Friday, 10 April 2009

Feria VI in Parasceve - Good Friday

On Good Friday morning the altar is bare except for six candlesticks bearing candles of unbleached wax and the altar Cross veiled in black (preferably) or violet.

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

After None the Hebdomadarius and ministers enter choir for the 'Mass of the Pre-Sanctified'. The celebrant wears black stole, maniple and chasuble; the deacon black stole, maniple and folded chasuble; and, the subdeacon black maniple and folded chasuble. The ministers prostrate before the altar (for the time of a Miserere according to the better authors). During this the acolytes spread a single cloth on the altar mensa folded longitudinally back on itself so that at first it does not cover the front part of the mensa. The missal is placed at the Epistle corner. The celebrant and ministers rise and the celebrant kisses the altar and goes to the Epistle corner where he reads a prophecy from Osee whilst this is chanted by a lector in choir. This is followed by a Tract. After the Tract the celebrant, at the altar, chants Oremus, the deacon Flectamus genua and the subdeacon Levate. The celebrant then sings the collect Deus, a quo et Judas. Then, just as at High Mass, the subdeacon sings an 'Epistle' whilst the celebrant reads it at the altar. A second Tract is then sung. This is followed by the Passion of St. John. This is sung as on Palm Sunday and Tuesday and Wednesday by three Deacons of the Passion. Today they were black stoles and use uncovered lecterns.

[Note. The above photograph is of the beginning of the Passion according to St. John from the Chronista part from a set of Passion Books in this blogger's collection printed in Rome, 1860. The rather beautiful chant is ascribed to Palestrina and Guidetti. It is more difficult to sing than the more familiar 'modern' form but well worth the effort.]

Towards the end of the Passion the deacon takes off his chasuble and folds it over his shoulder or dons the 'broad stole'. The ceremonies for the Gospel take place as at High Mass except today no blessing is asked, there is no incense and the acolytes do not carry lights. One of the better restorations of the early twentieth century was an ancient tone for the Gospels of the Passions.

This rather sublime music and haunting music was to be suppressed in the 'restoration' of 1956. After the Gospel the ministers go to the Epistle corner and there the Solemn Prayers are sung, the ministers behind the celebrant as at a normal High Mass. After Oremus by the celebrant the deacon chants Flectamus genua and the subdeacon Levate. After the series of prayers the ministers return to the sedilia where the celebrant and subdeacon remove their chausbles. Meanwhile a violet carpet is laid from the altar steps and a cushion edged with gold and covered by a veil is laid to receive the Cross.

The celebrant and subdeacon stand before the Epislte side of the altar, in plano, facing the people. The deacon takes the altar Cross and brings it to the celebrant. The celebrant unveils the upper portion of the Cross and sings Ecce lignum crucis. The choir responds Venite adoremus and kneels. This is repeated twice until the whole Cross is unveiled and the celebrant is on the footpace at the centre of the altar.

He then carries the Cross to the cushion, then genuflects and returns to the sedilia where he is met by the ministers. The minsisters then take off their maniples and shoes. Meanwhile all other crosses are unveiled. Veneration of the Cross follows with the celebrant making three prostrations before the Cross as he approaches it, then kissing the Cross, genuflecting and returning to his place. At the sedilia the celebrant resumes his shoes, maniple and chasuble. The deacon and subdeacon then make their Veneration followed by the choir and people. After the unveiling of the Cross it is genuflected to by all in actu functionis and Choir reverences cease until None tomorrow. At the sedilia the ministers read the 'Reproaches' with the celebrant whilst they are sung by the choir. Of note is the use of the Greek Trisagion interolated with Popule meus. The Crucem tuam and then Crux fidelis interpolated with Pange, lingua, gloriosi Lauream. Towards the end of the Veneration acolytes light the altar candles and the candles they will carry. At the end of the Veneration the celebrant gives the Cross to the kneeling deacon who then returns it to the altar.

