Sunday, 19 April 2015

April 6th - Dominica in Albis - Low Sunday


Dominica in Albis or Low Sunday is of double rite. The Gospel at Mattins and Mass is the account of the LORD appearing in to His disciples behind the shut doors of the room and the doubting of St. Thomas. The feast of the Annunciation is transferred from Holy Week to tomorrow.

At Vespers yesterday afternoon the psalms of Saturday (Pss. 143, 144, 145, 146 & 147) were sung under the single antiphon, Alleluia. Chapters and hymns returned to the Office with this service, the Octave having ended with None. The Paschaltide hymn Ad cenam Agni providi was sung. Its Doxology is sung at all hymns of Iambic metre: Gloria tibi Domine, Qui surrexisti a mortuis, Cum Patre et Sancto Spiritu, In sempiterna saecula. After the collect of the Sunday the Paschal Suffrage was not sung. From this Office of Vespers, the dismissal, Benedicamus Domino, is sung without the double Alleluia that had been sung since Pascha.

At Mattins the invitatory Surrexit Dominus vere Alleluia continues to be sung. The Office hymn is O Rex aeterne Domine. In the first nocturn psalms 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 & 14 are sung under the single antiphon Alleluia, Lapis revolutus etc. The lessons in the first nocturn are from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Colossians; the first begins Igitur si consurrexistis otherwise it and the other two first nocturn lessons are the same as in the post-Clementine editions. In the second nocturn psalms 15, 16 & 17 are sung under the single antiphon Alleluia, quem quaeris mulier etc. The lessons are from a sermon of St. Augustine and are the same as in the modern editions. In the third nocturn psalms 18, 19 & 20 are sung under the single antiphon Alleluia, noli flere Maria etc. The homily is from the writings of St. Gregory on St. John's Gospel and the same same as in modern editions except they are missing the words 'Dixit eis' at the beginning of the ninth lesson. The Te Deum is sung.

At Lauds the Sunday psalms (Pss. 92, 99, 62-66, Benedicite, 148, 149 & 150) are sung under a single antiphon, a nine-fold Alleluia - an ancient feature of the Roman rite that would be destroyed in the 1911-13 reform. The Office hymn is Aurora lucis rutilat. After the collect of the Sunday a commemoration is sung of SS Tiburtius and Valerian.

At Prime the Dominical psalms 53, 118(i), 118(ii) and Quicumque are sung under the antiphon Alleluia. At the other Little Hours Alleluia is also sung as the antiphon, the hymns have the Paschal Doxology.

Mass is sung after Terce. Before Mass the antiphon Vidi aquam is sung during the aspersion. At Mass the Gloria is sung, the second collect is of SS Tiburtius and Valerian. There is no third collect today. The Creed is sung and the preface is of Paschatide.

At Vespers the antiphons Missus est Gabriel Angelus ad Mariam etc are proper to the feast and are sung with the psalms from the Common of the BVM (109, 112, 121, 126 & 147). The chapter is proper to the feast, the Office hymn, Ave Maris stella, from the Common. The antiphon on the Magnificat and collect ae proper to the feast. After the collect of the feast a commemoration of the Sunday is sung. At Compline the hymn, Te lucis, is sung with the Doxology in honour of the Incarnation, Gloria tibi Domineetc.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

March 30th - Dominica Resurrectionis - Holy Pascha


The Sunday of the Resurrection is the Queen of Feasts and the most important of all liturgical celebrations. The Sunday is of double rite.

At Prime and the Hours the usual festal psalms are sung but without antiphons. Haec dies replaces the chapter, responsories etc. At Prime the Martyrology is read again, having not been read for the days of the Triduum. Before the announcement of the following day and moon "Hac die quam fecit Dominus, Solemnitas solemnitatum, et Pascha nostrum Resurrectio Salvatoris nostri Jesu Christi secundum carnem" is sung to the tone of the Passion.

