The Ordo of St. Amand (c. 800 AD) - from Ordo Romanus Primus

An Ordo Romanus from a ninth century MS of St. Amand (c. 800 A.D.) rendered into English.

(Taken from E.G. Atchley's Ordo Romanus Primus)

In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Here beginneth the Order in which mass is celebrated in the holy and apostolic Roman Church, which we have taken care to set forth with the utmost assiduity and the greatest diligence, not in grammatical phrases, but plainly and exactly; that is, how the pontiff proceeds on a solemn day with great honour, as has been found out from the holy fathers.

An 11th century fresco depicting Sts. Cyril and Methodius bringing the relics of St. Clement, Basilica di San Clemente, Rome. Note that by this time (1000 AD), the pallium is now in its more familiar Y-shape.

The Vesting

1. Now, first of all, all the clergy as well as all the people proceed to the church where the mss is to be celebrated, and the pontiff enters the sacristy and puts on his sacerdotal vestments. When he wears a dalmatic, the Deacons also wear dalmatics in the same manner, and the subdeacons wrap themselves in amices about the neck, and vest themselves in such white tunics as they have, either silken or linen. But if the Pontiff does not wear a dalmatic, the deacons and subdeacons do not wrap themselves in amices, but walk with white tunics and planets [=planeta; i.e. chasuble]. In the meantime, while the pontiff sits in his seat in the sacristy, the deacon who is going to read the gospel takes care of the gospel-book, and afterwards hands it to the subdeacon. Then the subdeacon carries it through the midst of the presbytery, and no one presumes to sit when they see him pass by; and, advancing through the presbytery, the subdeacon places it on the altar.
And meanwhile the ruler of the choir stands before the pontiff and says to the district-subdeacon, So-and-so sings the respond, so-and-so the Alleluia.
Then the Pontiff says to the choir, Enter! and he sends word to the precentor, and says, Command! Then the above-mentioned subdeacon comes to the pontiff's ear and says in an undertone (secreto), So-and-so reads; so-and-so and so-and-so sing the Psalms.

The Introit

2. Then the oblationer lights two tapers before the sacristy for the pontiff's lights, which is the custom at all times, and goes in before the pontiff, and sets them behind the altar in two candlesticks, one on the right and one on the left. Then the collets [acolytes] light their candlesticks before the sacristy; and the pontiff comes out of the sacristy with the deacons, two of them supporting him, on the right and the left, and there go before him the seven candlesticks, and the subdeacon-attendant with a censer. The deacons have their planets over their dalmatics until they come with the pontiff to the upper part of the presbytery. On arriving there, they remove the planets which they have on, and their ministers take them. Now when the subdeacon who is precentor sees them taking off their planets, and the pontiff entering the presbytery, he too removes the planet which he is wearing, and an acolyte from the choir receives it. Then the priests (sacerdotes) rise up and stand. The subdeacons who come in before the pontiff do not pass on through the midst of the choir, but stand right and left before the screen, on either side. And when the pontiff had approached the choir, the collets stand there with the candlesticks, their order being changed, the last being first. Then the pontiff passes through the midst of the choir with the deacons, and signs to the precentor to say, Glory be to the Father. Then the senior bishop and the archpresbyter draw near, and the pontiff gives them the kiss of peace, and afterwards to the deacons. But if the pontiff should not be present, the deacon who is going to read the gospel that day gives it in the same way.
Then the pontiff comes before the altar, and stands there with his head bowed down, and the deacons in like manner. When the choir have said, As it was in the beginning, the deacons rise up from prayer, and kiss the altar on either side. And when the choir have repeated the verse, the pontiff arises from prayer, and kisses the gospel-book which lies on the altar, and goes from the right side of the altar to his throne, the deacons being with him on either side, standing and facing eastwards.

The Kyries

3. Then the collets set the candlesticks which they are holding on the ground. And when the choir have finished the anthem, the pontiff signs to them to say, Lord, have mercy upon us. And the choir says it, and the district-officials who stand below the ambo repeat it. When they have said it a third time, the pontiff again signs to them to say, Christ, have mercy upon us. And when that has been said thrice, he again signs to them to say, Lord, have mercy upon us. And when they have completed the ninth time, he signs to them to stop. Then turning towards the people the pontiff says, Glory be to God on high, and turns back again to the east, and the deacons with him, until the hymn is finished.

The Collect

When this is done he looks towards the people and says, Peace to you, and they answer, And with thy spirit. Then he says, Let us pray. Then the collets lift up their candlesticks, and set them down before the altar in the order which they keep.

