoptics, though they
relate these Divine events with a disconcerting simplicity which in reality
is Divine. The other Sacraments are not mentioned in the Gospels, or only
mentioned in a few words. But here each synoptic one after the other,
carefully relates the same history which, as has been said, St. John
completes. The room where the feast is to be held has been chosen, prepared
by Christ Himself. This meal is to be the last in His Life, it is like the
last meal of one condemned to death; for the solemnity of death hovers over
this brotherly love-feast. It is probably also the Paschal supper, which
Our Lord was accustomed solemnly to celebrate with His disciples. His
attitude, his very words, all have now a deeper meaning than ever before.
He speaks of bread and wine becoming His Body and Blood, and of offering
them as food to His Apostles.
It is the New Covenant, which is to replace the Old Covenant concluded
between God and His people in the time of Moses; the New Testament which
takes the place of the Old. A new order of things is beginning, of which we
may say with the poet: "novus ab integro saeclorum nascitur ordo."
Now St. Paul's text proves that the Christians obeyed Christ's precept;
they renewed their celebration of that last banquet in memory of Him, "hoc
facite in Meam commemorationem." But they introduced a new element into it.
According to St. Paul the Eucharist was accomplished at the close of
another repast, which was the "agape." This circumstance has complicated
the history of the origin of the Eucharist, but I think the difficulty may
be shortly summed up.
The agape was a repast celebrated by the Christians, and, as the word
indicates, it was a feast of love, or charity. The details given by St.
Paul make it easy to understand the possible abuses which might arise from
it. The Jews, and even the pagans, had feasts of the same kind. Is the
"agape" derived from either of these, or is it specifically Christian? My
own opinion is that this question is of little importance. But what we must
note is that, according to St. Paul and other witnesses, it was at that
time united to the Eucharist. Very soon--probably at the beginning of the
second century--the two were separated on account of abuses, and towards
the fourth century the "agape" was declining. It must not be confounded
with those repasts sometimes celebrated by the Christians on the tombs of
the martyrs, or in cemeteries, though these also had a liturgical
After the text of St. Paul, which throws great light on the question of the
Eucharist, I will quote the "Didache." The "Didache," or "Doctrine of the
Apostles," is a document discovered in 1883, which is extremely interesting
but also most obscure, and about which opinions still vary. We may, I
suppose, believe that it was written at the beginning of the second
century. It was recognized almost generally as a description of the
Eucharist from the moment of its discovery. In recent years many scholars--
and those by no means the least important--have come to the conclusion that
it describes the agape, and not the Eucharist. Others again, with, in my
own opinion, greater reason, say that part applies to the agape, the rest
to the Eucharist (Maclean, Thibaut). Here is the translation of the part
which will interest us:
"As to the Eucharist, give thanks thus.
First, for the chalice:
We thank Thee, O our Father
For the holy vine of David Thy servant,
Which Thou hast made us know through Jesus Thy Servant.
Glory be to Thee throughout all ages!
Then for the broken bread:
We give Thee thanks, O our Father
For life and knowledge
Which Thou hast made us know through Jesus Thy Servant.
Glory be to Thee throughout all ages!
As this broken bread, formerly scattered over the mountains, has been
gathered together to form a single whole,
So may Thy Church be assembled from the ends of the earth in Thy Kingdom,
For to Thee is all power and glory by Jesus Christ through out all ages!
Let no one eat or drink of your Eucharist if he be not baptized in the Name
of the Lord, for it was of this that the Lord said: 'Give not that which is
holy unto the dogs.'
After you are filled, give thanks thus:
We thank Thee, O Holy Father!
For Thy Holy Name
That Thou hast caused to dwell in our hearts,
For knowledge, faith, and the immortality
Which Thou hast revealed through Jesus Thy Servant.
Glory be to Thee throughout all ages!
It is Thou, Omnipotent Master,
Who hast created the universe for the honor of Thy Name
Who hast given food and drink to man, that he may enjoy them and render
thanks to Thee;
But Thou hast given us a spiritual food and drink, and eternal life by Thy
Above all, we give thanks to Thee because Thou art powerful.
Glory be to Thee throughout all ages!
Remember, O Lord, to deliver Thy Church from all evil,
And to make it perfect in Thy love. Assemble it from the four winds, that
In Thy Kingdom which Thou hast prepared for it,
For Thine is all power and glory throughout all ages!
Come, Grace, let the world pass!
Hosanna to the God of David!
Let him that is holy, come!
Let him that is not, do penance!
Maran-Atha (The Lord comes). Amen.
But as to the prophets, let them give thanks as they will."
Besides the "Didache" there are numerous passages containing allusions to
the Eucharist in the writers at the close of the first and of the second
century. St. Clement of Rome has a prayer which is considered Eucharistic;
we shall come back to it presently. St. Ignatius gives it the names of
"eucharistia" and of breaking "ena harton klontes". He insists that this
should be accomplished by the Bishop, and that it is a sign of unity. He
uses the word "thusiasterion" to design the place of sacrifice, which
clearly points out that, to him, the Eucharist was also Sacrifice. It would
also seem that with him the "agape" is still united to the Eucharist
(Srawley, loc. cit., p. 31).
The testimony of St. Justin in the middle of the second century must be
specially noted, since it is an actual description of the Christian
" As for us, after having washed him who believes and has joined himself to
us (Justin has just described Christian Baptism), we lead him to that place
where are assembled those we call our brothers. With fervor we offer
prayers for ourselves, for the enlightened (him who has just received
light of Baptism), for all the rest, wherever they may be, in order to
obtain with the knowledge of the Truth, the grace to practice virtue, to
keep the commandments, and thus to merit eternal salvation.
"When the prayers are ended we give each other the Kiss of Peace. Then to
him who presides over the assembly of brothers are brought bread and a cup
of water and wine mingled. He takes them, and praises and glories the
Father of the universe in the Name of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; then
he makes a long thanksgiving for all the benefits we have received from
Him. When he has finished his prayers and the thanksgiving, all the people
present exclaim: Amen! Amen is a Hebrew word meaning 'So be it.' When he
who presides has made the thanksgiving, and when all the people have
answered, the ministers whom we call deacons distribute to all those
present the consecrated bread, the consecrated wine and water, and they
carry them to those who are absent. We call this food the EUCHARIST, and no
one can have part in it unless he believe in the Truth of our Doctrine;
unless he have received the bath for the remission of sins and
regeneration; and unless he live according to the precepts of Christ. For
we take not that Food as common bread and common drink. Just as by virtue
of the Word of God, Jesus Christ our Savior took flesh and blood for our
salvation, thus the Food consecrated by the prayer formed of the very words
of Christ, that Food which nourishes by assimilation our own body and
blood, is the Flesh and Blood of Jesus incarnate. Such is our Doctrine. The
Apostles, in their memoirs which are called Gospels, relate that Jesus
Himself announced these things to them. He took bread and, having given
thanks, said to them:
" 'Do this in memory of Me: This is My Body.' In the same manner He took
the chalice, and having given thanks, He said to them: 'This is My Blood.'
And to them alone He gave it. The evil spirits have imitated this
institution in the mysteries of Mithra: bread and a cup of water are
presented in the ceremonies of initiation, and certain formulas are
pronounced which you know, or which you may know."
It is well to cite even the testimony of the apocryphal writings, some of
which indeed are heretical, but which often give us priceless information
as to the usages of the second and third centuries. A German author has
made a special study of all these texts on the Eucharist. For the heretics
also celebrated the Eucharist after their manner; they consecrated bread
and wine; they considered the rite as a sacrifice; some forbade wine,
declaring they would only consecrate water, whence their name of
Aquarians. Sometimes they give the text of the prayer they recited over
the bread and wine, and which produced, they thought, its change into the
Body and Blood of Christ.
At the beginning of the third century we have a text the very high value of
which has long since been recognized, and which an English scholar has
attributed to St. Hippolytus. This text is that of the Eucharistic
anaphora, or of the Canon recited at Rome at the beginning of the third
century. To this also we shall return later on. Nor must we forget the
African writers of the third century, notably Tertullian and St. Cyprian
whose testimony we shall study in Chapter III.
Lastly, in the fourth century, we have the text of another anaphora
recently discovered. It is that of Serapion, the friend of St. Athanasius,
and Bishop of Thmuis in Egypt. This we shall deal with in Chapter IV.
2. THE ALITURGICAL SYNAXIS (WITHOUT THE EUCHARIST).--The liturgic or
Eucharistic synaxis, as it is described in these texts, is a gathering
exclusively Christian, to which none but the faithful are admitted. The
names usually given to it are "Eucharistia" or "Fractio Panis," either
equally appropriate, because this rite is, above all, a Eucharistic prayer
of thanksgiving; and the breaking of bread for distribution to the faithful
is an essential act of it, an integral part.
But beyond this Eucharistic gathering there were others which may have been
connected with the Eucharist, but which are distinct from it, and in fact
are sometimes separated from it. Thus, in that room in which the
Eucharistic mystery had already been accomplished, where the Church was to
be born, we find the Apostles, after the Ascension, meeting together and
persevering unanimously in prayer (Acts i.14). Later on Peter and John,
after having appeared before the synagogue, returned to their brethren and
addressed that sublime prayer to God which is yet not a Eucharistic prayer
(iv. 23 seq.). When Peter was put into prison by Herod the whole Church
united in prayer for him (xii. 5, and further on, 12, "multi congregati et
Pliny, at the beginning of the second century, in his famous text on the
Christians, speaks of a first meeting which they held upon a fixed day,
"statuto die," probably Sunday; it took place before the dawn, and they
sang hymns to Christ as God. In the evening of the same day they met
together again for a meal in common, in which some have seen the "agape,"
but which was far more probably the Eucharist. Many other allusions to
these aliturgical synaxes will be found in Clement of Rome, Ignatius,
St. Justin also speaks, in the text already quoted, of a meeting at which
were read the Holy Scriptures and the memoirs of the Apostles, and at which
certain prayers were recited. This meeting was followed by the Eucharistic
service. Thus prayers, readings, chants all served as prelude to the
Eucharist. We have here I believe the first really precise example of what
we call to-day the Pre-Mass, or Mass of the catechumens, as to which I will
only say one word. Even in the existing liturgy we find traces of this
aliturgical synax separated from the Eucharistic service, as, for example,
in the office for Good Friday. It seems evident that this ceremony proceeds
from that used in the synagogues on the Sabbath: the singing of psalms,
reading the law and the prophets homily--all this is just the material of
the Mass of the catechumens. It also agrees with what was said at the
beginning of this chapter. From the synagogue the Church freely borrowed
those customs which would adapt themselves to her liturgy; but she
completed and made perfect such rites. Here, for example, the reading of
the New Testament has been added to that of the Old, and we have the
admirable whole of the Mass of the catechumens, which will often be
mentioned in the course of this book.
The fact to be retained is this: there were, amongst the Christians of the
first three centuries, beyond the Eucharistic synax, other gatherings which
were aliturgical, and which must be distinguished from the Mass although in
many cases the aliturgical synax was followed by the Eucharist. In the same
way the "agape," a meal quite distinct from the Eucharist, at one time
preceded its celebration. The two cases are analogous and when once this
distinction is clearly understood it becomes easier to interpret the
ancient texts on the Eucharist it is because this analogy was not taken
into account that so many writers on this subject have fallen into
confusion and error.
The pagans were not excluded from these non-liturgical synaxes as they were
from that of the Eucharist. Catechumens were admitted to them, and even
heretics; but when the Eucharistic service began all these people were sent
out, "foris canes," as was somewhat rudely said.
As to the vigils celebrated at the tombs of the martyrs, they were another
form of synaxis which borrowed not only from the aliturgical gathering but
from the agape, and from the liturgical synaxis itself. It was a local
anniversary service which took place in the cemeteries, where psalms were
chanted and the story of the passion of the martyr was read; and which was
often followed by the agape and by the Eucharist. It was sometimes called
"pannuchia," because it was celebrated at night, and was supposed to last
from the previous evening until daylight next morning. We shall say no more
about them here, as they do not exactly form part of our subject, but the
ancient writers often speak of them; abuses occasionally took place, and in
the end they were suppressed.
3. THE DAYS AND HOURS OF THE SYNAXIS.--Pliny tells us that the Christian
synaxes (liturgical or aliturgical) were held before the dawn, and in the
evening. Tertullian and St. Cyprian also speak of these early or nocturnal
meetings, as well as the different canonical documents of the third
century. In order, on days of fasting, not to break the fast, the
was kept back until the hour of None, or even till Vespers. Because these
gatherings were often held at night the pagans called the Christians a race
From the Acts it would seem that the faithful assembled thus daily. Pliny
speaks of a certain fixed day, probably Sunday, which, of course, has been
from the beginning the liturgical day par excellence. But from a very early
date, especially in the West, Wednesday and Friday were days of meeting;
while in the East the day chosen was Saturday. Thus was constituted the
Christian week, with its Sunday and its Station days, Wednesday and Friday.
In one sense it might be said that the Christian week preceded the
Christian, or liturgical, year. The latter, however, does in its germ
certainly date from the primitive epoch. Easter and Pentecost are as
ancient as Sunday itself; and have contributed in no small degree to the
importance of Sunday, since both Feasts were celebrated on that day. Now
Easter and Pentecost early formed the sacred Fifty Days; the two Feasts
depended on each other chronologically and liturgically. There was a
preparation for Easter, in which we see the beginnings of Lent.
The principle on which Easter was celebrated applied, from the fourth
century, to the Birth of Christ; thus we have the Feasts of Christmas and
Epiphany. From this the entire liturgical year was derived. But from the
beginning of this century Jerusalem was already ahead of all the other
churches; her liturgical year was complete; she celebrated not only Easter
and Pentecost, but also the Birth of Christ, the Presentation in the
Temple, Lent with all its exercises, Holy Week. All these anniversaries
were celebrated in the Holy Places. Thus, if we may so speak, a local
liturgical year was created, soon to be imitated in many other churches,
and first of all in that of Rome.
The anniversaries of the martyrs were also solemnly celebrated, and gave
birth to as many Feasts. The compilation of ecclesiastical calendars was in
full flower in the fourth century. But this subject leads us away from our
own, and we must return to the Eucharist.
4. THE EUCHARISTIC PRAYER.--In the texts we have quoted from the three
synoptic Gospels Our Lord pronounces no prayer for the institution of the
Eucharist: none, at least, is given us. Neither does St. Paul make any
allusion to such a prayer. There are not wanting those who have wished to
supplement this silence; and it has been said that such terms as "hymno
dicto" (St. Matt. xxvi. 30) after the institution (see St. Mark xiv. 26)
presuppose a prayer. It has been also said that, the institution of the
Eucharist having taken place after the Paschal meal, Our Lord of necessity
recited the prayers in use on that day, as well as the psalms called
"Alleluiatic." Bickell's whole thesis rests on this hypothesis; he
endeavors to discover traces of the Jewish Pasch in the ancient liturgies,
especially in the "Apostolic Constitutions;" and other scholars have
followed him along this road. Quite recently Pere Thibaut has undertaken
the same task again, in a most interesting thesis. But as has been said
other interpreters contest all relation between the Jewish Pasch and the
Last Supper of the Christians.
Some consider St. John xiv.-xvii. as a Eucharistic prayer, of which Probst
finds vestiges in the ancient liturgies. This is possible; but here we are
upon hypothetical ground. With more likelihood we may see an anaphoric
prayer, "a fragment of an evidently liturgical character" (Duchesne), in a
text of the Epistle of Pope St. Clement. This we do not translate here,
since it has so often been reproduced elsewhere. After the text of the
"Didache," which has become classic, and which has been given above, it
will be well to cite that of St. Hippolytus already alluded to, and which
under its primitive form is a prototype of all "anaphorae" and Eucharistic
prayers, which scarcely do more than develop and paraphrase its theme.
"We render thanks to Thee, O God, through Thy well beloved Son Jesus
Christ, that in these last days Thou hast sent Him as Savior and Redeemer
and Angel (messenger) of Thy will, Who is Thine inseparable Word, by Whom
Thou hast made all things, and in Whom Thou art well pleased; Thou hast
sent Him from Heaven into the Virgin's womb, where He became Incarnate and
manifested Himself as Thy Son, born of the Holy Ghost and of The Virgin;
then, accomplishing Thy Will and conquering a new and holy race, He
stretched out His Hands in His Passion in order that He might deliver from
suffering those who have believed in Thee; and at the moment when He
delivered Himself voluntarily to His Passion, in order to destroy Death, to
break the devil's chains, to spurn hell under His Feet, to enlighten the
just, to fix a term, to show forth the Resurrection, taking the bread and
giving thanks He said: Take, eat: This is My Body which shall be mangled
for you. Likewise the cup, saying, This is My Blood which is shed for you:
when you do this you do it in memory of Me. Remembering then His Death and
Resurrection we offer Thee this bread and this chalice, thanking Thee
because Thou hast deigned to permit us to appear before Thee and to serve
Thee. And we pray Thee to send Thy Holy Spirit upon the oblation of the
Holy Church, and uniting them as one, that Thou wilt give to all the Saints
who participate (in the Sacrifice) to be filled with the Holy Ghost and
fortified in the truth of the Faith, so that we may praise Thee and glorify
Thee by Thy Child Jesus Christ, by Whom to Thee is glory and honor, to the
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, in Your holy Church, now and for all ages.
We have also spoken above of the text of that "anaphora" made by an
Egyptian Bishop of the fourth century. In a sort of euchology intended for
the Bishop, Serapion has composed prayers for the blessing of oil and
water, for Baptism, for Ordinations, for the sick and for the dead. A whole
series of prayers is recited before the "anaphora" (n. xix.-xxx.) in that
part which we have called the Pre-Mass. The Mass of the faithful is
composed of the "Prayer of the faithful," of the "anaphora" properly so
called, which follows the ancient theme of the Prefaces: the mercy of God
in creation, in the Incarnation, the recital of the institution of the
Eucharist, the "anamnesis" and "epiclesis," the final doxology of the
"anaphora," and the blessing over the people.
To give an idea of the Mass at this epoch we may perhaps mention a text
which was drawn up in the fourth century, though most of its leading
features are more ancient, and to which certain liturgiologists have given
a rather exaggerated importance, as they consider that it represents the
Apostolic anaphora better than any other. Yet it has not the same value as
the anaphora of Hippolytus, though it uses his text. The liturgical design
of the Mass is as follows: readings from the Old and New Testaments,
preaching; then, prayer for the catechumens, penitents, and those in other
categories; the "oratio fidelium," the Kiss of Peace, the ablution of the
hands, the Offertory, Preface, "Sanctus," the prayer of institution, the
"Anamnesis," "Epiclesis," Memento, Communion, thanksgiving, and dismissal.
Book VIII of the "Apostolic Constitutions" is especially interesting on
account of the influence it exercised in the East, and even in the West,
and at Rome. This is a fresh argument in favor of that liturgical unity
in the first centuries, Hippolytus, Serapion, the "Apostolic
Constitutions," and even Clement of Rome and the "Didache" all exploit a
theme which presents numerous analogies.
We find one custom, which is that of the celebrated church of Antioch,
retraced in the "Apostolic Constitutions." In another church which rivals
that of Antioch in antiquity and fame--that of Alexandria--we have the
Canon of Balizeh, which appears to go back to a period less remote, and
which shows a different custom. But here, as with the different Eucharistic
prayers which we have given, we have a text with a universal tendency, in
spite of certain regional characteristics.
We must now gather a few conclusions from all these texts. The first is
From the very beginning of the Church there existed an essential rite,
distinct from that of the synagogue; a rite which, from the first moment,
seems to take the lead amongst all others, of which in a manner it is the
center. It consists of the reproduction and reconstruction of Our Lord's
last repast, of the Last Supper in the Cenacle.
This rite is found everywhere. We have quoted the texts of Clement of Rome,
of Ignatius of Antioch, of Justin, etc. But we could have multiplied our
witnesses. A Christian traveler of the third century, Abercius, who had
journeyed through the East as well as the West, tells us in a famous
" My name is Abercius: I am the disciple of a Holy Shepherd Who feeds His
flocks of sheep on mountains and on plains; Who has eyes so large that
their glance reaches everywhere. He it is Who has taught me the faithful
Scriptures. He it is Who sent me to Rome.... I have also seen the plain of
Syria and all its towns-- Nisibis on the borders of the Euphrates.
Everywhere I went I found brethren. Paul was my companion. Faith led me
everywhere; everywhere it served as my food, a fish from the spring, very
great and pure, caught by a Holy Virgin; continuously she gave it to eat to
her friends; she also has a delicious wine, which she gives with the
This rite considered as a banquet and a sacrifice, has banished ail the
other sacrifices. Although the Church borrowed so largely from the Jewish
liturgy, she left them their sacrifices. Those who attempt to discover
analogies between the rites of paganism and those of the Christians cannot
deny that the peaceful and unbloody Sacrifice of the altar has put an end
to all sacrifices of blood. That river of blood which flowed through all
pagan temples has been stopped by the Sacrifice of the Lamb.
This rite was accomplished with bread and wine. (Certain eccentrics are
pointed out, such as the "Aquarians" or "Hydroparastes," who, already
prohibitionists, forbade all wine, even at Mass.) Those who partook of it
wished to renew the scene in the Cenacle in relation to the Sacrifice of
the Cross; and were persuaded that under the species of bread and wine they
received the Body and Blood of Christ.
The rite, as has been remarked, presents numerous variants when it is
studied according to the testimony of different Churches, and great liberty
of interpretation and improvisation still reigns; but the general and
essential features are the same. What is called the Eucharist, the
fraction, the "anaphora," the eulogy, the synaxis, is always and for all
the same rite as that which we call the Mass.
Through the different witnesses quoted we can find a starting-point in the
third or fourth century, whether it be the "anaphora" of Hippolytus or of
Serapion, or the Canon of "De Sacramentis;" and thus we are able to retrace
our steps through century after century till we come to the time of the
Apostles, and to Christ Himself. Thus we may say that an unbroken chain
binds our Mass to that of the Apostles, to the Last Supper. It is the proof
of the Apostolic origin of our Mass.
From that time--that is, from the first three centuries --we see, both as
regards the Mass and Baptism, a tendency to develop the very simple
original rite. To the kind of liturgic synaxis described, for example, in
St. Paul's meeting at Troas, where, after the Apostle's sermon those
present "broke bread" before separating, the heads of the Church under
whose control the liturgy was constituted, added sometimes one ceremony,
The union of the aliturgical synaxis to the Mass is, already, a
considerable fact; it is a prelude which in our own day has the same extent
as the rite of Sacrifice or of the Mass properly so called. Hippolytus
gives us an "anaphora" which is a model of precision and concision. It is a
brief, weighty sermon in a single breath; for the whole "anaphora" proceeds
without a break from the Preface to the conclusion, which is the Amen of
the faithful. The Fraction follows; the Communion, thanksgiving, and
The centuries to come had a tendency to add fresh rites to this. The "Liber
Pontificalis," on which, however, we cannot always rely in these matters,
gives us in this case an exact idea of the facts. Such a Pope added the
"Sanctus" to the Preface; another added the "Agnus Dei;" another, a
sentence to the Canon; yet a fourth has added another sentence. Then there
would be a prayer for the offering of the bread; another for the censing; a
third for the Communion. Until the day when Leo XIII ordained a series of
prayers for the Church, the Gospel of St. John was the conclusion of the
Mass. There have been those who said that all these trees prevent us from
seeing the forest; and it must assuredly be admitted that those who are for
the first time present at High Mass must find themselves rather at a loss.
But those who have studied the liturgy and its history will readily find
the great lines of the primitive Mass in the Mass of the twentieth century.
1. The text of Polycratus, P. Gr., T. XX, col. 508; that of Firmilianus,
edn. Hartel, T. III, p. 810 seq.
2. St. Mark xiv.; St. Luke xxii. These texts have been studied and
commented on with great learning by P. d'Ales, in one volume of this
series, "L'Eucharistic," p. 15 seq.; we are thus dispensed from dwelling
more fully upon them here.
3. Cf. d'Ales, "L'Eucharistie," p. 15 seq.
4. Trans. (into French), A. Laurent, in the Hemmer and Lejay collection,
"Textes et documents." A commentary will be found in Mgr Batiffol,
"L'Eucharistie," p. 62 seq. The studies of Armitage Robinson and Connolly
place the "Didache" after the epistle of ps. Barnabas.
5. The different texts of St. Ignatius-Philad. 4, Smyrn. 6 & 8, Eph. 20.
6. On the use he makes of this word, cf. J. H. Srawley, "The Early History
of the Liturgy," p. 32.
7. 1st Apol. LXV, LXVI, trans. Louis Pontigny, coll. Hemmer-Lejay.
8. Struckmann, "Die Gegenwarth Christi in der hl. Eucharistie nach den
Schriftl. Quellen der vornizan. Zeit," p. go seq. Cf. Woolley "Liturgy of
Primitive Church," pp. 53 seq. and 138.
9. Cf. the article by Mgr. Batiffol, DACL, "Aquarians."
10. Ign., Eph. 5, 13; Magn. 7; Smyrn. 6. In our "Monumenta Ecclesiae," Dom
Leclercq has gathered all the texts from the writers of the first three
centuries which concern the Eucharist and these aliturgical synaxes.
11. Cf. the "opusculum" of M. Gastoue, "Les Vigiles" (Paris, 1908).
12. Maclean, op. cit., pp. 128, 129.
13. Cf. our book, "Etude sur la Peregrinatio Silviae, les eglises de
Jerusalem au IVe siecle" (Paris, 1895) .
14. Cf. particularly Mgr. Duchesne, "Origines du culte," pp. 51, 52.
15. Trans. (into French) from the attempt to restore the Greek text made by
Dom Cagin, "Eucharistia," pp. 294-296.
16. I have analyzed this text in the article "Messe of the Dictionnaire de
Theologie Catholique." The French translation will be found in Mgr.
Batiffol's "L'Eucharistie," loc. cit.
17. Drew, and after him Fortescue (notably in the article "Mass" in the
Catholic Encyclopedia), have attempted to bring out the resemblances
between the Roman Mass and that of the Apostolic Constitutions,
18. We have analyzed this text from the A. C. in our article "Messe,"
quoted above. Cf. col. 1355.
19. We have analyzed this in DACL, art. Canon, col. 1847 seq. In Chapter
III we shall cite the text of the Canon in the book "De Sacramentis," which
brings us to the end of the fourth century.
20. On "Abercius" and his inscription, cf . DACL, under this heading.
Dom CABROL and Dom LECLERQ, "Monumenta Ecclesiae Liturgica" (Vol. I),
"Reliquiae Liturgicae vetustissimae" (Paris, 1900-1902)--(all the texts of
the writers of the first three centuries on the Mass and Liturgy).
F. PROBST, "Liturgie der drei ersten Jahr." (Tubingen, 1870); "Liturgie der
vierten Jahr." (Munster, 1897); "Die abendlandische Messe vom 5 bis zum 8
Jahr." (Munster, 1896).
G. RAUSCHEN, "Florilegium patristicum," Fasc. VII. "Monumenta eucharistica"
Dom CAGIN, "Eucharistia. L'Anaphore apostolique ou canon primitif" (Paris,
R. H. CONNOLLY, "The So-called Egyptian Church Order," in Texts and Studies
(Vol. VIII, 1916).
R. MAXWELL WOOLLEY, "The Liturgy of the Primitive Church" (Cambridge, 1910)
A JOHN MACLEAN, "Recent Discoveries" (London, 1915).
F E. WARREN, "The Liturgy and Ritual of the ante-Nicean Church" (London,
J. H. SRAWLEY, "The Early History of the Liturgy" (Cambridge, 1912).
THE MASS IN THE FOURTH AND FIFTH CENTURIES, AND ITS DIVISION INTO
Divisions into liturgical families.--Analogies between the Oriental and
Latin Liturgies.--Divergencies between the different Western Liturgies.
The proposition developed in the previous chapter that in the three first
centuries, and even until the end of the fourth, hardly any distinction can
be made between the liturgies of different countries, may be taken for
granted. But from this moment certain customs which made it possible easily
to distinguish between the liturgies of these different lands were
established; on one hand between East and West; on the other, between the
different provinces of these two great halves of the Roman Empire. As Mgr.
Duchesne has justly remarked, the liturgical provinces fall into line with
the great ecclesiastical provinces--in the East, Antioch and Jerusalem,
closely united from their origin, as contrasted with Alexandria, in the
West, Rome, round which were grouped Italy, Africa Gaul, Spain, and, very
soon, England and Germany.
If we apply that principle, the first division necessary is that between
East and West.
The day on which Constantine in 325 founded Constantinople, and transported
to the city of Byzantium the seat of empire with all its functionaries,
that division was accentuated. Habits, standards of cultivation social,
political, and even religious tendencies present changed characteristics.
Each of the two parts of the Empire had its own language; Greek for the
East, Latin for the West; and this difference made itself felt in the
liturgy. The Roman liturgy had been Greek until towards the middle of the
third century; but the place of Greek was taken by Latin, and the traces of
the older language were gradually effaced. The Kyrie Eleison and other
similar words still to be found in this liturgy are not, as was formerly
wrongly believed, relics of the primitive language, but expressions of
universal usage, like Eucharist, acolyte, exorcist, etc., or else, terms
which have been introduced in later years.
Greek and, for some parts of the East, Syriac, were henceforth the
languages of the liturgies born in those countries. The liturgy of Rome was
in Latin, as that of Africa then was, and as those of Gaul, Spain, and
Milan soon would be. Few can refuse to see in this difference of language,
without mentioning political, administrative, or social differences, the
establishment of a profound separation between East and West on the one
hand, and, on the other, a certain relationship between the provinces of
Thus, in our opinion, the first division to establish between the various
liturgies is that between East and West.
In the East, as already noted, another division existed. The two churches
of Antioch and Jerusalem, neighbors, and closely allied as they were, had a
liturgy which spread over a part of the East, in Syria, Asia Minor
(Cappadocia, Pontus, Bithynia, and Caesarea), and later to Constantinople,
Mesopotamia, and Persia. It is represented by the liturgy of the Apostolic
Constitutions (fourth century), the Greek liturgy of St. James (sixth
century, and perhaps earlier), the Nestorian liturgies of Mesopotamia and
Persia (liturgy of Addeus and Maris), the Byzantine, or liturgy of
Constantinople (St. Basil and St. John Chrysostom), and the Armenian
The church of Alexandria followed a use which differed in several ways from
the preceding, as may be established by the anaphora of Serapion, and by
that of Balizeh, of which we have given a summary in the previous chapter.
In this chapter, too, may also be seen the plan and sequence of the prayers
in the Apostolic Constitutions and in other liturgies of this class.
In the Latin West various liturgical divergencies took shape at Rome, in
Africa, Milan, Gaul, Spain, and the Celtic countries. These correspond with
that rupture of political unity which was the consequence of the barbarian
invasions of the fifth century; of the breaking up of the Roman Empire in
476, and of the separatist tendencies which were the result of these
We arrive, then, at the following division:
ORIENT (EASTERN LITURGIES) Antioch-Jerusalem (Syrian type), Alexandria
OCCIDENT (LATIN LITURGIES) Rome, Africa, Milan, Gaul, Spain, Celtic
To this division we will return in Chapter V.; but it may be said at once
that as far as the West is concerned, some part of it is based on mere
conjecture, and that liturgiologists are by no means all agreed upon
particular points. There is, however, a distinct tendency to gather all
Latin liturgies into one and the same group.
But henceforward it must be noted that liturgical unity is not broken by
these divisions. The East and West had characteristics in common. The
various Latin liturgies, including the Roman, borrowed largely from the
Oriental, notably from that of Constantinople. Rome exercised considerable
influence over all the Latin churches, and fresh analogies are continually
visible between all these different liturgies, either as the result of
borrowing, or of their original unity.
It must not be forgotten that travel and other relations between East and
West were much more frequent than is sometimes imagined. There were many
Greek or Eastern Popes of Rome during the first three centuries. At Milan,
seven of the ten predecessors of St. Ambrose have Greek names. St. Ambrose
himself by his literary training was more Greek than Latin. One striking
example in the history of the liturgy is found in Etheria, who in the
fourth century came from the heart of Spain to Jerusalem, and while there
described with great precision all the Feasts of the year. She does not
fail to note that such and such functions are not carried out in her own
country in exactly the same manner as at Jerusalem; while others are
similar to those of her own liturgy. Upon her traces followed pilgrims in
increasing numbers, eager to visit the Holy Places. Numerous Bishops were
attracted to the East by the Councils, or else driven there by the fate of
exile, like St. Hilarius. All of which goes to explain the liturgical
exchanges. Mgr. Mercati has very truly remarked that connections were
established between the Arians of East and West, and that this also
contributed to the system of exchanges. It has, moreover, become possible
to discern this reciprocal influence of East and West through the study of
the most ancient calendars and creeds.
Thus there is nothing astonishing in the fact that Oriental elements can be
discovered in the Latin liturgies. It is indeed our own opinion that the
cause of the analogies between the two groups is to be found rather in the
common origin of all liturgies, whether Eastern or Western, or in the
exchanges just mentioned, than in the sudden transportation, by the act of
a Bishop or some other personage, of an Eastern liturgy into a Western
Here, then, are some of the divergencies which can already be distinguished
between the different Western liturgies. Gaul, Spain, and Upper Italy
followed the Oriental Use (notably that of the Church of Constantinople) as
regarded the place of the diptychs, the Kiss of Peace, and even the
"epiclesis;" while Rome stood apart, either because she had on these points
changed her primitive custom, or else because she had had a special Use
from the beginning. For the rest, such as the variability of the prayers of
the canon, the use of the "Qui pridie" for the Consecration, the importance
given to the story of the institution of the Mass, the tendency to compose
sacramentaries and other liturgical books, all the Latin countries seem to
follow the same current, and there is nothing to show that these books
presented special characteristics, whether they were composed at Rome,
Milan, Capua, in Gaul, or in Africa. Still, all such compositions reveal a
liturgical progress which affects only the West, while the East appears to
be unaffected by it.
The liturgical vocabulary, the calendar, and certain institutions like
Lent, and even the Ember Days, also offer characteristic analogies in the
During this period (fourth-fifth centuries) two liturgies alone, that of
Rome and that of Africa, are directly known to us through documents, or by
the texts of the authors. As to all the others--those of Upper Italy, Gaul,
Spain, and the Celtic countries--the sources from which we may study them
are of a much later age than the fifth century, or even than the sixth. I
do not say that there is nothing in them which makes for the earlier date,
but such inductions are necessarily based on hypothesis.
From this moment the design and the framework of the Mass appear with
sufficient clearness. In Chapter I we saw of what the first part is
composed: the Pre-Mass, or aliturgical synaxis is a preparation, with
psalms, readings, and a homily. We shall study it more in detail in the
developments which it has gained in the sixth and seventh centuries. Its
general characteristics have been outlined by St. Justin and other authors
quoted in the preceding chapter.
The second part, the Mass properly so called, or Mass of the faithful, was
to receive some additions, but henceforth we know that the catechumens and
unbaptized were dismissed at this point. The faithful alone remained for
the Offering, or Offertory; they had brought the bread and wine which
served for the Sacrifice, as well as other gifts which were also blessed at
Mass. A special prayer for the Church, or "Prayer of the Faithful," was now
said, and the Kiss of Peace was its natural conclusion; doubtless it was
only in consequence of the suppression of this prayer, or from other
circumstances, that in certain liturgies the Kiss of Peace has been placed
immediately before the Communion, where its existence is not less
The Eucharistic prayer, or "anaphora," follows; of this we have had
specimens in the "anaphora" of Hippolytus, Serapion, Balizeh, and the
"Apostolic Constitutions." The chant of the "Sanctus" took its own place in
the fifth century, and has divided the Eucharistic prayer into two
portions. The story of the Institution is the center of this prayer, which
ends with the doxology and "Amen." Then follow the Fraction and Communion.
The latter, like the Offertory, involved the passing up of the people,
which occupied some time, and from an early date (probably the fourth
century) the singing of a chant was instituted at both these moments. Psalm
xxxiii. was usually chosen for the Communion, chiefly on account of the
verse, "Gustate et videte quoniam suavis est Dominus," which is here so
applicable. Afterwards a prayer of thanksgiving was made; the Pontiff
blessed the people for the last time and sent them home.
Such were the general lines of the Mass in the fourth-fifth centuries. In
studying the Latin liturgies, especially that of Rome, we shall see how
these principal parts are adorned with new rites and more numerous
formulas. Other rites perhaps have been suppressed, but in the main, in the
East as in the West, according to the different rites, the framework
remains the same.
Nothing can be simpler, more logical, and, if we may say so, more rational
than this rite which is faithful to primitive tradition. There are certain
suppressions which break the general line, or additions which complicate
the original design. Certain truths had to be insisted on, certain errors
to be fought, new formulas had to be emphasized by the gestures of the
priest, or favor shown to recent devotions.
After having studied the Latin, Gallican, Mozarabic, Celtic, Ambrosian, and
Roman liturgies, we shall attempt, not to reconstitute the primitive Latin
liturgy, since this would be but a premature effort, but to establish some
of its general characteristics.
1. Mgr. Duchesne connects the Gallican and Syrian, and the Roman and
Alexandrine types of liturgy (fourth edition, p. 55).
2. Cf. "Books of the Latin Liturgy" (Sands, 3s. 6d.).
On the classification of liturgies:
H. LIETZMANN, "Messe u. Herrenmahl" (Bonn, 1926), P. 262.
Mgr. DUCHESNE, "Origines du Culte chretien," p. 64 seq.
SALAVILLE, "Liturgia, pp". 887 and 873.
FORTESCUE: "The Mass" (1914), a table of the liturgies, p. 76.
JANIN, "Les Eglises orientales".
Mgr. DUCHESNE, "Les Eglises separees," I vol. (Paris, 1896).
BRINKTRINE, "Die Heilige Messe," p. 19 seq.
THE MASS IN AFRICA
Origin of the African Liturgy.--The African Mass.
Of all the Latin liturgies the African is the only one of which no
liturgical document, properly so called, remains to us. All its books have
perished; there are neither Sacramentaries nor Lectionaries; no "Ordo" or
"libellus" of any kind existing. Yet it is the most ancient of the Latin
liturgies; it might indeed be said to have been almost the only one known
during the first three centuries, since, until the middle of the third
century the Roman liturgy was said in Greek. This fact is of supreme
Yet though this absence of all liturgical documents is to be deplored, we
find, on the other hand, in African writers up to the fifth century a very
large number of allusions to the liturgy, and even several formulas of
prayer. In this latter item the African liturgy is the richest of all; but
it is none the less true that the lack of authentic liturgical documents
makes any study of this rite more or less deceptive, and necessarily
hypothetical. We will, however, do our best to supplement this want.
THE ORIGIN OF THE AFRICAN LITURGY.--The first question which arises is:
what is the origin of this liturgy? The greater number of liturgiologists
will reply: Roman. We, however, may well wait for the close of this study
before drawing the same conclusion; the question touches that of the origin
of the African Church, and both must be resolved simultaneously. Was this
Church founded by the Church of Rome? If so, it would be difficult to put
aside the contention that Rome, in founding the African Church, did also
introduce her liturgy there, since it is hardly possible that Roman
missionaries should not have brought their own liturgy with them, or that
at a given moment the Africans should have changed it. In any case there is
no text to be found in favor of such a conclusion. Unfortunately, the
question of the origins of Christianity is here obscure, as it is in most
other countries. Many historians hold to the Roman origin, it is true, and
it may well be the most probable opinion; but it cannot be proved by direct
and decisive arguments. Relations between Africa, Alexandria, and the East
were frequent, and it may be that the earliest missionaries came thence to
Africa. Some have wished to support this theory, as we shall see, by
certain analogies between the African and Alexandrine liturgies; but
neither would this be a very solid proof, for the resemblances between
Africa and Rome from the liturgical standpoint are very much more striking.
Let us for the moment be content to state that the question of the origin
of Christianity in Africa cannot enlighten us as to that of its liturgy.
Keeping simply to the texts, we must remember, as was said at the
beginning, that this liturgy is Latin. Although Greek was freely spoken in
this province, and though Tertullian wrote some of his treatises in Greek,
the African liturgy is Latin, and to prove this it would be enough to cite
the formulas found in the writings of the same Tertullian, of St. Cyprian
and other writers, or even in the inscriptions of Roman Africa.
THE AFRICAN MASS.--In Tertullian and St. Cyprian we find numerous allusions
to the Eucharist and the Mass. By these we know that the synaxis or meeting
took place before the dawn; that the Sacrifice, or actual Mass, was
preceded by readings, prayers, chants, and by the dismissal of the
catechumens. Tertullian blames the heretics who allow these last to be
present at the Sacrifice. We also know that the bread and wine were
consecrated by the words which Our Lord pronounced at the Last Supper. St.
Cyprian sharply rebukes other heretics (Aquarians) who, by a misplaced
scruple, left out the wine and declared that they offered the Sacrifice
with bread and water; reminding them that the water used at the Mass must
be mixed with wine. These two writers also allude to the litanic prayers,
to the dialogue which precedes the Preface, to the "Pater," and to some
other rites, such as the dismissal of the faithful at the end of Mass.
St. Augustine completes this information. We may accept his description
given by Mgr. Batiffol (p. 100) of the Pre-Mass. The Bishop, he says,
awaits in the "secretarium" (a place close to the Basilica) the moment of
entrance. He enters solemnly, but St. Augustine does not speak of the chant
which should accompany his entry, and which corresponds with the Roman
Introit. He salutes the people, probably with the "Pax vobis," but it does
not appear that this greeting was followed by the prayer or collect
customary at Rome. The readings, as in Spain, Gaul, and elsewhere, were
three in number--the first taken from the Prophets (and called Prophecy, or
prophetical reading), the second from the Acts of the Apostles or their
Epistles (the Apostolic reading), while the third was from the Gospel. This
was followed by the homily of the prelate, who commented on one or another
of these lessons; for usually the events of the day, anniversaries, or the
Feast itself had determined both the course of reading and the Bishop's
Sometimes the text of the Old Testament or the New was read without choice
or interruption; this was the "lectio continua," of which traces may be
found in our existing missal (see, for example, the chants for Communion in
Lent, the readings for Holy Week, or in Paschal Time, etc.).
In other passages St. Augustine speaks of only two lessons, the Epistle and
the Gospel, but between the two a Psalm was sung (our Gradual), which the
Saint considered as a lesson, and on which he sometimes commented. After
the homily the catechumens were dismissed--"catechumeni discedite," says
St. Augustine. The Mass of the Faithful was thus composed:
Prayer of the faithful;
Reading of the Diptychs;
Offertory, with chanting of a Psalm and a prayer over the offerings, which
corresponds to our Secret, or the "Oratio post nomina;"
The "anaphora" or Eucharistic prayer, which is interrupted by the
The recital of the institution, which is the center of the Mass;
Fraction (before the "Pater," as at Rome until the seventh century);
Kiss of Peace;
Communion, with the singing of a Psalm;
Let us consider some of these different points enumerated. The "Prayer of
the Faithful," "preces," "precatio," "deprecatio," consists in the
indication by the Bishop of the object of the prayer, of an invitation by
the deacon, and of a final prayer by the Bishop. This devotion may be
compared to the solemn prayers at Rome on Good Friday, which also contain
the indication of the object for which the prayer is offered, "Oremus;" the
deacon's order, "Flectamus genua" (here, an instant of recollection or
silent prayer); followed by "Levate" and the prayer of the Bishop. The
design is the same. We may also compare the "preces fidelium" of the
Mozarabic rite, to which an allusion has been found in the works of St.
Fructuosus, which at once takes us back to the third century. For Africa,
St. Cyprian also makes an allusion to a prayer of this kind.
The "Prayer of the Faithful" is described at length by St. Augustine, who
tells us that it is the deacon who announces the prayer, but the Bishop who
reads it. He exhorts the people to pray for infidels, for catechumens, and
for the faithful. In Africa, as at Rome, the faithful offered the bread
and wine, and the Bishop asked God to accept them. While the offering was
being made, a Psalm was sung (the offertory). In St. Augustine's day this
custom was not ancient, for he was obliged to write a book (now lost)
against a certain Hilarius, who condemned it.
The mixing of wine and water in the chalice is one of those universal
traits which we have mentioned as a proof of the unity of the primitive
liturgy. St. Cyprian explains this act by saying that the water is the
symbol of all Christian people, thus mingled in the chalice with the Blood
of Christ (Ep. lxiii.). St. Cyprian, too, is the most ancient witness we
possess as to the dialogue before the Preface, "Sursum corda," "Habemus ad
Dominum" ("De dom. orat.," 31). St. Augustine, after him, explains the
meaning of these words, and completes them, quoting the beginning: "Dignum
et justum est." This prayer, which we call the Preface, comes after the
"Prayer of the Faithful," and continues till the final "Amen," at the close
of the last doxology. It is during the course of this prayer that by the
might of the Divine Word the bread is changed into the Body of Christ, and
the wine into His Blood (Sermo CCXXVII).
After this prayer, which is that of the consecration of the elements, St.
Augustine mentions the "Pater."
In the article on "l'Afrique (Liturgie post-niceenne de l'Afrique)" I have
quoted other texts of St. Augustine, of Optatus, and of St. Fulgentius,
which allude to the canon, especially to the "anamnesis." The Kiss of Peace
was given after the "Pater," as at Rome. St. Augustine also frequently
refers to the Communion, defining it in the terms: "accedere ad mensam,"
"ad altare," "nostis fideles ad quam mensam." It was given under both
kinds, and he seems to give even the formula for Communion: "accipite et
edite Corpus Christi et potate Sanguinem Christi," to which the faithful
answered "Amen." The Communion chant was Psalm xxxiii., as was the custom
generally at this time. There seems to have been a blessing before the
Communion, as there was in Gaul and Spain.
All these features are fairly general, and in themselves not sufficient to
determine precisely to which class this liturgy belongs. However, Mgr.
Duchesne and other liturgiologists with him declare without hesitation
that, excepting for insignificant details, the African liturgy is identical
with that of Rome. Le Blant has pointed out numerous analogies in the
inscriptions of these two places.
