Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Mass as it was in the City of Rome, part 6

A Late 3rd-century mosaic depicting Christ as the sun god Helios or Sol Invictus, from the Mausoleum of the Julii (aka Tomb M or The Tomb of "Cristo Sole"), the Necropolis under St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican


By this time, the District-Subdeacons are now standing in front of the Altar facing the Pope while the Bishops stand behind him (the senior in the midst, and the rest in their order), the Archdeacon standing on their right, the second Deacon on their left, and the rest in order arranged in a line. They make the responses to the Pope, who now begins:

Pope: "Dominus vobiscum."
R: "Et cum spiritu tuo."
Pope: "Sursum corda."
R: "Habemus ad Dominum."
Pope: "Gratias agamus Domino Deo nostro."
R: "Dignum et justum est."
Pope: "
Vere dignum et justum est, aequum et salutare, aequum et salutare, nos tibi semper, et ubique gratias agere: Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, aeterne Deus: te quidem omni tempore, sed in hoc praecipue die laudare benedicere et praedicare, quod pascha nostrum immolatus est Christus.
Per quem in aeternam vitam filii lucis oriuntur, fidelibus Regni coelestis atria reserantur, et beati lege commercii divinis humana mutantur.
Quia nostrorum omnium mors cruce Christi redempta est et in resurrectione ejus omnium vita resurrexit. Quem in susceptione mortalitatis Deum Majestatis agnoscimus et in divinitatis gloriam Deum et hominem confitemur.

Qui mortem nostram moriendo destruxit et vitam resurgendo restituit, Jesus Christus Dominus noster.
Et ideo cum Angelis et Archangelis, cum Thronis et Dominationibus, cumque omnia milita coelestis exercitus, hymnum gloriae tuae canimus, sine fine dicentes:
Choir: "
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus
Dominus Deus Sabaoth.
Pleni sunt coeli et terra gloria tua.
Hosanna in excelsis.
Benedictus sunt qui veni in nomine Domini; Hosanna in excelsis.

(Pope: The Lord be with you.
R: And with your spirit.
Pope: Lift up your hearts.
R: We lift them up to the Lord.
Pope: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
R: It is meet and right to do so.
Pope: It is truly meet and just, right and profitable, that we should at all times and in all places give thanks to You, O Holy Lord, almighty Father, eternal God; glorious in truth is it to praise You at all times, but especially on this day, when Christ our Passover Lamb was sacrificed for us; through whom the sons of light arise to eternal life, the courts of the Heavenly Kingdom are opened to the faithful, and by the law of blessed fellowship human things are changed to divine.
The death of us all is destroyed by the Cross of Christ, and in His Resurrection the life of every man has risen again; whom we own in his putting on of our mortality to be the God of Majesty, and acknowledge to be God and Man in the Glory of His Godhead; who by His death had destroyed our death, and by His Resurrection had restored to us life, Jesus Christ our Lord. And therefore, with the Angels and Archangels, Thrones and Dominions, and with the whole company of the Heavenly Army, we sing the hymn of Your Glory, saying without ceasing:

Choir: Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of hosts;
Heaven and Earth are full of Your glory.
[Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.])

Mosaic bust of Christ from the Chapel of St. Zeno in the Basilica of St. Praxedes, Rome.


After the Choir had finished singing, the Pope rises alone and recites the Canon. The Bishops, however, and the Deacons, Subdeacons, and Presbyters remain in the Presbytery, and bow themselves down. An Acolyte comes near, with a linen cloth thrown around his neck, holding the Paten before his breast, and stands on the right side [of the Altar?] holding it until the middle of the Canon.

Pope: "Te igitur, clementissime Pater, per Jesum Christum, Filium tuum, Dominum nostrum, supplices rogamus ac petimus, uti accepta habeas, et benedicas haec + dona, haec + munera, haec + sancta sacrificia illibata, in primis quae tibi offerimus pro Ecclesia tua sancta Catholica: quam pacificare, custodire, adunare, et regere digneris toto orbe terrarum: una cum famulo tuo Papa nostro illo, et Antistite nostro illo Episcopo."