The Scripture Lessons

4. The collect ended, the pontiff sits in his throne, and the deacons stand on either side; and the choir turn back below the platform which is below the ambo, and the subdeacons who stand below the screen go up to the altar and stand on either side of it. Then the pontiff signs to the priests (sacerdotes) to sit down in the presbytery. Then a lesson is read from the ambo by a subdeacon. Then one of the choir or a collet, after removing his planet, 1 takes the grail [=gradual] and goes up into the ambo and says the respond: and another in like manner the Alleluia. At the conclusion of this the deacon bows to the pontiff, and the latter orders him to read the gospel; he then goes up to the altar, kisses the gospel-book and takes it up. Then the pontiff rises from his throne and all the priests stand. And there goes before the deacon two subdeacons, one on the right, the other on the left, and two collets carrying two candlesticks before him. And when they arrive at the ambo the subdeacon who is on his right offers him his left arm and the deacon rests the gospel-book on it while he finds the mark [for reading]. Then he goes up into the ambo while the taperers turn back to stand before the ambo, and then the gospel is read.

1 This appears to be the meaning of the passage, which is corrupt.

5. After this the subdeacon takes the gospel-book, and holds it leaning against his breast, below the ambo, while all kiss the book. Then he puts it back in its case. The deacon returns to the altar, and the taperers go before him and put their candlesticks behind the altar, as also the rest of the candlesticks. If there should be a cloth (pallium) on the altar, he folds it on one side towards the east and the corporas is then spread over the altar by the deacons.

The Offertory

6. Then the pontiff washes his hands, and rises from his throne; and the choir go back to the left side of the presbytery. Then the pontiff goes down to receive the offerings from the people, and the archdeacon signs to the choir to say the offertory-anthem. As the pontiff receives the loaves, he hands them to the subdeacon, who puts them into a linen cloth held by the collets who attend him. The deacons receive the flask of wine. The stational chalice is carried by the district-subdeacon, and the deacon pours the flasks into the holy chalice itself; and when it is full, it is emptied into the bowls which the collets carry. Then the pontiff goes with the deacons to the women's side, and they do the same there. He then goes back to his throne, but the deacons remain to receive the flasks of wine. In the meantime there stand before the pontiff the chancellor, the secretary, the notaries and district-officials, while the presbyters are receiving loaves and flasks within the presbytery, both from the men's side as well as the women's; and the collets hold linen cloths and bowls to gather them in.

The Lavatory

7. Then the archdeacon washes his hands, and the rest of the deacons wash their hands. Then the collets hold the linen cloth with the loaves, which the pontiff received from the people, at the right corner of the altar: some of which the subdeacon-attendant selects and hands to a district-subdeacon, who gives them to the archdeacon.

The Preparation of the Offering

The latter places them upon the altar in three or five rows, only so much as may suffice for the people, and remain from that time till the morrow, according to canonical authority. In the meantime the chalice is held by the district-subdeacon, and the archdeacon takes the pontiff's flask from the hand of the oblationer and empties it into the holy chalice; and in like manner the flasks of the presbyters and those of the deacons as well. Then the subdeacon holds a strainer over the chalice, and the wine which the people offered and which is in the bowl is poured through it. Then one of the choir brings an ewer with clean water in it, and gives it to the oblationer, and the latter offers it to the archdeacon, who takes it and pours it, making a cross as he does so, into the holy chalice which is held by the subdeacon at the right corner of the altar.

The Offerings of the Clergy

Then the pontiff descends from his throne, and comes before the altar; and the archdeacon receives the pontiff's loaves from the subdeacon-oblationer, and hands them to the pontiff, who sets them on the altar. Then the archdeacon takes the chalice from the subdeacon and sets it on the altar.
 The pontiff then signs to the choir to make an end to the offertory-anthem: and they turn back and stand before the platform.


8. On Christmas day, the Epiphany, the Holy Sabbath, Easter day, Easter Monday, Ascension day, Whitsunday, and the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, the bishops stand behind the pontiff with bowed heads, and the presbyters on their right and left, and each one holds a corporas in his hand; two loaves are then given to each of them by the archdeacon, and the pontiff says the canon so that he can be heard by them; and they hallow the loaves which they hold, just as the pontiff hallows those on the altar. The deacons, however, stand with bowed heads behind the bishops; and the subdeacons face the pontiff with bowed heads until he says, To us sinners also.