I have also mentioned that the African resembles in a few points the
Mozarabic liturgy. W. C. Bishop presses this point in the article cited,
and Fr. Thibaut supports him. But let us remember that these resemblances
may be explained by the relations between the two provinces, and also by
the fact on which we have throughout insisted: the original unity of all
1. Because of this "Prayer of the Faithful," W. C. Bishop thinks that the
relations between the Mozarabic liturgy and that of Africa were closer than
those between Africa and the Roman liturgy.
2. Mgr. Batiffol quotes these different texts (p. 141); they will also be
found, and in greater number, in our article on the "Liturgie de l'Afrique,
Cf. our article in DACL, "Afrique (Liturgie de l'Afrique ante-niceenne" and
"Liturgie de l'Afrique post-niceenne" and the Bibliography at the end of
W. C. Bishop, "The African Rite," in the "Journal of Theological Studies,"
Vol. XIII, 1912, pp. 250-277.
Dom W. ROETZER, "Der heil.-Augustinus Schriften als Liturgie-geschichtl.
Quelle" (Munich, 1930).
Cf. also Dom H. LECLERCQ "l'Afrique chretienne, 2 vols. (Paris, 1904).
P. MONCEAUX, "Hist. litteraire de l'Afrique chretienne" (Paris, 1901).
THE MASS AT ROME, FROM THE FIFTH TO THE SEVENTH CENTURIES
DOCUMENTS AND TEXTS.--THE ROMAN MASS: Station.--Litany. --Introit.--Kissing
of the Altar.--Collect.--Readings and Chants (Gradual, Alleluia, Tract,
Epistle).--Gospel.--THE MASS OF THE FAITHFUL: Offertory.--Singing of the
Offertory.--Secret.--Preface.--Sanctus.--The Roman Canon.-- Fraction and
Pater.--Immixtion.--Kiss of Peace.--Communion.--The last Prayers and
DOCUMENTS AND TEXTS
We have, to enlighten us as to this period, several allusions in
contemporary writers; while certain liturgical documents explain, with more
or less exactitude, how Mass was celebrated at Rome about the sixth and
seventh centuries. Other writers of the fifth, and even of the fourth,
century, such as Arnobius and the Jew Isaac, allude to the text of the
Roman canon. Pope Innocent I (401-417) in a celebrated text forbids the
recitation of names (Memento of the living and the dead) at the Offertory
in the Roman canon (as was the Gallican and Oriental custom, and also
probably the most ancient usage). The Popes Boniface I (418-422) and
Celestine I (422-432) attest that the Emperors also were prayed for in this
place. Pope Vigilius, in a letter to Profuturus, says that at Rome the
text of the canon only varies at Easter, Ascension-tide, Pentecost, and the
Epiphany. He sends the Bishop that text of the canon which he believes to
be of Apostolic origin. The authors of the eighth-ninth centuries, Bede,
Agobard, Amalarius, also bear witness to the Roman canon. In a
work of the close of the fourth century, sometimes attributed to St.
Ambrose, and which in any case is almost contemporary with him, which is
inspired by his writings, and which belongs to a church of Upper Italy, the
author quotes the prayer of Consecration, which, with a few variants, is
the very text of our own canon. It is of such importance that it must be
TEXT OF DE SACRAMENTIS
"Fac nobis (inquit sacerdos), hanc oblationem ascriptam, ratam,
rationabilem, acceptabilem, quod figura est corporis et sanguinis Jesu
Qui pridie quam pateretur, in sanctis manibus suis accepit panem, respexit
in coelum ad te, sancte Pater omnipotens, aeterne Deus, Gratias agens,
benedixit, fregit, fractum que apostolis suis et discipulis suis tradidit
dicens: accipite et edite ex hoc omnes: hoc est enim corpus meum, quod pro
Similiter etiam calicem postquam coenatum est, pridie quam pateretur,
accepit, respexit in coelum ad te, sancte pater omnipotens, aeterne Deus,
gratias agens, benedixit, apostolis suis et discipulis suis tradidit,
dicens: accipite et bibite ex hoc omnes: hic est enim sanguis meus.
Ergo memores gloriosissimae ejus passionis et ab inferis resurrectionis, in
coelum ascensionis, offerimus tibi hanc immaculatam hostiam, hunc panem
sanctum et calicem vitae aeternae:
et petimus et precamur, ut hanc oblationem suscipias in sublimi altari tuo
per manus angelorum tuorum sicut suscipere dignatus es munera pueri tui
justi Abel et sacrificium patriarchae nostri Abraham et quod tibi obtulit
summus sacerdos Melchisedech.
Te igitur . . .
Memento Domine . . .
Communicantes . . .
Hanc igitur oblationem . . .
Quam oblationem tu Deus, in omnibus, quassumus, benedictam, adscriptam,
ratam, rationabilem, acceptabilemque facere digneris: ut nobis corpus et
sanguis fiat dilectissimi Filii tui Domini nostri Jesu Christi.
Qui pridie quam pateretur, accepit panem in sanctas ac venerabiles manus
suas: et elevatis oculis in coelum, ad Te Deum Patrem suum omnipotentem,
tibi gratias agens, benedixit, fregit, deditque discipulis suis dicens:
accipite et manducate ex hoc omnes: hoc est enim corpus meum.
Simili modo postquam coenatum est, accipiens et hunc praeclarum calicem in
sanctas ac venerabiles manus suas item tibi gratias agens, benedixit,
deditque discipulis suis, dicens: accipite et bibite ex eo omnes: Hic est
enim calix sanguinis mei, novi et aeterni testamenti: mysterium fidei, qui
pro vobis et pro multis effundetur in remissionem peccatorum.
Haec quotiescumque feceritis, in mei memoriam facietis.
Unde et memores, Domine, nos servi tui, sed et plebs tua sancta, ejusdem
Christi Filii tui Domini nostri, tam beatae passionis necnon et ab inferis
resurrectionis, sed et in coelos gloriosae ascensionis: offerimus
praeclarae majestati tuae de tuis donis ac datis, hostiam puram hostiam
sanctam, hostiam immaculatam, Panem sanctum vitae aeternae, et Calicem
Supra quae propitio ac sereno vultu respicere digneris: et accepta habere,
sicuti accepta habere dignatus es munera pueri tui justi Abel, et
sacrificium patriarchae nostri Abrahae, et quod tibi obtulit summus
sacerdos tuus Melchisedech sanctum sacrificium, immaculatam hostiam.
Supplices te rogamus, omnipotens Deus: jube haec perferri per manus sancti
Angeli tui in sublime altare tuum, in conspectu divinae majestatis tuae:
There is no doubt that we have here two editions of the same text; and as
that of "De Sacramentis" is localised in Upper Italy and dated about the
year 400, it is the most ancient witness we possess as to the principal
parts of the Roman canon, which only appear in the Sacramentaries some time
after the seventh century. The question as to whether the Roman canon is
not older even than that of "De Sacramentis" is discussed by
liturgiologists. Mgr. Batiffol is of this opinion, but we, on the contrary,
think that the former bears traces of closer composition, of a more
carefully guarded orthodoxy, and that consequently it is a text corrected
from "De Sacramentis." We shall see, in studying the list of names in the
"Memento" of the living and that of the dead, that Mgr. Batiffol argues
with good reason that he can date these fragments from the pontificate of
Symmachus (498-514). We thus have the state of the Roman Mass, or at least
of the chief parts of the canon, at the beginning of the fourth century.
A Sacramentary of a very special character, called "Leonine," because it
has sometimes been attributed to St. Leo, and which seems to have been
composed in the fifth century, contains Prefaces some of which seem to
refer to events which took place in the previous century. It gives us other
valuable indications as to the Roman liturgy of that time. The references
to churches, to cemeteries, to Roman Saints, and even to the "chronique
scandaleuse" of the day, are numerous. The style of the prayers, the use of
the "cursus" and of rhythm, the liturgical terminology--in short,
everything in this precious document has a Roman character.
Another Roman Sacramentary, the "Gelasian-"-attributed to the Pope of that
name, Gelasius I (492-496)-- has been altered and retouched up to the
eighth or ninth century; but, strictly speaking, its text is not authentic;
and its principal elements only go back to the end of the fifth century.
Like the "Leonine," we may, by studying it, find in it many Roman
characteristics. It is divided into three parts: the Masses of the Feasts
of the liturgical year, from Christmas to Pentecost, the "Proper of the
Time," as we call it; the Masses of Saints, from St. Felix (Feb. 14) to St.
Thomas the Apostle (Dec. 21), or the "Proper of Saints;" and the third
part, containing Masses for Sundays, Votive Masses, and those for special
circumstances. Whoever drew up this Sacramentary knew the "Leonine," and
has borrowed numerous formulas from it, though these are quite differently
arranged; the Roman style is even more evident than in the "Leonine;" the
liturgical year takes the first place in the "Gelasian," and exercises a
preponderating influence on the liturgy.
A third Roman Sacramentary, the "Gregorian," presents itself under
conditions analogous with those of the "Gelasian." In spite of the
uncertainty we must feel on finding it retouched again and again up to the
ninth century (especially in Gaul), we cannot doubt that we have here a
document of Roman origin. The author has taken the "Gelasian
Sacramentary"as the basis of his work, which he reshapes, curtails,
sacrificing all that appears to him purely archaic, but utilising the other
elements. The attribution to St. Gregory (590-604) of this Sacramentary
(with the exception, of course, of all the changes and additions which it
underwent from the seventh to the ninth centuries) has been eagerly
contested; but the most important liturgiologists are more and more
inclined to accept the indications given by tradition on this point. In
recent times an attempt has been made to recover the primitive "Gregorian
Sacramentary," and the discovery of a copy at Monte Cassino is of the
At Rome again, during this period of the sixth-ninth centuries, when the
liturgy became of such importance, liturgical books were composed which
have not the same characteristics as the Sacramentaries, but which complete
them. These books are the "Ordines Romani." The Sacramentaries give us the
text of the prayers to be recited, but usually without indications as to
the nature of the ceremonies. The "Ordines," on the other hand, take as
their aim the dcscription of the ceremonies themselves; those of the Mass,
in particular, giving on this point the necessary information. Their
composition is spread over a period of many centuries (seventh-fifteenth).
These "Ordines," some of which are of Roman origin, have, like the
Sacramentaries, been retouched in Gaul, where the greatest liturgical
activity was displayed from the eighth-eleventh centuries. But one of these
"Ordines," the first of the series, is exempt from any retouching; it goes
back to the eighth century and perhaps beyond it, and has even been, with
some probability, attributed to St. Gregory himself. In any case, it is
possible without scruple to describe the Roman Mass in the seventh century
under St. Gregory on the information here contained.
Whatever doubts we may have as to their composition, all these documents do
clearly show the interest taken by the Roman Church from the fifth-eighth
centuries in the liturgy. No other Church can display a collection of
documents of equal importance. Even now we have said nothing as to the
composition of those music-books which are called "Gregorians," as we
prefer to treat that question in an Excursus (see Chap. XII).
Another indication of the interest taken by the Popes in the organisation
and direction of Christian worship can be found in the "Liber
Pontificalis." Some portions of its testimony have been quoted at the
beginning of this chapter. But this document, which was not drawn up before
the fifth century, professes to enlighten us upon the most ancient period
of all, and to attribute to the earliest Popes certain acts concerning the
liturgy, especially concerning the Mass. All this information is by no
means of equal value, and we may well ask what were the sources from which
the author has drawn his information as to the first centuries. But from
the fourth, and particularly from the fifth century onward, his testimony
is of real value.
THE ROMAN MASS
It is by comparing all these documents, and by completing them by each
other that certain contemporary liturgiologists have endeavoured to
reconstruct the Roman Mass in the seventh century. Such are Edmund Bishop,
Atchley, Dom Wilmart, Mgr. Duchesne, Mgr. Batiffol, and Dom Jean de Puniet,
whose works are mentioned in the Bibliography; all having arrived at nearly
the same results. Their reconstruction can therefore be accepted with
It should be added that this Mass is really that celebrated at Rome by the
Pope during the great solemnities; but it is also that of the Bishop in his
cathedral, and that of the simple priest in his church, the number of
ministers and clerics and the splendour of the ceremonies being always
excepted; there is no essential rite peculiar to the Pope. We shall
describe it here in some detail, for if modifications have been brought in
later, the Mass has remained substantially the same, and in the following
chapters on the Roman Mass from the seventh-twentieth centuries, we need
only note what has been added or omitted. But the very fact that this is
the Mass of the Pope and of his court explains any changes, for such a
ceremony, in the presence of many Bishops and of a numerous assembly, could
hardly remain unaltered. The "Liber Pontificalis" mentions several of the
reforms which were made in it, but not all, since St. Gregory alone, as we
know by his correspondence, made many alterations, of which the principal
are: the introduction of the singing of the "Kyrie," changes in that of the
"Alleluia," the alteration of the place of the "Pater," important
modifications of the Gelasian text, and probably of the chant. We must not,
then, be astonished if the Roman Mass has conformed far less to the
primitive form than the Mozarabic, Gallican, or Ambrosian Masses, and more
especially the Eastern liturgies.
The Popes possessed an authority which allowed them to change any part of
the ceremonial, and they used it.
THE STATION.--The faithful, according to an invitation which was given at a
preceding assembly, met in a church, whence they went in procession to
another church, called the Church of the Station. The word "statio" is old
Latin, which in military language means a watch or vigil. Hermas and
Tertullian have given it the Christian sense of prayer arld fasting; thus
Wednesday and Friday are called "Station Days," because they were days of
fasting, on which Mass was celebrated. The word also means the plenary
assembly of a church, and St Cyprian uses it in this sense. Finally it
became a liturgical term at Rome, in the sense given above: that of a
gathering of the faithful for the Papal Mass.
In the Roman missal we still find certain days designated in this way:
"Statio ad Sanctum Petrum," "Statio ad Sanctum Paulum," etc. This means
that on that day Mass was said at St. Peter's (of the Vatican), or at St.
Paul's (Without the Walls), or at any other church mentioned. Such churches
are the most ancient in Rome; the greater number existed in the time of St.
Gregory (end of the sixth century), and many are very much older. In all
this we have the elements of a little course of topography and Roman
archaeology; and scholars like Armellini, Grisar, Morin, Schuster, and
others have carefully described these venerable churches. Every day during
Lent, and some other days in the year, have under the heading of the Mass
some indication of this kind. This list, according to Mgr. Duchesne, goes
back to the seventh century, but Dom Morin considers it originated two
centuries earlier. The greater number of these churches exist to-day; but
the Station which in St. Gregory's time was so solemn a ceremony is now
little more than a memory.
Sometimes Mass was celebrated in the catacombs on the outskirts of Rome,
and this was especially the case on the anniversary days of the death of a
martyr, when it was probably said on the tomb in which his relics reposed.
But after the year 410, when Rome was taken by Alaric, these cemeteries
were exposed to the incursions of the barbarians, and it became the custom
to transport the bodies of the martyrs to churches in the interior of Rome.
The church" where the Station was to take place was a "Basilica," a great
building inspired by architectural tradition as this was understood in the
third and fourth centuries, but modified since by the Church for Divine
service. Many of the most ancient Roman churches such as St. Clement, St.
Sabina, St. Laurence-Withoutthe-Walls, have preserved this form. And even
those which have been altered again and again, like St. PaulWithout-the-
Walls, have been reconstructed on the same plan. It was that of a long
building with a central nave, separated by columns from two lateral naves
to right and left, with an altar at the end and in the axis of the
principal nave; and behind the altar, an apse. At the end of the apse was
the "cathedra," or Bishop's chair, and, all around it, stalls for the
clergy; this was the choir. The part surrounding the altar is the
sanctuary, with an "ambone," or pulpit, or sometimes two, one to right, the
other to left.
To-day, as the altar usually has a retable and a tabernacle, the priest
when standing before it turns his back to the people; so that when he
greets them with "Dominus vobiscum" he is obliged to turn round. The Bishop
would be hidden on his "cathedra"at the back of the apse, and could hardly
follow the ceremonies, therefore his throne, as well as the stalls of the
clergy, have been moved to places before the altar. But if we wish to
understand the ancient positions, it will help us to remember that at that
time the altar was a "table" (hence its name of "mensa") of wood or stone,
forming either a solid block or else raised on four feet, but in any case
without a tabernacle; so that the officiating priest would face towards the
people, as he does to-day at "San Clemente." In our own churches, of
course, he officiates on the other side of the altar; the Gospel side being
the left and that of the Epistle the right. As we explain elsewhere,
another consideration has brought about these changes: the practice of
turning in prayer towards the East, the region of that light which is the
image of Christ, Who Himself came from the East. The question of the
orientation of churches was an important one in Christian architecture from
the fourth-twelfth centuries.
In the catacombs the tomb of a martyr could be used as an altar. When, lest
their relics should be profaned, the bodies of the martyrs had been brought
from the cemeteries in the Roman "campagna "into the churches of the city,
they were usually placed beneath the altar. In any case, the altar was
henceforth a sacred object. The word "mensa" (table) recalled the Last
Supper of the Lord; it was an image of Calvary where Christ was sacrificed
for us; frequently it was a martyr's tomb; upon it was accomplished the
tremendous Eucharistic Mystery, and thus it was dear to the devotion of the
faithful. The liturgy ordains that the priest shall kiss it at the
beginning and during the course of Mass; that he shall cover it with a
"Corporal," the image of that winding-sheet in which Our Lord was buried;
that he shall surround it with honour. All this was not instituted in the
same detail during the earliest centuries, but it is a legitimate
development of Catholic piety whose growth in intensity throughout the ages
which followed we are now about to contemplate.
At the time we are now considering (seventh century) there were neither
crosses nor candles, neither tabernacle or retable; nor were there any of
these things till the ninth, or even the eleventh, century But the
"ciborium," a kind of dome, or dais, usually supported by four columns, was
in use from the fourth century onwards, and sometimes at Rome it was made
of precious metal. The marbles, mosaics, chandeliers, and candelabras, the
lamps hanging from the vaulted roof and other ornaments in use from the
time of Constantine, show us that the Church has come out of the catacombs,
and that to primitive austerity has succeeded the desire to surround Divine
worship with splendour, upheld by the generosity of Christians.
Let us return to the church where the faithful assembled and whence they
started in procession, with the clergy and all those holding ecclesiastical
office up to the Pope himself. for the church where the Station was to be
THE LITANY. The "Kyrie Eleison."--During the march of the procession they
sang a prayer which resembles neither the Collects nor Prefaces- which is
neither an Anthem, a Responsory, a Tract, nor a Psalm, like those to be
found in the Mass. It is a "Supplication," as the Greek etymology
indicates. A cantor, or perhaps the priest himself, said an invocation,
which all the people repeated, or to which they responded by an acclamation
The most ancient memorial of this which we possess is the litany, which is
said before the Mass of Holy Saturday
At an early date (fourth century) Rome adopted the principal invocation of
the Eastern liturgy, the "Kyrie Eleison" (Lord, have mercy upon us). But
Rome added the "Christe Eleison," and thus we have that chant to the
Trinity with wh"with which in future all litanies were to begin:
"Kyrie Eleison "(thrice)--The Father
"Christe Eleison (thrice)--The Son
"Kyrie Eleison "(thrice)--The Holy Ghost.
The "Kyrie Eleison" is thus borrowed from the Greek liturgy, but marked
with the seal of Rome. When St. Gregory was reproached for having
introduced it into the Roman liturgy he could not deny the fact that he had
done so, but he pointed out that he had modified its form. Among the Greeks
it was sung by all- at Rome it was sung by clerics, the people repeating
the words after them (or, according to the correct expression, responding).
Furthermore, says the Pope, the people confine themselves to these
acclamations at the daily Masses, while at others (probably at the
stational Masses) other words are added. What are these words? Other
invocations, probably, such as we see in those litanies preserved to us,
like that of Holy Saturday.
Apart from the Mass the litany was frequently used in processions and in
the canonical office, and St. Benedict remarks this in the sixth
THE INTROIT (Lat. "introire," enter) is really the commencement of the
Mass. It is a chant sung while the Pontiff proceeded solemnly from the
sacristy to the church. It was usually sung by cantors, and as was
customary for all psalms from the fourth century onwards, closed with a
doxology, "Gloria Patri et Filio et Spsritui Sancto." Our "Introits "have
preserved but one verse of the psalm and the doxology. Sometimes the words
are chosen from other books of Scripture than the Psalter; they are even
occasionally taken from the Apocryphal books. The Roman liturgy, usually so
severe, shows itself accommodating upon this point. The "Accipite
jucunditatem" of the Tuesday after Pentecost is taken from IV book of
Esdras (apocryphal), which has also furnished the "Introit" for the Mass of
the Dead, "Requiem aeternasn dona eis Domine." That "Introit" of many
Feasts, "Gaudeamus in Domino," is also extra-scriptural; while the "Salve
Sancta Parens" of Masses of Our Lady is taken from Sedulius, a poet of the
We have already said (Chap. IV, note) what must be thought of the text
which attributes the introduction of the "Introit" to Pope Celestine (422-
432). But its presence is noted in the Gelasian Sacramentary and in "Ordo
Romanus I". From this Mgr. Batiffol concludes that it is a Roman creation
of the sixth century--at least, under the form described. One of St.
Gregory's successors, Hadrian (772-795) attributes the composition, or at
least the arrangement, of the Roman Antiphonary to the former Pope; and
tells us at the same time that this book began with "Ad Te levavi," the
first words of the Advent "Introit." The Gelasian books began with the
Feast of Christmas: the celebrated lines are as follows:
Gregorius praesul, meritis et nomine dignus,
Unde genus ducit summum conscendit honorem.
Renovavit monumenta patrum priorum.
Tunc composuit hunc libellum musicae artis
Scolae cantorum anni circuli: Ad Te levavi.
Elsewhere (Excursus, ii. Chap. XII) we shall speak of the music composed
for the "Introit." It is enough to say here that it has not preserved the
characteristics of a processional chant any more than it has the primitive
form of a psalm.
THE KISSING OF THE ALTAR.--At the Pontifical ceremony on Good Friday the
prelate with his ministers leaves his throne at the beginning of the
office, goes to the altar, kisses it, and returns to his place. This is an
act of the most remote antiquity; a mark of devotion to that altar which is
sacred; and which when the church was consecrated was blessed with so great
solemnity. Mgr. Batiffol rightly reminds us that this act is peculiarly
Roman (loc. cit., p. 117). It is repeated many times during Mass (cf.
Excursus, "Liturgical Acts," p. 232).
THE GLORIA IN EXCELSIS.--At certain Masses, after the "Kyrie," the "Gloria
in Excelsis" is sung. It has no relation to the "Kyrie," and is not sung or
said in the ancient Masses for Vigils, nor in those of Holy Week, nor of
Lent, nor of ferials, and in reality its proper place is not in the Mass
any more than in any other office. Indeed, at the beginning, it was not, as
it is to-day, consecrated to the Mass alone. It is a doxology in honour
of the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit only comes in at the end; and
this is perhaps an addition. It is thus very probably anterior to the
fourth century, for from the time of the Arian disputes the doxology was
almost always trinitarian. This is confirmed by its presence in the
"Apostolic Constitutions." It was early adopted by Rome, with many other
Greek formulas; but, to begin with, only at the first of the three
Christmas Masses, where its place is admirably justified.
Pope Symmachus extended its use to every Sunday and to the Feasts of the
martyrs; but only for episcopal Masses; it was said by priests only at
Easter. Then, little by little, as was the way with so many other chants
and ceremonies, the reserves were done away with, and its use became much
more frequent. It is almost unnecessary to say that it is an admirable
prayer; that it is the expression of a very beautiful mysticism, and that
it is of great Christological importance. It has been the subject of many
works, to which we can only refer.
THE COLLECT.--The Pontiff arrived at the church to the singing of litanies
if there was a Station, or to that of the "Introit" when the procession
came from the sacristy. He greeted the people, as St. Augustine has told
us, with the "Pax vobis," or "Dominus vobiscum," to which they responded
"Et cum spiritu tuo;" after which the celebrant said a prayer of a very
special nature, called the "Collect." The general term is "oratio." There
are three of these prayers in the Mass--the first that just mentioned; the
second the "oratio super oblata," or Secret; and, lastly, the "oratio ad
complendum," or Post-Communion. The Collect is the "oratio prima." As it
was said at the moment when the faithful were assembling for Mass, some
have thought that this was the origin of its name, "oratio ad collectam,"
prayer at the moment of meeting. Others have thought it was derived from
the fact that the celebrant here collects and expresses the intentions of
all those present. The term is not exclusively Roman; in the Gallican
liturgies we find prayers called "collectiones."
We have a large number of such prayers in the Roman missal. Their character
is easily recognised, especially that of the most ancient, which are really
of Roman origin, and which are distinguished by the clearness of their
style, and the elegance and symmetry of their composition. Such is the
following, chosen haphazard:
Deus qui ineffabilibus mundum renovas
sacramentis: praesta, quaesumus, ut Ecclesia
tua et aeternis proficiat institutis,
et temporalibus non destituatur auxiliis.
(Friday of the fourth week in Lent).
The old Roman books, such as the "Leonine," "Gelasian," and "Gregorian
Sacramentaries" contain a great number of these prayers, which are of equal
interest from the literary and theological standpoints.
The character of these prayers in the Roman liturgy has been much praised;
they are always short, precise, elegant, and of a scholarly rhythm. Those
of the other Latin liturgies, such as the Gallican and Mozarabic, are, on
the contrary, much longer and more diffuse, clearly betraying a time when
the Latin tongue was scarcely spoken except by the barbarians, and was
falling into decadence.
We see that there was at that period no question of the prayers now said at
the foot of the altar (Psalm xlii., the "Confeteor" and the rest). It was
only later that these were added to the Mass (cf. Chapter IX). Not only,
however, have we preserved the use of the Collects, but the greater part of
them are very ancient, dating from the seventh and even from the fifth
century. Originally there was only one Collect; now we have often a
sequence of several--memorials of another Feast, prayers to the Holy Ghost,
to Our Lady, or for other intentions.
THE READINGS AND THE CHANTS (GRADUAL, ALLELUIA TRACT, EPISTLE).--The
"Collect" is followed by a reading or lesson from Holy Scripture (Old or
New Testament) called the "Epistle," because it is often taken from the
Epistles of St. Paul. It was read from the pulpit by one of the ministers,
usually a Lector. To-day it is reserved for the sub-Deacon. It is usually
contained in a special book called the "Epistolary." The most ancient of
those copies, which have come down to us under the title of "Lectionaries,"
go back to the eighth century, or to an even earlier epoch, that of the
seventh century. In some ancient copies of the Bible these lessons are
marked. The study of the "Lectionaries" is most useful for the right
understanding of the liturgy.
We have seen that in Africa (fourth and fifth centuries) there were
sometimes three lessons--one from the Old Testament (Prophecy), one from
the Epistles or Acts of the Apostles (Apostolic reading), and finally the
Gospel. On certain days like vigils or the Ember Days we have several
Lessons in the Roman Mass; on the vigil of Pentecost there are six; on that
of Easter, twelve. But these are exceptional cases, and these vigils were
really night offices, each with their own special characteristics.
The custom in the Mozarabic and Gallican liturgies is to have three
lessons--the Prophecy, the Apostolic Lesson, and the Gospel. It is also,
though not without exceptions, the Eastern custom.
Liturgiologists have asked whether, at a certain epoch --say, before the
fifth century--the Roman Mass had not also its three Lessons, of which the
first was omitted later on. In any case, the reading of the Old Testament
during Lent has taken the place of the Apostolic Lesson. With the three
Lessons we can better understand a certain gradation in the form of the
Pre-Mass--Old Testament, New Testament (from the Apostolic part), and,
lastly, the Gospel, which in solemn Masses is surrounded with great
solemnities. It has also been pointed out that in the Roman Mass the
"Alleluia" follows the "Gradual." Two consecutive chants are not according
to the ancient and normal custom, in which a reading should be followed by
a chant or responsory. The psalmody or singing of a psalm alternates with
the reading. This would be another indication of the presence of three
Lessons--the "Gradual" after the "Prophecy," the "Alleluia" after the
As a matter of fact, the "Gradual" to-day follows the "Epistle," as also,
according to circumstances, does the "Alleluia" or the "Tract." The
"Prose," when there is one, follows the "Alleluia," on which it originally
The "Gradual" was thus styled at Rome because it was sung from the pulpit
on the altar steps, "Gradus." Its generic name is "Psalmus responsorius,"
as St. Augustine tells us. This particular way of singing a psalm in
responses differs from the Anthem. It was executed by a cantor, the choir
answering with a refrain or "Response" taken from the same psalm. Our own
"Gradual" has kept these general characteristics; it is sung by a cantor,
or a "schola," the choir taking up part of the verse; but the rest of the
psalm has been suppressed. The "Gradual" is one of the chief elements of
the Pre-Mass; we have seen the importance attached to it by St. Augustine,
who sometimes commented on it in his homilies, and regarded it as one of
the Lessons. At Rome until the time of St. Gregory it was, like the Gospel,
sung by a Deacon. St. Gregory, however, doubtless found some inconvenience
attached to this practice, and withdrew this privilege from the Deacons.
But the "Gradual" kept its place of honour among the chants of the Mass,
while the singing of the Anthems "Introit," "Offertory "and "Communion,"
which are, chronologically, later than the "Gradual," was carried out by
the "schola," or by the people themselves, since these chants were
instituted to occupy the faithful during the course of a procession.
The "Alleluia" is a chant of a special character. Of Hebraic origin, like
"Amen" and "Hosanna," it was adopted by the Christians, and is found in the
Apocalypse. It is frequently used, like the "Sanctus" and other
acclamations; but not at first in the Mass. The word means "Glory to God,"
and often occurs in the Psalms, some of which are called "alleluiatic" for
this reason. The time and occasion of its introduction into the Mass are
not very well known. But the custom existed from the days of St. Augustine,
who speaks of the "Jubilus," a kind of prolonged "melopeia" on the last "a"
of "Alleluia;" but he does not say whether it was followed by a psalm, as
it is to-day. It was chiefly sung on Easter Day and in Paschal time.
Sozomenus tells us that it was only sung at Rome on that day, but is his
information accurate? The real custom was to sing it during the whole of
Paschal time. And St. Gregory, again inspired by the Greek custom, extended
its use beyond Paschal time, probably to every Sunday and Feast day of the
year. Doubtless through its analogy with the "Gradual" a verse of Scripture
was sung after it, but this verse is not always taken from the Psalter.
The "Alleluia" is omitted on vigils, on certain ferials, at the Office of
the Dead, and from Septuagesima till Holy Saturday. In some countries in
the Middle Ages this suppression of the "Alleluia" was marked by a ceremony
called the "Burial of the Alleluia," held on the Saturday before
Septuagesima. It is needless to say that this ceremony was not observed in
Rome, nor any others which appeared contrary to the austerity of the
liturgy. Tropes, Proses, and the Mysteries which were derived from them did
not originate in Rome. It was by no means at an early date, and even then,
as it would seem, almost against her will, that she adopted four of the
most beautiful of the Proses: "Victimae pascali laudes," "Veni Sancte
Spiritus," "Dies Irae," "Lauda Sion," and much later, the "Stabat."
But at the time of which we speak (fifth-seventh centuries) there was no
question of these compositions. We shall speak of them in Chapter IX, and
shall then see how they were attached to the "Jubilus" of the "Alleluia."
To-day, when the "Alleluia "is omitted, its place is taken by a much more
ancient chant, the Tract.
The "Tract" (Tractus) is also rather obscure in its origin. What is certain
is that the manner of its singing (it has no refrain nor is it repeated,
hence its derivation from "tractim," meaning with a single stroke) is of
the highest antiquity. St. Benedict refers to it in his Rule, but in
connection with the Omce, in which it was probably used before its
introduction into the Mass. In the Roman antiphonary it has preserved its
original character better than the other chants; it is almost always a
psalm, or at least several verses of a psalm, and even the tone to which it
is sung recalls more faithfully its psalmodic origin.
THE GOSPEL.--The reading of the Gospel is the end of the Mass of the
catechumens; in a certain sense it is its crown and fulfilment. This
gradation observed between the reading of the Prophecy, that of the
Epistle, and finally of the Gospel, is more marked, as we have noted, in
certain other liturgies than in the actual Roman Mass; but, on the other
hand, Rome has always surrounded the singing of the Gospel with great
solemnities. The function was reserved for the Deacon, who was accompanied
to the pulpit by acolytes bearing candles and incense, and the book was
kissed by the celebrant. All that was the custom in St. Gregory's time; and
this Roman practice is the same as that of the church of Jerusalem in the
fourth century, as Etheria tells us. St. Benedict too, at the end of the
fifth century, in the office for vigils (matins) for Sundays and Feast
days, which he has so carefully composed, seems to have been inspired by
the same principles and to follow the same lines as those of the Pre-Mass,
with its singing of psalms, readings from the Old and New Testaments
accompanied by responses, the "Te Deum," and lastly the solemn reading of
the Gospel. Those Gospels to be read at Mass at that time, as also to-day,
were usually contained in a special book called the "Evangeliarium." The
richness of its binding, the perfection of the penmanship, and the beauty
of the illumination of some of these books is a urther proof of the
devotion of Christians to the Gospel. As to this the "Ordo Romanus I,"
which we are analysing here, tells us that the "Evangeliarium" used at the
Papal Mass was enriched with jewels; and that in order that these jewels
should not be stolen it was enclosed in a casket sealed with the seal of
the "Vestararius," and only opened at the moment of the reading of the
Another Roman custom of the eighth-twelfth centuries was that the Deacon
reading the Gospel should turn to the south, and not to the north, as he
The "Credo" was neither read nor sung in the Roman Mass until much later
(see Chap. VI).
The dismissal of the catechumens and others outside the fold customary in
the fifth century, and which was maintained much longer in some other
liturgies, was suppressed at Rome, probably in the sixth century. The
diaconal prayer at this juncture was also suppressed and the Mass of the
catechumens closed with the reading of the Gospel. But the Gallican,
Mozarabic, and Celtic liturgies have preserved this diaconal prayer which
formerly had its place in the Roman Mass (cf. Chap. IV).
THE MASS OF THE FAITHFUL
OFFERTORY.--It is still the custom for the celebrant to turn towards the
people after the Gospel and to say: "Dominus vobiscum, Oremus." This
salutation is generally followed by a prayer. Here, after this solemn
announcement, the priest reads the Offertory and carries out certain
functions, but no prayer follows. Something has evidently been suppressed
here, and the anomaly has naturally intrigued the liturgiologists. Mgr.
Duchesne thinks that the "Prayer of the Faithful" used to be in this place,
and this hypothesis has secured widespread approval. It is certainly
specious, for that prayer had its own place, and that an important one, in
most of the ancient liturgies. After the departure of the catechumens and
others outside the fold, who were not allowed to assist at Mass, the
faithful were invited to pray for several intentions: the Church, The Pope,
Bishops and other ministers, the Emperor, the sick, travellers, etc. This
prayer is no longer found in the Roman Mass, but during Holy Week (since it
is there that we must always seek the traces of the most ancient customs)
we have in Good Friday's morning office certain solemn prayers which are
nothing less than the "Prayer of the Faithful," and which may be considered
as one of the jewels of the Roman liturgy. Was it a prayer of this kind
which was announced by the "Dominus vobiscum" and "Oremus "mentioned above?
It would certainly be possible, but another conjecture has been made, and
this appears to be better founded. We may first remark that the "Prayer of
the Faithful" has not entirely disappeared. The "Te igitur "recalls it, and
sums up its principal features. Lastly, the Ambrosian, so near a neighbour
of the Roman liturgy, has at this very place an "Oratio super sindonem;"
this linen cloth is the "Corporal," which at this moment is placed upon the
altar. The Roman Mass has the same ceremony, but of the prayer has only
retained the "Dominus vobiscum "and "Oremus." The "Gelasian Sacramentary"
has also preserved traces of this prayer.
At the Roman Mass, after the Deacon had spread the Corporal presented by
the acolyte upon the altar, the Pope descended from his throne, and went to
receive the offerings, those of the men first, the order of precedence
being sedulously observed, according to Roman tradition. It may perhaps be
said here that St. Benedict, who was very faithful to the Roman spirit and
often draws his inspiration from the Roman liturgy of his day (sixth
century), has a whole chapter, "De ordine congregationis," in which he too
insists on the order of precedence for the Kiss of Peace, the Communion,
and for the whole choir office. After the men's offering came that of the
women, who occupied the other side of the nave, the congregation at that
time being divided in two parts.
The offering was made in the following way: each person offered a small
flagon of wine and a loaf; the wine was emptied into a great chalice, and
the bread placed in a white cloth held by two acolytes. It goes without
saying that as yet there was no question of unleavened bread; that offered
here is the usual leavened bread. This distinction between leavened and
unleavened did not then exist; it was only much later, and especially about
the eleventh century, that a quarrel, which in our own opinion was
unnecessary, arose between the Eastem and Westem churches on this
The most important thing to notice is that the offering as we have just
described it is a Roman custom, also followed in Africa and at Milan. In
the Gallican, Mozarabic, and Greek liturgies the preparation of the
offering was made before Mass.
After the offering had been made the Pope retumed to his throne and washed
his hands in preparation for the Sacrifice; after which he went to the
altar, where the oblations had been placed, the bread on one side, the
chalice into which the wine had been poured on the other. Mgr. Batiffol
aptly recalls a fresco at Ravenna, and also the famous chalice of Gourdon
(sixth century), preserved in the Cabinet of Medals. A reproduction of the
latter is given in DACL, at the word "calice."
THE OFFERTORY CHANT--All the time that this was going on--doubtless rather
a long time--the "schola" had sung the "Offertory "psalm; and when the Pope
arrived at the altar he made a signal for the singing to stop, whether the
psalm were finished or not. This "Offertory" chant, as well as those of
"Introit"and "Communion," had not, we repeat, the importance of the
"Gradual," which formed a whole apart; the former might be interrupted or
abridged without difficulty. If the "Introit "is a Roman creation of the
sixth century, as Mgr. Batiffol declares, the "Offertory" and "Communion
"chants are older, and were probably first instituted in the church of
Carthage. We may remember that St. Augustine was obliged to write a book to
defend this custom of chanting a psalm during the Oblation and the
THE SECRET.--What, first of all, does this word mean? More than any other
it has given rise to discussions. Is it a substantive or an adjective? Very
naturally it has been compared with analogous terms like "Missa"for
"Missio," "Oblata" for "Oblatio." Thus, it is asked, is not "Secreta" for
"Secretio?" Bossuet, who was the first to risk this interpretation, did so
with circumspection; the "Secretio," or "separation," meaning the
separation of the oblations. Others have taken it to be an adjective
qualifying the word "Oratio" understood; thus it would mean a secret
prayer, or one said in a low voice. Each interpretation presents serious
difficulties. In our own opinion, and that of others, "Secreta"is a
substantive synonymous with "Mysteria." Thus we sometimes find the
expression "Oratio super Secreta;" aud again, the whole canon is called
"Secreta," the "Mysteries."
At the epoch of which we are speaking this was the only prayer made over
the oblations, "super oblata." The Offertory prayers in the present Missal,
"Suscipe sancte Pater" and the rest (cf. Chap. IX), are of more recent
introduction, and probably of Gallican origin. There was then no question
of censing the "oblata"at Rome. Doubtless at the "Introit" and the "Gospel"
a golden censer was carried (thymiamaterium aureum), but this was merely a
vase of perfume which was not used for censing; it was not the
"thuribulum." This custom is of Gallican origin, and was not introduced at
Rome until after the eleventh century.
The "Secret," the only "Offertory "prayer, had thus at that time a special
importance; and its formulas should be carefully studied in our Missal. In
its composition, and it may be said in its functions, it corresponds to the
"Collect" and the "Post-communion." Each of the three, as the principal
prayers of the Romau Mass, has its own "role," but all three correspond;
they are fashioned in the same mould and follow the same laws of
composition and rhythm. Attention has often been called to the sobriety,
simplicity, firmness, and elegance of the purely Roman style, which has so
well preserved the chief qualities of the best classical manner. These
characteristics will be noted all the more clearly if we compare these
prayers with the corresponding composition of the other Latin liturgies, of
which some examples are quoted in Chapters VI and VII. But what is
especially remarkable is less the literary quality than the depth and
certainty of the teaching given us in these Roman prayers. Here, above all,
appear the mastery and the superiority of the liturgy of that Church which
is Mother and Mistress. To speak only of the "Secrets," we find that more
than one affirms the faith of the Roman Church in Transubstantiation; and
Bossuet has made good use of this fact against the Protestants in his
explanations of the prayers of the Mass.
THE PREFACE.--The adoption of the "Sanctus" as well as other circumstances
have led the Roman and the other Churches, both Greek and Latin, to divide
into several parts that Eucharistic prayer which, in the second and third
centuries, forms a single uninterrupted whole up to the final doxoiogy
(before the "Pater") (cf. Chap. IV).
The first part of this Eucharistic prayer has become what is called at Rome
the "Preface," "Praefatio" (a word in use at Rome from the sixth century,
and already mentioned at the Council of Carthage in 407). It was a general
term, meaning rather a prayer or blessing than an introduction, in the
sense the word is used to-day. There are "Prefaces" for the blessing of
fonts and of the holy oils, and for ordinations. The "Exultet" at the
blessing of the Paschal Candle is also a "Preface."
That it was an improvised prayer the great number of its formulas would
prove. Many of these date back to the fourth century. The Leonine
Sacramentary contains a rich collection of "Prefaces," many of which bear
the stamp of their time and allude to contemporary events (fourth-fifth
centuries). The Gelasian has also a large number, but the Sacramentary of
St. Gregory accepted only eleven, to which were added later (eleventh
century) the "Preface" of Our Lady, and in our own day that of the Dead,
one for St. Joseph, one for Christ the King, and another for the Sacred
All these "Prefaces" present the same general characteristics; they begin
with the same protocol; they are addressed to God the Father Almighty
through Jesus Christ Our Lord. On this point the "Preface" is not
distinguished from the "Collects" and other Roman prayers. But it has
greater scope; it refers to the Feast which is being celebrated, or even to
contemporary events (as in the Leonine), or to the blessing about to take
place (baptismal fonts, ordinations, Paschal Candle, etc.). At Mass the
"Preface" always closes with a formula leading to the "Sanctus."
The Roman "Preface" is composed with the same care and according to those
same rules of the "Cursus" as are the "Collects" and other prayers. These
"Prefaces" are usually as remarkable for their workmanship as for their
theological teaching, as, for example, that for the Holy Trinity and that
for Christmas. If our present aim were to comment on the prayers of the
Mass, it would be necessary to pause here for some time to underline the
importance of the "Prefaces" of our Missal, of the "Communicantes" which on
certain days accompany them, and to compare them with the "Illationes" or
"Contestationes" of other Latin liturgies, notably with those of the
Mozarabic rite, which are sometimes actual theological treatises or
biographies of Martyrs and Saints.
THE SANCTUS.--The "Sanctus," like the "Gloria in Excelsis" the "Te decet
laus" and other chants, goes back to the most ancient Christian antiquity.
It is in reality taken from the Old Testament, from Isaias. It must have
been in use at other times than in the Mass, as we see by a quotation from
Tertullian, and by the Acts of SS. Perpetua and Felicitas. Its introduction
into the actual Eucharistic prayer towards the fifth century, or even
before it has somewhat modified the form of the latter by dividing it into
several parts. It exists in two forms: in the Eastern Church the "Sanctus"
is usually read as it exists in the text of Isaias. Rome, however, added to
these words the second part: "Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini," the
words sung by the multitude at Jerusalem to welcome the Messiah on Palm
Sunday. The other Latin liturgies have followed Rome in this custom, and
this again is a point on which all these liturgies betray their unity.
THE ROMAN CANON.--The word "Canon," Canon Missae" in our Missal, is the
title of all the prayers which follow the "Sanctus." No other indication is
furnished in the Missal to show where the "Canon" ends, and it would seem
to continue till the Last Gospel inclusively. But according to a text of
St. Gregory which we shall quote in connection with the "Pater," and also
in accordance with other witnesses, the "Canon" really ends with the solemn
doxology which precedes the "Pater," or at the "Fraction." The word
"chanon" signifies "rule;" the meaning here is that this is an official
prayer, one established by an invariable rule.
Pope Vigilius indeed, in 538, in a text already quoted, remarks that at
Rome, contrary to what prevailed elsewhere, this prayer never varies except
on certain Feast days, such as Christmas, Epiphany, etc.
The word "Canon" is Roman. In the East the corresponding prayer is called
the "Anaphora," from "anaphero," I offer. In the Gelasian Sacramentary the
word "Actio" is applied to this part of the Mass. It is the supreme
"action," and "agere," "agenda" are taken in the same sense. We even have
in our existing "Canon" the terms "Infra actionem," during the action,
which recall the ancient word "actio."
To-day it comprehends the following prayers:
Memento of the Living;
Unde et memores;
Memento of the Dead,
Pater, with prelude and embolism.
This very division of the "Canon" into a dozen prayers which often are not
correlated, would in itself be enough to reveal a fragmentary state by no
means primitive. Indeed we shall see that, whatever be the antiquity of
such and such a formula, the Roman "Canon" as a whole goes back but to a
date about the year 400.
The "Canon" corresponds with the most ancient of the Eucharistic prayers as
this is described by St. Justin in the second century or at the beginning
of the third by St. Hippolytus. It is a prayer with a single inspiration
beginning with the "Dominus vobiscum "or "Sursum corda" of the "Preface,"
continuing with the recital of the Institution, and ending after a doxology
with the "Amen" of the faithful. These are the true limits of the "Canon,"
they are at least the most ancient.
Great is the temptation both for archaeologists and liturgiologists to try
whether it be not possible to reconstitute the Roman "Canon" in its
primitive form, and to give it a more logical, more homogeneous sequence.
To this many have yielded, and in our article "Canon" (DACL) we have
mentioned the chief attempts which have been made in this direction. They
will also be found in Fortescue's book; and, since his time, other
hypotheses have been presented for consideration.
It is discouraging that each critic has a different system, and that none,
we may say, has arrived at a really definite result. We may safely
disregard such study, and take the Roman "Canon" just as it is; remarking
that its actual form is assuredly not primitive, and what we may call the
joins are clearly shown by certain signs which will be pointed out in the
consideration of each of these prayers.
