TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: The Table of Contents was added by the transcriber.
THE RT. REV. MONSIGNOR BAGGS,
BISHOP OF PELLA.
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SOLD BY LUIGI PIALE,
1. PIAZZA DI SPAGNA, 106. VIA BABUINO.
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DIRECTIONS FOR SEEING THE CEREMONIES 3
CHAP. I. ON THE CEREMONIES OF THE MASS 5
CHAP. II. ON THE CEREMONIES OF PALM-SUNDAY 22
CHAP. III. ON THE DIVINE OFFICE, AND THE OFFICE OF TENEBRAE IN PARTICULAR 37
CHAP. IV. ON THE CEREMONIES OF HOLY THURSDAY 50
CHAP. V. ON THE CEREMONIES OF GOOD-FRIDAY 69
CHAP. VI. ON THE CEREMONIES OF HOLY-SATURDAY 92
APPENDIX. PECULIAR CEREMONIES OF HOLY-WEEK AT JERUSALEM 121
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FOR SEEING THE CEREMONIES
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Provide yourself with a HOLY-WEEK-BOOK, or Uffizio della Settimana Santa. Take care that your dress is according to rule. For many of the ceremonies ladies require tickets signed by M. Maggiordomo.
On Palm-sunday morning the Pontifical ceremonies begin at S. Peter's, at about 9 o'clock: no stranger can receive a palm without a permission signed by M. Maggiordomo. In the afternoon the Card. Penitentiary goes at about 4 or half past 4 to S. John Lateran's, where the Station of the day is held.
On the afternoons of Wednesday and Thursday, (between 4 and half past 4) and of Friday (half an hour sooner) the office of Tenebrae begins at the Sixtine chapel. After it is over, you may go to S. Peter's to bear the conclusion of a similar service: there on Thursday evening the high-altar is washed by the Card, priest and chapter; on Friday the Pope, Cardinals etc. go thither to venerate the relics after Tenebrae in the Sixtine chapel; and on the afternoons of both days the Card. Penitentiary goes thither in slate. In the evening of these three days the feet of pilgrims are washed, and they are served at table by Cardinals etc. at the Trinita dei Pellegrini.
On Thursday morning you can see the oils blessed at S. Peter's: this ceremony begins early. There is little difference between the mass (at about half past 9 or 10) in the Sixtine chapel on this day, and on ordinary days, and there is generally a great crowd: the procession after mass is repeated on the following morning; and the papal benediction on Easter Sunday: your best plan therefore will be to go at an early hour to see the blessing of the oils, and afterwards the washing of the feet, at S. Peter's; and then go to see the dinner of the apostles near the balcony from which the Pope gives His benediction. The Sepulchres, particularly that in the Cappella Paolina, may be visited.
On Friday morning the service of the Sixtine chapel begins at about half past 9 or 10. (Devotion of 3 hours' agony from about half past 12 to half past 3 at the Gesu, SS. Lorenzo e Damaso etc.; after the Ave Maria the Via Crucis at Caravita, and devotion of the dolours of the B. Virgin at S. Marcello, etc. An hour after the Ave Maria poetical compositions are recited at the Serbatojo dell'Arcadia).
On Saturday morning service begins at S. John Lateran's at about half past 7. As soon you have seen the baptism at the baptistery, you had better drive to the Vatican, to attend at the beautiful mass of the Sixtine chapel.
On Saturday afternoon you may go to the Armenian mass at S. Biagio or S. Gregorio Illuminatore: it begins towards 4 o clock. On Easter-Sunday the Pope sings solemn mass at S. Peter's, at about 9 o'clock. He afterwards venerates the relics, and gives His solemn benediction. In the afternoon, besides Vespers there is a procession at S. Peter's called that of the 3 Maries. (At S. John Lateran's the Cardinals assist at Vespers, and afterwards venerate the relics preserved there) At night the cupola is illuminated, and on the following night there are fireworks or girandola at Castle S. Angelo. On Monday, Tuesday, and Saturday there is cappella papale at the Vatican, but it differs little from the ordinary cappelle.
ON THE CEREMONIES OF THE MASS
Origin of the word ceremony—object of ceremonies—institution of the mass—its earliest ceremonies—discipline of secrecy—liturgy of the Roman church—general review of the principal ceremonies of the mass—mass of the catechumens, ambones—mass of the faithful, blessed water, secrecy, prayers for the dead—Latin the language of the Roman liturgy, and why—usual ceremonies of high-mass in the papal chapel—sentiments of S. John Chrysostom.
"It was chiefly, if not only, in the mystical liturgy of the eucharist, that the primitive church spoke without reserve of all the sublimities of Christian faith." Palmer, Origines Liturg. vol. I, p. 13.
[Sidenote: Origin of the word ceremony.]
From Rome our Saxon forefathers received Christianity; and from the same source we have derived several words denoting Christian rites. Thus the words religion, sacrament, sacrifice, communion, and others are Latin, with the exception of the termination. The word ceremony also is Latin, and owes its origin to an interesting fact in ancient Roman history. When the Capitol was besieged by the Gauls (A.U. 365) most of the inhabitants of Rome provided for their own safety by flight: but the Flamen Quirinalis or priest of Romulus, and the Vestal virgins loaded themselves with the sacred things, that they might secure those hallowed treasures from profanation. "They were proceeding" (says Livy lib. V, c. XXII) "along the way which passes over the Sublician bridge, when they were met on the declivity by L. Albinus a plebeian, who was fleeing with his wife and children in a plaustrum or cart: he and his family immediately alighted: then placing in the cart the virgins and sacred things he accompanied them to Caere where they were received with hospitality and respect". Hence (says Valerius Maximus lib. I, c. 1.) "sacred things were called ceremonies, because the inhabitants of Caere revered them when the republic was broken, as readily as when it flourished". Thus is the word ceremony associated at once with the devotion of Albinus, with the Gaulish invasion of the Capitol, and with Caere, one of the twelve cities of Etruria, now called Cervetri or Caere vetus. The Pagan Romans derived their religious rites from Etruria, and in particular from Caere on account of its proximity to Rome: this may be another reason for the adoption of the term ceremony, which was afterwards applied to the rites of all religions.
[Sidenote: Object of ceremonies.]
But what, it may be asked by many, is the use of ceremonies? I shall answer in the words of the council of Trent. "Since the nature of man is such, that he cannot easily without exterior helps be raised to the meditation of divine things, the church as a pious mother has instituted certain rites, namely, that some things in the mass should be pronounced in a low voice and others aloud; she has also used ceremonies, as mystical benedictions, lights, incense, vestments, and many other things of that kind, from apostolical tradition and discipline, in order that the majesty of so great a sacrifice might be displayed, and the minds of the faithful might be excited by these visible signs of religion and piety to the contemplation of those sublime things which are concealed in this sacrifice". Session XXII, c. V.—These words lead us to treat briefly of the mass, the principal act of divine worship during holy-week as at all other seasons of the year. This we do now the more readily, that we may not afterwards be obliged to interrupt our account of the peculiar ceremonies of Holy week, which presuppose an acquaintance with the mass.
[Sidenote: Institution of the mass.]
Jesus Christ instituted the mass at his last supper, when he took bread and blessed and broke and gave to his disciples and said, Take ye and eat, this is my body; and taking the chalice he gave thanks, and gave to them saying, Drink ye all of this: For this is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins: Matth. XXVI, 26. In this brief account are mentioned all the essential parts of the mass. Christ commanded the apostles and through them their successors to perform the same holy rite "in commemoration" of Him, and they obeyed His commands, as we learn from the acts of the apostles, and the first epistle to the Corinthians.
[Sidenote: Its early ceremonies.]
Gradually various prayers and ceremonies were added to the sacred words pronounced by Christ, as the Apology of St. Justin, the writings of St. Cyprian, the catechetical discourses of St. Cyril of Jerusalem and other early works prove. The Apostles themselves had added the Lord's prayer. The liturgy however during the first four centuries, as Le Brun maintains, or, according to Muratori followed by Palmer, the first three centuries, was not written, but was preserved by oral tradition, according to the received practice of the early church, which, unwilling to give what is holy to dogs, or to cast pearls before swine concealed from all persons, except the faithful, the mysteries of faith. It would seem from St. Justin's apology, that much was left to the particular devotion of the bishop or priest who offered mass, and hence we might expect not to find in the earliest liturgies great uniformity, except in essentials and general outline. Yet Le Brun has endeavoured to restore, from the early Christian writers, the liturgy used in the first four centuries: and it contains the most important prayers and ceremonies of the mass in its more modern form.
[Sidenote: Discipline of secrecy.]
We shall so often have to recur to the discipline of secrecy alluded to above, that we consider it necessary to speak of it briefly, before we proceed further. The Pythagoreans, the Stoics, Plato, the Epicureans and other ancient philosophers concealed their doctrines from the uninitiated: the mysteries also of Osiris, Isis, Bacchus, Ceres, Cybele etc. were carefully kept secret. There was no novelty therefore for the ancients in the discipline of secrecy, the institution of which in the Christian church is attributed by many fathers to Christ himself, who directed that his disciples should not "give what is holy to dogs, or cast pearls before swine". Matt. VII, 6. This injunction was observed by the whole church from the apostolic age till the fifth century in the east, and the sixth century in the west: it extended to dogmas as well as rites, and in particular to those of the holy Trinity and the sacraments, especially the blessed Eucharist. For "those things" says St. Cyril of Alexandria "are generally derided, which are not understood" adv. Julianum. The pagans, at the instigation, it would appear, of the Jews and early heretics, availed themselves of this secret discipline to charge the Christians with the detestable crimes of Oedipus and Thyestes, pretending that in their secret assemblies they murdered an infant covered with flour, and drank his blood. (Cecilius ap. Minut. Fel.) It was solely with the view of refuting these calumnies, that Justin Martyr explained, in his apology addressed to Antoninus Pius, the catholic doctrine of the eucharist. S. Blandina on the contrary endured the most cruel torments rather than reveal it, though its profession would have confuted the same odious calumnies; and S. Augustine observes a similar reserve when answering the pagan Maximus Madaurensis.
