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Cabrol F. Chapter VI-3. The Mass of the Faithful. I. The Immediate Preparation.


By the Right Reverend Dom Fernand Cabrol




I. THE IMMEDIATE PREPARATION.--In the "Missale Mixtum" the Offertory is  composed of the following prayers, which accompany the different acts of  the Priest: the offering of the Host and the chalice, the preparation of  the chalice and the paten on the altar, etc.: "Acceptabilis sit, Offerimus  tibi hanc oblationem . . . et omnium offerentium, In spiritu humilitatis,  Adjuvate me, fratres" (loc. cit., col. 113).

Offertory.--The "Sacrificium "which follows these prayers answers to the  singing of the Offertory. St. Isidore uses the two words as synonyms. In  the letter "ad Ludifr.," so often quoted, he says "Sacrificium;" but in "De  Offic.," I, I, 14, he says "Offertoria." The Gallicans have a chant here,  "Sonus."

Those who were not to assist at the Sacrifice having been dismissed, the  Deacons took off the pallium, which up till then had covered the altar, and  laid the Corporal upon it. "Quis fidelium," says St. Optatus, "nesciat in  peragendis mysteriis ipsa ligna altaris linteamine operiri (Cont. Parmen.,  I, VI)." This cloth, sometimes also called "Palla Corporalis," and made of  pure linen, covered the whole altar. It was a general custom which can be  proved in Egypt, Gaul, Africa, and Rome, as well as in Spain (Isid. of  Pelus., Ep., CXXIII, "Ad Dorotheum comitem;" Gregory of Tours, "Hist.," I,  VII, c. xxii.; Optatus of Milevia, "Cont. Parmen.," I, VI; "Ordo Romanus,"  in Mabillon, ii. n. 9; cf. P.L., Vol. LXXXV, col. 339).

While the choir sang the "Sacrificium" the Bishops, Priests, and Deacons  received the oblations of the people --bread and wine. The men first made  their offering, in order of dignity, then the women, the Priests, Deacons,  clerics, the Bishop himself offering last of all. Great precautions were  taken that the bread should not be touched by hand. The Bishop and Priests  received the bread upon the "Offertorium," or "Oblatorium," a vase of  silver, gold, or copper. At Rome the "Oblatorium" was replaced by a linen  cloth held by two acolytes. The people themselves were not allowed to touch  the offerings, which were presented in a linen cloth. These loaves of pure  wheat might originally have been leavened, but the use of unleavened bread  was established in Spain as elsewhere (cf. Lesley's note, loc. cit., col.  339).

As to the wine, it was presented in small flagons or other receptacles. The  Deacons poured it all into a great chalice destined for this purpose. They  next took from the offerings of bread and wine what would be necessary for  Communion, and kept the rest. Those loaves intended for Holy Communion were  placed on a paten and the paten upon the altar; the wine was put into the  chalice and mixed with water. Sometimes there were of necessity many  chalices and patens upon the altar. The paten was not given to the sub- Deacon as in the Roman rite. The Deacons then covered the oblations with a  pallium, which was usually made of silk embroidered with gold; this was  called "Coopertorium," "Palla," or "Palla Corporalis." There was a prayer,  "ad extendum corporalia." The other prayers found in the Mozarabic books  for these different acts are of a later epoch. In Spain, as in Gaul and  Rome, these various acts in primitive days were not accompanied by prayers  P.L., loc. cit., col. 340, and Lesley's note, ibid.).

The Oblation finished, the Bishop returned to his throne and washed his  hands. This is also an ancient custom, which is attested both by the  "Apostolic Constitutions" (I, VIII, c. xi.) and by Cyril of Jerusalem  (Catech. myst., V). In Spain it was the Deacon who served at this office,  while the sub-Deacon offered water to the Priests and Deacons for the same  purpose. The Bishop then returned to the altar, gave the signal for  stopping the singing of the "Sacrificium," and said "Adjuvate me, fratres;"  after which he recited the "Accedam ad te" which belongs to the class of  "Apologiae sacerdotis" (P.L., loc. cit., col. 113, and article "Apologies"  in DACL. On the differences between these rites and the modifications which  they underwent in the Mozarabic liturgy during the Middle Ages, see  Lesley's note, col. 535).

"Missa."--The Priest usually said with the "Dominus sit semper vobiscum"  another prayer called "Missa." It is the first of the seven prayers of St.  Isidore ("De Offic.," I, I c. xiv.). Etherius and Beatus describe it in  these terms "Prima oratio admonitionis erga populum est, ut omnes  excitentur ad orandum Deum "("Adv. Elipand.," I, I). It is plainly an  opening prayer, the opening of the Mass of the Faithful, a prayer to  prepare them for the Sacrifice. It varies according to the Feasts and  liturgical epochs and is addressed sometimes to the faithful, "dilectissimi  fratres;" sometimes to God the Father or to Our Lord (P.L., col. 113; cf.  346 and 539). The Missal of Bobbio gives a similar prayer, but this often  has no title. Once it is called (as here) "Missa;" another time  "Collectio," and twice, "Praefatio." In the other Gallican Sacramentaries  it is called "Praefatio," or "Praefatio Missae." The title "Oratio" is also  given to it in the "Missale Mixtum" (P.L., col. 539)

