THE MASS OF THE WESTERN RITES By the Right Reverend Dom Fernand Cabrol
THE MASS IN GAUL
The Mass of the Catechumens. — The Mass of the Faithful.
In the volume on "Books of the Latin Liturgy" (Sands & Co., London), pp.
96-103, we have mentioned the different documents by the aid of which the
Gallican Mass may be reconstituted and the origins of this liturgy
established. On this subject we have also stated that for the description
of the Gallican Mass no reliance can be placed on the pretended letters of
St. Germain of Paris, though this has been done too often. These letters
are not a document of the middle of the sixth century, but an anonymous
treatise written a century later (ibid., p. 99). We must therefore, like
Mabillon and, more recently, Dom Wilmart (DACL, "Germain, Lettres de St."),
keep solely to the other documents which we possess on this subject, and to
the texts of contemporary authors, the most valuable of which is that of
Gregory of Tours. A very complete bibliography of all these documents will
be found in the article ("Gallicanes Liturgies)" of Dom Leclercq, DACL.
THE MASS OF THE CATECHUMENS
The Gallican Pre-Mass, or Mass of the catechumens, was already very fully
developed; it possessed chanted anthems, psalms, canticles, readings, and
litanies. It began with an anthem and a psalm, while the Priest went from
the sacristy to the altar. This chant, executed by clerics, existed also in
the Mozarabic Mass, and 138 answers to the Roman "Introit" and the
"Ingressa" of the Milanese rite. Gregory of Tours, whatever may be said to
the contrary, makes no allusion to this introductory anthem.
The Deacon enjoined silence, probably in these words: "Silentium facite."
The Bishop saluted the congregation with the formula: "Dominus sit semper
vobiscum." At Rome and Milan the salutation is: "Dominus vobiscum." But the
former greeting is found in the Mozarabic rite.
The letters of the pseudo-Germain announce the solemn singing of the "Aios"
in Latin and in Greek at this point. What was this chant? It is not the
"Sanctus," as has been wrongly believed, and which, also wrongly, has
sometimes been called the "Trisagion." The latter title must be reserved
for a chant of Byzantine origin, the history of which is well known. It was
introduced there under Theodosius II (408-450), but is perhaps more
ancient, and runs thus: "Hagios ho Theos, Hagios Ischuros, Hagios Athanatos
Eleeson Hemas" Pierre le Foulon (+477) added these words to it: "Ho
Staurotheis di Hemas," and there was much quarreling over this formula,
which for its author had a monophysite meaning, and which was adopted by
the Syrian Jacobites. On Good Friday, in the Roman liturgy, we have the
"Trisagion" under its primitive double form in Greek and Latin, naturally
without Foulon's addition. There is yet another form in the Mozarabic
liturgy, which does not concern us here (cf. Dom Ferotin, "Liber Ordinum,"
cols. 737, 760, and 809).
The Kyrie Eleison was then sung, once only, by three children. We have
spoken elsewhere as to the researches recently made regarding the "Kyrie
Eleison," and upon its use; we shall therefore merely refer to the article
under that heading in DACL.
The singing of the Prophecy which came next means the singing of the
"Benedictus." This point is now finally settled, and the "Collectio post
Prophetiam" in the Gallican books is the prayer which followed. On the
bearing of this canticle on the Mass we may also refer to our article,
"Cantiques (evangeliques)," in DACL. P. Thibaut has recently called
attention to this chant, and its title of "Prophetia." In his opinion it is
exclusively Gallican, and is an allusion to the conversion of Clovis, who
became the protector of the Gallo-Roman churches. The "Cornu salutis" may
indeed have given rise to the legend of the "Sainte Ampoule" (op. cit., p.
Next comes the first Lesson. According to the pseudo-Germain this is taken
from the Prophets or the historical books, and from the Apocalypse during
Paschal time; while on the Feasts of Saints their Acts were read, "Gesta
sanctorum confessorum ac martyrum in solemnpnitatibus eorum." The usage of
the prophetic Lesson has almost entirely disappeared from the Roman Mass
since the fifth century; it was maintained longer at Milan, and on this
point the Gallican books confirm the testimony of the pseudo-Germain. The
Mozarabic rite has also preserved the ancient use of this Lesson. The
importance of the reading of the Lives of the Saints at Mass will be
noticed; this point is confirmed by Gregory of Tours and by the Gallican
books. In Spain and at Milan the custom was the same.