Nevertheless, whatever be the variety of the sources whence its compiler
has drawn it up, the composition as a whole betrays itself as the work of a
single hand. That "scholasticus" of whom St. Gregory speaks with some dis
dain has certain methods in his style which Brinktrine, I think, was the
first to point out. First of all, the use of two parallel terms:
rogamus ac petimus,
accepta habeas et benedicas
catholicae et apostolicae fidei
sanctas ac venerabiles
respicere et accepta habere
sanctum sacrificium immaculatam hostiam
partem aliquam et societatem
de tuis donis ac datis
famulorum famularum que tuarum,
quorum tibifides cognita est et nota devotio,
pro quibus tibi offerimus vel qui tibi offererunt:
(this last passage, it is true, is no doubt an addition)
servitutis nostrae . . . et cunctae familiae tuae,
omnis honor et gloria
non aestimator meriti sed veniae largitor.
A tendency to triplicate the terms:
haec dona, haec munera, haec sancta sacrificia, hostiam puram, hostiam
sanctam, hostiam immaculatam.
The sacrifice of the three Patriarchs--Abel, Abraham, Melchisedech:
per ipsum, cum ipso, in ipso,
passionis, resurrectionis, ascensionis.
The accumulation of five terms:
benedictam, adscriptam, ratam, rationabilem, acceptabilem,
creas, sanctificas, vivificas, benedicis, praestas.
Other similar remarks could be made on the characteristics of this style.
But these are sufficient to prove that we have to do with a writer who
loves prose that is rhythmical, measured, symmetrical, and occasionally
Another question arises with respect to the "Canon:" Has it an "epiclesis,"
and, if so, what is its place? The "epiclesis" (epikleo I call) is a prayer
of invocation to the Holy Ghost to sanctify the gifts offered. Its place is
generally among the prayers which follow the Consecration; and some of
these formulas indeed declare it is to the virtue of the Holy Ghost and not
to the words of the Institution that the miracle of Transubstantiation is
due. Many liturgiologists say with Edmund Bishop that there is no
"epiclesis" in the Roman Mass. Others, like certain Anglican divines, count
it a crime of the Roman Church to have cut it out. Others again recognise
the Roman "epiclesis" in such and such a prayer before or after the
Consecration. Let us say there is no "epiclesis" in the Roman Mass in the
ordinary sense of the word; but that this does not mean there has never
been one. 26
"Te igitur."--In our Missal this is the first prayer of the Canon; it does
not close with a doxology like all Roman prayers, and seems, if one may say
so, sharply interrupted by the "Memento" of the Living. Yet it is an
admirable prayer, on all the terms of which it would be easy to comment.
But we can only refer to the writers quoted in the Bibliography, whose aim
is to explain all the prayers of the Mass. By a simple comparison with the
"Prayer of the Faithful" we can see that it is inspired with the most
beautiful traditions of Christian antiquity. The mention of the Pope first
of all is not due merely to the fact that this prayer was originally
compiled at Rome and for Rome; it was an established use in most churches
to pray for the Pope, and also for the Bishops with whom they were in
"Memento of the living."--This is composed of the "Memento" proper and of
the "Communicantes," which ends with a doxology. The very place of the
"Memento" in the "Canon" forbade the mention here of those for whom the
Mass was being offered, which in other liturgies is made in an audible
voice. In those chapters devoted to these liturgies we shall see the
importance given to the reading of the Diptychs (Chapters VI and VII; see
also our article "Diptyques" in DACL).
The "Communicantes," beginning as it does with a participle, is a phrase
without a verb which it has been vainly tried to explain. This would
incline us to adopt the opinion of those who consider that it should be
attached to the "Te igitur," from which it must once have been separated,
or to another prayer. In any case the list of names given in it is very
interesting. First of all Saint Mary the Virgin with her titles, "semper
virginis," "genetricis Dei," which takes us back to the time of discussions
on the perpetual virginity or the Divine maternity of Our Lady (end of
fourth century and Council of Ephesus, 431). Next comes a list of the
Apostles, which puts St. Paul beside St. Peter, and which may be compared
with the other lists of Apostles found in the New Testament, which differ
in many points from the Roman list. (DACL, "Apotres.")
Following the twelve Apostles come twelve Roman martyrs, specially honoured
in that city; five Popes; St. Cyprian placed close to St. Cornelius, his
presence indicating that the old quarrels between him and that Pope are
forgotten. Then St. Laurence, the great Roman martyr; St. Chrysogonus, more
obscure, but whose name is well known at Rome and whose Basilica is
mentioned in the sixth century; John and Paul, whose Basilica on the
Ccelian is celebrated; and, lastly, Cosmas and Damian, with a great
reputation in the East and at Byzantium, after whom Pope Felix IV (526-530)
named a Basilica at Rome, and to whom Pope Symmachus had already dedicated
an oratory. From these and other indications Mgr. Batiffol concludes very
ingeniously, and not without reason, that the "Communicantes "dates from
this last-named Pope (498-514). Nevertheless, it may be objected to this
that certain names in this list may perhaps have been added later.
Attention has already been called to the words Infra actionem which form
the title of the Communicantes, and to the alternative "Communicantes" used
on certain Feasts.
"Hanc igitur oblationem" is to-day recited while the priest is holding his
hands spread out over the oblations; which has led some to believe that we
have here the Roman "epiclesis." But nothing in the words of the prayer
show this. Moreover, this imposition of the hands is not of ancient date,
and would seem to be only a gesture designating the matter which is to
serve for the Sacrifice. The "Liber Pontificalis" says that St. Gregory
added to this text the "Diesque nostros" with what follows it. In the
existing Missal there is an alternative "Hanc igitur," the words of which
are the same for Easter and Pentecost, reminding us that on these two
Feasts Baptism was given to tbe catechumens. But in the Gelasian
Sacramentary a large number of variants to the "Hanc igitur" existed--
nearly fifty; which St. Gregory suppressed when he re-edited the book. All
these variants are interesting, though we cannot study them here in
detail.The prayer to-day closes with a doxology, after the words added
St. Gregory; but in some of the variants this did not exist, and the "Hanc
igitur" is united to the following prayer:
"Quam oblationem;" this might easily have been attached to the "Hanc
igitur," of which it seems a continuation. Some liturgiologists consider
this prayer as the "epiclesis." To this opinion the same objections may be
sustained as in the case of the "Hanc igitur," for it is not an "epiclesis"
in the true sense of the term, since there is no invocation of God the Holy
Ghost. The signs of the Cross, here so frequent, are intended (as also in
the "Te igitur") rather to emphasise the words of the prayer than as a
blessing. (See Excursus, "Gestures in the Mass," p. 220.)
THE CONSECRATION.--With the "Qui pridie" we come to the really central and
essential part of the Roman Mass. It is not only the recital of the
Eucharistic Institution, reproducing the actions and the very words of Our
Lord at the Last Supper; it is a prayer which completes the preceding
prayers; its aim is really to work the Mystery of Transubstantiation just
as it was accomplished by the actual words of Christ on the eve of His
Passion. It would be easy to prove it, but it is enough to refer our
readers to a chapter of Mgr. Batiffol's book on the Eucharist. "Saint
Ambroise et le Canon Romain."
We can only, as before, make a few remarks on the text. First of all we
notice that, if the words used follow the story of the synoptic Gospels,
they do not reproduce it literally. The "sanctas ac venerabiles manus suas"
repeated in both Consecrations is not in the Gospel. Nor are the words,
"pro nostra omniumque salute pateretur," said on Holy Thursday. It has been
thought that these are additions made in the fifth century, against
predestinationists. The "Mysteriurn fidei" is also an addition. not yet
satisfactorily explained. But with many exegetists the tendency on the
contrary is to discover in the Gospel text the influence of ritual
practices existing previous to the compilation of the Gospels.
The other Latin liturgies are in agreement with the Roman Church in
beginning this recital with the words "Qui pridie;" while the Greek and
Eastern rites follow the text of St. Paul: "In qua nocte." This agreement
of the Latin liturgies on so important a point is no feeble argument in
favour of the division made in Chapter II between Eastern and Western
Another and even more essential divergence between East and West is this:
if it is clear that the liturgies of the latter group, headed by the Church
of Rome, teach by this importance given to the recital of the Institution
that the Consecration of the bread and wine takes place at this moment, it
is also true that in certain Eastern liturgies the text of some of the
"epicleses," which are placed after the Consecration, seems to mean that
the Mystery of Transubstantiation is, according to them, wrought by the
virtue of God the Holy Ghost.
Who can refuse to see the true bearing of this difference and, from the
dogmatical point of view, to admit the advantages of the Roman compilation?
"Unde et memores," "Supra quae," "Supplices Te."--We may consider these
three prayers of the Canon as forming a single whole, especially as they
end with a single doxology. The technical name of this whole is
"anamnesis," because according to the Greek etymology it "recalls" the
different Mysteries associated with the Sacrifice of Our Lord; His Passion,
Death, Descent into hell, Resurrection, and Ascension. It is thus the
history of our redemption summed up in a few words.
It has a mysterious sense not always understood, and which we must try to
explain. It is the real meaning of the Mystery of the Mass. We, servants of
God and His holy people, offer to God a pure, holy, spotless Host, the
blessed Bread of Eternal Life and the chalice of Eternal Salvation. There
can be no doubt, whatever may have been said by certain Protestant
interpreters, that in this we must see that the elements have become the
Body and Blood of Christ, as is said in the prayer "Supplices Te: the Body
and the Sacrosanct Blood of the Son of God."
The "De tuis donis ac datis" is found in analogous terms in other
liturgies, notably in the Eastern. It contains a profound meaning. It is a
thought often expressed in the Old Testament, especially in the Psalms,
that all that he has, man holds from God, who created the world to be his
domain: the rain from the skies which waters the earth, plants and the
fruits of trees, animals, birds, fish--all these are subject to man, "omnia
subjecisti sub pedibus ejus." Of this universe God constituted him the
king. Hence man has laid on him a strict duty to worship God by praise and
sacrifice. In offering Him the fruits of the earth, or animals, he only, as
it were, performs a work of restitution; he offers that which he has
received, "hostiam de tuis donis ac datis." This is specially true of that
Sacrifice which has supplanted all the rest, where the Victim pure and holy
above all others is offered, the Son Whom the Father sent to save man. Thus
we offer our sacrifice to the Father, praying Him to accept it as He did
those of Abel, of Abraham, of Melchisedech, types of the One True and
Complete Sacrifice; that He will transport it by the hands of His "Holy
Angel" to His Divine Throne; and that all those who have partaken of the
Body and Blood of Christ may be filled with His Benediction and Grace.
It is a mysterious prayer, as has been said, and it has given rise to many
interpretations. Besides that of those who, deceived by the simplicity of
the expressions, have misunderstood the lofty bearing of the whole, and
thus failed to see anything more than an earthly sacrifice and earthly
gifts, previous to a Consecration which according to them did not take
place at the "Qui pridie," or of others who suppose that one or other of
these prayers formerly preceded the recital of the Last Supper and is thus
included in the zone of the "Offertory," there is another difficulty: that
of the intervention of the "Holy Angel." Some take this to mean the Holy
Spirit; others, the Word Himself, the "Angel of Great Counsel." But for the
largest number a mere Angel is here meant; perhaps St. Michael, the "Angel
of the Sacrifice." However, the text of "De Sacramentis," already quoted
(Chap. IV), decides this question clearly by putting the plural, "Angelorum
Tuorum." It must also be remembered that in certain prayers of the Roman
liturgy mention is made of the "Holy Angel" sent by God, who is not the
Word. But, on the whole the meaning of this "anamnesis" can be compared
without much difficulty with certain ancient "anaphorae," notably with that
of Hippolytus, which joins the Eucharistic prayer to the "epiclesis" and
calls down the blessing of God upon those about to partake of the Body and
Blood of Christ. Thus we have here an echo of the most ancient Eucharistic
The "Memento of the Dead," following the "anamnesis," is surprisingly
placed. This prayer has all the characteristics of a later insertion--a
statement difficult to deny. To find it in this particular place is
unexpected; nor is it announced by anything which goes before.
The "Nobis quoque" which comes after it is not less astonishing. But the
apparent incoherence is explained by those who admit that this "Memento" is
an addition subsequent even to the time of St. Gregory. It was at least not
said primitively (or so it would seem), except in Masses for the Dead.
Numerous examples of Sacramentaries or Missals in which the Mass does not
contain this addition are mentioned by Dom Cagin, Ed. Bishop Batiffol, and
It is really the Diptych of the Dead, just as we have had the Diptych of
the Living before the Consecration; the natural place of both being in most
liturgies, at the "Offertory." However this may be, the text of the
prayer itself is none the less interesting. In the "locum refrigerii,"
lucis et pacis the proof is clear that some of the Dead, in their place of
waiting, do not yet enjoy those blessings which were asked for them, and
this again proves the belief in Purgatory.
The list of fifteen names mentioned in the "Nobis quoque peccatoribus" has,
like that of the "Memento of the living," been studied wisely by Mgr.
Batiffol, who arrives at the same result in both cases: he believes this
prayer to have been drawn up under Pope Symmachus (498-514). We find here
the Roman Martyr St. Alexander, a son of that other Roman Martyr, St.
Felicity, whose tomb that Pope restored; and Agnes of Rome, whose Basilica
in the city he restored from its ruins; and St. Agatha, Martyr of Catania,
for whom Symmachus built a Basilica on the Aurelian Way. Besides these
Saints we have St. John (Baptist), who is at the head of all the lists of
Saints, and whose absence here in the Mass might have caused surprise ;
St. Stephen, the first Martyr, whose presence is not less justified; SS.
Matthias and Barnabas, whom we were less likely to expect to find here, but
who complete the list of the Apostles given in the "Memento of the Living,"
for Matthias took the place of Judas in the Apostolic College, and Barnabas
is frequently attached to it by a special title.
Then follows St. Ignatius, the great Martyr thrown to the wild beasts in
the amphitheatre of Rome; Marcellinus and Peter, two Roman Martyrs, buried
in the catacomb "Ad duas Lauros," St. Perpetua, one of the group of the
great Martyrs of Carthage; St. Lucy, a Sicilian Martyr always connected
with St. Agatha; and, lastly, three more Roman Martyrs, Agnes and Cecilia,
both well known, and Anastasia, titular of a church in Rome, who at that
time was also an object of popular devotion. Discussions have latterly
arisen as to the name of St. Felicity. At first sight the name Perpetua,
which immediately follows, would lead us to believe that she was that
Felicity who suffered martyrdom in company with Perpetua. But when
everything is taken into consideration it seems that here it is rather a
question of the Roman Martyr, mother of seven other Martyrs, of whom St.
Alexander was one.
"Per Quem haec omnia."--After the two prayers of the "Memento of the Dead"
we have next the "Per Quem," as unexpected in this place as they themselves
in theirs, and a "crux" for liturgiologists. Without going through all the
various interpretations of this text, let us simply say that Per Quem seems
to have been inserted here to make a transition between the close of the
"Memento of the Dead," which already broke into the Eucharistic prayer, and
the final doxology of the "Canon," Per Ipsum."
Hence we must not be too much surprised at the terms of this prayer, which
is really but the close of another; nor must we seek to explain its bearing
too strictly. The "Haec omnia," which has always been a difficulty,
originally designed in this prayer (whatever was the place it then
occupied) all the gifts offered by the faithful, not excepting those
supreme Gifts which are the Body and Blood of Christ.
But we must insist on the doxology which issues from these difficulties,
and takes us up to a very high level. As has been seen already in the texts
of SS. Justin and Hippolytus, the Eucharistic prayer of the second and
third centuries ended with a doxology to which the people responded "Amen."
This was a solemn act of Faith in the whole Eucharistic Mystery just
unfolded before their eyes. Therefore this doxology is clothed with
importance and unaccustomed solemnity, as it should be. It is first an act
of Adoration to the Trinity in Whom and by Whom the Mystery is
accomplished. It is also a formula admirably summing up the whole of
Christian worship: Glory and honour rendered to the Father, by the Son, in
the Holy Ghost. The gestures added later to this doxology still further
emphasise its dignity. At the "Per Quem haec omnia" the celebrant has taken
the Host and the chalice; then with the prescribed signs of the Cross he
uncovers the chalice, takes the Host in his right hand to make with it the
sign of the Cross thrice above the chalice and twice before it, after which
he elevates chalice and Host. "Elevans parum," says the rubric; for this
Elevation, once not merely the principal but the only one in the Mass, has
become secondary since the great Elevation has taken place after the
Consecration. The signs of the Cross, multiplied here, are not intended
as blessings, since these would not be suitable over the consecrated
elements; but rather symbols to remind us of the Mystery of our Redemption
with the Mystery of the Trinity, which to-day is the true meaning of the
Sign of the Cross.
THE FRACTION AND PATER.--Before St. Gregory s day the Fraction took place
before the "Pater." Dom Cagin even thinks that the "Per Quem haec omnia"
was the primitive form of the Fraction in the Roman Mass. What is
is that St. Gregory here introduced another considerable change; he himself
tells us why and how he did it, in a well-known and much-discussed text,
upon which it would seem that most are agreed to-day. Thus, before St.
Gregory, the order was: after the prayers Per Quem haec omnia" and "Per
Ipsum" the Fraction, a rather complicated ceremony, took place. After that
the prelate regained his seat and said the "Pater." To St. Gregory this
appeared shocking. To the Bishop of Syracuse he wrote emphatically: "It
does not seem to me decent that we say the "Pater" after the prayer of the
"Canon "(post precem), for we say that prayer, composed by some writer
(scholasticus), over the oblation (the Body and Blood of Our Lord), while
we do not say over that Body and Blood the prayer (Pater) composed by Our
Redeemer Himself. For it was the custom of the Apostles to consecrate with
that prayer." Light is thrown on this text if we remember that during
Fraction the Pontiff regained his seat, and thus did not say the "Pater,"
as he did the other prayers of the "Canon," over the Body and Blood of
Christ. By putting the "Pater' before the Fraction, as it is to-day, it is
said over the consecrated elements. What St. Gregory does not say in this
letter is that there really were two customs about the "Pater." In its
primitive place, after the Fraction and connected with the Communion, it
was a kind of preparation for the latter; and the words "Panem nostrum
quotidianum" may well apply to the Bread Supersubstantial, as it is
sometimes called, which was then received. This was the custom in Africa as
it was at Rome and in other churches. But in the Greek churches this was
not so; and the "Pater" formed part of the prayers of the "Canon." St.
Gregory, who had been a witness of this practice, wished to transport it,
like the "Kyrie," into the Roman Mass. It would seem as though the Bishop
of Syracuse had accused the Pope of following the Greek custom too easily.
St. Gregory defends himself, as he had about the use of the "Kyrie," by
saying in this case that among the Greeks the "Pater" is recited at Mass by
all the people, while at Rome the celebrant alone said it (just as to-day);
while the people responded: "Sed libera nos a malo."
From this text two other conclusions are sometimes drawn: that the "Pater"
was not said at the Roman Mass and that it was St. Gregory who introduced
it there; and that the Pope's idea was that the Apostles consecrated the
bread and wine by the Lord's Prayer alone. These two assertions cannot be
discussed here, but both seem to us equally erroneous. It is very difficult
to believe that the "Pater" was not recited in Mass at Rome at the end of
the sixth century, when this use was that of all other churches; would not
St. Jerome or St. Augustine have pointed out this fact? The text of St.
Gregory's letter, moreover, does not allow us to suspect it.
As to the prayer used by the Apostles in Consecration, we may say that St.
Gregory knew what it was no more than we ourselves.
The "Pater" is preceded by a short prelude and followed by an
intercalation; both are invariable in the Roman liturgy, while in Gaul and
Spain they changed at almost every Mass. Both are characteristic of the
universal litllrgy, especially of the Latin liturgies. The Roman prelude is
very simple; it would seem to be indicated by an expression of St. Jerome.
The embolism, or intercalation, is a commentary on the last petition:
libera nos a malo. Here the name of Our Lady is invoked with all Her
titles, "Beata et gloriosa semper virgine Dei Genitrice Maria," as in the
"Memento of the Living," then the great patrons of the Roman Church, Peter
and Paul. The name of St. Andrew, alone mentioned among all the other
Saints, has caused it to be supposed with reason that its insertion here is
due to St. Gregory, whose monastery on the Ccelian was dedicated to St.
Andrew. In other places the name of St. Ambrose was added, that of St.
Patrick, and other popular patrons.
At the words "Da propitius pacem" the pricst to-day signs himself with the
paten and kisses it before slipping it beneath the Host. This gesture must
be interpreted by the rites of the Papal Mass, of which it is now but a
memory. The paten, with the chalice, is one of the most important vessels
used in the service of the Mass. Like the chalice it is usually made of
precious metal, generally silver; both are consecrated with special
prayers. In certain museums ancient and priceless patens are preserved,
like that of Gourdon, or the glass paten of Cologne. At present the paten
has lost some of its attributes, and thoroughly to understand the
ceremonies of which it is the object (especially at Solemn Masses) we must
go back to the ancient rites. At the Papal Masses the paten, or patens,
were confided to the sub-Deacon. The "Sancta" (Eucharistic Species)
consecrated at a previous Mass were received and preserved on it, until the
moment of Communion, when the Pope placed the Sacred Species in his
chalice, as a sign of the perpetuity of the Sacrifice. The rites of the
"Sancta" and of the "Fermentum" have now been dropped, but some of the
attendant ceremonies have been preserved. At Solemn Masses to-day the sub-
Deacon has charge of an empty paten, which he covers with a veil. At the
end of the "Pater" he passes it to the Deacon, who in his turn carries it
to the Priest, who, at the words "Da propitius pacem," signs himself with
the paten and kisses it, as already stated. This ceremonial is observed
even at Low Masses. The celebrant makes the Fraction upon the paten, first
dividing the Host into two parts, and then putting a fragment of one part
into the chalice with the words "Haec commixtio." Thus the two rites of the
"Fraction" and the "Immixtion" are still closely united, or, as it might be
called, confounded in one rite. That of the "Pax" itself has come to be
incorporated in the rite of the Fraction, for it is with the words "Pax
Domini sit semper vobis cum" that the Priest proceeds to the "Immixtion."
In the Papal Mass they were clearly separated, as will be seen.
FRACTION, IMMIXTION, KISS OF PEACE.--The Breaking of Bread by Our Lord at
the Last Supper had so impressed itself upon their minds that two of the
disciples recognised Him by the way He broke the bread; and for a long time
the words "Fractio Panis" meant the Mass. At Rome, during the period we are
now considering, the ceremonies were resplendent, but in our own days many
have been retrenched. Moreover, there is no doubt that St. Gregory's
innovation as to the "Fraction" had brought about important changes in this
part of the Mass. But before these changes were made, the procedure was as
follows: the Pontiff made three signs of the Cross over the chalice before
he put the "Sancta" into it. As has been explained, these "Sancta" are a
portion of the Eucharist consecrated at the preceding Mass, and kept to be
used at the next in order to assure the continuity of the Sacrifice. Then
the Pontiff detached a portion of the Host, which he left upon the altar
until the end of the Mass; these portions probably served as Sancta for the
next celebration. He then left the altar and returned to his throne.
We must not forget that at that time the Hosts were whole loaves. They were
distributed to the Bishops and Priests surrounding the Pope, and when a
signal was given they broke the consecrated bread so that it might be
distributed to the faithful in Holy Communion. All this time the "schola"
sang the chant of the "Fraction" (called at Milan the "Confractorium;"
these chants can be studied in the old books there). At Rome, Pope Sergius
(687-701) prescribed the singing of the "Agnus Dei," which thus became a
chant of the "Fraction." It was rcpeated as often as was necessary while
the "Fraction" was taking place. After the ceremony of the Breaking of
Bread had been simplified the "Agnus Dei" was only twice repeated, "dona
nobis pacem" being substituted for the words "Miserere nobis" at the third
and last repetition. The "Agnus Dei" is thus later than St. Gregory's time,
but there was always a chant of the "Fraction" in this place; many can be
found in the ancient Roman liturgical books. One of the finest is the
"Venite populi," still preserved in certain liturgies.
Beside the "Fraction" we have mentioned another rite, the "Immixtion," or
"Commixtion." This is accomplished now when the Priest puts part of the
Host into the chalice with these words: "May this mingling and hallowing of
the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ avail us that receive it unto
life everlasting, Amen." This mixture, which now takes place immediately
before the "Agnus Dei," is intended to show that the Body and Blood of
Christ remain united, in spite of the apparent separation of the elements.
The "Immixtion" was more strongly marked in St. Gregory's time. The formula
quoted is in "Ordo I." By tlhese words and this action the Roman Church
affirms anew that Christ is not divided, but entire under both Species.
Certain formulas of "Immixtion" point this out more clearly than the
formula now in use.
The "Kiss of Peace," like the "Fraction" and "Commixtion," has lost much of
its solemnity in our own days. Before placing the third portion of the Host
in the chalice the Priest, holding it in his right hand and signing with it
three times upon the chalice, says: Pax Domini sit semper vobis cum." "Et
cum spirit tuo." After the first Communion prayer, "Domine J. C. qui
dixisti...." "Pacem relinquo vobis," he gives (at High Mass) the Kiss of
Peace to the Deacon, who gives it to the sub-Deacon who in his turn
"carries the Peace" to the members of the clergy in the choir. In the time
of St. Gregory and till the time of Innocent III the "Kiss of Peace" was
not merely exchanged amongst the clergy as it is to-day, but amongst all
the faithful; for at that time the people were still divided into two
parts--men on one side, women on the other--all being expected to receive
Holy Communion. Thus the "Kiss of Peace" after the words of the "Pater" on
the forgiveness of offences and before partaking of the Body and Blood of
Our Lord was an act of deep meaning.
The Roman liturgy is almost alone in putting the "Kiss of Peace" in this
place. In the Mozarabic, Gallican, and Eastern liturgies it takes place at
the "Offertory." This conveys quite another idea. The Mass of the
catechumens is finished; they, with the uninitiated and others who would
not communicate at the Mass, had been sent away. Only the faithful
remained; the Prayer of the Faithful was then recited, after which the
"Kiss of Peace" was given. The rite in such a place is justified.
Nevertheless this difference between the liturgies has naturally been much
remarked upon; and it is one of the reasons for which the Gallican
liturgies have been classed in a different order from our own (cf. Chapter
II), and their origin sought in the East. We may, however, ask whether this
difference may not be otherwise explained.
THE COMMUNION.--The rites of the "Pater," "Fraction," and "Kiss of Peace"
in the Roman Mass may be considered as a preparation for Communion. This
part of the Mass has suffered more change than any other since St.
Gregory's time. The Pontiff communicated first, under both Species ù then
he distributed to the faithful, first the consecrated Bread, which they
still received in their hands, as in primitive times, after having kissed
the Bishop's hand. The Deacon then presented the chalice to them, and they
drank of it through a tube, "pugillaris," "fistula." Later, in the tenth-
twelfth centuries, it was thought sufficient to steep the consecrated Bread
in the Precious Blood, and to present it thus to the faithful, as is still
the custom in the East. When receiving the Communion the faithful responded
"Amen." The whole of this ceremonial goes back to the most ancient period,
and Mgr. Batiffol has many texts on this subject--an inscription at Autun
of the second century, a passage from St. Cyprian, a passage from the life
of St. Melanie in the fifth century, etc. At Rome, Communion under both
kinds was maintained until the fourteenth century. The difficulty which
Communion with the chalice presented, the fear of any risk of profanation
and a tendency to simplify all rites, brought about many modifications from
the tenth century onwards, and finally Communion was given under only one
kind. We know what discussions have arisen from the suppression of
Communion under both kinds in the time of John Hus (fifteenth century). But
at bottom there was here nothing but a precaution of a practical order.
Throughout all time it had been believed that Christ was present Whole and
Entire under the Species of Bread, and we have examples of Communion under
one kind only in the most ancient times.
THE MASS AT ROME
On the other hand, the recital of the "Confiteor," "Agnus Dei," "Domine non
sum dignus," as well as the three prayers after the "Agnus Dei," are later
than St. Gregory, and hardly appear before the thirteenth century. It has
been thought, and not without reason, that this group of prayers must have
constituted at first the ritual of the Communion distributed outside Mass;
for example, to the sick.
During the distribution of the Communion the Communion anthem was sung.
Primitively this was a psalm, modulated, like those of the "Introit" and
"Offertory" on the antiphonic mode. Here again only the anthem has been
retained. Psalm xxxiii. was for a long time the one chiefly used, as we
have already seen in Africa in St. Augustine's time.
After the Communion the Priest recited a prayer, called in ancient times
"oratio ad complendum," or finished prayer, it is the third of that
category of prayers, the first of these being the "Collect," and the second
the "Secret." This third prayer is now called the "Post-communion." It is
of the same style and character as the first two. Many of them are of high
dogmatic meaning and affirm the faith of the Roman Church in the
DISMISSAL AND LAST PRAYERS.--In the time of St. Gregory the Mass ended
after the "Communion" and "Post-communion." The Deacon dismissed the people
with the words "Ite missa est," and the Pontiff withdrew, giving his
blessing. Here there is another difference between the Roman and the
other Latin liturgies. The blessing given by the Priest in a special
formula before the Communioll does not exist at Rome, and that given as the
Pontiff withdrew is quite another thing (as we explain in connection with
the Gallican liturgy; cf. Chap. VII). This blessing, moreover, was at first
reserved for Bishops, then in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries ordinary
Priests were allowed to bestow it. It originally consisted of these simple
words: "Benedicat vos Dominus. Amen."
On weekdays in Lent, however, there is a prayer, "super populum," which
follows the "Post-communion." The Priest says "Oremus," the Deacon
"Humiliate capita vestra Deo," and the Priest then pronounces the fonnula,
which is one of blessing. It was St. Gregory, or one of the compilers of
the "Gregorian Sacramentary," who assigned this form of blessing to Lent,
Sundays a.lways excepted. The formulas themselves, however, have not a
penitential character. Some are borrowed from the Leonine, others from the
Gelasian Sacrarnentary, both of which have on certain days an "oratio ad
populum." There is the same custom in the liturgy of St. Mark, with the
"Humiliate capita vestra Deo," and also in that of St. James. Lastly, as
has been remarked, the Gallican liturgies also had an episcopal blessing,
but this was given before Communion. Several collections of formulas for
those blessings exist, forming a special liturgical book, the
"Benedictional," and some of these are magnificently illustrated.
CONCLUSION.--This Roman Mass in the seventh century is remarkable for its
simplicity, the austerity of its forms, especially if compared with the
magnificence and pomp of the Byzantine liturgy, and even with the Mozarabic
and Gallican Masses. Edmund Bishop loved to remark that this Papal Mass was
both logical and rational. There is little syrnbolism, there are no useless
rites, but great order and sequence in the ritual. He gave a celebrated
conference on this subject on 8th May 1899. But what it is chiefly
necessary to point out (thouglh Bishop could not say all he wished on this
subject in a single conference) is the excellence of the prayers and the
Prefaces of this Missal; the choice of the Epistles, the Gospels, and the
other fonnulas which make of the Roman Missal the most beautiful book of
prayer in existence.
May we be allowed to refer our readers to an article written on this
subject: "The Excellence of the Roman Mass," in "The Clergy Review," 1931,
1. The "Liber Pontificalis" says that this same Pope Celestine instituted
the Introit, and that before his time only St. Paul and the Gospel were
read at the Pre-Mass. But this text is derived from an apochryphal letter
(cf. Mgr. Batiffol, p. 105). The "Liber Pontificalis" makes other allusions
to modifications introduced into the Mass by the Popes. Of these we shall
speak further on.
2. have given all these texts in DACL, article "Canon," col. 1852 seq 3. In
the volume already quoted, "Books of The Latin Liturgy," we give fuller
information about the Leonine Sacramentary. Cf. p. 71. See also our article
"Leonien" in DACL.
4. On the "Gelasian" see also "Books of the Latin Liturgy," p. 77 and the
article "Gelasien" in DACL.
5. Cf. "Books of the Latin Liturgy," p. 77, and the article "Gregorien" in
6. I have given some information on the "Ordines Romani" in "Books of the
Latin Liturgy" Since then M. I'Abbe M. Andrieu has published the first
volume of an important work in which the principal "Ordines Romani" are
described and published: "Les Ordines Romani du haut moyen age." I, "Les
Manuscrits (Spic. sacr. Lovaniense)" (Louvain, 1931, 8vo, xxiv-632 pp.)
7. Cf. Lejay, "Le Liber Pontificalis et la Messe Romaine, Revue d'Hist et
de Litt. religieuse," Vol. II, p. 182 (1897).
8. On all this, cf. Batiffol, "Lecons sur la Messe," pp. 30, 31.
9. The procession of the Station is described in the Excursus, p. 227.
10. See Excursus, "Liturgical Gestures," p. 220.
11. Mgr. Batiffol gives examples, "Lecons sur la Messe," pp. 54, 55.
12. The question of the "Kyrie Eleison" and of the "Litany" have a certain
importance in the history of the liturgy; cf DACL, arts. "Kyrie Eleison"
13. Cf. article "Introit" in DACL.
14. Cf the article "Gloria in Excelsis" in DACL.
15. Cf our article "La doxologie dans la priere chretienne des premiers
siecles," in "Melanges," "Grandmaison," "Recherches de science religieuse,"
1928, Vol. XVIII.
16. The list of these will be found in DACL, art. "Gloria in Excelsis."
17. See "Books of the Latin Liturgy," p. 32 seq.
18. Cf. Excursus, "The Gregorian Chant," p. 218.
19. Ci. Bishop and Wilmart, "Le genie du rit romain," p. 45.
20. Naturally both sides have tried to support their contention by means of
ancient texts and customs, and the number of theses written for and against
unleavened bread is considerable. Cf. DACL, "Azymes," and another article
on the same subject in the "Dict. de theol. catholique."
21. Cf. Batiffol, op. cit., p. 151 seq., and Excursus on "Chants of the
Mass," at the end of this volume, p. 212.
22. On this great controversy of the "Secret des Mysteres," revived by the
last vol. of the Abbe Bremond (Vol. IX), see Excursus, "The Chants of the
23. On the whole of this question cf. also Mgr. Batiffol, who shows the
difference between these two terms very well (loc. cit. p. 155); cf. also
24. Cf. our article "Actio" in DACL.
25. Brinktrine, "Die Heilige Messe," p. 198, has done little more than
indicate this aspect of the "Canon," but a philologist might draw most
interesting comparisons from it.
26. Cf. our article "Epiclese" in DACL.
27. See especially the conclusions drawn by Mgr. Batiffol, p . 231 seq.
28. Pp. 335-370. We note with pleasure that in this chapter the author
refers many times to the work of Dom Cagin, "Eucharistia," where may be
found, in a rather more complicated form, a learned explanation of all this
part of the Mass.
29. Dom Morin, "Une particularite' inapercue du qui pridie," in "Revue
Benedictine," 1910, p. 513 seq. Cf. also on the words "noui et aeterni
testamenti" (in the formula of Consecration), "Rassegna Gregoriana," 1903,
Vol. II, p. 190 seq.
30. Brinktrine in particular adopts this opinion.
31. This is a fact upon which Dom Cagin has thrown a strong light in
"Paleographie musicale," Vol. V.
32. Cf. also Mgr. Batiffol, "L'Eucharistie," p. 371 seq., and the two
articles already mentioned on "Epiclese" in DACL and "Dict. de theol.
33. Cf. our article "Diptyques" in DACL.
34. The "Suscipe Sancta Trinitas," where he is also mentioned, is of later
35. On these churches see the works of P. Grisar, already mentioned, and
Charles Dumaine, "Les saints du canon de la Messe," Paris, 1920.
36. In recent times many articles have been written on this question,
particularly one by Burkitt in the "Journal of Theol. Studies," 1931, p.
37. See our article "Elevation "in DACL.
38. On the Sign of the Cross see Excursus, "Gestures in the Mass," P. 220.
39. "Eucharistia," p. 57.
40. On the different interpretations given to this difficult and obscure
text, cf. Batiffol, "Lecons," p. 277, and "L'Eucharistie," p. 352.
41. On this point we may be allowed to refer to our articles on the
"Pater," "Revue Gregorienne," May-June, September-October 1928; January-
February 1929; cf. also Bishop-Wilmart, "Le genie du rit romain," p. 84
41 Cf. articles by K. Ott, "Il transitorium e il confractorium nella
liturgia ambrosiana," in "Rassegna Gregoriana," especially p. 211 seq.
42. Cf. "Immixtion," DACL, according to the work of Michel Andrieu.
43. Cf. our article "Baiser de Paix," DACL,
44. P, 288 seq.
45. The theological question is treated in all theological books. See
particularly the "Dict. de theol. catholique" under these words.
46. Batiffol, loc. cit., p. 287. Cf. Chapter IX, where we speak again of
47. The various prayers, "Quid retribuam," "Sanguis Domini," "Quod ore,"
"Corpus tuum," are also of later date. Cf. Chapter IX.
48. Cf. the article ,"Ad complendum" in DACL.
49. For the prayers since added, "Placeat," Last Gospel, etc., see Chapter
50. "Books of the Latin Liturgy," (Sands, 3s, 6d.), P. 68 seq.
51. This is the conference which has been translated (into French) and
enriched with notes by Dom A. Wilmart, "Le genie du rit romain," Paris,
(Beyond the works cited in the course of this chapter):-- Dom G. MORIN,
"Liturgie et basiliques de Rome au milieu du VIIme siecle, d'apres les
listes d'evangiles de Wurzburg. Revue Benedictine," 1911, pp. 296-330.
H. GRISAR, "Histoire de Rome et des Papes au moyen age," trad. Ledos, 1906
(Vol. I, pp. 154-167). "Description des eglises de Rome au V et VIe
ARMELLINI, "Le Chiese di Roma dal secolo IV al XIX." Roma, 1841.
BATIFFOL, "Le Canon de la Messe a-t-il Firmicus Maternus pour auteur? In
Revue des sciences relig. de Strasbourg," Vol. II, 1922, PP. 113-126,
refuting a hypothesis of Dom Morin's.
"Liturgia," pp. 501-533.
THE AMBROSIAN MASS
The books of the Ambrosian liturgy.--Analogies with other liturgies.
THE Ambrosian liturgy is still practised in the Cathedral of Milan. It
takes its name from the great Bishop of that See, St. Ambrose, who died in
397, and who did so much for the liturgy.
THE BOOKS OF THE AMBROSIAN LITURGY.--We have studied elsewhere the books
which contain this liturgy. They are Sacramentaries, Pontificals, a
manual, some "Ordines," and lectionaries: in fact, a collection which
enables us to reconstitute the Ambrosian Mass. Not one of these is really
earlier than the ninth century; we must confess that the preceding period
is rather obscure, and that from the fourth-ninth centuries this liturgy
has probably been subject to influences coming from the East, from Rome,
and other countries. It has been stated in the book referred to in our note
below that the characteristics of this liturgy have been explained in two
ways. One party declares that they are strongly influenced by the East;
while Mgr. Duchesne attributes them specially to an Arian Bishop, Auxentius
(355-374), who occupied the See of Milan for some years. Another group of
liturgiologists, on the contrary, without denying Eastern or Byzantine
importatiolls, such as are found even in the Roman liturgy, use every
effort to emphasise the analogies between the Ambrosian and Roman
liturgies; affirming that the first is almost identical with the second,
especially with a Roman liturgy existing previous to the reforms of
Damasus, Gelasius, and St. Gregory. It must be admitted that this last
hypothesis has gained ground to-day, and certain coincidences recently
noted, concerning Rome and Milan, would seem to strengthen it.
ANALOGIES WITH OTHER LITURGIES.--In this sketch it will be enough to note,
as they occur, analogies with Rome on one hand, and with Oriental and
Gallican liturgies on the other.
In the Ambrosian rite certain ceremonies were accomplished in the "Basilica
major" or "ecclesia aestiva," and others in the "Basilica minor" or
"ecclesia hiemalis." This custom has been compared with that of the Roman
At the beginning of Mass the clergy came to the sanctuary from the sacristy
to the singing of the "Ingressa," which has been compared to the Roman
"Introit." The "Ingressa," however, is not the chanting of a psalm, as the
"Introit" is; it has only one verse, which is not always chosen from a
psalm, and it has no doxology.
The prayers at the foot of the altar are almost the same as those of the
Roman Missal, but these prayers as a whole date only from the late Middle
The "Gloria in Excelsis" was sung as at Rome, but is followed instead of
preceded by the "Kyrie Eleison," which is different from the Roman "Kyrie,"
being composed of the first acclamation, thrice repeated by the Priest
alone, "Christe Eleison" not being said. This "Kyrie" is again repeated
after the Gospel and after the Post-communion. This use secms particular to
the church at Milan. The Ambrosian rite has also preserved an old form
prayer, the "preces" or litanies, which are translated almost literally
from the Greek. This is found, with a few variations, in the Missal of
Stowe (Chap. IV) under the title: "Deprecatio sancti Martini." This has
been studied in the article "Litanies" in DACL. It would seem that Rome and
the other Latin liturgies were acquainted with litanies of this kind.
The celebrant salutes the people with: "Dominus vobiscum," as at Rome. Thc
prayer which follows is called "Super populum," a title given by Rome to
certain prayers in Lent, and which is also used in the Gallican liturgies.
There are three readings or Lessons in the Ambrosian Mass: one from the Old
Testament, sometimes replaced by the reading of the Acts or "Gesta" of the
Martyrs; one from the New Testament (Acts or Epistles); and finally, the
Gospel. These three Lessons are found in the Mozarabic and Gallican
liturgies, while those of the Eastern rite have three, and sometimes many
more, Lessons. The question is to know whether Rome had not three Lessons
also, at one time, as the presence of the "Alleluia" after the Gradual
would make us believe. This anomaly is not found at Milan, each reading
being followed by a chant. The Gradual is called "Psalmellus," but has the
same characteristics as the Roman Gradual; the second Lesson is followed by
the "Alleluia;" while the Gospel is followed by the "Kyrie," and by an
anthem of which we shall speak immediately.
The song of Zacharias, Benedictus, after the Gospel, seems at first sight a
Gallican importation. Not long ago Pere Thibaut showed the importance of
this chant in the Gallican liturgy ; yet others, notably the Roman
liturgy, have also adopted it, and it has sometimes even taken the place of
thc "Gloria in Excelsis."
The catechumens were dismissed before the Offertory. A celebrated formula,
as to which we shall have a word to say, is as follows:
"Si quis cathecumenus est, procedat.
Si quis haereticus est, procedat.
Si quis judaeus est, procedat.
Si quis paganus est, procedat.
Si quis arianus est, procedat.
Cujus cura non est, procedat."
This formula was discussed at Rome in 1905 during the conferences on
Christian Archceology. Mgr. Stornaiolo, who had discovered it in a Vatican
codex of the eleventhtwelfth centuries, gave it as a unique example of the
"missa," or "dismissio," of the non-Catholics before the Mass (of the
Faithful). Bannister gave it another interpretation; in his opinion it was
an appeal from the Church to come and be baptized. He himself had found the
same formula in the Office of Holy Saturday, after the "Sicut servus."
Cardinal Tommasi had already published two formulas of this kind, found in
the Roman books; Muratori two others, from the Ambrosian rite. The
"Paleographie musicale" of the Solesmes Benedictines gave the formula of
the "codex urbinatus"(that published by Mgr. Stornaiolo) with the neumatic
Ambrosian notation (Vol. VI, pp. 174, 175, and 262). Finally, the same
formula was discovered in Beroldus by Mgr. Magistretti, who proved by the
context that the meaning of "procedat" could not be an appeal to advance,
but, on the contrary, an invitation to withdraw, "procedat" being
equivalent to "recedat."
There was an anthem, "post Evangelium," which, according to Lejay, was
connected with the Offertory. However, as has been observed in Chapter IV,
a chant after the Gospel cannot be considered as unfamiliar in Rome. After
this anthem there was the "Pacem habete, corrigite (erigite) vos ad
orationem." This is an ancient rite, which seems clearly to indicate that
in the primitive Ambrosian Mass the Kiss of Peace took place here, and even
the reading of the Diptychs. On this point, then, this rite was different
from that of Rome, in which the Diptychs were recited in the middle of the
Canon, and where the Kiss of Peace was given at Communion; but it does
agree with the Gallican, Mozarabic, and Eastern liturgies. This difference
is the most important of all between Rome and the other Latin liturgies.
Certain liturgiologists have boldly affirmed that it is reasonable to
believe that on this point it is the Roman liturgy which has changed, while
all the rest remained faithful to the primitive system.
The Ambrosian liturgy has adopted prayers which are not very ancient for
the Offertory. Otherwise both ceremonies and formulas are very like those
On the paten on which he has placed the Host the Priest says: "Suscipe,
clementissime Pater, hunc panem sanctum ut fiat unigeniti corpus in nomine
Patris et Filii et Spiritus sancti. When he puts wine and water into the
chalice, he says: De latere Christi exivit sanguis et aqua pariter, in
nomine Patris," etc.
Here there are two prayers, "Suscipe sancte Pater" and "Suscipe sancta
Trinitas," which strongly resemble the Roman formulas. Then comes this
prayer, with imposition of hands over the oblations: "Et suscipe sancta
Trinitas hanc oblationem pro emundatione mea; ut mundes et purges me ab
universis peccatorum maculis, quatenus tibi digne ministrare merear, domine
et clementissime Deus." All these formulas are of later origin, and can be
found in other books of the Middle Ages, with variants.
The prayer, "Super sindonem" (or, prayer over the winding-sheet or
Corporal), is, on the contrary, very ancient. It is true that the Roman
liturgy has not that prayer to-day, but it has at this moment the ceremony
of the Corporal, and further, the "Dominus vobiscum" and "Oremus," which
are not followed by any prayer, which surely indicates that there is a gap
here. Many liturgiologists have said, and still say, that what is missing
here is the Prayer of the Faithful; but we are of Bishop's opinion: that it
is more reasonable to believe that once at Rome, as now at Milan, the
"oratio super sindonem" stood in this place.
The offerings were brought to the singing of the "antiphona post
evangelium;" and this too is conformable with the Roman rite. The celebrant
blessed them with this further prayer: "Benedictio Dei omnipotentis Pat
tris et Filii et Spiritus sancti copiosa de coelis descendat super hanc
nostram oblationem et accepta tibi sit haec oblatio, Domine sancte, Pater
omnipotens, aeterne Deus, misericors rerum conditor."
