Palmer: Origines Liturgicæ 10.
Vol. I: Diss. on Primitive Liturgies, Sect. X.


 | Section IX | Contents | Section XI |

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AS the abolition of the ancient Gallican liturgy, and the substitution of the Roman in its place, was effected by the emperor Charlemagne; so likewise, in about three centuries afterwards, the churches of Spain were obliged by the authority of the Spanish monarchs, who were influenced by the Roman patriarch, to relinquish their ancient liturgy, and receive in its place the Roman. The Spanish liturgy was abolished in Arragon about A.D. 1060, in the reign of Ramiro the First1; but it was not for some time after relinquished in Navarre, Castille, and Leon. Gregory the Seventh of Rome wrote to Alphonso the Sixth, king of Castille and Leon, and to Sancho the Fourth, king of Navarre, A.D. 10742, and made the greatest exertions to have the ancient liturgy abolished in Spain; giving as his reason, that it contained certain things contrary to the catholic faith3. This charge was most erroneous, and [167] was only intended to throw obloquy on the Spanish liturgy; for only a very short time before, A.D. 1064, three bishops, deputed by all the prelates of Spain, had attended the council of Mantua, and presented the Spanish or Mosarabic missal for the inspection of that council, and of Alexander the Third of Rome; by whom it was approved, and declared orthodox4. Roderic Ximenes, archbishop of Toledo, relates that the clergy and people of all Spain were in disturbance, at being compelled by the king Alphonso and the Roman legate to receive the Gallican office5; that is, the Roman, which had now been long used in Gaul, and was probably most familiarly known in Spain by the title of Gallican. However, the king at last succeeded in his design, (which had been chiefly instigated by the queen Constantia,) by threatening death and confiscation to all who opposed it; and then, according to Roderic, while all wept and lamented, it became a proverb, that "quo volunt reges vadunt leges."6 From this time the Mosarabic or Spanish liturgy became almost extinct, until, in the beginning of the sixteenth century, cardinal Ximenes endowed a college and chapel in [168] Toledo, for the celebration of that ancient rite7; and this is now perhaps the only place in Spain where the primitive liturgy of that country and of Gaul is in some degree preserved.

On examining the Mosarabic liturgy, it appears to have agreed almost exactly with the ancient Gallican rite8. Much confusion has been caused by not distinguishing between the Spanish liturgy and missal. The liturgy may be old, though many "missæ" may be modern; nay, all the prayers now existing in the missal may be modern, and yet the liturgy be most ancient. The number and order of the parts is that which gives us the characters of the liturgy; and on examining the remains of the ancient Spanish missal, we find that the liturgy accorded in these respects with the early Gallican. This uniformity is recognised in the Epistle of the emperor Charles the Bald to the clergy of Ravenna, in which he intimates that priests who came to him from Toledo in Spain had performed in his presence the ancient liturgy of the Gallican church, which had been abolished by his ancestor Charlemagne9. This shews that in the ninth century the Spanish and the ancient Gallican liturgies were considered to have been the same. The Spanish liturgy was therefore different from the Roman in the ninth century. And it is plain also that this difference had existed since the sixth century; for Isidore, bishop of Seville, describes the liturgy so minutely, [169] as to leave no doubt that it was the same as that afterwards used in Spain, and very different from the Roman10. And Vigilius of Rome, about A.D. 538, writing to Profuturus, bishop of Braga in Spain, on the subject of the liturgy, informed him, as if he had been ignorant on the subject, that at Rome they were always accustomed to consecrate the elements after the same tenor, or in the same words; and that on each feast day they made commemoration of the subject of that day, by subjoining certain collects, &c.: and, finally, that he might receive full information on the subject, he transcribed for Profuturus the Roman canon, and the collects &c. for Easter11. All this shews that the Roman liturgy was at that time not well known in Spain; and we may observe, with regard to the above passage, that it not only shews that the Roman liturgy was not used in Spain A.D. 538, but contains a sort of tacit allusion to the ancient Roman and Spanish modes of celebrating the liturgy. For when it is said by Vigilius, that they always consecrated in the same manner, and when he adds the canonical prayer to his letter, we see a distinct reference to the Roman custom of always using the same canon, and only admitting variety in the prefaces, collects, &c. While, on the other hand, we know that the Spanish and Gallican churches varied the canon, as well as the prefaces and collects, for almost every festival; which seems evidently to be alluded to.