"Who" says the protestant Casaubon "is so little versed in the writings of the fathers, as to be ignorant of the formulary used principally of the sacraments, the initiated understand what is said: it occurs at least fifty times in Chrysostom, and almost as frequently in Augustine". S. Fulgentius inserts in his answer to the deacon Ferrandus the following words of S. Augustine to the neophytes "This which you see on the altar of God you saw last night: but what it was, what it meant, and of what a great thing it contains the sacrament, you have not yet heard. What therefore you see is bread and the chalice. What your faith demands is, that the bread is the body of Christ, and the chalice contains the blood of Christ". S. Cyril of Jerusalem in his catechetical discourses addressed to the newly baptised inculcates in the strongest terms the doctrine of the real presence, but charges them most strictly not to communicate to the catechumens his instructions. In consequence of this practice the early fathers often speak obscurely of the B. Sacrament, and call it bread and wine and fermentum after the consecration, though they clearly teach the faithful the doctrine of the real presence.
[Sidenote: Liturgy of the Roman church.]
Pope Innocent I, writing to Decentius at the beginning of the fifth century, attributes the liturgy of the Roman church to St. Peter. It was first written in the fifth century; and Pope Vigilius sending it in 538 to Profuturus derives it from Apostolic tradition. The most ancient sacramentary or liturgical work extant of the Roman church is that of Gelasius who was Pope from 492 to 496. He collected prayers composed by more ancient authors, and also composed some himself: and this Gelasian compilation was reformed by Gregory the Great and reduced to one volume, which may be considered as the prototype of our present liturgy. The canon or most solemn part of the mass has been preserved inviolate ever since, as appears from the Ordines Romani written shortly after the time of S. Gregory, and also from the explanations of it written by Florus and Amalarius. This canon as well as the order of prayer are the same as those of Gelasius, as Palmer observes (Orig. liturg. vol. 1, p. 119,) and are also nearly identical with those of the sacramentary of S. Leo. The Ambrosian and African liturgies also were evidently derived at a very remote period from that of Rome. From such considerations as these Mr. Palmer proves the very ancient or apostolical origin of the "main order", the substance of the Roman liturgy. Origines liturg. vol. I, sect. VI. The author of the canon is unknown; yet we know the authors of some additions to the canon. Thus S. Leo I added sanctum sacrificium immaculatam hostiam, S. Gregory I, diesque nostros in tua pace disponas.
[Sidenote: Review of the ceremonies of the mass.]
[Sidenote: Mass of the catechumens, ambones, sermons.]
We shall not examine minutely all the prayers and ceremonies of the mass, or stop to enquire at what time and by what pope each of them was first introduced, lest we should weary the patience of our readers; but we shall content ourselves with a general review of the mass, as it is now celebrated. We may divide it, as the ancients did, into two parts, the mass of the catechumens, and the mass of the faithful. The first part includes the preparation and confession of sins at the foot of the altar, the introit or anthem and part of a psalm sung at the entrance into church, the Kyrie eleison or petition for mercy, the Gloria in excelsis or hymn of praise (both of great antiquity, as Palmer following our catholic divines has shewn) the collect or collects so called from their being said when the people are collected together, the epistle and gospel, and also the verses, said or sung between them both, called the Gradual: if sung by one voice, it is called the Tract; if by choir, the Responsory. The collects and other prayers are said with the arms extended in the same manner as many figures are represented praying on old christian as well as pagan monuments. After the gospel the sermon used to be preached, as it generally is in our times and after the sermon Pagans, Jews, heretics, schismatics, energumens, public penitents and catechumens were dismissed by the deacon; for the faithful alone were allowed to be present at the celebration of the sacred mysteries, in conformity to the discipline of secrecy. That part of mass, which we have described was called the mass of the catechumens, because these were allowed to be present at it.
[Sidenote: Mass of the faithful, blessed water.]
From the missio, missa, or dismissal announced by the deacon to the people before and after the mass of the faithful, the term missa or mass is derived. It was in use in the early ages; for it is found not only in the epistle to the bishop of Vienne attributed to Pope Pius I, and in that of Pope Cornelius to Lupicinus: but S. Ambrose also says "I continued my duty, and began to celebrate mass" and in another place he exhorts the people to "hear mass daily".
When the church had been cleared of all except the faithful, the second part of our mass, or the mass of the faithful, began with the Nicene symbol or creed. Then followed the offertory, or part of a psalm sung anciently while the people made their offerings to the church, particularly of bread and wine. The priest offers to God the bread, and wine mixed according to apostolic tradition with a little water, which our Saviour is believed to have mixed with the wine at the last supper; he implores God's blessing on these offerings, and washes his hands in token of the purity of soul with which the sacred mysteries should be approached, and at high mass for the sake of outward cleanliness also, on account of the incense which he has used. Having commemorated the passion, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, as he does also after the consecration, he calls on those present to join him in prayer, he says another prayer or prayers called the secret, because said in secret, and then recites the preface to the canon, a prayer in which he unites with the celestial spirits in praise and thanksgiving as Christ himself gave thanks at the last supper: it concludes with the Tersanctus or Trisagion "Holy, Holy, Holy etc." which, as Palmer observes, has been probably used in the Christian liturgy of the east and west since the ages of the apostles. V. 2. p. 219.
[Sidenote: Prayers for the dead.]
The canon of the mass next follows, which as well as many of the preceding and following prayers is said in a low voice, according to the ancient custom alluded to by Innocent I, S. Augustine, Origen, and other Fathers. In it the priest prays for the church, the Pope, the bishop of the place, the living and the dead he reveres the memory of the B. Virgin, the Martyrs and other Saints, and having once more implored the blessing of God, and spread his hands over the victim, according to the custom of the Jews, he pronounces over the bread and wine the words of consecration according to the command of Christ, and adores and raises for the adoration of the people the body and blood of our Divine Lord. It is in this consecration that the sacrifice of the mass principally consists; as by it the victim is placed on the altar, and offered to God, viz. Christ himself, represented as dead by the separate consecration of the bread and wine, as if His blood were separated from His body. After some other prayers, in which the priest offers to God the holy sacrifice, and prays for mercy and salvation for all present, he elevates the host and chalice together; this was the ancient elevation, as the more solemn one, which follows immediately after the consecration, was introduced generally in the 12th century, in opposition to the heresy of Berengarius. Then concluding the canon the priest recites the Our Father, and breaks the host, as Christ broke the bread, and as His body was "broken" for us; he puts a particle of the host into the chalice; he implores mercy and peace from the lamb of God, at solemn masses gives the kiss of peace according to the recommendation of scripture, and receives the two ablutions of the chalice, one of wine, the other of wine and water, lest any portion of the sacred blood should remain in it: he recites the communion or anthem, which was originally sung while the holy communion was distributed; he says the prayer or prayers called postcommunion, dismisses and begs God's blessing on the people, in fine he recites the beginning of St. John's gospel or some other gospel appropriate to the day. We shall on other occasions recur to various ceremonies of the mass.
[Sidenote: Latin the language of the liturgy.]
The language of our liturgy has descended to us as a precious legacy from the time when Peter and Paul preached in Rome. It would be incongruous that our ancient hierarchy robed in ancient vestments should perform our ancient liturgy in a moderne language. As in all parts of the globe there are members of the Catholic church, she has wisely preserved in her liturgy a language common to all countries, the language too of majesty, civilisation and science, as De Maistre observes. Like her divine founder she is the same yesterday and to-day: like the rock, on which she is built, she is proof against the winds and waves; she is unchanged and unaffected by the wayward caprices of fashion. Translations of her liturgy are published for the use of those who are unacquainted with Latin so that they may either join in reciting the prayers of the church, or say others which their own devotion may suggest.
Having described the ceremonies of low-mass, we shall subjoin a brief account of those customary at high-mass when celebrated in the papal chapel: we shall thus avoid unnecessary repetitions in the course of this work. The beginning of the mass is said by all persons within the sanctuary: and the Pope recites it before the altar with the celebrant. As His Holiness is the ecclesiastical superior of the latter, and is habited in his sacred vestments, many benedictions are, according to a general rubric, reserved to Him, which are otherwise given by the person who sings mass. Thus He blesses not only the incense, the water at the offertory, the subdeacon and deacon, the preacher, when there is a sermon, and the people after the sermon and at the end of mass, but also the Cardinals on several occasions, and the celebrant himself before he offers up mass. "For without contradiction (says St. Paul) that which is less is blessed by the better". Hebr. VII, 7. He also, and not the celebrant, kisses the book of the Gospel. The first cardinal priest present hands to Him the incense, and also incenses him, kneeling down if the Pope be seated at the time, and standing if the Pope stands, and therefore, he is seated near the Pope during part of the Mass, that he may be ready when his services are required.
Incense is used, as is customary at high masses, before the introit, at the Gospel, after the offertory and during the elevation. Before the introit the crucifix, the altar, the celebrant and the Pope are successively incensed. Before the deacon sings the gospel he incenses the book; and after it the Pope is once more incensed by the first cardinal priest. After the offertory, besides the bread and wine, the crucifix, the altar, the celebrant and the Pope, the Cardinals and the first in rank among the prelates and other personages are incensed by the deacon. At the elevation the blessed Sacrament alone is incensed.