In certain manuscripts the prayer "Adesto Domine" is found at this point.
The blessing of the incense resembles the Roman blessing; having the same
formulas, with one exception. But all these prayers are also of the late
During solemn Masses at Milan a characteristic ceremony took place. Ten old
men (vecchioni) and ten old women, who lived at the expense of the Chapter,
came in special costume to offer the bread and wine. This, too, is a custom
which reminds us of the Roman Offertory. This offering also is accompanied
by a prayer, "oratio super oblatam," which answers to the Roman
The Ambrosian Preface is framed on the Roman lines, and also concludes with
the "Sanctus." But the Milanese rite has kept a large number of these
Prefaces. Lejay has an interesting study on that of the manuscript of
Bergamo; and he distinguishes amongst them the following types:
Prefaces in the form of Collects, ending with the doxology "Per Dominum
Prefaces in the form of a narrative, recounting the Lives of Saints;
Oratorical Prefaces, true rhetorical efforts, sometimes perhaps rather
stilted in tone; and related more closely to the Gallican or Mozarabic
style rather than to the sobriety of Rome;
Antithetical Prefaces, in which two subjects are opposed to each other in a
series of contrasts;
Lastly, Lejay also distinguishes Parallel Prefaces, in which two Saints are
compared with each other; or Eve with Our Lady, or Christ with St. Stephen.
In spite of the oratorical tone of all these compositions, he yet declares
that "some of these pieces are really beautiful, and betray a master's
hand" (loc. cit., cols. 1413-1414). Two of these Prefaces even contain
hexameters, and one, pentameters.
At the present day the Ambrosian Canon, except for very slight variants, is
like the Roman Canon, and has been like it for many centuries. In his
article on the Ambrosian rite, Lejay has published the entire text of the
Sacramentary of Biasca, as well as that of the Missal of Stowe and the
Gelasian Sacramentary (loc. cit., cols. 1407-1414). The comparison of these
texts is most instructive, but it can be seen at a glance that, excepting
for the list of Saints, to which the Ambrosians have added several
specially honoured at Milan, and for a few less important variants, the
Ambrosian Canon is exactly similar to the Gelasian, which itself is but the
Gregorian Canon of our own Missal,with a few very slight variations.
We may agree with certain liturgiologists that the Canon of "De Sacramentis
"(which is printed on Chap. IV) gives us a very much earlier form of the
Canon than the Ambrosian; one, indeed, which goes back to about the year
400. But, as was then said, that text too presents many analogies with the
Roman Canon. Lejay, following Mgr. Duchesne here, attempts to go back to an
even earlier epoch, in which, he says, "there was no Ambrosian Canon
really; before the adoption of the Roman Canon at Milan the consecrating
prayers were still variable in their tenor, as we find them in the Gallican
Lejay seeks traces of this primitive Ambrosian Canon in the offices of Holy
Week, which, as we know, often preserve the most ancient vestiges of the
old liturgies. Thus, on Holy Thursday, we have a formula which is a pendant
to the Gallican "Post pridie," as follows: after the words of the
Institution: "Haec facimus, haec celebramus, tua, Domine, praezcepta
servantes etad communionem inviolabilem hoc ipsum quod corpus domini
sumimus mortem dominicam nuntiamus."
On Holy Saturday there is a "Vere Sanctus," just as there is in the Eastern
and Gallican liturgies: "Vere benedictus dominus noster Jesus Christus,
filius tuus. Qui cum Deus esset majestatis descendit de coelo, formam servi
qui primus perierat suscepit et sponte pati dignatus est ut eum quem ipse
fecerat liberaret. Unde et hoc paschale sacrifcium tibi offerimus pro his
quos ex aqua et spiritu sancto regenerare dignatus es, dans eis remissionem
omnium peccatorum, ut invenires eos in Christo Jesu domino nostro; pro
quibus tibi, domine, supplices fundimus preces ut nomina eorum pariterque
famuli tui imperatoris scripta habeas in libro viventium. Per Christum
Dominum nostrum, qui pridie." Here the "Vere Sanctus," as in the Gallican
and Eastern liturgies, joins the "Sanctus" to the "Qui pridie."
There is yet another variant of the "Vere Sanctus" on Holy Thursday: "Tu
nos, domine, participes filii tui, tu consortes regni tui," etc.
In the Canon of Biasca the formula of consecration is followed by these
words: "Mandans quoque, et dicens ad eos: Haec quotiescumque feceritis in
meam commemorationem facietis; mortem meam praedicabitis, resurrectionem
adnunciabitis, adventum meum sperabitis, donec iterum de coelis veniam ad
vos." This is a variant of the Roman anamnesis, evidently of very ancient
authorship, which recalls the formula of the "Apostolic Constitutions"
(VIII, 12, P.G. Vol. I, col. 1104; cf. VII, 25, col. 1O17), themselves
inspired by the actual text of St. Paul: "Hosakis gar an esthiete" (I Cor.
Xi. 26). It is also found in other Eastern liturgies, as those of St. James
and St. Basil, in the Missal of Stowe, and in the Mozarabic rite.
In the text of Biasca the Canon ends, like the Canons of all the rites,
with a doxology; but this, slightly different from the Roman doxology, runs
thus: "Et est tibi Deo Patri Omnipotenti ex ipso, et per ipsum, et in ipso
omnis honor, virtus, laus, gloria, imperium, perpetuitas et potestas in
unitate spiritus sancti. Per infinita saecula saeculorurn. Amen." This is
very nearly the same as that of "De Sacramentis," which in that document
follows the "Pater." According to Lejay this would be its primitive place
in the Ambrosian liturgy. Now a doxology after the "Pater" is a primitive
custom already found in the "Didache;"so ancient that it has slipped into
certain manuscripts after the Lord's Prayer given by St. Matthew (chap. vi.
As at Rome, the Pater is preceded by a short prelude and followed by an
embolism which differs only very slightly,from the Roman use. The Fraction
preceded the "Pater" as it did at Rome before St. Gregory's day. This was
also the case with the Gallican liturgies, on this point in agreement with
Rome, while the Greeks placed the Fraction afterwards. After the doxology
at the end of the Canon the Priest divides the Host, saying: "Corpus tuum
frangitur," "Christe; Calix benedicitur," and breaks off a piece destined
to be placed in the chalice, with these words: "Sanguis tuus sit nobis
semper ad vitam et ad salvandas animas." The Commixtion is made with the
words: "Commixtio consecrati corporis et sanguinis D.N.J.C. nobis edentibus
et sumentibus, in vitam aeternam. Amen." This rite is accompanied by a
chant called "Confractorium." Lejay mentions one taken from Psalm xxii. 5,
according to St. Ambrose (col. 1419).
The "Pax" is given at this moment, as at Rome; but certain indications
allow us to believe that in the primitive Ambrosian rite it was doubtless
at the Offertory.
The "Agnus Dei" and the three prayers before the Communion have been
adopted by the Ambrosian as they have by the Roman rite; but they are
prayers of a later age.
The ancient formula for Communion was formerly: "Corpus D.N.J.C. proficiat
mihi sumenti et omnibus pro quibus hoc sacrificium attuli ad vitam et
gaudiun sempiternum." It is unnecessary to remark that this is not a very
ancient formula, such as that given in "De Sacramentis," which is very old.
The Priest says: "Corpus Christi," and the faithful reply: "Amen."
There is a prayer of Post-communion, as at Rome.
The Mass ends thus: after the Post-communion and "Dominus vobiscum "the
"Kyrie Eleison" is said thrice. Then the Blessing: "Benedicat et exaudiat
nos Deus. Amen." The Deacon says: "Procedamus in pace. In nomine Christi."
To this ending has been added the "Placeat," the Blessing, and the Gospel
of St. John.
In this Mass, as we have just depicted it, we find a large number of
elements which are identical with the Roman Mass; either because they have
been borrowed from it, or else that both have flowed from the same source.
Other features remind us rather of the Gallican and Mozarabic, or even the
Eastern liturgies; and it has already been said that both these opinions
have gathered a certain number of supporters: In the future perhaps an even
closer study of the documents will produce fresh arguments which will weigh
down the balance in one or the other direction. But for the moment we see
no sufficient reason to give up that opinion stated in Chapter II. Beyond
the reforms imposed by Rome, it seems to us that, during the first few
centuries, liturgical unity, understood in its widest sense, gives the key
to a certain number of differences, just as it does to analogies between
the two liturgies.
In our own opinion it would be more interesting profoundly to study the
liturgy of this great church of Milan, which at one moment in the fourth
century was "quasi-patriarchal," and of which we have here only been able
to give the palest sketch, than it would be to attempt to resolve the above
question. Like Antioch, Jerusalem, Alexandria, Rome, Constantinople,
Toledo, Ravenna, Aquilea, it was a first-class liturgical centre. Such of
its liturgical books as have been preserved, the great churches where this
liturgy was celebrated, the great Bishops who were its protectors, all give
us the very loftiest idea of it. But we are not now writing the history of
the Latin liturgies, an enormous enterprise which would as yet be
premature; we are but endeavouring to study the Mass of the Western Rite
under its different forms.
1. See "Books of the Latin Liturgy" (Sands, 3s. 6d.), pp. 85-88.
2. Do not forget what has been said in Chapter II as to the liturgical
exchanges and borrowings between the Eastern churches (notably those of
Antioch and Jerusalem) and those of the West.
3. Lejay thinks (wrongly, in our opinion) that the second "Kyrie" is only a
vestige of the Prayer of the Faithful.
4. Cf. Duchesne, "Origines du culte," p. 203.
5. "L'ancienne liturgie gallicane, son origine aux Ve et VIe siecles,"
(Paris 1929), and our remarks on this subject in "Revue d'Hist. eccles. de
Louvain," Vol. XXVI, p. 851 seq.
6. Cf. DACL, "Cantiques evangeliques," col. 1995.
7. Thomasi-Vezzosi, VII, p. 6 seq.; Muratori, "Antiqu. Medii Evi.," Vol.
IV, pp. 842 and 914.
8. "De la missa ou dismissio catechumenorum," in "Revue Benedictine," 1905,
Vol. XXII, pp. 569-572; cf. also "Rassegna Gregoriana," 1905, July-August,
9. Cf. the works of Dom Cagin, Probst, Lucas, and Fortescue, already
mentioned; and also DACL, "Baiser de Paix," and "Diptyques."
10. Bishop-Wilmart, "Le genie du rit romain," p. 45 and note 45.
11. Lejay, who admits that the oblations were presented at the beginning of
the Mass (as in the Gallican rite), thinks that the ceremony described
above is a reduplication, and consequently an addition, of a later age.
12. Lejay considers that this prayer is a reduplication of the "oratio
super sindonem "(loc. cit., col. 1406). To me this does not seem exact,
each of these prayers having its own well-determined object.
13. Cf. DACL, "Diptyques."
14. Loc. cit., col. 1416; cf. Mgr. Duchesne, "Les origines du culte" 3rd
edition, p. 177. But this, we must confess, is at least a hypothesis for
15. All these formulas will be found in Lejay, art. cit., cols. 1416, 1417.
It is well known that Dom Cagin has ingeniously endeavoured to find the
"Vere Sanctus" in the Roman Mass itself.
16. Lejay, art. cit., col. 1418. But we cannot agree with him that this is
a feature borrowed from the Eastern liturgies, for it is of far more
ancient origin. Cf. on this point the "Pater" in the "Revue Gregorienne,"
The Abbe Paul Lejay has published two articles, "Ambrosienne" (liturgy),
one in the "Dict. de theol. cath.," the other, later and more complete, in
DACL; both being under the same title. In his bibliography he mentions the
works of CERIANI, MERCATI, MAGISTRETTI, and others upon this subject. To
this the following articles may be added:--
In "Liturgia," p. 801 seq., a chapter on the Ambrosian liturgy. "Books of
the Latin Liturgy" (Sands, 3s. 6d.), pp. 85-88, on the Sacramentaries,
Rituals, Manuals, and Pontificals of the Ambrosian liturgy.
W. C. BISHOP, "The Ambrosian Breviary," in the "Church Quarterly Review,"
October 1886, p. 110 seq., published separately. Analogies with the
Mozarabic and Gallican liturgies.
LUCAS, three articles on "The Ambrosian Liturgy," in the "Tablet," 4th
December 1897; 29th January and 5th February 1898. (Cf. also the "Month,"
January 1902, p. 41.) The conclusions of CERIANI, MERCATI, MAGISTRETTI, and
others are adopted, i.e. that the Ambrosian liturgy is derived from an
ante-Gregorian Roman liturgy.
ARCHDALE KING, "Notes on thc Catholic Liturgies "(London, 1930)
For Ambrosian (the chant), see the article of Dom GATARD in DACL
THE MASS IN SPAIN
The Mozarabic liturgy,--Mozarabic books.--The Pre-Mass.--The Mass of the
Faithful.--Remarks on this Mass.
THE MOZARABIC LITURGY
The Mozarabic liturgy is that which was followed in Spain before the Arab
conquest in 712, and which, after that date, was still generally in use
both by those Spanish who had submitted to the Arabs and by those others
who, having withdrawn into the northern provinces, were able to retain
their independence. The term "Mozarabic" (from musta'rab, or mixto-arabic,
"mixed with the Arabs") only applies in reality to that part of the Spanish
population which did submit to the Saracens. It is, strictly speaking, a
mistake to use it to qualify the Spanish liturgy, since this existed in
Spain previous to the Arab conquest; and, further, because it was also the
liturgy of the free Spaniards in the north. Nevertheless, since this name
is now well established, and is used by most authors, we think it best to
retain it here. Further, the names of Visigothic rite, rite of Toledo,
Hispanic, Gothic, or Spanish rite, by which it has been proposed to replace
the word "Mozarabic" rite, are none of them in themselves perfectly
In all cases this term denotes a liturgy which has been that of Spain from
the beginning of her history; which was maintained in that country until
the twelfth century, and which, even after its suppression, was still
followed in a few churches, and in the sixteenth century was officially
restored in the churches of Toledo, where at the present time it is still
Whatever we may think of its name, the Mozarabic liturgy itself is fairly
well known to us. We may even say that, with the exception of the Roman
liturgy, it is this which provides us with the greatest number of
documents, and gives us the most important information, as may easily be
verified by the paragraph in which these sources are enumerated.
This, however, is not the place to discuss the question of the origin and
sources of these liturgical documents; we can but refer our readers to the
article "Mozarabe" (liturgie) in DACL. It is enough to say that we are not
now reduced (as was the case until recently) to the "Missale Mixtum" of
Lesley, but that at present we have the "Liber Ordinum" (Missal and
Pontifical) and the "Liber Mozarabicus Sacramentorum," both published by
Dom Ferotin, and also the "Comes," or "Liber Comicus," published by Dom
Morin. Thanks to these various documents we can easily reconstitute the
Mozarabic Mass, and go back to an epoch which is almost that of its origin:
let us say, the eighth, or even the seventh, century.
THE PRE-MASS, OR MASS OF THE CATECHUMENS
PREPARATION.--The "Missale Mixtum" contains a Preparation for Mass which is
given after the Mass for Easter (P.L., Vol. LXXXV, cols. 521-522). It
comprehends a number of rites and prayers, washing of hands, four Ave
Maria, prayers for the amice, the alb, girdle, maniple, stole, and
chasuble, an "apologia," the psalm "Judica me" with the anthem "Introibo ad
altare Dei," the confession of sins, the absolution, the prayer "Aufer a
nobis," the signing of the altar with the cross and kissing it (which was
formerly the kissing of the Cross present on the altar), and the prayer on
extending the Corporal upon the altar and on the preparation of the
chalice. Some of these rites and prayers are ancient, as may be seen by a
comparison with the Gallican rites; others are of recent introduction. The
preparation of the chalice and the Corporal formerly took place at the
Offertory (cf. P.L., loc. cit., col. 339, and Lesley's notes on these
INTROIT.--The Mass begins with the "Officium," called by the Gallicans
"Antiphona ad praelegendum," in the Ambrosian rite, Ingressa, and at Rome,
Introit, or "Antiphona ad introitum." It is composed of an anthem, the
verse of a psalm, and a doxology, and is taken either from Holy Scripture
or from the "Acta" of the Saint whose Feast is that day celebrated (cf.
Tommasi, "Disquisitio de antiphona ad introitum Missae," and Lesley's note,
P.L., col. 234). The doxology differs from that of Rome, and the "Semper"
of "Per omnia" is also a feature of the Mozarabic rite. But in outline the
Mozarabic "Officium" is closer to the Roman "Introit" than is the Ambrosian
GLORIA IN EXCELSIS AND COLLECT.--The "Gloria in Excelsis" is enclosed at
beginning and end by "Per omnia semper secula seculorum." It was sung in
this rite on Sundays and Feast Days, as the Fourth Council of Toledo says
(canon 12). Etherius and Beatus also state it (Ord. Elip., I, I; cf. also
Lesley's note, P.L., loc. cit., col. 531). Later the Mozarabites omitted
this hymn on the Sundays of Advent and Lent. It was also sung by the
Gallicans, as may be seen by the Missal of Bobbio, and was followed by two
prayers. In the Mozarabic rite, after the final "Per omnia," the Deacon
cried "Oremus," and the Priest said a prayer. Later on this acclamation of
the Deacon was suppressed, but not the Priest's prayer, which varied for
the Sundays of Advent, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, and for the
Feasts of Saints. The text of these various prayers will be found in the
"Missale Mixtum," P.L., Vol. LXXXV, col. 531 seq. The text of the "Gloria"
here given is the same as usual, but other forms do exist. (On this point
see the discussion between Lebrun and Lesley, P.L., loc. cit., col. 33; and
also Dom German Prado, "Una nueva recension del hymno Gloria in Excelsis"
in "Ephemerides Liturg.," 1932, PP. 481-486.)
The Collect, here called "Oratio," is often directly addressed to Christ,
as in the Gallican liturgies. Very often it is a paraphrase of the "Gloria
in Excelsis." As a rule it has not the sobriety, the precision, nor the
rhythm of the Roman Collect. Often it is merely a kind of pious effusion.
We may take as a chance example the prayer for the Feast of St. Stephen
(P.L., loc. cit., col. 190). After the oratio the Priest says:
"Per misericordiam tuam, Deus noster qui es benedictus: et vivis et omnia
regis in secula seculorum. Amen. Dominus sit semper vobiscum. Et cum
READINGS.--On Fast Days in Spain the "Officium" was shortened, and Mass
began with the Lessons, as it did formerly at Rome. St. Augustine, too,
tells us that in Africa Mass began on Sunday with the reading of Holy
We have one Lesson from the Old Testament, one from St. Paul, and the third
is the Gospel. The first is called the "Prophecy," the second the
"Epistle," or "Apostle," the third the "Gospel." But this order was not
invariable. On Sundays the Prophecy was omitted, while during Lent and on
Fast Days there were four Lessons, two from the Old, two from the New
Testament. Again, from Easter to Pentecost the first Lesson was taken from
the Apocalypse, that from the Old Testament being suppressed. The Gallicans
had almost exactly the same custom with regard to their Lessons. At Rome,
on the contrary (cf. Chap. IV), the readings were usually two in number, as
they are to-day. St. Isidore tells us that the Prophecy was read by the
Lector ("Epist. ad Ludifrid. Cordubensem." As to this custom, cf. Lesley's
note, P.L., loc. cit., col. 251). After the first prayer the Priest saluted
the people, and the Lector from a high place announced the title of the
book, "Lectio libri Exodi," the people responding "Deo Gratias," making the
sign of the Cross, and listening to the Lesson. After it was over they
answered: "Amen" (St. Isidore, "Offic.," I, I, c. x., and I, II, c. xi.).
The Priest added, as he did after the prayer: "Dominus sit semper vobiscum.
Et cum spiritu tuo."
PSALLENDO.--After the Prophecy is chanted the Canticle of the Three
Children, with the first verse of the psalm "Confitemini," as was also the
custom in the Gallican liturgy. The Lectionary of Luxeuil says: "Daniel cum
benedictione", as also does the author of the Letters of St. Germain. The
same order is recalled by the Fourth Council of Toledo (can. 14). After the
"Benedictus es" the Priest began to intone the Psalm "Confitemini," which
was continued by choir and people (see the "Missale Mixtum," P.L., loc.
cit., col. 297 and note). According to the MSS. the "Benedictus es," which
was sung in responses, shows a large number of variations. The "Psallendo,"
which comes next, is a responsory sung by the Precentor from a pulpit. St.
Isidore calls it "responsoria," while in Gaul it was called "Psalmus
responsorius "(St. Isidore, "Offic.," Gregory of Tours, "Hist. Franc.," I,
VIII, c. iii). It has sometimes been confused with the Roman Gradual, but
it differs from this in certain characteristics (cf. Lesley, P.L., loc.
cit., col. 257).
TRACT.--The ancient Mozarabic books contain a Tract, "Tractus," which was
sung from the ambone by the Psalmist. Like the Roman Tract it had neither
repetition nor interruption, and was sung to a very simple melody. It
differed from the Roman Tract, because that of the Gregorian rite follows
the Gradual and takes the place of the "Alleluia," while the Mozarabic
Tract holds the place of the "Psallendo" (Lesley, col. 306. Cf. Tommasi,
"Responsoralia et antiphonaria Romance Ecclesiae," p. 32 seq., Rome, 1686).
DIACONAL PRAYERS.--The "Missale Mixtum" contains a rubric after the
"Psallendo," requiring the Priest to prepare the chalice by putting in wine
and water, to place the Host upon the paten and put that upon the chalice,
and, lastly, to say the "Preces: Indulgentiam postulamus." But this is a
recent rubric, and according to St. Isidore (Epist. ad Ludifr. Cordub.) it
was the place of the Deacon to prepare the chalice and to say the "Preces"
(cf. Lesley, loc. cit., col. 297). In his note Lesley confuses these
"Preces diaconales" with the "Prayer of the Faithful," which is quite
different. These diaconal prayers have great interest for the student of
liturgical history; they are a relic of the past, still preserved in the
Eastern liturgies, but of which but few traces have survived in that of
Rome. They will be found in the "Missale Mixtum," loc. cit., col. 297.
The Priest then says a prayer in a low voice. The following is the text of
that which comes after the diaconal prayer:
"Exaudi orationem nostram, domine: gemitusque nostros auribus percipe: nos
enim iniquitates nostras agnoscimus . et delicta nostra coram te pandimus
tibi Deus peccavimus: tibique confitentes veniam exposcimus. Et quia
recessimus a mandatis tuis: et legi tue minime paruimus. Convertere,
Domine, super servos tuos quos redimisti sanguine tuo. Indulge quaesumus
nobis: et peccatis nostris veniam tribue: tueque pietatis misericordiam in
nobis largire dignare. Amen.
Per misericordiam tuam Deus noster qui es benedictus et vivis et omnia
regis in secula seculorum. Amen."
In the Gallican liturgies this prayer is called "Post Precem."
EPISTLE.--After the singing of the "Psallendo" and the Diaconal Prayers the
Priest commanded silence, "Silentium facite," and the Lector read the
Epistle, usually called the Apostle, as in Gaul, Italy, Africa, and other
countries. He first announced the title, as, for instance, "Sequentia
epistolae Pauli ad Corinthios," to which the people answered "Deo Gratias,"
and signed themselves. But as far back as the time of St. Isidore it was no
longer the Lector, but the Deacon, who read the Epistle. The reading ended,
the people responded Amen, and the Deacon descending from the ambone,
carried the book back to the sacristy (cf. Lesley's note, col. 268). The
text was not always read in its integrity, and the Mozarabic books contain
examples of Lessons where texts are combined or fitted together. (Thus,
P.L., loc. cit., cols. 622 and 278.)
GOSPEL.--Like the Epistle, the Gospel was at first read in Spain by the
Lector. Then this function was reserved for the Deacon, "ad diaconum
pertinere praedicare Evangelium et apostolum" (St. Isidore, "Ep. ad
Ludifr."). This also was the case in Gaul (Gregory of Tours, "Hist.
Franc.," I, VIII, c. iv. IV). The Deacon first said the prayer, "Munda cor
meum corpusque et labia mea," etc., and then went to receive the Bishop's
blessing: "Corroboret Dominus sensum tuum," etc. Having returned to the
altar the Deacon said: "Laus tibi," clergy and people responding: "Laus
tibi, Domine Jesu Christe, Rex aeternae gloriae." He then ascended the
ambone, with the book, preceded by those who bore candles, and perhaps
incense, and announced the reading: "Lectio sancti evangelii secundum
Lucam," to which the people answered: "Gloria tibi, Domine," making the
sign of the Cross, and responding "Amen" at the end of the Gospel, which
they stood upright to hear. The Bishop kissed the book of the Gospels when
this was presented to him, saying: "Ave, verbum divinum, reformatio
virtutum et restitutio sanitatum." (P.L., Vol. LXXXV, col. 269.)
As in the case of the Prophecy and the Epistle, the Mozarabic books do not
scruple to omit verses of the Gospel, or to rearrange its text. After the
reading the Priest said: "Dominus sit semper vobiscum. "Et cum spiritu
In private Masses the Priest recited a prayer before the Gospel: "Comforta
me, Rex sanctorum," etc., and also the "Dominus sit in corde meo," etc.,
the Deacon saying the "Munda cor meum" (cf. loc. cit., col. 528). But these
prayers are of a later age, and are probably borrowed from the Roman
LAUDA.--The "Lauda," which follows the Gospel, is composed of the
"Alleluia" and a verse taken generally from a psalm. This place was
assigned to it by the Fourth Council of Toledo (cf. also St. Isidore,
"Offic.," I, I, c. xiii.). In the "Missale Mixtum" it is followed by "Deo
Gratias," but it would not appear that this is primitive (P.L., loc. cit.,
col. 536). The "Lauda" is sung by the Cantor. This custom of singing a
verse after the Gospel is found in other liturgies.
At this point there was formerly (at least on certain days, especially in
Lent) a prayer for the penitents, and their dismissal, as well as that of
the catechumens (cf. P.L., loc. cit., cols. 307, 308). Here the Pre-Mass
ended. We see that its principal features are very much the same as those
of the Gallican, and even the Roman, Pre-Mass. But the Mozarabic rite has
preserved more memories of the primitive liturgy.
THE MASS OF THE FAITHFUL
I. THE IMMEDIATE PREPARATION.--In the "Missale Mixtum" the Offertory is
composed of the following prayers, which accompany the different acts of
the Priest: the offering of the Host and the chalice, the preparation of
the chalice and the paten on the altar, etc.: "Acceptabilis sit, Offerimus
tibi hanc oblationem . . . et omnium offerentium, In spiritu humilitatis,
Adjuvate me, fratres" (loc. cit., col. 113).
Offertory.--The "Sacrificium "which follows these prayers answers to the
singing of the Offertory. St. Isidore uses the two words as synonyms. In
the letter "ad Ludifr.," so often quoted, he says "Sacrificium;" but in "De
Offic.," I, I, 14, he says "Offertoria." The Gallicans have a chant here,
Those who were not to assist at the Sacrifice having been dismissed, the
Deacons took off the pallium, which up till then had covered the altar, and
laid the Corporal upon it. "Quis fidelium," says St. Optatus, "nesciat in
peragendis mysteriis ipsa ligna altaris linteamine operiri (Cont. Parmen.,
I, VI)." This cloth, sometimes also called "Palla Corporalis," and made of
pure linen, covered the whole altar. It was a general custom which can be
proved in Egypt, Gaul, Africa, and Rome, as well as in Spain (Isid. of
Pelus., Ep., CXXIII, "Ad Dorotheum comitem;" Gregory of Tours, "Hist.," I,
VII, c. xxii.; Optatus of Milevia, "Cont. Parmen.," I, VI; "Ordo Romanus,"
in Mabillon, ii. n. 9; cf. P.L., Vol. LXXXV, col. 339).
While the choir sang the "Sacrificium" the Bishops, Priests, and Deacons
received the oblations of the people --bread and wine. The men first made
their offering, in order of dignity, then the women, the Priests, Deacons,
clerics, the Bishop himself offering last of all. Great precautions were
taken that the bread should not be touched by hand. The Bishop and Priests
received the bread upon the "Offertorium," or "Oblatorium," a vase of
silver, gold, or copper. At Rome the "Oblatorium" was replaced by a linen
cloth held by two acolytes. The people themselves were not allowed to touch
the offerings, which were presented in a linen cloth. These loaves of pure
wheat might originally have been leavened, but the use of unleavened bread
was established in Spain as elsewhere (cf. Lesley's note, loc. cit., col.
As to the wine, it was presented in small flagons or other receptacles. The
Deacons poured it all into a great chalice destined for this purpose. They
next took from the offerings of bread and wine what would be necessary for
Communion, and kept the rest. Those loaves intended for Holy Communion were
placed on a paten and the paten upon the altar; the wine was put into the
chalice and mixed with water. Sometimes there were of necessity many
chalices and patens upon the altar. The paten was not given to the sub-
Deacon as in the Roman rite. The Deacons then covered the oblations with a
pallium, which was usually made of silk embroidered with gold; this was
called "Coopertorium," "Palla," or "Palla Corporalis." There was a prayer,
"ad extendum corporalia." The other prayers found in the Mozarabic books
for these different acts are of a later epoch. In Spain, as in Gaul and
Rome, these various acts in primitive days were not accompanied by prayers
P.L., loc. cit., col. 340, and Lesley's note, ibid.).
The Oblation finished, the Bishop returned to his throne and washed his
hands. This is also an ancient custom, which is attested both by the
"Apostolic Constitutions" (I, VIII, c. xi.) and by Cyril of Jerusalem
(Catech. myst., V). In Spain it was the Deacon who served at this office,
while the sub-Deacon offered water to the Priests and Deacons for the same
purpose. The Bishop then returned to the altar, gave the signal for
stopping the singing of the "Sacrificium," and said "Adjuvate me, fratres;"
after which he recited the "Accedam ad te" which belongs to the class of
"Apologiae sacerdotis" (P.L., loc. cit., col. 113, and article "Apologies"
in DACL. On the differences between these rites and the modifications which
they underwent in the Mozarabic liturgy during the Middle Ages, see
Lesley's note, col. 535).
"Missa."--The Priest usually said with the "Dominus sit semper vobiscum"
another prayer called "Missa." It is the first of the seven prayers of St.
Isidore ("De Offic.," I, I c. xiv.). Etherius and Beatus describe it in
these terms "Prima oratio admonitionis erga populum est, ut omnes
excitentur ad orandum Deum "("Adv. Elipand.," I, I). It is plainly an
opening prayer, the opening of the Mass of the Faithful, a prayer to
prepare them for the Sacrifice. It varies according to the Feasts and
liturgical epochs and is addressed sometimes to the faithful, "dilectissimi
fratres;" sometimes to God the Father or to Our Lord (P.L., col. 113; cf.
346 and 539). The Missal of Bobbio gives a similar prayer, but this often
has no title. Once it is called (as here) "Missa;" another time
"Collectio," and twice, "Praefatio." In the other Gallican Sacramentaries
it is called "Praefatio," or "Praefatio Missae." The title "Oratio" is also
given to it in the "Missale Mixtum" (P.L., col. 539)
The "Missa" is sometimes an invocation of the Father or the Son; sometimes
a series of pious exclamations; sometimes again a lyrical chant in honor of
the mystery or of the martyr whose Feast the Church is celebrating.
Sometimes it is preceded by an "Apologia sacerdotis." After the "Missa" the
clergy responded: "Agie, agie, agie," etc. Then the Priest said: "Erigite
vos" ("Liber ordinum," cols. 234, 235, and 186, 191; "Liber Sacramentorum
Mozarabicus," p. xx.).
"Prayer of the Faithful.-"-After the prayer the people said Amen, and the
Priest added these words: "Per misericordiam tuam," etc. Then, raising his
hands: "Oremus," to which the choir responded: "Agyos, Agyos, Agyos, Domine
Deus, Rex aeterne tibi laudes et gratias. Postea dicat Presbyter: Ecclesiam
sanctam catholicam in orationibus in mente habeamus . . . omnes lapsos,
captivos, infirmos, atque peregrinos in mente habeamus: ut eos Dominus,"
etc. In the "Liber Mozarabicus" this prayer is simply called "alia oratio,"
or even "alia" (cf. p. xxi.). The choir responded: "Presta eterne
omnipotens Deus." The Priest continued: "Purifica Domine Deus Pater
omnipotens" . . . making mention of the Priests who offered, of the Pope,
and all Priests and other clerics. The commemoration of Apostles and
Martyrs followed, their names being enumerated. In all these prayers the
choir intervened with occasional acclamations (P.L., loc. cit., col. 113).
The "Liber Offerentium," called by the Mozarabites the "Little Missal,"
contains this prayer under a very much better form, and Lesley's notes must
correct that which he gives in col. 113. The "Liber Offerentium" has been
included in the "Missale Mixtum"(P.L., cols. 530-569. The "Prayer of the
Faithful" will be found in col. 539 seq.). These different prayers, from
the first "Per misericordiam tuam . . . Oremus," would seem to tend towards
the second prayer of the Mass defined by St. Isidore: "Secunda (oratio)
invocationis ad Deum est, ut clementer suscipiat preces fidelium,
oblationemque eorum." Here indeed can be recognised the principal features
of that Prayer of the Faithful, or Litanic Prayer, which in the beginning
could be found in all liturgies. The Greek and Eastern liturgies have kept
it, but in the Roman it has almost disappeared except in the solemn prayers
on Good Friday, which give us the Prayer of the Faithful under one of its
most ancient and perfect forms. In the Mozarabic Missal it is not given
with anything like the same clearness; and has probably been retouched
again and again. The expression "Ecclesiam sanctam catholicam in
orationibus in mente habeamus" recalls that of St. Fructuosus in 259: "In
mente me habere necesse est sanctam Ecclesiam catholicam ab oriente usque
ad occidentem diffusam" (in Ruinart, "Acta Mart.," p. 222).
In the manuscripts the reading of the names appears to be considered as a
separate rite, under the title of "Nomina offerentium. The list of the
names of the living was followed by that of the dead. Usually the Deacon,
or the Priest himself, read this list; but sometimes it fell to one of the
"Cantores." "Transfer haec nomina in pagina coeli, que levitarum et
cantorum tuorum offcis recitata sunt, in Libro vivorum digito tuo," we read
in the "Liber Mozarabicus" (ed. Ferotin, col. 546, and Introduction, p.
"Oratio post nomina."--This is the name of the prayer which follows. The
preceding prayer had comprised the reading of the names of those who
offered, and of the dead: "item pro spiritibus pausantium" (P.L., loc.
cit., col. 114). It is the third in the order followed by St. Isidore, and
he defines it thus: "Tertia autem, effunditur pro offerentibus sive pro
defunctis fidelibus, ut per id sacrificium veniam consequantur." Like the
preceding prayers, its text varies according to the Feasts. We may note
that here the Memento of the Dead is not separated from that of the living,
as in the Roman Mass. Moreover, the Spanish diptychs do not only contain
the names of Apostles and Martyrs, but also those of Old Testament Saints,
Patriarchs, and Prophets (ibid., col. 483 and note). This also was the
custom of the Gallican churches, and Venantius Fortunatus has rightly said:
"Nomina vestra legat patriarchis atque prophetis 'Quos hodie in templo
diptychus edit ebur.'"
(I, X, carm. vii.)
(See also the prayer "Post nomina" for the Feast of St. Leger, note 68, p.
283.) We find the same custom in many of the Greek and Eastern liturgies.
St. Cyril of Jerusalem had said: "Recordamus patriarcharum prophetarum . .
. ut Deus eorum precibus et intercessione orationem nostram suscipiat"
("Catech., V;" Lesley refers in a note to these different liturgies, col.
483). The prayer "Post nomina," in the Gallican liturgies, presents
characteristic analogies. It was the Deacon who read the Diptychs, the
Priest following with the prayer (P.L., col. 375).
In connection with the prayer "Post nomina," Dom Ferotin rightly calls
attention to that Secret of the Roman Missal: "Deus cui soli cognitus est
numerus electorum in superna felicitate locandus . . . et omnium fidelium
nomina beatae praedestinationis liber adscripta retineat," which is a true
"Oratio post nomina." He is mistaken in calling it a quadragesimal
"Secret;" it belongs to the Mass of the Dead, and there can be no doubt as
to its Gallican origin, as well as to that of the Collect and Post-
communion which accompany it (Dom Ferotin, "Liber Mozarabicus," p. xxi.).
We may also notice the very long "Oratio post nomina," which is a homily in
itself, drawn up towards the end of the seventh century by St. Julian of
Toledo, and which was imposed on all Priests by a contemporary Council of
Toledo to end an intolerable abuse. There was a question as to whether
certain priests did not, in the "Oratio post nomina," pray for the death of
their enemies. The text of St. Julian's prayer is a long and vehement
protestation against such criminal maneuvers (see the 5th Canon of the
XVIIth Council of Toledo in 694. The prayer is in the "Liber Ordinum,"
cols. 331-334. Cf. also "Liber Mozarabicus" p. xxi.).
"Oratio ad pacem."--This is thus defined by St. Isidore: "Quarta post haec
infertur pro osculo pacis." The Kiss of Peace is placed close to the
Communion in the Roman Mass; in Spain, as also in Gaul and in the East, it
precedes the Consecration, and even the "Illatio."
It may be said that it is attached to the Prayer of the Faithful, of which
it was the natural conclusion. Primitively, the Kiss of Peace must have
been frequent, and have formed a part of every synaxis. It must have been
fixed at this place in the Mass at an early date, and it was also natural
that it should precede the Communion. Perhaps it took place twice in
certain churches, in that case one of the two rites must soon have been
suppressed as useless. However it may have been in primitive practice, as
to which we have not sufficient information we see this singularity
mentioned in the Roman rite with regard to the place of the Kiss of Peace
at a very early date, in contradistinction from the other Latin liturgies
as well as the Eastern. I have mentioned the following very significant
fact elsewhere: in the "Traditio Apostolica" of St. Hippolytus, which
represents the Roman liturgy at the beginning of the third century, the
Kiss of Peace, according to general custom, is attached to the Prayer of
the Faithful: "Et postea" (he is speaking of the neophytes who had just
received Baptism) "jam simul cum omni populo orent, non primum orantes cum
fidelibus, nisi omnia haec fuerint consecuti. Et cum oraverint, de ore
pacem offerant. Et tunc iam offeratur oblatio a diaconibus. Didascaliae
Apostolorum fragmenta veronensia latina" (ed. E. Hauler, Leipzig, 1900, PP.
III, 112). The suppression of the Prayer of the Faithful in the Roman Mass,
at the moment when the Roman Canon as we have it to-day was established,
must have brought about this change in the place of the Kiss of Peace, as
no doubt it brought about many others.
Here, as in many other circumstances the Mozarabic Mass represents customs
earlier than those of that of Rome. The "Oratio ad pacem" and the Kiss of
Peace were attached to a whole which St. Isidore describes by the words
"post haec," i.e. the prayers "Per misericordiam," "Ecclesiam sanctam,"
"Purifica Domine" (or prayer of oblation), the memorial of the holy Saints,
Patriarchs, Apostles, Martyrs, etc., the reading of the Diptychs of the
living and the dead with the prayer "Post nomina." Only then, and quite
logically, came the prayer for peace, and the Kiss of Peace (P.L., loc.
cit., col. 115). It goes without saying that the title "Oratio ad Patrem
"is a typographical error for "ad Pacem," as Lesley has already noted. In
this the Spanish custom was the same as that of the Gallican churches,
where an "Oratio ad pacem" followed the "Oratio post nomina," and preceded
the "Illatio" or "Contestatio." In all these liturgies the text of the
Oratio ad pacem varies according to the Feasts. In all, those prayers are
always about peace, or the oblations. The Greek and Eastern liturgies also
have this "Oratio ad pacem" followed by the Kiss of Peace (see these
connections in Lesley's note, P.L., col. 505).
According to the "Liber Ordinum" we see that the Deacon intervened at the
Kiss of Peace with these words: Inter vos pacem tradite." The Council of
Compostella (1056) alludes (c. 1) to the same usage ("Liber Ord.," col.
191; cf. "Liber Mozar.," p. xxi.). While this was going on the choir sang
"Pacem relinquo vobis," or some other anthem of the same kind. The same
book gives a formula of "Ad Pacem" in which the prayer is preceded by an
invocation, as is often the case in this, and also in the Gallican liturgy
("Lib. Ordin.," col. 236).
2. THE SACRIFICE.--The prayer of the anaphora, or Eucharistic prayer
properly so called, begins after all this preparation.
"Illatio."--This rite in the Mozarabic liturgy bears the name of "Inlatio,"
or "Illatio;" and St. Isidore defines it in these terms: "Quinta infertur
illatio in sanctificatione oblationis in quam etiam Dei laudem, terrestrium
creatura, virtutum coelestium universitatis provocatur, et Osanna in
Ecclesiis cantatur." It is preceded by a dialogue which differs from that
in the Roman Mass. The Priest, bending forward with his hands joined, says:
"Introibo ad altare Dei;" the choir: "Ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem
meam." The Priest, laying his hands on the chalice, says: "Aures ad
Dominum," the choir answering: "Habemus ad Dominum." The Priest then says:
"Sursum corda;" the choir: "Levemus ad Dominum." The Priest bending forward
with joined hands: "Deo ac Domino nostro Jesu Christo filio Dei qui est in
coelis dignas laudes dignasque gratias referamus." Here he raises his hands
towards Heaven (P.L., loc. cit., col. 115). The Mozarabic Illatio," like
the Roman Preface or the Gallican "Contestatio," always ends with the
"Sanctus," and in Spain, as in Gaul, but unlike Rome, the "Sanctus" is
followed by a prayer always called "Post Sanctus." For St. Isidore the
"Illatio" or fifth prayer, comprehends the "Sanctus," the "Post Sanctus,"
and also the Consecration. The sixth prayer is that of the "Post pridie,"
or "Confirmatio Sacramenti." This division seems just, for it marks clearly
the close union of all these parts, from the "Illatio" to the end of the
Consecration. Again it is better suited to the title "Immolatio" which is
that of the Gallican Prefaces, the word being a good synonym for
As to the word "Illatio," it is characteristic of the Mozarabic books. Some
have attempted to prove that it is a copyist's error for "Immolatio,"
which, as has been said, is the Gallican title of the Preface, which can be
explained naturally. But it is curious that if it be a copyist's error it
should be so universal, for the word is found in all the Mozarabic books.
The Preface is called "Illatio" everywhere; nor do I believe the word
"Immolatio" has ever been found there, except once in the "Liber Ordinum."
The question is curious, and perhaps deserves a separate study. "Illatio,"
or "Inlatio," like "Oblatio" (which is a synonym), is almost the exact
translation of the word "anaphero," to offer. In the post-classic tongue
the word "Inlatio" (from "inferre") means the action of carrying, like
"Invectio," and is specially applied to the dead (Ulpien); it also
signifies the paying of tribute. In philosophic language an "Illatio" is a
conclusion drawn from premisses, "ex duobus sumptis ratione sibimet nexis
conficitur illatio" (Capella). In Spain the word is used in the Councils in
the sense of gift, present, tribute (Third Council of Braga, can. 2; and
Seventh Council of Toledo). Thus the term "Immolatio" of the Gallican
liturgies is something quite different, which may be a corruption, or, if
we like, a paleographic interpretation of the word "Illatio." This is the
opinion of Dom Cagin ("Les noms latins de la preface eucharistique," in
"Rassegna Gregoriana," 1906, PP. 322-358) and also that to which Lesley was
inclined (cf. P.L., Vol. LXXXV, col. 507). But so far this is only a
hypothesis founded on the similarity of the two words. It remains to be
explained why one is exclusively used in the Mozarabic MSS. and the other
almost exclusively in the Gallican.
On this point the latter are less exclusive than the former. In the
"Missale Gothicum" as well as in the "Missale Gallicanum Immolatio"
alternates with "Contestatio" and "Praefatio Missae;" it is not found at
all in the "Missale Francorum," and only once in the Missal of Bobbio, and
then, as it would seem, by accident (cf. "Paleographie musicale," Vol. V,
PP. 100, 101, and 168). The word is absent, as well as "Contestatio," in
the letters of the pseudoGermain, and it may well be that this is a fresh
argument in favor of the recent date of these pretended letters (cf.
"Germain, Lettres de Saint," in DACL). The glossaries and "Thesauri,"
Ducange, Forcellini, Freund, and the "Thesaurus linguae latinae" of Leipzig
give but very insufficient information on this subject, under the word
Of the dialogue which precedes the "Illatio" we shall say nothing. It
contains what we may call the essential elements which may be found in all
liturgies, "Sursum corda," "Gratias agamus," etc., and those which serve as
the opening of all Prefaces: "Vere dignum et justum est," etc. To the
sobriety of the dialogue of the Roman Preface the Spanish liturgy, as
always, adds ornaments and complications which only serve to overload the
We are obliged to say the same thing of the "Illatio" itself. The Mozarabic
books offer the richest and most varied collection of "Illationes;" hardly
a Mass but has its own; some of them comprise many columns of text, and if
they were sung, these must have lasted at least half an hour. We will
attempt presently to discover their authors. But we may say at once that
they form a dogmatic collection which is priceless for the study of
theological history in Spain during the Middle Ages, and a collection
which, it must be confessed, has as yet been but little studied. It
contains pages which do honor to the learning, the depth, and the culture
of Spanish theologians from the fifth-ninth centuries. We have treated the
question of the orthodoxy of this liturgy elsewhere (see "Liturgia," p.
816). Here and there we do doubtless find a few singular opinions, but
taken as a whole what riches of doctrine, what fervor of faith and piety i
Here are real theological theses, and long panegyrics for the Feasts of
Saints, especially for the Saints of Spain, like St. Vincent or St.
Eulalia. We will mention only the "Illationes" on the Samaritan, on the man
born blind, on fasting, on the Trinity, on the Descent into hell, on the
Patriarchs, etc. (The first of these are in the "Liber Sacramentorum,"
edited by Dom Ferotin, pp. 167, 178, 184, 224, and 290; that on the
Patriarchs in P.L., Vol. LXXXV, cols. 271 and 287. See also the "Illatio"
on the Trinity, col. 281.)