(Therefore, most gracious Father, we humbly pray and beseech You, through Jesus Christ Your Son, our Lord, to hold acceptable and bless these + gifts, these + offerings, this + holy and unspotted sacrifice, which in the first place we offer You for Your holy Catholic Church, that it may please You to grant her peace: as also to protect, unite, and govern her throughout the world, together with Your servant N. our Pope, N. our Bishop.)

Pope: "Memento, Domine, famulorum famularumque tuarum et omnium circumstantium, quorum tibi fides cognita est, et nota devotio, pro quibus tibi offerimus, vel qui tibi offerunt hoc sacrificium laudis, pro se suisque omnibus: pro redemptione animarum suarum, pro spe salutis, et incolumitatis suae: tibique reddunt vota sua aeterno Deo, vivo et vero."

(Be mindful, O Lord, of Your servants and handmaids and of all here present, whose faith and devotion are known to You, for whom we offer, or who offer up to You this Sacrifice of praise for themselves and all those dear to them, for the redemption of their souls and the hope of their safety and salvation: who now pay their vows to You, the everlasting God, living and true.)

The Apse mosaic of the Basilica of St. Pudenziana in Rome, dating from about 390 (the oldest in the city). The lower part of this mosaic was destroyed in the 1588 or 1598 restoration.

Pope: "Communicantes, et diem sacratissimum celebrantes, Resurrectionis Domini nostri Jesu Christi secundum carnem: sed et memoriam venerantes, in primis gloriosae semper Virginis Mariae, Genitricis Dei et Domini nostri Jesu Christi: sed et beatorum Apostolorum ac Martyrum tuorum, Petri et Pauli, Andreae, Jacobi, Johannis, Thomae, Iacobi, Philippi, Bartholomaei, Matthaei, Simonis, et Thaddaei: Lini, Cleti, Clementis, Xysti, Cornelii, Cypriani, Laurentii, Chrysogoni, Johannis et Pauli, Cosmae et Damiani: et omnium Sanctorum tuorum; quorum meritis precibusque concedas, ut in omnibus protectionis tuae muniamur auxilio. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum."

(In communion with, and keeping this most holy day of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh; and also reverencing the memory, first, of the glorious Mary, ever Virgin, Mother of the same our God and Lord Jesus Christ: and also of Your blessed Apostles and Martyrs, Peter and Paul, Andrew, James, John, Thomas, James, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Simon and Thaddeus, Linus, Cletus, Clement, Sixtus, Cornelius, Cyprian, Lawrence, Chrysogonus, John and Paul, Cosmas and Damian, and of all Your Saints. Grant for the sake of their merits and prayers that in all things we may be guarded and helped by Your protection. Through Christ our Lord.)

Mosaic of Christ blessing the loaves and fishes (ca. 504), from the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna. Note Jesus' lack of a beard.

Pope: "Hanc igitur oblationem servitutis nostrae, sed et cunctae familiae tuae, quam tibi offerimus pro his quoque, quos regenerare dignatus es ex aqua, et Spiritu Sancto, tribuens eis remissionem omnium peccatorum, in Christo Jesu Domino nostro, quaesumus, Domine, ut placatus accipias: diesque nostros in tua pace disponas, atque ab aeterna damnatione nos eripi, et in electorum tuorum jubeas grege numerari. Per Christum Dominum nostrum."

(We therefore beseech You, O Lord, to graciously to accept this oblation of our service and that of Your whole household, which we make unto You on behalf of these whom You had deigned to bring to a new birth by water and the Holy Spirit, granting them remission of all their sins in Christ Jesus our Lord. Dispose our days in Your peace, preserve us from final damnation and rank us in the number of Your Elect; through Christ our Lord.)

