Monday, October 12, 2009

The Mozarabic Rite: Introductory Rites and Lessons

In the first two parts of this series (see below), we considered the origin of the term "Mozarabic" and also considered the two missals of the Mozarabic liturgy of the past few centuries. (Earlier this year as well, while not part of this series, we also covered the unique form of fraction in the Mozarabic rite.)

At this point, given the amount of time between this third part and the previous two, I would again make note that our considerations here will especially relate to the form of the Mozarabic liturgy as it stood from the 16th century onward (excluding considerations of the post-conciliar Mozarabic books), with some references to its more ancient form; that is, from the time of Cardinal Francisco Ximenes de Cisneros, who, in 1500 and 1502, printed new editions of the Mozarabic missal and breviary -- the Missale Mixtum and Breviarium Gothicum. As was the case in so many of the Western rites, it came under Romanizing influences, with the mediaeval Roman missal of Toledo being rather freely borrowed from in this later incarnation of the Mozarabic liturgy. (This said, the 19th century English liturgiologist, Edmund Bishop, was still of the personal opinion that despite this relatively free borrowing, the Missale Mixtum -- or later called the Missale Gothicum -- "may safely be considered a sufficiently good and safe representative for working purposes of the missal in use in Spain in the 7th and even the 6th century." Liturgical Note to the Book of Cerne, p. 239.)

This noted, we turn our attention to the preparatory prayers, opening rites and readings. (Please note, not all of the potential variations and details are necessarily going to being included here, though we will try to cover as much as possible. I would also note that not all of what is presented can be understood as absolute, as we find instances where practice and rubrics and regulations may not have aligned.)

The Introductory Rites

The prayers at the foot of the altar at the beginning of the Mozarabic liturgy are accomplished quite similarly to the Roman liturgy we know, with some variation in the texts. This is for good reason, for as The Catholic Encyclopedia notes, "a good deal of this preliminary matter was borrowed by Cardinal Ximenes from the Toletan (Roman) Missal, and is not Mozarabic" in its historical origins. Archdale King also notes in Liturgies of the Primatial Sees, that the preparatory prayers generally were a later Romanization of the historical form of the Mozarabic liturgy. Indeed, he notes that the 16th century edition of the Mozarabic missal often employed various borrowings from the medieval Roman usage of Toledo.

After the priest ascends to the altar, he makes the sign of the cross upon the altar, saying the In nomine, kisses the altar and then proceeds to the adoration of the Cross, which King attributes to being adopted from the mediaeval Toledan use as well:

"Hail, O Precious Cross, which was adorned by Christ's body and adorned by his members as so many pearls; save thou the crowd of those now present all gathered together in thy praise.

V: We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee.
R: Because by thy Holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.

"Let us pray. Hear us O God our salvation and by the triumph of the Holy Cross defend us from all dangers. Through Christ our Lord. Amen."

Further prayers follow this and shortly after these, many sources suggest that the priest would at this point lay out the corporal and prepare the chalice. (Some may recognize this from the similar practice found in the Low Mass of the Dominican rite.) However, it should be noted, as The Catholic Encyclopedia notes, that in the "Missa Omnium Offerentium there is a direction to put wine into the chalice during the Epistle", however they continue, "but it is not done." (See "Mozarabic Rite") Dom Fernand Cabrol in The Mass of the Western Rites also makes note of a similar rubric, though doesn't comment on the issue of whether it was followed. King in Notes on the Catholic Liturgies further makes note of this situation and surmises various possibilities, including that the preparation of the chalice may have taken a similar form as that seen in the Dominican rite, with it being done at the beginning of Mass in the instance of Low Mass, and around the time of the Epistle during Solemn Mass. This is only a theory however.

Regardless, we then proceed to what amounts to the beginning of the Mozarabic liturgy prior to the Missale of Cardinal Ximenes de Cisneros; namely to the Antiphona ad praelegendum, or the "Officium" as it is known from the 16th century Mozarabic books on; that is to say, it approximates to what is called the Introit in the Roman liturgical books, or to the "Ingressa" in the Ambrosian.

This completed, rather than going into the Kyrie as per the Roman rite, the Gloria is then recited in its proper seasons. This is deemed a later Roman importation, coming around the latter part of the 8th century and both Msgr. Duchesne (Christian Worship) and Adrian Fortescue (The Mass) suggest the Gloria may have replaced the Trisagion.

The Collect is then prayed.

The Lessons

We now proceed to the lessons or readings.

