Monday 13 April 2009

Chacun à son gout!

How humiliating! Last night in bed I began to get horrible pains in my left foot; even the light pressure of the duvet was painful. And, today, the National Health website confirms the dreadful truth. I think I have gout! But there is one consolation; it kindly waited to the end of the Triduum to strike. I don't think I could have endured the ceremonies with this!
In the meantime, while I accept this for my dreadful sins &c, I am embarrassed to think that (given the traditional—but inaccurate—attribution of overindulgence as the cause) it has happened at the end of Lent, of all times!

Sunday 12 April 2009

Happy Easter!

Paschal moon, Shoreham Beach

Picture by my friend, Tommy Heyne

Saturday 11 April 2009

Sarum Holy Saturday

The Easter Vigil
The priest to bless the fire is dressed in sacerdotal vestments with a silk cope; deacon and subdeacon wear tunicles, the others with amice and alb. Another cleric in a surplice carries a long candlestick (hastam) with an unlit candle on it. There are no acolyte candles and the thurible is unlit. As they process to a corner of the church near the font, they say (not sing) the psalm Dominus illuminatio mea without Gloria Patri. All lights in the church are extinguished.

This hasta has a strange appearance in the wonderful diagrams in the Sarum Processionale. The top is three pronged, and it looks as if it might simply be the triple ‘reed’ familiar to the pre-1950 Vigil. Or the three prongs might simply be to hold the candle steady. Further down the shaft, however, it looks as if there is a boar’s head impaled on it, with the length emerging from its mouth.

The celebrant stands next to the fire, facing east, the deacon on his left and the subdeacon to the left of the deacon. One candlebearer stands opposite the celebrant, at his right a boy holds the book near the celebrant. To his right is the holy water bearer, and in the last place, behind everyone, to the west, stands the hasta bearer. To the south stands the thurifer, and the choir of clergy to the north. All face the celebrant.

The fire is blessed and sprinkled, and the incense is blessed at great length. Coals are placed in the thurible, then incense, and the fire is censed. The candle on the hasta is lit from the new fire. The procession moves to the Quire as two clerics sing the following hymn. The first verse is sung as a sort of chorus by the whole choir after each other verse sung by the clerics. While the clerics sing, they stand still and the rest of the procession moves on. While the choir sings, they stand still and the clerics move and catch up.

Inventor rutili dux bone luminis
Qui certis vicibus tempora dividis,
Merso sole chaos ingruit horridum,
Lucem redde tuis Christe fidelibus.

Quamvis innumero sidere regia (regiam)
Lunarique polum lampade pinxeris,
Incussu silicis lumina nos tamen
Monstras saxigeno semine quærere.

Ne nesciret homo spem sibi luminis
In Christi solido corpore conditam,
Qui dici stabilem se voluit Petram,
Nostris igniculis unde genus venit.

Splendet ergo tuis muneribus, Pater,
Flammis mobilibus scilicet atria,
Absentemque diem lux agit æmula,
Quam nox cum lacero victa fugit peplo,

Per quem splendet honor, laus, sapientia,
Majestas, bonitas et pietas tua,
Regnum contineant Numine triplici,
Texens perpetuis sæcula sæculis.

The deacon now proceeds to the blessing of the paschal candle, standing at the presbytery step facing north. He begins the Exsultet (mostly the standard ancient text). He pauses at
In hujus igitur noctis gratia suscipe, sancte Pater… to insert the five incense grains into the candle or the candlestick, and continues …incensi huius sacrificium vespertinum.

He pauses again after Sed iam columnæ huius præconia novimus quam in honorem Dei rutilans ignis accendit to allow the paschal candle to be lit. In Salisbury and, presumably, in other major churches this must have been quite a sight as it required getting a light to an enormous height. It was presumably usually lit and extinguished from the triforium, and no doubt the light had been taken there by another cleric, though the missal does not say this.

There is a note here to say that the candle must remain alight until Compline of Easter Sunday, and must be lit during the Octave at Matins, Mass and Vespers. Thereafter it is only lit at Mass, except on greater feasts, when it is lit as in the Octave.