9. 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 week days they bend the knee, when the choir begins, Holy, Holy, Holy.

The Canon

Then the collets come and stand before the altar behind the deacons, on the right and left, wrapped in linen cloths: and one of them, wrapped in a silken pall with a cross on it, holding the paten before his breast, stands first, and others hold bowls with ewers, others little sacks.

The Sacring

Now when the pontiff has come to, All honour and glory, he takes up two loaves in his hands, and the deacon takes the chalice and lifts it up a little until he says, For ever and ever, Amen.

The Fraction

10. Then the deacons and priests rise up from prayer. And when the pontiff has said, The peace of the Lord be with you alway, the subdeacon takes the paten from the collet, and offers it to the archdeacon, who holds it at the pontiff's right hand; and the pontiff breaks one of the loaves which he offers for himself, and sets the crown of it down on the altar, putting one whole one and the other moiety on the paten; and the archdeacon returns the paten to the collet, and the pontiff goes to his throne. Then the other deacons break [the loaves] on the paten, and the bishops also [break loaves] in the right side of the apse. Then the archdeacon lifts the chalice up from the altar and gives it to the subdeacon, and stands with him at the right corner of the altar; the collets then approach the altar with little sacks, and stand around the altar; and the archdeacon puts the loaves into their sacks, and they return to the presbyters in order that they may break them. Meanwhile the presbyters and the deacons sing in an undertone, Blessed are those that are undefiled. If it should happen to be necessary, the loaves are first split asunder by a presbyter, and afterwards broken in pieces by the district-subdeacons. The choir then return to the left side of the presbytery, and the archdeacon signs to them to say, O Lamb of God. And in the meantime, while the fraction is being carried out, the collets who hold the bowls and the flasks answer again, O Lamb of God. And when they have finished the fraction, the archdeacon takes the holy chalice from the subdeacon, and another deacon takes the paten from the collet, and they go before the pontiff.

The Commixture

11. The pontiff takes the Holy Element (sancta) from the paten, bites a small piece off, and makes a cross with it over the chalice, saying in an undertone, May the commixture and consecration, etc. Then the pontiff communicates of the chalice which is held by the archdeacon.

The Communion

Then the bishops and presbyters receive the Holy Element from the pontiff's hand, and go to the left part of the altar and place their hands on it, and so communicate. When the bishops and presbyters begin to communicate, the archdeacon goes to the right side of the altar, and a collet stands before him with the chief bowl. Then the former announces the next station, and they all answer, Thanks be to God: and then he pours from the chalice into the bowl. Next, he gives the chalice to the bishop who first communicated, and goes to the pontiff and receives the Holy Element from his hand, and the other deacons do the same; and they go to the right side of the altar and communicate. Then they partake of the chalice at the hands of the same bishop who communicated the presbyters therewith. Then the pontiff communicates the chief and the second [of the schools of the notaries and counsellors]. Then the archdeacon takes the chalice from the bishop, and a subdeacon comes up with a little strainer in his hand: and he takes the Holy Element out of the chalice, and puts it into the chief ewer whence the archdeacon will communicate the people; and the archdeacon empties the chalice into the second chalice, and the collet pours from this into the chief ewer.

The Communion-Anthem

Then the pontiff goes down to communicate the people, and the archdeacon signs to the choir to say the communion-anthem. And when the choir have said it, the subdeacons on the left side of the screen below the throne (thronum) repeat it. And when the magnates, tribunes, counts, and judges, and any others whom he wishes, have been communicated [by the pope], he goes to the women's side below the screen, followed by the deacons who administer the cup to the people. Then, when he desires it, he returns to his throne, and the priests stand below the presbytery to communicate the people in both species. And in the meantime the pontiff sits on his throne, and a collet stands before him with the holy paten, and the subdeacons, notaries, and district-officials come before him, and the deacon communicates them with the species of wine.

The invitations to breakfast

12. Then the notaries stand before the pontiff with pen and book (dhomum, i.e. tomum) in their hand, and he bids them write the names of those whom he wishes invited. Then the notaries go down from the throne, and announce the invitations to those whose names are written down.

13. Meanwhile a priest comes and communicates the choir, and the ruler of the choir holds in his hand a ewer which has been filled from the principal bowl; and a presbyter takes it from his hand and makes a cross with the Holy Element over the ewer, and drops It in, and then he administers the cup to the choir. All the presbyters do likewise when they communicate the people with the cup. And when the archdeacon sees that few are left to be communicated, he signs to the choir to say, Glory be to the Father. And the subdeacons reply, As it was in the beginning, and the choir repeat the verse.

