Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Glagolitic Missal - Missale Romanum Slavonico Idiomate

Recently, one of our readers sent in something that we have yet to have shown here: scans from the last preconciliar edition of the Roman Missal in Glagolitic as published in 1927. (In point of fact, the reader in question sent in a scan of the entire missal, but for now I will simply show a few select pages from this.)

As it was explained to me, the 1927 edition of the Glagolitic Missal was transliterated into Latin script since knowledge of Glagolitic script was already in great decline by this time. Glagolitic script was only used for the Ordinary of the Mass and in parallel to the same in Latinized script.

For the sake of interest, however, let me first show you the original title page of the Glagolitic Missal as published in 1631; you can see the Glagolitic script beneath the Latin title:

Here then is the title page of the 1927 edition of the Glagolitic Missal:

Background of the Glagolitic Missal

Before we continue, a few words are likely in order about the Glagolitic Missal.

The Catholic Encyclopedia offers the following summary which should suffice to give the core background context:

These Slavs were converted to Christianity and to the Roman Rite by Latin missionaries, and gradually the Roman alphabet drove out the use of the Glagolitic, so that the Bohemians, Slovenians, Moravians, and part of the Croatians used Roman letters in writing their languages. In Southern Croatia and in Dalmatia (often treated as synonymous with Illyria in ancient times) the Glagolitic has continued in use as an ecclesiastical alphabet in writing the ancient Slavonic. Although the Slavic peoples bordering on the Adriatic Sea were converted to the Roman Rite, they received the privilege, as well as their brethren of the Greek Rite, of having the Mass and the offices of the Church said in their own tongue. Thus the Roman Mass was translated into the Slavonic, and, in order to more fully distinguish the Western Rite from the Eastern Rite among the Slavic peoples, the use of the Glagolitic alphabet was reserved exclusively for the service books of the Roman Rite, just as the Cyrillic was used for the Greek Rite.

The use of the Glagolitic Missal and office books, while permitted in general among the Slavs of Dalmatia and Croatia from the earliest times since the Slavonic became a liturgical language under Pope John VIII, was definitely settled by the Constitution of Urban VIII, dated 29 April, 1631, in which he provided for a new and corrected edition of the Slavic Missal conformable to the Roman editions. In 1648 Innocent X provided likewise for the Slavic Breviary...

For those who would like to read more about this a detailed consideration may also be found on pp. 58-67 of Archdale King's The Liturgy of the Roman Church.

Scans From the Glagolitic Missal

What follows then are a few pages from within the missal. I have tried to select pages which would be reasonably familiar to many of our readers. (Click on any of the photos to enlarge them.)

(The beginning of Mass)

And here in these images, we see the Glagolitic script in parallel to the Latin script:

(The Canon of the Mass)

(More from the Canon of the Mass)

For those who are curious about the chant:

Speaking of music, our reader also draws our attention to the following traditional Glagolitic liturgical chant. (Click the video as well as the audio samples in the grey box.) Other examples of Glagolitic church music are also available here, here and here.

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