First there is a reading from the Old Testament prophecies (or during the Easter season, a reading from the Book of Revelation). It is suggested that in the earlier history of the Mozarabic liturgy, this was the beginning of their liturgy following the liturgical greeting -- and so apparently continued to be on days of fast. However, with regard to this Old Testament prophecy reading a couple of notes are in order. The first is that both Archdale King and Dom Cabrol note that this reading later came to be suppressed as far as Sundays were concerned. However, during Lent and on days of fast, there were actually two Old Testament readings (one from the books of Solomon and one from the Pentateuch or historical books) -- in these instances, there were also two New Testament lessons.

On Sundays and Feast days, the "Hymnus Trium Puerorum" or Benedicite (an abridged form of the Canticle of the Three Youths from the Book of Daniel) was sung. Historically speaking, W.C. Bishop notes that the Benedicite was to be required at all Masses by the fourth Council of Toledo in A.D. 633, but that "its use was by no means constant and appears to have been subject to much variation." (The Mozarabic and Ambrosian Rites: Four Essays in Comparative Liturgiology, "The Mass in Spain", p. 23) Archdale King further notes that the Missale itself would seem to restrict its use to the first Sunday of Lent and the Feast of St. James.

The Hymnus Trium Puerorum as seen within the Omnium Offerentium

The Psallendo, psalm verses, then come as a form of chanted responsory -- formerly sung by a cantor or multiple cantors from the "lesson" or "prophecy" ambo with the choir singing the response. (St. Isidore of Seville historically identifies three types of ambos; one for the prophecy, psallendum, benedictiones, and epistle; one for the gospel and homily; and one, the tribunal, reserved for the priest or bishop.)

The Psallendo for the Feast of the Nativity. The P. denotes a repetition of the phrase following the * symbol. Note that the "Silentium facite" which precedes the reading of the Epistle (see more on this below) is also seen here.

During some of Lent, the psallendo were replaced by the "Trenos" which approximated the "Tract" of the Roman liturgical books -- some sources suggest the texts were taken from Lamentations, Jeremiah or Job. These were non-responsory. In the 16th century Missale Mixtum the title of "Tractus" was adopted, while also reducing these chants to three verses. These were followed by the Preces; a short penitential litany which were prayed kneeling before the altar. On the Palm Sunday however, the Traditio Symboli would be used.

A Detail of the Preces from the 5th Sunday of Lent

Prior to the 16th century Missale Mixtum there was also the Clamor which followed the psallendo on more solemn feasts, which was also taken from the psalter, and which was responded to antiphonally by an acclamation on the part of the faithful; these included "Deo gratias", "Kyrie eleison, Deo Gratias" and "Deo gratias, Kyrie eleison" and may have been repeated several times. King identifies the clamor as unique to the Mozarabic liturgy, though as was noted, it did not find a presence in the Ximenes de Cisneros edition of the Mozarabic books.

Following this, the deacon or priest proclaims "Silentium facite", a call for silence. The Epistle is then read. [At this point I would simply make note about the question addressed earlier as to when the chalice was prepared.]

After the reading of the epistle has concluded, no chant follows as per the Roman liturgy. Instead, after the priest greets the faithful and some private preparatory prayers are said, the Gospel immediately follows. "At the Gospel both lights and incense are used 'more Romano', and while it is being sung, [at solemn Mass] the "Liber Omnium Offerentium' containing the Ordinary of the Mass, is placed on the Epistle side of the altar, so that the priest has in the left-hand missal the 'variables' and in that on the right the 'constants.'" (King, Notes on the Catholic Liturgies, p.289)

At the conclusion of the Gospel, the sign of the cross is made on the book, it is kissed, and the following prayer is said:

"Hail divine word, reformation of virtues, restorer of health."

The Lauda or laudes chants, composed of alleluias and psalm verses, were then sung. (The Alleluias being suppressed in Lent.)

This brings us to the end of the Mass of the Catechumens and the transition to the Mass of the Faithful.

* * *

A word about a couple of distinctive repetitive texts found within the Mozarabic liturgy might be further briefly mentioned.

While we are all quite accustomed with "Dominus vobiscum" (The Lord be with you), within the Mozarabic books this is "Dominus sit semper vobiscum", the Lord be always with you. The response is the same: And with your spirit.

As well, the "Gloria Patri" (Glory be to the Father) becomes "Gloria et honor Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto in sæcula sæculorum," Glory and honour to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, forever and ever.

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Previous Installments

The Mozarabic Rite: Introduction

The Mozarabic Rite: The Two Missals

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