Tuesday, November 08, 2011

The Mozarabic Rite: "Canon" to Communion and Dismissal

This article is a continuation of our series on the Mozarabic liturgy -- with a reminder, again, that while making some reference to the earlier liturgical books, we are primarily looking at the Mozarabic liturgy as it stood after the 16th century and the reforms of Cardinal Francisco Ximenes de Cisneros. I would make a further reminder that the intent here is not to cover all aspects or variances in a comprehensive manner, but instead guide one through the basic structure of the rite, while noting some points of interest along the way.

Previous installments in the series include:

The Mozarabic Rite: Introduction
The Mozarabic Rite: The Two Missals
The Mozarabic Rite: Introductory Rites and Lessons
The Mozarabic Rite: The Offertory to the Post Sanctus

* * *

In our previous installment, we considered the Offertory to Post-Sanctus. Our attention now turns to the Eucharistic prayer or Canon.

Within the Roman liturgical books, we are accustomed to the Canon of the Mass (Canon Missae) beginning with the Te igitur, in which the Pope and local bishop are prayed for, followed by the Memento Domini, or commemoration of the living, the Communicantes where various saints are invoked, including the twelve apostles and twelve other saints, the Hanc Igitur, Quam oblationem and finally the Qui pridie which takes us to the words of consecration. By comparison, in the Mozarabic liturgical books we see as follows:

Come, O come, Jesus, good high-priest, into our midst, as You were in the midst of Your disciples, and sanctify + this offering, + that we may receive hallowed things + through the hand of Your holy Angel, O holy Lord and Redeemer eternal.

Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night (the priest washes his fingers) on which He was betrayed, took bread, (the priest takes the host) and giving thanks, (the priest bows his head) blessed + and broke, and gave it to His disciples saying:

Receive and eat.


(The Host is elevated)

As often as you shall eat It, do this in memory + of Me. R: Amen.

In like manner the chalice also after He had supped, (the priest takes the chalice) saying:


(The chalice, covered with the pall, is elevated)

As often as you shall drink, do this in memory + of me. R: Amen.

With regard to this variation, Archdale King comments:
Qui pridie was the formula introducing the words of institution for all the Churches of Latin Christendom, Spain included, but at some unknown date an audacious change was made in the Mozarabic liturgy by the introduction of the prayer Adesto, Jesu bone and the replacing of the Qui pridie by in qua noctae, as in the Eastern liturgies."

The Liturgies of the Primatial Sees, p. 607.

Regarding the words of consecration, King further makes the following interesting point:
Hoc est enim Corpus meum. This Roman formula of consecration is prescribed in a footnote of the [Mozarabic] missal to be said exclusively, as also the Roman formula for the chalice, although the text [of the Mozarabic missal -- see image above right] provides a different form: Hoc est Corpus meum quod pro vobis tradetur.

Ibid., p. 608

The explanation offered for this textual discrepancy is that the older form continued to be given as a memorial to the antique usage, but in actual practice, the Roman form of consecration became the words used in practice.

The Creed

After some additional prayers following the consecration an interesting variation can be found. Namely, the recitation of the Creed (on Sundays and Festivals) -- which itself has some textual variances incidentally. In the Roman liturgical books the Creed is recited after the Gospel and Homily of course, but in the Mozarabic books, it is recited now, just shortly after the consecration. (Various sources surmise that this likely replaces an older chanted text, the confractorium.) The manner in which this is done is also interesting; the priest takes the consecrated host from the paten and places it over the uncovered chalice, elevating it so that the faithful may see, he invites the faithful to recite the Creed, which is then recited.

The Fraction

It is at this time that the Mozarabic fraction rite is performed, and of course, the fraction within the Mozarabic liturgy is surely one of its most interesting and distinctive aspects.

The host is broken into nine pieces in total and arranged on the paten in the form of a cross (see right; taken from a Mozarabic missal of 1792).