When the Pope reads from the missal, this book is held by the first, and a taper by the second, patriarch or assisting bishop. The Kyrie eleison, the Gloria in excelsis, Credo, Sanctus and Agnus Dei are said by all persons within the sanctuary: the cardinals descend from their seats to say them, and form a circle in the middle of the chapel; having received the Pope's blessing they return to their places. After the Sanctus, the Pope goes before the middle of the altar followed by the assistant bishops and others of His train's and all kneel till the elevation is ended. After the Agnus Dei, the first Card. priest goes up to the altar, kisses it, and receives from the celebrant the kiss of peace: this he gives to the Pope, from whom the two first Card. deacons receive it. The Card. priest then returns to his place, and gives the kiss of peace to the priest who assists the celebrant; from him the first of the other cardinals and principal prelates receive it and communicate it to their colleagues. The assistant priest then gives it to the master of ceremonies, who has accompanied him, from whom the other colleges of prelates receive it and in fine (if time permit) to the deacon, from whom it passes to others who assist at the altar. When the pope gives His blessing, the cross is held before Him by the last auditor of the rota, and His vestment by the first protonary. Such are the ceremonies generally observed at high mass in the papal chapel, except at masses for the dead, when some of them, and in particular those of incensing (except at the offertory and elevation) and of the kiss of peace, are omitted.
[Sidenote: Sentiments of S. John Chrysostom.]
We shall conclude with the words of a holy and eloquent bishop of Costantinople of the 4th century, "When thou seest the Lord immolated and placed there, and the priest engaged in the sacrifice and praying, and all present empurpled with precious blood, dost thou think that thou art among men, and art standing on the earth? and not rather that thou art instantaneously transferred to heaven, where casting out of thy soul every fleshly thought thou lookest around on heavenly things. O miracle! O the love of God for man! He, who sits above with the Father, is at the same time held in the hands of all, and gives himself to those who wish to receive and embrace him. Wishest thou to see the excellence of this holiness from another miracle? Depict before thy eyes Elias and an innumerable multitude surrounding him, and the victim placed on the stones; all the others in profound silence, and the prophet alone praying; then suddenly fire rushing from heaven on the sacrifice. These things are astonishing and replete with wonder. Then transfer thyself thence to the things now effected, and thou wilt find them not only wonderful, but surpassing all astonishment. For here the priest bears not fire, but the holy Ghost; he pours out long supplications, not that fire descending from above may consume the offerings, but that grace falling on the sacrifice may through it inflame the souls of all and render them purer than silver purified by fire. This most dread rite then who, that is not altogether insane and out of his mind, shall be able to contemn? Art thou ignorant that no human soul could have sustained this fire of the victim, but all would have totally perished, unless the assistance of divine grace had been abundant" S. John Chrysostom, De Sacerdotio Lib. 3, c. IV.
[Footnote 1: It is situated near the road leading from Rome to Civitavecchia at the distance of about 27 miles from the former city. Its necropolis has lately enriched the new Gregorian museum with some of its most precious treasures, consisting in gold ornaments of the person, in silver and painted vases etc. of very ancient and admirable execution. See Nibby, Analisi storico-topografica etc. as also Grifi. The Etruscan and Egyptian museums entitle His present Holiness Gregory XVI to be ranked with many of His predecessors among the greatest and most munificent patrons and collectors of ancient monuments.]
[Footnote 2: If we compare with this term others of similar termination, such as sanctimonia from sanctus, we shall find in them a confirmation of the etymology given above: monia serves to form the substantive, but does not otherwise alter the meaning.]
[Footnote 3: S. Greg. M. lib. VII, epist. 64.]
[Footnote 4: See Le Brun, Explic. Missae T. 2. dis. 1. Also Renaudot. They have however been refuted by Assemani, Maratori and Zaccaria.]
[Footnote 5: The Pater noster is still said in secret, except after the canon of the Mass, because at that part of the Liturgy only the faithful were present. See Moroni's learned work entitled, Dizionario di erudizione ecclesiastica.]
[Footnote 6: See Schelstratius, de Disciplina Arcani, or Trevern's answer to Faber's Difficulties of Romanism: also Bingham lib. X, c. 5. Times are now so much altered that it is difficult to conceive how the Reserve in communicating Religious knowledge recommended in one of the Tracts for the Times could be practicable, even if it were judged expedient.]
[Footnote 7: It was first published by B. Card. Tommasi from a very ancient manuscript in the queen of Sweden's library. Cave, Mabillon, Muratori, Assemani and other eminent critics admit its authenticity. There is however another sacramentary perhaps more ancient called the Leonian, because it is attributed by the learned to Leo the great, A.D. 450. It was first published by Bianchini in the 4th volume of Anastasius the librarian from a Verona MS. written 1100 years ago.]
[Footnote 8: This new Gregorian sacramentary was carried to England by St. Augustin and the other missionaries. Mr. Palmer and after him Mr. Froude (Remains, vol. 2nd, p. 387) give a similar account of the Roman liturgy. They, like archbishop Wake, attribute the origin of the Roman, Oriental, Ethiopic and Mozarabic liturgies to St. Peter, St. James, St. Mark and St. John, and observe that all other liturgies are copied from one or other of these. "In each of these four original liturgies the eucharist is regarded as a mystery and as a sacrifice" p. 395: they all agree in the principal ceremonies of the mass, and all contain a prayer for the rest and peace of all those who have departed this life in God's faith and fear" p. 393. "Now it may be reasonably presumed", says archbishop Wake "that those passages wherein all these liturgies agree, in sense at least, if not in words, were first prescribed in the writings of the ancient fathers". See Tracts for the times, no. 63.]
[Footnote 9: They who wish for further details may consult Le Brun, Card. Bona, Martene, Gavant, Rock's Hierurgia etc.]
[Footnote 10: Because anciently sung from the steps of the ambo or pulpit, according to Rabanus Maurus an author of the 9th century, and others. In the ancient churches there were generally in the chorus or choir two ambones, one from which at solemn masses the lector and at a later period the subdeacon used to sing the gospel, with his face usually turned towards that side of the church, where the men were assembled; at Rome this was generally the south side. At low masses the missal was removed from the epistle side of the altar at the beginning of the offertory, in order to leave room for the offerings, according to an Ordinarium of Monte Casino of the year 1100. It has for a long time been customary to remove it before the gospel, which the priest recites turned towards the same direction as the deacon at high mass. Mystical meanings were afterwards assigned for this removal of the book.]
[Footnote 11: It is astonishing how Mr. Palmer could assert that "Leo bishop of Rome in the fifth century appears to have been the only bishop who preached in the Roman church for many Footnote: and it is said that none of his successors until the time of Pius the fifth, five hundred years afterwards, imitated his example". Orig. Liturg. vol. II, p. 59. Bingham I. IV, c. Sec..3. Mr. Palmer forgot all the homilies of Gregory the great, as well as the chronology of the Popes. The latter might find in the multiplicity and importance of their other occupations abundant motives for abstaining from preaching, a duty to which so many of their clergy dedicate themselves. That the early Popes however preached there can be no doubt, although most of their homilies, if ever written, have not reached our time. Not only the example of S. Peter who (whatever we may think of the local tradition of Rocca S. Pietro above Palestrina) used certainly to preach, as the Acts of the Apostles prove; but the general custom of other cities would induce the zealous Bishops of Rome to exhort and encourage their flock, particularly in time of persecution; and that at a later period they were not unaccustomed to preach is evident from the Ordo Romanus of Card. Gaetano published by Mabillon and from a Vatican MS. no. 4231, p. 197; both these documents are quoted by Cancellieri, Descriz. delle Cappelle etc. p. 328. See proofs that the Popes preached drawn up in chronological order in Sala's notes to Card. Bona, lib. 2. c. 7-]
[Footnote 12: S. Ambros. Ep. 13, serm. 34.]
[Footnote 13: Of the ancient offerings the following vestiges remain: candles are offered by the clergy at their ordination, bread and wine by bishops at their consecration, chalices and torches by the Roman senate on particular festivals, and in fine bread, wine, water, and, till lately, doves and other birds at the canonisation of the Saints. On the ancient offerings see Cancellieri, de Secretaries, t. I, p. 181.]
[Footnote 14: "This custom prevailed universally in the Christian church from the earliest period" Palmer Orig. Liturg. vol. 2, p. 75.]
[Footnote 15: As the ancient Roman houses had an impluvium in the midst of the atrium, so in the atria annexed to the Christian churches was one or more fountains (Eus. Eccl. Hist. l. X, c. 4) and sometimes a well or cistern. In these the faithful used to wash their hands (Tertull. De orat. Sec., De lavat. man.) Thus in the atrium of St. Paul's basilica there was a cantharus, restored by Pope Leo I, of which the saint writes thus to Ennodius;
Quisque suis meritis veneranda sacraria Pauli Ingrederis, supplex ablue fonte manus.
The cantharus is mentioned by Virgil Eclog. VI, 21.
Et gravis adtrita pendebat cantharus ansa.
A large vessel of this description may be seen in the cortili of S. Cecilia and SS. Apostoli at Rome. It used to be blessed on the vigil or festival of the Epiphany, as it is now in the Greek and even the Roman church. When churches were built without atria, a vessel of blessed water was placed inside the church: in some of the older churches there is even a well. See Nibby, Dissert. sulla forma, etc. delle antiche chiese.]
[Footnote 16: See Le Brun tom. IV, diss. 15. Super usu recitandi silentio missae partem etc. This custom was connected with the discipline of secrecy. The scripture itself does not mention what words Christ used, when He "gave thanks", before He pronounced the words of consecration; and the early church imitated this reserve. Anciently curtains concealed the altar, during the most solemn part of mass, as now in some Oriental churches. St. John Chrysostom (Hom. 3, in Ep. ad Ephes.) mentions this custom; and traces of it still remain at St. Clement's church in Rome.]