Naturally the same faults which we have already pointed out in all the
other parts of this liturgy are found here; they are those of the Latin
literature of Spain, especially from the sixth-tenth centuries--prolixity,
verbiage, the abuse of verbal conceits and plays on words--in fact, all
those faults which have been decorated with the name of Gongorism.
"The Sanctus."--The "Illatio" always ends by a transition to the "Sanctus."
This "Sanctus" of the Mozarabic Mass is not invariable, as it is in the
Roman liturgy and most others. In their love of variety the Mozarabic
authors often introduced changes. This is the ordinary form:
"Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus Dominus Deus Sabaoth: pleni sunt celi et terra
gloria majestatis tue: Osanna filio David: Osanna in excelsis. Benedictus
qui venit in nomine Domini: Osanna in excelsis" (P.L., loc. cit., col.
The singing of the Sanctus is assigned to the choir in the Mozarabic books.
Formerly both in Spain and in Gaul the "Sanctus" was sung by the people.
Thus we have in a "Post Sanctus" the words: "Psallitur" (hymnus iste) "ab
angelis, et hic solemniter decantatur a populis" ("Post Sanctus" of the
fifth Sunday in Lent, P.L., col. 376). Gregory of Tours says in his turn:
"Ubi expeditur contestatione omnis populus sanctus in Dei laudem pro
clamavit" ("De mir. S. Martini," I, II, c. xiv.). The Eastern liturgies
formerly had the same custom, as we see by the "Apostolic Constitutions,"
and by the texts of St. John Chrysostom and of St. Gregory of Nyssa, quoted
by Lesley (col. 349). The texts quoted prove that it was sung in Spain half
in Latin, half in Greek. The same usage obtained in Gaul.
"Post Sanctus and Consecration."--The title "Post Sanctus," both in Spain
and in Gaul, always designates a prayer which is a paraphrase of the
"Sanctus," and which usually begins with the words "Vere sanctus." It is a
transition from the "Sanctus" to the Consecration; and is also found,
though without a title, in the Greek and Eastern liturgies. In Spain it
varied daily (see, for example, P.L., col. 549).
"Vere sanctus" did not end formerly with a doxology, but went straight on
to "Qui pridie," by a short formula of this kind: "Vere sanctus, vere
benedictus Dominus noster Jesus Christus qui pridie," with the words of
Institution. The "Qui pridie" was the Roman formula, as also that of the
Gallican and all the Latin churches. The ancient Spanish liturgy followed
the same tradition. By a change wrought in the Mozarabic liturgy at a date
which cannot be fixed, one of the most audacious changes of which that rite
has preserved the trace, the sacred formula was broken into by the
introduction of the prayer "Adesto Jesu bone," and by replacing the "Qui
pridie," one of the most striking and characteristic features of the Roman
and other Latin liturgies, by the "In qua nocte," which is the version
followed by all the Greek and Eastern rites. What is perhaps even more
extraordinary, the reformers did not try to conceal the traces of this
change, but continued to call the prayer which follows the recital of the
Institution, "Oratio post pridie!" We give here the text of the "Adesto:"
"Adesto, adesto Jesu bone Pontifex in medio nostri: sicut fuisti in medio
discipulorum tuorum: sanctitfica hanc oblationem: ut sanctificata sumamus
per manus sancti angeli tui sancte domine ac redemtor eterne (here there is
a gap in the Missale Mixtum). Dominus noster Jesus Christus in qua nocte
tradebatur accepit panem: et gratias agens, benedixit ac fregit: deditque
discipulis suis dicens: Accipite et manducate. Hoc: est: corpus: meum:
quod: pro: vobis: tradetur. Hic elevatur corpus. Quotiescumque
manducaveritis: hoc facite in meam commemorationem. Similiter et calicem
postquam cenavit dicens. Hic est: calix: novi: testamenti: in: meo:
sanguine: qui: pro: vobis: et: pro: multis: effundetur: in: remissionem:
peccatorum. Hic elevatur calix coopertus cum filiola (=palla).
Quotiescumque biberitis hoc facite in meam commemorationem. Et cum
perventum fuerit ubi dicit: In meam commemorationem, dicat presb. alta voce
omnibus diebus preter festivis: pari modo ubi dicit in claritatem de celis.
Ut qualibet vice respondeat chorus: Amen. Quotiescumque manducaveritis
panem hunc et calicem biberitis: mortem Domini annunciabitis donec veniet.
In claritatem de celis. Chorus. Amen" (P.L., loc. cit., cols. 116--117; cf.
also col. 550, another text).
In the later editions of the "Missale Mixtum" a note has been added to the
effect that the form of Consecration here given is only a memorial of the
past, but that at the present time the Roman form must be adhered to
(ibid., cols. 116, and 550, 551, note a).
Dom Ferotin gives two new texts of the words of Institution according to
the Liber Mozarabicus and the Liber Ordinum," which present many variants,
not only with each other but with the "Missale Mixtum." It can be seen that
Rome did not approve the version given in the "Missale Mixtum" of 1500, and
substituted for it the Roman formula. That extremely rare edition of Todole
preserved at the British Museum contains, fastened to the vellum, this
note: "Forma ista consecrationis ponitur ne antiquitas ignoretur; sed hodie
servetur Ecclesiae traditio;" and the Roman formula is then given. (This
note is reproduced in P.L., cols. 116 and 550. On all this cf. Dom Ferotin,
"Liber Mozarabicus," p. xxv.) In two MSS. quoted by Dom Ferotin the words
of Institution are preceded by the title "Missa secreta;" and he gives
another example in which the "Post Sanctus" is called "Post Missam
secretam," which clearly show that at that time this part of the Canon was
said in a low voice (ibid.).
The very tenor of this prayer shows that it interrupts the sequence of the
"Vere sanctus," and repeats the formula "Dominus noster Jesus Christus." It
is quite evidently an interpolation, a fact which has been emphasized by
the greater number of modern liturgiologists since Le Brun, Binius, Lesley,
Dom Ferotin, Dom Cagin, etc. But no protestations seem to have been raised
in the Middle Ages; at least I do not think that any signs of them have
been traced up till now. Without seeking for any other explanation, it must
simply be stated that at a certain moment, assuredly later than St. Isidore
and probably before the tenth century--probably also at Toledo--a Bishop
thought well to borrow, from the liturgy of Constantinople, which had
already lent so much to Spain, the actual form of Consecration, and this he
then substituted for the ancient form which was that of Rome and of all
Latin churches (P.L., loc. cit., col 549).
The actual formula, "Hoc est corpus meum," is borrowed from I Cor. xi. 24;
while the "quod pro vobis" is the translation of the Vulgate. The Roman
formula, "Hoc est enim corpus meum," conforms to that in the liturgy of St.
Mark; and it seems also to have been that of the Gallican churches, at
least, according to the letters of the pseudo Germain. The formula for the
Consecration of the wine is borrowed from I Cor. xi. 24, and from St. Luke
xxii. 20, and St. Matthew xxvi. 28. The words "Hic est calix novi
Testamenti in meo sanguine" are those of an ancient Latin version different
from the Vulgate; they are quoted under the same form by Sedulius Scotus
and by Gregory II (see the quotation, P.L., loc. cit., col. 551). The Roman
formula, "Hic est enim calix sanguinis mei," etc., was also that of the
Gallican churches. The Spanish liturgiologists of that day were not afraid
to paraphrase the words of Institution in their own way. (On all this see
Lesley's note, col. 551 seq.)
It is stated in the rubrics of the recital of the Institution that there
was a double elevation. The custom of the elevation is universal, but it
was not practiced everywhere in the same way. That here mentioned is
conformable with the usage established in France in the eleventh century,
which thence spread, with certain variants, to Rome and to other churches.
The Mozarabic rubric shows that the chalice was covered at the elevation;
that is, covered with the "palla," or veil, sometimes called the
"Offertorium," because it had been used to collect the offerings of the
faithful at the Oblation. This was formerly the Roman custom when the
elevation took place at the end of the Canon after the "Per ipsum" (cf. the
first "Ordo Romanus" of Mabillon, note 16, and the "Ordo" published by
Another rubric which prescribes the words "In meam commemorationem" and "In
claritatem de celis" to be said aloud would give the impression that the
actual words of the Institution were to be said in a low voice. But Lesley
thinks with apparent reason that this rubric is recent, and that the
Spanish, like the French, said these words aloud. As to the words "In
claritatem de celis," they are another peculiarity of the Mozarabic rite.
On Holy Thursday the Epistle was read from I Cor. xi. 20-34. After the
words "mortem Domini annunciabitis donec veniat" they added this variant:
"in claritatem de celis" taken from the liturgy, but which does not exist
in the Vulgate, or in the Greek, or in any other version with which we are
acquainted (see P.L., col. 409, for the text of the Epistle, and col. 552
for the rubric).
"Oratio Post pridie" and "Epiclesis."--The prayer Post pridie, which
follows the Consecration, corresponds with that called "Post secreta," or
"Post mysterium" in the Gallican books. St. Isidore speaks of it in these
terms: "Ex hinc sexta oratio succedit, confirmatio sacramenti, ut oblatio
quae Domino offertur, per Spiritum Sanctum sanctificata Christi corporis et
sanguinis confirmetur" ("De offic.," I, I, c. xv.; cf. Etherius and Beatus,
who emphasize the terms "Confirmatio sacramenti"). It should be noted that
the Missal of Bobbio has no prayer "Post secreta," which is also missing
occasionally in the "Missale Gallicanum" as well as in the "Missale
Gothicum." But on the other hand it is always found in the "Missale
Mixtum," and as it varies daily, and is sometimes very long, we have here,
as in the "Illatio," one of those prayers in which the exuberance of the
Spanish Fathers has had free course. Both the place and the function of
this prayer Confirmatio Sacramenti "are more propitious than those of the
"Illatio" for dogmatic developments. It will be found of great use in the
study of the doctrine of the Spanish church upon the Eucharist, notably
upon Transubstantiation and the questions connected with it. In reality the
prayer answers to the "Epiclesis" of the Eastern liturgies, and, as we have
remarked elsewhere, the expressions here used must often be interpreted
"cum grano salis." We can note only a few of such examples here, as in
cols. 117 and 250, note 7; 519, note a (cf. also article "Liturgie," in
"Dict. de theol.," coL 812, and "Epiclese" in DACL).
Sometimes, but far more rarely, the "Epiclesis" is found in the "Post
sanctus." (There are some examples of this in Dom Ferotin's "Liber
Mozarabicus;" in the same Sacramentary the "Post pridie" is called "Post
missam secretam" on the vigil of Easter, a point worthy of remark.) On the
other hand, and speaking generally, the "Post pridie" often contains the
proof that the Consecration or Transubstantiation is accomplished by the
words of Institution. To this interpretation the elevation also bears
witness, but it is difficult to fix the date of this rite with the
Mozarabites. We may quote, as especially explicit, the following "Post
pridie: Hec pia, hec salutaris hostia, Deus Pater, qua tibi reconciliatus
est mundus. Hoc est corpus illud, quod pependit in cruce. Hic etiam
sanguis, qui sacro propluxit ex latere, etc." ("Liber Moz.," col. 313)
The prayer "Te prestante," which for the rest has no particular title,
seems rather the conclusion of the "Post pridie" than a separate prayer. As
we shall see, it resembles our "Per quem haec omnia bona creas." This is
"Te prestante sancte Domine: quia tu haec omnia nobis indignis servis tuis:
valde bona creas: sanctificas, vivificas benedicis ac prestas nobis: ut sit
(sint) benedicta a te Deo nostro in secula seculorum. Amen."
The Priest then takes the consecrated Host on the paten, holds it over the
uncovered chalice, and says, or sings: "Dominus sit semper vobiscum. Et cum
spiritu tuo. Fidem quam corde credimus ore autem dicamus," and he elevates
the consecrated Host to show It to the people. In some places there was
sung at this point an anthem: "Ad confractionem panis" (P.L., loc. cit.,
col. 117; cf. also p. 554 for the explanation of this prayer). Here, as in
the Ambrosian Missal, the "Haec omnia" seems to refer to the consecrated
elements of bread and wine, created by God, sanctified by prayer, vivified
by Consecration, blessed by the Holy Ghost (Epiclesis), and finally given
to the faithful in the Eucharist. This at least is the interpretation given
to these words by Lesley, who will not admit that of Benedict XIV and other
liturgiologists, who say that "Haec omnia" means the fresh fruits which
were blessed at this moment. It is an old quarrel amongst liturgiologists,
and one which seems as yet unresolved (Benedict XIV, "De missae
sacrificio," I, II, c. xviii.). Lesley admits that in certain
Sacramentaries these words may indeed apply to a blessing of this kind, but
only in a special case. In his opinion the words are too precise, the
gestures too solemn to be applied to anything but the elements consecrated
in the Eucharist (col. 553, note c).
It is a general custom that the Elevation should take place at this moment.
Before the eleventh century it was the principal Elevation. We may also
notice that in the Roman Missal the prayer is addressed to God the Father,
and that it closes with a magnificent doxology which has disappeared in the
"The Credo."--The Spanish were the first in the West to introduce the
symbol of Nicea-Constantinople into the Mass. In the East the custom
already existed, and in 568 Justinus the Younger made it a law. In 597 the
Third Council of Toledo issued an edict: "Ut prius quam Dominica dicatur
oratio, voce clara a populo" (symbolum Constantinopolitanum) "decantetur,
quo fides vera," etc. This is a fresh example of the eagerness shown by the
Spanish Bishops to follow the customs of Constantinople. From Spain the
usage spread into Gaul; but Rome held out long, and only yielded in the
eleventh century. The true place of this symbol is in the rite of Baptism
and it is not an essential element of the Mass. The Gallican churches sang
it after the Gospel, at the end of the Mass of the catechumens, and this
too is the place given to it by Rome. Like the Greeks and Orientals, the
Spanish, by putting it at the end of the Canon, before the "Pater," rather
disturbed the general equilibrium of this part of the Mass; and, moreover,
diminished accordingly the importance of the "Pater." This story of the
insertion of the "Credo" in the Mass is fairly well known; and we shall say
no more about it. (Cf. Mgr. Batiffol, "Lecons sur la Messe," p. II. See
also Lesley's note, which, as is always the case, is highly instructive,
and that of Dom Ferotin quoted on the next page. For rather curious
variants of the Spanish text--the "Credimus," the "Omousion," the "Ex Patre
et Filio procedentem," etc., cf. Lesley, P.L., loc. cit., col. 555 seq.,
and "Liber Moz.," col. 37.)
The "Liber Mozarabicus" contains a formula of introduction to the "Credo:
Omnes qui Christi sanguinis effusione," etc., which is not met with in any
printed book, nor even, according to Dom Ferotin, in any MS. ("Liber Moz.,"
"Fraction.-"-In the Mozarabic rite the Fraction is rather complicated. The
Priest divides the Host in the middle, placing half on the paten; the other
half is divided into five parts, which are also placed on the paten. He
then divides the first part into four. The nine particles so obtained are
arranged in the form of a Cross, and each receives its name: "Corporatio"
(or Incarnation), "Nativitas," "Circumcisio," "Apparitio" (or Epiphany),
"Passio," "Mors," "Resurrectio," and, separately, "Gloria," "Regnum." This
figure is twice given in P.L., loc. cit., cols. 118 and 557. St.
Ildephonsus alludes to the names of these fragments (De cognitione
baptismi, c. xix.; cf. "Liber Moz.," p. xxxiii.). It is unnecessary to say
that all these rites are not ancient, any more than it is an ancient
practice to make the Memento of the Living here, since at the beginning of
the Mass of the Faithful a Memento of the Living and the Dead has already
been made. When the "Credo" is finished the "Pater" is said. The Fraction
of the bread, a rite so important in its origin that it gave its name to
the Mass, has become here, as in the Celtic liturgies, so complicated as to
fall sometimes into mere superstition; it is usually accompanied by the
singing of the "Confractio," which is to be found in most liturgies. In
this rite it is called "Laudes ad confractionem." (Cf. "Liber Ordinum," col
239, and "Liber Moz.," p. xxiii. Cf. also our article "Fraction," in DACL,
and P.L., cols. 118 and 557.)
"The Pater."--The "Pater" is recited in the Mozarabic Mass as it is in most
liturgies. It is preceded by a prelude which varies according to the day;
it is almost always a paraphrase analogous to the Roman prelude, but
generally more extensive and more complicated. The "Pater" ends with an
embolism of which we shall presently speak (P.L., col 118, cf. 559-591). It
is a rather singular thing that the prelude begins with the word "Oremus"
which is sung by the Priest. But this rubric is of a later age like that
which prescribes "Oremus" before "Agios." In the church of Spain in ancient
times it was the Deacon and not the Priest who said "Oremus;" the Deacon,
too, made the other interventions: "Flectamus genua, Erigite vos, Levate
aures ad Dominum, Silentium facite." St. Isidore says of the Deacons: "Hi
voces tonitruorum, ipsi enim, clara voce, in modum praeconis, admoneant
cunctos sive in orando, sive in flectendo genua, sive in psallendo, sive in
lectionibus audiendo," etc. ("De offic. eccl.," I, II, c. viii.). Etherius
also alludes to them ("Adv. Elipand.," I, I). The same custom is noted by
the pseudo-Germain (cf. col. 1079)
The presence of the "Pater" in the Mass in most liturgies, since the fourth
century at least, is a well-known fact. In Spain, however, certain Priests
only said it on Sunday. The Fourth Council of Toledo, therefore, proclaimed
it of daily obligation (Canon 10). But it was not said everywhere in the
same manner. In Spain the Priest begins "Pater noster qui es in coelis,"
and the people answer "Amen," and so on with all the petitions. At "Panem
nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie" they respond: "Quia tu es Deus;" and
after the word "tentationem," at the end: "Sed libera nos a malo, Amen."
The "Pater" is the seventh and last of the prayers of the Mass according to
St. Isidore ("De offic.," I, I, c. xv.; P.L., loc. cit., coL 559 seq.).
The embolism is not variable as it is with the Gallicans. It is a
paraphrase of the last petition in the form of a liturgical prayer,
"Liberati a malo," etc. (P.L., col 119). The "Liberati" is sung, like the
"Pater;" the same custom obtains in the rite of Lyons, and even in that of
Rome on Good Friday.
"Commixtion."--After the embolism the Priest takes from the paten that
fragment of the Host which corresponds to "Regnum" (see "Fraction, ut
sup."), holds it over the chalice, and lets it fall therein with the words:
"Sancta sanctis et conjunctio corporis Domini nostri Jesu Christi: sit
sumentibus et potantibus nobis ad veniam: et fidelibus defunctis prestetur
ad requiem." From Easter to Pentecost he said instead, with a loud voice,
thrice these words: "Vicit leo de tribu Juda radix David," to which the
people responded: "Qui sedes super Cherubim radix David, Alleluia" (P.L.,
loc. cit., col 119).
The "Sancta sanctis" is an ancient Eastern formula, to which St. Cyril of
Jerusalem alluded; it is preserved in the greater number of Eastern
liturgies. It loses a little of its strength here, because it is said in a
low voice, and because it forms part of the prayer of "Commixtion." Lesley
rightly supposes that formerly the "Sancta sanctis" was said aloud in Spain
and in Gaul, as it was with the Easterns, and that it was followed, as in
Gaul, by the singing of the "Trecanum," a hymn in honor of the Trinity.
With the Easterns also the "Sancta sanctis" is a doxology (P.L., loc. cit.,
col 561, note a). We may note that Dom Martene has pointed out in two MSS.
of Angers the formulas: "Sanctum cum sanctis," and "Sancta cum sanctis et
commixtio," etc. ("De ant. Eccl. Rit.," I, I c. iv. art. 9).
As for the formula of Commixtion, "et sanguinis" must naturally be added to
"corporis," as "potantibus nobis" suggests. It corresponds with the same
rite in the Roman Canon, "Haec commixtio et consecratio corporis et
sanguinis," etc., and to that of the Ambrosian Canon which is almost the
same. The rite of "Commixtio" itself is ancient, and common to most
liturgies, but here, as for the Fraction, a great variety of customs
exists. We content ourselves with referring to our article "Messe," in
which these different customs are noticed. The note may also be read in
which Lesley describes and compares these rites (loc. cit., coL 561, note
c, cf. also "Liber Ordinum," pp. 239-241, and "Liber Moz.," p. xxiii.).
"Blessing."--The rite of Blessing in Spain, as in Gaul, is placed after the
"Pater." The Deacon warns the people: Humiliate vos benedictioni. Dominus
sit semper vobiscum. Et cum spiritu tuo." The Priest then blesses them with
a variable formula, which is interspersed with "Amens" like the "Pater"
(see, e.g., P.L., coL 119).
There are a few differences as to the exterior form of this blessing
between the churches of Gaul and those of Spain, but the fact of a blessing
at this moment is common to both of them; and in both cases the rites
present striking analogies. The African church had also this custom of
Episcopal blessing, as may be seen by the letter of the Council of Carthage
to Innocent I against Pelagius and Celestinus, and by letter CLXXXIX of St.
Augustine to John of Jerusalem. But neither the Roman liturgy nor those of
the Greek and Eastern churches followed this custom. We find, indeed,
formulas of Episcopal blessings in the Roman collections, but they are
Gallican additions. The Sixth Council of Toledo (c. 18) recalls the
practice of Spain in these words: "ut post orationem dominicam et
conjunctionem panis et calicis, benedictio in populum segnatur, et tum
demum sacramentum corporis et sanguinis Domini sumatur" (Canon 18, P.L.,
col. 592, note b).
"Communion.-"-The Communion in the Mozarabic rite comprehends a collection
of rites and formulas which must first be described: The salutation of the
people by "Dominus sit semper vobiscum;" singing of the "Gustate et videte"
and other verses, with doxology "Gloria et honor Patri." During the
chanting of the "Gustate" the Priest takes that particle of the Host which
answers to the word "Gloria," holds it over the chalice while reciting
"Panem celestem," and then says: "Memento pro mortuis," reciting the
prayer: "Dominus meus," etc.
He makes the sign of the Cross with the Host, consumes the particle which
was in his hand, covers the chalice, and consumes the other fragments of
the Host, following the appointed order. He then places the paten on the
chalice, saying: "Ave in evum celestis potus," etc. He takes the Blood, and
says the prayer: "Dominus meus Pater et Filius," etc. The choir sings
"Refecti corpore et sanguine." The Priest goes to the corner of the altar
and recites a prayer beginning with the words of the preceding chant:
"Refecti corpore et sanguine," etc. This is the prayer of Thanksgiving,
which closes with the doxology: Per misericordiam tuam, etc. (P.L., col.
120; ef. also cols. 554, 561, 566, and "Liber Ordinum," 241, 242 "Liber
Mozar.," p. xxiii.).
The Deacon intervenes at the Communion with the order: "Locis vestris
accedite." Each then must take his place according to a strictly
established order: higher clergy, lower clergy, men, women. To each of the
faithful he gives a part of the Blood, for Communion was received under
both kinds. The anthem "Gustate" is called "Ad accedentes."
"Completuria and end of the Mass.-"-The "Liber Mozarabicus" and the "Liber
Ordinum" sometimes contain after the Communion prayers an "Oratio
completuria," or simply, "Completuria," which recalls the Roman "Post-
communion." There are many examples of this ("Liber Ordinum," cols. 272,
273; "Liber Moz.," col 343, and pp. xxiii. and xxxv. and the Index at the
The end of the Mass is thus announced: the Priest salutes the people with
"Dominus sit," etc.; the Deacon says: "Solemnia completa sunt in nomine
Domini nostri Jesu Christi, votum nostrum sit acceptum cum pace. Deo
gratias" (P.L., loc. cit., col 120). In the "Liber Mozarabicus" the Deacon
says: "Missa acta est" (p. xxxv.).
GENERAL REMARKS.--We shall not point out the analogies between this Mass
and that of the Gallican rite; they are so self-evident that many
liturgiologists consider both liturgies as two branches from the same
trunk, or even as derived one from the other.
From this study of the Mozarabic Mass it may be concluded that this
particular liturgy was in a great measure a national one, like that of
Gaul, its sister. Many of its formulas were written by Spanish prelates;
certain rites also were created by them. For many centuries Toledo was the
center of what may truly be called a national liturgy. If ever a Spanish
Abbe Bremond writes the history of religious feeling in his own country --
as it has already been admirably written for France --the Mozarabic liturgy
will take the most important place therein, and all will be astonished at
the wealth, variety, and singularity of its formulas.
We shall not stop here to discuss the question of the orthodoxy of this
liturgy, since this has been fully argued by liturgiologists of the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; by Edmund Bishop, Dom Ferotin, Mgr.
Mercati, and Dom de Bruyne. It would take us too far from our subject. We
can only give here a Bibliography in which will be found the names of the
principal authors by whom the question has been discussed.
1. On the question of documents, see Bibliography at end of this chapter,
and also our articles, "Messe Mozarabe" in "Dict. de theol. cath., Mozarabe
(liturgie)" and "Missel" (both in DACL.). In 1928 the Benedictines of Silos
published "L'Antiphonaire de la Cathedrale de Leon," Burgos.
2. With regard to all this, see the two articles, "Diptyques" and
Litanies," in DACL.
3. Cf. our article "Illatio" in DACL.
F. AREVALO, "Sancti Isidori opera omnia," P.L., Vols. LXI-- LXXXIV, and
especially Vol. I, "Isidoriana."
BIANCHINI, "Thomasii opera omnia," vol. I (Rome, 1741; only volume issued);
on this work, which includes the "Libellus orationum," cf. Ed. Bishop,
"Spanish Symbols," in "Liturgica Historica," p. 165 seq.
W. C. BISHOP. Under the title "The Mozarabic and Ambrosian Rites" (London,
1924), the Fifteenth Tract of the Alcuin Club, is a collection of four
Essays by W. C. Bishop, one of which is entitled: "The Mass in Spain;" the
same writer published an article: "The Mozarabic Rite," in "Church
Quarterly Review, "October 1906, January 1907.
CL. BLUME, "Hymnodia Gothica" (Leipzig, 1897).
A. M. BURRIEL, "Codex Muzarabicus," etc.; cf. "Particularites litteraires
sur la liturgie mozarabe tirees des lettres MSS. du P.B.," in the "Journal
des savants," 1787, pp. 9-14.
DE BRUYNE, "De l'origine de quelques textes mozarabes," in "Revue
Benedictine," 1913, vol. XXX, pp. 421-436; "Un systeme de lectures dans la
liturgie mozarabe," in "Revue Benedictine," 1922, Vol. XXXIV, pp. 147-155.
CALLEVAERT, "Le careme primitif dans la liturgie Mozarabe" in "Revue
benedictine," 1926, t. XXXVIII, p. 60.
CENNI, "Antiquitates Ecclesiae Hispaniae."
D. A. DOLD, "Eine Parallele zum Liturgie--Fragment I aus Cod. Aug. CXCV in
der Mozarabischen Liturgie," in "Revue Benedictine," 1927, Vol. XXXIX, pp.
EIGUREN, "Memoriadescription de los codices notables conservados en los
archivos ecclesiasticos de Espana" (Madrid, 1859).
EUVALD & LOWE:, "Exempla scripturae visigothica "(Heidelberg, 1883) .
FLOREZ "De la Misa antiqua de Espana," in "Espana Sagrada," Vol. III, p.
187 seq (Madrid, 1748).
(For the question of the orthodoxy of this liturgy, cf.:
ED. BISHOP, in "Journal of Theological Studies," 1909, pp. 602-603.
ALB. GAYAN, "La Messe mozarabique," in "Revue des sciences
ecclesiastiques," 1886, pp. 446-456.
C. A. HALE, "Mozarabic Liturgy," in "Amer. Christ. Church Review," 1876,
Vol. XXVIII, p. 273 seq.
P. LEBRUN, "Ancienne et nouvelle liturgie des Eglises d'Espagne," in
"Explication de la Messe," edit. 1726, Vol. II, p. 272 seq.
MERCATI, "More Spanish Symbols," in Bishop's "Liturgica Historica," p. 203
seq.; and in "Journal of Theological Studies," Vol. VIII, 1907, pp. 423-
430. To complete this Bibliography see:
JENNER, "Mozarabic Rite," in "The Catholic Encyclopedia," which is
scholarly, and contains a complete Bibliography.
"La Liturgie mozarabe," in "Liturgia," pp. 814-819.
U. CHEVALIER, "Topo-bibliographie," at the word "Mozarabe" (Liturgie) .
DOM CABROL, "Mozarabe (La Liturgie)" in DACL.
THE MASS IN GAUL
The Mass of the Catechumens.--The Mass of the Faithful.
In the volume on "Books of the Latin Liturgy" (Sands & Co., London), pp.
96-103, we have mentioned the different documents by the aid of which the
Gallican Mass may be reconstituted and the origins of this liturgy
established. On this subject we have also stated that for the description
of the Gallican Mass no reliance can be placed on the pretended letters of
St. Germain of Paris, though this has been done too often. These letters
are not a document of the middle of the sixth century, but an anonymous
treatise written a century later (ibid., p. 99). We must therefore, like
Mabillon and, more recently, Dom Wilmart (DACL, "Germain, Lettres de St."),
keep solely to the other documents which we possess on this subject, and to
the texts of contemporary authors, the most valuable of which is that of
Gregory of Tours. A very complete bibliography of all these documents will
be found in the article ("Gallicanes Liturgies)" of Dom Leclercq, DACL.
THE MASS OF THE CATECHUMENS
The Gallican Pre-Mass, or Mass of the catechumens, was already very fully
developed; it possessed chanted anthems, psalms, canticles, readings, and
litanies. It began with an anthem and a psalm, while the Priest went from
the sacristy to the altar. This chant, executed by clerics, existed also in
the Mozarabic Mass, and 138 answers to the Roman "Introit" and the
"Ingressa" of the Milanese rite. Gregory of Tours, whatever may be said to
the contrary, makes no allusion to this introductory anthem.
The Deacon enjoined silence, probably in these words: "Silentium facite."
The Bishop saluted the congregation with the formula: "Dominus sit semper
vobiscum." At Rome and Milan the salutation is: "Dominus vobiscum." But the
former greeting is found in the Mozarabic rite.
The letters of the pseudo-Germain announce the solemn singing of the "Aios"
in Latin and in Greek at this point. What was this chant? It is not the
"Sanctus," as has been wrongly believed, and which, also wrongly, has
sometimes been called the "Trisagion." The latter title must be reserved
for a chant of Byzantine origin, the history of which is well known. It was
introduced there under Theodosius II (408-450), but is perhaps more
ancient, and runs thus: "Hagios ho Theos, Hagios Ischuros, Hagios Athanatos
Eleeson Hemas" Pierre le Foulon (+477) added these words to it: "Ho
Staurotheis di Hemas," and there was much quarreling over this formula,
which for its author had a monophysite meaning, and which was adopted by
the Syrian Jacobites. On Good Friday, in the Roman liturgy, we have the
"Trisagion" under its primitive double form in Greek and Latin, naturally
without Foulon's addition. There is yet another form in the Mozarabic
liturgy, which does not concern us here (cf. Dom Ferotin, "Liber Ordinum,"
cols. 737, 760, and 809).
The Kyrie Eleison was then sung, once only, by three children. We have
spoken elsewhere as to the researches recently made regarding the "Kyrie
Eleison," and upon its use; we shall therefore merely refer to the article
under that heading in DACL.
The singing of the Prophecy which came next means the singing of the
"Benedictus." This point is now finally settled, and the "Collectio post
Prophetiam" in the Gallican books is the prayer which followed. On the
bearing of this canticle on the Mass we may also refer to our article,
"Cantiques (evangeliques)," in DACL. P. Thibaut has recently called
attention to this chant, and its title of "Prophetia." In his opinion it is
exclusively Gallican, and is an allusion to the conversion of Clovis, who
became the protector of the Gallo-Roman churches. The "Cornu salutis" may
indeed have given rise to the legend of the "Sainte Ampoule" (op. cit., p.
Next comes the first Lesson. According to the pseudo-Germain this is taken
from the Prophets or the historical books, and from the Apocalypse during
Paschal time; while on the Feasts of Saints their Acts were read, "Gesta
sanctorum confessorum ac martyrum in solemnpnitatibus eorum." The usage of
the prophetic Lesson has almost entirely disappeared from the Roman Mass
since the fifth century; it was maintained longer at Milan, and on this
point the Gallican books confirm the testimony of the pseudo-Germain. The
Mozarabic rite has also preserved the ancient use of this Lesson. The
importance of the reading of the Lives of the Saints at Mass will be
noticed; this point is confirmed by Gregory of Tours and by the Gallican
books. In Spain and at Milan the custom was the same.
The second reading at Mass was taken from the Acts of the Apostles and the
Epistles. After these two Lessons the Canticle of the Three Children in the
furnace was sung, "Benedictus es," also called "Benedictio." This fact is
confirmed by the same witnesses. The importance attached to this rite is
shown by the fact that the Council of Toledo of 633, which was presided
over by St. Isidore, laid down that in all churches of Spain and Gaul, in
the solemnity of all Masses, the aforesaid hymn shall be chanted from the
Lector's pulpit." Only, in the Mozarabic liturgy the canticle was inserted
between the first and second readings. The singing of the Benedictus es in
the Roman Church on Ember Saturday is an old tradition which recalls this
custom. In the Missal of Bobbio a collect "post Benedictionem" is
mentioned, but this would seem to be a derogation from the usage attested
by many witnesses of a sung Responsory here, which chant must be identified
with the "Psallendum," the "Versus" or "Clamor," or "Psalmellus." At Rome,
after the Lessons, there was the Responsory and "Alleluia," sometimes
replaced by the "Tractus." The Council of Toledo just mentioned forbade the
custom which had been introduced into several Spanish churches of singing
"Laudes" between the Epistle and Gospel. We may take it, with St. Isidore,
that this word signifies "Alleluia" (Dom Wilmart, op. cit., col. 1072).
This chant, which is another Gallican feature, is also a memorial of the
Baptism of Clovis, according to P. Thibaut; it should be followed by a
"Collectio post Benedictionem," as mentioned in the Missal of Bobbio (op.
cit., p. 39).
The pseudo-Germain notes here the repetition of the chant of the "Agios,"
or "Trisagion," an innovation of which no other example is found at this
place in the Mass in any liturgy. It was evidently intended to give greater
solemnity to the reading of the Gospel, which was about to follow. The
author of this document emphasizes this intention in the following
remarkable terms: "Expeditur processio sancti evangelii velut potentia
Christi triumphantis de morte, cum praedictis armoniis et cum septem
candelabris luminis . . . ascendens in tribunal analogii . . . clamantibus
clericis: Gloria tibi, Domine." The "tribunal analogii" means an ambone or
tribune, raised and decorated, from which the Bishop would preach, and upon
which he would appear as a judge upon his tribunal. The acclamation "Gloria
tibi, Domine," or "Gloria Deo omnipotenti," of which Gregory of Tours
speaks, answers the Deacon's announcement: "Lectio sancti evangelii."
The Gospel was usually followed by a chant. The pseudo-Germain says that
the "Trisagion" sung before the Gospel is again taken up and repeated at
this point. At Milan the Gospel was followed by Dominus vobiscum and a
triple "Kyrie" with anthem. At Rome the Pope saluted the Deacon with "Pax
tibi," and then said the "Dominus vobiscum" and "Oremus." The homily
generally followed the Gospel.
Here occur the litanic prayers which may be attached to the Pre-Mass, at
least in the Gallican use, since the catechumens were not dismissed until
these were said. The pseudo-Germain thus describes these prayers: "precem
(psallant levitae) pro populis, audita (apostoli) praedicatione, levitae
pro populo deprecantur et sacerdotes prostrati ante dominum pro peccatis
There can be no doubt but that we recognize here the diaconal litany
referred to in the preceding pages, and which must not be confused with the
"Prayer of the Faithful," as Duchesne and others after him have confused
it. Each of these prayers presents analogies, and belongs, we believe,
the class of litanic prayers; yet they are distinguished by certain
characteristics which must be mentioned here as this question has its
These litanies, or "Diakonika," are recited by the Deacon, and form part of
the Pre-Mass. To each invocation made by the Deacon the people respond:
Kyrie Eleison, and at the end the celebrant concludes with a prayer.
This type of prayer, doubtless created at Antioch, was adopted at
Constantinople, and thence transported to Rome and Gaul in the fifth
century. The "Supplicatio litaniae" of which it is question in the Rule of
St. Benedict the "Preces deprecatoriae," the "Letaniae," the "Kyrie" of the
Roman Mass are all derived from this.
We have spoken elsewhere of this diaconal prayer, of its origin and
destinies; many examples of it exist in the Gallican books, such as the
"Divinae pacis," and "Dicamus omnes." Both these are given by Mgr. Duchesne
in his chapter on the Gallican Mass (fifth edition, pp. 210, 211), to which
we may refer our readers. Further, they present the most striking analogies
with those we have quoted from the "Apostolic Constitutions," with the
"Deprecatio Sancti Martini" of the "Missal of Stowe," and the "Deprecatio
pro universali Ecclesia," which good judges continue to attribute to Pope
Gelasius (492-496) in spite of the opinion of Duchesne.
The Mass of the catechumens is certainly finished with these diaconal
prayers, and the catechumens are dismissed by the Deacon. The formula is
not given here but an equivalent will be found in the Milanese ritual. "Si
quis catechumenus procedat, si quis judceus procedat, si quis paganus
procedat, si quis haereticus procedat, cujus cura non est procedat." St.
Gregory mentions another formula: "Si quis non communicet det locum;" and
the Pontifical even yet contains this curious formula at the Ordination of
Exorcists: "Exorcistam oportet . . . dicere populo ut qui non communicat
det locum." The pseudo-Germain recalls in this connection the energetic
words of the Gospel: "nolite dare sanctum canibus neque mittatis margaritas
All these precautions prove the importance of the action which is about to
take place, and fresh warnings from the Deacon awaken the attention and
respect of the people. Formerly the formula was "Silentium faciet," or
"Pacem habete," as in the Milanese rite. The pseudo-Germain, who often
comments on or interprets the rite, says that they made the sign of the
Cross on eyes, ears, and mouth, "ut hoc solum cor intendat ut in se
THE MASS OF THE FAITHFUL
The "Prayer of the Faithful" is a prayer recited after the departure of the
catechumens by the faithful alone; thus it forms part of the Mass of the
Faithful. Sometimes it is called the Prayer of the Church, or the Common
Prayer. In the West, especially at Rome, it was recited in the following
way: the Pontiff invited the faithful to prayer; the Deacon gave the order
to bend the knee; the Bishop pronounced the prayer, and the people
responded "Amen." Ed. Bishop remarks acutely, in this connection, that this
prayer bears the seal of the Roman Church, in which ecclesiastical
authority always maintains its rights, the part of the faithful being
reduced to a minimum; while in the East the initiative of Christian people
is allowed a much wider scope. To such a degree is this the case that at
Rome this prayer might more correctly be called the Prayer "for" the
Faithful. We have a very well-preserved type of the prayer in the
"Orationes solemnes" of Good Friday. But all other trace of it has
disappeared from the Roman liturgy. Under an analogous form it existed in
the Gallican liturgies in the sixth century, as is proved by a text of the
Council of Lyon under Sigismond (516-523), which alludes to the "Oratio
plebis quae post evangelium legitur (Concilia aevi merovingici," p. 34).
But since then it has disappeared, as it has at Rome, and we find in the
Gallican liturgy only diaconal litanies, imitated from those in the
The offering of bread and wine in Gaul, as elsewhere was made by the
faithful. What must be remarked here and what to some extent is peculiar to
the Gallican Mass are the honors paid to the oblations, i.e. the elements
which are to be consecrated. Analogous customs exist in the Eastern
liturgies, and there is a temptation to see in this the results of
Byzantine influence (Duchesne, op. cit., p. 216; Dom Wilmart, art. cit.,
col. 1080). It is surprising to find the pseudo-Germain describe these
elements, in a prolepsis, by the following words: "Procedente ad altarium
corpore Christi, praeclara Christi magnalia dulci melodia psallit Ecclesia"
(P.L., Vol. XXII col. 93). Gregory of Tours expresses himself in somewhat
similar terms when he says that the "Mysterium dominici corporis" was
contained in vessels shaped like towers; wooden towers, sometimes covered
with gold.The wine to be consecrated was brought in a chalice: "sanguis
Christi . . . offertur in calice." Water was added to the wine, as in all
other rites. The bread was placed on a paten. Reference is made to the
veils which covered the oblations: the first, "Palle," of linen or wool;
the second which was placed beneath the oblations, of pure linen
"Corporalis palle;" finally, a precious tissue of silk and gold, ornamented
with jewels, which covered them. Although analogous rites are certainly
encountered elsewhere, some of those just described seem peculiar to the
Gallican churches. In any case, they testify to the care and respect paid
to he elements even before the Consecration. (For details, and comparison
with other rites cf. Dom Wilmart, op. cit., col. 1081 seq.)
The "Sonum quando procedit oblatio" was a special canticle, very closely
allied to the "Cheroubicon" of the Greeks. When the oblations were placed
upon the altar the choir chanted the Christmas "Laudes" of the Mozarabites:
"Alleluia, Redemptionem misit Dominus populo suo; mandavit im aeternum
testamentum suum; sanctum et terribile nomen ejus, Alleluia." These chants,
"Sonum" and "Laudes," practically correspond with the Offertory psalm used
at Rome and Milan.
The reading of the Diptychs occurs here, as it does in most liturgies; but
we have no special information as to this rite in the Gallican churches.
The names of the living for whom the Sacrifice was to be offered, and names
of other personages, were read at this moment. From the theological point
of view this rite is important, because the inscription on the Diptychs is
a sign that the faithful were in communion with those whose names were read
out. The names of heretics were struck off the list, a practice which often
gave rise to bitter controversies. Lastly, the Pope's name was usually in
the place of honor (cf. art. "Diptyques," in DACL). We give as a type the
following formula, taken from Duchesne ("Origines du culte," p. 221):
"Offerunt Deo Domino oblationem sacerdotes nostri" (here the Spanish
Bishops are signified), "papa Romensis et reliqui pro se et pro omni clero
ac plebibus Ecclesiae sibimet consignatis vel pro universa fraternitate. .
. . Item pro spiritibus pausantium, Hilarii, Athanasii," etc. In the
Gallican and Mozarabic rites this reading is followed by a prayer:
"Collectio post nomina." The numerous formulas preserved in the Gallican
books should be studied at first-hand, for allusion is made to the effects
of the Sacrifice of the Mass (see art. "Mozarabe, Messe," in "Dict. de
Theol. Catholique"). The whole of this rite of the Diptychs is, moreover,
deeply interesting, for it is a proof of faith in the intercession of the
Church, in the efficaciousness of that Sacrifice, and in the union of all
the faithful in the Church on earth and with the Saints in Heaven.
The Kiss of Peace which followed is also accompanied by a prayer,
"Collectio ad pacem." In the Gallican and Mozarabic books this, like the
preceding prayer, varies with every Feast. They are a rich collection of
texts, often expressive; it will be sufficient here to quote one example of
the "Collectio ad pacem," that of the Assumption of Our Lady, celebrated by
the Gallicans in January. It is taken from the "Missale Gothicum" (P.L.,
Vol. LXXII, col. 245):
"Deus universalis machinae propagator, qui in sanctis spiritaliter, in
matre vero virgine etiam corporaliter habitasti; que ditata tuae
plenitudenis ubertate, mansuetudine florens, caritate vigens, pace gaudens,
pietate praecellens ab angelo gracia plena, ab Elisabeth benedicta, a
gentibus merito praedicatur beata; cujus nobis fides mysterium, partus
gaudium, vita portentum, discessus attulit hoc festivum; precamur
supplices, ut pacem quae in adsumptione Matris tunc praebuisti discipulis,
solenni nuper (doubtless sollempniter) largiaris in cunctis, salvator
mundi, qui cum Patre.... mundi, qui cum Patre...."
We know that as regards the Diptychs and the Kiss of Peace the Roman
liturgy differs in many important respects from the Gallican and Mozarabic
rites, which latter on these points approach more closely to those of
Constantinople. But we see, from what has gone before, that many ceremonies
were borrowed comparatively late (cf. our article "Baiser de Paix "in
In the Gallican books the "Collectio ad pacem "is followed by an even more
important prayer, usually called in these books the "Contestatio," or
"Immolatio;" it corresponds to the Roman "Preface," and begins with "Sursum
corda:" "Habemus ad Dominum. "The prelude, too, is the same "Vere dignum et
justum est." But these Gallican "Contestationes," like the Mozarabic
"Immolationes," are characteristically different from the Roman Prefaces.
They are, if we may use such a comparison, like locally grown fruit. The
Gallo-Roman genius of the sixth and seventh centuries here gave itself free
rein. The Latin of that period was no longer the classical language of
Augustan Rome; it is very often prolix; we find in it antitheses,
ornaments, and even verbal conceits which we should desire to see banished
from ecclesiastical compositions. The Roman manner, especially at the time
of Gelasius and Gregory, has incontestably more discretion, more dignity;
moreover, it expresses a more carefully guarded orthodoxy. But from the
point of view which alone interests us here this rich collection of
"Contestationes" preserved in the Gallican books is a treasure as yet
little explored by theologians. Here may be studied the doctrines of this
Church on the Eucharist, Grace, the Incarnation, and Redemption, better
perhaps than in any other collection. We can but mention here this source
of the history and theology of the Gallican Church, for a detailed
explanation would require a long thesis.
As in other liturgies the "Contestatio" ends with the "Sanctus." But the
Gallican and Mozarabic liturgies have another prayer, the "Collectio post
Sanctus," which is a transition from the "Sanctus" to the recital of the
Institution. It generally begins with these words: "Vere Sanctus." Thus in
one of the Masses of Mone: "Vere Sanctus, vere benedictus dominus noster
Jesus Christus filius tuus qui pridie" (P.L., Vol. CXXXVIII, col. 866). But
usually more ample developments are found, where dogmatic questions are
touched upon, as in the following from the same collection (loc. cit., col.