As each particle is broken off, the priest pronounces a respective mystery from Christ's life. Proceeding from the top down on the vertical axis of the cross:

1. Corporatio (i.e. Incarnation)
2. Nativitas
3. Circumcisio
4. Apparitio (i.e. Epiphany)
5. Passio

On the horizontal axis from left to right:

6. Mors
7. Resurrectio

To which is finally added the last two particles:

8. Gloria
9. Regnum

Archdale King offers a bit of historical context for this practice:

The unique method of the fraction in which the Host is divided into nine particles, and arranged symbolically on the paten in the form of a cross, is somewhat similar to what existed in the Gallican and Celtic rites... Sometimes the particles were arranged on the paten in such a manner as to represent the human form. Such a practice was denounced by the second council of Tours (567), and it was decreed that the portions should be arranged in the form of a cross. The Irish treatise on the Mass incorporated in the Celtic missal of Stowe (end of the 8th or beginning of the 9th century) speaks of the Host as divided in seven different ways according to the day. The number of particles varied from five at ordinary Masses to sixty-five on the principle feasts of Easter, Christmas and Pentecost. They were arranged in the form of a cross, with certain additional dispositions when they were numerous. At the Communion, each particle of the cross, or of its additions, was distributed to a special group of persons, that is priests, monks, etc. In the Mozarabic rite, the priest first divides the Host in the middle, placing one half on the paten, and dividing the other into five particles which he puts also on the paten. Then the first half is divided into four particles. Each fragment so formed bears the title of a mystery in the life of our Lord, which the priest enumerates at its specific fraction...

The ceremony of the fraction affords a parallel to the Byzantine proskomide, which is in fact an anticipation of the fraction of the consecrated bread.... Symbolism has suggested also that Corporatio is the first particle, as the Incarnation was the beginning of our salvation, whereas the arm of the cross is completed by Resurrectio, the mystery which consummated the Passion and Redemption. The particles Gloria and Regnum are so placed on the paten since Christ, the vanquisher of death, is seated on the right hand of the Father, and, although his kingdom is eternal, neither 'glory' nor 'kingdom' are limited to place or time.

-- The Liturgies of the Primatial Sees, pp. 615-617

Pater Noster

After purifying his fingers following the fraction and the recitation of another variable prayer, the Mozarabic liturgy proceeds to the praying of the Pater Noster. Following each of the petitions within the Pater the congregation would respond with "Amen." For example:

Our Father who are in Heaven.
R: Amen
Hallowed be Thy Name.
R: Amen
Thy Kingdom come.
R: Amen


Duchesne comments that evidence exists that in earlier Mozarabic practice, the priest and the faithful would have prayed the entire Pater together -- similar to the current practice of the modern Roman liturgy.


Following the "Our Father" comes a prayer which corresponds to the Nobis quoque of the Roman liturgy and the rite of commixture. At this point, the aforementioned "Regnum" particle would be dropped by the priest into the chalice, during which time the priest prays in the low voice the Sancta sanctis:

Holy things to the Holy, and may the uniting of the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ be to us who eat and drink for pardon and to the faithful departed for their rest.

Some will no doubt recognize the similarity here to the Byzantine liturgy. W.C. Bishop in The Mozarabic and Ambrosian Rites proposes, however, that this is not a survival of an earlier liturgical form, but rather a later adoption from the Byzantine liturgy. (cf. p. 42). King offers no particular comment other than to note it as an ancient Eastern formula also used in Gaul.

During Eastertide and during the Octave of Corpus Christi however, the Sancta sanctis is replaced by the following, said three times, each time with a slightly more elevated tone of voice:

The Lion of the tribe of Judah has conquered, the root of David, alleluia.

Each time the schola responds: You Who sits upon the Cherubim, the root of David, alleluia.

Blessing and Communion

Next follows the blessing and communion of the priest. The blessing is particular to each Mass in Mozarabic rite.

For the priest's communion, the priest takes the "Gloria" particle from the paten, the largest of the particles, and, having prayed a memento for the dead, consumes the Gloria particle first, and then consumes all the remaining particles in the inverse order of the fraction rite. Before doing so he prays a prayer which was found in medieval liturgies such as that of Salisbury, imported by Cardinal Ximenes de Cisneros from the medieval Roman missal of Toledo into the Missale Gothicum according to King:

Hail forever, most holy flesh of Christ, supreme sweetness for eternity.

Hail forever, O heavenly drink, which is sweet to me before all things and above all things.

Communion of the faithful would follow, which was always given to the faithful under both kinds.

Here followed the ablutions, the postcommunion (completuria), dismissal and finally, kneeling before the middle of the altar, the Salve Regina.

This concludes this quick overview of the basic structure of the Mozarabic liturgy

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