[Footnote 17: See ancient inscriptions from the catacombs, containing prayers for the dead in Bock's Hierurgia (vol. 2, ch. 7), also in Annali delle Scienze Religiose, Luglio 1839, as also in the well-known works on the catacombs. Bingham admits that the eucharistic sacrifice was offered for S. Augustine, S. Monica, the emperors Constantine and Valentinian at their funerals. (S. Ambrose prayed for Valentinian Gratian and Theodosius.) "In the communion service" says he "according to the custom of those times, a solemn commemoration was made of the dead in general, and prayers were offered to God for them". Bingham, Antiq. l. 23, c. 2. "The custom of praying and offering up sacrifice for the faithful departed most evidently appears to have prevailed in the church even from the time of the apostles", says the Protestant bishop Milles, Opera S. Cyrilli. p. 297. "In primitive times" says Palmer "these commemorations (in the mass) were accompanied by prayers for the departed". Origin. Liturg. vol. 2, p. 94. With these Protestant admissions before us and many others collected in the Annali delle Scienze Relig. Luglio 1839, we opine that the Rev. Mr. Breeks ought to have been solicitous for his own soul rather than for that of Mrs. Wolfrey, whose inscription was dictated by the spirit of primitive Christianity. The following is the inscription on Thorndike's tomb at Westminster "Tu lector, requiem ei et beatam in Xto resurrectionem precare". On Bp. Barrow's tomb at S. Asaph's "O vos transeuntes in domum Domini, domum orationis, orate pro conservo vestro ut inveniat requiem in die Domini". Both were written by their own direction: other Protestant testimonies may be seen ap. Srett. o. 462.]
[Footnote 18: Pope Vigilius (A.D. 538.) in his epistle to Profuturus, bishop of Braga in Spain, says, that the canon never varied, but that on particular festivals "we make commemoration of the holy solemnity, or of those saints whose nativities we celebrate".]
[Footnote 19: "The bread which we break is it not the communion of the body of Christ". 1 Cor. X, 16.]
[Footnote 20: This custom we may consider with Palmer as a memorial of an ancient mode of communicating under both kinds united, which is still observed in the oriental churches: Vol. 2, p. 146; or with Le Brim as a record of the practice of sending the particle to the priests of titular churches, T. 4. Micrologus and others consider this mixture as a representation of Christ's resurrection. It is very ancient, as Sala shews.]
[Footnote 21: "St. Paul calls the Eucharist 1 Cor. X, 16 the cup of blessing which we bless." This incidental information vouchsafed to us in scripture, should lead us to be very cautious how we put aside other usages of the early church concerning this sacrament, which do not happen to be clearly mentioned in scripture". Tracts for the Times, Vol. 1, no. 34. The "Mass" in Cranmer's Form of prayer and administration of the Sacraments, which was declared by act of Parliament "agreable to the word of God and the primitive church" differs but little from the Roman mass above described. See Pugin's Letter on the proposed Protestant Memorial. London 1839.]
[Footnote 22: Macri in his Hierolexicon says, that the Cardinal kneels, to incense the Pope when seated, from respect to his cattedra or chair, which is the first see in the Christian church. Others say from respect to his temporal sovereignty, the archbishops of Milan are incensed with the same formality. This custom is mentioned in the 13th century by Card. Giaconio Gaetano. Ordo Romanus Sec. 112. A certain love of proportion may have had its share in the origin of this ceremony, by which the same relative height is preserved between the Pope and the Cardinal in all cases in which the former is incensed. Thus also the assistant Bishop, who holds the Missal for the Pope, kneels when He is seated, and stands when He stands. We kneel to the Pope to receive his blessing, as we do to bishops and even priests; we also kneel from respect to his exalted dignity, not only as sovereign, but also as head of the Catholic church. It is well known that the British peers kneel even to the empty throne of their sovereign. Kneeling is a very ancient token of profound respect; it was paid to Joseph in Egypt, Gen. XLI, 43; to Elias, 4 Kings I, 13 etc.]
[Footnote 23: "O that an angel" says St. Ambrose, "would appear to us also, when incensing the altar, and offering sacrifice". Expl. in. Luc. l. 1, c. 25, n. 9.]
[Footnote 24: Incense is, as we shall see in c. 2; an emblem of prayer, and in this sense it is offered to the B. Sacrament, to Christ represented by the crucifix, and adored on the altar. The gospel is incensed to signify the sweet odour which it communicates to our souls; and the ministers of God, to signify, according to St. Thomas, that God maketh manifest the odour of his knowledge by us in every place: "For we are unto God the good odour of Christ in them who are saved, and in them who perish". 2 Cor. II, 14, 15. In fine the bread and wine offered to God are incensed to signify the spices with which the body of Christ was embalmed in the tomb; such at least is the explanation given in the Liturgy of St. Chrysostom; and it is from the oriental churches that the Latin church has taken this last practice. Incense is a token of respect in these and other cases.]
[Footnote 25: A taper with a stand, called a bugia, is held at divine service for persons in ecclesiastical dignity, as a sign of distinction, and to throw additional light on the book from which they read. The taper held for the Pope at the cappelle has no stand, and is enkindled from a light concealed within the desk, on which the assistant Bishop places the missal. This is a memorial of an ancient monastic custom mentioned by Martene Lib. 1, De rit. Eccl. p. 277, 232.]
ON THE CEREMONIES OF PALM-SUNDAY
Part 1. Introductory. Mysteries and devotion of holy-week—Palm-Sunday, entry of Christ into Jerusalem—of Julius II into Rome—Sixtus V and Captain Bresca—triumphant return of Pius VII to Rome, contrasted with ancient Roman triumphs. Part 2. Descriptive, Palm-sunday—lights used at mass etc.—vestments—ubbidienza, blessing of the palms, benedictions, holy water, incense—distribution of the palms—order in which the prelates and others receive them—solemn procession with palms, sedia gestatoria—ceremonies peculiar to this procession—its antiquity—High mass, its peculiar ceremonies on palm-sunday—Passio—Cardinal great Penitentiary at S. John Lateran's.
"Hosanna to the son of David: blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest". Matt. XXI, 9.
[Sidenote: P. I. Holy-week]
The sufferings and death of Jesus Christ are the mysteries which the catholic church commemorates during holy week. "On these days" says S. John Chrysostom (in Ps. CXCIV) "was the tyranny of the devil overthrown, sin and its curse were taken away, heaven was opened and made accessible". It was then becoming that christians should consecrate these days of mercy, of grace and salvation to exercises of penance, devotion, and thanksgiving. The imposing liturgy of the Roman church is at this season more than usually solemn; and it is our task to describe, and endeavour to trace to their origin, its varied ceremonies.
[Sidenote: Palm-Sunday, Christ's entry into Jerusalem.]
Palm-sunday is so called from the commemoration of our blessed Saviour's entry into Jerusalem, when, according to St. John (XII, 13) "a great multitude took branches of palm-trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried: "Hosanna, blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord". Thus when Simon Maccabee subdued Jerusalem, he entered it "with thanksgiving and branches of palm-trees, and harps, and cymbals, and hymns and canticles, because the great enemy was destroyed out of Israel". 1 Macc. XIII. The entry of our divine Redeemer therefore was one of triumph: but it was also the entry of a king into his capital: for "many spread their garments in the way" (Mark XI, 8), as when Jehu was elected king, (4 Kings IX, 13), the Israelites spread their garments under his feet. Thus also Plutarch relates of Cato of Utica, that the soldiers regretting the expiration of his authority with many tears and embraces spread their garments, where he passed on foot.
Pope Julius II returning to Rome after the siege of Mirandola distributed palms to the Roman court at S. Maria del Popolo; and then rode in triumphal procession to the Vatican passing under seven arches adorned with representations of his extraordinary and heroic deeds.
[Sidenote: Sixtus V and Captain Bresca.]
When Sixtus V. undertook to erect in the Piazza di San Pietro the ponderous egyptian obelisk, which formerly adorned Nero's circus at the Vatican, he forbade on pain of death that any one should speak lest the attention of the workmen should be taken off from their arduous task. A naval officer of S. Remo, who happened to be present, foreseeing that the ropes would take fire, cried out "acqua alle funi". He was immediately arrested by the Swiss guards, as we see him represented in the small fresco in the Vatican library, and was conducted before the Pontiff. Sixtus shewed that his severity was based on justice; for instead of punishing the transgressor of his orders, he offered him the choice of his own reward. They who have observed the great abundance of palms which grow in the neighbourhood of S. Remo, on the coast between Nice and Genoa, will not be surprised to hear, that the first wish of the gallant captain was to enjoy the privilege of supplying the pontifical chapel with palms. The Pope granted him this exclusive right and it is still enjoyed by one of his family.
[Sidenote: Return of Pius VII to Rome.]
When the meek and benevolent Pius VII was returning to Rome from exile and captivity, Dr. Bresca, one of the captain's descendants, contrived, though not without great risk, to convey to Rome the choicest palms of S. Remo and Bordighera. At the house of his friend Viale half a mile outside the Porta del Popolo, he assembled twenty five orfanelli dressed in their white cassocks, and forty-five verginelle. When the carriage of the beloved Pontiff approached, this double choir of children appeared, bearing palms in their hands and singing joyous canticles of benediction but I must describe this lovely scene in the melodious language of the south. "Ciascuno di essi (says Cancellieri) recava in mano una di queste palme di color d'oro altissime e cadenti come tante vaghissime piume. Sei zitelle sostenevano de'galanti panieri di freschissimi fiori pendenti dal loro collo, con nastri bianchi e gialli, relativi allo stendardo Pontificio. Quindi tutti si schierarono in buon ordine sulle due ale delta strada, e mentre le ragazze versavano graziosamente a mani piene da' loro canestrelli la verzura ed i fiori, quella selva ondeggiante di palme, tributate al trionfo del S. Padre dal candore e dall' innocenza, sorprese con la novita di uno spettacolo, che non pote a meno d'intenerire, e di muovere tutti gli astanti".
If we now look back for a moment to the triumphs of the pagan emperors, well may we bless God for the change which the religion of Christ has wrought in this city. After they had let loose war, and famine, and pestilence, to prey upon hapless nations, they ascended the Capitol to offer incense with polluted hands to their profane gods; and meantime the groans of the dying and unpitied princes, whom they had reserved to decorate their triumph, ascended from the scala Gemonia to call down the vengeance of heaven upon their oppressors. But while the pacific and holy vicar of Christ returns in triumph to his capital, the lips of babes and sucklings sing his praises, as they did those of his Divine Master, and he implores heaven to shower down benedictions on his enemies as well as his beloved children.