Mass is sung after Terce. Vidi aquam replaces the Asperges during Paschaltide. At Mass the Gloria is sung, the Creed is sung, the preface, communicantes and Hanc igitur are proper. Ite, missa est with a double Alleluia is the dismissal.

At Vespers the anitphons Angelus autem Domini etc are sung with psalms 109, 110, 111, 112 and 113. Again Haec dies replaces the chapter and hymn. The antiphon on the Magnificat is Et respicientes etc. At Compline the usual psalms are sung with a triple Alleluia after them. The the Nunc dimittis is sung followed by Haec dies and the collect Visita quaesumus.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

March 29th - Holy Saturday Evening - Paschal Mattins


During the evening of Holy Saturday Compline is sung, at the normal time. On Holy Saturday the Office of Compline has some interesting variations. Compline begins with the usual Jube, domne, blessing, short lesson and confession. Converte nos, Deus, salutaris noster and its response are sung followed by Deus in adjutorium etc with Alleluia for the first time since Septuagesima. The psalms are sung, without an antiphon, to the usual Tone 8. The hymn, chapter and responsory are omitted and Vespere autem sabbati sung as a fragment antiphon to the Nunc dimittis. After the Canticle the antiphon is sung in full. After the usual collect, Visita quaesumus, the antiphon Regina Caeli is sung with its versicle and collect.

The church is decorated for the greatest of feasts. Before Mattins the images that have been veiled from Passiontide (or from the beginning of Lent where Array was used) are removed. Six candlesticks are on the altar. Mattins begin with the solemn tone for Deus in adjutorium etc. The invitatory is Surrexit Dominus vere Alleluia and psalm 94 is sung to a lovely tone 6 setting. Mattins consists of a single nocturn of three psalms. There is no Office Hymn throughout the Octave (c.f. Monastic praxis). The first antiphon is Ego sum qui sum etc and sung with psalm 1. The second antiphon, Postulavi Patrem meum etc, is sung with psalm 2. The third antiphon, Ego dormivi etc, is sung with psalm 3. A versicle and its response are sung followed by the absolution Exaudi etc. The first lesson has the Gospel fragment Mark 16: 1-7 and is followed by a homily of St. Gregory the Great. The two responsories Angelus Domini descendit and Cum transisset sabbatum are famous and intimately connected with the Quem quaeritis ceremonies and indeed the development of Western drama (vide the excellent book: Hardison, O.B., 'Christian Rite and Christian Drama in the Middle Ages', The John Hopkins Press, Baltimore, 1965). The second lesson, Notandum vero nobis est is sung followed by the second responsory. The lessons are identical to those found in the later editions. During the second responsory the cantors and the celebrant don copes the principal one pre-intones the Te Deum. Six pluvialistae assist the Hebdomadarius where possible. The Te Deum is then sung and, where it is the custom the bells ring throughout.

Lauds follow immediately and have a series of beautiful antiphons: Angelus autem Domini, Et ecce terraemotus, Erat autem, Prae timore autem ejus and Respondens autem Angelus all taking up the theme of the Angels, earthquake and empty tomb. Psalms 92, 99, 62-66, Benedicite & 148-149-150 are sung with these antiphons. The chapter, hymn, versicle and response are replaced by the Haec dies. After Haec dies the antiphon Et valde mane is sung and then the Benedictus sung to a solemn tone 8. During the Benedictus the altar, the choir and people are censed in the normal manner. The antiphon is repeated and the collect of Easter, Deus, qui hodierna die sung. Benedicamus Domino, Alleluia, Alleluia and its response are followed by the solemn Regina Caeli, its versicle and collect.

March 29th - Holy Saturday Morning - Vesperal Liturgy

Holy Saturday is of double rite. In the morning the altar is vested with a violet antependium placed over a white one.  Six candlesticks containing candles of bleached wax remain unlit during the Hours and Prophecies.The Hours are chanted as for the previous two days with the exception that choir reverences are omitted, because of the unveiled Cross on the altar to which all reverence with a genuflection. As at Tenebrae yesterday evening Propter quod et Deus etc is added to Christus factus est etc.

