Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Mass as it was in the City of Rome, part 3

Another reconstruction of the interior of Santa Maria Maggiore


After the Kyrie, the Pope turns to the people and intones the Gloria if it be the season for it (The Gloria can be said by a Bishop during Sundays and Feastdays while Priests recite it only during Easter Sunday):

Pope: "Gloria in Excelsis Deo..."
Choir: "...Et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis.
Laudamus te. Benedicimus te. Adoramus te. Glorificamus te. Gratias agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam.

Domine Deus, Rex Coelestis, Deus Pater omnipotens.
Domine Fili unigenite, Jesu Christe. Domine Deus, Agnus Dei, Filius Patris.

Qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis. Qui tollis peccata mundi suscipe deprecationem nostram. Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris, miserere nobis.

Quoniam tu solus sanctus. Tu solus Dominus. Tu solus Altissimus, Jesu Christe.
Cum Sancto Spiritu in gloria Dei Patris. Amen.


After the Gloria, the Pope once again faces East wherein he will say the Collect:

Pope: "Pax vobiscum." (Peace be with you.)
R: "Et cum spiritu tuo." (And with your spirit.)

Pope: "Oremus. Deus, qui hodierna die per Unigenitum tuum, aeternitatis nobis aditum devicta morte reserasti: vota nostra, quae praeveniendo aspiras, etiam adiuvando prosequere. Per eumdem Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum."
R: "Amen."

(Let us pray. O God, who, on this day, through Your only-begotten Son, has conquered death, and thrown open to us the gate of everlasting life, give effect by Your aid to our desires, which You anticipated and inspired. Through the same Jesus Christ, You Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit; God, forever and ever.
R: Amen.)

At the end of the Collect, he then sits down and signals to the Bishops and the Presbyters to also sit. Meanwhile the district-Subdeacons go up to the Altar, and place themselves at the right and left of it.


Ministers up an Ambo.

The District-Subdeacons will then go up to the Altar and place themselves at the left and right sides of it. When the Subdeacon who will read the Epistle notices that the Pope, the Bishops and Presbyters are sitting down, he will go up to the Ambo and read the Epistle facing the Altar.

In some churches, such as in San Clemente in Rome (pictured below) there are two Ambos. In that case, the Subdeacon will go to the Ambo intended for the Epistle and read it from there.

The two Ambos at San Clemente

Subdeacon: "Lectio Epistolae beati Pauli Apostoli ad Corinthios (1 Cor. 5: 7-8).
Fratres dilectissimi: Expurgate vetus fermentum, ut sitis nova conspersio, sicut estis azymi. Etenim Pascha nostrum immolatus est Christus. Itaque epulemur: non in fermento veteri, neque in fermento malitiae, et nequitiae: sed in azymis sinceritatis, et veritatis.
R: "Deo Gratias."

(Sd: A reading from the Epistle of Blessed Paul the Apostle to the Corithians:
Beloved brethren: purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new paste, as you are unleavened: for Christ our Pasch is sacrificed. Therefore let us feast, not with the old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
R: Thanks be to God.)



The title and beginning of the Great Doxology used in the Catholic Mass, Divine Service of the Lutheran Church and in the services of many other Christian churches. It is derived from the Great Doxology, a longer and fuller version, used in the Byzantine Churches outside the Eucharistic liturgy.

The song was originally in Greek and goes back very far in the history of Christianity. Another form of the song goes to at least the third century, if not to the first. A longer version dating to the fourth century is still sung in the Greek Orthodox church. The Latin version differs from the present Greek form. They correspond down to the end of the Latin, which however adds: "Tu solus altissimus" and "Cum sancto Spiritu".

The song was gradually adopted as a fixture in the liturgy.
The first Pope to order this part of the liturgy was said to be Pope Telesphorus (128–139?), who ordered it sung at every Christmas, and Pope Symmachus (498–514) ordered that it be said every Sunday.


The word ambo comes from a Greek word meaning an elevation. It was originally an elaborate raised platform in the middle of the nave from which the Epistle and Gospel would be read, and was occasionally used as a speaker's platform for homilies. It was joined to the sanctuary by a raised walkway called the soleas.

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