[Sidenote: P. II Papal chapel on palm-sunday.]
[Sidenote: Lights used at mass, etc.]
At about 9 o'clock on palm-sunday morning the Cardinals, Prelates and others assemble near the chapel of the Pieta at S. Peter's, as at present the solemn service takes place in that basilica, and not as formerly in the Sixtine chapel. The crucifix over the altar is veiled, in token of the mourning of the church over her divine spouse's sufferings. On the altar are six lighted candles, and other torches are brought in after the Sanctus of the Mass, and held till after the elevation, in honour of the B. Sacrament, by four acoliti ceroferarii.
[Sidenote: sacred vestments]
As the pope is to bless and distribute the palms, and a solemn procession is to take place, the Cardinals put on their sacred vestments, viz. all of them the amice, the cardinal bishops the surplice and the cope, the priests the chasuble, and the deacons a chasuble shorter in front than that of the priests. The auditors of the Rota, Cherici di Camera, Votanti, and Abbreviatori put on a cotta or supplice. The bishops and mitred abbots wear the cope, and the Penitenzieri or confessors of St. Peter's, the chasuble. The copes of the cardinal bishops are ornamented with a formale, adorned with three large bosses or projections of pearls arranged in a perpendicular line, while the Pope's are in a triangular order, evidently alluding, to the blessed Trinity. As this is a day of mourning, the sacred vestments are purple.
Thus attired and holding their mitres the Cardinals remain standing while the Pope is vested by the assistant Cardinal-deacons who put on His Holiness the amice, alb, girdle, stole, red cope, formale or clasp, and mitre. All then move in procession towards the high-altar in the order observed in the procession of the palms, as described below: the Pope descends from His sedia gestatoria to adore the Holy Sacrament with the Cardinals etc. The procession then goes to the high-altar; and having prayed for a short time before it, the Pope goes to the throne, and there receives the ubbidienza or homage of all the cardinals present, who in turn kiss His right hand covered with the cope. This ceremony which takes place at all solemn offices, except on good friday, and at masses for the dead, bears some resemblance to the old homage of feudal times.
[Sidenote: Blessing of the palms.]
Some palms are arranged on the altar. The Pope's chief Sacristan, who is a bishop chosen from the Augustinian order bears one, and kneels on the steps of the throne between the deacon and subdeacon, who bear two larger palms. His Holiness reads the usual prayers over the palms, sprinkles them with holy water, and incenses them three times.
[Sidenote: Distribution of the palms.]
When the palms have been blessed, the Cardinal Dean receives from the governor of Rome and presents to the Pope those three palms, which were borne by M. Sagrista, the deacon and subdeacon. One of these is held during the service by the prince assistant at the throne, the other two are delivered to the care of M. Coppiere, one of the Camerieri segreti partecipanti: the shortest is carried by the Pope in the procession. An embroidered apron is now placed over the Pope's knees, and the cardinals in turn receive a palm from Him, kissing the palm, his right hand and knee. The bishops present kiss the palm which they receive and his right knee: and the mitred abbots and Penitenzieri kiss the palm and his foot, as do all who come after them in the following order, which is observed also on good-friday at the kissing of the cross, and it is also on candlemas-day and ash-wednesday.
The Governor, the Prince assistant, the Uditore della Camera, the Treasurer, the Maggiordomo, the Apostolic protonotaries; the Generals of Religious Orders, the Conservatori and Prior of the Caporioni, the Maestro del S. Ospizio, the Uditori di Rota, the Maestro del S. Palazzo, the Votanti di Segnatura, the Abbreviatori del Parco maggiore, the priest, deacon, and subdeacon who assist the cardinal who is to celebrate mass, the Masters of ceremonies, the Camerieri segreti and d'onore, the Consistorial advocates, the Cappellani segreti, d'onore and comuni, the Ajutanti di camera, the bussolanti, the Procuratori generali of religious orders, the Procuratori di Collegio, the singers, the clerks of the papal chapel, the cardinal's caudatarii, the ostiarii, the mace-bearers, some students of the German college, and in fine such noblemen and gentlemen as are admitted on this occasion to receive a palm from His Holiness, who is assisted as usual by two Card. deacons.
During the distribution of the palms, the anthems Pueri Hebraeorum etc. are sung by the choir; and when it is finished, the Pope washes His hands, and says the usual concluding prayer: the prince stationed at the throne brings the water, and the Cardinal Dean presents the towel to His Holiness.
[Sidenote: Solemn procession.]
The Pope then puts incense into the thurible for the procession, and the first Card. Deacon turning towards the people says according to the old formula Let us proceed in peace: the choir answers, in the name of Christ. Amen'. The procession, in which the blessed palms are carried, moves round S. Peter's, in the following order, which is observed also for the most part on holy thursday and good friday. The Procuratori di Collegio, Procuratori generali, the Bussolanti, the Ajutanti di Camera, Cappellani comuni and segreti, the Consistorial advocates, the Camerieri d' onore, and segreti, the singers, the Abbreviatori, Votanti di Segnatura, Cherici di Camera, Uditori di Rota, the Thurifer, (Votante di Segnatura), the Subdeacon (Uditore di Rota) who carries the cross ornamented with a small palm, between two acolythes (Votanti di Segnatura) carrying candles, the Penitenzieri, the mitred abbots, bishops and the Cardinal deacons, priests and bishops all wearing their mitres. The Pope is preceded by many officers of his guards (who go to the throne towards the end of the distribution of palms), the Maestro del S. Ospizio, the Conservatori, Senator and Governor of Rome. His Holiness is carried on his Sedia gestatoria under a canopy supported by 8 Referendarii (prelates of the tribunal of Segnatura) between the flabelli carried by two of His Camerieri. He is followed by the dean of the Rota (whose duty it is to bear His mitre) between two camerieri segreti (who as well as two Auditors of the Rota bear His train when occasion requires), by the Uditore della Camera, the Treasurer, Maggiordomo, Protonotaries and Generals of religious orders.
During the procession the choir sings the anthem, Cum appropinquaret etc. When the procession is in the portico, two soprano singers reenter the basilica, and shut the door: then turning towards the door, they sing the first verse of the hymn Gloria, laus et honor and the other verses alternately with the choir, which remains without. The subdeacon knocks at the gate with the cross, and it is immediately opened; the procession returns into the church, and the choir sings the concluding anthems.
[Sidenote: its antiquity.]
The solemn commemoration, which we have described, of Christ's triumphant entry into Jerusalem, could never have taken place during times of persecution: nor did it originate immediately after Constantine had ensured peace to the church. Martene (De ant. Eccl. Rit. lib. IV, c. 20) could find no mention of it before the 8th or 9th century, when Amalarius says "In memory of this we are accustomed to carry palm-branches, and cry Hosanna". Merati however, in his notes to Gavant, considers that he has found traces of it in the Gregorian and Gelasian sacramentaries, and in a Roman calendar of the beginning of the fifth century and his opinion is adopted by Benedict XIV. The ceremonies of the church of Jerusalem on this day were a still closer imitation of the entry of Christ into that city.
When the procession is ended, the cardinals, bishops, and mitred abbots take off their sacred vestments and the prelates their surplices, and they all resume their respective cappe; the Penitenzieri retire, and mass is celebrated by a cardinal of the order of priests. Having already given an account not only of low mass, but also of the additional ceremonies of high mass, as celebrated in the papal chapel, we shall here mention those only which are peculiar to palm-sunday.
At those words of the epistle (which is sung as usual by the subdeacon), "in the name of Jesus let every knee bow", the whole assembly kneels to adore their divine Redeemer, who became obedient unto death for our salvation. The affecting account of His sufferings and death is then sung by three priests belonging to the pontifical choir, and habited as deacons in alb and stole. The history itself is sung by a tenor voice, the words, of our Saviour by a bass, and those of any other single voice by a contralto, called the ancilla, as he sings the words of the maid to S. Peter: the choir sings the words of the multitude. The church, mourning over the sufferings of her divine Spouse, does not allow the incense, lights, or the benediction and salutation usual before the gospel; but the palms are borne to signify the triumphs consequent on His death as they are also from the elevation till after the communion. All stand up as usual from respect to the holy gospel ("as servants before their Lord" Amalarius) but kneel for a short time at the words "Jesus crying with a loud voice yielded up the ghost", to adore that God of love who died for mankind. The latter part of the gospel is sung in the usual chant by the deacon, but without the customary lights. At the offertory is sung the first part of the beautiful hymn Stabat Mater: the music is Palestrina's, and is justly and highly panegyrised by Baini; it has been published by Dr. Burney. Both the introit and communion are sung without, and the offertory with, counterpoint: the Kyrie eleison, Gradual and tract, in plain chant. The Benedictus qui venit is usually very beautiful. At the end of the mass, as there has been no sermon, the Card. celebrant announces from the altar the Pope's usual grant to all present of an indulgence or remission of the temporal punishment due for past sins, whose guilt has been already remitted.
When the mass is ended, the palms are carried home by those who have received them, and are preserved with respect. Two larger than the rest are kept until the ascension, in the sacristy called the Letto dei Paramenti because anciently the aged Pontiffs after their fatiguing walk to the stational churches used to repose on a letto or bed prepared for them in the sacristy, where they afterwards put on the paramenti or vestments. The paschal candle also, an emblem of Christ the true light, as we shall afterwards see is removed on the day of the ascension: this circumstance may explain the above-mentioned custom.
[Sidenote: Cardinal penitentiary at S. John Lateran's.]