The "Missa" is sometimes an invocation of the Father or the Son; sometimes  a series of pious exclamations; sometimes again a lyrical chant in honor of  the mystery or of the martyr whose Feast the Church is celebrating.  Sometimes it is preceded by an "Apologia sacerdotis." After the "Missa" the  clergy responded: "Agie, agie, agie," etc. Then the Priest said: "Erigite  vos" ("Liber ordinum," cols. 234, 235, and 186, 191; "Liber Sacramentorum  Mozarabicus," p. xx.).

"Prayer of the Faithful.-"-After the prayer the people said Amen, and the  Priest added these words: "Per misericordiam tuam," etc. Then, raising his  hands: "Oremus," to which the choir responded: "Agyos, Agyos, Agyos, Domine  Deus, Rex aeterne tibi laudes et gratias. Postea dicat Presbyter: Ecclesiam  sanctam catholicam in orationibus in mente habeamus . . . omnes lapsos,  captivos, infirmos, atque peregrinos in mente habeamus: ut eos Dominus,"  etc. In the "Liber Mozarabicus" this prayer is simply called "alia oratio,"  or even "alia" (cf. p. xxi.). The choir responded: "Presta eterne  omnipotens Deus." The Priest continued: "Purifica Domine Deus Pater  omnipotens" . . . making mention of the Priests who offered, of the Pope,  and all Priests and other clerics. The commemoration of Apostles and  Martyrs followed, their names being enumerated. In all these prayers the  choir intervened with occasional acclamations (P.L., loc. cit., col. 113).  The "Liber Offerentium," called by the Mozarabites the "Little Missal,"  contains this prayer under a very much better form, and Lesley's notes must  correct that which he gives in col. 113. The "Liber Offerentium" has been  included in the "Missale Mixtum"(P.L., cols. 530-569. The "Prayer of the  Faithful" will be found in col. 539 seq.). These different prayers, from  the first "Per misericordiam tuam . . . Oremus," would seem to tend towards  the second prayer of the Mass defined by St. Isidore: "Secunda (oratio)  invocationis ad Deum est, ut clementer suscipiat preces fidelium,  oblationemque eorum." Here indeed can be recognised the principal features  of that Prayer of the Faithful, or Litanic Prayer, which in the beginning  could be found in all liturgies. The Greek and Eastern liturgies have kept  it, but in the Roman it has almost disappeared except in the solemn prayers  on Good Friday, which give us the Prayer of the Faithful under one of its  most ancient and perfect forms. In the Mozarabic Missal it is not given  with anything like the same clearness; and has probably been retouched  again and again. The expression "Ecclesiam sanctam catholicam in  orationibus in mente habeamus" recalls that of St. Fructuosus in 259: "In  mente me habere necesse est sanctam Ecclesiam catholicam ab oriente usque  ad occidentem diffusam" (in Ruinart, "Acta Mart.," p. 222).

In the manuscripts the reading of the names appears to be considered as a  separate rite, under the title of "Nomina offerentium. The list of the  names of the living was followed by that of the dead. Usually the Deacon,  or the Priest himself, read this list; but sometimes it fell to one of the  "Cantores." "Transfer haec nomina in pagina coeli, que levitarum et  cantorum tuorum offcis recitata sunt, in Libro vivorum digito tuo," we read  in the "Liber Mozarabicus" (ed. Ferotin, col. 546, and Introduction, p.  XXl.).[2]

"Oratio post nomina."--This is the name of the prayer which follows. The  preceding prayer had comprised the reading of the names of those who  offered, and of the dead: "item pro spiritibus pausantium" (P.L., loc.  cit., col. 114). It is the third in the order followed by St. Isidore, and  he defines it thus: "Tertia autem, effunditur pro offerentibus sive pro  defunctis fidelibus, ut per id sacrificium veniam consequantur." Like the  preceding prayers, its text varies according to the Feasts. We may note  that here the Memento of the Dead is not separated from that of the living,  as in the Roman Mass. Moreover, the Spanish diptychs do not only contain  the names of Apostles and Martyrs, but also those of Old Testament Saints,  Patriarchs, and Prophets (ibid., col. 483 and note). This also was the  custom of the Gallican churches, and Venantius Fortunatus has rightly said:

"Nomina vestra legat patriarchis atque prophetis 'Quos hodie in templo  diptychus edit ebur.'" (I, X, carm. vii.)

(See also the prayer "Post nomina" for the Feast of St. Leger, note 68, p.  283.) We find the same custom in many of the Greek and Eastern liturgies.  St. Cyril of Jerusalem had said: "Recordamus patriarcharum prophetarum . .  . ut Deus eorum precibus et intercessione orationem nostram suscipiat"  ("Catech., V;" Lesley refers in a note to these different liturgies, col.  483). The prayer "Post nomina," in the Gallican liturgies, presents  characteristic analogies. It was the Deacon who read the Diptychs, the  Priest following with the prayer (P.L., col. 375).