The second reading at Mass was taken from the Acts of the Apostles and the
Epistles. After these two Lessons the Canticle of the Three Children in the
furnace was sung, "Benedictus es," also called "Benedictio." This fact is
confirmed by the same witnesses. The importance attached to this rite is
shown by the fact that the Council of Toledo of 633, which was presided
over by St. Isidore, laid down that in all churches of Spain and Gaul, in
the solemnity of all Masses, the aforesaid hymn shall be chanted from the
Lector's pulpit." Only, in the Mozarabic liturgy the canticle was inserted
between the first and second readings. The singing of the Benedictus es in
the Roman Church on Ember Saturday is an old tradition which recalls this
custom. In the Missal of Bobbio a collect "post Benedictionem" is
mentioned, but this would seem to be a derogation from the usage attested
by many witnesses of a sung Responsory here, which chant must be identified
with the "Psallendum," the "Versus" or "Clamor," or "Psalmellus." At Rome,
after the Lessons, there was the Responsory and "Alleluia," sometimes
replaced by the "Tractus." The Council of Toledo just mentioned forbade the
custom which had been introduced into several Spanish churches of singing
"Laudes" between the Epistle and Gospel. We may take it, with St. Isidore,
that this word signifies "Alleluia" (Dom Wilmart, op. cit., col. 1072).
This chant, which is another Gallican feature, is also a memorial of the
Baptism of Clovis, according to P. Thibaut; it should be followed by a
"Collectio post Benedictionem," as mentioned in the Missal of Bobbio (op.
cit., p. 39).
The pseudo-Germain notes here the repetition of the chant of the "Agios,"
or "Trisagion," an innovation of which no other example is found at this
place in the Mass in any liturgy. It was evidently intended to give greater
solemnity to the reading of the Gospel, which was about to follow. The
author of this document emphasizes this intention in the following
remarkable terms: "Expeditur processio sancti evangelii velut potentia
Christi triumphantis de morte, cum praedictis armoniis et cum septem
candelabris luminis . . . ascendens in tribunal analogii . . . clamantibus
clericis: Gloria tibi, Domine." The "tribunal analogii" means an ambone or
tribune, raised and decorated, from which the Bishop would preach, and upon
which he would appear as a judge upon his tribunal. The acclamation "Gloria
tibi, Domine," or "Gloria Deo omnipotenti," of which Gregory of Tours
speaks, answers the Deacon's announcement: "Lectio sancti evangelii."
The Gospel was usually followed by a chant. The pseudo-Germain says that
the "Trisagion" sung before the Gospel is again taken up and repeated at
this point. At Milan the Gospel was followed by Dominus vobiscum and a
triple "Kyrie" with anthem. At Rome the Pope saluted the Deacon with "Pax
tibi," and then said the "Dominus vobiscum" and "Oremus." The homily
generally followed the Gospel.
Here occur the litanic prayers which may be attached to the Pre-Mass, at
least in the Gallican use, since the catechumens were not dismissed until
these were said. The pseudo-Germain thus describes these prayers: "precem
(psallant levitae) pro populis, audita (apostoli) praedicatione, levitae
pro populo deprecantur et sacerdotes prostrati ante dominum pro peccatis
There can be no doubt but that we recognize here the diaconal litany
referred to in the preceding pages, and which must not be confused with the
"Prayer of the Faithful," as Duchesne and others after him have confused
it. Each of these prayers presents analogies, and belongs, we believe,
the class of litanic prayers; yet they are distinguished by certain
characteristics which must be mentioned here as this question has its
These litanies, or "Diakonika," are recited by the Deacon, and form part of
the Pre-Mass. To each invocation made by the Deacon the people respond:
Kyrie Eleison, and at the end the celebrant concludes with a prayer.
This type of prayer, doubtless created at Antioch, was adopted at
Constantinople, and thence transported to Rome and Gaul in the fifth
century. The "Supplicatio litaniae" of which it is question in the Rule of
St. Benedict the "Preces deprecatoriae," the "Letaniae," the "Kyrie" of the
Roman Mass are all derived from this.
