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Jenner H. Mozarabic Rite - 1. History and origin.

Jenner, H. Mozarabic Rite // Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 10. NY, 1911. P.611-622.

Henry Jenner

Mozarabic Rite - History and origin

The name "Mozarabic Rite" is given to the rite used generally in Spain and in what afterwards became Portugal from the earliest times of which we have any information down to the latter part of the eleventh century, and still surviving in the Capilla Muzarabe in Toledo cathedral and in the chapel of San Salvador or Talavera, in the old cathedral of Salamanca. The name is not a good one. It originated in the fact that, after its abolition in Christian Spain, the rite continued to be used by the Christians in the Moorish dominions who were known as Mazarabes or Muzarabes. The form Mostarabes is also found. The derivation of the word is not quite certain, but the best theory seems to be that it is musta'rab, the participle of the tenth form of the verb 'araba, and that it means a naturalized Arab or one who has adopted Arab customs or nationality, an Arabized person. Some, with less probability, have made it a Latin or Spanish Compound, Mixto-Arabic. The meanings, which are not far apart, applied entirely to the persons who used the rite in its later period, and not to the rite itself, which has no sign of any Arab influence. The names Gothic, Toledan, Isidorian, have also been applied to the rite-the first referring to its development during the time of the Visigothic kingdom of Spain, the second to the metropolitan city which was its headquarters, and the third to the idea that it owed, if not its existence, at any rate a considerable revision to St. Isidore of Seville. Dom Ferotin (Liber Ordinum) prefers Rite Wisigothique.

Its origin is still discussed, and the various theories have been already set forth under AMBROSIAN RITE, CELTIC RITE, and GALLICAN RITE. Suffice it to say that whatever theory applies to the Gallican Rite applies equally to the Mozarabic, which is so nearly identical with it in construction as to leave no doubt of a common origin. The theory of Pinius (op. cit. in bibliography) to the effect that the Goths brought with them from Constantinople and Asia Minor a Greek Liturgy, which, combined with the already existing Romano-Spanish Rite, formed the new rite of Spain, is not founded on more than conjecture. There is no definite information concerning the Spanish variety of the Hispano-Gallican Rite until the end of the sixth and beginning of the seventh century (that is to say, until the period of transition from Arianism to Catholicism in the Visigothic kingdom), and, since the whole of Spain, including the Suevic kingdom in Galicia which had been annexed by the Visigothic king Leovigild, was then under the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Toledo, it may be presumed that the Toledo Rite was used throughout the whole peninsula. This had not been the case somewhat earlier. In 538 Profuturus, Bishop of Braga and Metropolitan of the Suevic kingdom, had consulted Pope Vigilius on liturgical matters. Vigilius sent him rather full information concerning the Roman usages in the Mass and in baptism. The Council of Braga (561), held at the time of the conversion of the Arian Suevi to Catholicism, decided (cc, iv, v) that the orders of Mass and baptism obtained from Rome by Profuturus should be exclusively used in the kingdom. This probably continued as long as the Suevi remained independent, and perhaps until the conversion of the Visigothic king Recared to Catholicism in 589. Though until this date the kings and the Teutonic ruling class were Arians, the native Spanish population was largely Catholic, and the rite-which was possibly revised and added to by St. Leander of Seville and the first Council of Toledo in 589, described and perhaps arranged by his brother and successor, St. Isidore (d. 636), and regulated by the Fourth Council of Toledo in 633-was no doubt that previously in use among the Spanish Catholics. This is confirmed by the scanty liturgical decrees of the various Spanish councils of the sixth century. What the Arians used we have no means of knowing, and there is no reason to suppose that, whatever it was, its influence continued after the conversion of Recared and the submission of the Arian bishops. But the rite described by St. Isidore, allowing of course for the modifications and variations of many centuries, is substantially that now know as the Mozarabic.