In the afternoon of palm-sunday, the Cardinal great Penitentiary goes in state to S. John Lateran's. He is met, before he enters their college, by the minor penitentiaries, who at this basilic are Franciscans, minori osservanti. Having sprinkled those present with holy water, he goes up to their private oratory in the Lateran palace, whither he is escorted by the prelates and other ministers of the apostolic Penitenzieria. After a short prayer, he proceeds to the library, where he holds the Segnatura or tribunal for signing documents relating to his office, and afterwards enters the basilic of St. John Lateran's, where he is received by four canons. Here seated at his tribunal of penance, he touches with his rod the heads of the prelates, ministers and others who approach to him; and for this act of humiliation they receive an indulgence, or remission of the canonical penance, of 100 days. He also hears the confessions of any persons who may choose to present themselves: but the solution of difficult cases and absolution from crimes reserved to his jurisdiction may be obtained without confessing to his Eminence on so public an occasion.
The ceremonies, which we have described, are designed to honour our divine Redeemer, whose actions and sufferings are thereby commemorated, and at the same time to excite sentiments of devotion in the hearts of His servants. Here ought the catholic to exercise faith, hope, love, and contrition for his sins: and all, of whatever country or creed they may be, who are admitted with hospitality and liberality to witness the solemn and imposing service, if they do not feel such noble sentiments, ought at least to observe that external decorum, which the season, the place, the hierarchy, and above all the commemoration of the sufferings of the God of charity will dictate to every well-educated and well-principled mind. It is to be lamented, that not only the devotion of Catholics is disturbed, but their feelings also are occasionally insulted in their own house of worship by the unbecoming remarks of individuals—but enough: "you have not so learned Christ: if yet you have heard him, and have been taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus". Ephes. IV, 20, 21. If on this day even the inhabitants of Jerusalem received Him with triumph and jubilee, let us His disciples and children offer to Him the best tribute in our power of love praise and adoration.
[Footnote 26: See Cancellieri, Solenni possessi de'Papi, p. 539.]
[Footnote 27: According to Champollion, it was originally erected in Heliopolis by Ramesses 7th son of the great Ramesses or Sesostris; Pliny says by Nuncoreus son of Sesostris. Caligula transported it to Rome, and placed it in the circus afterwards called Nero's, where it remained standing till the time of Sixtus V.]
[Footnote 28: It was customary in Lent, says St. Audoenus, to cover with a linen veil the tomb of Eligius to conceal the brightness of the gold and the splendour of the gems". Vita S. Eligii l. 2. c. 40. Thus does the church at this season put off her costly nuptial robes, and vest herself in weeds of deepest mourning. The time for veiling the crucifix and images has varied at different periods. The Saturday before passion-sunday is now the first, and holy Saturday the last day, of this observance.]
[Footnote 29: S. Isidore (A.D. 600.) observes, that acolythes are called in Latin Ceroferarii "from their carrying wax tapers when the gospel is to be read or sacrifice is to be offered". In the eleventh century Micrologus testifies "that Mass, according to the Ordo Romanus, was never celebrated without lights, even in the day time, as a type of the light of Christ". To this custom we shall recur in the following chapter.]
[Footnote 30: Pietro de Marca maintains, that the crucifix borne before the Pope was substituted in place of the labarum or standard carried before the emperors. That of Constantine had the form of a cross, and was surmounted with XP the first letters of Christ's name, Eus. In Vita Const. l. 4.]
[Footnote 31: I shall not speak of some ancient ceremonies of holy week which have fallen into disuse, such as the custom of carrying the gospel or the B. Sacrament in triumphant procession on Palm-Sunday, and others alluded to by Cancellieri and described by Martene, De Antiq. Eccl. Rit.]
[Footnote 32: In times of schism caused by antipopes it was a practice of the utmost importance. Thus we read in Baronius' Annals A.D. 1160, that when the antipope Cardinal Octavianus, who assumed the name of Victor, had been illegitimately elected, the chapter of St. Peter's came immediately to the feet of the said Pope Victor, and obeyed "obedivit" and the clergy and people paid due reverence to him, and a great multitude in like manner obeyed: "the rectors also came to his feet, and paid obedience and reverence". Then follows a long list of the clergy of various Roman churches, all of whom it is said that they obeyed. Thus,
"The Lateran prior and his canons obeyed. The clergy of the patriarchal church of S. Mary Major's obeyed etc."
This obedience was evidently an external sign of their acknowledging Victor as Pope in place of Alexander, the legitimate pontiff. Anciently the Pope received the homage of the deacons in the sacristy; they afterwards went out of the sacristy to put on their dalmatics. Cancellieri de Secretariis T.I. In the sacristy the Pope gave the peace to the Bishops, Cardinals, Prefect, Senator, and other lay princes according to the canon Benedict, Cencius Camerarius and Cajetan. The ordines Romani mention the bowing of the Subdeacon at the knees of the Pontiff, and the kissing of his hand by the priests, the archdeacon and secundarius De secretariis T. I, p. 409.]
[Footnote 33: Many forms of benediction of persons and things taken from ancient Pontificals and manuscript rituals may be seen in Martene, De antiquis Ecclesiae Ritibus. The church generally uses holy-water and incense when blessing God's creatures, which are "sanctified by the word of God and prayer" 1 Tom. IV, 5. God had appointed water of expiation to be used by the Jews, Numbers XIX. Lustral water used to be sprinkled also by the Pagans; Terque senem flamma, ter aqua, ter sulphure purget. Ov. Met. l. 7. Anastasius says that Alexander I, who was Pope in 108 "appointed that water for sprinkling should be blessed with salt in private houses." It is mentioned also in the apostolic constitutions. Boldetti in his Cemeterii de' martiri notices the short columns supporting small vases, in corners of the chapels in the catacombs; and Bottari has published and illustrated in his Roma sotterranea an interesting fresco discovered in the catacombs of S. Agnese, and representing five figures carrying vessels closely resembling those still used for holy water; four of those figures carry branches supposed to be of the palm-tree: the fifth holds an aspergillum with which holy water is still sprinkled. A copy of this fresco may be seen also in Rock's Hierurgia, p. 668. Incense is a symbol of prayers. "Let my prayer, O Lord" we say with the Psalmist "be directed as incense in thy sight". God had appointed it to be used in the Jewish worship, and St. John says, that an "angel came and stood before the altar, having a golden censer, and there was given to him much incense, that he should offer of the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar, which is before the throne of God: and the smoke of the incense of the prayers of the saints ascended up before God, from the hand of the angel". Apoc. VIII, 3, 5. Of the apostolic antiquity of its use the Protestant bishop Beveridge adduces proofs in his Vindication of the apostolical canons. The ancient liturgies of the east and west agree in prescribing the use of incense, and in particular at the beginning of mass, at the offertory etc. See Renaudot, Assemani, Le Brun etc. Constantine, according to Anastasius in his life of S. Silvester, gave two golden thuribles to the Lateran basilis, and a third adorned with jewels to the Baptistery. See Card. Bona, Rerum Liturgicarum lib. I, c. XXV, Sec. 9.]
[Footnote 34: Of the antiquity of the custom of kissing the Pope's foot we have proofs in Anastasius the librarian in the lives of Popes Constantine and Leo IV. When Valentine was elected Pope in 827, his feet were kissed by the Roman senate and people at S. John Lateran's. Numerous instances also are on record of sovereigns who have kissed the feet of the Popes, and Pouyard has written a dissertation to shew, that this custom was anterior to that of marking the papal shoes or sandals with a cross. This token of profound respect was given also to the emperors of the east at Byzantium.]
[Footnote 35: These are distinguished lawyers habited in black cappe. For an account of the various offices above-mentioned and of their origin see The Papal Chapel, Described etc. by C.M. Baggs. Rome. 1839.]
[Footnote 36: That crosses, candles and incense were anciently used in processions appears from S. Gregory of Tours, de Vit. Patrum, c. 13.]
[Footnote 37: The kings and chief magistrates of ancient Rome were entitled to a sella curulis, or chair of state, which used to be placed in their chariots. Gell. III; 18. They were seated on it also at their tribunal on solemn occasions. Virgil makes old king Latinus say:
Et sellam regni trabeamque insignia nostri. AEn. XI. 334. The Romans had borrowed it from the Etruscans according to Dionysius of Halicarnassus. (Clement of Alexandria observes, That many of the rites of Etruria were imported from Asia; and Diodorus (lib. 5.) represents these insignia as derived from Lydia. See Phoebens. De Identitate Cathedrae S. Petri p. XX. seq.) It was richly adorned, conspicuum signis, according to Ovid, Pont. IV. 5, 18. In the Pope's carriage even now there is a chair of state, and to Him alone is reserved the honour of a sedia gestatoria. Pope Stephen II in 751 was carried to the basilica of Constantine on the shoulders of the Romans exulting at his election: and from this fact some derive the custom of carrying the Pope in His chair on solemn occasions.]
[Footnote 38: This hymn is attributed to the abbot Theodulph afterwards bishop of Orleans, who lived in the 9th century. If it were true, that he sang it as the emperor Louis le debonnaire was passing by the prison, in which he was confined, and that he was in consequence liberated, we should have a historical reason for the shutting and opening of the door, and for the hymn's being sung partly inside the church. This account has however been called in question by Menard, Macri, Martene and others; and hence Pouget, and after him Benedict XIV and others are contented with a mystic reason for such ceremonies, viz, that heaven was closed to man in consequence of sin, and was opened to him by the cross of Christ.]
[Footnote 39: In these it is called Dominica ad Palmas, Dominica in Palmis, and in the Gregorian Sacramentary mention is made, in the prayer which precedes communion, of the faithful carrying palm-branches.]
[Footnote 40: Anciently a cardinal deacon used to read it, and to sing only the words "Eli, Eli, lamma sabachthani".]
