Spanish Mass…

Mural detail at San Blás Chapel

As with the previous post, these are the texts of the Old Spanish (or “Mozarabic”) Mass, as found in Bishop & Feltoe’s “The Mozarabic and Ambrosian Rites.” This is the text for the Mass of the Second Sunday after Epiphany, except for the Praefatio and Postcommunion Prayer, which are taken from Missa Dominicalis II of the Missale Gothicum; apparently to shew the original character of these prayers. My own comments are in parenthesis.

THE CHANTS

Officium [Introit]: The LORD is King and hath put on glorious apparel. Alleluia. V. The LORD hath put on his apparel and girded himself with strength. P. Alleluia. V. Glory and honour be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost for ever and ever. Amen. P. Alleluia.

The Priest: For ever and ever. R. Amen. [This is apparently the response to a prayer said privately by the priest].
The Choir: Glory be to God on high, &c.

Oratio: This is our righteous one in whom we hoped and to whom in grace appearing we are come : wherefore let us beseech his clemency who vouchsafed for us to die upon the cross that he would forgive the sins of his people and deliver us from them. R. Amen. Through thy mercy O our God who art blessed and dost live and govern all things for ever and ever. R. Amen.

THE LESSONS

V. The LORD be always with you. R. And with thy spirit.
The Deacon: Keep silence.
The Reader: The Lesson of the Book of Isaiah the Prophet. R. Thanks be to God.
The Reader: Thus saith the LORD : Behold, I create, &c. (Is. 65:17-25). R. Amen. V. The LORD be always with you. R. And with thy spirit.
Tract: The song of the three children. The angel of the LORD came down into the furnace together with Azarias and his fellows and smote the flame of the fire out of the furnace and made the midst of the furnace as it had been a moist whistling wind so that the fire touched them not at all, neither hurt nor troubled them. Then the three as out of one mouth praised, glorified, and blessed God in the furnace, saying : ‘Blessed art thou, O LORD God of our fathers and to be praised and magnified for ever.’ Amen. Hymnus. Blessed art thou, &c. [a short form of the hymn].
The Priest: O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good : for his mercy endureth for ever. R. Amen. [This is probably taken from the last verse of the Song of the Three Children, not the Psalter].
V. The LORD be always with you. R. And with thy spirit.

Psallendum: My heart is ready O God, my heart is ready : I will sing and give praise with the best member that I have. V. Unto thee, O God, will I pay my vows, unto thee will I give thanks. And why, thou hast delivered my soul from death ; mine eyes from tears and my feet from falling. P. I will give praise, &c.
The Deacon: Keep silence.
The Reader: Continuation of the Epistle of Saint Paul to the Romans. R. Thanks be to God.
The Reader: Brethren, let not sin reign, &c. (Romans 6:12-18). R. Amen.
The Deacon: Keep silence. The Lesson from the Holy Gospel according to Saint Luke. R. Glory be to thee, O LORD.
The Deacon: At that time our LORD Jesus Christ returned in the power of the spirit, &c. (Luke 4:14-22).
V. The LORD be always with you. R. And with thy spirit.
Laudes: Alleluia. V. Praise the LORD in cymbals and dances : praise him upon the strings and pipe. P. Alleluia.

THE SERMON
DISMISSAL OF CATECHUMENS AND PENITENTS

The Deacon: Pray, ye Catechumens : bow your knees unto God. Let us beseech the LORD that he would vouchsafe to grant you the remission of your sins and enlightenment. [A pause for prayer in which all join.] Arise. Having finished your prayer, in the name of Christ say all together Amen. R. Amen.
The Deacon: Depart, ye Catechumens.
The Deacon [after the Catechumens have gone out]: Pray, ye penitents : bow your knees unto God. Let us beseech the LORD that he would vouchsafe to grant you remission of your sins and peace. [A pause for prayer in which all join]. Arise. Having finished your prayer, in the name of Christ say all together Amen. R. Amen.
The Deacon: Depart, ye penitents.
The Deacon [after the penitents have gone out]: Stand in your place for Mass.

THE OFFERTORY

Sacrificium: And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD and took of every clean beast and of every clean fowl and offered burnt offerings on the altar : and the LORD smelled a sweet savour. Alleluia. V. And the LORD spake unto Noah, saying : Go forth of the ark, thou and all thy kindred and every living thing that is with thee of all flesh, both of fowl and of cattle and of everything that creepeth upon the earth : be fruitful and multiply upon the earth. And Noah went forth. P. And he offered, &c. Alleluia.