The Second Lavatory

14. Then the pontiff comes down from the throne and goes before the altar, and the candlesticks are put behind him. And in the meantime the priests and the deacons wash their hands, and give one another a kiss in order, and the subdeacons in their turn where they stand, and the choir likewise in the place where they stand.

The Post-Communion Collect & Dismissal

15. The collect having been finished, the deacon (not he who reads the gospel, but another) says, Go, [mass] is over!
Then the pontiff comes down from the altar, and the deacons with him, and the subdeacon who has been mentioned above goes before him with the censer, as also the candlesticks carried by the collets; and as he passes down through the midst of the presbytery a subdeacon of the choir says, Sir, bid a blessing! And the pontiff gives the prayer, and they answer, Amen. And when he goes out of the presbytery, the judges next say, Sir, bid a blessing. And when the blessing has been given, they answer, Amen. And the collets come before the pontiff with their candlesticks, and stand before the door of the sacristy until he is gone in; and then they put out their lights.

The Unvesting

16. Then the pontiff takes off his vestments, and the subdeacons take them and hand them to the chamberlains. The deacons, however, unvest outside the sacristy and their collets take their vestments. And when the pontiff sits down, the chief sexton of the church comes with a silver bowl (bacea=bacchia) with little round loaves on it (or if there is none of silver, with a bowl of some sort [catino]), and stands before the pontiff; and there come in order the deacons, then the chancellor and the secretary and the papal-vicar and the subdeacons, and they receive little loaves or cakes from the pontiff's hand. Then a drink is prepared for the pontiff and the rest above mentioned. All having been finished, the pontiff gives a blessing, and they go out of the sacristy.


17. And this which we have omitted, we recall to mind; that is, that if the pontiff should not make his appearance, the deacons set out as is said above. And if there should be no deacons, the presbyter proceeds in their place from the sacristy with the candlesticks to set before the pontiff's throne, and he can read the gospel in the ambo divested of his planet like a deacon, and on coming down from the ambo he puts his planet on again. And when the deacons or presbyters come before the screen, the bishop or presbyter who is going to celebrate mass that day comes from the left side of the presbytery, and the deacon who is going to read the gospel that day gives him the kiss of peace. And when the choir have finished, Lord, have mercy upon us, the bishop goes to the right side of the throne within the screen, and says, Glory be to God on high. But if it should be a presbyter who is celebrating, he does not say, Glory be to God on high, but only advances and says the collect. And when that is over, he returns to his place until the gospel is read. When that is over, he advances as above, and says, The Lord be with you, then, Let us pray; and everything is done as it is described above. And when he comes to, All honour and glory, the deacon does not lift up the chalice as he does for the pontiff, but the bishop or presbyter [who is celebrating] lifts up two loaves, and touches the chalice with them as he says, For ever and ever.

The Fermentum

And when he is going to say, The peace of the Lord be with you alway, the subdeacon holds a piece of the Holy Element, which the pontiff has consecrated, at the right corner of the altar; and the deacon takes it and hands it to the bishop or presbyter, who thereupon makes a cross with it over the chalice, saying, The peace of the Lord be with you alway. Then he kisses the altar, and the deacon gives the kiss of peace to the subdeacon. Then another bishop comes from the left side [of the presbytery], and they both hold their hands over the loaves and break them; and then the [second] bishop goes back again to his place. The bishop or presbyter who is celebrating the mass then hands one whole loaf, and a moiety of one which has been divided, to the deacon; and he puts the moiety on the paten, and that which is whole into a little sack held by a collet. The latter then goes to the archpresbyter for him to break the loaf: but the bishop stands at the left side of the altar until the loaves have been transferred to the little sacks of the collets, as is the custom. Then the bishop turns back before the altar, and breaks the moiety of the loaf which was left there. And as soon as the fraction has been completed, the deacon announces the next station, as is the custom. Then both bishops and presbyters come before the altar to communicate; and the bishop [who is celebrating] places two fragments in the hand of the first of the [other] bishops, and he who receives them returns one of the fragments to the celebrant, and he holds the fragment in his right hand until they have communicated, as described above. Then he who is celebrating the mass places his hands upon the altar, and communicates. Then the deacons communicate, and the bishop or presbyter who first communicated administers the cup to them; and he holds the chalice, and accomplishes all things as is written above.