Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Mass in Gaul, Part 3 (from The Mass of the Western Rites)

Christ in Majesty (c. AD 1100),
Chapelle des Moines, Berzé-la-Ville
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 Minor, Trivial Biblical Stuff, Part 7: The Nails of the Crucifixion

Most of us western Christians grew up looking at images of the crucifixion that show Jesus being pierced with one nail over both feet, as in the picture at right. Sometimes we see images which have both feet nailed separately (making a total of four nails), but the three nails version is, for most of the time, definitive. There are people who would even say that this portrayal is "traditional", sometimes almost giving the impression that the four-nails version were somehow a novel variation. We must note, however, that depicting only three nails is purely a medieval (this iconographic convention only started around the end of the 1st millenium), Western thing; Eastern icons, with a few Western-influenced exceptions, uniformly portray four nails being used to pin Jesus down to His cross. And here they are following a more ancient iconographic tradition which could have some basis in historical reality.

The oldest depiction of a crucifixion we have, the Alexamenos Graffito (dating from the late 1st-3rd century AD), clearly shows the crucified figure's feet as being separate. Other early images, such as a late 2nd-3rd century carved jasper either from Syria or Gaza (part of the Pereire Collection), a graffito found in Puzzuoli, another gem, and a relief from Santa Sabina in Rome (ca. 430-435 AD), follow suit in not showing the feet as being placed above the other. This convention has passed on to later Christian iconography, and for a time people, both in the East and the West, portrayed Jesus Christ being crucified with His feet separate.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Mass in Gaul, Part 2 (from The Mass of the Western Rites)


The paten from Gourdon.
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 Byzantine liturgy.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Mass in Gaul, Part 1 (from The Mass of the Western Rites)


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.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

From the Gallican Rites...

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia:
The Reichenau Fragments (Carlsruhe, 253) are described (no. 8) in Delisle's "Memoire sur d'anciens Sacramentaires." -- These were discovered by Mone in 1850 in a palimpsest manuscript from the Abbey of Reichenau, in the library of Carlsruhe. The manuscript, which is late seventh century, had belonged to John II, Bishop of Constance (760-81). It contains eleven Masses of purely Gallican type, one of which is in honour of St. Germanus of Auxerre, but the others do not specify any festival. One Mass, except the post Post-Pridie which is in prose, is entirely in hexameter verse. Mone published them with a facsimile in his "Lateinische und Griechische Menssen aus dem zweiten bis sechsten Jahrhundert" (Frankfort 1850). They were reprinted in Migne's "Patrologia Latina" (Vol. CXXXVIII), and by Neale and Forbes in "The Ancient Liturgy of the Gallican Church" (Burntisland, 1855–67).
(collectio.) Deum fidelium saluatorem, conseruatoremque credentium. deum aeterne. inmortalitatis auctorem. fratres dilectissimi. unianimiter dominum depraecemur. ut nobis pietatis suae dono spiritali misericordiam indeficienter inperciat p. d.

(collectio ante nomina.) Deus qui pro magnitudinem tuam per uniuersa deffunderis et ubi tamen totus adsistis. discriteus omnium uoluntatis qualitatebus locis temporibus adque personis. uotorum omnium capax. propiciatus exaudi. dum ad cunctus adspices foues omnebus misereris. p. d.

(post nomina.) Recitata nomina dominus benedieat et accepta sit domino uti huius oblatio. nostrisque praecebus intercessio suffragetur. spiritibus quoque karorum nostrorum laetis sedibus conquiiscant. et primi resurrectionis gaudia consequantur. p. d. nm.

(ad pacem.) Exaudi nos deus salutares noster. et in consortio nos diuinorum sacrificiorum dignanter admitte. hac pacem tuam benignus largire. p. d.

(contestatio.) Dignum et iustum est equum et iustum est ut te sancte pater omnipotens aeterne deus. omnibus locis. omnibusque temporibus. per omnia momenta ueneremur. tibi supplices simus. tibi deferamus praecis, te totis stodiis et effectibus adoremus. deus qui ultra omnibus uirtutis. ultra omnis es potestatis. deux uniuersorum arbiter. judex secretorum. quem caeli et terra. quem angeli et archangeli. quem throni et dominationis. quem cherubin. et serafin. incessabili uoce proclamant dicentes. SS. SCS. SS.

(contestatio.) Dignum et iustum est. nos tibi gratias agere domine deus per Xpm Jhm filium tuum. qui cum deus esset aeternus. homo fieri pro nostra salute dignatus est. unice singulare. et multiplex saluatoris nostri mysterium. nam unus idemque et deus summus et homo perfectus, et pontifex maximus. et sacrificii sacratissimum. secundum diuinam potentiam creauit omnia. secundum humanam conditionem liberabit hominem. secundum uim sacrificii expiauit conmaculatus. secundum jus sacerdocii reconciliauit offensus. O unice redemptionis. mysterium singulare. in quo uetusta ilia uulnera. noua domino medicina sanauit. et primi hominis praeiudicia. salutares nostri praeuiligia resciderunt. ille concupiscientiae exagitatus stimolis. hic oboedientiae, confixus est clauis. ille ad arborem manus incontinenter extendit. iste ad crucem pacienter abtauit. ille uoluptate inlecitus gustus explebit. iste cruciatu indebite dolores afflictus est. ideo merito poena innocentiae facta est absolutio debetores jure. etenim obnoxii demittuntur debita quae pro eis ille qui nihil
habebat absoluit. quod singulare mystirium. non solum homines in terris. uerum etiam. angeli uenerantur in caelis. cui me[rito].