After None is completed (or, in Pontifical functions celebrated by the Ordinary after Sext when the New Fire is blessed) the ministers of the Mass go to the sacristy and vest (celebrant in violet stole and cope; the deacon and subdeacon in violet folded chasubles). Meanwhile a fire, struck from flint as the rubric above describes, is kindled and charcoal placed on it for the thurible that will be used. A procession comes from the sacristy to the place where the new fire is to be blessed. The procession is headed by three acolytes. In the centre the first acolyte carries the lustral water container and sprinkler. To his left is the second acolyte bearing the grains of incense on a salver. The thurifer, with an empty thurible, walks to the right of the first acolyte. Following is the subdeacon carrying the Processional Cross, then the choir and lastly the celebrant and deacon. At the new fire all uncover and the subdeacon stands on the other side of the fire, opposite the celebrant. The celebrant then sings three collects of blessing of the fire and one for the grains of incense. The charcoal is put in the thurible and incense blessed as usual. The deacon then changes from a violet folded chasuble to a white dalmatic. The deacon (or the celebrant if there are no ministers) takes a reed with a triple candle upon it with its branches arranged 'triangulo distinctis'. A procession is formed with acolytes bearing the five grains of incense to be inserted into the Paschal Candle and thurible followed by the subdeacon carrying the cross, followed by the choir, then the deacon with the reed and finally the celebrant. The procession pauses three times as it enters the church progressing towards the altar. Each time one of the wicks of the candle being lit from a taper bearing the new fire, the deacon (or celebrant) proclaims Lumen Christi and the choir responds Deo gratias, each time on a higher note.

Image: Caeremoniale Episcoporum. 1651, Google Books

When the procession reaches the altar due reverences are made and the deacon (who passes the reed to an acolyte) takes the Evangeliarium containing the Exsultet from the mensa and receives a blessing from the celebrant as when about to proclaim the Gospel at Mass. The deacon then goes with the lesser ministers to the Gospel side of choir where the book is placed on a lectern and censed. The deacon then sings the Exsultet pausing to insert the grains of incense into the Paschal Candle after the words curvat imperia. He then continues 'In hujus igitur noctis gratia, suscipe, sancte Pater, incensi hujus sacrificium vespertinum..' When he reaches 'rutilans ignis accendit' he again pauses and lights the Paschal Candle with one of the branches of triple candle. When the words 'apis mater eduxit' are sung an acolyte takes the fire from the triple candle and lights the lamps in the church. After the Exsultet the deacon takes off the white dalmatic and exchanges it for a violet stole, maniple and folded chasuble. The celebrant removes his cope and puts on a violet maniple and chasuble. The ministers then go to the altar and to the Epistle corner as at the introit of Mass.

The celebrant reads the twelve prophecies (these derive from the ancient Jerusalem praxis c.f. Talley). In the middle of choir lectors chant each prophecy. After each (except the twelfth) the celebrant sings Oremus, the deacon Flectamus genua and the subdeacon Levate. Tracts follow the fourth, eighth and eleventh prophecy.

The prophecies are:
1) Genesis 1: 1-31; 2: 1-2
2) Genesis 5; 6; 7 & 8
3) Genesis 22: 1-19
4) Exodus 14: 24-31; 15
5) Isaiah 54: 17; 55: 1-11
6) Baruch 3: 9-38
7) Ezechiel 37: 1-14
8) Isaiah 4: 1-6
9) Exodus 12: 1-11
10)Jonah 3: 1-10
11)Deuteronomy 31: 22-30
12)Daniel 3: 1-24

After the twelfth prophecy, if the church has a font, the celebrant again dons the violet cope and a procession is formed to the Baptistery whilst Sicut cervus is sung. In the Baptistery the font is hallowed by the celebrant singing a preface of blessing culminating in the Paschal Candle being plunged into the waters of the font three times and Chrism being infused into the waters. Here baptisms, if any, are carried out. Anciently this liturgy was when adults were baptised and the prophecies were the last catechumenal address.