Dom Marius Ferotin, O.S.B. (to whom the present writer is indebted for much help), in his edition of the Mozarabic "Liber Ordinum", dismisses the idea of any Oriental origin, and describes it as a purely Western rite, "the general framework and numerous ceremonies of which were imported from Italy (probably from Rome)", while the remainder (lessons, prayers, hymns, etc.) is the work of Spanish bishops and doctors, with additions from Africa and Gaul. Without accepting the Italian or Roman origin as more than a very reasonable conjecture, we may take this as an excellent generalization. There was a period of development during the seventh century underSt. Isidore, who was the moving spirit of the Council of Toledo (657-67), to whom certain masses are attributed, and St. Julian (680-90), who, according to his biographer and successor, Felix, wrote a Mass-book "de toto circulo anni", and a book of collects, as a revision of the old books with additions of his own. But after the Moorish invasion, which began in 710, the Spanish Christians had little leisure for improving their liturgies, and, except for some prayers, hymns, and masses attributed to Abbot Salvus of Albelda (tenth century), nothing seems to have been added to the rite from the eighth to the eleventh century. In 870 Charles the Bald, King of the Franks, and afterwards emperor, wishing to see what the ancient Gallican Rite had been like, had priests sent from Spain to say the Toledan Mass before him. In the latter part of the eighth century, the Spanish Rite had fallen under some suspicion owing to quotations cited by Elipandus of Toledo in support of his Adoptionist theories, and the Council of Frankfort (794) spoke somewhat disparagingly of possible Moslem influence on it. Some of the passages still remain, in spite of Alcuin's suggestion that the original and proper readings must have been assumptio and assumptus, not adoptio and adoptatus (or adopticus); but they all can bear an orthodox explanation. It was in consequence of this suspicion that in 924 John X sent a legate (Zanedo, Zannello, or Jannello) to Santiago to examine the Spanish Rite. He reported favourably upon it, and the pope gave it a new approbation, changing only, as Sr. Moraleda y Estaban says (El Rito Mozarabe), the Words of Consecration to the Roman Use. This condition is still observed, but whether that has always been the case since 924 or not, there is no evidence to show. The old Spanish formula is given in the modern books-"ne antiquitas ignoretur", as Leslie says in his notes to the Mozarabic Missal-but the Roman is used in actual practice.

Of the existing manuscripts of the rite, though a very few may possibly be of the ninth century, almost all are of dates between the ratification by John X and the introduction of the Roman Rite in the second half of the eleventh century, during which period the old Spanish Rite held undisturbed possession of the whole of Spain, whether under Christian or Moorish rule. During these centuries the Christian kingdoms were gradually driving back the Moors. Besides Asturias and Navarre, which had never been quite conquered, Galicia, Leon, and Old Castile had been regained, and the Kingdom of Aragon had been formed. In 1064 Cardinal Hugo Candidus was sent from Rome by Alexander II to abolish the Spanish Rite, some vague attempts in that direction having been already made by his predecessor Nicholas II, who had also wished to abolish the Ambrosian Rite at Milan. The centralizing policy of the popes of that period included uniformity of liturgical practice. The Spanish kings and clergy were against the change then, and Bishops Munio, of Calahorra, Eximino of Oca, and Fortuno of Alava were sent to Italy with Spanish office-books, including a Liber Ordinum from Albelda, and a Breviary from Hirache, to defend the rite. The books were carefully examined by the Council of Mantua (1067), and were pronounced not only free from heresy but also worthy of praise. But in Aragon King Sancho Ramirez was in favour of the change, and on 22 March, 1071, the first Roman Mass was sung in the presence of Cardinal Hugo Candidus and the king in the Monastery of San Juan de la Pena (near Jaca, at the foot of the Pyrenees and the burial place of the early kings of Aragon). The Roman Rite was introduced into Navarre on the accession of Sancho of Aragon to the throne in 1074, and into Cataluna a little later. Meanwhile Alfonso VI became King of Castile and Leon, and St. Gregory VII became pope. Alfonso, influenced by the pope, by St. Hugh of Cluny, and by his first wife Agnes, daughter of William, Duke of Gascony and Guienne and Count of Poitiers, introduced the Roman Rite into Castile and Leon in 1077. This was resisted by his subjects, and on Palm Sunday, 1077, according to the "Chronicon Burgense", occurred the incident of "El Juicio de Dios". Two knights-"one a Castilian and the other a Toledan", says the chronicle-were chosen to fight "pro lege Romana et Toletana". The champion of the Spanish Rite, Juan Ruiz de Matanzas, who was the victor, was certainly a Castilian, but it is improbable that the champion of the Roman Rite, whose name is not recorded, was a Toledan, and the Annals of Compostella say that one was a Castilian and the other of the king's party. The "Chronicon Malleacense", which alleges treachery, calls the latter "miles ex parte Francorum", and at the laterordeal by fire in 1090 the Roman Rite is called impartially "romano", "frances", or "gallicano". It is said that two bulls, one named "Roma" and the other "Toledo", were set to fight, and there also the victory was with Toledo.