If then it appears that in the sixth century the Spanish churches had their liturgy distinct from the [170] Roman, we are justified in thinking that they had used the same from a period of remote antiquity. There was no supreme power over them, which was likely to have introduced this liturgy at a recent period. The patriarchs of Rome had no right to introduce any liturgy into the Spanish church; and even supposing that they had, would they have introduced one entirely different from their own?12 Nor have we any reason to think that the oriental liturgy was brought from Constantinople by the Goths, when they invaded Spain, as Pinius would contend13. For there is no reason to suppose that the bishops of Spain would have relinquished their original liturgy, to adopt another which was introduced by the barbarian invaders of their country; nor is there, as far as I am aware, any proof that the Goths who invaded Spain had received Christianity and a liturgy in the east; and, finally, the liturgy of Spain does not seem to have been derived from the oriental formularies, but to have accorded with the Gallican. Neither have we any reason to think that the rites of the Gallican church were imposed on that of Spain; or that the latter adopted the rites of the former, at any period approaching towards the sixth century. We have no trace in history or tradition of such an approximation. And, in fact, Isidore of Seville, in the sixth century, attributed the origin of the Spanish liturgy to St. Peter14 ; which shews that he considered it of the [171] most remote antiquity, and had little idea of its having been derived from the Gallican.

It is however apparent that this liturgy must have been derived from the Gallican at a most remote period, simply from combining the fact of the substantial identity of both, with their circumstantial variation, and the ancient independence of the two churches. If we regard the geographical position of the two countries, we perceive that Gaul was more likely to receive the Christian faith at an early period than Spain; and, in fact, we have more ancient accounts of churches and bishops in the former than in the latter country. It is true that St. Paul is said by many ecclesiastical writers to have visited Spain; that an inscription (of questionable authenticity however) records the persecutions inflicted on Christians in that country in the time of Nero; that Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Cyprian, speak of Christians in Spain: but it seems that religion was for some time only in an infant state there. The earliest mention of Spanish bishops occurs in the writings of.Cyprian15, nearly a hundred years after the time of Pothinus, bishop of Lyons. The first Spanish martyr of whom we have any authentic account, is Fructuosus of Tarragona, who suffered in the time of Decius, about A.D. 25916. If we take probability for our guide, in the absence of certainty, we may say, that the chief missionaries came from Gaul to Spain, and with the ecclesiastical orders introduced the liturgy of their own [172] church: and in this point of view, we must assign a very great antiquity to the Gallican and Spanish liturgy, since it could scarcely have been brought from Gaul to Spain later than the beginning of the third century. Of course, in saying this, I would not be understood to affirm, that we can ascertain the words of the Spanish or Gallican liturgy at such a remote period. It has happened, in fact, from the custom of these churches, in varying almost every part of the liturgy for each feast, that we can scarcely do more than determine the general substance and order of that liturgy at any time.

The Spanish or Mosarabic liturgy was minutely described by Isidore Hispalensis in the sixth century; and his description coincides perfectly with those monuments of it which still remain. During the middle ages, and in the time of cardinal Ximenes, the Mosarabic liturgy received an addition of several rites, which are now used in it17; but others are plainly derived from the church of Constantinople, which is another proof of the independence of the Spanish liturgy both of the Roman and Gallican; and affords an additional confirmation of the ancient existence of this rite, which was already so long established, before the contentions of the eastern and western churches, in the ninth and preceding centuries, as to have borrowed from the former several improvements. The Mosarabic missal published by cardinal Ximenes, A.D. 1500, is now very scarce. It was republished by Lesleus at Rome A.D. 1755, with learned annotations, which amply [173] merit a perusal. Martene, in his valuable work, "De Antiquis Ecclesiae Ritibus," lib. i. c. 4. no. 12, has printed so much of the Mosarabic missal as is sufficient to give a satisfactory view of its nature. Isidore of Seville, Leander, and other Spanish bishops, are said to have composed this missal, which is probably a very correct statement, since we may very well attribute to them many, or even all, of the distinct "missæ," which make up that volume. But the original model and substance of the liturgy, as I have said, was apparently derived from the Gallican church, by which it had been probably received from the churches of Asia and Phrygia.