We have spoken elsewhere of this diaconal prayer, of its origin and
destinies; many examples of it exist in the Gallican books, such as the
"Divinae pacis," and "Dicamus omnes." Both these are given by Mgr. Duchesne
in his chapter on the Gallican Mass (fifth edition, pp. 210, 211), to which
we may refer our readers. Further, they present the most striking analogies
with those we have quoted from the "Apostolic Constitutions," with the
"Deprecatio Sancti Martini" of the "Missal of Stowe," and the "Deprecatio
pro universali Ecclesia," which good judges continue to attribute to Pope
Gelasius (492-496) in spite of the opinion of Duchesne.
The Mass of the catechumens is certainly finished with these diaconal
prayers, and the catechumens are dismissed by the Deacon. The formula is
not given here but an equivalent will be found in the Milanese ritual. "Si
quis catechumenus procedat, si quis judceus procedat, si quis paganus
procedat, si quis haereticus procedat, cujus cura non est procedat." St.
Gregory mentions another formula: "Si quis non communicet det locum;" and
the Pontifical even yet contains this curious formula at the Ordination of
Exorcists: "Exorcistam oportet . . . dicere populo ut qui non communicat
det locum." The pseudo-Germain recalls in this connection the energetic
words of the Gospel: "nolite dare sanctum canibus neque mittatis margaritas
All these precautions prove the importance of the action which is about to
take place, and fresh warnings from the Deacon awaken the attention and
respect of the people. Formerly the formula was "Silentium faciet," or
"Pacem habete," as in the Milanese rite. The pseudo-Germain, who often
comments on or interprets the rite, says that they made the sign of the
Cross on eyes, ears, and mouth, "ut hoc solum cor intendat ut in se
THE MASS OF THE FAITHFUL
The "Prayer of the Faithful" is a prayer recited after the departure of the
catechumens by the faithful alone; thus it forms part of the Mass of the
Faithful. Sometimes it is called the Prayer of the Church, or the Common
Prayer. In the West, especially at Rome, it was recited in the following
way: the Pontiff invited the faithful to prayer; the Deacon gave the order
to bend the knee; the Bishop pronounced the prayer, and the people
responded "Amen." Ed. Bishop remarks acutely, in this connection, that this
prayer bears the seal of the Roman Church, in which ecclesiastical
authority always maintains its rights, the part of the faithful being
reduced to a minimum; while in the East the initiative of Christian people
is allowed a much wider scope. To such a degree is this the case that at
Rome this prayer might more correctly be called the Prayer "for" the
Faithful. We have a very well-preserved type of the prayer in the
"Orationes solemnes" of Good Friday. But all other trace of it has
disappeared from the Roman liturgy. Under an analogous form it existed in
the Gallican liturgies in the sixth century, as is proved by a text of the
Council of Lyon under Sigismond (516-523), which alludes to the "Oratio
plebis quae post evangelium legitur (Concilia aevi merovingici," p. 34).
But since then it has disappeared, as it has at Rome, and we find in the
Gallican liturgy only diaconal litanies, imitated from those in the
The offering of bread and wine in Gaul, as elsewhere was made by the
faithful. What must be remarked here and what to some extent is peculiar to
the Gallican Mass are the honors paid to the oblations, i.e. the elements
which are to be consecrated. Analogous customs exist in the Eastern
liturgies, and there is a temptation to see in this the results of
Byzantine influence (Duchesne, op. cit., p. 216; Dom Wilmart, art. cit.,
col. 1080). It is surprising to find the pseudo-Germain describe these
elements, in a prolepsis, by the following words: "Procedente ad altarium
corpore Christi, praeclara Christi magnalia dulci melodia psallit Ecclesia"
(P.L., Vol. XXII col. 93). Gregory of Tours expresses himself in somewhat
similar terms when he says that the "Mysterium dominici corporis" was
contained in vessels shaped like towers; wooden towers, sometimes covered
with gold.The wine to be consecrated was brought in a chalice: "sanguis
Christi . . . offertur in calice." Water was added to the wine, as in all
other rites. The bread was placed on a paten. Reference is made to the
veils which covered the oblations: the first, "Palle," of linen or wool;
the second which was placed beneath the oblations, of pure linen
"Corporalis palle;" finally, a precious tissue of silk and gold, ornamented
with jewels, which covered them. Although analogous rites are certainly
encountered elsewhere, some of those just described seem peculiar to the
Gallican churches. In any case, they testify to the care and respect paid
to he elements even before the Consecration. (For details, and comparison
with other rites cf. Dom Wilmart, op. cit., col. 1081 seq.)