[Collection. The oblations are brought in in solemn procession, placed on the altar and censed. The priest washes his hands.]

The PRAYERS OF THE FAITHFUL

Missa: Beloved brethren, since we believe that we are drawing nigh to God let us put away all thought of pleasing men. Though we cannot offer to God any sacrifice worthy of his acceptance, let us bring to him at least the sobs and tears of penitence. We ought not to stand here without shame as if innocent of all offences. But at least on the LORD’s Day we ought to assemble ourselves together with fear as in the presence of the dread Judge of all. Let us not think that our deeds are unknown to God, because we are not punished, since it may be that we are reserved for punishment hereafter as being unworthy of a fatherly chastisement in this present time. Therefore if we are sorry, let the Father’s chastisement be sweeter than honey : if watchful servants, let us not eat the bread of the LORD for naught. And thinking of these things as they befit the case of each and all, let us either bewail our own unprofitableness or take anxious warning from the unprofitableness of others, through the grace of God in which we live. R. Amen. Through the mercy of the same God who is blessed and doth live and govern all things for ever and ever. R. Amen.
The Deacon: Bow your knees unto God.
The Choir: Agios, Agios, Agios LORD God eternal king : to thee be thanks and praise.
The Deacon: In our prayers let us keep in mind the Holy Catholic Church : that the LORD would mercifully vouchsafe to increase its gifts of faith, hope, and love. R. Grant this, Almighty everlasting God.
The Deacon: Let us keep in mind all the lapsed, the captives, the sick, and the pilgrims [peregrinos] : that the LORD would mercifully vouchsafe to regard, redeem, heal, and strengthen them. R. Grant this Almighty everlasting God. [Incidentally, I substituted “strangers” for “pilgrims.” It’s more in keeping with the sequence of the prayer].
The Deacon: Arise.
Alia Oratio: O God without beginning, who in the beginning didst make the visible world and being thyself unconditioned and everlasting didst lay it on perpetual foundations : with prayers outpoured from our hearts and minds we implore thee to grant us pardon in this present life, and to make us worthy of thy eternal mercies. Mayest thou always find in us something to pity, so that where thou dost pity thou mayest pardon. R. Amen.

THE NOMINA OR DIPTYCHS

The Deacon: Our Bishops N. and M [M=the Roman Pope] and all other bishops offer the oblation, for themselves and for all the people enrolled in their communion. R. They offer for themselves and for the universal brotherhood. [A note on the commemoration of the pope of Rome: This is not authentically Spanish, since Spain was anciently outside the Roman Patriarchate. The commemoration of the pope of Rome was ordered by the second Synod of Vaison in 529, a Romanising synod].
The Deacon: Also all the priests, deacons, clerks and people standing around offer for themselves and for those belonging to them. R. They offer for themselves and for the universal brotherhood [probably lay people who actually offered were originally mentioned here, with an allusion to the Liber Viventium and the response: Et omnium offerentium].
The Deacon: They offer for the saintly order of the venerable Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles and Martyrs, Abel, Seth, Enoch, &c [here follow the names of the Patriarchs and Prophets], the Maccabean youths, John the Baptist, the Virgin Mary, Peter, Paul [here follow the names of the Apostles], Mark, Luke, Stephen, Cornelius, Cyprian.
R. And all the Martyrs.
The Deacon: Also for the spirits of the waiting ones [ie: the departed of the parish and diocese; many of them named], Hilary, Athanasius, Martin, Ambrose, Augustine, Fulgentius, Leander, Isadore [names of the Archbishops of Toledo and other bishops], Felix.
R: And all the waiting ones.

Praefatio post Nomina: Having heard the names recited, beloved brethren, let us beseech the God of mercy and loving-kindness to receive graciously our offered gifts ; to suffer no one of those for whom the sacrifice is broken to be exiled from the privilege of this sacrifice ; but to remember both the living and the dead, looking upon both their evil and good deeds, and granting to the one grace and to the other pardon. R. Amen. For thou art the life of the living and the rest of all the faithful departed. R. Amen.

[A pause for silent prayer].

