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History of the Christian Church, Volume III: Nicene and Post-Nicene Christianity. A.D. 311-600.
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§ 100. The Occidental Liturgies.


The liturgies of the Western church may be divided into three classes: (1) the Ephesian family, which is traced to a Johannean origin, and embraces the Mozarabic and the Gallican liturgies; (2) the Roman liturgy, which, of course, like the papacy itself, must come down from St. Peter; (3) the Ambrosian and Aquileian, which is a mixture of the other two. We have therefore here less diversity than in the East. The tendency of the Latin church everywhere pressed strongly toward uniformity, and the Roman liturgy at last excluded all others.


1. The Old Gallican liturgy,10921092   Edited by Mabillon: De liturgia Gallicana, libri iii. Par. 1729; and recently in much more complete form, from older MSS. by Francis Joseph Mone (archive-director in Carlsruhe): Lateinische u. griechische Messen aus dem 2ten his 6ten Jahrlhundert, Frankf. a. M. 1850. This is one of the most important liturgical discoveries. Mono gives fragments of eleven mass-formularies from a codex rescriptus of the former cloister of Reichenau, which are older than those previously known, but hardly reach back, as he thinks, to the century (the time of the persecution at Lyons, a.d.177). Comp. against this, Denzinger, in the Tübingen Quartalschrift, 1850, p. 500 ff. Neale agrees with Mone: Essays on Liturgiology, p. 137. in many of its features, points back, like the beginnings of Christianity in South Gaul, to an Asiatic, Ephesian, and so far we may say Johannean origin, and took its later form in the fifth century. Among its composers, or rather the revisers, Hilary, of Poictiers is particularly named. In the time of Charlemagne it was superseded by the Roman. Gallicanism, which in church organization and polity boldly asserted its rights, suffered itself easily to be Romanized in its worship.

The Old British liturgy was without doubt identical with the Gallican, but after the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons it was likewise supplanted by the Roman.


2. The Old Spanish or (though incorrectly so called) Gothic, also named Mozarabic liturgy.10931093   Called “Gothic,” because its development and bloom falls in the time of the Gothic rule in Spain; “Mozarabic” it came to be called after the conquest of Spain by the Arabs. Mozarab, Muzarab, Mostarab, is a kind of term of contempt for the Spanish Christians under the Arabic dominion, in distinction from the Arabs of pure blood. The word comes not from mixti and Arabes, nor from Muza, the Maurian chieftain who subjugated Spain, but from a participle of the tenth conjugation of the Arabic verb araba; therefore something like “arabizing Arab,” or Arab by adoption, in distinction from Arabs of the pure blood. Comp. the distinction between Hellenist and Hebrew. This is in many respects allied to the Gallic, and probably came through the latter from a similar Eastern Source. It appears to have existed before the incursion of the West Goths in 409; for it shows no trace of the influence of the Arian heresy, or of the ritual system of Constantinople.10941094   Pinius (in a dissertation prefixed to the 32d vol. of the Acta Sanctorum) supposes that the Spanish liturgy came from the Goths, therefore from Constantinople; but Neale (Essays on Liturgiology, p. 130 ff.) endeavors to prove that it was contemporaneous with the introduction of Christianity in Spain, but afterward, by Leander of Seville (about 589), was conformed in some points to the Oriental ceremonial. Its present form is attributed to Isidore of Seville and the fourth council of Toledo in 633. It maintained itself in Spain down to the thirteenth century and was then superseded by the Roman liturgy.10951095   The Spanish cardinal Ximenes edited from defective manuscripts the first printed edition at Toledo, 1500, which, however, is in a measure conformed to the Roman order. He also founded in the cathedral of Toledo a chapel (ad Corpus Christi), where the so renovated Mozarabic service is still continued daily. A similar chapel was founded in Salamanca for the same purpose. Neale, in his Tetralogia Liturgica, gives the Ordo Mozarabicus for comparison with the Liturgies of Chrysostom, James, and Mark. The latest edition is that in the 85th volume of Migne’s Patrologie, Paris, 1850, with a learned preface.