The Mosarabic liturgy began with an anthem and responsory18, and a collect19, which were succeeded by a lesson from the Prophets or Old Testament20; another anthem21, or, on certain days, the Song of the Three Children22; the Epistle23, Gospel, and Alleluia chanted with a verse24. Of course the [174] sermon occurred anciently in this place. Then the catechumens being dismissed, the oblations of the faithful were received, and in the meantime the choir sung an offertory anthem25. The element being placed on the table, the preface, resembling the address to the people at the beginning of the Gallican liturgy, was read26. Then followed a prayer commending the prayers and oblations to the acceptance of God27; the names of the living and departed were read, and prayer made for them28; a collect was recited before the kiss of Peace29. Then [175] began the more solemn part of the office with the form "Sursum corda,"30 &c.; which was succeeded by the thanksgiving called illatio31; the hymn Tersanctus32; a continuation of thanksgiving; a petition for the sanctification of the elements; the words of institution33; a prayer for the confirmation of the oblation, by means of the Holy Ghost, as the sacrament of Christ’s body and blood34; the Constantinopolitan Creed35; the breaking of bread36; and Lord’s Prayer37. The priest blessed the people, who answered, Amen38, and communion took place, while the choir sang Gustate et videte, "O taste and see how gracious,"39 &c. Then the priest recited a prayer of thanksgiving, and the assembly was dismissed40

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1 Pinii Tract. de Lit. Mosarab. tom. i. Oper. Thomasii, a Blanchinio c. 6. §. i. No. 220, 221. §. 2. No. 230. 232, 233.

2 Pinius, ibid. p. xlvi.

3 Ibid. p. xlvii.

4 Ibid. p. xliii.

5 "Quia Ricardus legatus se gerebat in aliquibus minus caute—fuit ab Urbano summo pontifice revocatus; verum ante revocationem clerus et populus totius Hispanæ turbatur, eo quod Gallicanum officium suscipere a legato et principe cogebantur." Roderic. Toletan. de Reb. Hist. lib. vi. c. 26.

6 "Sed rex cum esset magnanimus, et suae voluntatis pertinax executor, nec miraculo territus, nec supplicatione suasus, voluit inclinari; sed mortis supplicia et direptionem minitans resistentibus, præcepit ut Gallicanum officium in omnibus regni sui finibus servaretur. Et tunc cunctis flentibus et dolentibus, inolevit proverbium: ‘Quo volunt reges vadunt leges.’" Ibid.

7 Pinius ut supra, cap. viii.

8 Lesleus, in his preface to the Mosarabic missal, sect. v. traces the conformity of the Gallican and Mosarabic missals; and, section vi. refutes the arguments of those who deny that conformity.

9 See this passage cited in sect. 9. note 13, p. 146.

10 Isidor. Hispalens. de Eccl. Offic. lib. i. c. 11-15.

11 Cited above in note 9. of section 6. p. 115.

12 Lesleus, Præfat. Missal. Mosarab. sect. x. proves at length that the Roman was not the original liturgy of Spain.

13 Pinius, ut supra, cap. ii. § i.

14 "Ordo autem missæ vel orationum, quibus oblata Deo sacrificia consecrantur, primum a Sancto Petro est institutus, cujus celebrationem uno eodemque modo universus per agit orbis." Isidor. Hisp. de Eccl. Off. lib. i. c. 15.

15 Cyprian. Epist. lxvii. edit. Fell. p. 170.

16 Ruinart, Acta Martyrum, p. 219.

17 Lesleus, Præfat. Missalis Mosarab. sect. vii. shews what portions of the Alosarabic liturgy and missal were added in the time of Ximenes, and during the middle ages.

18 Martene, tom. i. p. 457. This is probably alluded to by Isidore, de Eccl. Off., who speaks of anthems and responsories in lib. i. c. 7 and 8, just before he alludes to collects and lessons.

19 Martene, p. 457. Observe that the termination of most prayers in the Mosarabic liturgy is separated from the body of the prayer, and seems altogether formed like those of the Greek rite. See Goar, Rit. Græc. Liturg. Chrysost. et Basil. Isidore probably refers to the collect in cap. 9. lib. i.