The "Sonum quando procedit oblatio" was a special canticle, very closely
allied to the "Cheroubicon" of the Greeks. When the oblations were placed
upon the altar the choir chanted the Christmas "Laudes" of the Mozarabites:
"Alleluia, Redemptionem misit Dominus populo suo; mandavit im aeternum
testamentum suum; sanctum et terribile nomen ejus, Alleluia." These chants,
"Sonum" and "Laudes," practically correspond with the Offertory psalm used
at Rome and Milan.
The reading of the Diptychs occurs here, as it does in most liturgies; but
we have no special information as to this rite in the Gallican churches.
The names of the living for whom the Sacrifice was to be offered, and names
of other personages, were read at this moment. From the theological point
of view this rite is important, because the inscription on the Diptychs is
a sign that the faithful were in communion with those whose names were read
out. The names of heretics were struck off the list, a practice which often
gave rise to bitter controversies. Lastly, the Pope's name was usually in
the place of honor (cf. art. "Diptyques," in DACL). We give as a type the
following formula, taken from Duchesne ("Origines du culte," p. 221):
"Offerunt Deo Domino oblationem sacerdotes nostri" (here the Spanish
Bishops are signified), "papa Romensis et reliqui pro se et pro omni clero
ac plebibus Ecclesiae sibimet consignatis vel pro universa fraternitate. .
. . Item pro spiritibus pausantium, Hilarii, Athanasii," etc. In the
Gallican and Mozarabic rites this reading is followed by a prayer:
"Collectio post nomina." The numerous formulas preserved in the Gallican
books should be studied at first-hand, for allusion is made to the effects
of the Sacrifice of the Mass (see art. "Mozarabe, Messe," in "Dict. de
Theol. Catholique"). The whole of this rite of the Diptychs is, moreover,
deeply interesting, for it is a proof of faith in the intercession of the
Church, in the efficaciousness of that Sacrifice, and in the union of all
the faithful in the Church on earth and with the Saints in Heaven.
The Kiss of Peace which followed is also accompanied by a prayer,
"Collectio ad pacem." In the Gallican and Mozarabic books this, like the
preceding prayer, varies with every Feast. They are a rich collection of
texts, often expressive; it will be sufficient here to quote one example of
the "Collectio ad pacem," that of the Assumption of Our Lady, celebrated by
the Gallicans in January. It is taken from the "Missale Gothicum" (P.L.,
Vol. LXXII, col. 245):
"Deus universalis machinae propagator, qui in sanctis spiritaliter, in
matre vero virgine etiam corporaliter habitasti; que ditata tuae
plenitudenis ubertate, mansuetudine florens, caritate vigens, pace gaudens,
pietate praecellens ab angelo gracia plena, ab Elisabeth benedicta, a
gentibus merito praedicatur beata; cujus nobis fides mysterium, partus
gaudium, vita portentum, discessus attulit hoc festivum; precamur
supplices, ut pacem quae in adsumptione Matris tunc praebuisti discipulis,
solenni nuper (doubtless sollempniter) largiaris in cunctis, salvator
mundi, qui cum Patre.... mundi, qui cum Patre...."
We know that as regards the Diptychs and the Kiss of Peace the Roman
liturgy differs in many important respects from the Gallican and Mozarabic
rites, which latter on these points approach more closely to those of
Constantinople. But we see, from what has gone before, that many ceremonies
were borrowed comparatively late (cf. our article "Baiser de Paix "in
In the Gallican books the "Collectio ad pacem "is followed by an even more
important prayer, usually called in these books the "Contestatio," or
"Immolatio;" it corresponds to the Roman "Preface," and begins with "Sursum
corda:" "Habemus ad Dominum. "The prelude, too, is the same "Vere dignum et
justum est." But these Gallican "Contestationes," like the Mozarabic
"Immolationes," are characteristically different from the Roman Prefaces.