Oratio ad Pacem. O God the abounding source of all good things and the unfailing concord of the saints : grant such peace on earth that we as peacemakers may always follow and fulfill thy commandments. R. Amen. For thou art our true peace and unbroken charity and with the Father and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest one God for ever and ever. R. Amen.

THE PAX

The Priest: The grace of God the Father Almighty, the peace and love of our LORD Jesus Christ, and the communication of the Holy Spirit be ever with us all. R. And with men of goodwill.
The Deacon: Give the peace to one another as ye stand [the kiss of peace is given].
The Choir: Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you : not as the world giveth, give I unto you. V. A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another. P. Peace I leave with you, &c. V. Glory and honour, &c. P. Peace I leave, &c.

THE ILLATION

The Priest [returning to the altar]: I will go unto the altar of God. R. Even unto the God of my joy and gladness.
The Deacon: Lend your ears to the LORD. R. We lend them to the LORD.
The Priest: Lift up your hearts. R. We lift them up unto the LORD.
The Priest: Let us give meet thanks and praise to our God and LORD, Jesus Christ the Son of God in Heaven. R. It is meet and right so to do.

The Priest: It is meet and right, our very blessed and bounden duty that we should at all times render thanks to thee, O God Almighty ; in thy name both celebrating the mysteries of our solemnities and offering to thee this sacrifice (simple to offer, rich to partake) which the highest praises cannot worthily proclaim. Here is neither the bleating of sheep nor the bellowing of cattle nor the death-cry of fluttering fowl to grieve the ear. Here the eye is not shocked with blood nor the appetite with surfeit : yet so wonderful and astounding is the victim that though without blood it is eaten alive. For although the true body is eaten and the blood most manifestly drunk yet nevertheless without aught distasteful is the salvation of our souls ministered in the spiritual food and cup. For blessed is thy Son our LORD Jesus Christ who coming in thy name commanded that these sacrifices should be presented before thee. Mindful of his precepts we both keep his commandments and commemorate his mighty deeds, whom with thee and the Holy Ghost the hosts of earth and heaven duly unite to praise, with cherubim and seraphim evermore praising thee, and saying:
The Choir: Holy, holy, holy, LORD God of Hosts, heaven and earth are full of the glory of thy Majesty. Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed is he that cometh in the Name of the LORD. Hosanna in the highest. Agios, agios, agios, Kyrie O Theos.

The Priest: Truly holy, truly blessed is thy Son Jesus Christ our LORD : himself the faith of the patriarchs, the fulfillment of the Law, the burden of the prophets’ message, the master of the apostles, the Father of all the faithful : himself the bulwark of the weak, the strength of the infirm, the redemption of captives, the inheritance of them that are redeemed, the health of the living, and the life of the dying. Who being himself the true High Priest of God instituted a new law of sacrifice, and commanded us to continue the same offering of himself as a victim well-pleasing unto thee : even Christ our LORD the eternal redeemer ; for the LORD Jesus in the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread, giving thanks, brake, and gave it to them saying, Take and eat, this is my body which is given for you ; do this in commemoration of me. Likewise also after supper he took the cup and gave thanks and gave it to them saying, This cup is the New Testament in my blood which is poured out for you and for many for the remission of sins : do this as oft as ye drink it in commemoration of me. R. Amen. As often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup ye do shew the LORD’s death till he come from Heaven in glory. R. So we believe, LORD Jesus.

Post Pridie: We plead, O LORD with humble prayers the death of thy only-begotten Son which is our life, with undoubting faith confessing his resurrection and ascension into heaven ; and we await his coming to judge each one according to his deserts, trembling for our guilt yet relying on thy mercy. We therefore thy servants beseech thee that thou wouldest sanctify this oblation by the infusion of thy Spirit and fully transform it into the body and blood of our LORD Jesus Christ : that we may be made meet to be cleansed from the stain of our offences by that victim whose redemption of us we commemorate ; and may not when wounded be denied thy healing power. We are sick, thou art the physician : we are pitiable, thou art pitiful ; therefore by this atoning sacrifice do thou heal us who do not hide from thee our wounds. R. Amen.

Grant this, O Father unbegotten, through thine only-begotten Son our LORD Jesus Christ through whom for us thy unworthy servants thou dost create, hallow, quicken, bless and bestow upon us all these good things that they may be blessed by thee our God for ever and ever. R. Amen.