20 Martene, p. 457. Isidor. lib. i. c. 10.

21 Martene, p. 457.

22 Idem, p. 458. Concil. Tolet. iv. can. iv. "Hymnum quoque trium puerorum—hoc sanctum concilium instituit, ut per omnes ecclesias Hispaniae vel Galliae (Narbonensis) in omnium missarum solemnitate—decantetur."

23 Martene, p. 458.

24 Idem. Concil. Toletan. (anno 633.) iv. can. 12. "In quibusdam Hispaniarum ecclesiis Laudes post Apostolum decantantur, priusquam Evangelium praedicetur; dum canones praecipiunt, post Apostolum non Laudes sed Evangelium annuntiari," &c. Bona shews that the "Laudes" here means the "Alleluia," &c. after the Gospel. Rer. Lit. lib. ii. c. 6. No. 4. Isidore speaks of the "Laudes,"or "Alleluia," in this place; and after remarking, that in Africa it was only sung on Sundays, and between Easter and Pentecost, adds these words; "Verum apud nos, secundum antiquam Hispaniarum traditionem, præter dies jejuniorum vel quadragesimae, omni tempore canitur Alleluia." c. 13.

25 The offertory anthem is called "Sacrificium." Martene, p. 459. Isidore, Hispal. c. 14, speaks of it. The oblation at p. 458. of Martene is modern. The confession or apology, p. 459, beginning "Accedam ad te," is probably ancient.

26 Martene, p. 459. This preface is peculiar to the Gallican and Spanish liturgies. What may be the antiquity of the preface it is impossible to conjecture, but I do not think it so ancient as many other parts of the liturgy. Isidore mentions it, c. 15. "Prima earumdem (orationum) oratio admonitionis est erga populum, ut excitentur ad exorandum Deum."

27 This we take on the authority of Isidore, c. 15: "Secunda invocationis ad Deum est, ut elementa suscipiat, preces fidelium, oblationemque eorum." The prayer in Martene, p. 460, does not particularly allude to the above subjects, but in the time of Isidore it seems generally to have done so. It is preceded by a sort of hymn, Trisagios, and a short bidding prayer, which seem plainly to be formed after the Greek model.

28 Martene, p. 460. Isidor. c. 15. "Tertia autem effunditur pro offerentibus, sive pro defunctis fidelibus, ut per idem sacrificium veniam consequantur."

29 Martene, p. 460. Isidor. c. 15. "Quarta post hæc infertur pro osculo pacis, ut charitate omnes reconciliati invicem, digni sacramento corporis et sanguinis Christi consocientur," &c.

30 Martene, p. 461.

31 Idem, p. 461, 462. Isidor. c. 15. "Quinta infertur illatio in sanctificatione oblationis, in qua etiam ad Dei laudem terrestrium creatura, virtutumque coelestium universitas provocatur, et ‘Osanna in excelsis’ cantatur—." The illatio seems to be considered by Isidore as including the words of institution, from his connecting the sanctification with it.

32 Martene, p. 462. Isidore, quoted in last note.

33 Martene, p. 462, probably referred to by Isidore as before.

34 "Porro sexta exhinc succedit confirmatio sacrament, ut oblatio quæ Deo offertur, sanctificata per Spiritum Sanctum, corporis et sanguinis (sacramentum) confirmetur." Isidor. c. 15. See Martene, p. 462. Cardinal Bona attests the fact, that the Mosarabic missal still contains this invocation: "Ritus enim Mosarabicus—post consecrationem brevem ponit orationem quæ post pridie, sive post secreta inscribitur: et in ea sacerdos precatur, ut descendat Spiritus Sanctus, et dona benedicat atque sanctificet." Rer. Lit. lib. ii. c. 13. No. 5.

35 Martene, p. 464. Isidor. c. 16. Concil. Toletan. iii. can. 2.

36 Martene, p. 464.

37 Idem. Isidor. c. 15. Concil. Tolet. iv. can. 9.

38 Martene, p. 465. Isidor. c. 17.

39 Martene, p. 465.

40 Idem, p. 466.

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