The deacon resumes the Exsultet; there is a variant of the text in this section: there is no prayer for the Emperor, but instead, at the end we get:
Precamur ergo te, Domine, ut nos famulos tuos, omnem clerum et devotissimum populum, una cum patre nostro papa N., atque rege nostro N., necnon et episcopo nostro N., quiete temporum concessa, in his paschalibus gaudiis conservare digneris, Qui semper vivis, regnas, imperas, necnon et gloriaris, solus Deus, solus Altissimus, Jesu Christe cum Sancto Spiritu, in gloria Dei Patris. Amen.

The celebrant now reads the Officium (Introit) and goes to put on the chasuble, laid on the ‘altare autentica’. This seems to mean the high altar, and since there was a mention which I found late yesterday which suggested that on Good Friday the third Host was brought from the ‘altare autentica’, then it seems that on Maundy Thursday the Blessed Sacrament was simply reserved in the pyx over the high altar as usual.
There are no prayers at the foot of the altar, but simply Pater noster, then the celebrant kisses the altar with the ministers (I think this means that they are simply with him, not that they kiss the altar too) and goes to sit down. The hasta candle is taken away. Now the readings begin. of which there are not twelve, but simply four, almost identical to the Pius XII Vigil (the third reading has one more verse), which perhaps gives the latter considerably more authenticity than I had previously suspected.

Now follows the ‘sevenfold litany’ (septiformis letania), sung by seven boys in seven surplices. The celebrant takes off the chasuble and puts on a red silk cope, standing before the altar to the end of the litany. A bishop stands at the throne. The litany has all the normal saints one would expect, plus a few others; Maurice and his companions, Aldhelm, Germanus, Romanus, Brigid.
Then follows the ‘fivefold litany’, (quinquepartita letania, or letania ad fontes) sung by five deacons in five surplices, with a slightly different selection of saints, during which a procession moves off to the font in order to bless it. The acolyte leads it, vested in tunicle and carrying a processional cross, and two deacons carry the oils to pour into the font.

There is an interesting clause in the Processionale:
In his duabus letaniis, non dicatur Pater de Cælis neque Fili Redemptor mundi Deus, neque Spiritus Sancte Deus neque Sancta Trinitas, unus Deus. Gelasius Papa ostendit dicens; Quia ipse qui Pater et Filius et Spiritus Sanctus, una persona in Trinitate et tres personæ in Unitate, et in sepulchro se custodiri promittitur, omnino de adhuc surrexerat a mortuis qui voluit propetiam implere, sed jacuit in sepuchro usque ad tertium diem, quod bene istæ prædictæ quatuor clausulæ in his letaniis possunt prætermitti.
The font blessing is long, and at the end we have another hymn (also called a letania) sung by three senior clerics in silk copes: again there is a chorus to each verse. It would go to ‘Christ is made the sure foundation’ (but I’m sure it didn’t!)

ex sanctorum angelorum, totum mundum adjuva.
Ora primum tu pro nobis, Virgo mater Germinis.
Et ministri Patris summi ordinis angelici.

Supplicate Christo regi cœtus apostolici
Supplicetque permagnorum sanguis fusus martyrum.

Implorate confessores consonæque virgines.
Quo donetur magnæ nobis tempus indulgentiæ.

Omnes sancti atque justi, nos precamur cernui,
Ut purgetur crimen omne vestro sub oramine.

Hujus, Christe Pater alme, plebis vota suscipe,
Qui plasmati protoplastum et genus gignentium

Præsta Patris atque Nati compar Sancte Spiritus,
Ut te solum semper omni diligamus tempore.

And now the Mass begins with the Kyrie Lux et Origo, the celebrant and ministers beginning with the confiteor and omitting the initial pax.

Lux et origo lucis summæ, Deus, eleyson.
In cujus nutu cuncta constant semper, eleyson.
Qui solus potes misereri, nobis eleyson.

Redemptor hominum et salus eorum, benigne nobis eleyson.
Per crucem redempti a morte perenni, te exoramus, eleyson.
Qui es Verbum Patris, sator pietatis, lux veritatis, eleyson.