THE BREAKING OF THE BREAD

V. The LORD be always with you. R. And with thy spirit.
The Priest: The faith which we believe in our hearts, let us confess with our mouths.
The Choir: I believe in one God, &c.
[During the Creed the host is broken]

THE LORD’S PRAYER

The Priest: Beloved brethren, mindful of the commandments of the LORD, let us repeat the words of the LORD’s Prayer suppliantly beseeching his Majesty that he would mercifully forget our offences and sanctify our hearts and bodies with the gift of his grace : so that purged from every spot of sin, with free voices we may cry from earth: Our Father which art in Heaven. R. Amen.
Hallowed be thy name. R. Amen.
Thy Kingdom come. R. Amen.
Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven. R. Amen.
Give us this day our daily bread. R. For thou art God.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us. R. Amen.
And lead us not into temptation. R. But deliver us from evil.

Embolismus: Delivered from evil and strengthened always in good, may we be made meet to serve the LORD our God. Bring to an end O LORD the tale of our sins ; grant joy to the troubled in heart, bestow redemption on the captives, give health to the sick, rest to the dead. Grant us peace and safety all our days, break in pieces the insolence of our foes and hear O LORD the prayers of all faithful Christians thy servants this day and throughout all time. R. Amen.
Through Jesus Christ thy Son our LORD who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God for ever and ever. R. Amen.
[A particle of the host is placed in the chalice, the priest saying privately: Sancta sanctis et coniunctio corporis et sanguinis Domini nostri Iesu Christi sit sumentibus et potantibus nobis ad veniam, et defunctis fidelibus praestetur ad requiem].

THE BLESSING

The Deacon: Bow down yourselves for the blessing. R. Thanks be to God. V. The LORD be always with you. R. And with thy spirit.
The Priest: May ye be filled with the blessing of our Almighty God by whose ineffable power ye were created. R. Amen. May ye be filled with his unfailing grace by whose precious blood ye have been redeemed. R. Amen. And may he grant you a mansion to live in for ever in his eternal kingdom to whom in this world he has afforded the covenant of a new birth. R. Amen.
Through the mercy of the same our LORD who doth live and govern all things for ever and ever. R. Amen.

THE COMMUNION

V. The LORD be always with you. R. And with thy spirit.

[During the priest’s communion]

Ad accedentes: O taste and see how gracious the LORD is. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia. V. I will always give thanks unto the LORD ; his praise shall ever be in my mouth. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia. V. The LORD delivereth the souls of his servants : and all they that put their trust in him shall not be destitute. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia. V. Glory and honour, &c. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia. [A different version of this anthem is used during Lent and Eastertide].
The Deacon: Approach according to your places. R. Thanks be to God.
[The Communion is administered in both kinds with the following words:]

The body of our LORD Jesus Christ be thy salvation. R. Amen.
The blood of Christ, which is thy redemption, remain with thee. R. Amen.

THE POST-COMMUNION THANKSGIVING

[After the communion of the people]
The Choir: Refreshed with the body and blood of Christ, we praise thee O LORD. Alleluia. [The Spanish Liturgy only possesses two version of this anthem; the one given is used at all times except Lent, when it is replaced by: Repletum est gaudio os nostrum : et lingua nostra in exultatione].
Praefatio: Having received the heavenly sacrament of the body and blood of Christ and being refreshed with the cup of everlasting salvation, let us give thanks and praise to God the Father Almighty. R. Amen.
Through the mercy of God, who is blessed and doth live and govern all things for ever and ever. R. Amen.
The Deacon: Bow your knees to God.
[Pause for private prayer]
The Deacon: Arise.
Collectio: We give thanks unto thee, O God, through whom we have celebrated these holy mysteries; entreating from thee the gifts of mercy and sanctification. R. Amen.
Through thy mercy, O our God, who art blessed and dost live and govern all things for ever and ever. R. Amen.
V. The LORD be always with you. R. And with thy spirit.
The Deacon: Our solemnities are completed in the name of our LORD Jesus Christ. May our devotion be accepted in peace. R. Thanks be to God.

I shall venture to make a commentary on this within the next few days.

Spanish Vespers…

Lumen Christi

This is the form of Spanish Vespers for the Sunday before Epiphany, as given in Bishop & Feltoe’s “The Mozarabic and Ambrosian Rites.” My own annotations are given with parenthesis.