They are, if we may use such a comparison, like locally grown fruit. The
Gallo-Roman genius of the sixth and seventh centuries here gave itself free
rein. The Latin of that period was no longer the classical language of
Augustan Rome; it is very often prolix; we find in it antitheses,
ornaments, and even verbal conceits which we should desire to see banished
from ecclesiastical compositions. The Roman manner, especially at the time
of Gelasius and Gregory, has incontestably more discretion, more dignity;
moreover, it expresses a more carefully guarded orthodoxy. But from the
point of view which alone interests us here this rich collection of
"Contestationes" preserved in the Gallican books is a treasure as yet
little explored by theologians. Here may be studied the doctrines of this
Church on the Eucharist, Grace, the Incarnation, and Redemption, better
perhaps than in any other collection. We can but mention here this source
of the history and theology of the Gallican Church, for a detailed
explanation would require a long thesis.
As in other liturgies the "Contestatio" ends with the "Sanctus." But the
Gallican and Mozarabic liturgies have another prayer, the "Collectio post
Sanctus," which is a transition from the "Sanctus" to the recital of the
Institution. It generally begins with these words: "Vere Sanctus." Thus in
one of the Masses of Mone: "Vere Sanctus, vere benedictus dominus noster
Jesus Christus filius tuus qui pridie" (P.L., Vol. CXXXVIII, col. 866). But
usually more ample developments are found, where dogmatic questions are
touched upon, as in the following from the same collection (loc. cit., col.
"Hic inquam Christus Dominus noster et Deus noster, qui sponte mortalibus
factus adsimilis per omne hunc aevi diem immaculatum sibi corpus ostendit,
veterisque delicti idoneus expiator sinceram inviolatamque peccatis
exhibuit animam, quam sordentem rursus sanguis elueret, abrogataque in
ultimum lege moriendi, in caelo corpus perditum atque ad patris dexteram
relevaret, per Dominum nostrum qui pridie...."
In the MS. this passage is altered, but we can guess the meaning (see
Denzinger's note, col. 873). The "Post Sanctus" also answers to a prayer of
the same kind in the Eastern liturgies. That of Rome has no prayer which
corresponds to the "Vere Sanctus."
The recital of the Institution, introduced in the Gallican liturgies by
"Vere Sanctus," follows the text of St. Matthew and St. Mark with the
words: "qui pridie quam pateretur." Here is an instance of complete accord
between the rites of Rome and Gaul; but on this point we can but refer to
the remarks of other liturgiologists, especially to those of Dom Cagin, who
has drawn his conclusions from this fact extremely well. The Eastern
liturgies follow another tradition, and say with St. Paul: "In qua nocte
tradebatur." Spain, it is true, also says: "In qua nocte", but this is
generally attributed to Byzantine qua nocte, but this is generally
attributed to Byzantine influence in a later age. This is all the more
likely because the Spanish books called the prayer which follows, "Post
The words "Mysterium fidei" also seem to have been adopted in Gaul, as in
the Roman formula, and probably under Roman influence.
In Gaul the words of Consecration were accompanied by the sign of the Cross
traced on the oblation; a gesture recognized as possessing the special
virtue of accomplishing the Mystery, and which is ratified by Heaven. The
pseudo-Germain, speaking of the transformation operated by the Consecration
of the bread and wine, alludes to the Angel of God who blesses the Host:
"Angeles Dei ad secreta super altare tamquam super monumentum descendit et
ipsam hostiam benedicit instar illius angeli qu Christi resurectionem
evangelizavit." In this connection the story related by Gregory of Tours
may well be recalled, he tells us that St. Martin appeared in the Basilica
dedicated to him in that town, and blessed, "dextera extensa," the
Sacrifice offered on the altar, "juxta morem catholicam signo crucis
superposito" ("Vita Patrum," XVI, 2- P.L. Vol. LXXI, col. 1075; cf. Dom
Wilmart, col. 1086).