Paraclyte, Spiritus Sancte, Deus, nobis eleyson.
Medicina nostra et misericordia, eleyson.
Trinitas et unitas sancta, nostri semper eleyson.

The celebrant intones Gloria in excelsis Deo, and everybody kneels and takes off his black cloak. I think the Dominicans still do this. All the bells in the tower are rung as the Gloria proceeds.

The collect and epistle are as in the ancient Roman rite, and this done, two clerics in silk copes go to the pulpitum to intone the Alleluia, which is repeated by the choir, continuing Confitemini Domino quoniam bonus. They end with Alleluia again, ‘cum neuma’ and then the two clerics sing Alleluia again ‘sine neuma’. Then follows the Tract, and the Gospel from the pulpitum, without cross, and the candlebearers carrying unlit candles.

The offertory verse is omitted, and the Mass continues paschally as normal until the Agnus and Pax, which are both omitted, but after a pause Vespers is commenced, as in the Roman ancient use.

After the postcommunion/collect, the people are dismissed with Ite missa est, alleluia.

At Vespers on Easter Sunday there is a procession to the font, solemnly carrying the oils.

Friday 10 April 2009

Sarum Good Friday

After the office of None, (the ninth hour, of course, corresponding to three in the afternoon, though the service almost certainly took place in the morning) the celebrant goes to the altar vested in red chasuble, with the deacon, subdeacon and acolyte simply in amice and alb. Directly, the acolyte goes to the choir step to read (unannounced) Hosea 6:1-6, as in the ancient Roman use. The choir then recite the tract, which is followed by a collect. Then the subdeacon reads Exodus 12:1-11, and there is another tract. St John’s passion follows.
Two cloths have been laid on the altar, and when the stripping of Jesus is described, the cloths are removed. At the Lord’s death, there is a pause, all saying Pater, Ave and In manus tuas. The last part of the passion, describing the burial is separately labelled ‘Evangelium’.
The solemn prayers follow directly, with a direction that there be no flectamus genua at the prayer for the Jews.
The celebrant removes his chasuble at the sedilia and sits with the sacred ministers. Two priests in unapparelled albs and with bare feet go behind the high altar on the right side and sing Popule meus, holding up the veiled cross. Three deacons in black copes sing hagios ho theos, the choir of clergy responding Sanctus Deus, kneeling and kissing the benches.
The priests holding the cross uncover it, singing both the Ecce lignum and venite adoremus. The choir, kissing the benches, reply with the Crucem tuam, following it with the psalm Deus misereatur, repeating the crucem tuam after each verse.

The cross is meanwhile placed on the third step of the altar, the two priests sitting on either side of it. The clergy, with bare feet, approach and venerate it. Crux fidelis and Pange Lingua are sung. The cross is then carried to an altar outside the choir for veneration by the people. It is then carried to the high altar.

The priest vests again in chasuble and begins Mass with confiteor up to aufer a nobis in the usual way, but without the customary pax between the sacred ministers before ascending the altar.
The Blessed Sacrament is brought to the altar; it is censed, and wine and water put in the chalice. In spiritu, orate fratres are said as usual. This is immediately followed by the Pater noster and what follows. So it would seem that there is no Canon, as appears in the pre-1955 Roman use. The host is broken as usual and a fragment placed in the wine. There is no pax, nor Agnus Dei, and the priest communicates as usual. After the priest cleans his hands, the office of Vespers begins. At the end, the priest says the collect Respice, which serves as the Postcommunion. Thus Mass and Vespers end.

After this, the priest removes the chasuble again, and with another priest, and barefooted, he places the cross together with the third consecrated Host (in a pyx) in the Easter sepulchre. All kneel. The celebrant alone rises and intones the responsory Aestimatus sum, whereupon all rise. The sepulchre is censed and closed. The celebrant intones another responsory, Sepulto Domino, and a couple more, In Pace in idipsum dormiam et requeiscam, and Caro mea requiescet in spe, during which all kneel until the end of the service. All pray quietly on their knees for a while, then leave as they wish, in no particular order. The celebrant resumes the chasuble and leaves with the sacred ministers.