Mosaic of the Last Supper (ca. 504), also from the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna. Comparing this to the above mosaic, one can note that Christ now has a beard (mosaics of Christ's ministry on the left side of the Church show Him beardless and rather youthful while mosaics of the Passion, minus the Flagellation and Crucifixion on the right show Him bearded. For the Arians, this emphasized that Christ grew older and became a "man of sorrows," as spoken of by the prophet Isaiah). This points to the Arian origins of this church as it was originally erected by the Arian Ostrogothic King Theodoric the Great as his palace chapel dedicated to Christ the Redeemer. It then became orthodox property and was reconsecrated in 561 under the rule of the Byzantine emperor Justinian I and dedicated to St. Martin of Tours, and was finally renamed again in 856 when the relics of St. Apollinarius were transferred to this church from the Basilica San Apollinare in Classe.

Pope: "Quam oblationem tu Deus, in omnibus quaesumus, bene + dictam, adscriptam + , ratam +, rationabilem, acceptabilemque facere digneris; ut nobis Corpus +, et Sanguis + fiat dilectissimi Filii tui Domini nostri Jesu Christi.

Qui pridie quam pateretur, accepit panem in sanctas ac venerabiles manus suas, et elevatis oculis in coelum ad te, Deum Patrem suum omnipotentem, tibi gratias agens, bene + dixit, fregit, dedit discipulis suis dicens:
Accipite et manducate ex hoc omnes; HOC EST ENIM CORPUS MEUM.

Simili modo posteaquam coenatum est, accipiens et hunc praeclarum calicem in sanctas ac venerabiles manus suas, item tibi gratias agens, benedixit, dedit discipulis suis dicens: Accipite et bibite ex eo omnes;
IN REMISSIONE PECCATORUM. Haec quotienscumque feceritis, in mei memoriam facietis.

(We ask You, O God, to be pleased to make this same offering wholly blessed +, to consecrate + it and approve + it, making it reasonable and acceptable, that it may become for us the Body + and Blood + of Your dearly beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Who, the day before He suffered, took bread into His Holy and venerable hands, and having lifted up His eyes to heaven, to You, O God, His Almighty Father, giving thanks to You, He blessed it +, broke it, and gave it to His disciples, saying: "Take and eat this, all of you; FOR THIS IS MY BODY."

In the same manner after supper, taking also into His holy and venerable hands this goodly chalice, again giving thanks to You, He blessed it +, and gave it to His disciples, saying: "Take and drink this, all of you; FOR THIS IS THE CHALICE OF MY BLOOD, OF THE NEW AND ETERNAL TESTAMENT; THE MYSTERY OF FAITH,
As often as you shall do these things, do this in memory of Me.



There was, originally, no Elevation of the Sacred Species at Mass, it being a recent development. The Eastern liturgies, and notably the Byzantine, have indeed a showing of the consecrated Host to the people, with the words "Holy things to the holy" (Greek: Ta Agia tois Agiois, Slavonic: Svyataya Svyatym) followed by the response "One alone is holy, One alone is the Lord, Jesus Christ; to the glory of God the Father, Amen" (Greek: "Eis Agios, Eis Kyrios, Iēsous Christos, eis doxan Theou Patros, Amin", Slavonic: "Edin Svyat, edin Gospod', Iisus Khristos, vo slavu Boga Ottsa. Amin'."
), but this should rather be regarded as the counterpart of our "Ecce Agnus Dei" and as a preliminary to the Communion; they do not elevate the Bread nor the Chalice during the Words of Institution.