But, in spite of the result of the trials by battle, Alfonso continued to support the Roman Rite, and a Council of Burgos (1080) decreed its use in Castile. In 1085 Toledo was taken and the question of rites arose again. The Mozarabic Christians, who had many churches in Toledo and no doubt in the country as well, resisted the change. This time another form of ordeal was tried. The two books were thrown into a fire. By the time the Roman book was consumed, the Toledan was little damaged. No one who has seen a Mozarabic manuscript with its extraordinarily solid vellum, will adopt any hypothesis of Divine Interposition here. But still the king, influenced now by his second wife Constance, daughter of Robert, Duke of Burgundy and son of King Robert the Pious of France, and by Bernard, the new Archbishop of Toledo, a Cistercian, insisted on the introduction of the Roman Rite, though this time with a compromise. All new churches were to use the Roman Rite, but in the six old churches, Sts. Justa and Ruffina, St. Eulalia, St. Sebastian, St. Mark, St. Luke, and St. Torquatus, the Mozarabes might continue to have their old rite, and might hand it on to their descendants. Flores mentions also the Ermita de S. Maria de Alficen, which is probably the church of St. Mary which Neale says "disappeared, we know not how, some centuries ago." But the rite still continued in the Moorish dominions, as well as in certain monasteries, apparently, according to Rodrigo Ximenes, Archbishop of Toledo (1210-49), even in the Christian kingdoms.

When King James of Aragon conquered Valencia in 1238, he found there Mozarabic Christians using the old rite, and the same apparently happened when Murcia and all Andalusia except Granada were conquered by Ferdinand III in 1235-51. When Ferdinand and Isabella took Granada in 1492, there were certainly some Mozarabic Christians there, as well as Christian merchants and prisoners from non-Moorish countries, but whether the Mozarabic Rite was used by them does not appear. With the discouragement which began with Alfonso VI came the period of decadence. The civilprivileges ( fueros) of the Toledo Mozarabes, which, though in 1147 Pope Eugene III had definitely put them under the jurisdiction of the bishop of the diocese, included a certain amount of independence, were confirmed by Alfonso VII in 1118, by Peter in 1350, by Henry II in 1379, and by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1480 (later also by Philip II in 1564, by Charles II in 1699, and by Philip V in 1740). But in spite of this the "Roman Rite prevailed so much that it was introduced even into Mozarabic churches, which only used the old rite for certain special days, and that in a corrupted form from old and imperfectly understood manuscripts This and the dying out of many Mozarabic families gradually brought the rite very low. There was a spasmodic attempt at a revival, when in 1436 Juan de Todesillas, Bishop of Segovia, founded the college of Amiago (originally a Benedictine house, a little to the south-west of Valladolid), where the priests were to use the Gothic Rite. The foundation lasted five years and then became Carthusian. Thus, when Francisco Ximenes de Cisneros became Archbishop of Toledo in 1495, he found the Mozarabic Rite in a fair way to become extinct. He employed the learned Alfonso Ortiz and three Mozarabic priests, Alfonso Martinez, parish priest of St. Eulalia, Antonio Rodrigues of Sts. Justa and Ruffina, and Jeronymo Guttierez of St. Luke, to prepare an edition of the Mozarabic Missal, which appeared in 1500, and of the Breviary, which appeared in 1502. He founded the Mozarabic Chapel in Toledo cathedral, with an endowment for thirteen chaplains, a sacristan and two mazos sirvientes, and with provision for a sung Mass and the Divine Office daily. Soon afterwards, in 1517, Rodrigo Arias Maldonado de Talavera founded the Capilla de San Salvador, or de Talavera, in the Old Cathedral of Salamanca, where fifty-five Mozarabic Masses were to be said yearly. They were later reduced to six, and now the rite is used there only once or twice a year.