"Hic inquam Christus Dominus noster et Deus noster, qui sponte mortalibus
factus adsimilis per omne hunc aevi diem immaculatum sibi corpus ostendit,
veterisque delicti idoneus expiator sinceram inviolatamque peccatis
exhibuit animam, quam sordentem rursus sanguis elueret, abrogataque in
ultimum lege moriendi, in caelo corpus perditum atque ad patris dexteram
relevaret, per Dominum nostrum qui pridie...."
In the MS. this passage is altered, but we can guess the meaning (see
Denzinger's note, col. 873). The "Post Sanctus" also answers to a prayer of
the same kind in the Eastern liturgies. That of Rome has no prayer which
corresponds to the "Vere Sanctus."
The recital of the Institution, introduced in the Gallican liturgies by
"Vere Sanctus," follows the text of St. Matthew and St. Mark with the
words: "qui pridie quam pateretur." Here is an instance of complete accord
between the rites of Rome and Gaul; but on this point we can but refer to
the remarks of other liturgiologists, especially to those of Dom Cagin, who
has drawn his conclusions from this fact extremely well. The Eastern
liturgies follow another tradition, and say with St. Paul: "In qua nocte
tradebatur." Spain, it is true, also says: "In qua nocte", but this is
generally attributed to Byzantine qua nocte, but this is generally
attributed to Byzantine influence in a later age. This is all the more
likely because the Spanish books called the prayer which follows, "Post
The words "Mysterium fidei" also seem to have been adopted in Gaul, as in
the Roman formula, and probably under Roman influence.
In Gaul the words of Consecration were accompanied by the sign of the Cross
traced on the oblation; a gesture recognized as possessing the special
virtue of accomplishing the Mystery, and which is ratified by Heaven. The
pseudo-Germain, speaking of the transformation operated by the Consecration
of the bread and wine, alludes to the Angel of God who blesses the Host:
"Angeles Dei ad secreta super altare tamquam super monumentum descendit et
ipsam hostiam benedicit instar illius angeli qu Christi resurectionem
evangelizavit." In this connection the story related by Gregory of Tours
may well be recalled, he tells us that St. Martin appeared in the Basilica
dedicated to him in that town, and blessed, "dextera extensa," the
Sacrifice offered on the altar, "juxta morem catholicam signo crucis
superposito" ("Vita Patrum," XVI, 2- P.L. Vol. LXXI, col. 1075; cf. Dom
Wilmart, col. 1086).
The following prayer is of the first importance for the theology of the
Mass. It bears the name Post Secreta, and elsewhere "Post Mysteria," "Post
Eucharistiam." This title, this formula, the miracle of St. Martin just
mentioned the fact that Gregory of Tours calls the words of Consecration
"Verba sacra" ("Glor. Mart.," 87; P.L., Vol. LXXI col. 782), and other
texts we could mention, sufficiently prove that the words of the
Institution were considered as operating the mystery of the Eucharist. But
it must be added that this prayer is frequently conceived in terms which
would incline a reader to the contrary belief, i.e. that Transubstantiation
is wrought by the "Epiclesis," such as that of one of the Masses of Mone
(P.L. Vol. CXXXVIII, col. 871, and Vol. LXXII, col. 257). In any case, the
collection of these prayers, "Post Secreta" in the Gallican liturgies, is
one which should be most carefully studied, in order to realize the faith
of these churches in the Eucharistic Mystery.
It has been thought, since the word is "Post Secreta" that the formula of
Consecration was said in a low voice while the "Contestatio" and "Post
Sanctus" were said aloud. We shall not take up here that question so hotly
debated in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, by theologians and
liturgiologists, as to the Secret of the Mysteries, which we treat
elsewhere (Chap. XII).
The rites of the "Fraction" and the "Commixtion" are attached to the prayer
"Post Secreta." In the primitive Mass the "Fraction" was a rite of the
first importance. The name of "Fractio panis" given to the Eucharist at the
beginning, the place of the word "Fregit" in the story of the Institution,
the insistence of all the most ancient liturgies in this formula upon the
words "(corpus meum) quod pro vobis confringetur," and many other
indications which could be given are sufficient to prove this fact. There
are numerous variants of the rite in the various liturgies. In the Celtic
rite, as we shall see, the Irish divided the Host in seven different ways,
according to the Feast. In Gaul they divided it into nine particles, in the
form of a Cross. Sometimes the particles were arranged on the paten to
design a human form. The Council of Tours in 567 forbade this practice as
superstitious, and ordained that the particles were to be disposed in the
form of a Cross. The meaning of this act is given in the chant of the
"Fraction," called "Confractorium," or "Ad Confractionem." We have
mentioned some of these in our article "Fractio Panis" (DACL). Here is one
"Credimus Domine, credimus in hac confractione corporis et effusione tui
sanguinis nos esse redemptos: confidimus etiam quod spe hic mysterium jam
tenemus, in aeternum perfrui mereamur. Per. . . ."
The "Commixtion," or "Immixtion," has, like the "Fraction," a dogmatic
bearing. The celebrant soaks one or several of the consecrated particles in
the chalice, allowing one of them to fall into it. Under this form, with
the words accompanying it in many liturgies, the sole meaning of this rite
is to show to the faithful, before Communion, that it is the very Body and
Blood of Christ which they are about to receive; and that their separation
under the different species of bread and wine is only apparent. Although at
this epoch Communion under both kinds was almost universal, the doctrine
that Christ was present, whole and entire, under both species, was none the
less of equally universal acceptance. The rites of "Commixtion" or
"Immixtion," which are attached to this part of the Mass, seem, in our
opinion, to favor this interpretation (see "Immixtion" in DACL).
The recitation of the "Pater" follows the "Fraction" and "Commixtion." Its
recital during Mass in this place, or at some place very near to these two
rites, is an almost universal practice. Some exceptions might indeed be
mentioned. The "Apostolic Constitutions" do not speak of the "Pater;"
neither does St. Hippolytus, nor Serapion, nor the "anaphora" of Balizeh.
But these are exceptions. The "Pater" has its place, and that a place of
honor in the Roman Mass, where it is surrounded with special rites. With
the Gallicans, as in most other liturgies, it is, as it were, framed
between a prelude or protocol and a conclusion or embolism.
Both of these are variable in the Gallican rite, like the "Contestatio,"
the "Post Sanctus," or the "Ad pacem." These various rites aim at
emphasizing the importance of this prayer, taught to His disciples by
Christ Himself, the Prayer of prayers. From the beginning its importance
has been recognized and attested by the liturgy. The end of the "Pater" was
enriched with a doxology, as we see in the Didache and in some of the most
ancient MSS. of the New Testament; and we cannot be surprised at that
assertion of St. Gregory who, astonished at finding the "Pater" relegated
to a place after the close of the Canon, declared that originally this was
the prayer by means of which the Apostles consecrated (see pp. 79-81). It
has also an honorable place in Baptism and in the other Sacraments.
In the Gallican Mass it is recited by the entire congregation, as was also
the custom amongst the Greeks; while in Africa and at Rome the celebrant
alone recited the "Pater" aloud, the people responding "Amen," or "Sed
libera nos a malo." In Spain we have seen there was a special place for the
recitation of this prayer.
Before the Communion the Bishop, or even the Priest, blessed the faithful.
This blessing also is important; it is not confined to the Gallican
liturgy, but took place in Africa also, in the time of St. Augustine. It
existed, too, in the Eastern liturgies, and even Rome may have known it at
one time, though it has been transformed and placed elsewhere.
The meaning of this blessing, a kind of absolution or final purification
before Communion, is determined by the accompanying formulas. The Deacon
said: "Humiliate vos benedictioni;" or with the Greeks: "Let us bow down
our heads before the Lord." The pseudo-Germain mentions the following:
"Pax, fides et caritas, et communicatio "corporis et sanguinis D.N.J.C. sit
semper vobiscum." He says, too, that the blessing given by the Priest must
be shorter and less solemn than that given by the Bishop. This is a
discreet allusion to the discussions which doubtless took place about this
time, since the canons of some of the Councils of the fifth and sixth
centuries bear traces of the controversy. The question was whether the
right of blessing the people should be reserved to the Bishop alone, or
whether (as here) it was sufficient to mark the difference between his
blessing and that of a Priest (cf. especially the 44th canon of the Council
of Agde, held 506). The formula varied according to the day. In the MS.
collections many episcopal benedictions exist, some of which have been
published, and these must not be neglected, since they form part also of
liturgical theology (see our article, "Benedictions episcopales", in DACL).
A certain hierarchical order--indeed, a very rigorous one--was enforced for
the Communion. Priests and Deacons communicated at the altar; other clerics
before it; the laity outside the choir. This at least was the Spanish
custom. In Gaul the faithful entered the choir and communicated at the
altar. Men received the Host upon the bare hand; while women received It in
a linen cloth called the "Dominical" (Duchesne, op. cit., p. 257).
During the Communion a chant was sung: "antiphona ad accedentes." This,
according to the most ancient tradition, was Psalm XXXIII, "Benedicam
Dominum in omni tempore," or at least some of its verses which apply so
well to the Eucharist: "Accedite ad eum et illuminamini, Iste pauper
clamavit et Dominus exaudivit eum;" and, above all: "Gustate et videte
quoniam suavis est Dominus." Dom Cagin ("Paleographie musicale," Vol. V,
PP. 22-25) has collected the principal evidence as to this tradition. It is
interesting to know that Gaul had preserved it. The pseudo-Germain, amongst
others, recalls it, but chiefly to prove that this chant (which he calls
the "Trecanum") is an act of Faith in the Trinity. And indeed, three verses
which were repeated in a certain manner, and doubtless ended with the
Trinitarian doxology, did teach those who communicated that "the Father is
in the Son, the Son in the Holy Ghost, the Holy Ghost in the Son, and again
the Son in the Father". P. Thibaut gives an explanation of this obscure
text. "Trecanum" is. an erroneous transcription of "Tricanon" (in Greek,
"trikanon", three rules, or three bars). Now the Psalm "Gustate et videte"
is numbered in Roman figures XXXIII, which was taken as a graphic symbol of
the Trinity, three X's and three I's which must be written thus:
X X X I I I
1 2 3 3 2 1
This would explain the pseudo-Germain's text on "Circumincession" in the
Trinity. It is very subtle, but subtlety never frightened the symbolists of
that period. However, what is incontestable is that these three verses with
a special doxology are indeed a chant in honor of the Trinity; and on this
point the Mozarabic rite agrees with that of Gaul. Other chants for
Communion accompanied this, or took its place, such as the beautiful hymn,
"Sancti venite," of the Celtic liturgies. In the Eastern and Mozarabic
rites the Symbol of Nicea-Constantinople was recited at this moment. What
must always be noticed is the intense care taken to cause an act of Faith
to precede the participation in the Body and Blood of Christ; because the
Eucharist is, above all, the mystery of union with Our Lord, and through
Him between the faithful, in Faith and Charity.
After the Communion was said a prayer, the text of which varied. The Post-
Communions preserved in the Gallican books are well worth study, for they
express the faith of these liturgies in the Real Presence, and in the
effects of the Sacrament upon the soul.
After these prayers the faithful were dismissed, as in other liturgies. The
formula in the Roman rite is "Ite, Missa est," in the Missal of Stowe it is
"Missa acta est, In pace." The Ambrosian rite has "Procedamus in pace, in
nomine Domini;" while the Mozarabites have an even more solemn formula. The
Eastern liturgies have yet others, and it was not until much later that, in
certain rites, the reading of the Gospel of St. John and other prayers were
added after this dismissal, a custom which causes the latter ceremony to
lose all its meaning.
The part played by the Gallican liturgy did not end with its disappearance.
In the history of the liturgy from the ninth-fifteenth centuries Gaul's
place was a very important one--it might be said, almost the most important
of all. It was in Gaul that the Gelasian and Gregorian Sacramentaries, as
well as the greater number of the "Ordines Romani," have been retouched,
modified, and finally moulded into that form which may be studied in the
Missals of the ninth-thirteenth centuries, which are in reality Gallicano-
Roman. An influence almost equally considerable was exercised in that
country upon the Pontifical, the Ritual, Breviary, and other liturgical
books. This history of the liturgy is not yet written, but it can be said
that each day some fresh work on the subject confirms this general
impression. We must also take into consideration the numerous initiatives
undertaken in that country which were in the end adopted in other lands,
even by Rome herself, such as the institution of new Feasts, and of more
None the less, it is infinitely to be regretted that, as regards this
liturgy which in the splendor of its forms could rival the Mozarabic, the
Ambrosian, or even the liturgy of Rome, we are reduced to a few fragments,
doubtless of great interest, but which are mere "membra disjecta," as the
poet calls it. What a pity that one of our old Basilicas, that of Rheims,
for instance, or Sens, did not play the same "role" as Toledo or Milan, and
thus keep till our own day that collection of rites and customs of which
to-day only a few relics are left!
1 Dom Wilmart after Edmund Bishop, has insisted on this point. Cf. Ed.
Bishop, "Observations on the Liturgy of Narsai," pp. 117--121; "Journal of
Theological Studies," 1910 11, Vol. XII, pp. 406-413 ù and "Liturgica
Historica," pp. 122, 124; Connolly, "Journal of Theological Studies," 1919-
20, Vol. XXI, pp. 219-232; Dom Wilmart, art. cit., col. 1075. Duchesne, in
his fifth edition of "Origines du culte chretien," p. 211, note 2,
discusses the attribution to Gelasius of the "Dicamus omnes."
2. Cf. Duchesne, op. cit., p. 221, note 2; and Dom Wilmart art. cit., 1076;
cf. also article "Litanies," in DACL..
3. Under this formula cf. Ambrosian Mass, p. 93.
4. "Glor. Mart," 86; "Hist. France," X, xxxi. 13; P.L., Vol. LXXI, cols.
5. Cf. on this point Dom Cagin, "Paleographie musicale," Vol. V., p. 55
seq.; Duchesne, loc. cit., p. 230, note 1; Dom Wilmart, art. cit., col.
1085. There has been discussion as to whether these liturgies did not in
primitive days contain the incisive words: "pro nostra et omnium salute."
Cf. "Revue Benedictine," 1910, Vol. XXVII, p. 513 seq.
6. Cf. Dom Wilmart, op. cit., col. 1088; Dom Morin, "Revue Benedictine,"
1912, Vol. XXIX, p. 179 seq.
7. we shall have a word to say as to the neo-Gallican liturgies of the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries on p. 203. But they have in reality
little to do with the Mass.
H. LIETZMANN, "Ordo Missae Romnanus et Gallicanus" (Bonn, 1923) .
J. B. THIBAUT, "L'ancienne liturgie gallicane" (Paris, 1929); and on this
book our article: "Les origines de la liturgie gallicane," in "Revue
d'Hist. eccl. de Louvain," Vol. XXVI, 1930, P. 951 seq
"Liturgia, "PP. 793-800, "La liturgie gallicane."
H. NETZER, "L'Introduction de la Messe Romaine en France sous les
Carolingiens" (Paris, 1910).
In DACL. "Gallicanes (Liturgies)," a very complete bibliography by Dom
LECLERCQ. Cf. also the article "Germain, lettres de Saint."
THE CELTIC MASS
The Celtic liturgical books.--The Celtic Mass.
The title "Celtic liturgy," or rather "Celtic liturgies" (the plural is
used on account of the various forms which this liturgy takes), designates
the rite which was in use amongst the populations of Ireland, Wales, and
Cornwall, Scotland, and Armorican Brittany. I have stated elsewhere what
may be thought as to this expression "Celtic liturgies." For, as a matter
of fact, in the sense in which the term is used to describe the Mozarabic
or Gallican rites, there is really no Celtic liturgy.
THE CELTIC LITURGICAL BOOKS
The Celtic monks, missionaries, and travelers, whom we may consider as the
authors of the above, had no intention of composing a new liturgy, or even
one which differed from those already existing. What they did was to take
what suited them from one or the other rite, and then to combine these
various elements. That in itself is not enough to constitute a new liturgy.
It is none the less true that their liturgical books, transcribed and
arranged as they are by Celtic copyists, have a very real interest. We have
made a study of them in another volume, entitled "Books of the Latin
Liturgy" (Sands & Co., London), pp. 107--112.
Of these books the most important is a Sacramentary, or Missal, the "Missal
of Stowe;" and in it the Celtic Mass may be studied. Some critics have
placed the date of this MS. as far back as the eighth, or even the seventh,
century. Certain doubts may be felt as to this great antiquity; but
whatever the date of the MS., it certainly describes a liturgy older than
the ninth century.
THE CELTIC MASS
In the "Missal of Stowe" the preparation for the Mass comprehends a
confession of sins, a long litany in which are found the names of all the
Irish and Celtic Saints, and a "Apologia sacerdotis," or prayer of
preparation for Mass. This feature is not confined to the Celtic rites; and
we have studied elsewhere these liturgical "Apologies" (cf. article,
"Apologies," in DACL).
It would seem that the preparation of the oblations took place before the
entrance of the celebrant, as in the Gallican rite. It comprised several
prayers, as follows: in pouring water into the chalice: "Peto Te, Pater;
Deprecor Te, Fili; Obsecro Te, Spiritus Sancte;" in pouring the wine:
"Remittat Pater, Indulgeat Filius, Misereatur Spiritus Sanctus." Another
Celtic book, the "Leabhar Breac," notes that a single drop, both of water
and wine, should be allowed to fall as the Name of each Person of the
Trinity was pronounced. We first notice here the insistence, found nowhere
else in the same degree, on emphasizing each Person of the Blessed Trinity
in the Eucharistic Mystery.
The setting of the Pre-Mass is almost the same as that of the Roman rite: a
prayer, the "Gloria in Excelsis," one or several Collects (which Celtic
priests habitually multiplied to an extent which sometimes caused the
faithful to protest), an Epistle taken from St. Paul, a Gradual chant, and
the "Alleluia." A celebrated litany, the "Deprecatio Sancti Martini,
Dicamus omnes," was said here.
This is borrowed from the Eastern liturgies, which have prayers of the same
type; the above litany is merely the translation of a Greek text. It has
indeed been adopted by other Latin liturgies.
Two prayers followed this. Then the chalice and oblations were partially
unveiled, probably by the removal of the first veil; they were not
completely uncovered until the Offertory. The formula, "Dirigatur Domine,"
was sung thrice; then one veil of the chalice was taken away, and the
prayer, "Veni, Domine, Sanctificator omnipotens, et benedic hoc sacrificium
praeparatum tibi, Amen," was said three times.
The Gospel followed. One of the fragments discovered by Bannister gives as
that for the Circumcision an apocryphal Gospel of James, the son of
Alphaeus. The "Credo" included the "Filioque," but as an addition to the
primitive text, and with several variants. After the Gospel there was a
chant, which perhaps corresponds to the Mozarabic and Gallican "Laudes" and
to St. Benedict's "Te decet laus."
The Offertory included the complete unveiling of the chalice, which was
elevated, sometimes with the paten; and different formulas given in the
"Missal of Stowe," which have no particular characteristics.
Then came the "Memento of the Dead," with the reading of the "Diptychs."
This is the Mozarabic and Gallican use. The following is the characteristic
"Has oblationes et sincera libamina immolamus tibi domine ihesu christe,
qui passus es pro nobis et resurrexisti tertia die a mortuis pro animamus
(animabus) carorum nostrorum N. et cararum nostrarum quorum nomina
recitamus et quorumcumque non recitamus sed a te recitantur in Libro vite."
The Preface begins with "Sursum corda." The text given in the "Missal of
Stowe" is a combination of the "Trisagion" and the Roman Preface of the
Trinity; it also deserves to be quoted. We have already noted this
insistence of the Celtic Mass upon confessing the Trinity.
"Pater omnipotens . . . qui cum unigenito tuo et spiritu sancto Deus es
unus et immortalis, Deus incorruptibilis et immortalis, Deus invisibilis et
fidelis . . . te credimus, te benedicimus, te adoramus et laudamus nomen
unum in aeternum et in saeculum saeculi, per quem salus mundi, per quem
vita hominum, per quem resurrectio mortuorum, per quem maestatem tuam
laudant angeli, etc."
The "Sanctus" is paraphrased like the Preface:
"Benedictus qui venit de celis ut conversaretur in terris, Homo factus est
ut delicta carnis deleret, hostia factus est ut per passionem suam vitam
aeternam credentibus daret per dominum."
Like the Gallican and Mozarabic books, those of the Celtic rite usually
have a "Post sanctus." The Canon of the "Missal of Stowe," under the title
of "Canon dominicus papae Gilasi" (edn. Warren, p. 274 seq.), is famous
among liturgiologists. This precious text, which by some is believed to be
the most ancient text of the Roman Canon, contains the "Te igitur," the
"Memento of the Living," and other prayers of the latter rite, but with
notable variants, the chief of which are as follows:
"Te igitur clementissime pater . . . una cum beatissimo famulo tuo, n. papa
nostro, episcopo sedis apostolicae, et omnibus orthodoxis atque apostolica
fidei cultoribus, et abbate nostro, N. episcopo."
"Hic recitantur nomina vivorum."
"Memento etiam, domine, famulorum tuorum, N . . . qui tibi offerunt hoc
sacrificium laudis pro te suisque omnibus, pro redemptione animarum suarum,
pro stratu (sic) seniorum suorum, et ministrorum omnium puritate, pro
integritate virginum, et continentia viduarum, pro aeris temperie, et
fructum (sic) fecunditate terrarum, pro pacis redetu et fine discriminum,
pro incolimitate regum, et pace populorum, ac reditu captivorum, pro votis
adstantium, pro memoria martirum, pro remissione peccatorum nostrorum, et
actuum emendatione eorum, ac requie defunctorum, et prosperitate itineris
nostri, pro domino papa episcopo, et omnibus episcopis et presbyteris et
omni ecclesiastico ordine, pro imperio romano et omnibus regibus
christianis, pro fratribus et sororibus nostris, pro fratribus in via
directis, pro fratribus quos de caliginosis mundi hujus tenebris dominus
arcisire dignatus est, uti eos in aeterna summae lucis quietae pacis divina
suscipiat, pro fratribus qui varis dolorum generibus adfliguntur, uti eos
divina pietas curare dignetur, pro spe salutis et incolimitatis suae, tibi
reddunt vota sua eterno Deo vivo et vero communicantes, in natale domini et
(Then follows the enumeration of other feasts--Circumcision, Epiphany under
the title of "Stella," Holy Thursday as "Natalis calicis domini nostri,"
Easter, Ascension, and Pentecost.)
"Et memoriam venerantes imprimis gloriosae semper virginis. . . .
Hanc igitur oblationem . . . quam tibi offerimus in honorem domini nostri
ihesu christi et in commemorationem beatorum martirum tuorum, in hac
cecclesia quam famulus tuus ad honorem gloriae tuae aedificavit, quesumus,
domine, ut placatus suscipias, eumque, adque omnem populum ab idulorum
cultura eripias, et ad te Deum verum patrem omnipotentem convertas, diesque
nostros in tua pace disponas, atque ab aeterna damnatione nos eripias, et
in electorum tuorum iubeas grege numerari per, etc."
"Quam oblationem te, deus, in omnibus, quesumus benedictam, ascriptam,
ratam, rationabilem, acceptabilemque facere dignareque nobis corpus et
sanguis fiat dilectissimi fili tui domini nostri ihesu Christi."
"Haec quotiescumque feceritis, in mei memoriam facietis, passionem meam
predicabitis, resurrectionem meam adnuntiabitis, adventum meum sperabitis,
donec iterum veniam ad vos de caelis."
Passages which bear an analogy with this formula can be found in the
"Apostolic Constitutions," in the liturgies of St. James and St. Basil, in
the Ambrosian and Mozarabic liturgies, etc.
Irish treatises upon the Mass emphasize the importance of the formula of
Consecration. The Priest bows thrice at "Accepit Jesus panem;" the people
prostrate themselves when he offers the bread and wine to God. This prayer
has been called the "periculosa oratio," and none must dare to break
silence. The "Penitential of Cummean" inflicts a penance of fifty strokes
upon the Priest who has hesitated once in speaking these words. In some
Missals the word "Periculum" is written in the margin. Unfortunately to all
these marks of attention and respect, so well justified, must be added
certain other features which sometimes betray a meticulous and complicated
piety. According to some treatises the celebrant had to take three steps
forward and three backward, "a triad which recalls the three ways in which
man sins, that is, by thought, word, and deed, and the three ways in which
he is renewed in God."
After the Consecration we have the prayers "Unde et memores sumus, Supra
quae propitio, Supplices Te," as in the Roman Canon. The "Memento of the
Dead" presents a very interesting formula also, which has analogies with
the Mozarabic and Gallican prayers:
Memento etiam, domine, et eorum nomina qui nos praecesserunt cum signo
fidei, et dormiunt in somno pacis, cum omnibus in toto mundo offerentibus
sacrificum spiritale deo patri et filio et spiritui sancto sanctis ac
venerabibus (sic) sacerdotibus offert senior noster, n. praespiter, pro se,
et pro suis et pro totius ecclesiae cetu catholicae; et pro commemorando
anathletico gradu venerabilium patriarcharum, profetarum, apostolorum et
martirun, et omnium quoque sanctorum, ut pro nobis dominum deum nostrum
To this formula must be joined another, which in Warren's edition is
separated from it in mistake by a list of names (pp. 238-240).
"Et omnium pausautium qui nos in dominica pace precesserunt, ab adam usque
in hodiernum diem, quorum deus non nominavit et novit, ipsis et omnibus in
christo quiescentibus locum refrigerii," etc.
Then "Nobis quoque" with "Patricio" after "Petro" and "Paulo;" "Per quem
We do not think, with certain critics, that it is necessary to see the most
ancient form of the Roman Canon in this formula. The addition "diesque
nostros," made by St. Gregory; that of "Pro fratribus in via directis,"
borrowed from the Rule of St. Benedict, and other indications are opposed
to this view. As with the other Celtic prayers, the author has made a
mixture of fragments culled from different sources; but there can be no
doubt that some of these fragments are very ancient, as, for example, the
The rites of Fraction, Immixtion, and Communion in the Celtic Mass present
no less interesting features. On these points there was great liberty.
Following the "Per quem haec omnia," the rubric of the "Missal of Stowe"
adds "ter canitur," and in Irish: "here the oblations are raised above the
chalice, and half the bread is plunged into the chalice." This is the rite
of Intinction practiced in the Syrian liturgy. The versicle "Fiat domine
misericordia tua super nos quemadmodum speravimus in te" follows.
Then the Fraction takes place. "The bread is broken," says the Irish
rubric. This is the usual place for the Fraction in the Latin liturgies,
even in the Roman Mass before St. Gregory's time. The versicles which
follow comment on the actions of the Priest, and emphasize the special
importance of the rite. "Cognoverunt dominum alleluia, in fractione panis,
alleluia." This is the "Confractorium," or "Antiphona ad confractionem" of
the Ambrosian and Mozarabic rites, and of which a few vestiges remain in
certain Roman books. With regard to the Fraction it has been shown that
the Celtic, and perhaps in other churches, a Priest here joined the
celebrant, if the latter were a simple Priest, to break with him the Body
of the Lord. It was the Confraction. But were the celebrant a Bishop he
broke the Host alone. These other versicles of the Fraction followed:
"Panis quem frangimus corpus est domini nostri ihesu cristi. Alleluia."
"Calix quem benedicimus (alleluia) sanguis est d. n. I. C. (Alleluia) in
remissionem peccatorum nostrorum (Alleluia)."
"Fiat domine misericordia tua super nos. Alleluia. Quemadmodum speravimus
in te. Alleluia."
"Cognoverunt dominum. Alleluia."
"Credimus, domine, in hac confractione corporis et effsione sanguinis nos
esse redemptos et confidimus, sacramenti hujus adsumptione munitos, ut quod
spe interim hic tenemus mansuri in celestibus veris fructibus perfruamur,
per d.," etc.
The Host was divided in seven different ways, according to the Feasts: into
five parts at Common Masses; into seven on the Feasts of Saints,
Confessors, and Virgins; into eight on the Feasts of Martyrs; into nine on
Sundays; into eleven on the Feasts of Apostles; into twelve on the Kalends
of January, and on Holy Thursday; into thirteen on the Sunday after Easter
and on the Ascension; and into sixty-five on the Feasts of Christmas,
Easter, and Pentecost. The particles were arranged in the form of a Cross,
and each group received a part of this Cross according to grade. Everything
here seems to have been invented to distract attention at the very moment
when it should have been concentrated on the One Essential Object. Happily
those chants of the Fraction already mentioned led to more serious
As in the greater number of liturgies the "Pater," said after the Fraction,
is set between a prelude and an embolism, which differ little from the
Roman formulas; the name of St. Patrick is read after those of SS. Peter
and Paul. There is a blessing here, as in the Mozarabic and Gallican rites,
and it runs thus:
"Pax et caritas D.N.I.C. et communicatio sanctorum omnium, sit semper
vobiscum. Et cum spiritu tuo.
The Kiss of Peace was then given, as in the Roman Mass. The "Missal of
Stowe" contains at this point many anthems on Peace, mingled with anthems
and chants for Communion.
The Commixtion of the Body and Blood was carried out as in the Roman rite.
The Communion was encircled with rites and chants which gave it great
solemnity. We mention a few: "Novum carmen cantate, Omnes sancti venite,
Panem caeli dedit eis, Sinite parvulos venire ad me, Venite benedicti
Patris mei." Psalm xxxiii., of almost universal tradition at Communion, was
also sung. The famous hymn, "Sancti venite, Christi corpus sumite,"
preserved in the "Antiphonary of Bangor," is of lofty inspiration, and
would cause the wearisome prolixity of some other prayers to be pardoned.
The text of the Post-communions is borrowed from the Roman books. The
dismissal was given in these words: "Missa acta est. In pace."
Beyond a few formulas and rites which seem particularly to belong to the
Celts, it can easily be seen that nothing really original can be found in
this Mass. What does distinguish it is the almost equal mixture of Roman
and Gallican rites, with a few features borrowed from the Mozarabites, the
Ambrosian liturgy, or from the Eastern rites. It is composite. And the rite
of Baptism, which we need not study here, presents the same
1 This very interesting but not specially Celtic text will be found in
Duchesne, "Origines," edition 1908, p. 202.
2. For all this cf. Dom Gougaud's article in DACL., cols. 3008,
3. Cf. "Journal of Theological Studies," 1907-8, Vol. IX, pp.
4. Cf. also Dom Gougaud, loc. cit., col. 3011, and our article "Messe," in
"Dict. de theol." cath., cols. 1381-85.
5. The "Quorum deus nomina scit," or analogous formulas, have been pointed
out by Le Blant, in his "Inscriptions funeraires de la Gaule, lnscr. chret.
de la Gaule," p. 563, and notes,
6. Cf. our article "Messe," in "Dict. de theol. cath.," col. 1400.
7. Cf. Dom. Gougaud, loc. cit., col. 3011.
"Celtiques (Liturgies) "in DACL, the very complete article by Dom Gougaud,
with a good bibliography at the end. Cf. also in the same dictionary the
articles "Bobbio (missel)" and "sangor (antiphonaire de)." '
"Liturgia," p. 822, an article by Dom Gougaud on the Celtic liturgy; and
his work: "Christianity in Celtic Lands," Chapter IX, "Liturgy and Private
THE PRIMITIVE LATIN LITURGY
This title is ambitious. It would indeed be over-bold to attempt to
reconstitute the Latin liturgy as it was before the seventh century. But,
taking all the liturgies together--the African, Gallican, Mozarabic,
Ambrosian, Celtic, and Roman, which have just been studied in the preceding
chapters--a few general features may be noticed as standing out clearly,
and these will throw some light upon the first-named.
(1) The Pre-Mass was composed of three Lessons (there are actually two in
the Roman liturgy); each was usually followed by chants or psalmody, and by
a prayer. The chants and psalmody comprise verses of the Psalms, in the
form of responsories, or anthems. The "Alleluia" and "Gloria in Excelsis
Deo" or another canticle also belong to it, as does a special prayer, the
Diaconal litanies with the "Kyrie Eleison."
(2) The Pre-Mass terminated with the dismissal of the catechumens and
others outside the fold.
(3) The Mass properly so called began with the "Prayer of the Faithful," of
which some traces still survive.
(4) The Offertory presents analogous characteristics in all these different
(5) The reading of the "Diptychs," whatever its actual place was, also
formed part of it.
(6) The Preface, preceded by a dialogue and ending with the "Sanctus," was
often freely improvised in these churches; but it always began with the
same theme: "Vere dignum et justum est," etc.
(7) The "Sanctus" was followed by the "Benedictus qui venit," while in the
East the "Sanctus" is composed of the formula of the Prophet Isaias, and as
a rule admits of no complement.
(8) The "Vere Sanctus," which existed amongst the Mozarabites and
Gallicans, is seemingly absent from Rome.
(9) The "Qui pridie" was attached to the "Sanctus," or the "Vere Sanctus,'
by a short formula, of which the book "De Sacramentis" gives an example
which is probably the most ancient.
(10) The "Anamnesis" followed the Consecration in most rites.
(11) The "Post pridie" and "Epiclesis," which hold so large a place in the
Gallican and Mozarabic liturgies, have quite disappeared in that of Rome.
But was it always so? The "Anaphora" of the "Paradosis" of Hippolytus,
composed at Rome in the third century, has an "Epiclesis," which, however
discreetly worded, is none the less an invocation of the Holy Ghost; while
certain ancient texts seem to allude to a Roman "Epiclesis." But while the
Roman Church always tended to abridge, and even to suppress entirely, that
of Spain on the contrary amplified, developed, and multiplied formulas and
(12) The same thing may be noted with regard to the Fraction. While Rome
simplified the rite and suppressed the anthem "Ad confringendum," both
these were singularly complicated in Spain and among the Celts.
(13) The Pater, with prelude and embolism, usually had its place here.
(14) The same differences and the same analogies may be remarked in the
rites of Communion and Dismissal.
(15) The composition of the Latin liturgical books presents similar
characteristics, while in the East such books are subject to other laws.
All this evidently shows that each church had its own tendencies, which
appear to separate them one from another in the accomplishment of
liturgical functions, though they betray a common origin, and display even
more numerous analogies in the primitive period.
The comparison of the calendars, the divisions of the liturgical year, of
the "cursus" of the Office, and of the administration of the Sacraments
will lead, we think, to the same result.
THE ROMAN MASS, FROM THE EIGHTH TO THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY: ADDITIONS TO THE
MASS OF ST. GREGORY
THE: DOCUMENTS.--THE MASS.--The Preparation for Mass and the Prayers at the
Foot of the Altar.--The Chants, Collect, and Proses.--The Prayers of the
Offertory and of the Censing.--The Secret.--The Preface.--The Canon.--The
In our fourth chapter we described the Roman Mass in the seventh century.
From the seventh-sixteenth centuries it was to undergo rather important
modifications. Not that there were any essential changes along its
principal lines: the Canon remained invariable. But there were a certain
number of additions in other parts of the Mass.
These are all of Gallican origin, a term which must be understood in its
widest sense, for some of these additions came from Switzerland and Germany
as well as from France. We shall only mention them here, as we shall return
to this subject in Chapter XI, in which the whole Roman Mass is
We have very sufficient material for the study of this period. In the first
place the Sacramentaries and Missals. We have elsewhere described the
transformation of Sacramentaries written for the celebrant alone,
containing only those parts of the Mass which he had to recite, into full
Missals, in which are united all the Epistles, Gospels, and chants of the
Mass; a transformation brought about through many causes, but chiefly
through the multiplication of Low Masses.
There are other documents not less useful: the "Ordines Romani," which
describe the Roman Mass with its various ceremonies. As has been said,
these documents succeed each other from the seventh-sixteenth centuries,
and just as we have had "Ordo I" to guide us in our description of that
Mass in the seventh century, so we have those of a later epoch for the
following period: the "Ordo Romanus III" (ninth-tenth centuries), the "Ordo
Romanas VI" (tenth-eleventh centuries), and the "Ordo XIV," which was that
of the Roman Curia in the fourteenth century exactly at the time when
certain important changes were being made.
Finally we have, especially since the ninth century, treatises on the Mass.
At the Carlovingian Renaissance a strong impulse was given to liturgical
studies. Alcuin Amalarius, Agobard, Florus of Lyon, Rhaban Maur, and
Walafrid Strabo all wrote on various subjects, but especially on the Mass,
unfortunately their works are all rather symbolic than historic, and only
give very little really important information as to their chief subjects.
Rupert, in the twelfth century, is a mere compiler without any originality,
while Honorius of Autun in the same century wrote more especially for
edification. Bernold, in his "Micrologue" (eleventh century), is of greater
value, and Beleth, Jean d'Avranches, above all Durand de Mende in his
"Rationale," deserve serious study. But the most important of all is
Cardinal Lothaire, who became Pope Innocent III (1198-1216), and who wrote
the treatise "De sacro altaris mysterio," which describes the Roman Mass at
this period. These different works on the Mass have been collected since
the sixteenth century by authors like Cochlaeus, Hittorp, and others; but
all such volumes need re-editing, and the different treatises on the Mass
in the Middle Ages ought to be classed methodically.
THE PREPARATION FOR MASS AND THE PRAYERS AT THE FOOT OF THE ALTAR.--Before
the Introit the Psalm "Judica me," the "Confiteor," the versicles "Aufer a
nobis," the "Oramus te, Domine," were added; and, in Solemn Masses, the
censing of the altar.
Psalm xlii. is indicated in the ancient Missals as a preparation for Mass
since the eleventh century. It is well chosen for such an office; and the
anthem "Introibo ad altare Dei," taken from the text of the Psalm,
emphasizes, as is intended, the principal verse which usually determines
the use of a Psalm.
The Confession of Sins before Mass is mentioned in the "Didache," and other
ancient liturgical books. It is an apostolic practice. The formula here
employed was the "Confiteor," in the form which prevailed from the tenth-
eleventh centuries, and which had been used ever since, though with
numerous variations. It was followed by several versicles and responsories
taken from the Psalms; and these too are one of the most ancient forms of
Then came the "Dominus vobiscum," and the Priest mounted to the altar where
he said the beautiful prayer "Aufer a nobis," from the Leonine
Sacramentary. The "Oramus te" which followed it is less ancient, as the use
of the singular is enough to show (eleventh century); this prayer recalled
the fact that relics of the Saints were beneath the altar (to-day they are
enclosed within the stone of the altar). The kissing of the altar was a
very ancient practice (Chap. XII).
The censing of the altar which now took place is of Gallican origin, and
was only later adopted at Rome.
CHANTS, COLLECTS, AND PROSES.--The Introit and other chants or anthems for
Offertory and Communion underwent no change; nor did the Gradual and
Alleluia or the Tract. But to the "Alleluia" was added the Prose while
Tropes were sometimes added to the "Kyrie," "Gloria in Excelsis," and
Proses were originated, it is thought, in the ninth-tenth centuries, and
the name of their inventor is Notker, a monk of St. Gall. In any case, they
had a great success in Switzerland, Germany, France, and in most of the
Latin countries; it is sufficient to open certain MS. Missals of the
eleventh-fifteenth centuries to see how these Proses had increased and
multiplied. A Trope was a given liturgical text with additional notes and
words added to it. Naturally, the only parts sung suited this kind of
ornament very well. The "Kyrie," the "Benedicamus Domino," the Introits,
and other chants all received Tropes, or, to use the current expression,
were "stuffed" (farcis). As, for example, "Kyrie fons bonitatis, Pater
ingenite, a quo bona cuncta procedunt, eleison." Leon Gautier, who has made
a special study of these Tropes, is very severe in his judgment, and
compares them to mushrooms which threaten to stifle the liturgic text. It
is almost unnecessary to say that Rome never favored this kind of
composition; and that without condemning the Tropes or the Proses or the
Mysteries, she allowed France, Germany, and the other Western countries to
revel in this style of pastime, which gave great joy to the simple,
religious population, but nevertheless threatened to compromise the dignity
of the liturgy.
The Collect, too, underwent no change; and the greater number of those
recited to-day existed in the same form in the Sacramentary of St. Gregory,
or even in those of Gelasius and Leo (fifth-sixth centuries). For the
Credo, cf. Chap. VI.
THE OFFERTORY PRAYERS AND THE CENSING.--The prayers introduced since the
tenth-eleventh centuries were the following:
"Suscipe, Sancte Pater;
Offerimus Tibi, Domine;
Suscipe, Sancta Trinitas,
The use of the singular, the style of these prayers, and the intention of
explaining all the gestures which previously were made in silence, suffices
to class all these in the second zone of Eucharistic devotions. But this
does not mean that they are not often inspired with the breath of true
The Priest, when offering the Host upon the paten, addressed the Father,
begging that the Sacrifice might produce all its effects. The "Suscipe
Sancte Pater" is, however, an ancient prayer of the ninth century. The
prayer when mixing the wine and water, "Deus qui humanae substantiae," is
one of the most beautiful of the Leonine Sacramentary, and of very great
The chalice, like the Host, was offered with a special prayer, "Offerimus
Tibi," and again "In spiritu humilitatis." The terms of the "Veni
sanctificator" and its accompanying blessing have caused some to believe
that there was an "Epiclesis" here. But this is a mistake, and the prayer,
moreover, is of a period when little interest was taken in that question.
At Solemn Masses the censing of the oblations, the altar, the clergy, and
the faithful was accompanied by different prayers: "Per intercessionem,"
"Incensum istud," Dirigatur," "Domine," "Accendat in nobis." Censing under
this form is also of Gallican, or even Carlovingian, origin. As we have
seen, Rome in the seventh century was acquainted with the use of incense
burned in a "thymia-materium," but there was no censing, neither at the
Gospel, nor of the oblations or clergy. Mgr. Batiffol has outlined very
clearly the different stages in these customs (loc. cit., p. 153 seq.). The
invocation of St. Michael at this moment has given rise to a good deal of
discussion, and St. Gabriel, on whom this function more especially
devolved, was sometimes substituted for him. But St. Michael's name can be
justified here, for he was the Angel of the Sacrifice. The censing of the
Gospel is of the same period.
In all these prayers at the censing may be noted the care taken to
emphasize each act of the celebrant with prayer. The presence of the
Ablution, with Psalm xxv., "Lavabo," in this place can easily be explained
by the ancient ceremonies of the Offertory, as well as those of the
censing. It still remains, even in Low Masses, as if in memory of the past.
The "Suscipe Sancta Trinitas," which again is not in the Roman style, where
each prayer is always addressed to the Father by the Son in the Holy Ghost,
is yet ancient, and dates from the ninth century, though it had so many
variants that it sometimes appears like a prayer over the "Diptychs." Its
place, like its text, has varied. We may make the same remark about the age
and use of "Orate fratres" and of "Suscipiat." The "Dominus vobiscum,"
which should naturally precede the "Secret," as it does all prayers of this
kind, was suppressed on account of the use of "Orate fratres."
But if all these prayers have been added to the Offertory, it was, on the
other hand, simplified. The faithful no longer offered the bread and wine,
but the collection, which was made at this moment, and the custom (which
does not prevail in England) of giving blessed bread are memories of it. At
Solemn High Masses the Corporal, chalice, paten, and Host were prepared by
the Deacon. At Pontifical Masses the Prelate left his throne at this moment
and proceeded to the altar, which he kissed, then censed, and lastly
performed the different rites of the Offertory. At Low Masses the Priest
was charged with all this, and he said in a low voice the prayers just
enumerated. At Solemn Masses the custom of singing the verse of a Psalm
remained; this represents the ancient Offertory chant. The collection of
Offertories is an interesting one; for the Psalm has sometimes been
substituted a text taken from another part of Holy Scripture, as, for
example, the beautiful Offertories "Sanctificavit Moyses," "Vir erat in
terra Hus," "Recordare mei" (eighteenth, twenty-first, and twenty-second
Sundays after Pentecost), and "Domine Jesu Christe," from the Mass for the
THE SECRET.--This still remained the culminating point of the Offertory;
before this time it was the only prayer at the offering (cf. Chap. IV). But
it has followed the same law as that of the Collects, the number of which
corresponds to that of the Secrets. The greater part of the most ancient
Secrets were preserved, many being anterior to the ninth century. Happily
the same can be said of the other formulas of this kind, both Collect and
Post-communion; for the genius of composition was lost after the Golden Age
of the Roman liturgy, and Mgr. Batiffol gives an amusing example of the
errors into which modern composers sometimes fall (loc. cit p. 117). Many
similar examples could be found in other prayers of the same period.
THE PREFACE.--These, which were reduced to the number of ten in the
Gregorian Sacramentary (there are 267 in the Leonine, and even then the
Sacramentary was not complete!), suffered no change. It is said that the
Preface of the Blessed Virgin was added by Pope Urban II in 1095, to beg
the help of Our Lady for the First Crusade
THE CANON.--This again remained unchanged, as it had from the time of St.
THE COMMUNION.--This too was simplified, since the faithful no longer
brought with them the bread and wine; unleavened bread was used, often
under the form of a small Host; and Communion under the species of wine was
But certain prayers were added. In the first place the first three
"Domine, Jesu Christe, qui dixisti;
Domine . . . qui ex voluntate
Perceptio corporis tui."
These three were all prayers of private devotion, as the singular number
proves; they have slipped into the Missals since the eleventh century. The
first is a prayer for the Peace of the Church, inspired by the "Te igitur"
the third is a commentary on a thought which was very frequent in ancient
devotions: "Perceptio corporis tui non mihi proveniat in judicium." All
three are directly addressed to God the Son, as is often the case in the
Gallican and Mozarabic liturgies, while those of Roman origin are always
addressed to the Father by the Son. Other prayers of this kind can be found
in the Missals of the Middle Ages, but these were the most popular, and for
the sake of their ring of true devotion they deserved to pass into the
Roman Missal. The prayers which follow:
"Domine, non sum dignus;"
form a little collection of prayers from various sources, the greater
number of which are intended to emphasize and explain each phase of the
Communion of the Priest; the first and third for that under the species of
bread, the fourth and fifth for that under the species of wine, while the
seventh is for the Ablutions. Among these prayers the "Domine, non sum
dignus" is a well-known passage from the Gospel (St. Matt. viii. 8), the
"Quod ore" is a Roman Post-communion of the Leonine Sacramentary, and the
"Corpus tuum" a Gallican Post-communion.