As the ministers leave the Baptistery two cantors kneeling in choir start the Litany of the Saints. As in all Processional Litanies the invocations are doubled i.e. the invocation and petition is sung by the cantors and repeated by the choir. On their return to the sanctuary the celebrant and ministers remove the cope and chasubles and prostrate before the altar. At Peccatores, te rogamus audi nos they rise and leave the sanctuary to vest for Mass whilst the Litany continues. Meanwhile acolytes remove the violet altar frontal (and violet humeral veil over the credence etc), light the altar candles and prepare the altar for Mass.

The celebrant, deacon and subdeacon return to choir, now vested in white, as the choir sings the Kyrie. The celebrant says Judica me etc and the altar is then censed as at the beginning of any High Mass. At the Gloria in excelsis the bells are rung as on Mandy Thursday. Before the Gradual the celebrant sings Alleluia solemnly three times. At the Gospel the acolytes carry do not carry candles. There is no Creed or Offertory chant.

In the Paschal preface the clause in hac potissimum nocte is sung. The Communicantes and Hanc igitur are proper. The Agnus Dei is not sung and there is no Pax. Instead of a communion antiphon Alleluia is sung three times as an antiphon to Psalm 116. This has the Doxology and the Alleluia is repeated. The celebrant then intones the antiphon Vespere autem sabbati which the choir continues. The Magnificat is then sung and the altar, choir and people censed. After the repitition of the antiphon the celebrant sings the Post-communion and collect for Vespers Spiritum nobis. Mass then ends as usual the dismissal being Ite, missa est, alleluia, alleluia.

Friday, 10 April 2015

March 28th - Good Friday Evening - Tenebrae for Holy Saturday

Tenebrae for Holy Saturday takes place in the late afternoon or evening of Good Friday. The choir altar remains as it was after Vespers this morning with six candlesticks and altar Cross now unveiled. Choir reverences are omitted until after None tomorrow morning. All reverence the Cross with a genuflection.

At the usual time Compline is recited on a monotone, as the Little Hours were in the morning and yesterday. Its structure is exactly the same as yesterday. After the Canticle Christus factus est...Mortem autem crucis (only) is said, the Miserere and Respice follow as before. The altar candles remain unlit until Mattins.

At Mattins the first antiphon is In pace in idipsum. The psalms are strictly proper, in the first nocturn Pss. 4, 14 & 15. After the last verse of each psalm a candle is exstinguished on the hearse as on the previous evenings. These are longer than those found the more modern books. Three verses of Caph are added to the first lesson, vv 31-33 of the third chapter. The second lesson has the addition of Zain, v. 7 from the fourth chapter. The third lesson, the Prayer of Jeremy, has the addition of vv. 12-16 of chapter five. In the second nocturn Pss. 23, 26 & 29 are sung. The second nocturn lessons are again from St. Augustine on the psalms, these are slightly longer than those found in the later books. In the third nocturn Pss. 53, 75 & 87 are sung, the lessons are again from St. Paul to the Hebrews, these are arranged slightly differently to those found in the later books. The theme of the service is Christ in the Tomb.

Lauds follow immediately from Mattins with the first antiphon O mors ero mors etc. Psalms 50, 42, 62-66, Ego dixi and 148-149-150 are sung. The antiphon on the Benedictus is Mulieres sedentes etc, sung to the same tone as the previous two nights and doubled. Exactly the same ceremonies take place as the previous two nights. When the Christus factus est is sung Propter quod et Deus exaltavit illum, dedit illi nomen, quod est super omne nomen is added.

March 28th - Good Friday Morning

Good Friday, Feria VI in Parasceve, is of double rite. On Good Friday morning the altar is bare except for six candlesticks bearing candles of unbleached wax and the altar Cross veiled in black.