[Footnote 41: The author of this exquisite chant is unknown: Baini supposes that he was a member of the pontifical choir: it has been sung in the papal chapel since the middle of the 13th century. In 1585 it, together with the rest of the service of holy week, was published by Tommaso da Vittoria with the words of the people harmonised for 4 and 5 voices; his method was adopted by the papal choir, which adorns it with many traditional graces, and in particular gives occasionally, says Baini, to the words of the multitude "the irresistible force of a most robust harmony". The abbate Alfieri has published a new edition of the Passios.]
[Footnote 42: In Africa till the time of S. Augustine, the Passion used to be read in holy week from the gospel of S. Matthew alone; but by his direction, as he mentions in his 232nd discourse, it was read every year from all the four evangelists; and this custom is still observed.]
[Footnote 43: That God, after He has pardoned sin and consequently remitted its eternal punishment, often, if not generally, demands temporal satisfaction from the sinner, is evident from many instances in scripture, such as those of David (2 Sam. XII) of Moses (Deuteron. XXXII compare Num. XIV) to say nothing of Adam (Gen. III) and all his posterity, who endure the temporal punishment of original sin, even when its stain has been washed away by baptism. Now the church by virtue of the ample authority with which Christ has invested her (Matt. XVIII, John XX) and in particular her chief pastor (Matt. XVI) has from the beginning exercised the power of remitting the temporal punishment of actual sins. Thus S. Paul pardoned the incestuous Corinthian (2. Cor. II): in times of persecution the bishops at the request of the martyrs remitted the penance imposed on those who had fallen into idolatry (Tersul. lib. ad martyres, Euseb. Hist. Eccl. lib. V, c. 4. S. Cyprian. Epist. XIII etc.), to say nothing of canons of the 4th century which prescribe that indulgences should be granted to fervent penitents, of the crusades, and of the indulgences granted to those who contributed money for the building of S. Peter's, etc. Indulgences presuppose repentance and confession, and the performance of those good works which are prescribed as conditions necessary for their acquisition, as communion, prayers, alms etc.]
[Footnote 44: It was built by Calixtus II, and was for two centuries and a half the Vestry of the Roman Pontiffs. It was repaired and consecrated in 1747. See Cancellieri. De Secretariis T. I, p. 342.]
[Footnote 45: In the third century, in the time of Pope Cornelius there were priests appointed to absolve those who had fallen into idolatry; and they were called Presbyteri Paenitentium. S. Marcellus also, according to Anastasius, after the persecution raised by Diocletian, appointed in Rome titular churches, in which penance as well as baptism were administered by priests, the former sacrament is conferred by the minor penitentiaries. Pope Simplicius in fine, as we learn from the same author, destined fixed weeks at S. Peter's, S. Paul's, and S. Laurence's, to receive penitents and administer baptism. From the usual custom of Rome in such matters, Zaccaria argues that during the first five or six centuries, according to the general custom proved by Thomassin, the great penitentiary was the bishop himself of the city in which they resided. It is however certain, that in the 4th century from the numerous priests of Constantinople one was selected called a penitentiary, who took cognisance of crimes, to which public penance was annexed by the canons. At Rome also there was a cardinal penitentiary long before the fourth council of Lateran, which in 1215 prescribed that bishops should appoint penitentiaries, for Berthod priest of Constance relates in his chronicle, that in the year 1084 he was promoted to the dignity of cardinal-priest and penitentiary of the Roman church.]
ON THE DIVINE OFFICE, AND THE OFFICE OF TENEBRAE IN PARTICULAR.
PART 1. Introductory. Breviary—Divine office, its origin—performed by the early Christians—ancient and modern editions of the breviary. PART 2. Descriptive. Office of Tenebrae—Matins and Lauds—extinction of the lights—meaning of this ceremony—chant, lamentations—conclusions of the office—Miserere, its music—Card. Penitentiary at S. Mary Major's. Trinita dei Pellegrini.
"I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall always be in my mouth". Ps. XXXIII, 2.
"He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the cross". Phil. II, 8.
[Sidenote: P. I. Breviary.]
We shall not hesitate to borrow the following account of the church office contained in the Roman Breviary from a Protestant divine (Tracts of the Times no. 75). "The word Breviarum first occurs in the work of an author of the eleventh century (Micrologus) and it is used to denote a compendium or systematic arrangement of the devotional offices of the church. Till that time they were contained in several independent volumes, according to the nature of each. Such, for instance, were the Psalteria, Homilaria, Hymnaria, and the like, to be used in the service in due course. But at his memorable era, and under the auspices of the Pontiff who makes it memorable, Gregory VII, an Order was drawn up, for the use of the Roman church, containing in one all these different collections, introducing the separate members of each in its proper place, and harmonising them together by the use of rubrics.
[Sidenote: Divine office, its origin.]
"Gregory VII did but restore and harmonise these offices; which seem to have existed more or less the same in constituent parts, though not in order and system, from Apostolic times. In their present shape they are appointed for seven distinct seasons in the twenty four hours, and consist of prayers, praises and thanksgivings of various forms; and, as regards both contents and hours, are the continuation of a system of worship observed by the Apostles and their converts. As to contents, the Breviary service consists of the Psalms; of Hymns and Canticles; of Lessons and Texts from inspired and Ecclesiastical authors; of Antiphons, Verses and Responses, and Sentences; and of Collects. And analogous to this seems to have been the usage of the Corinthian Christians, whom St. Paul blames for refusing to agree in some common order of worship, when they came together, every one of them having a Psalm, or a doctrine, a tongue, a revelation, an interpretation (1 Cor. XIV, 26). On the other hand, the catholic seasons of devotion are certainly derived from apostolic usage. The Jewish observance of the third, sixth and ninth hours for prayer, was continued by the inspired founders of the Christian church. What Daniel had practised, even when the decree was signed forbidding it, "kneeling on his knees three times a day, and praying and giving thanks unto his God", S. Peter and the other Apostles were solicitous in preserving. It was when "they were all with one accord in one place", at "the third hour of the day", that the Holy Ghost came down upon them at Pentecost. It was at the sixth hour, that St. Peter "went up upon the house-top to pray" and saw the vision revealing to him the admission of the gentiles into church. And it was at the ninth hour that "Peter and John went up together into the temple", being "the hour of prayer". But though these were the more remarkable seasons of devotion, there certainly were others besides them in the first age of the church. After our Saviour's departure, the Apostles, we are informed, "all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brethren": and with this accords the repealed exhortation to pray together without ceasing, which occurs in St. Paul's epistles. It will be observed that he insists in one passage on prayer to the abridgment of sleep (Eph. VI, 18); and one recorded passage of his life exemplifies his precept: "And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God, and the prisoners heard them".
In subsequent times the Hours of prayer were gradually developed from the three, or (with midnight) the four seasons above enumerated, to seven, viz. by the addition of Prime (the first hour), Vespers (the evening), and Compline (bedtime); according to the words of the Psalm, "Seven times a day do I praise Thee, because of Thy righteous judgment. Other pious and instructive reasons existed, or have since been perceived for this number". Thus far our Protestant author, with whose remarks we are too well pleased to go out of our way to dispute with him the truth of some other portions of his tract, which are objectionable.
[Sidenote: Performed by the early Christians.]
That the early Christians continued after the time of the apostles to observe the hours of prayer above enumerated is proved by Martene (De Ant. Eccl. Rit. T. 3) who has collected many decisive passages from the Greek and Latin Fathers. We shall content ourselves with one taken from a work on prayer by S. Cyprian, bishop of Carthage in the third century. Having mentioned Daniel's practice of praying three times a day, he observes, that it is manifest that there was something mysterious or symbolical in the ancient practice. "For the holy Ghost descended on the disciples at the third hour; at the sixth hour Peter going to the house-top was instructed by God to admit all to the grace of salvation; and the Lord, who was crucified at the sixth hour, washed away our sins with his blood at the ninth hour, and completed the victory by his passion. For us however, besides the hours anciently observed, the times and also the symbols of prayer have increased. For we must pray in the morning, to celebrate the resurrection of the Lord; also when the sun recedes and the day ceases; for Christ is the true sun and the true day, and when we pray that the light of Christ may again come upon us, we pray that his coming may impart to us the grace of eternal light: and let us who are always in Christ, that is, in the light, not cease from prayer at night". See also Dr. Cave's Primitive Christianity Part. 1, c. 9.
[Sidenote: Editions of the breviary.]
"The old Roman breviary" says the author of Tract 75 above quoted "had long before Gregory VII's time been received in various parts of Europe; and in England since the time of Gregory the great who after the pattern of Leo and Gelasius before him had been a reformer of it". The people used anciently to join with the clergy in offering this, constant tribute of praise to God; but the duty of daily reciting it is obligatory only upon the Catholic clergy, and religious orders. S. Benedict shortened it considerably, (as Grancolas observes, Com. Hist. in Brev. Rom.) New editions and emendations of it were published successively by the authority of St. Gregory VII, Nicholas III, and Clement VII, and finally the Roman Breviary at present used was restored by order of the Council of Trent, published by Pope Pius V, and revised by Clement VIII, and Urban VIII. It follows closely, as Merati observes, that first adopted by the regular-clerks in the 16th century, and resembles the edition published by Haymo, general of the Franciscans, and authorised by Nicholas III (A.D. 1278). Hence it is called by the author of Tract 75 the Franciscan Breviary. It is however founded upon the old Roman Breviary, which the Franciscans by the direction of their holy founder had adopted: for according to Rodolfo, dean of Tongres Cap. XXII, when the Popes dwelt at the Lateran, the office of the Papal chapel was much shorter than that of the other churches of Rome; it was composed by Innocent III, and was adopted by the Franciscans instituted at his time. Nicolas III ordered that all the Roman churches should use the Franciscan Breviary as reformed by Haymo, in 1241. "Our own daily service", says the above-mentioned minister of the church of England is confessedly formed upon the Breviary".
[Sidenote: P. II. Office of Tenebrae.]