The following prayer is of the first importance for the theology of the
Mass. It bears the name Post Secreta, and elsewhere "Post Mysteria," "Post
Eucharistiam." This title, this formula, the miracle of St. Martin just
mentioned the fact that Gregory of Tours calls the words of Consecration
"Verba sacra" ("Glor. Mart.," 87; P.L., Vol. LXXI col. 782), and other
texts we could mention, sufficiently prove that the words of the
Institution were considered as operating the mystery of the Eucharist. But
it must be added that this prayer is frequently conceived in terms which
would incline a reader to the contrary belief, i.e. that Transubstantiation
is wrought by the "Epiclesis," such as that of one of the Masses of Mone
(P.L. Vol. CXXXVIII, col. 871, and Vol. LXXII, col. 257). In any case, the
collection of these prayers, "Post Secreta" in the Gallican liturgies, is
one which should be most carefully studied, in order to realize the faith
of these churches in the Eucharistic Mystery.
It has been thought, since the word is "Post Secreta" that the formula of
Consecration was said in a low voice while the "Contestatio" and "Post
Sanctus" were said aloud. We shall not take up here that question so hotly
debated in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, by theologians and
liturgiologists, as to the Secret of the Mysteries, which we treat
elsewhere (Chap. XII).
The rites of the "Fraction" and the "Commixtion" are attached to the prayer
"Post Secreta." In the primitive Mass the "Fraction" was a rite of the
first importance. The name of "Fractio panis" given to the Eucharist at the
beginning, the place of the word "Fregit" in the story of the Institution,
the insistence of all the most ancient liturgies in this formula upon the
words "(corpus meum) quod pro vobis confringetur," and many other
indications which could be given are sufficient to prove this fact. There
are numerous variants of the rite in the various liturgies. In the Celtic
rite, as we shall see, the Irish divided the Host in seven different ways,
according to the Feast. In Gaul they divided it into nine particles, in the
form of a Cross. Sometimes the particles were arranged on the paten to
design a human form. The Council of Tours in 567 forbade this practice as
superstitious, and ordained that the particles were to be disposed in the
form of a Cross. The meaning of this act is given in the chant of the
"Fraction," called "Confractorium," or "Ad Confractionem." We have
mentioned some of these in our article "Fractio Panis" (DACL). Here is one
"Credimus Domine, credimus in hac confractione corporis et effusione tui
sanguinis nos esse redemptos: confidimus etiam quod spe hic mysterium jam
tenemus, in aeternum perfrui mereamur. Per. . . ."
The "Commixtion," or "Immixtion," has, like the "Fraction," a dogmatic
bearing. The celebrant soaks one or several of the consecrated particles in
the chalice, allowing one of them to fall into it. Under this form, with
the words accompanying it in many liturgies, the sole meaning of this rite
is to show to the faithful, before Communion, that it is the very Body and
Blood of Christ which they are about to receive; and that their separation
under the different species of bread and wine is only apparent. Although at
this epoch Communion under both kinds was almost universal, the doctrine
that Christ was present, whole and entire, under both species, was none the
less of equally universal acceptance. The rites of "Commixtion" or
"Immixtion," which are attached to this part of the Mass, seem, in our
opinion, to favor this interpretation (see "Immixtion" in DACL).
The recitation of the "Pater" follows the "Fraction" and "Commixtion." Its
recital during Mass in this place, or at some place very near to these two
rites, is an almost universal practice. Some exceptions might indeed be
mentioned. The "Apostolic Constitutions" do not speak of the "Pater;"
neither does St. Hippolytus, nor Serapion, nor the "anaphora" of Balizeh.
But these are exceptions. The "Pater" has its place, and that a place of
honor in the Roman Mass, where it is surrounded with special rites. With
the Gallicans, as in most other liturgies, it is, as it were, framed
between a prelude or protocol and a conclusion or embolism.
Both of these are variable in the Gallican rite, like the "Contestatio,"
the "Post Sanctus," or the "Ad pacem." These various rites aim at
emphasizing the importance of this prayer, taught to His disciples by
Christ Himself, the Prayer of prayers. From the beginning its importance
has been recognized and attested by the liturgy. The end of the "Pater" was
enriched with a doxology, as we see in the Didache and in some of the most
ancient MSS. of the New Testament; and we cannot be surprised at that
assertion of St. Gregory who, astonished at finding the "Pater" relegated
to a place after the close of the Canon, declared that originally this was
the prayer by means of which the Apostles consecrated (see pp. 79-81). It
has also an honorable place in Baptism and in the other Sacraments.