Introductory: + In the name of our LORD Jesus Christ, light with peace. R. Thanks be to God. V. The LORD be always with you. R. And with thy spirit.

Lucernarium: All the angels praised and hymned thee, LORD, when thou didst finish the firmament of heaven : the day is thine, and the night also is thine. P. [ie: pressa, or repetitio] Thou hast prepared the light and the sun. V. Thou didst divide the sea through thy power, thou brakest the heads of the dragons in the waters. Thou hast prepared the light and the sun.

[A Collect follows the Lucernarium. The text is not clear whether this is seasonal or votive, so I have substituted a Collect against nightly perils.]

Collect: O LORD, who hast preserved us during the labours of the day: guard us, we pray thee, through the dangers of the night, let thine Holy Spirit watch over us, and be now, and evermore, our defence. Through our LORD Jesus Christ thy Son, who livest and reignest with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Sonus: Ride on, O LORD. P. Because of the word of truth, of meekness and righteousness. Alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia. V. My heart is inditing of a good matter : I speak of the things which I have made unto the King. P. Because of the word of truth, of meekness and righteousness.

Antiphon: Rejoice ye with Jerusalem ; and be glad with her, all ye that love her. P. Rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her. V. Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem ; praise thy God, O Sion. P. Rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her. Glory and honour be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, forever and ever. Amen. P. Rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her.

Laudes: Alleluia. The Day-spring from on high hath visited us. P. To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death : and to guide our feet into the way of peace. Alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia. V. Like as we have heard, so have we seen ; in the city of the LORD of hosts, in the city of our God : God upholdeth the same for ever. P. To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death : and to guide our feet into the way of peace. Alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia. V. Glory and honour be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost for ever and ever. Amen. P. To give light, &c. Alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia.

Hymn: [I pasted the Latin text from here. The translation given in Bishop & Feltoe, by someone called G.R. Woodward, is awful. I got as far as “pilot of our barque,” Woodward’s rendering of gubernator, and thought it too affected and artificial. The Latin is simple enough for readers accustomed to the traditional hymns of the Roman Breviary.]

Agni genitor Domine:
Verbum natum de Virgine,
Conceptum sine semine,
Dux luminis, et fons vitæ:

Esto nobis in salutem
Filius Dei unice:
Gubernator Jesu Christe
Ad precem nostram aspice.

In mundum nobis missus es
Captivos repræsentare,
Lumen cæcis reformare,
Mutorum linguas solvere.

Ne nos relinquas, Domine
Omnium conditor pie,
Propitius miserore,
Qui nullum cupis perdere:

Rectorque mundi Domine
Salvator Unigenite,
Tu nos a morte protege,
Ut capti dulci opere.

Christus Dominus vigilet,
Fidesque nostra germinet,
Zabuli discedat munimen,
Non valeat subrepere.

Per Jesum Christum Dominum,
Qui regnat cum Deo Patre,
Et nos dignavit docere,
Credamus in Trinitate.

Trino Deo, ac Domino
Omnes dicamus gloriam:
Quia Pater in principio
Semper fuit cum Filio.
Amen.

Supplicatio: Let us pray our LORD Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of the world, and with supplication beseech Him that He would grant to His Holy Catholic Church an increase of faith, peace and a firm defence. R. Grant this, Almighty and everlasting God. Kyrie eleison. R. Christe eleison. R. Kyrie eleison.

Oratio completoria. O God, without beginning and without end, the Author of the earthly universe : grant to us that we, who have dedicated to thee the beginning of this year, may pass through it unto the end in such prosperity as is pleasing unto thyself, and let our light shine in works of holiness. R. Amen.

The LORD’s Prayer.

Embolismus. Delivered from evil, and strengthened always in good, may we be made to serve thee our LORD and God. Put an end, O LORD, to our sins ; give joy to the sorrowing : grant release to the captives, health to the sick, rest to the dead. Give peace and safety in all our days ; break the insolence of our foes ; hear, O LORD, the prayer of thy servants and of all faithful Christians, this day and every day. Through Jesus Christ thy Son, our LORD, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God for ever and ever. R. Amen.

Benediction: (the Deacon): Bow down yourselves for a blessing. (Priest): The LORD be always with you. R. And with thy spirit. O LORD Jesus Christ, who is the Crown of all the Church, which was formed out of himself, grant us to pass this year in peace. R. Amen. May he gladden us with the fruits of the earth, and grant us strength to gather them. R. Amen. That we may without harm pass through the circle of the year rejoicing in such prosperity as is pleasing unto him. R. Amen. Through his mercy, who liveth and governeth all things, and is blessed for evermore. R. Amen.

