Saturday, April 07, 2007

A Dominican Triduum

Blackfriars' chapel

Photos from the Good Friday liturgy at the Dominican priory of the Holy Spirit in Oxford are now available online, including photos from Tenebrae, with yours truly as first Cantor!

Tenebrae in our tradition ends with a troped Kyrie sung by the four cantors and in our Province, the final 'Mortem autem crucis' is sung by the cantors an octave above the responding note of the choir, and sung at full volume. The cantors then immediately fall to the ground in a full prostration. This is rather dramatic and spine-tingling! Today, on Holy Saturday, the prayer of Jeremiah was sung.

A beautiful moment in the Good Friday liturgy was the ancient practice of Creeping to the Cross which Mgr Langham also writes about at his Westminster cathedral blog. In the Dominican tradition as celebrated in Oxford, the friars really do creep to the Cross, approaching the throne of mercy, seen above, where the Cross is placed. As the friars draw near to the Cross, they make three prostrations along the way: once at the chancel arch, again in the middle of the choir and again in front of the Cross and then they come up to kiss the relic of the True Cross. The laity then come forward, kneeling at those three points as they venerate the Lord's holy Cross. Photos of this ritual are posted here.

Also online is a video of the sung Passion, set to Dominican chant in English. This was sung yesterday with a choir singing the parts of the 'Turba'. The traditional chant settings of the Reproaches in Latin, Greek and English was also sung, along with the 'Miserere' by Allegri and 'Adoramus te' by Lassus. More photos of our Blackfriars liturgy may be seen here.

Below is a video of the Exsultet, with my own photos of stained glass to illustrate the sacred text. The translation (including references to the bees!) is particular to our priory and it is set to Dominican chant. As such, it differs from the tune found in the Roman Missal, which we may be more familiar with. Notably, each time the words "This is the night" is sung, the music is different and gets more elaborate.

Easter Monday UPDATE:


Our Easter Triduum liturgical celebrations ended with solemn Vespers in the priory church at which the responsory 'Christus resurgens' was sung to Dominican chant. Above, the High Altar is incensed during the Magnificat. More photos here.

'Gaudium Paschale' from Oxford!

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