In the Gallican Mass it is recited by the entire congregation, as was also
the custom amongst the Greeks; while in Africa and at Rome the celebrant
alone recited the "Pater" aloud, the people responding "Amen," or "Sed
libera nos a malo." In Spain we have seen there was a special place for the
recitation of this prayer.
Before the Communion the Bishop, or even the Priest, blessed the faithful.
This blessing also is important; it is not confined to the Gallican
liturgy, but took place in Africa also, in the time of St. Augustine. It
existed, too, in the Eastern liturgies, and even Rome may have known it at
one time, though it has been transformed and placed elsewhere.
The meaning of this blessing, a kind of absolution or final purification
before Communion, is determined by the accompanying formulas. The Deacon
said: "Humiliate vos benedictioni;" or with the Greeks: "Let us bow down
our heads before the Lord." The pseudo-Germain mentions the following:
"Pax, fides et caritas, et communicatio "corporis et sanguinis D.N.J.C. sit
semper vobiscum." He says, too, that the blessing given by the Priest must
be shorter and less solemn than that given by the Bishop. This is a
discreet allusion to the discussions which doubtless took place about this
time, since the canons of some of the Councils of the fifth and sixth
centuries bear traces of the controversy. The question was whether the
right of blessing the people should be reserved to the Bishop alone, or
whether (as here) it was sufficient to mark the difference between his
blessing and that of a Priest (cf. especially the 44th canon of the Council
of Agde, held 506). The formula varied according to the day. In the MS.
collections many episcopal benedictions exist, some of which have been
published, and these must not be neglected, since they form part also of
liturgical theology (see our article, "Benedictions episcopales", in DACL).
A certain hierarchical order — indeed, a very rigorous one — was enforced for
the Communion. Priests and Deacons communicated at the altar; other clerics
before it; the laity outside the choir. This at least was the Spanish
custom. In Gaul the faithful entered the choir and communicated at the
altar. Men received the Host upon the bare hand; while women received It in
a linen cloth called the "Dominical" (Duchesne, op. cit., p. 257).
During the Communion a chant was sung: "antiphona ad accedentes." This,
according to the most ancient tradition, was Psalm XXXIII, "Benedicam
Dominum in omni tempore," or at least some of its verses which apply so
well to the Eucharist: "Accedite ad eum et illuminamini, Iste pauper
clamavit et Dominus exaudivit eum;" and, above all: "Gustate et videte
quoniam suavis est Dominus." Dom Cagin ("Paleographie musicale," Vol. V,
PP. 22-25) has collected the principal evidence as to this tradition. It is
interesting to know that Gaul had preserved it. The pseudo-Germain, amongst
others, recalls it, but chiefly to prove that this chant (which he calls
the "Trecanum") is an act of Faith in the Trinity. And indeed, three verses
which were repeated in a certain manner, and doubtless ended with the
Trinitarian doxology, did teach those who communicated that "the Father is
in the Son, the Son in the Holy Ghost, the Holy Ghost in the Son, and again
the Son in the Father". P. Thibaut gives an explanation of this obscure
text. "Trecanum" is. an erroneous transcription of "Tricanon" (in Greek,
"trikanon", three rules, or three bars). Now the Psalm "Gustate et videte"
is numbered in Roman figures XXXIII, which was taken as a graphic symbol of
the Trinity, three X's and three I's which must be written thus:
X X X I I I
1 2 3 3 2 1
This would explain the pseudo-Germain's text on "Circumincession" in the
Trinity. It is very subtle, but subtlety never frightened the symbolists of
that period. However, what is incontestable is that these three verses with
a special doxology are indeed a chant in honor of the Trinity; and on this
point the Mozarabic rite agrees with that of Gaul. Other chants for
Communion accompanied this, or took its place, such as the beautiful hymn,
"Sancti venite," of the Celtic liturgies. In the Eastern and Mozarabic
rites the Symbol of Nicea-Constantinople was recited at this moment. What
must always be noticed is the intense care taken to cause an act of Faith
to precede the participation in the Body and Blood of Christ; because the
Eucharist is, above all, the mystery of union with Our Lord, and through
Him between the faithful, in Faith and Charity.
After the Communion was said a prayer, the text of which varied. The Post-
Communions preserved in the Gallican books are well worth study, for they
express the faith of these liturgies in the Real Presence, and in the
effects of the Sacrament upon the soul.