It has, like the Gallican, besides the Gospels and Epistles, lessons also from the Old Testament;10961096   On the Mozarabic pericopes comp. an article by Ernst Ranke in Herzog’s Encykop. vol. x. pp. 79-82. He attributes to them great intrinsic value and historical importance. “They even seem important,” says he,“for the general history of the ancient church. With the unmistakable affinity they bear to the Greek on the one hand, and to the Gallican on the other, they evince by themselves an intercourse between the Eastern and Western regions of the church, which, begun or at least aimed at by Paul, further established by Irenaeus, still under lively prosecution in the time of Jerome, afterward ruptured in the most violent manner, is without doubt one of the most noteworthy currents in the life of the church.” it differs from the Roman liturgy in the order of festivals; and it contains, before the proper sacrificial action, a homiletic exhortation. The formula Sancta Sanctis, before the communion) the fraction of the host into nine parts (in memory of the nine mysteries of the life of Christ), the daily communion, the distribution of the cup by the deacon, remind us of the oriental ritual. The Mozarabic chant has much resemblance to the Gregorian, but exhibits besides a certain independent national character.10971097   Neale has made the discovery, that the Mozarabic litanies were originally metrical, and attempts to restore the measure, l c. p. 143 ff.


3. The African liturgy is known to us only through fragmentary quotations in Tertullian, Cyprian, and Augustine, from which we gather that it belonged to the Roman family.


4. The liturgy Of St. Ambrose.10981098   Missale Ambrosianum, Mediol. 1768; a later edition under authority of the archbishop and cardinal Gaisruck, Mediol. 1850. Comp. an article by Neale: The Ambrosian Liturgy, in his Essays on Liturgiology, p. 171 ff. Neale considers the Ambrosian liturgy, like the Gallican and Mozarabic, a branch of the Ephesian family. “All three have been moulded by contact with the Petrine family; but the Ambrosian, as it might be expected, most of all.” He places it, however, far below the two others. This is attributed to the renowned bishop of Milan († 397), and even to St. Barnabas. It is certain, that Ambrose introduced the responsive singing of psalms and hymns, and composed several prayers, prefaces, and hymns. His successor, Simplicius (a.d. 397–400), is supposed to have made several additions to the ritual. Many elements date from the reign of the Gothic kings (a.d. 493–568), and the Lombard kings (a.d. 568–739).

The Ambrosian liturgy is still used in the diocese of Milan; and after sundry vain attempts to substitute the Roman, it was confirmed by Alexander VI. in 1497 by a special bull, as the Ritus Ambrosianus. Excepting some Oriental peculiarities, it coincides substantially with the Roman liturgy, but has neither the pregnant brevity of the Roman, nor the richness and fullness of the Mozarabic. The prayers for the oblation of the sacrificial gifts differ from the Roman; the Apostles’ Creed is not recited till after the oblation; some saints of the diocese are received into the canonical lists of the saints; the distribution of the host takes place before the Paternoster, with formulas of its own, &c.

The liturgy which was used for a long time in the patriarchate of Aquileia, is allied to the Ambrosian, and likewise stands midway between the Roman and the Oriental Gallican liturgies.


5. The Roman liturgy is ascribed by tradition, in its main features, to the Apostle Peter, but cannot be historically traced beyond the middle of the fifth century. It has without doubt slowly grown to its present form. The oldest written records of it appear in three sacramentaries, which bear the names of the three Popes, Leo, Gelasius, and Gregory.

(a) The Sacramentarium Leonianum, falsely ascribed to Pope Leo I. († 461), probably dates from the end of the fifth century, and is a planless collection of liturgical formularies. It was first edited in 1735 from a codex of Verona.10991099   Hence called also Sacram. Veronense.

(b) The Sacramentarium Gelasianum, which was first printed at Rome in 1680, passes for the work of the Roman bishop Gelasius († 492–496), who certainly did compose a Sacramentarium. Many saints’ days are wanting in it, which have been in use since the seventh century.

(c) The Sacramentarium Gregorianum, edited by Muratori and others. Gregory I. (590–604) is reputed to be the proper father of the Roman Ordo et Canon Missae, which, with various additions and modifications at later periods, gradually attained almost exclusive prevalence in the Latin church, and was sanctioned by the Council of Trent.

The collection of the various parts of the Roman liturgy11001100   Sacramentarium, antiphonarium, lectionarium (containing the lessons from the Old Testament, the Acts, the Epistles, and the Apocalypse), evangelarium (the lessons from the Gospels), ordo Romanus. in one book is called Missale Romanum, and the directions for the priests are called Rubricae.11011101   From their being written or printed in red.



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