A procession is then formed and goes to the altar of repose where two thuribles have been prepared. The deacon opens the capsula and incense is put on the thuribles but not blessed. The reserved Sacrament is censed kneeling. The celebrant then puts on the humeral veil and is given the Sacrament by the deacon. The party processes back to the choir altar and the superb Vexilla regis is sung. There is something very striking about the white humeral veil over the black chasuble as can be seen (just about) below:

At the choir altar the deacon takes the chalice from the celebrant and places it on the altar and unties the ribbon. More incense is put on and the Sacrament censed again the ministers kneel. The ministers go up to the altar the Host is slipped onto the paten. Acolytes bring up cruets although water is not blessed and the chalice made as at High Mass. The 'gifts' are then censed as at High Mass and the celebrant washes his hands as at Mass coram Sanctissimo. The celebrant then comes to the centre and says the prayer In spiritu humilitatis then turning to the Gospel side to say Orate, fratres turning back without making a circle. No answer is made.

The celebrant then sings the Pater noster in the ferial tone followed by Libera nos. The celebrant then slips the paten under the Host. The Host is then elevated in his right hand whilst the left holds the paten. The Host is then held over the chalice and broken as at Mass. the fraction being placed in the cup. There is neither Pax nor Agnus Dei. The celebrant says Perceptio Corporis tuis, Panem caelestem, Domine non sum dignus and Corpus Domini before consuming the Host and contents of the Chalice. The ablutions follow and the celebrant says Quod ore the ministers reverence the altar and return, in silence, to the sacristy.

Vespers are now sung without chant. The antiphons are the same as yesterday for the psalms but the antiphon on the Magnificat is Cum accepisset acetum. After the repitition of the antiphon Christus factus est, Pater, Miserere and Respice. After Vespers the candles are exstinguished.

In many other Latin rites in the past, and indeed in some places in the world such as Poland to this day, the Cross was buried in the 'Easter Sepulchre' until it raising at Paschal Mattins. The question of these rites of 'depositio' and corresponding 'elevatio' is complex and will be discussed at at later date. Post Dr. Glover's retirement an 'Easter Sepulchre' was created at Durham:

[The Cross is resting on a veil and cushion as prescribed in the Caeremoniale Episcoporum Lib. II, Cap. XXV, 3 & 24 for the Veneration. After Vespers the Cross has been carried in procession and ritually 'entombed' in the Sepulchre following local custom, albeit with a hiatus in praxis of a few centuries! Following the older practice only the Cross is entombed the single reserved Host was consumed by the celebrant that morning. Durham, 1997]

The 'liturgical books of 1962' are ghastly today. The altar has nothing at all on it, no candlesticks or Cross. The same changes to the Office as posted yesterday. For the 'Solemn Afternoon Liturgical Action' the minister enter in albs and stoles only, no maniple or chasubles or dalmatics. The Gospel ceremony is lost. Much of the service takes place at the sedilia (a forerunner of the cult of the 'chair'). For the Solemn Collects the celebrant puts on a black cope and stands at the middle of the altar assisted by minister in dalmatic and tunicle.

For the Veneration the Cross is brought from the sacristy. There are no longer prostrations or the 'Creeping to the Cross' but three simple genuflections from the ministers, one by everyone else. The minister listen to the reproaches. For the communion service the minsiters put on violet chausble, dalmatic and tunicle. The deacon brings the reserved sacrament back, there is no Vexilla regis but three new antiphons. The entire congregation recites, not sings, the Pater noster. The celebrant says Perceptio, Domine non sum dignus and Corpus Domini and communcates himself. Meanwhile the deacon sings the Confiteor (the only day allowed by the 1962 books but how the 62ists break that rule...) and then after the absolution the celebrant communicates everyone else. Three prayers are then sung from the middle of the altar. Vespers are omitted.

The section on the 'restoration' of the Good Friday liturgy by Signor Gregory Di Pippo may be found here and here.


John Canda said...

Please also write about the Tre Ore.

Rubricarius said...


Certainly. I will put something together later.

John Canda said...

Thank you very much indeed, Rubricarius. Please also write about the Prayer for the Christian Emperor which was once part of the Good Friday Solemn Prayers.

Christus resurrexit! Vere surrexit!

Francis said...

I wonder if you could please say something about the prayer for the conversion of the Jews, and the absence of the genuflection. The explanation I have seen in most missals is that the Church, recoiling in horror from the gesture with which the Jews mocked our Lord's kingship, does not "bend the knee" therefore when praying for the Jews. But, naysayers point out that according to Scripture it was the Roman soldiers, and not the Jews, who knelt in mockery before our Lord. Is there some other explanation of the liturgical custom therefore? Or are we to assume that the Jews also mocked our Lord this way but that it simply is not recorded in the Scriptures?