The Elevation of the Host (and still more of the Chalice) to the people after the utterance of the words of Institution, "Hoc est enim corpus meum", is not known to have existed earlier than the close of the 12th century to the beginning of the 13th. Eudes de Sully, Bishop of Paris from 1196 to 1208, seems to have been the first to direct in his episcopal statutes that after the consecratory words the Host should be "elevated so that it can be seen by all".
At this time, there were many under the influence of Berengarius (c. 999-1088) who questioned the doctrine of Transubstantiation; also (at least in Paris, the centre of intellectual life during this time period) eminent scholars such as Peter Cantor are putting forth the view that the Transubstantiation only takes place after the Priest has said the Words of Consecration on both the Host and Chalice. This view aroused suspicion amongst many clergy (such as the aforementioned Bishop de Sully and Stephen Langton) and as a form of protest against this view, the custom of adoring the Host immediately after the words, "Hoc est enim corpus meum" were spoken was adopted, and by a natural transition they encouraged the practice of showing it to the people for this purpose.

We find mention of a little bell of warning (the Sacring-Bell) in the early years of the 13th century, and before the end of the same century it was enjoined in many dioceses of the Continent and in England that one of the great bells of the church should be tolled at the moment of the Elevation, in order that those at work in the fields might kneel down and adore. The Elevation of the Host at Mass seems to have brought in its train a great idea of the special merit and virtue of looking upon the Body of Christ.

Promises of an extravagant kind, almost bordering on superstitious, circulated freely among the people describing the privileges of him who had see the Lord in the form of bread, such as not dying a sudden death, immunity from hunger, infection, the danger of fire, etc. As a result, an extraordinary desire developed to see the Host when elevated at Mass, and this led to a variety of abuses (such as people going inside a Church during the Elevation to look at the Host, then leaving and rushing to another Mass, the reason being 'the more Elevations you saw the more grace you would acquire', people suing each other to get on the 'best seats' in the Church, or Priests being bribed to protract the Elevation) which were rebuked by preachers and satirists.

As for the Elevation of the Chalice, it came later than the Elevation of the Host, as it was not adopted at St. Alban's Abbey until 1429, and even to the present, it was not traditionally practised by the Carthusians (who retained some liturgical practices long since abandoned in many church circles) in their Rite.


Originally, an Acolyte held the Paten during the earlier part of the Canon. Ordo Romanus I describes it thus:

We have, by the by, omitted something about the Paten. When the pontiff begins the Canon, an Acolyte comes near, having a linen cloth thrown around his neck, and holds the Paten before his breast on the right side [of the Altar?] until the middle of the Canon. Then the Subdeacon-attendant holds it outside his planeta, and comes before the Altar, and waits there with it until the district-Subdeacon takes it from him...
Meanwhile, the Ordo of St. Amand says:

If, however, they be not solemn days, when the Chalice is put on the Altar, the presbyters go back into the presbytery, and the rest of the clergy in like manner go back and stand below the platform; and if it should happen to be a Sunday, the presbyters stand with bowed heads, but if on weekdays they bend the knee when the choir begins: "Holy, Holy, Holy".

Then the Acolytes come and stand before the altar behind the Deacons, on the right and left, wrapped in linen cloths: and one of them, holding the Paten before his breast, stands first, and others hold bowls with ewers, others little sacks...
Archdale King (in his 'The Liturgy of the Roman Church') says:

"Ordo Romanus I said that from the beginning of the Canon until the 'Pater Noster', and acolyte, with a linen scarf attached to his neck, held the paten with the sancta before his breast. This 'humeral veil' as it is now called, was originally made of white linen...Amalarius (c. last quarter of the 8th C.-850) tells us that the Paten was held in his day from the offertory until 'Te Igitur' by an Acolyte, and from then until the 'Pater Noster' by the Subdeacon. The sacramentary of St. Vaast (10th century), however, directed the Acolyte to retain it until it was required by the priest.
The Paten, wrapped in the chalice veil, remained on the Altar, to the right of the Priest, according to a rubric in a missal of Grenoble (1522). Neo-Gallican liturgies, in a desire to follow usages supposedly 'in diebus illis', prescribed distinctive practices. Thus the ceremonial of Paris directed an Acolyte, vested in a cope, to hold the Paten; while the missal of Soissons (1745) appointed a boy from the choir (puer chori), wearing a tunicle [to do so]..."

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