Having premised thus much on the office in general, we may now return to holy-week. Besides palm-sunday, three other days in the week are particularly devoted to the commemoration of the history of our redemption; holy-thursday, because on it our Lord instituted the blessed Eucharist, and his passion began; good-friday, on which He was crucified and died; and holy saturday, on which His sacred body remained in the tomb. The church commences her solemn service of each of these days with that part of the divine office called matins and lauds, and at this time Tenebrae from the darkness with which it concludes. It used of old to be celebrated at night, as it still is by some religious communities; but it now takes place on the afternoon preceding each of those three days. Nor is this unusual: for "the ecclesiastical day is considered to begin with the evening or Vesper service, according to the Jewish reckoning, as alluded to in the text. "In the evening and morning and at noon day will I pray, and that instantly". (Tracts of the Times, No. 75).
[Sidenote: Matins and Lauds.]
The office of Matin so called from Matuta or Aurora consists at Tenebrae of three nocturns. Each of these is composed of three appropriate psalms with their anthems, followed by three lessons taken from scripture or the fathers. Immediately after matins, Lauds or the praises of God are sung: they consist of five psalms besides the Benedictus or canticle of Zachary, to which succeeds the Miserere or 50th psalm. Some of the short prayers usually said are omitted: for the church during this season of mourning strips her liturgy as well as her altars of their usual ornaments.
[Sidenote: Extinction of the lights.]
A triangular candlestick, upon which are placed fifteen candles, corresponding to the number of psalms recited before the Miserere, is peculiar to this solemn office, and is placed at the epistle-side of the altar. After each psalm one of the candles is extinguished by a Master of ceremonies, and after the Benedictus the candle placed on the top of the triangular candlestick is not extinguished, but is concealed behind the altar and brought out at the end of the service; while that canticle is sung, the six candles on the altar also are extinguished, as well as those above the cancellata or rails.
[Sidenote: Meaning of this ceremony.]
Lamps and candelabra were presented to the sanctuary by the faithful during the first ages of persecution; and in more tranquil times to the basilicas by Constantine and others who erected or dedicated them. They were lighted, as S. Jerome observes, in the day time "not to drive away darkness, but as a sign of joy": and therefore the custom of gradually extinguishing them at the office of Tenebrae we may justly consider with Amalarius as a sign of mourning, or of the sympathy of the church with her divine and suffering Spouse. The precise number of lights is determined by that of the psalms, which is the same as at ordinary matins of three nocturns.
The custom of concealing behind the altar during the last part of the office the last and most elevated candle, and of bringing it forward burning at the end of the service, is a manifest allusion to the death and resurrection of Christ, whose light, as Micrologus observes, is represented by our burning tapers. "I am the light of the world". John VIII. 12. In the same manner the other candles extinguished one after another may represent the prophets successively put to death before their divine Lord: and if we consider that the psalms of the old Testament are recited at the time, this explanation may appear more satisfactory than others, which would refer them to the blessed Virgin, the apostles and disciples of Christ. In the triangular form of the candlestick is contained an evident allusion to the B. Trinity. This candlestick is mentioned in a MS. Ordo of the 7th century published by Mabillon.
[Sidenote: Chant, lamentations.]
The anthems and psalms, with the exception of the Miserere which is the last psalm at Lauds, most of the lessons and other parts of the office, are sung in plain chant. From the middle of the 15th century the three lamentations or first three lessons of each day used to be sung in canto figurato in the papal chapel: but by order of Sixtus V, only the first lamentation of each day is thus sung, and even it is much shortened, as Clement XII directed: the two others are sung in canto piano according to Guidetti's method. The first lamentation both of the first and second day is by the celebrated Pierluigi da Palestrina: that of the third day by Allegri. Baini observes, that the first lamentation of the second day is considered the finest: Palestrina composed it for four voices, besides a bass, which entering at the pathetic apostrophe 'Jerusalem, Jerusalem, be converted to the Lord' "every year makes all the hearers and singers, who have a soul, change colour". Bayni, Mem. Stor. T. 1. The lamentations of Jeremiah have the form of an acrostic, that is, the verses begin with the letters of the Hebrew alphabet in regular order, the first with Aleph, the second with Beth, and so in succession. It was difficult to observe a similar order in the Latin Vulgate: but to preserve some vestige of it, the name of the Hebrew letter, with which each verse begins in the original, is sung before the same verse in the translation.
[Sidenote: Conclusion of the office.]
When the Benedictus or canticle of Zachary and its anthem are finished, the choir sings the verse "Christ was made for us obedient even unto death": on the second night they add "even unto the death of the cross": and on the third, "for which reason God hath exalted him, and hath given him a name, which is above all names". The heart of the christian is melted to devotion by these words, sung on so solemn an occasion: he kneels before his crucified Redeemer, and recites that prayer of love, that prayer of a child to his Father which He that man of sorrows dictated to His beloved disciples; and then remembering those sins, by which he offended that dear and agonising parent, and touched with sorrow and repentance, yet more and more excited by the music, I might almost call it celestial, his heart calls loudly for that mercy to obtain which Jesus died. He joins with God's minister in fervently repeating the prayer imploring God's blessing on those for whom Christ suffered and died: the noise which follows it recals to his mind the confusion of nature at the death of her creator; the lighted candle once more appearing reminds him that His death was only temporary: and he departs in silence impressed with pious sentiments, and inflamed with devout affections.
[Sidenote: Miserere, its music.]
They who have assisted at the office of Tenebrae will not be surprised at the saying of a philosopher, that for the advantage of his soul he would wish, that when he was about to render it up to God, he might hear sung the Miserere of the Pope's chapel. In no other place has this celebrated music succeeded. Baini the director of the Pontifical choir, in a note to his life of Palestrina, observes that Paride de Grassi, Master of ceremonies to Leo X, mentions that on holy wednesday (A.D. 1519), the singers chanted the Miserere in a new and unaccustomed manner, alternately singing the verses in symphony. This seems to be the origin of the far-famed Miserere. Various authors, whom Baini enumerates, afterwards composed Miserere; but the celebrated composition of Gregorio Allegri a Roman, who entered the Papal college of singers in 1629, was the most successful, and was for some time sung on all the three days of Tenebrae. Then one composed by Alessandro Scarlatti, or that of Felice Anerio, used to be sung on holy thursday: but these were eclipsed by the Miserere, composed in 1214 by Tommase Bai a Bolognese, director of the choir of S. Peter's. From that time only Allegri's and Bai's were sung in the Pope's chapel; till Pius VII directed the celebrated Baini to compose a new Miserere, which has received well-merited applause. Since the year 1821 all three, viz. Baini's, Bai's, and Allegri's Misereres are sung on the three successive days, and generally in the order in which we have mentioned them: the two latter are sometimes blended together. The first verse is sung in harmony, the second in plain chant, and so successively till the last verse, which alone is sung in harmony by both the choirs, into which the singers are divided; only one choir sings the other verses.
[Sidenote: Cardinal penitentiary]
[Sidenote: Trinita dei Pellegrini]
On Wednesday-afternoon, the Cardinal great Penitentiary goes in state to S. Mary Major's, where the minor Penitentiaries are Dominicans. For an account of this custom see the preceding chapter. On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings, Christians may be edified at the Trinita dei Pellegrini by the sight of Cardinals, princes, prelates and others, washing in good earnest, and afterwards kissing the feet of poor pilgrims, while they recite with them the Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father, and other beautiful prayers, such as;
Gesu, Giuseppe, Maria, Vi dono il cuore e l' anima mia. Gesu, Giuseppe, Maria, Assisteleci nell' ultima agonia, etc.
They afterwards wait on them at table, and accompany them to their beds, reciting other devout prayers. In another part of that establishment, princesses and other ladies practise the same offices of charity towards the female pilgrims. Here might we fancy that the primitive christians were before us, those men of charity, simplicity, and lowliness: and when in the same place, a few years ago, that devout Pontiff Leo XII on his knees washed and kissed the feet of pilgrims, who had journeyed from afar; who that saw him did not call to mind with tears the lowliness and charity of his predecessor Peter, and of a greater than Peter, who "washed the feet of his disciples, and who wiped them with the towel wherewith he was girded".
Marius mourned over the ruins of Carthage; but his was the sorrow of disappointed, selfish ambition. Jeremiah lamented the fall and desolation of Jerusalem: and his plaintive accents were inspired by genuine patriotism and religion. Observe his venerable figure in the Sixtine chapel; there he sits pensive and disconsolate, with his legs crossed, his wearied head resting upon his hand, and his eyes rivetted on the ground, as if nothing could engage his attention but the woes of the daughter of Sion. Then listen to the lamentations of this inspired and afflicted prophet: they are full of deepest pathos, and uttered in notes sweet as the warblings of philomel. Turn now, O Christian soul, to a more sublime and mournful spectacle. Jesus in the garden of Gethsemani and on mount Calvary mourned not for a single city or nation: he sorrowed over the ruins of a world, not as of old Noah may have done, when secure from danger he looked down upon the waters which overspread the earth; but "He was wounded for our iniquities, and he was bruised for our sins: and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquities of us all", He suffered and died for us. The moral ruins of the world, our sins and their awful consequences, caused all the pangs and sorrows of Jesus. Come then let us cast ourselves at the foot of that cross, and cry aloud for mercy with a contrite and humble heart, which He will never despise. To Thee alone, shall we say, have we sinned, and have done evil before thee; yet have mercy on us, O God, according to thy great mercy. And thou, O blessed Virgin and Mother, who standest in silent anguish beneath the cross of thy agonising Son, would that we could feel love and sorrow like unto thine.
Eja mater fons amoris Me sentire vim doloris Fac, ut tecum lugeam. Fac, ut ardeat cor meum In amando Christum Deum, Ut sibi complaceam. Amen.
[Footnote 46: See also Palmer's Origines Liturgicae, Vol. 1 Antiq. of the English ritual c. 1, p. 1. Both writers do not hesitate to admit that the breviary is the great source of the Church of England's Morning and Evening prayer.]