When the church of St. Mary Magdalene at Valladolid was founded by Pedro de la Gasca in 1567, an arrangement was made for two Mozarabic Masses to be said there every month. This foundation was in existence when Flores wrote of it in 1748, but is now extinct. At that time also the offices of the titular saints were said according to the Mozarabic Rite in the six Mozarabic churches of Toledo, and in that of Sts. Justa and Ruffina the Mozarabic feast of the Samaritan Woman (first Sunday in Lent) was also observed. Except for the Capilla Mozarabe in the cathedral, all else was Roman. In 1553 Pope Julius III regulated mixed marriages between Mozarabic and Roman Christians. The children were to follow the rite of the father, but, if the eldest daughter of a Mozarab married a Roman, she and her husband might choose the rite to which she and her children should belong, and if she became a widow she might return to the Mozarabic Rite, if she had left it at her marriage. These rules are still in force, and the writer is informed by Don Ferotin that the present Mozarabes are so proud of their distinctive rite, involving, as it does, pedigrees dating back to the eleventh century at least, that no Mozarabic heiress will ever consent to desert her own rite if she should marry a member of the Roman Rite. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the Mozarabic Rite attracted some attention among the liturgical scholars of the period, and certain dissertations were written and texts published, of which more will be said in the section on manuscripts and editions. In 1842 all the Mozarabic parishes in Toledo except two, Sts. Justa and Ruffina and St. Mark, were suppressed, and their parishioners, something under a thousand in number, were added to those of the two surviving parishes. By the Concordat of 1851 the chaplains of the Capilla Mozarabe were reduced from thirteen to eight, but the continuance of the above two parishes was provided for, and at that time the parochial Mass in these was always Mozarabic. It has almost entirely ceased to be so now, and it is only in the Capilla Muzarabe in the cathedral and in the Capilla de Talavera at Salamanca that the rite can be seen at present-in the former daily (in a High Mass at nine a.m.), and in the latter once or twice a year. Only the Missal and Breviary were published by Ximenes, and only four manuscripts of the "Liber Ordinum" (which contains the services of the Ritual and Pontifical) are known to exist. Hence it is that in all the sacraments except the Eucharist, and in all the occasional offices the Mozarabes now follow the Roman Rite. One effect of the Mozarabic Rite yet remains in the cathedral services of the Roman Rite. According to Simonet (Historia de los Mozarabes de Espana), the Canto Melodico or Eugeniano, attributed to Eugenius II, Archbishop of Toledo (647-57), is still alternated with the Gregorian plain chant in all the Graduals of the Mass except on ferials, and certain hymns are still sung to the Eugenian melodies. When Jeronimo Romero, choirmaster of Toledo cathedral, wrote his note on the Canto Melodico in Lorenzana's edition of the Mozarabic Breviary of 1775, it seems to have been still more extensively used, but in the specimens which he gives (the beginning of the Gradual for Sts. Peter and Paul) the textus or canto firmo is only a variety of the ordinary plain chant, and the glossa duplex and glossa simplex, which he calls "Eugenian", seem rather too modern counterpoints for the seventh century.

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