The little ceremonial for the Communion of the faithful is also later than
St. Gregory's day, when Communion was given with no other words but "Corpus
Christi" and "Sanguis Christi," to which the communicant responded "Amen."
The ceremonial is doubtless that used when Communion was given outside
Mass, more especially to the sick. It is made up of duplicates, that is, of
prayers already used in Mass: the "Confiteor," "Ecce Agnus Dei," "Domine,
non sum dignus," "Corpus Domini nostri Jesu Christi custodiat animam tuam
in vitam aeternam, Amen."
The end of Mass was also enriched (if we may use the term) by the following
prayers: "Placeat Tibi;" "Benedicat vos," Last Gospel.
The "Placeat" recalls the "Suscipe," "Sancta Trinitas" of the Offertory,
but is of much less ancient date, and as was said when we spoke of the
latter prayer, its style betrays an origin which is not Roman. In the
ancient Roman formulary the singular number was never used, but the prayer
is found in the Missal of the Roman Curia ever since the eleventh century.
The "Ite, Missa est" is, on the contrary, a very ancient formula of
dismissal; we have found it in all the Latin liturgies, and, in one form or
another, in those of the East "Benedicamus Domino" took its place in
certain Masses which were followed by another Office; the faithful then
were not dismissed, but, rather, invited to remain in church. We have also
spoken of the last Blessing, and of the Gospel of St. John, which at first
was a private devotion but which was adopted by the Roman Missal.
In the period which followed, sixteenth-twentieth centuries, there are very
few additions to be noted: three Prefaces, and the prayers added by Leo
XIII at the end of Mass.
Among the most notable additions during the time with which this chapter is
occupied are the Masses on the Thursdays in Lent, under Gregory II (715-
731) In the time of St. Gregory I there was neither a Station nor a Mass
for these days. One of his successors (Gregory II) desired to fill in this
gap, and provided a Mass for all Lenten Thursdays. But the most superficial
study of them will show that the composition of these Masses does not at
all harmonize with the rest of the Lenten liturgy; and that the greater
part of the items of which they are made up were borrowed from other
If we wish to keep count of all the other additions brought to the Roman
deposit since the time of St. Gregory, the ceremonies introduced into the
Roman Missal of the ninth-sixteenth centuries must not be overlooked: the
blessing of candles on 2nd February; the blessing of palms; part of the
ceremonies of Holy Week, beginning with the "Exultet;" and the celebration
of Feasts like All Saints, "Corpus Christi," Trinity Sunday, the Immaculate
Conception. But all this is part of the general history of the Roman
liturgy, or Missal, and it is only attached very indirectly to our subject.
Before closing this chapter we must note the character of the changes
produced in the Mass during this period. These changes affect particularly
the beginning of Mass, the Offertory, Communion, and conclusion; the Canon
was respected. The additions mentioned are for the greater part prayers of
private devotion, formerly said by the Priest in the sacristy--in any case,
outside Mass. These, little by little, slipped into Low Masses, and thence
into the Missal. The Mass which up till the ninth century was a public
ceremony of which all the prayers are in the plural, became, through the
multiplication of Low Masses, very often a private devotion. This does not
mean that the Low Mass dates from the ninth century, we have, on the
contrary, examples of it in the fourth and even earlier centuries (cf.
Chap. XII). But the Roman Mass, as described from the seventh-ninth
centuries was the Mass celebrated by the Pope; the Bishops and clergy who
surrounded him "concelebrated" with him, and all the people united with
him. It was a solemn and public ceremony of the whole Christian community,
and, as if to insist on this unity, the "fermentum," or part of the Sacred
Species, was sent to those Priests of the "tituli," or Roman parishes, who,
for some reason or another, were unable to be present at that Mass. Yet
they participated in it by uniting their Consecration to that of the Pope.
Another characteristic to note in these additions is the tendency to
emphasize and explain a gesture by a formula. If it be true, as De Vert
says, that the formula calls forth the gesture, just as the sign of the
Cross is added to the word "Benedicere" to bring out its meaning, the
opposite was also true in the course of the late Middle Ages. In the place
where the gesture had been sufficient, as for the Fraction, the Communion,
the Kissing of the Altar, etc., formulas were added; here an "Aufer a
nobis," there the "Oramus Te," elsewhere the "Quod ore sumpsimus," etc.
If we did not know by other evidence that these additions were not of Roman
origin, we could guess it from the style of the prayers (singular instead
of plural); and from some other features, such as prayers addressed
directly to God the Son, to the Trinity, etc.
1. Cf. "Books of the Latin Liturgy" (Sands, 3s. 6d.), p. 31 seq.
2. Upon "Ordines Romani," cf. p. 43.
3. Cf. Dom Wilmart, "Expositio Missae" in DACL, and our "Introduction aux
Etudes Liturgiques" (Paris, 1907).
4. Thanks to a statement of this kind relative to the Communions for the
Thursdays in Lent, Dom Cagin has ingeniously drawn up a fresh argument in
favor of the authenticity of the Gregorian Sacramentary ("Un mot sur
l'antiphonate missarum," Solesmes, 1890. Author not named).
(For bibliography, cf. Chapter IV.)
THE RITES DERIVED FROM THE ROMAN MASS FROM NINTH-SIXTEENTH CENTURIES
The rite of Lyon.--The Carthusians.--Benedictine liturgy.--Cistercians,--
Carmelites.--Dominicans.--Franciscans.-- Praemonstratensians.--The Roman
liturgy in England.
If a special place has been given in these chapters to the Roman Mass, it
is not only because this liturgy is that of the whole Latin church with the
few exceptions mentioned; it is also because it is the most ancient of all,
or at least that about which exist the most ancient and numerous documents.
Again, it appears incontestable that the Roman liturgy excels all others in
its dogmatic authority, and even in its literary beauty.
If the Mozarabic, Gallican, and Eastern liturgies show a trace of lyrical
inspiration; if they are more dramatic in character, more fervent in piety
than that of Rome; if this latter has perhaps less originality and
brilliance, it makes up for it by the possession of qualities which are
those of the Roman genius; those which strike us in the architectural
monuments of Rome: solidity, grandeur, strength, and a simplicity which
excludes neither nobility nor elegance.
This remark is especially deserved by the ancient Roman liturgy of the
fifth-seventh centuries, for this was its Golden Age. Two hundred years
after the time of St. Gregory, in the ninth century, the scepter had passed
to other lands: to France, England, Switzerland, Germany, and Spain. It was
in those countries that liturgical initiative was found, that new Feasts
and fresh rites were created, new formulas composed, a more rational system
instituted for the distribution of liturgical books, as well as fresh
technical methods of decorating and illuminating them. In consequence of
political circumstances Rome was about to lose all she had gained as to the
liturgy; and it was not for two or three hundred years that she would
recover her scepter.
But by a rather curious stroke of fortune all the new customs originated in
the countries just mentioned came back to Rome. They returned there under
the covers of the Missal, the Pontifical, Ritual, Breviary, and those other
books called Roman, but which are really and more justly Gallicano or
Germano-Roman. And, from the eleventh century onwards, Rome got back all
her advantages. The reawakening of her liturgical activity was manifested
by the efforts of Pope Alexander II (1061-1073), and later by those of St.
Gregory VII (1073-1085) to establish the Roman liturgy in Spain instead of
the Mozarabic. This episode is instructive; the latter Pope in his letters
on this subject to the Kings of Aragon, Castile, and Navarre reminds them
energetically of the Papal right to the charge of Divine worship, and also
to that of establishing the Roman liturgy in all Catholic countries,
especially in Spain.
Another indication of the supremacy of the Roman liturgy is that it was
adopted by the new Orders, Carthusians, Praemonstratensians, Dominicans,
Franciscans, and even by the Carmelites, who had an ancient liturgy of
their own; and very soon all these Orders were to become active agents for
its spread through all the countries of the West; not, however, without
having occasionally modified it. In this great work the Franciscans played
the most important part.
The Roman Curia, which until then had celebrated the same Offices as those
of the Roman Basilicas, notably of that of the Lateran, which was the
cathedral church of Rome, and considered the mother and mistress of all
churches, separated itself from these at the beginning of the twelfth
century, and fixed its own Office for the Breviary. The substance of this
Breviary was actually that of the Lateran, but it differed on several
points, and, above all, it was very much abridged. The same thing happened
in the case of the Missal. The subsequent history of these books is rather
curious. Innocent III (1198-1206) revised them. In 1223 St. Francis of
Assisi ordained that the Franciscans should henceforth adopt the Roman
Office; for hitherto they had simply followed the Office of whatever
province they had chanced to find themselves in. This was a means of
establishing amongst the Friars Minor that liturgical unity which had
previously suffered a great deal. But the liturgy they adopted both for
Mass and Office was neither that of the Lateran nor of the Roman Basilicas,
but actually that of the Roman Curia, established at the beginning of the
twelfth century. This fact was big with consequences for the future. The
activity of the Franciscans at that time was prodigious; and in all the
countries through which they passed as missionaries they established this
use of the Missal and Breviary which they themselves followed; though they
slightly modified it, especially in the case of the Franciscan Feasts. In
1277 Nicolas III ordered it to be used by the Roman Basilicas; Gregory IX,
from the year 1240, had thought of imposing it on the Universal Church; but
that important duty devolved on St. Pius V (1566-1572). In the sixteenth
century the Council of Trent, having declared that the liturgical books
required revision, confided the task to the Pope, who undertook a work at
once difficult and complicated. In 1568 the correction of the Breviary was
completed; in 1570, that of the Missal. Every church which could not prove
a local use of at least two hundred years was obliged to adopt the Breviary
and the Roman Missal.
But long before this date, since the thirteenth, and even the eleventh
century, the Religious Orders, both new and old, had adopted a liturgy
directly derived from the Roman, especially for Mass.
This point deserves an explanation. We speak sometimes of the Dominican or
Franciscan liturgy, or again, that of Lyon, or of the Carmelites, as well
as of the English "Uses" of Sarum, Hereford, York, etc. But these terms are
rather misleading, for such liturgies are not autonomous, with clearly
defined characteristics, like those described in Chapters III-VIII. Not
only are they all derived from the Roman liturgy, but some of them are
purely and simply that liturgy just as it existed from the eleventh-
thirteenth centuries before it underwent certain reforms or suffered the
changes imposed upon it subsequently. The Orders and churches in question
did not accept these changes, so that the student to-day finds himself in
presence of a liturgy which is that of Rome between the eleventh and
thirteenth centuries, with a few insignificant exceptions. And as we are
about to see this is specially the case with regard to the Mass.
THE RITE OF LYON.--It is unnecessary to say that we reject the hypothesis
according to which this rite was brought from Asia by St. Pothinus and St.
Irenaeus. In studying the origins of the Gallican liturgy we have stated
that this "Johannic" thesis has no solid foundation. Nor can it be said
that this is the old Gallican liturgy, better preserved in this church than
in others. Like all the other Gallican churches, Lyon was obliged to accept
the reforms of Pepin and Charlemagne, and to adopt the Roman liturgy, with
the addition of certain ancient local uses. But to-day it is generally
agreed that the part played by Gallican influence in the rite of Lyon may
be increasingly reduced, as indeed is the case with all the other Franco-
Gallican rites from the tenth century onwards.
History tells us that towards 789 Charlemagne caused Leidrade, one of his
"Missi Dominici," to be elected Archbishop of Lyon; and that he charged him
to reorganize public worship on the lines of the customs of the Palatine
chapel at Aix-la-Chapelle. The cause of the difference which still exists,
on a few points, between the rite of Lyon and those of some other churches,
is that the ecclesiastics of Lyon jealously preserved the liturgy given
them by Leidrade, without accepting the changes and reforms adopted in the
course of the centuries by the Roman Curia. It was not till the eighteenth
century that De Montazet, Archbishop of Lyon (1758-1788), unfortunately
replaced the venerable liturgy of his church by a neo-Gallican one.
Therefore in the nineteenth century Lyon, like all the other churches which
had adopted these liturgies, had to come back to that of Rome, though she
succeeded in saving some of her ancient usages. Thus she has more numerous
Proses: to the fifteen Prefaces of the Roman Mass Lyon adds eight. The
prayers at the beginning of Mass, the "Suscipe Sancta Trinitas" and some
others, present a slightly different text; the "Libera nos" after the
"Pater" is sung at High Mass, as on Good Friday, while after this prayer a
blessing is given, as in the old Gallican rite; the beautiful chant of the
Fraction "Venite, populi" has been preserved; Pontifical Mass is celebrated
with especial solemnity, etc.
THE CARTHUSIANS.--It is a rather curious fact in liturgical history that
the Carthusians have preserved the ancient rite more faithfully than the
Lyonnais themselves. The liturgical revolution mentioned as having taken
place in the eighteenth century was not felt by the Carthusians. This
Order, founded in 1084 by St. Bruno, in the mountains of the Chartreuse,
had taken the liturgical uses of Grenoble, Vienne, but specially those of
Lyon. Its founder, who at first had followed the Rule of St. Benedict, kept
some of its practices. These different usages were codified at various
periods in the Constitutions which have been preserved, and of which the
most complete are the "Statuta Antiqua." The prayer "Pone, Domine,
custodiam ori meo," and another, "De latere Domini," recited at Mass, are
derived from the rite of Lyon. On certain Feasts three Lessons at the Pre-
Mass have been retained. The wine is poured into the chalice at the
beginning of Mass, as in the Dominican rite. The oblations of bread and
wine (after they have been offered) are covered with the Corporal, as was
the custom before the use of the "Palla" had been introduced. "Domine, Jesu
Christe" is the only one of the three prayers said before the Communion;
those present in choir remain standing during both Consecration and
Communion; the Mass terminates with "Ite, Missa est." Before the fourteenth
century the Mass of the Dead had a different text from the "Requiem." Some
Benedictine uses have been preserved in the Breviary; while others seem to
have been derived from the rite of Lyon. For a long time the Carthusian
calendar remained the same as the old Roman one; it was only after a very
long period that Feasts instituted after the thirteenth century were
admitted, and then not without difficulty. In the sixteenth century some
reforms were brought about, either as to the correction of the ancient
books, or as to bringing them into line with the new rules.
BENEDICTINE LITURGY--On the whole it may be said that the Benedictines have
always followed the Roman practice for the Mass. Instituted in the first
part of the sixth century, it appears probable that they first followed the
Gelasian Sacramentary, adopting the Gregorian in the next generation; this
latter being the work of St. Gregory, who was himself a disciple of St.
But for the daily Office it is quite a different matter. St. Benedict,
while doubtless borrowing a certain number of customs from the Roman Office
then in use, organized the Psalter and the Day and Night Hours according to
a particular plan which has been followed by the Benedictine Order
throughout the centuries, till the present day. Liturgiologists are still
discussing what has been the respective influence of one use upon another;
but this question cannot be entered into here.
CISTERCIANS.--As is well known, the Cistercians are a reform of the
Benedictine Order. Their founder, St. Robert of Molesmes, wished to return
to the primitive observance of the Rule in 1098. To this end he rejected
all constitutions or additions made since the sixth century. His principle
was the same for the liturgy: to bring back the Office as St. Benedict had
instituted it. This principle was a good one, but difficult in application,
for it was not exactly known in what the "cursus" of St. Benedict's time
consisted. Therefore from the beginning there was a good deal of
uncertainty. Then scandal was caused by certain suppressions, and in the
twelfth and thirteenth centuries they came back to their first attempts as
far as the Office was concerned.
As to the Mass, it has been said that the Benedictine Order followed the
use of Rome from the beginning. But the Cluniac monks had accepted
modifications made since the ninth century, and had introduced a very great
solemnity into both Mass and Office. The Cistercian reform consisted in the
suppression of all which seemed superfluous, and as concerned the sacred
vases and ornaments, in the return to the greatest simplicity. Thus it was
not till quite late, at the beginning of the eighteenth century, that the
different liturgical colors were admitted. A certain number of Feasts was
also suppressed in the calendar. In the seventeenth century the General
Chapters ordered a general revision of the liturgical books, and more
ancient rites were abandoned.
CARMELITES.--This rite presents a special case. It is that of the church of
the Holy Sepulcher at Jerusalem, which was imposed on the Carmelites about
1210 by St. Albert, Patriarch of Jerusalem, and which they kept for a long
time. It is nothing but a Gallicano-Roman use, brought to Jerusalem by the
Crusaders. The Office gave a particular place to all which could recall the
Holy Land, such as the Mystery of the Resurrection, or devotion to Our
Lady, and had besides several other special customs. In the course of ages
the Carmelite liturgy underwent various modifications. The Ordinal of
Master Sibert de Beka (d. 1332), which has been most carefully published,
preserves all the ancient uses conformably to the rite of the Holy
Sepulcher. It is in this document that the Carmelite liturgy should be
DOMINICANS.--This Order had no special liturgy at its beginning, but
adopted that of the provinces through which the Friars first spread. To
prevent the inconvenience of this variety the Order sought, from the year
1245, to establish liturgical unity. To this end efforts were made in 1244,
1246, and 1251. Finally Humbert de Romans, the Master-General (1254-1263),
was charged with this revision. He accomplished an enormous work; and in
fourteen volumes published the Lectionary, Antiphonary, Psalter, book of
Collects, Martyrology, Processional, Gradual, a Missal for the high altar
and one for the other altars in the church, a Breviary for the Choir and a
portable Breviary, a book of the Epistles and another of the Gospels. When
in 1568 and 1570 St. Pius V imposed the corrected Missal and Breviary on
the whole Church, the Dominicans were allowed to retain their own use,
which dated back more than 200 years.
This liturgy is not, as has been thought, a Gallican, and more
specifically, a Parisian liturgy. It is simply Roman, dating from the
thirteenth century, and has not evolved as the actual Roman liturgy has
done; thus retaining all the ancient customs elsewhere fallen into disuse.
Thus a thesis which at first sight appears paradoxical has been advanced,
to the effect that the Dominican liturgy is more Roman than that of Rome
herself. This, however, is the case with the greater number of these rites,
which did not accept the transformations of the Roman liturgy.
FRANCISCANS.--It has been already explained how the Franciscans adopted the
liturgy which was that of the Roman Curia at the opening of the thirteenth
century. To this they added certain special uses, beginning with the Feasts
of the Saints of their Order: St. Francis first; then St. Clare; St.
Anthony of Padua; St. Louis, King of France; the Stigmata of St. Francis;
St. Elizabeth of Hungary; St. Paschal Baylon; St. Bonaventure. Some of the
Feasts of Our Lord and of Our Lady owe, if not their actual institution, at
least their speedy popularity to the Franciscans. Such are the Holy Name of
Jesus, the Immaculate Conception, the Visitation, and the Presentation.
Each Religious Order, each diocese has its own Feasts, its own Patrons,
which they celebrate with great solemnity; they are the "Proper," as it is
called, of the diocese or Order.
What should be particularly noted about the Franciscans is that, having
adopted the liturgy of the Roman Curia, they made a "second edition of it,"
as Mgr. Batiffol remarks; and this was almost the same as that imposed upon
the whole Church for Breviary and Missal by St. Pius V.
PRAEMONSTRATENSIANS.--The Order of St. Norbert, being an Order of Canons,
was bound to give special attention to the liturgy. Its Founder adopted
that of Rome, just as it was practiced in France at the beginning of the
twelfth century, at Premontre, in the diocese of Laon. Until the eighteenth
century they kept it piously; and their books are mentioned as being one of
the purest sources of the Roman liturgy of the twelfth century. Thanks to
this antiquity they too benefited by the exception made by St. Pius V in
1570 in favor of ancient customs. Unfortunately, in the eighteenth century
the French Praemonstratensians succumbed to the general temptation, and
modified their books in the neo-Gallican sense. In other countries,
however, the ancient books were preserved.
THE ROMAN LITURGY IN ENGLAND.--Celtic rites had dominated in England until
the arrival of St. Augustine of Canterbury (596). But with the Roman monks
the Roman liturgy was established without difficulty wherever Christianity
was firmly settled in the land; and the Anglo-Saxons followed it
faithfully. Their Bishops and Abbots made frequent journeys to Rome, either
to procure the necessary singing-books and those of liturgical interest, or
to study the rites more closely. The Norman Conquest of 1066 changed
nothing in this regard, for, like all the other French provinces, Normandy
had long been conquered by the Roman liturgy. Thus the various rites called
the Use of Sarum (Salisbury), York, Bangor, Hereford, and other places,
are, like those of the different Orders we have just been studying, only
the Roman liturgy previous to the fourteenth century, with a few rare local
customs added to it.
"Liturgia, Encyclopedie populaire des connaissances liturgiques" (paris,
1930),contains a chapter on the different Western liturgies and on those of
the Carthusians, Carmelites, and other Religious Orders.
DACL, cf. the articles "Carmes," "Chartreux," "Cisterciens," and also
"Bretagne (Grande)," "La liturgie de la."
ARCH, A.King, "Notes on the Catholic liturgy" (London, 1930), on the Roman
and various Eastern and Western rites.
Our articles "Missel" and "Missel romain" in DACL.
THE MASS, FROM THE SIXTEENTH TO THE TWENTIETH CENTURY: WHAT IT IS TODAY--
There is no lack of witnesses for this period. Here, as elsewhere, the
invention of printing brought about a revolution. Not that the second state
of things destroyed the first, but it must be remembered that up till then
the Missal and all other liturgical books had been copied by hand. Each
copy was private property; and thus very often underwent some modification
in the course of time. However, these liturgical MSS. were the models
copied by the first printers, who drew inspiration from the calligraphy of
the copyists and religiously respected their text, especially during that
first period from the middle of the fifteenth up to the sixteenth century.
The original printed books are imitations of these MSS.; their very
characters singularly resemble that Gothic writing then generally in use.
The earliest printed copies, up to 1600, are "incunabula;" and the most
precious amongst these precious books are the liturgical volumes, Psalters,
Missals, Breviaries, etc.
But these first printed books usually reproduced the text of the MS.
exactly as it was written; no attempt being made to correct it. The
multiplication of copies of the Missal, for example, brought out very
clearly the differences and variations of its text according to the
province in which it was used. This point was noted at the Council of
Trent, and it was resolved to reduce all these texts to one. The Fathers
began with the Breviary and the Missal; and to Pius IV was confided the
task of correction and unification. But this great work was not finished
until the days of St. Pius V, who in the Bull "Quo primum" of 29th July
1570 announced a Missal with an invariable text. Clement VIII and Urban
VIII caused new editions to be made; but the only changes were the addition
of some new Feasts and the modification of a few rubrics.
This Missal of 1570 itself reproduced without much alteration one more
ancient, the first precious original Missal of 1474. This in its turn
conforms to a great extent with an MS. text of about 1200, which was
perhaps written or inspired by Innocent III himself. The text, "Incipit
ordo Missalis secundum consuetudinem Romane Curie," is itself a revelation.
The title of the existing Missal is, simply, "Missale Romanum." That of the
"Curia Romana" was the book used by the Court of Rome from the twelfth-
fourteenth centuries; it differed on several points from the Roman Missal
used in the Roman churches, notably at St. Peter's and the Lateran. The
same may be said of the Breviary used by the Curia, also slightly different
from that of the Roman churches. The Missal and Breviary of the Roman Curia
were adopted by certain Religious Orders, especially the Franciscans, as
was stated in a previous chapter; and these Friars were the chief factor in
their diffusion throughout Christendom.
We may therefore consider the text of the Roman Missal, especially as
regards the Ordinary of the Mass, as fixed from the end of the sixteenth
century: if a precise date and official example be asked, by the Missal of
St. Pius V in 1570. Thus it seems opportune at this point to give a
chronological table of the Mass in which can be seen, at least in some
degree, the different states in which it existed from the fifth-twentieth
centuries, distinguishing the different epochs as far as possible.
5th-9th CENTURIES 9th-13th CENTURIES 13TH-20TH CENTURIES
Station (7th cent. Prayer of prepara-
says Mgr.Duchesne. tion.
5th-6th, Dom Morin "ApologiAe sacerdo"
and others. Ps. xlii. or others.
Greeting of the "Aufer a nobis"
officiating Priest. (Leonine, 5th cent.).
Pax vobis, or Dom-
Kissing of altar.
Oramus te (11th
Censing of altar.
Kyrie Eleison and Tropes of "Kyrie"
Litanies (5th-6th (1Oth, 11th cent.).
"Gloria in excelsis Tropes (10th--11th
Pax vobis, Oremus Many collects from
Collect.(One only.) 11th cent. onwards.
orial Psalm, 5th
Alleluia(5th cent). Proses: "Victimae
Tract. (11th cent.).
Sancte (11th cent.).
Proses: Dies irae
Proses: "Lauda Sion
Proses: "Stabat Only inserted in
(14th cent.). 18th cent.
Gospel "Munda Cor meum"
"Dominus sit "Sequentia sancti ev. "Per evangelica
in corde tuo. (9th cent.) (in Gaul). dicta," after 1570
(in MSS. of 12th and
"Gloria tibi Dne:
Dominus vobiscum (13th)
Censing of Book (cent.)
"Credo" (about 1012-
1024, at Rome), but
from 7th cent. else-
Diaconal litanies, Suppressed.
dismissal of cate-
Collect "super Suppressed.
Prayer of the Suppressed.
Kiss of Peace? Suppressed.
Offering (leavened Unleavened.
bread and wine).
Water mixed with Offering of money
wine (2nd-3rd (10th cent.).
Kissing of altar
Censing of obla-
tions (11th cent.).
cent.). "Per intercessionem
Lavabo (11th cent.).
Secret Prayer. "Suscipe" "Sancte
"Deus qui humanae
(in Stowe, 7th-8th
"Per interc."* *Not of Roman origin.
"Trinitas" (9th cent.).*
Suscipiat (11th "Orate pro me fra-
cent.).* tres" (1474).
"Dominus vobiscum." Preface of the
"Sursum corda," etc. Blessed Virgin.
Addition of Pre-
Sanctus(? 5th cent). faces in 20th cent.
venit (? 5th cent.).
"Te igitur." Memen-
to of Living. "Com-
municantes.2 (5th-6th cent.)
"Hanc igitur obla-
tionem." (5th-6th cent.)
tionem." (5th-6th cent.)
Additions by St.
Leo and St. Gregory.
"Qui pridie" Elevation of the
Host, about 1200.
Elevation of the
chalice (14th cent.).
"Unde et memores."*
"Supplices.* *4th-5th cent.
Memento of the
later than preced-
ing prayers, at
least, in this place.
"Per quem haec Signs of the Cross
omnia at this moment
(? 10th cent.).
Fraction (5th, 6th
Prologue of "Pater"
Embolism of "Pater".
Fraction, Commix- "Haec Commixtio."
tion. Kiss of Peace.
"Agnus Dei (687- Reduced to three
701.). invocations with "dona
"Perceptio."* *Numerous variations.
thems (6th, 7th cent.).
"Domine non sum
Collect, or "Ad com
plendum, or Com-
(Quod ore). Leon-
"Corpus tuum." Purification with
wine and water (14th
"Agnus Dei." For the Commun-
"Domine non sum ion of the faithful
dignus." (13th cent.).
both kinds till the
13th century and
Prayer, "Super po-
pulum" (?6th, 7th
"Ite, Missa est(6th- Kissing of the
8th cent.). altar, 1570.
Bishop's blessing "Benedicat vos., after Mass.
Last Gospel, 1570.
Prayers at end of
Mass. (Leo XIII).
The foregoing table presents a synchronism of the Roman Mass as it was
about the fifth-ninth centuries, with the additions received until the
twentieth century. We shall now show the existing Mass with its divisions;
a table which will make it easy to understand the whole, as well as the
dependence of the different parts.
PRE-MASS, OR MASS OF THE CATECHUMENS
A. Introduction, or Prelude.
Preparation in the sacristy.
Prayers at the foot of the altar, sign of the Cross, Psalm xlii.
"Confiteor," versicles, and prayers at the altar. (Censing of altar at
B. Chants, Prayers, Lessons.
Introit, "Kyrie," "Gloria in excelsis."
Reading of the Epistle.
Gradual. "Alleluia" (Tract or Prose).
MASS OF THE FAITHFUL OR EUCHARISTIC SACRIFICE
C. Offertory and Offertory Prayers.
Offertory chant. Secret. Preface.
Prayers of the Canon, Consecration, Prayers of Canon continued, and final
"Pater," Fraction, Immixtion.
Communion Prayers, "Agnus Dei," singing of Communion, Post-communion.
F. Close of Mass.
Prayers after the Mass.
Thanksgiving in sacristy.
Lastly, as the fitting conclusion of this exposition, we shall give a few
explanations as to some of the more recent portions of the Mass from the
sixteenth-twentieth centuries, the other necessary explanations being found
in the various chapters of this book.
PREPARATION FOR MASS
Except in the case of Pontifical Masses, when the Prelate recites these
prayers on his throne, reading them from a special liturgical book, the
Canon of Bishops and Prelates, the "Preparatio ad Missam" takes place to-
day in the sacristy. St. Pius V gave a place to these prayers in his
Missal, and the words which follow the title, "Pro opportunitate sacerdotis
facienda," indicate that they are not of obligation, but are left to
private devotion. This preparation is fairly ancient; it is found, with
variations, in MS. Missals from the eleventh century onwards. The devotions
chosen by St. Pius V consist of Psalms lxxxiii., lxxxiv., lxxxv., cxv., and
cxxix., followed by the "Kyrie," "Pater," some versicles, and seven
prayers. This form of prayer conforms to the use of the ancient Roman or
monastic psalmody. It is almost the same as that primitively adopted for
the Little Hours. A long prayer follows, divided according to the days of
the week; and then two others, one of which is attributed to St. Thomas.
The prayer "Summe sacerdos" held an important place in the history of
private devotion in the Middle Ages; it was called the "Prayer of St.
Ambrose," but has been claimed as the work of Jean de Fecamp (twelfth
PREPARATION OF THE CHALICE.--For Low Masses it is usually the Priest
himself who prepares in the sacristy the chalice, Corporal, paten, Host,
and the veil of the chalice; and who carries them to the altar at the
beginning of Mass. At Solemn and Pontifical High Mass it is the Deacon who
spreads the Corporal on the altar, and places the chalice and Host upon it,
as we have seen was the custom in the seventh century (cf. p. 60).
In the Eastern and Gallican rites this preparation is made at the altar or
credence at the beginning of Mass. It is also the custom of the Dominicans
and other Orders.
ORDINARY OF THE MASS
The "Ordo Missae" is to-day united to the Prefaces and Canon: the whole,
for the convenience of the Priest, being placed towards the middle of the
Missal between Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday instead of at the beginning.
This "Ordinary of the Mass" is, taken as a whole, the same as that of the
seventh century, as it has been described in Chapter IV, with the
exceptions of the additions which have been pointed out as made between the
PRAYERS AT THE FOOT OF THE ALTAR.--Psalm xlii., "Confiteor," versicles,
"Aufer a nobis," "Oramus te," and censing(cf. p. 172).
CHANTS, PRAYERS, AND LESSONS:
Introit (cf. Chap. IV).
"Kyrie" (Chap. IV).
"Gloria in excelsis" (Chap. IV).
Collect (Chap. IV).
Lessons (Epistle and other Lessons) (Chap. IV).
Gradual (Chap. IV).
"Alleluia" (Chap. IV).
Tract (Chap. IV)
Proses (Chap. IX).
Gospel (Chap. IV).
Credo (Chap. VI).
OFFERTORY (Chap. IV)
PREFACE (Chap. IV). All the Prefaces and special "Communicantes" are given
at this place in the Ordinary of the Mass.
CANON OF THE MASS:
"Te igitur" (Chap. IV).
Memento (Chap. IV)
"Communicantes" and other prayers (Chap. IV).
Consecration (Chap. IV).
"Anamnesis" and other prayers (Chap. IV).
Memento of the Dead (Chap. IV).
"Nobis quoque" up to doxology (Chap. IV).
"Pater" (Chap. IV).
Fraction, Commixtion (Chap. IV).
"Agnus Dei" and Kiss of Peace (Chap. IV).
Communion of the Priest and the faithful (Chap. IV).
CLOSE OF MASS.--Dismissal. "Placeat tibi." Blessing. Last Gospel. Prayers
When withdrawing, the Priest repeats the canticle "Benedicite."
THANKSGIVING IN THE SACRISTY
The Thanksgiving which in the Missal follows the Preparation is also said
in the sacristy. Like the latter it is contained in the "Canon of the
Prelate," and at Pontifical Masses is said at the throne. It is composed of
the canticle "Benedicite," of Psalm cl., and of three prayers. There
follow, at choice, a prayer of St. Thomas, another of St. Bonaventure, and
the "Adoro Te." (As to this last, cf. Dumoutet, "Revue Apolog.," 1931, p.
NOTE ON THE NEO-GALLICAN LITURGIES
The Gallican liturgy spoken of in Chapter II, which was as orthodox as the
Mozarabic liturgy, must not be confused with the neo-Gallican rites, which
are on the contrary a "liturgical deviation." It has been said how the
Roman had taken the place of the Gallican liturgy in the times of Pepin and
Charlemagne. Ancient Gallican customs, however, remained, and the Roman
books, Missal, Breviary, Pontifical, and Ritual underwent a certain number
of modifications in Gaul from the ninth-fifteenth centuries. But in
substance the Roman liturgy was preserved, and Rome, far from protesting
against these new uses, accepted a great many of them, as we have also
In the sixteenth century the Council of Trent, greatly concerned to note
the liturgical differences, and even errors, which had slipped into certain
Missals and Breviaries, entrusted to the Popes the care of a general
revision of these books. The names of St. Pius V Gregory XIII, Clement
VIII, Paul V, and Urban VIII are attached to this reform. The Bull "Quod a
nobis" (1568) imposed the corrected Breviary on all churches which could
not claim a use of at least two hundred years; the Bull "Quo primum" (1570)
imposed the Missal on the whole Church under the same conditions. The other
liturgical books, Ritual, Pontifical, Ceremonial, Martyrology, were also
corrected during the following years. France gladly accepted these
directions, and took part in the reawakening of liturgical studies. It was
only later, in the last third of the seventeenth century that the movement,
justly called "the liturgical deviation," began to take shape.
Certain Bishops, inspired by their Jansenist or Gallican sentiments,
desired to reform the Missal, Breviary, and other liturgical books contrary
to the law obtaining at that time. The Ritual of Alet, the Breviary of
Vienne the Missal and Breviary of Paris and of other dioceses were remade,
and, unfortunately, in more than one case, Jansenist or Gallican errors
slipped into these books. Another disadvantage was the introduction of
notable differences in the liturgy in different dioceses, and at the time
of the French Revolution the confusion was at its worst. It was Dom
Gueranger, Abbot of Solesmes, who in 1830 began the war against these
liturgies, and who showed that, without speaking of the errors they
contained, they were all illegitimate from birth. This struggle was crowned
with success, and little by little the different dioceses came back to the
Roman liturgy The Bull "Inter multiplices," published in 1853 by Pius IX,
may be considered as the last act in this history.
1 This famous "editio princeps" has been recently reprinted by the Henry
Bradshaw Society (London, 1899-1907).
2. On the silence of the Canon and the signs of the Cross, cf. Excursus,
2. "Communicantes" under Symmachus, "Memento" in 416.
3. Changes introduced by St. Gregory, cf. Chap. IV.
4. All these prayers are of Gallican origin and present variations.
5. Dom A. Wilmart, "L'Oratio S. Ambrosii du Missel romain, R. bened.,"
XXXIX, 1927, P. 317 seq. See also DACL, "Apologies."
On the original (first edition) Missals, BOHATTA-WEALE, "Bibliographica
liturgica. Catalogus missalium ritus latini ab A. 1474 impressorum,
Londini" (Quaritch, 1928). Cf. also "Books of the Latin Liturgy," in which
(p. 151) we give a notice of other works on the ancient Missals. Cf. also
p. 156, and the works of DELISLE, EBNER, LEROQUAIS, and others mentioned in
On the Neo-Gallican liturgies, besides the great work of Dom Gueranger,
"Les institutions liturgiques," ed. I, Vol. II, cf. "Liturgia," p. 872,
where other works on this subject are mentioned. The Abbe Bremond takes up
this question in his volume "Prieres de l'ancien regime," and, with his
well-known talent, gives it new life. What must be regretted is that the
reform was effected with so little intelligence in too many dioceses. Many
of the Proses and ancient rites might have been allowed to survive, even by
the desire of Rome. But for lack of competence, all the old rites and
prayers were swept away, even those which could claim an antiquity of many
centuries. Thanks to the use of Propers granted to the dioceses a part of
this destruction may perhaps be repaired.
I. THE DIFFERENT NAMES OF THE MASS AND THE WORD "Missa" IN PARTICULAR.--II.
THE CHANTS OF THE MASS: Parts sung by the Cantors, schola, or people; parts
sung or recited aloud by the Priest, and those recited in a low voice. The
Gregorian chant.--III. ATTITUDE OF THE FAITHFUL AND LITURGICAL GESTURES
DURING MASS.--IV. THE BOOKS OF THE MASS.--V DIFFERENT SORTS OF MASSES.
I. THE DIFFERENT NAMES OF THE MASS AND THE WORD "Missa" IN PARTICULAR
THE word "Missa" has given rise to numerous dissertations mentioned in the
Bibliography, and to long philological discussions. The reason for this is
that the term was evolved before it was used to design the Mass. It would
seem that the following are the chief stages through which it has passed.
One of the clearest texts is that of St. Avitus, Bishop of Vienne (d. 518).
Gondebaud asks him the meaning of the word "Missa," he replies that "Missam
facere" means "dimittere," or dismiss, and that the expression was used by
Romans in audiences at the palace and in sessions of the tribunal to denote
that the sitting was over. The phrase was even used by them to denote
end of their sacrifices and religious offices.
The custom of giving a signal to show that an Office is ended is natural
enough, and indeed necessary in a numerous assembly. The Christians no
doubt accepted it, and Tertullian already speaks of a "Dismissio
St. Ambrose also uses the term "Missa" in this sense (Eph. xx. 4); and I
know not why it should be contested, for it appears quite clear (cf. Lejay,
article mentioned in Bibliography). St. Augustine uses the word "Missa" in
the sense of "Missio," "Dismissio" (dismissal), at the close of the Office.
From this Mgr. Batiffol justly concludes that the "Ite, Missa est," which
has the same meaning, dates from the same period. The same sense is given
to the expression in the "Peregrinatio Etheriae," in the Rule of Aurelian,
in Cassian, in St. Benedict. It is the end, not only of the Mass but of
every Office. For already in the latter writers, especially in Cassian, the
word has taken on this extended meaning and designs every Office, "Missa
Canonica," a canonical Office, and "Secunda Missa," the evening Office.
In the sixth century we have texts in which "Missa" means Mass. Thus in
Antoninus of Placentia, about 575 --"Missas faciebant"--they said Mass. The
same meaning is given in contemporary authors of that age, Gregory of
Tours, St. Gregory the Great, and Caesarius of Arles.
But why "Missa" instead of "Missio"? It is not a past participle of
"mittere," for it cannot be explained in that sense. "Missa" has been made
out of "Missio," just as "Collecta" has been made out of "Collectio;" there
are many examples of this practice, especially in the liturgy. "Missa" is
thus simply a popular expression which, taking the part for the whole, has
ended by designating the Eucharistic Sacrifice. Some authors, finding this
etymology rather below the dignity of this function, have sought a higher
origin and meaning in a Hebrew word which signifies Mission or Message. It
is the message of earth to Heaven; of man to God. This is the meaning which
Amalarius gives it in the ninth century. But we are not in the realm of
In the terminology of the Gallican and Mozarabic liturgies in the seventh
century, "Missa" also means a prayer. The "Praefatio Missae" is the prelude
of a prayer. The second Council of Milevia had already said: "Missae, vel
orationes Missae." "Missa secreta"=words of Consecration.
For those whom this meaning of "Missa" does not satisfy there is no lack of
synonyms with a much loftier signification.
"Eucharistia" or "Eulogia."--These two terms, the first of which means
thanksgiving, the second, blessing, were once of equal value, and were used
indifferently to design the Eucharist. Thus, in the synoptic Gospels, Jesus
"blessed the bread" and gave thanks." This, of all blessings the most
efficacious, was doubtless made by the laying on of hands, or, if we like
to follow certain other interpreters, by a sign of the Cross, which
prophetically signified the Bloody Sacrifice of the following day. This is
one of the essential elements of the Consecration: the Priest at Mass
blesses and consecrates the bread and wine by a sign of the Cross.
But the term "Eulogy," blessing, early fell into disuse, and merely meant
the bread or other objects blessed at Mass at the same time as the bread
and wine. The other term, "Eucharist," has lived longer. In the Gospel the
"Gratias agens," giving thanks, is heavy with meaning. Every time He
blessed bread (as in the multiplication of the loaves) Our Lord gave
thanks. The prayer over the bread before taking a meal is a traditional
Jewish custom. This people had felt the necessity of thanking God for His
benefits more strongly than any other ancient race. In the books of the Old
Testament, especially in the Psalms, this duty of gratitude to God is
expressed. The first duty of the creature is to thank God who has given to
the earth wheat and the vine, fruits, and all things which contribute to
the nourishment of mankind. But the blessing of blessings henceforth is the
very bread and wine which Jesus Christ has transformed by His blessing into
His Body and Blood. The most ancient "anaphora," especially that of the
"Apostolic Constitutions," reminds us that the Eucharist is the great
Sacrifice, and the most efficacious means in man's possession to "render
thanks to God."
The "Supper" ("Coena," repast, supper), and more especially the Last
Supper, is a term which we need hardly explain. It was at this Last Supper,
taken with His Apostles on the evening of Holy Thursday, that Our Lord
instituted the Eucharist (cf. Chap. I). But since the sixteenth century,
as Protestants have used the words "Last Supper" in a narrow sense,
excluding all relation with the Sacrifice of the Cross, they have almost
dropped out of Catholic language. However, the Church has retained a lively
remembrance of the Last Supper, and during Holy Week, Holy Thursday, the
anniversary of this great event, is marked in the liturgical year by
exceptional solemnity. The prayers of the Canon, "Communicantes," "Hanc
igitur," recall the "Diem sacratissimum quo Dominus noster Jesus Christus
pro nobis est traditus," the "Diem in qua Dominus noster Jesus Christus
tradidit discipulis suis Corporis et Sanguinis sui mysteria celebranda."
The "Qui pridie" itself contains this curious variant: "Qui pridie quam pro
nostra omniumque salute pateretur, hoc est hodie, accepit panem," etc. The
Priest consecrates two Hosts, one of which is reserved for the next day's
Mass; this is carried processionally into a chapel, where It is exposed for
the adoration of the faithful during the day and all that night, and on
Good Friday, the day following, is brought back to the high altar with the
same ceremonies, and is consumed at the Mass of the Presanctified. This is
the only day in the whole year on which this Mass is celebrated in the
The term "Sacrifice," "Holy Sacrifice," is also used; the Mass being for
Christians the only Sacrifice, as we have explained (Chap. IV). It is that
which has replaced all others; where Jesus Christ, Priest and Victim,
renews the Sacrifice of the Cross, and offers Himself to God the Father for
the salvation of all.
The Mass is also often called "The Sacrament," or "Sacraments," especially
by the Fathers and in the liturgy, because it is at the same time Sacrifice
and Sacrament, the chief of all, since it is the Sacrament of the Body and
Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, source of all Sacraments. We often find in
prayers the words: "Sacramenta quae sumpsimus," or analogous expressions.
The Oblation, Offering ("Offerre"), is also a very ancient term used at
Rome, in Africa, and elsewhere, the Mass being the greatest of all
Offerings, the Sacrifice of sacrifices. The Church offers it by her
Pontiff; and we have seen with what insistence she urges the faithful to
unite their offering with that of the Priest.
The words "Fractio Panis" have been explained in another place (cf. Chap.
"Liturgy."--In the East this word is used specially to design the service
of the Mass. Primitively it had a much more extended sense; it was a
general public function, more especially a religious service. In Christian
language it designates all religious services, though in the East it is
confined to the Mass.
Other terms are less popular, yet they express some aspect of the
Eucharist. Mgr. Batiffol explains very well the meaning of the word
"Dominicum" ("convivium"), used in Africa, and even at Rome, in the time of
St. Cyprian. St. Paul had already spoken of the "dominica coena," or
"mensa Domini" (I Cor. xi. 20; X. 21). ("Kuriakon deipnon trapeze kuriou")
It is a table, reminding us of the Last Supper wherein Christ instituted
the Eucharist; it is a banquet in which all those present are called upon
to take part. This characteristic of the Eucharist has perhaps become
slightly effaced in the course of time but in ancient days it was a living
memory; and the frescoes in the catacombs recall it.
1. "Ep.i.;" "Ad Gond.," c. I.
2. "De anima," c. 9. The text of Pope Pius I (142-57) does not seem to be
3. These texts will be found in Kellner and in the other authors cited.
4. Mansi, IV, 330. A good collection and explanation of these terms will be
found in Thibaut, "Liturgie Gallicane," PP. 49-51; "Liturgie Romaine," PP.
50, 51, 88, 99, 122 seq.
5. Cf. "Eucharistie, Eulogie," in DACL.
6. Fr. Thurston, S.J., justly remarks that the altar and tabernacle in
which this Host reposes is wrongly called sepulcher. There is a confusion
here, the sepulcher being really a tomb in which a third consecrated Host
was also laid on Holy Thursday. This was brought back in procession on
Easter Day to figure the Resurrection. This Mystery was represented in many
churches in the Middle Ages.--Lent and Holy Week, p. 299 (London, 1904).
7. op cit., p. 171 seq.
0. ROTTMANNER, "Ueber neuere und altere Deutungen des Wortes Missa," in
"Theol. quartalsch." (Tubingen, 1889, PP. 531-557).
H. KELLNER, "L'Annee ecclesiastique" (tr. J. Bund), Paris 1910, PP. 111-
121, "Digression sur le nom de Messe."
H. KELLNER, "Wo und wann wurde 'Missa' stehende Bezeichnung fur das
Messopfer," in "Theol. quartalsch.," 1901, LXXXIII, pp- 427-443.
P. LEJAY, "Revue d'histoire et de litterature relig.," Vol. II (1897) P.
287, and VIII (1903), P. 512; and "Ambrosien" in DACL, col. 1400 seq.