At least one candle is left burning at the sepulchre until the Easter Vigil, to be extinguished during the singing of the Benedictus at Lauds, and again [so it must have been relit] during the Easter Vigil, when the great paschal candle (the missal directs that this is to be 36 feet high!) is lit.

For an account of Good Friday in pre-Reformation Durham, go here, to Joe versus the Volcano.

The picture shows the surviving Easter Sepuchre at Woodleigh in Devon.

Thursday 9 April 2009

Sarum Maundy Thursday

The first thing to take place was the reconciliation of penitents, after the office of None (sung, of course, in the morning). A senior priest goes to the west door wearing a red silk cope, accompanied by two deacons in alb and amice (but no subdeacons). Instead of a processional cross, the procession moves through the choir headed by a penitential banner. Those who are to be reconciled wait in the atrium. If the bishop is present, the archdeacon reads a long statement (‘Adest, O venerabilis pontifex, tempus acceptum’) on behalf of the penitents. The bishop, inside the door but turned to the north, intones the antiphon ‘venite, venite’ and beckons the penitents with his hand. One deacon, outside with the penitents, says ‘flectamus genua’ and the other, inside, says ‘Levate’. This all takes place three times, though after the third repetition of the antiphon, there is no Flectamus, but the whole psalm Benedicam with Gloria Patri (despite it being Maundy Thursday), the antiphon being repeated after every verse. During this, each penitent is taken to a priest (for absolution?), and by him is restored to the bosom of the Church (et ab ipso restituantur Ecclesiæ gremio). If the bishop is present, the archdeacon conducts each penitent to him for reconciliation. The procession goes to the Quire in the usual way, and there, kneeling, the seven penitential psalms are sung, again with Gloria Patri. There is a Pater noster, and a few collects, and finally the priest, hand extended and turned to the people, speaks (not sings) the following:
Absolvimus vos vice beati Petri apostolorum principis, cui collata est a Domino potestas ligandi atque solvendi, et, quantum ad vos pertinet accusatio et ad nos remissio, sit vobis omnipotens Deus vita et salus et omnium peccatorum vestrorum pius indultor. Qui vivit &c.
If a bishop is present, he gives a blessing, and then the Mass begins.

Mass is a little unusual, too. The Officium (introit) is as the Roman use, Nos autem gloriari, but Gloria Patri is only sung if the bishop celebrates. Likewise, there is no Gloria in excelsis unless the bishop is there. The farced Kyrie ‘Conditor’ is mandated for all celebrations, however.

Conditor, Kyrie, omnium, ymas creaturarum, eleyson.
Tu nostra delens crimina, nobis incessanter eleyson.
Ne sinas perire facturam: sed clemens ei eleyson.

Christe, Patris unice, natus de virgine, nobis eleyson.
Mundum perditum qui tuo sanguine salvasti de morte, eleyson.
Ad te nunc clamantum preces exaudias pius, eleyson.

Spiritus alme, tua nos reple gratia, eleyson.
A Patre et Nato qui manus jugiter, nobis eleyson.
Trinitas sancta, trina Unitas, simul adoranda,
Nostrorum scelerum vincula resolve redimens a morte,
Omnes proclamemus nunc voce dulciflua, Deus, eleyson.

The collect is a variant of the Roman one, the Epistle and Gospel are identical. The gradual, too is the same, with the note that if the bishop celebrate, it is either repeated or not repeated (some books have nisi, others ubi!). The Gospel is read ‘in pulpito, more dominicali’ (!) and if the bishop celebrate, then the Gospel is proclaimed ‘more duplicis festi’, and Credo is sung.

The offertorium and secret are the same as at Rome. Meanwhile the subdeacon (or deacon, again a variant) prepares three hosts for consecration. The preface is simply the common daily preface.

There is no separate Chrism Mass, but when he celebrates, the bishop blesses the oils during the Canon of this Mass. At Te igitur, three servers vest in amice and alb, and take up a banner. Three deacons carry the vessels in humeral veils, and a fourth carries a canopy. The archdeacons fill the vessels with oilp.
Before the Per ipsum, the bishop stands aside and the oil of the sick is brought to him, which he blesses.