In connection with the prayer "Post nomina," Dom Ferotin rightly calls  attention to that Secret of the Roman Missal: "Deus cui soli cognitus est  numerus electorum in superna felicitate locandus . . . et omnium fidelium  nomina beatae praedestinationis liber adscripta retineat," which is a true  "Oratio post nomina." He is mistaken in calling it a quadragesimal  "Secret;" it belongs to the Mass of the Dead, and there can be no doubt as  to its Gallican origin, as well as to that of the Collect and Post- communion which accompany it (Dom Ferotin, "Liber Mozarabicus," p. xxi.).

We may also notice the very long "Oratio post nomina," which is a homily in  itself, drawn up towards the end of the seventh century by St. Julian of  Toledo, and which was imposed on all Priests by a contemporary Council of  Toledo to end an intolerable abuse. There was a question as to whether  certain priests did not, in the "Oratio post nomina," pray for the death of  their enemies. The text of St. Julian's prayer is a long and vehement  protestation against such criminal maneuvers (see the 5th Canon of the  XVIIth Council of Toledo in 694. The prayer is in the "Liber Ordinum,"  cols. 331-334. Cf. also "Liber Mozarabicus" p. xxi.).

"Oratio ad pacem."--This is thus defined by St. Isidore: "Quarta post haec  infertur pro osculo pacis." The Kiss of Peace is placed close to the  Communion in the Roman Mass; in Spain, as also in Gaul and in the East, it  precedes the Consecration, and even the "Illatio."

It may be said that it is attached to the Prayer of the Faithful, of which  it was the natural conclusion. Primitively, the Kiss of Peace must have  been frequent, and have formed a part of every synaxis. It must have been  fixed at this place in the Mass at an early date, and it was also natural  that it should precede the Communion. Perhaps it took place twice in  certain churches, in that case one of the two rites must soon have been  suppressed as useless. However it may have been in primitive practice, as  to which we have not sufficient information we see this singularity  mentioned in the Roman rite with regard to the place of the Kiss of Peace  at a very early date, in contradistinction from the other Latin liturgies  as well as the Eastern. I have mentioned the following very significant  fact elsewhere: in the "Traditio Apostolica" of St. Hippolytus, which  represents the Roman liturgy at the beginning of the third century, the  Kiss of Peace, according to general custom, is attached to the Prayer of  the Faithful: "Et postea" (he is speaking of the neophytes who had just  received Baptism) "jam simul cum omni populo orent, non primum orantes cum  fidelibus, nisi omnia haec fuerint consecuti. Et cum oraverint, de ore  pacem offerant. Et tunc iam offeratur oblatio a diaconibus. Didascaliae  Apostolorum fragmenta veronensia latina" (ed. E. Hauler, Leipzig, 1900, PP.  III, 112). The suppression of the Prayer of the Faithful in the Roman Mass,  at the moment when the Roman Canon as we have it to-day was established,  must have brought about this change in the place of the Kiss of Peace, as  no doubt it brought about many others.

Here, as in many other circumstances the Mozarabic Mass represents customs  earlier than those of that of Rome. The "Oratio ad pacem" and the Kiss of  Peace were attached to a whole which St. Isidore describes by the words  "post haec," i.e. the prayers "Per misericordiam," "Ecclesiam sanctam,"  "Purifica Domine" (or prayer of oblation), the memorial of the holy Saints,  Patriarchs, Apostles, Martyrs, etc., the reading of the Diptychs of the  living and the dead with the prayer "Post nomina." Only then, and quite  logically, came the prayer for peace, and the Kiss of Peace (P.L., loc.  cit., col. 115). It goes without saying that the title "Oratio ad Patrem  "is a typographical error for "ad Pacem," as Lesley has already noted. In  this the Spanish custom was the same as that of the Gallican churches,  where an "Oratio ad pacem" followed the "Oratio post nomina," and preceded  the "Illatio" or "Contestatio." In all these liturgies the text of the  Oratio ad pacem varies according to the Feasts. In all, those prayers are  always about peace, or the oblations. The Greek and Eastern liturgies also  have this "Oratio ad pacem" followed by the Kiss of Peace (see these  connections in Lesley's note, P.L., col. 505).

According to the "Liber Ordinum" we see that the Deacon intervened at the  Kiss of Peace with these words: Inter vos pacem tradite." The Council of  Compostella (1056) alludes (c. 1) to the same usage ("Liber Ord.," col.  191; cf. "Liber Mozar.," p. xxi.). While this was going on the choir sang  "Pacem relinquo vobis," or some other anthem of the same kind. The same  book gives a formula of "Ad Pacem" in which the prayer is preceded by an  invocation, as is often the case in this, and also in the Gallican liturgy  ("Lib. Ordin.," col. 236).

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