FORTESCUE, "The Mass." An appendix on the names of the Mass.
Mgr. BATIFFOL, "Lecons sur la Messe," pp. 166 seq., 175, 183. DACL,
"Actio," "Eucharistie," "Eulogie."
THE CHANTS OF THE MASS
At the Synaxis, or primitive gathering, psalms and canticles were sung (cf.
Chap. I). The Christians inherited the custom of singing after reading from
the Jews. St. Paul himself alludes to these chants in many passages of his
Epistles (Eph. v. 19; Col. iii. 16). The lessons themselves, as well as the
prayers, were also probably sung, or declaimed, in a melodic tone.
The actual practice is as follows: at the Pontifical or Solemn High Mass
certain parts are sung, or ought to be sung, by the people: "Kyrie,"
"Gloria in Excelsis," "Credo;" while others are reserved to the cantors, or
to the schola, and others again are said in a low voice. These points must
be studied more in detail so as to establish the necessary distinctions:
1. Parts sung by the cantors, the "schola," or the people.
2. Parts sung or recited aloud by the Priest, and parts said in a low
voice. (The Secret of the Mysteries.)
3. The Gregorian chant.
I. PARTS SUNG BY THE CANTORS, THE "Schola," OR THE PEOPLE.--Another
distinction must be made between the chants belonging to this category. The
Introit, Offertory, and Communion have an almost identical origin; they are
sung during a procession, or during movement to and from the altar; they
were instituted in the fourth and fifth centuries, and are composed for the
same end and in the same way- they are Psalms with an anthem. To-day they
have been abridged and reduced to almost a single verse. But their origin
must not be forgotten, and Mgr. Batiffol has very clearly shown by the
example of the Introit for the Epiphany that the choice of Psalm lxx. can
only be explained by the verses which are now omitted. The same
may be applied to many of the verses of the Offertory and Communion. The
singing of these pieces must necessarily have had special characteristics,
and resemble the psalmodic style.
But this was generally rare, and it would seem that the music which was
wedded to the words dates from a period when these distinctions were hardly
known; it is not always easy to distinguish an Introit and an Offertory
from a Gradual and an Alleluia by the chant which belongs to it. The
Communions, however, especially those for Lent, often have a purely
syllabic melody, which betrays a more ancient origin. This psalmodic chant
has been better preserved at Vespers and the other Offices. But if there is
to-day hardly any difference between the different chants of the Mass, such
was not the case formerly. Originally the anthem, or Psalm with antiphon,
was the Psalm sung by two choirs, each in its turn repeating an alternate
verse until the end was reached. The "Responsory," or "Responsorial Psalm,"
is sung by one or more cantors; the choir or the faithful taking up one of
the verses as a refrain. Probably to simplify matters and to allow even
those who did not know the Psalm to take part in the singing, a single
verse was chosen as anthem, and this served for a refrain. This is the case
with certain anthems of the Roman Vespers, which must represent an ancient
custom. Certain Psalms, cxxxv. in particular, with its refrain "Quoniam in
aeternum misericordia ejus," point out that this practice originated in the
most distant past.
The "Gradual" (cf. Chap. IV) is quite distinct from the chants with
antiphons of the Introit, Offertory, and Communion. It is a Responsory, or
Responsorial Psalm, and is thus sung by one or several cantors, the people
answering by a refrain which is one of the verses of the Psalm. That for
Matins (Psalm xciv.) preserves one of the most perfect examples of this
practice, probably borrowed, like that of the Lessons, from the services of
the synagogues. In any case, it belongs to the same category as the
Responsories which follow the Lessons at Matins, and which St. Benedict at
the end of the fifth century apparently borrowed from the Roman Church. The
Gradual chant is ornate, often difficult, and we can understand why it was
reserved to experienced cantors. It also has a special dignity; it is sung
from the ambone, or from the steps of the sanctuary. At one time, until the
days of St. Gregory, it was reserved for Deacons alone, like the Gospel.
The "Alleluia" is a case apart. At least originally, it is in reality
neither anthem nor responsory. The existing custom of incorporating it with
the Gradual is not primitive. It is an acclamation, like "Amen," "Hosanna,"
"Deo Gratias," "Benedicamus Domino;" and Cardinal Pitra has said that its
history is a long poem. As such it was sung frequently, and in various
circumstances. This no doubt is the reason why its place in the Mass is not
always the same in the different liturgies. There were variations even at
Rome (cf. Chap. IV). At present it follows the Gradual, and is usually
attached to a Psalm, of which a single verse has been preserved. The
"Alleluia" is followed by a "Jubilus," that is to say, by a somewhat
prolonged melody on the final "a."
When it is suppressed under circumstances already stated it is replaced by
the Tract, whose origin is not less obscure. Yet the words "Tractus,"
"Tractim" were familiar to St. Benedict in the fifth century, and used to
denote a Psalm sung without refrain or repetition but consecutively, and as
a whole (Fr., "trait"). It is indeed still executed in this form, the only
difference being that it is sung by two choirs in alternate verses, so that
now it resembles the chant with antiphons. The Tract, in the Gregorian
Antiphonary, has preserved its psalmodic appearance better than the other
chants of the Mass.
The Proses do not go back to an earlier date than the tenth century.
Composed to complete the "Jubilus" of the "Alleluia," they multiplied
prodigiously in the Middle Ages, and hundreds may be counted in the
collections which have been made of them. While much in these poems is
mediocre, some of them are real masterpieces, like those which the Church
of Rome ended by adopting. They form a literature which it would be a
mistake to neglect, and the Proses of Hugo de Saint-Victor, to take but one
example, are finished models, complete with technical knowledge, and of the
loftiest theological teaching.
Even in the seventeenth century a few true humanists set to work to compose
hymns for the neo-Gallican breviaries; and the Abbe Bremond, in his tenth
volume ("Du sentiment religieux") has made war on their adversaries.
Happily for us this subject is outside our present scope, since the hymns
in question were written for the Office and not for the Mass.
The "Kyrie," "Gloria in Excelsis," "Credo," "Sanctus," "Agnus Dei,"
"Dominus vobiscum," "Ite, Missa est," and "Benedicamus Domino" are not
taken from the Psalms, like the other chants of the Mass, and thus do not
form part of the psalmody, properly so called. They are sung in various
ways, and the rules to which they are submitted are much broader. This
explains the numerous melodies with which they have been adorned, examples
of which may be found in liturgical MSS. from the ninth-fifteenth
centuries. They have also often served as themes for polyphonic
2. PARTS SUNG OR RECITED ALOUD BY THE PRIEST AND PARTS SAID IN A LOW
VOICE.--At present, and since the tenth century at least, the Priest must
recite all the prayers of the Mass, including (at High Mass) the parts sung
by the people or the ministers, Epistle, Gospel, Kyrie, Gloria in Excelsis,
etc. The rules for LOW Mass prescribe what has to be said aloud. At High
Masses the Priest sings the prayers, Preface, and Pater; the Gospel and
Ite, Missa est are sung by the Deacon; the Epistle by the sub-Deacon; while
the Priest also intones the "Gloria in Excelsis" and "Credo." But the Canon
is said in a low voice, even at High Mass, with the exceptions of the
Preface, the "Pater," and of "Nobis quoque" peccatoribus, which the Pope
always said aloud, as the signal for the prostrate sub-Deacons to rise.
But why should the Canon be said in a low voice? It is a question which
seems to-day of secondary importance; and we can scarcely explain why there
was formerly so much discussion about it. But the Secret of the Mysteries
was the subject of a celebrated controversy in the seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries, and we can see, in the ninth volume of the Abbe
Bremond, with what skill and talent he fights against those who with Dom
Gueranger, made a question of orthodoxy of this rubric.
It is clear that primitively, according to the description given in Chapter
I, the Eucharistic prayer properly so called (from the dialogue of the
Preface to the final doxology to which the faithful responded Amen) was
said in an audible voice, and very probably was declaimed on a melopoeia
doubtless resembling that of the Preface or the Pater. That at least is
what the terms of this prayer would appear to indicate, based as they are
on a lyric tone which seems to call for a chant. Ancient texts which
corroborate this hypothesis are not wanting. In any case there is nothing
mysterious in the words; nothing that calls for concealment. The author of
De Sacramentis quotes them in a work not specially addressed to the
initiated; another example is that of Melanie of Jerusalem, who was able to
hear every word of this prayer; and there are many others of the same
sort. But it is none the less true that this was otherwise at another
period, and that the Secret of the Mysteries, of the Eucharistic Mysteries,
is not an empty word. Pope Innocent I (in 416) speaks of this part of the
Mass as falling under the law of the Arcana, Arcana agenda, something which
must not be written about. St. Augustine when he speaks of the Eucharist
uses great reticence in his language, and speaks of those things only known
to the initiated, the baptized. The discipline of the Arcana is no myth; it
was observed for centuries, though not everywhere, nor always in the same
On this point it is curious to observe the variations of Catholic devotion
in different periods and countries. Edmund Bishop has already pointed out
the opposition between East and West; the latter erecting its altar upon
steps in the midst of the sanctuary, as if to expose it to the eyes of all;
the former, on the contrary, hiding it behind a screen (iconostasis), and
concealing with a curtain the Priest who accomplishes the great Mysteries.
In any case, a law prescribes that the Canon, especially the words of the
Institution, shall be said in a low voice.
"This mysticism is more Eastern than Roman," says Mgr. Batiffol (p. 21).
And yet, at a given moment, doubtless under the influence of Byzantium,
Rome became inspired with the same ideas. The Popes hung curtains which hid
them from the view of the faithful around the altar. An "Ordo" (II)
prescribed the saying of the Canon in a low voice. We can but indicate the
question here, since it is only indirectly related to our subject;
moreover, we have treated of it elsewhere. We must not be too much
astonished at these fluctuations in Catholic piety. The "Mysterium Fidei"
may be envisaged under many different aspects. At one time veneration,
respect, and--let us say the word--a kind of fear surrounds this Sacrament,
and prostrates the faithful before It in adoration. To-day they are carried
away by Its mercy and Its love. At one time the law of the Eucharistic
fast, so strict at present, scarcely existed; at another, devotion
constrained the Priest to celebrate Mass several times a day; at yet
another, on the contrary, exclusive of all Jansenist influence, there were
those who deprived themselves of Holy Communion out of respect for the
In that book of the Abbe Bremond already quoted the quarrels of Gallicans,
Jansenists, and Ultramontanes on this subject can be studied. To-day, thank
God, men's minds are pacified. If the Church formerly made a law regarding
the "Secret of the Mysteries," she is no longer so severe, and the
compilers of the best authorized prayerbooks for the faithful can translate
the whole of the Mass without the least uneasiness. Still, there remains
that ancient rubric which prescribes that the Priest shall recite the Canon
in a low voice, while he must sing, or say aloud, the Preface and the
3. THE GREGORIAN CHANT.--We need not here study the question of the chant,
since this has been done in another volume. We shall only say what seems
to be strictly necessary in order to understand the part played by this
chant in the Roman Mass.
The Gregorian chant, the origin of which is obscure, is revealed in many
MSS. from the ninth century onwards under the form of neumes, or musical
signs which it has been possible to decipher by comparing them with other
MSS. of a later age, in which these signs are written in such a way as to
indicate their tonality. But even in the most ancient manuscript which
contains these neumes, that is, of the ninth century, it is possible to see
that there is nothing new in this chant. It is indeed in the second stage
of its evolution. It has its rules, its laws, a well-established program,
and a learned technique. The attribution of this chant to St. Gregory was
attacked in the nineteenth century by those who believed it should rather
be traced to Gregory II (d. 731); but their arguments are more specious
than solid. It is true that the MSS. in which this system of notation is
found go back no farther than the ninth century, and that from thence to
the time of St. Gregory there is a gap of two hundred years--truly, a very
long time. But these objections have been answered. The single fact that
the MSS. of the chant of the ninth and tenth centuries are unanimous upon
so many different points would alone be a strong argument that this
tradition comes from the same source: the tradition dating back to the
eighth century, which has never hesitated as to the Roman and Gregorian
origin of this chant. It might even be said that it was anterior to this
Pontiff, and that St. Gregory only did for the Antiphonary what he did for
the Sacramentary which bears his name: he made rules and orders for it,
and, no doubt, simplified it. He reorganized a schola existing before his
day, and gave it new life. Some have even thought that the Ambrosian chant,
so closely related to the Gregorian, often betrays this earlier state. What
must be noticed is the excellence of the Gregorian chant during the first
period of its history, its golden age, from the sixth-ninth century. The
schola became a school of masters, among whom came those who wished to
study the true principles of the Gregorian chant: the disciples thus formed
spread later through other Latin countries. This explains why the annotated
MSS. from the ninth-twelfth centuries present as a whole the same musical
system in which variants are very rare. This has been most rigorously
proved in the collection "Paleographie Musicale" published by the monks of
"Solesmes." Still more recently an Anglican Bishop, famous for his
liturgical prowess, recognizes that the Roman Church has supplanted all
other Latin liturgies by her Cantilena rather than by her liturgical
1. "Lecons sur la Messe," p. 115.
2. We have summed this up in our article, "Alleluia," in DACL.
3. Cf. "Jubilus" in DACL. On the Gradual and "Alleluia" cf. DACL J. de
Puniet, "La liturgie de la Messe," p. 126 seq.
4. Mgr. Batiffol, loc. cit., p. 206 seq.
5. We need scarcely recall Mgr. Batiffol's dissertation on the "Arcane:"
though he is careful to restrain its scope, he is yet obliged to admit its
existence. We may add that another author, Pere le Brun of the Oratory,
whose scholarship none will deny, is not afraid to devote a treatise of 350
pages to pointing out the genuineness of this practice in his great work on
the Mass, "Du silence des prieres de la Messe" (Vol. IV).
6. Cf. the article "Amen" in DACL.
7. Cf. Aigrain, "Religious Music" (Sands, 3s. 6d.).
8. To furnish documents for this publication the Fathers of Solesmes
brought together a unique collection of photographs of annotated MSS. of
the ninth-fifteenth centuries, from Italy France, Germany, Spain, England,
9. W. H. Frere, "Studies in Early Roman Liturgy," I, The Kalendar Oxford,
See "Religious Music" (Sands 3S. 6d.), by ABBE: R. AIGRAIN and "Liturgia,
The Gregorian Chant," by Dom. M. SABLAYROLLES, PP. 440-478. In the
bibliography of the last-named the works of WAGNER, GASTOUE, Dom POTHIER,
etc., are cited., Cf. also more recently: TH. GEROLD, "Les Peres de
l'Eglise et la musique" (1932).
III. THE ATTITUDE OF THE FAITHFUL AND THE LITURGICAL GESTURES DURING MASS
To-day it is hardly necessary, in view of the very large number of studies
devoted to this question, to insist on the importance of gestures or
attitude in connection with the liturgy. We have, moreover, made a separate
study of it ourselves, elsewhere. As the Mass is the essential function
of the liturgy, it is not astonishing that most of the liturgical gestures
belong to it, nor that the Church has very carefully determined both their
form and their number. Certain general rules for prayer were already
established in the time of St. Paul, who alludes to them many times in his
Epistles. For public prayer each must wait his own turn; must speak
intelligibly when he does speak. Women were not allowed to speak at all (I
We know from other witnesses, especially Tertullian, in texts often quoted,
that Christians prayed standing, their eyes raised to Heaven, their hands
stretched out. No one knelt on Sunday, nor during the fifty days between
Easter and Pentecost. Frescoes in the catacombs represent "Orantes" in the
posture described. One such shows a Priest standing before a "triclinium,"
his hands outstretched in a gesture of blessing, while beside him a woman
Certain rubrics in the ancient liturgical books remind us of these old
customs, for some are still preserved in the existing Missal. Thus, the
Deacon at certain moments commands the faithful to kneel down, to bow the
head, to rise; he dismisses them at the end of Mass--"Flectamus genua,"
"Levate," "Humiliate capita vestra Deo," "Ite, Missa est." In the Greek and
Eastern liturgies these rubrics are much more numerous. Some of these
gestures, as has been stated, are marked in the ancient Sacramentaries; but
as the gestures at Mass, especially those of the officiant, are both
numerous and detailed, they would have overloaded these books. Moreover, at
that epoch (fourth and ninth centuries) the tendency was to multiply
liturgical books, so as to have one for each function: book of the Priest,
or Sacramentary; book of Epistles for the subdeacon; of the Gospels for the
Deacon; book for the cantors, etc. One such book was devoted to explaining
processions: the order to follow, the places to be taken and kept, and the
other movements during Mass. These are the "Ordines," and especially the
"Ordines Romani," which are of the highest value in liturgical history (cf.
"Books of the Latin Liturgy," p. 81). These "Ordines Romani," or Roman
Orders, specially describe the Papal Mass; but as we have already said,
this Mass was the same as that of a Bishop, or a simple Priest, except for
the number of ministers who assisted at it, and for the solemnity of the
ceremonies. Only in Low Mass has the number of the latter been suppressed;
and several of those ceremonies still preserved can only be explained by
reference to Pontifical High Mass.
This fact being laid down, we can divide our subject, which has never been
studied very methodically so far, into a few paragraphs in which we shall
try to throw light on the existing rubrics by the ancient customs.
1. Attitude of the faithful during Mass.
2. Processions, Stations, and general ceremonies.
3. Gestures of the officiant and his ministers during Mass.
1. Attitude of the faithful during Mass.--In certain frescoes in the
catacombs, which seem to be a representation of the Eucharist, we see
guests seated around a table as if for a feast. At the Last Supper, when
the Eucharist was instituted, Our Lord and His Apostles were, according to
the best exegetists, seated, or half lying on couches, according to the
general custom. At the "Agape" described by St. Paul, the faithful were
either seated or lying down.
But this position was hardly practicable during the celebration of the
Eucharist as soon as the number of the faithful was greatly increased;
moreover, the respect due to this function would have been quite enough to
impose another attitude. To pray standing was the most usual thing with the
Jews, and even with pagans. This position indicated not only respect and
deference for the person to whom the prayer was addressed, but it was also,
in prayer, an attitude of adoration.
The faithful thus heard Mass standing; the practice of kneeling being
reserved, from the second and third centuries, for days of vigil, for times
of penitence, or for certain specially solemn moments, as during the Prayer
of the Faithful at the Offertory. A sentence spoken by the Deacon, still
preserved in our Missal, warned the faithful: "Flectamus genua;" while
after some moments of recollection he said: "Levate." The celebrant then
pronounced the prayer--"Oremus"--being, as he was, charged in a certain
sense to sum up and present to God all the intentions of the people. It was
also a rule at this time that on Sundays and during the joyous fifty days
from Easter to Pentecost, there should be no kneeling. We are yet reminded
of this custom by the fact that during the Ember Days of Pentecost, and on
its vigil, the "Flectamus genua," heard during the penitential seasons, is
It was not customary to sit during the Mass. The Bishop alone was seated,
on his throne, which was not an ordinary seat, but rather a symbol of his
functions. The seat of that Bishop of the beginning of the third century at
Rome, to which we owe the celebrated "anaphora" already mentioned, is a
monument of the highest importance, on which have been written the titles
of his various works. Antiquity has preserved the remembrance of other
Chairs of this distant period, such as that of St. Peter at Rome, the
"Cathedra Petri," which has always been celebrated.
I think, however, that those texts of Tertullian and others in which
Christians are represented standing with outstretched arms during their
prayer have been interpreted too rigorously. Such a prayer would mean that
the word was used in its deepest sense, for the prayers, and doubtless for
the whole of the Mass of the Faithful. But they must have sat down for the
Lessons of the Pre-Mass, which were often long. Certain texts of St.
Augustine refer to this subject; he says he will not fatigue the people
with a long discourse, as they are all standing. In some places it was
allowed to take a staff into the church, to be used for leaning upon. Here,
as elsewhere, customs must have varied. In certain texts, indeed, "sedilia"
are spoken of, that the people might be seated. St. Benedict, who was not
given to relaxation, admits monks to be seated during the Lessons, as this
was a common practice.
The custom of prostration at the moment of the Elevation dates from the
eleventh century. Before this time it was usual to stand upright; and this
too was the customary attitude for receiving the Eucharist in the hands, or
for drinking the Precious Blood. From this Protestants have tried to argue
against faith in the Real Presence, but their objection is really too
easily answered; and it is almost matter for astonishment that one writer
has thought it necessary to devote a learned work to this question.
Another custom, much discussed, and on which much has been written, is that
of praying turned towards the East. Christ is the Sun of Justice, and His
light illumines the West, the region of darkness. The latter is thus the
domain of the devil; and it is to the West that men turn to curse him.
Hence also the custom of "orientation:" that is, to build churches in such
a way that the Priest while praying looks towards the East. But this
practice often involved such difficulties that it was not always possible
to be faithful to it. It was, however, generally applied in the
construction of churches in the Middle Ages, from the fifth century
onwards. Hence there were certain changes in the ceremonial. The Priest
who, in the first centuries, celebrated before an altar shaped like a
simple table, without gradines or retable (as is still the case in the
Basilica of San Clemente at Rome), was obliged to face the East when the
church was "orientated," and thus, as to-day, turn his back to the people.
Consequently when he addresses them in the words, "Dominus vobiscum," he
turns towards them, facing the altar again as he says: "Oremus."
The "Ordo Romanus" (n. I) thus describes the attitude of the Pope when
celebrating Pontifical Mass. The Pontiff stands upright facing the East at
his throne, which is at the back of the apse; turns towards the people to
intone the "Gloria in Excelsis," but turns again to face the East,
remaining standing thus till the end of the chant. He then again turns
towards the people to say: "Pax vobis;" then back to the East when he says:
"Oremus," and the Collect for the day. After the Collect he seats himself.
The Bishops and Priest present also seat themselves, as a gesture from the
Pope invites them to do, but the congregation remains standing, as it does
the whole time of the ceremony. It has been said that the Deacon caused all
the faithful to kneel on Good Friday for the Prayer of the Faithful; and
this ceremony is yet observed.
In our churches at the present time these rules are rather vague. Those
usually observed by choirs of Canons or Monks may be followed. It is thus
customary to stand upright at High Mass during the Introit, prayers,
Gospel, and Canon; to sit during the reading of the Epistle and other
Lessons when there are any, as also for the singing of the "Kyrie," "Gloria
in Excelsis," "Credo," "Gradual," and "Alleluia," or Tracts and Proses, to
prostrate during the Consecration; and to bow for the blessing of the
2. Processions, Stations, general ceremonies.--All these subjects have been
treated by liturgiologists, often with great learning. It can only be a
question here of those connected with the Mass, such as the Station, and
the defiling past at the Introit, the Offertory, and the Communion. The
Procession of the Station is no longer made. But in the time of St. Gregory
and the following centuries the Station began with a most solemn
procession. The suburban Bishops (the seven Bishops of Ostia, Porto, Silva
Candida, Albano, Tusculum, Sabina, and Praeneste) and other Bishops present
in Rome, the Priests of the 25 "tituli" (Rectors of the principal churches
in that city), the Monks, and lastly the people divided into groups
according to the seven regions (Quarters) of Rome, an ensign-bearer at the
head of each group carrying a silver Cross on which were three candles--all
these early awaited the Pope (who came from the Lateran with his "cortege")
in the church which had been chosen as the starting-point. The Pope arrived
on horseback. His following was composed of all the acolytes of the region
where the function was being held. After the acolytes came the "Defensores"
of each region: these were a kind of lay functionary charged with the
administration of the ecclesiastical patrimony. Acolytes and "Defensores"
were on foot. The seven Deacons of the seven regions, with their regional
sub-Deacons followed next, all on horseback. Two squires were to the right
and left of the Pope, and in front of him an acolyte bearing the "ampulla"
of the Holy Chrism. Behind the Pope came the "ViceDominus" and other
dignitaries of his household. The sub-Deacon who was to read the Epistle
carried the "Epistolarium," while the Arch-Deacon bore the "Evangeliarium,"
usually a luxuriously bound manuscript the cover of which was encrusted
with precious stones, and which was carefully enclosed in its case.
When this almost royal procession, recalling in more than one detail the
ceremonial of the Emperors and Consuls, had reached the church where the
Bishops and people were waiting for it, they all set out together for the
church at which the Station had been fixed, and where Mass was to be
celebrated. The whole ceremonial for the reception of the Pope in this
church is minutely foreseen and described.
The procession of the Pope and clergy for the beginning of Mass is not less
solemn. In the sacristy or "secretarium" of the Basilica, which was vast
enough to serve as a council hall, the Pope was vested with the liturgical
garments, linen tunic, amice, dalmatic, chasuble, "pallium." At a given
signal, accompanied by the Deacons, by the sub-Deacon bearing the
"thymiamaterium" in which incense was burning, and by the seven serving
acolytes with their seven lighted candlesticks, he advanced up the great
nave (for at that period the "secretarium" was at the atrium, or entrance
of the Basilica, except at St. Peter's) while the "schola" sang the psalm
of the Introit. The Pope saluted the "Sancta" (the "fermentum," or Host
consecrated at a previous Mass), prayed before the altar, then kissed the
book of the Gospels, placed on the altar itself, and so moved to his
throne, where he remained standing. He made a sign to the "schola" to stop
the singing of the psalm, and to begin the "Gloria Patri" which ends the
The order followed at Rome for the Offertory and Communion has been already
described (Chap. IV); that of precedence was most strictly observed:
Bishops first, the ministers to the last rank of the clergy, Princes,
nobles, the faithful, first the men, then the women. It was the Golden Age
of the liturgy in Rome from the sixth-ninth centuries; both clergy and
faithful gave admirable examples of behavior, order, dignity, and a
simplicity which did not exclude a certain pomp.
3. Gestures of officiant and ministers during the Mass. --In describing in
the various chapters of this book the Mass at Rome, Milan, in Gaul, Spain,
and Africa, we have already pointed out the chief gestures prescribed for
the celebrant, especially at the Consecration, the Fraction, and the
Communion; we have also spoken of censing, of the Kiss of Peace, and of
some other rites of the same kind. We then said that all these acts and
gestures were generally intended to express, in the eyes of the
congregation, an act corresponding to the spoken word; an act which
emphasized it, and threw it into new relief. This idea has been explained
at length and with perhaps too much complaisance by Dom Claude de Vert
a work whose scholarship is more curious than solid. To him, the word
infers the gesture. But, as we have already remarked, it is usually just
the contrary which happens. In the ancient Roman liturgy, for example, a
great many gestures were made without any words at all. It was only later,
in the course of the Middle Ages, that a prayer was composed to explain an
act, such as "Oramus te;" or for certain Offertory prayers: "Offerimus
tibi;" or again for the Communion: "Panem coelestem accipiam," "Quod ore
sumpsimus," "Corpus Domini nostri Jesu Christi custodiat animam meam," etc.
It must also be noticed that in the liturgy there are gestures which have
not a merely simple, mimetic meaning. Certain unctions, the laying-on of
hands, certain signs of the Cross, or blessings are supernaturally
efficacious, and produce what they signify. For all these reasons, and
without going back to different points which have already been sufficiently
explained, we must here give a little supplementary information as to
certain gestures of the Mass, the sense of which is by no means always
The celebrant and his ministers were thus standing upright during Mass,
except during the Lessons and the chants. This is still the custom; at
Solemn High Masses celebrant and ministers are seated during the reading of
the Epistle and other Lessons, as well as during the singing of "Kyrie,"
"Gloria in Excelsis," "Credo," Gradual, and other chants.
At certain moments the celebrant spreads out his hands to pray, reminding
us of the attitude of the "Orantes:" this is done during the prayers of the
Mass, the Preface, Canon, and "Pater." At other times he bows himself, as
at the "Confiteor," the "Oramus te, Domine," the "Suscipe sancte Pater" and
"Suscipe sancta Trinitas," at the words of the Canon "Te igitur" and
"Supplices te," as well as at the "Munda cor meum."
The rubric prescribes that he shall raise his eyes to Heaven at the "Veni
Sanctificator," and at the Consecration of the bread and wine; that he
shall strike his breast at the "Mea culpa" of the "Confiteor," at the
"Agnus Dei," the "Domine, non sum dignus," and at the "Nobis quoque
Before the prayers he kisses the altar, turns towards the people, extends
his hands and salutes them with "Dominus vobiscum," from the middle of the
altar, at the "Oremus" he salutes the Cross and again extends his hands. He
genuflects at the Elevation, at the "Homo factus est" of the Credo, and of
the Last Gospel- also, in Solemn Masses he does this each time he leaves
the altar to seat himself, as well as when he returns.
The imposition of hands occurs only once during Mass, at the "Hanc
igitur;" this gesture, indeed, dates only from the fifteenth century, and
is merely intended to design the oblation. This may appear rather singular
when we know the importance of this act in the Catholic liturgy. But it
must be remembered that signs of the Cross, which often replace the
imposition of hands, are frequent during the Sacrifice of the Mass, and we
may now study their meaning.
The sign of the Cross during Mass is a subject which has long gained the
attention of liturgiologists. It is presented here under different forms.
The usual way of making the ordinary sign of the Cross is for the Priest to
trace it upon himself by carrying his right hand from the forehead to the
breast, and then from the left shoulder to the right; it has thus been made
since the ninth century, as, at the same time, the sign of our Redemption,
and of a doxology to the Trinity, with the words: In the Name of the Father
and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.
Before this epoch (ninth century) it was more especially the sign of
Christ, and answers to the "In Nomine Christi" so frequently recommended by
St. Paul. The sign was then traced on the forehead, the lips, and the
breast. Under this form it is still used before the Gospel.
The sign of the Cross is, with the imposition of hands, the most venerable
and expressive act of Christian worship. Innumerable works, treatises, and
articles have been written on this subject. We can only refer here to the
articles "Croix" and "Crucifix" in DACL, where a Bibliography of the matter
will be found.
The number, place, and form of these signs of the Cross in Mass has varied
according to time and place. The Missal of St. Pius V adopted the greater
part of those indicated in the most recent MSS. of that period, or in books
printed at that time. But these are by no means equally ancient, or of the
Some are mimetic signs which are specially aimed at emphasizing the text,
as in "Haec dona," "haec munera," "haec sancta sacrificia." Others have the
meaning of a blessing, like those which accompany the words "benedictam,"
"adscriptam," "ratam," "ut nobis corpus et sanguis," etc. As much, and "a
fortiori," must be said of the sign of the Cross at "Benedixit" upon the
Host and chalice, at the Consecration, for this reproduces the gesture of
Our Lord in blessing the bread and wine.
But what of those signs of the Cross made upon the consecrated elements? A
blessing upon the Body and Blood of Our Lord would seem superfluous, at the
very least, and yet the signs occur many times, as at "Hostiam puram,"
"Hostiam sanctam," etc. There are as many as five, and specially again at
the "Per quem" and "Per ipsum," and at the "Pax Domini" and Communion. We
may say at once that usually these signs are not indicated in the ancient
Sacramentaries, nor in the "Ordo I," while a certain variety is observed
even in the other Sacramentaries. Thus, they are not considered essential,
and often are merely figurative, the word having been the author of the
gesture, according to the theory so dear to De Vert.
At the "Per ipsum" the Priest, holding the Host in his right hand, traces
three signs of the Cross over the chalice, two between the chalice and his
breast, before elevating the Host and the chalice at the final doxology of
During the embolism of the Pater, at "Da propitius pacem," he makes the
sign of the Cross with the paten, which he kisses. At the end of Mass
Priest, turned towards the people, makes with his right hand a great sign
of the Cross, which is the sign of blessing. A Prelate makes this sign once
to his left, once in the center, once to his right.
The kissing of the altar is another act which frequently takes place in
Mass. In the seventh century this gesture was far less common, but was
surrounded with a greater solemnity. Thus at the beginning of the Office of
Good Friday, as has been mentioned, the Pontiff, after the conclusion of
Nones, left his throne to go and kiss the altar, returning afterwards to
his place. This rite at the beginning of Mass was already a characteristic
of the Papal Mass in the seventh-eighth centuries. It is still preserved
to-day, with the "Oramus te, Domine," which gives the reason for it--
"Sanctorum quorum reliquiae hic sunt." The altar is a sacred stone,
containing the relics of Saints; it is the "mensa" which recalls the table
of the Last Supper, or again, the stone of Golgotha. It is unnecessary to
compare this act with that of the Romans, who kissed their pagan altars, in
order to understand the act of veneration accomplished by the Priest at
To-day the Priest kisses the altar each time he comes to it, as well as
before the "Dominus vobiscum" of the prayers.
We have already sufficiently explained the blessing of the people by the
Priest at the end of the Roman Mass, as well as that blessing which in the
other Latin rites preceded the Communion (Chap IV).
1. See Bibliography at end of this chapter.
2. Cf. DACL, article "Chaires."
3. Jean le Lorrain (d. 1710), "De l'ancienne coutume de prier et d'adorer
debout le jour du dimanche," etc., 2 vols., Liege 1700 Rouen, 171O. Cf.
also our article "Liturgie, Dict. de theol. catholique," col. 821 seq.
4. This description has been made in a most interesting way by Mgr.
Batiffol (p. 67 seq.) from the "Ordo Romanus," I. This "Ordo" had been
edited and explained previously, even more in detail, by E. G. F. Atchley,
"Ordo Romanus," I, Book VI of "Liturgiology" (I vol., 8vo, London, 1905).
5. Dom Claude de Vert "Explication simple, litterale et historique des
ceremonies de l'Eglise" 4 vols. (Paris, 1720).
6. Cf. "Imposition des mains," in DACL.
7. On this point see especially Brinktrine, quoted in the Bibliography, who
has studied this subject deeply.
8. On the gesture of the sub-Deacon who gives the paten to the Deacon at
the end of the Pater, and on this sign of the Cross, cf. p. 82.
9. On this blessing at the end of Mass, and on the prayer "Super populum,"
cf. p. 87.
The articles "Baiser de Paix," "Croix," "Crucifix," "Imposition des mains,"
Our article "Liturgie," in "Dict. de theol. cath.," col. 821 seq. "La
Priere des Chretiens" (Paris, 1929), P. 133 seq.
DE VERT, "Explication des ceremonies de l'Eglise" (Paris, 1713). LEBRUN,
"Explication des Prieres et des ceremonies de la Messe" (Paris, 1726).
BRINKTRINE, "Die Heilige Messe, Der Altarkuss," p . 56 seq. For the signs
of the Cross, "Exkurs. I, Die Kreuzzeichen im Kanon," p. 250 seq., and
BATIFFOL, loc. cit., pp. 239, 251, 267.
DOLGER, "Zu den Zeremonien der Mess liturgie, II, Der Altarkuss, antike u.
christent." II, pp. 190-221 (1930).
See also our "Monumenta Ecclesiae Liturgica" (table).
IV, THE BOOKS OF THE MASS
This subject having already been treated in another book ("Books of the
Latin Liturgy," see p. 28 et seq.), we may be allowed to sum it Up shortly
here. It may be believed that in the beginning no book was used for Mass.
The Consecration of the bread and wine was made after the Formula used by
Christ Himself, handed down by St. Paul and the synoptic Gospels. The
prayers of preparation or thanksgiving were left to the improvisation of
the celebrant, who did this on a fixed theme, from which it was not allowed
to depart; for the most ancient formulas studied reproduce always the same
In the aliturgical synaxis which became the Pre-Mass (cf. Chapter I) the
Old and New Testament were read, and psalms were sung. Thus the Bible
proved sufficient. But very soon the formulas mentioned were put into
writing, and we have an example of this in the "Didache," which dates,
perhaps, from the year 100, while the "Anaphora" of Hippolytus dates from
the first quarter of the third century. In the fourth and fifth centuries
liturgical literature was in full flower, especially in the East. St.
Hilary, St. Ambrose, St. Paulinus of Nola, Voconius, Musaeus, and many
others are quoted amongst the authors who composed hymns, prayers, and
Prefaces, or who chose Lessons drawn from the Old and New Testaments to be
read at Mass or during the Offices. In other books the parts that were
be sung were collected. From this time, especially during the period
immediately following--from the sixth-ninth centuries-- as the taste for
these compositions developed, we have books specially devoted to the
various liturgical functions: one for the readings from the Testaments
generally called the Lectionary, or book of lectures, this, when intended
for the Mass alone, was called "Epistolarium" (book of Epistles, or
sometimes of Prophecy, or the Apostolic book) . There was also the
"Evangeliarium," containing nothing but readings from the Gospels.
The chants of the Introit, Gradual, Tract, "Alleluia," Offertory, and
Communion were collected in a book called the "Cantatorium," or book of
chants. This was also sometimes styled "Liber Gradualis," since the Gradual
was the most important and most ancient of these chants.
The Priest used tablets ("plaquettes," "Libelli") in which he found the
prayers and Prefaces with the Canon of the Mass; he also had "Diptychs:"
all these, collected together, were called "Sacramentaries." This is the
most ancient type of Missal, in use from the sixth-ninth centuries; it
contained only those parts recited at Mass by the celebrant. When the
custom of Low Masses was introduced and multiplied, and the Priest was
obliged to accomplish by himself all those functions which, in High Masses,
fell to the lot of the Deacon, sub-Deacon, lectors, and cantors, it was
necessary to add the Epistle, Gospel, Gradual, and other chants to the
Sacramentary, which thus changed its name and its nature, and was
henceforth called "Plenary Missal," or simply "Missal." The most ancient of
these go back to the tenth century, or perhaps a little earlier. They went
on multiplying through the eleventh century, and very soon after they
eliminated and replaced the Sacramentary almost completely.
These liturgical books, some of which were illuminated and bound in the
most luxurious manner, have always attracted the attention of artists,
liturgiologists, and archaeologists; but at the present time it may be said
that they are sought after and studied more than ever, so that erudite men
have set themselves to describe them carefully (see Bibliography). The
price of some of them represents a fortune. It is necessary to add that
this subject is very far from being exhausted, and that in many ancient
libraries precious manuscripts and early printed books still exist which
deserve to be studied with care.
Prayer Books ("Paroissiens").--The history and bibliography of these
is yet to be written. That of the Books of Hours, which has tempted certain
scholars, may serve as an introduction to it (cf. "Books of the Latin
Liturgy," pp. 128 seq. and 151 seq.). In that the history of the different
Catholic devotions may be studied, according to period and country. Still
more recently, in his "Sentiment religieux en France," the Abbe Bremond has
shown how much may be drawn from these little books. In them the Mass
naturally has its place, whether the Latin text is given, with a
translation, or whether we find merely explanations and commentaries, as
was the usual practice at a certain period, when translation into the
vulgar tongue was looked on with very little favor if not actually
To-day the liturgical movement has driven the faithful more and more
towards requiring the complete text of the Latin Mass, with its
translation. Thus certain prayerbooks are indeed real Missals for their
1. "Books of the Latin Liturgy" (Sands, 3s. 6d.), p. 24 seq.
2. The word cannot be translated literally. A "Paroissien" is a kind of
abridged Missal which includes the office of Benediction, several Litanies,
morning and night prayers, etc. Vespers of Sunday (and sometimes Compline)
are also included. (Note by translator.)
LEOPOLD DELISLE, "Memoire sur d'anciens sacramentaires" (Paris, 1886). He
has also written dissertations on the Psalters and other liturgical books
(see catalogue in DACL, "Delisle").
A. EBNER, "Quellen u. Forschungen zur Gesch. des Missale Romanum in
Mittelalter" (Freibourg-im-Breisgau, 1896).
V. LEROQUAIS, "Les Sacramentaires et les missels manuscrits des
bibliotheques publiques de la France," 3 vols. (Paris, I 924). Cf. also
other works on the same subject "Books of the Latin Liturgy," pp. 151, 156,
and our article "Missel" in DACL.
V. DIFFERENT KINDS OF MASSES
The Papal Mass and the Stational Mass.--These have been described in
Chapter IV. The latter was called Stational because there was a Station on
that day. Except a few points already mentioned, they were the same as the
Pontifical Mass.--It has been already stated that if we wish to understand
the sequence of the ceremonies at Mass, and really enter into the spirit of
them, we should be present at a Pontifical Mass, which, more than any
other, has faithfully preserved that ceremonial described in Chapter IV. It
is, in fact, the Papal Mass, and, with but few differences, that which is
celebrated by Bishops and certain Prelates. It is described at length in
the Ceremonial of Bishops.
Solemn, or High Mass.--All the ceremonies which are the privilege of
Bishops, such as crosier and mitre, throne, the number of the ministers
(assistant Priest, Deacons of honor, bearers of the insignia, etc.), are
omitted; but the Introit, Gradual, "Kyrie," Lessons, etc., are sung as in
Pontifical Masses, and by the same ministers. These comprehend, after the
Deacon and sub-Deacon, a "Ceremoniarius," acolytes, and a thurifer.
Sung Mass, or Missa Cantata.--Here there are neither Deacon nor sub-Deacon,
the ministers being reduced to one or two servers; but the same parts are
sung as at High Mass. This Mass is sometimes called in French, "messe
Conventual Mass is said in Chapters of Canons, in Collegiate churches, and
monasteries. It may be either sung or said, with or without ministers.
Missa lecta, a Mass which is not sung, is often wrongly styled Low, or
private, Mass, for the rubrics prescribe certain parts to be said aloud. At
this Mass the Priest, with one, or sometimes two, servers, accomplishes the
various ceremonies of Mass, but nothing is sung.
The history of Low Mass has given rise to certain errors; its evolution is
less well known than that of Pontifical Mass. But there can be no doubt
that in very ancient days--let us say about the third century, but most
probably before that epoch--there were (beyond the Eucharistic synaxis
celebrated by the Bishop, surrounded by his clergy and the faithful), both
in cemeteries and in private houses, private Masses said, from which all
the ceremonies had been shorn. The story of Hesperus, cured after a Mass
had been said in his house, is well known; Mgr. Batiffol relates it
according to St. Augustine. There are other examples of private Masses
said in domestic oratories, the existence of which is proved from the fifth
About this time, too (sixth century), churches began to be built with
several altars or chapels, a fact which evidently indicates private Masses.
The Sacramentaries or Missals drawn up from the seventh-tenth centuries
might have served either for a Pontifical or a private Mass. There must
have been also, about this time, and even before it, "Libelli," or leaflets
composed of several Masses for the use of the Priest. Of these we have
spoken in the "Books of the Latin Liturgy," mentioning as one of the types
of this "Libellus" that of the "Masses of Mone."
Missa solitaria.--In certain dioceses and missions the Priest has obtained
permission to say Mass without a server, making the responses himself, in
view of the practical impossibility of finding anyone to serve Mass.
Votive Masses.--As its name indicates, this Mass is said in virtue of a Vow
("votum"), or, in a wide sense, for a special intention. It is thus
distinguished from the Mass of the day, the character of which is fixed by
the calendar. There are certain days in the year, simple Ferials, or those
on which the Mass is assigned to a Saint with a simple rite or a semi-
double; and on these the Priest can usually celebrate a Votive Mass In the
Missal a whole division, following the Common of Saints, is devoted to
Votive Masses. Some are in honor of Our Lady, or other Saints; others again
for different circumstances, or devotions, as in time of war, or of peace;
of famine or epidemic, etc. They are thus devotional Masses which, unlike
the Mass for the day, are not attached to the calendar, nor to the Office
said on that day, which itself is in relation to the Mass.
Some of these Votive Masses are very ancient, and their texts deserve
study. Some may already be found in the Leonine and Gelasian
Sacramentaries. The Mozarabic "Liber Ordinum" contains a considerable
number. A Missal attributed to Alcuin has Votive Masses for every day in
the week, in honor of the Holy Angels, of the Eucharist, of Our Lady, etc.
Franz, in the book we mention, has made a most learned study of them.
Here is the list of Votive Masses in our Missal:
De Sancta Trinitate,
De SS. Petro et Paulo,
De Spiritu Sancto,
De S.S. Eucharistiae Sacramento,
De Sancta Maria,
Pro eligendo Pontifice,
In anniversario electionis Episcopi,
Ad tollendum schisma,
Pro quacumque necessitate,
Pro remissione peccatorum,
Ad postulandam gratiam bene moriendi,
In tempore belli,
Pro vitenda mortalitate,
Pro sponso et sponsa.
"Missa sicca," or Dry Mass.--This is rarely in use to-day. Whether an
abuse, or simply from singularity, it was fairly widespread in the Middle
Ages. It was a Mass without Offertory, Consecration, or Communion; and thus
in reality not a Mass at all. Since there was neither Sacrifice nor
Sacrament, it was merely a rite (sacramental, if we wish to call it so)
which reproduced the ceremonies of the Mass, with the exception of the
parts mentioned. It was regarded as a substitute for Mass. Thus, for
marriages or deaths celebrated in the afternoon, a Dry Mass was said. As
many Dry Masses as it was wished to say from private devotion could be
celebrated on the same day; they were also said for those who wished to
have as many Masses on the same day as possible. Bona very justly protests
against this custom, which seems to him an abuse. As a private devotion,
the "Missa Sicca" is still in use among the Carthusians.
Mass of the Presanctified.--A very different thing is the dignity of this
Mass, of which we have already spoken. In the Greek rite it is much used
during Lent. Properly speaking, it is not a Mass, since the Sacrifice is
absent. But Holy Communion is given at it, and it was really instituted to
satisfy the piety of those who wished to communicate.
Some other kinds of Mass.--The "Missa Nautica" and "Missa Venatoria" are
also Dry Masses; since by reason of the fear of tempests, or for other
causes, the essential parts are suppressed.
1. op. cit., p. 44. Cf. also Fortescue, Votive Mass, in Catholic
2. See also our article "Missel" in DACL.
The Stational and Pontifical Mass is described in Chapter IV; see the
authors mentioned in the Bibliography of that chapter.
On the ceremonies of the Pontifical Mass, see also:
ADRIAN FORTESCUE "The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite" London, 1918) Cf. also
HAEGY, "Ceremonial" (edn. 1902), and L. HEBERT, "Lecons de Liturgie"
On Votive Masses the most scholarly work is that of AD. FRANZ, "Die Messe
in Deutschen Mittelalter" (Freibourg-im-Breisgau, 1902), PP. 115-292 For
the rules concerning these Masses, see HEBERT, loc. cit., Vol. II, P. 118.
FORTESCUE, in his work "The Mass," and in his articles to be found in the
"Catholic Encyclopaedia," gives some information as to these Masses.