(post sanctus.) Uere sanctus. uere benedictus dominus noster Jhs Xps filius tuus. Qui pridie.

(post mysterium.) Domini ac dei nostri sempeterni gloriam depraecemur. orantis uti hoc sacrificium tua benedictione. benedicas et sancti spiritus tui rore perfundas. ut accipientibus uniuersis. legitima sit eucharestia per Jhm Xpm filium tuum deum ac dominum conseruatoremque nostrum, cui est aput te domine cum spiritum sanctum regnum sempiternum perpettia diuinitas in secula seculorum amen.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

August 15 - The Assumption

FURTHERMORE Ozias the prince of the people of Israel, said to her, "Blessed are you, O daughter, by the Lord God the most high above all women upon the earth. Blessed be the Lord who made heaven and earth, who has guided you for a wound to the head of the prince of our enemies. For on this day He has so magnified your name that your praise shall not retire from the mouth of men, who shall be mindful of the power of the Lord for eternity, for that you have not spared your life for the sake of the distress and tribulation of your people, but have prevented our ruin before the sight of our God."

(Vulgate, Judith 13:22-25)

And said Ozias to her, "Blessed are you, O daughter, to God the Most High above all the women upon the earth; and blessed is the Lord God, who created the heavens and the earth, who has guided you for a wound to the head of the leader of our enemies. For this your confidence shall not depart from the heart of men, who remember the strength of God to the age; and God turn these things to you for an exaltation to the age, to visit you in blessings, since you did not spare your life for the affliction of our nation, but went against our ruin, walking a straight way before our God."

(Septuagint, Judith 13:18-20)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Minor, Trivial Biblical Stuff, Part 6: The Horns of the Altar

In 1 Kings 1:50-52 and 2:28-34, we read that (NKJV):

Now Adonijah was afraid of Solomon; so he arose, and went and took hold of the horns of the altar. And it was told Solomon, saying, "Indeed Adonijah is afraid of King Solomon; for look, he has taken hold of the horns of the altar, saying, ‘Let King Solomon swear to me today that he will not put his servant to death with the sword.’" Then Solomon said, "If he proves himself a worthy man, not one hair of him shall fall to the earth; but if wickedness is found in him, he shall die." So King Solomon sent them to bring him down from the altar. And he came and fell down before King Solomon; and Solomon said to him, "Go to your house."

Exhibition in Dresden reunites Dürer painting with altarpiece following a 21-year restoration

A tip of my (symbolic) hat to the folks at The New Liturgical Movement for this headline: Durer Altarpiece Unveiled 21 Years After Acid Attack.
LONDON. A panel from Dürer’s first major altarpiece has been restored after a 21-year treatment following a devastating acid attack in Munich. The Virgin of Sorrows has been unveiled in Dresden, where it was reunited with the rest of the altarpiece of the Seven Sorrows for the first time in nearly five centuries.

Dürer painted the Seven Sorrows and the Seven Joys of the Virgin in 1496, at the age of 25. It may have been commissioned by Frederick the Wise for his palace church at Wittenberg. The altarpiece was probably dismem­bered during the Refor­mation, and the seven panels of the Sorrows (of the life of Christ) passed to the artist Lucas Cranach the Younger, whose father had been a court painter. In 1588 Cranach’s estate sold them to the Saxon art collection in Dresden, and they later went to the city’s Gemäldegalerie [...]

The Roman Mass of the Late 15th Century now (partly) up!

It may not be much of a news, I know, but I've finished typing half of the ordo of the 15th century Roman Mass, derived from Henry Bradshaw & Son's Missale Romanum Mediolani, 1474. It's only half-complete, so stay tuned for updates.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Minor, Trivial Biblical Stuff, Part 5: The High Places and the Standing-Stones

10 monumental megaliths possibly comprising a Canaanite
"high place" found in Gezer
In the Bible, we often encounter Canaanite sanctuaries (and Israelite establishments which were imitations of these) known under the name "high places", the normal translation of the Hebrew word bamot (sing. bamah). We do not know the verbal root from which the word is derived, and the noun itself may be pre-Semitic. The cognates of bamah in both Akkadian and Ugaritic mean the 'back' or 'trunk' of an animal, though it can also denote any elevated ground, such as a crest of a hill or height. In the Bible too, apart from the cultic references and some obscure texts, bamah can mean the 'back' of one's enemies (Deuteronomy 33:29), 'heights' (Deuteronomy 32:13; Psalm 18:34; Isaiah 58:14; Micah 1:3; Amos 4:13; Habbakkuk 3:19), the 'back' of clouds (Isaiah 14:14), or the 'waves' of the sea (Job 9:8). The idea which the word expresses therefore is something which stands out in relief from its background, but the idea of a mountain or hill is not contained in the word itself (note how in 2 Kings 16:4; 2 Chronicles 28:4 the "high places" are distinguished from the "hills").