The oil of catechumens is brought before the blessing (which happens after the Pater Noster, extraordinarily, and is only ever given by a bishop). The bishop then proceeds to the throne.

The Chrism is then solemnly brought in for consecration. First there are three banners, then two acolytes in albs, then two thurifers, then two subdeacons with the book of Epistles and the book of the Gospels, then three singing boys in surplices, then the deacon with the Chrism, the canopy over it.

The three boys in surplices are directed to sing this splendid hymn as they walk before the oil:

Redemptor, sume carnem temet concinentium.
Audi judex mortuorum una spes mortalium.
Audi voces proferentum, dona pacis præmium.
Assit flamen sacrosanctum, olim per diluvium
Qui ramum tulit olivæ ad archam Ecclesiæ.
Arbor fœta alma luce hoc sacrandum protulit,
Fert hoc prona præsens turba Salvatori sæculi,
Consecrare tu dignare, Rex perennis patriæ,
Hoc oleum signum vivum contra jura dæmonum.
Ut novetur sexus omnis unctione chrismatis,
Et medetur sauciata dignitatis gloria.
Stans ad aram, immo supplex, infulatus pontifex
Debitum persolvat omne consecrato consecrato chrismate;
Sit hæc dies festa nobis sæculorum sæculis;
Sit sacrata laude digna nec senescat tempore;
Laus perennis Deo Patri gloriaque Filio,
Honor, virtus ac potestas amborum Paraclito.

The bishop returns to the altar to infuse balsam into the oil and bless the chrism.

Today the Agnus Dei is not said (unless the bishop celebrates when the veneration of the chrism replaces the pax—the chrism is carried to each cleric as a pax brede).

After the communion verse is sung, the office of Vespers immediately begins with the first antiphon. Gloria Patri is not sung at the office. After the Magnificat, the postcommunion prayer is sung. Ite Missa est is only sung if a bishop celebrate, otherwise it is Benedicamus Domino.

Everyone now goes to lunch (and yes, the missal does say that).

After lunch, water is blessed privately. Two senior priests with deacons and subdeacons and candle bearers all vested in amices and albs go to the high altar and wash it with wine and water while the responsory In monte Oliveti is sung, without Gloria Patri. Then the antiphon and collect of the saint in whose honour the altar is consecrated is read, and the same process is carried out for all the altars in the church. There are a lot of responsories provided for singing meanwhile.
Then everyone goes to the chapter house for the Mandatum.
The Gospel from the Mass is read again, and a sermon is preached. The same priests who washed the altars rise and each wash the feet of all the clergy from one side of the choir, and then each other’s. There are lots more antiphons and responsories to sing meanwhile. Then all share a ‘loving-cup’, while Christ’s farewell discourse is read, (John 13:16—14:31) and the celebration concludes with some prayers and then all return to the church where they recite the office of Compline privately.

As to what happened to the Blessed Sacrament, whether it was placed in an altar of repose, or in the sepulchre, or simply returned to its usual place of reservation, the books I have are silent.
After I wrote this post, I discovered a reference to the third Host being brought from the 'Altare Authentica' to bury in the sepulchre on Good Friday. This altare authentica is probably to be identified with the high altar, and therefore we assume that there is no altar of repose, but that the Blessed Sacrament is simply reserved at, or over, the high altar as usual. The ceremonies that we associate with the altar of repose are observed the following night, then, at the sepulchre.