The Little Hours are chanted exactly as yesterday morning, the only difference being that Mortem autem crucis is added to Christus factus est and that the altar candles are not lit.

After None the Hebdomadarius and ministers enter choir for the 'Mass of the Pre-Sanctified'. The celebrant wears black stole, maniple and chasuble; the deacon black stole, maniple and folded chasuble; and, the subdeacon black maniple and folded chasuble. The ministers prostrate before the altar (for the time of a Miserere according to the best authors). During this prostration the acolytes spread a single cloth on the altar mensa folded longitudinally back on itself so that at first it does not cover the front part of the mensa. The missal is placed at the Epistle corner. The celebrant and ministers rise and the celebrant kisses the altar and goes to the Epistle corner where he reads a prophecy from Osee whilst this is chanted by a lector in choir. This is followed by a Tract. After the Tract the celebrant, at the altar, chants Oremus, the deacon Flectamus genua and the subdeacon Levate. The celebrant then sings the collect Deus, a quo et Judas. Then, just as at High Mass, the subdeacon removes his folded chasuble and sings an 'Epistle' whilst the celebrant reads it at the altar. A second Tract is then sung. This is followed by the Passion of St. John. This is sung as on Palm Sunday and Tuesday and Wednesday by three Deacons of the Passion. Today they wear black stoles and use uncovered lecterns. Towards the end of the Passion the deacon takes off his chasuble and folds it over his shoulder or dons the 'broad stole'. The ceremonies for the Gospel take place as at High Mass except today no blessing is asked, there is no incense and the acolytes do not carry lights. After Oremus sung by the celebrant the deacon chants Flectamus genua and the subdeacon Levate. After the series of prayers the ministers return to the sedilia where the celebrant and subdeacon remove their chausbles. Meanwhile a violet carpet is laid from the altar steps and a cushion edged with gold and covered by a veil is laid to receive the Cross.

The celebrant and subdeacon stand before the Epistle side of the altar, in plano, facing the people. The deacon takes the altar Cross and brings it to the celebrant. The celebrant unveils the upper portion of the Cross and sings Ecce lignum crucis. The choir responds Venite adoremus and kneels. This is repeated twice until the whole Cross is unveiled and the celebrant is on the footpace at the centre of the altar. The celebrant then carries the Cross to the cushion, then genuflects and returns to the sedilia where he is met by the ministers. The minsisters then take off their maniples and shoes. Meanwhile all other crosses are unveiled, but not the other images. Veneration of the Cross follows with the celebrant making three prostrations before the Cross as he approaches it, then kissing the Cross, genuflecting and returning to his place.

At the sedilia the celebrant resumes his shoes, maniple and chasuble. The deacon and subdeacon then make their Veneration followed by the choir and people. After the unveiling of the Cross it is genuflected to by all in actu functionis and Choir reverences cease until None tomorrow. At the sedilia the ministers read the 'Reproaches' with the celebrant whilst they are sung by the choir. Of note is the use of the Greek Trisagion interolated with Popule meus. The Crucem tuam and then Crux fidelis interpolated with Pange, lingua, gloriosi Lauream. Towards the end of the Veneration acolytes light the altar candles and the candles they will carry. At the end of the Veneration the celebrant gives the Cross to the kneeling deacon who then returns it to the altar. A procession is then formed and goes to the altar of repose where two thuribles have been prepared. The deacon opens the capsula and incense is put on the thuribles but is not blessed. The reserved Sacrament is censed kneeling. The celebrant then puts on the white humeral veil and is given the Sacrament by the deacon. The party then processes back to the choir altar and the superb Vexilla regis is sung. Where resources permit a second subdeacon, in black folded chasuble carries the Processional Cross. In Cathedral and Collegiate Churches eight canons, in black copes, each hold a shaft of the large canopy held over the Sacrament. There is something very striking about the white humeral veil over the black chasuble as can be seen (just about) below:

At the choir altar the deacon takes the chalice from the celebrant and places it on the altar and unties the ribbon. More incense is put on and the Sacrament censed again the ministers kneel. The ministers go up to the altar the Host is slipped onto the paten. Acolytes bring up cruets although water is not blessed and the chalice made as at High Mass. The 'gifts' are then censed as at High Mass and the celebrant washes his hands as at Mass coram Sanctissimo. The celebrant then comes to the centre and says the prayer In spiritu humilitatis then turning to the Gospel side to say Orate, fratres turning back without making a circle. No answer is made. The celebrant then sings the Pater noster in the ferial tone followed by Libera nos. The celebrant then slips the paten under the Host. The Host is then elevated in his right hand whilst the left holds the paten. The Host is then held over the chalice and broken as at Mass. the fraction being placed in the cup. There is neither Pax nor Agnus Dei. The celebrant says Perceptio Corporis tuis, Panem caelestem, Domine non sum dignus and Corpus Domini before consuming the Host and contents of the Chalice. The ablutions follow and the celebrant says Quod ore the ministers reverence the altar and return, in silence, to the sacristy.

Vespers are now chanted to a monotone. The antiphons are the same as yesterday for the psalms but the antiphon on the Magnificat is proper to the day, Cum accepisset acetum. After the repetition of the antiphon Christus factus est, Pater, Miserere and Respice. After Vespers the candles are exstinguished.

Image: Caeremoniale Episoporum. 1651, Google Books

Thursday, 9 April 2015

March 27th - Tenebrae for Good Friday

At the usual time Compline is recited on a monotone, as the Little Hours were this morning. The altar candles are not lit. Again its form is absolute simplicity beginning with the Confiteorand the usual psalms (4, 30 vv. 1-6, 90 & 133, Nunc dimittis and then Christus factus est, Miserere and Respice as at the other Hours. At Compline this evening only Christus factus est pro nobis obediens usque ad mortem is said as it is still part of the Office of Mandy Thursday.

Tenebrae for Good Friday follows Compline, or after a short gap. In practice Compline can be chanted in the time it takes to light the altar candles and candles on the Tenebrae hearse. The service of Tenebrae is structurally the same as that sung for Mandy Thursday and the differences will be noted below.

The choir altar is as it was after the stripping this morning with six candlesticks containing candles of unbleached wax with the altar Cross veiled now in black. At Mattins the first antiphon is Astiterunt reges. The psalms are strictly proper: in the first nocturn Pss. 2, 21 & 26. The lessons are again from the Lamentation of Jeremy the Prophet. The lessons are longer than those found in the later editions. The first lesson has the addition of Lamech (Lamed). The second lesson has the addition of Phe, Ain and Sade (vv. 16-18). The third lesson has the addition of three verses of Daleth, vv 10-12 of the third chapter. In the second nocturn Pss. 37, 39 & 53 are sung. The lessons are, as yesterday evening from St. Augustine. These are significantly longer than those found in the later editions with the fourth lesson comprising of the text found in both the fourth and fifth lesson in the later editions. The text found in the sixth lesson is entirely absent from the later books. In the third nocturn Pss. 58, 87 & 93 are sung. The lessons, from St. Paul to the Hebrews, are slightly longer than those found in the post-Clementine books.

Lauds immediately follow Mattins beginning with the antiphon Proprio Filio suo etc. Psalms 50, 142, 62-66, Domine audivi auditionem & 148-149-150. The antiphon on the Benedictus is Posuerunt super caput ejus etc, sung to the same tone as last night and doubled. Exactly the same ceremonies take place as last night. When the Christus factus est is sung Mortem autem crucis is now added.

After Tenebrae in Cathedral and larger churches the Ceremonial Washing of the Altars takes place. The bare mensae are washed with a mixture of water and wine and the surface scoured with brushes and dried with towels whilst Diviserunt and psalm 21 is monotoned. After this service Christus factus est ... Mortem autem crucis is added.

A setting of the Miserere by Victoria.