After these prayers the faithful were dismissed, as in other liturgies. The
formula in the Roman rite is "Ite, Missa est," in the Missal of Stowe it is
"Missa acta est, In pace." The Ambrosian rite has "Procedamus in pace, in
nomine Domini;" while the Mozarabites have an even more solemn formula. The
Eastern liturgies have yet others, and it was not until much later that, in
certain rites, the reading of the Gospel of St. John and other prayers were
added after this dismissal, a custom which causes the latter ceremony to
lose all its meaning.
The part played by the Gallican liturgy did not end with its disappearance.
In the history of the liturgy from the ninth-fifteenth centuries Gaul's
place was a very important one — it might be said, almost the most important
of all. It was in Gaul that the Gelasian and Gregorian Sacramentaries, as
well as the greater number of the "Ordines Romani," have been retouched,
modified, and finally moulded into that form which may be studied in the
Missals of the ninth-thirteenth centuries, which are in reality Gallicano-
Roman. An influence almost equally considerable was exercised in that
country upon the Pontifical, the Ritual, Breviary, and other liturgical
books. This history of the liturgy is not yet written, but it can be said
that each day some fresh work on the subject confirms this general
impression. We must also take into consideration the numerous initiatives
undertaken in that country which were in the end adopted in other lands,
even by Rome herself, such as the institution of new Feasts, and of more
None the less, it is infinitely to be regretted that, as regards this
liturgy which in the splendor of its forms could rival the Mozarabic, the
Ambrosian, or even the liturgy of Rome, we are reduced to a few fragments,
doubtless of great interest, but which are mere "membra disjecta," as the
poet calls it. What a pity that one of our old Basilicas, that of Rheims,
for instance, or Sens, did not play the same "role" as Toledo or Milan, and
thus keep till our own day that collection of rites and customs of which
to-day only a few relics are left!
1 Dom Wilmart after Edmund Bishop, has insisted on this point. Cf. Ed.
Bishop, "Observations on the Liturgy of Narsai," pp. 117 — 121; "Journal of
Theological Studies," 1910 11, Vol. XII, pp. 406-413 щ and "Liturgica
Historica," pp. 122, 124; Connolly, "Journal of Theological Studies," 1919-
20, Vol. XXI, pp. 219-232; Dom Wilmart, art. cit., col. 1075. Duchesne, in
his fifth edition of "Origines du culte chretien," p. 211, note 2,
discusses the attribution to Gelasius of the "Dicamus omnes."
2. Cf. Duchesne, op. cit., p. 221, note 2; and Dom Wilmart art. cit., 1076;
cf. also article "Litanies," in DACL..
3. Under this formula cf. Ambrosian Mass, p. 93.
4. "Glor. Mart," 86; "Hist. France," X, xxxi. 13; P.L., Vol. LXXI, cols.
5. Cf. on this point Dom Cagin, "Paleographie musicale," Vol. V., p. 55
seq.; Duchesne, loc. cit., p. 230, note 1; Dom Wilmart, art. cit., col.
1085. There has been discussion as to whether these liturgies did not in
primitive days contain the incisive words: "pro nostra et omnium salute."
Cf. "Revue Benedictine," 1910, Vol. XXVII, p. 513 seq.
6. Cf. Dom Wilmart, op. cit., col. 1088; Dom Morin, "Revue Benedictine,"
1912, Vol. XXIX, p. 179 seq.
7. we shall have a word to say as to the neo-Gallican liturgies of the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries on p. 203. But they have in reality
little to do with the Mass.
H. LIETZMANN, "Ordo Missae Romnanus et Gallicanus" (Bonn, 1923) .
J. B. THIBAUT, "L'ancienne liturgie gallicane" (Paris, 1929); and on this
book our article: "Les origines de la liturgie gallicane," in "Revue
d'Hist. eccl. de Louvain," Vol. XXVI, 1930, P. 951 seq
"Liturgia, "PP. 793-800, "La liturgie gallicane."
H. NETZER, "L'Introduction de la Messe Romaine en France sous les
Carolingiens" (Paris, 1910).
In DACL. "Gallicanes (Liturgies)," a very complete bibliography by Dom
LECLERCQ. Cf. also the article "Germain, lettres de Saint."