Monday 6 April 2009


Fr Ray (of St Mary Magdalene's) and I met up today, and over lunch we discussed a number of issues, but one subject that came up was of particular interest to me. It concerns the offertory of the Mass (or, if you prefer, the preparation of the gifts). I expressed a hope that a new edition of the Missale Romanum might provide the possibility of using the traditional offertory prayers within the Ordinary Form Mass.
The Consilium who drew up the Novus Ordo Missæ originally planned simply to have the bread and wine placed on the altar and then a prayer over the gifts said. The reason was probably that offering a 'Spotless Victim' before the said Victim was actually present was thought a bit odd. But many felt that apparently abandoning any sort of an offertory was a step too far, and so the berakah prayers ('Blessed are you, Lord') were composed and then the orate fratres reinstated.
My quibble is that although the new berakah prayers are oblationary, what they offer is not the spotless Victim, but bread and wine. In what sense do we offer bread and wine to God, and why? The Mass offers Christ, the spotless victim; the people offer praise and thanksgiving, and their whole lives: their sacrifice is obvious. But is bread and wine a New Testament sacrifice? In this context, the Anglican fudge statement of we 'bring before you' this bread and wine (or whatever) would be much better for the 'offertory'.
It has been a modern (probably since Thomas Aquinas, or Peter Lombard perhaps) trend to identify particular moments in the Mass; now is the consecration, now is the calling down of the Holy Spirit, this is the oblation—I'm not really sure that the historical liturgy saw it quite that way, but rather that the Immaculate Victim was offered from the offertory to the communion (in time, while eternally out of time). A sacrifice of bread and wine simply doesn't come into it.
What do you think?
p.s. I hope you like the picture!

Notker Balbulus

Today is the feast day of blessed Notker the Stammerer who died on this day in the year 912.  He was a monk of the abbey of Sankt Gallen and was principally famous for his versification. He may have stammered with his mouth, but he was eloquent with his pen.
He was in the past credited with inventing the Sequence, by which I mean the prolongation of the Alleluia at Mass which, they think, grew out of the jubilus, or very long melisma that prolonged the singing of Alleluia on feast days, simply by adding a poem to be sung to the same melody.
The Mediæval Mass had a Sequence almost every day, but most of them were excised at the Renaissance (though it was the Renaissance that beatified Notker in 1512), and I don't think any of the surviving ones are by our friend. Rather unaccountably Bugnini, in his iconoclastic way, changed the position of the Sequence to before the Alleluia in the 1970 missal, thus severing its connection with the ancient past, and, indeed, its very raison d'etre. I really miss the final Alleluia after Amen in the sequence, especially after the Easter and Pentecost sequences—I find the concluding Alleluia melodically and emotionally very satisfying. It feels bald without it.
Notker is also famous for writing one of the two biographies of Charlemagne (the other being by Einhard).

Here is Notker's Sequence for Pentecost:
Sancti Spiritus
Adsit nobis gratia
Quae corda nostra sibi
Faciat habitaculum
Expulsis inde cunctis
Vitiis spiritalibus.
Spiritus alme, illustrator hominum,
Horridas nostrae mentis
Purga tenebras.
Amator sanctae sensatorum
Semper cogitatuum,
Infunde unctionem tuam,
Clemens nostris sensibus.
Tu purificator omnium
Flagitiorum Spiritus,
Purifica nostri oculum
Interioris hominis;
Ut videri supremus
Genitor possit a nobis,
Mundi cordis quem soli
Cernere possunt oculi.
Prophetas tu inspirasti, ut praeconia
Christi praecinuissent inclyta.
Apostolos confortasti, ut trophaeum
Christi per totum mundum veherent
Quando machinam per Verbum suum
Fecit Deus coeli, terrae, maris,
Tu super aquas foturus eas, numen
Tuum expandisti, Spiritus.
Tu animabus vivificandis
Aquas fecundas,
Tu, aspirando da spiritales
Esse homines.
Tu divisum per linguas mundum
Et ritus adunasti, Spiritus.
Idololatras ad cultum
Dei revocas,
Magistrorum optime.
Ergo nos supplicantes tibi
Exaudi propitius, sancte Spiritus,
Sine quo preces omnes cassae
Creduntur et indignae
Dei auribus.
Tu, qui omnium saeculorum sanctos,
Tui numinis docuisti instinctu,
Amplectendo spiritus;
Ipse, hodie apostolos Christi
Donans munere insolito
Et cunctis inaudito seclis,
Hunc diem gloriosum fecisti.

You can find his whole book of Sequences here, at Migne's Patrology on-line.

Sunday 5 April 2009

Holy week.

'Wry don, wry don in majesty'
It must be holy week! 

Five services down, thirteen to go.

Wednesday 1 April 2009

EF Holy Week

The Latin Mass Society request that I direct you to this account of the Triduum celebrations to take place in the Extraordinary form this year.