Laudes. Alleluia. The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them. P. And the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. Alleluia. Alleluia. V. O be joyful in the LORD, all ye lands ; serve the LORD with gladness and come before his presence with song. P. And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose. V. Glory and honour be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost for ever and ever. Amen. P. And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose.

Collect: Only begotten Son of the unbegotten Father, dispel from us the sleep of the body and mercifully spare our offences ; that that which is now sown in the weakness of our vile body, by the gift of thy divinity may rise in glory : do thou, therefore, O LORD, bestow an abundant assistance on all that trust in thee, and by the overshadowing of thy wings draw us to our fatherland on high. R. Amen. Through our LORD, &c.

[The following is said daily.]

Laudes: In the evening, and in the morning, and at noonday. P. We praise thee, O LORD.

Collect: O LORD, Almighty, who hast commanded us to call the evening, the morning, and the noonday one day ; and hast made the sun to know his going down : dispel, we beseech thee, the darkness from our hearts, that by thy light we may know thee to be the true God and eternal light. R. Amen. Through thy mercy, O our God, who livest and reignest and governest all things, and art blessed for evermore. R. Amen.

Conclusion: +In the name of our LORD Jesus Christ, let us go forth in peace. R. Thanks be to God.

It would appear on first reading that this was a service of evening prayer without any psalms at all! But this is by no means the case. Notice that all the versicles begin with a verse of a Psalm, e.g: “Like as we have heard,” which is from Psalm 48. This demonstrates that the custom was to sing the whole psalm intercalating the refrain after every verse, as opposed to the Roman tradition of antiphons before and after each psalm. The Trinitarian doxology takes a unique form too, with the addition of “honour.” This was apparently enjoined by the fourth Synod of Toledo (633), but is also found in the Ambrosian Rite, and doubtless elsewhere too. Given that this Sunday precedes Epiphany, it’s interesting that the rite makes reference to the new year. Clearly the custom of marking new year’s day on 1st January was in use. Notice also the conspicuous absence of the Magnificat, which hitherto I had thought of as the evening hymn par excellence. Given what I had said in the previous post about secular vs monastic praxis, it’s interesting that Spanish Vespers usually only required one or two complete psalms (usually chosen to compliment the theme of the service rather than a monastic “course”). Compare Anglican Evensong.

My impression of this particular service is that it is very cyclical. There are constant repetitions of the themes of light and darkness, beginning and end, vis-à-vis the Lucernarium and the Oratio Completoria. The Collect given before the conclusion encapsulates these themes, and indeed the meaning of all evening prayer. It takes the theme of the whole day, beginning at evening (very important) up to the noonday in the cycle inclusively, and then combines these elements of time, as betokened by the celestial bodies, with the theology of the “sun of righteousness” at the end of prophecy (Malachi 4:2); that as we mark the going down of the sun with the kindling of lamps (the symbol of the Lucernarium), so we are mindful of the darkness of our own hearts and hope in the true light of God’s countenance. In a sense, it goes from nature to theology and thence to eschatology. It’s very clever, and I’ve found this to be a hallmark of other Spanish Collects, and indeed some of the better Roman ones too.

As to what form the Lucernarium took, it’s difficult to say with certainty. Gregory Woolfenden was of the opinion that it was like a miniature vesperal liturgy from Holy Saturday, with a ceremonial offering of light (the “oblatio luminis”) at the altar, perhaps with an accompanying blessing and the ceremonial kindling of candles around the church. The Ambrosian Rite retains such a ceremony at Vespers to this day and there are parallels all over the place. Egeria spoke of what she knew to be the “Lucernare” at home in her travels; in Byzantine Vespers there is the hymn O Gladsome Light, &c. Ultimately, the ethos of the rite was to begin the day, not to conclude it.

As Tolkien once said, in the series Pater ad filium natu (sed haud alioquin) minimum, I’d pay a bit for a time machine!

Image: Stolen shamelessly from my friend Rubricarius. It depicts the last remnant of lucernaria in the Roman Rite, in the vesperal liturgy of Holy Saturday – ruined, of course, by Pius XII.