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Traditional Ambrosian Rite

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This article is about the form of the Ambrosian Rite used before the Vatican-II; for an explanation of the history and of the current form of this Rite, see Ambrosian Rite.

Traditional Ambrosian Rite is the form of the Ambrosian Rite used before the changes that followed the Second Vatican Council and the Liturgical Movement.

The Ambrosian Rite is a Latin Catholic liturgical Western Rite used in the area of Milan.

Nowadays the Traditional Ambrosian Rite is mainly used on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation in the church of San Rocco al Gentilino in Milan, using the Ambrosian Missal of 1954, as permitted by Archbishop of Milan Carlo Maria Cardinal Martini on the 31 July 1985. An other celebration on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation was authorized from 18 October 2008 onward in the town of Legnano[1]. The Traditional Ambrosian Rite Mass may be said according to the Motu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum"[2] thus any permissions allowing the above mentioned Masses should be considered obsolete for such permissions from the bishop are no longer required.

The liturgical year

The liturgical year of the Ambrosian Rite begins, as elsewhere in the West, with the First Sunday of Advent, but that Sunday, as in the Mozarabic Rite, is a fortnight earlier than in the Roman, so that there are six Sundays in Advent, and the key-day of the beginning of Advent is not St. Andrew's Day (30 November) but St. Martin's Day (11 November), which begins the Sanctorale.

The rule of this key also differs. The Roman is: "Adventus Domini celebratur semper die Dominico, qui propinquior est festo S. Andreæ Apostoli", which gives a range from 27 November to 3 December. The Ambrosian is: "Adventus Domini inchoatur Dominica proxima post Festum S. Martini", that is to say, from 12 November to 18 November. If, as in 1906, St. Martin's Day falls on a Sunday, the Octave is the first Sunday of Advent; whereas in the Roman Rite if St. Andrew's Day falls on a Sunday, that day itself is Advent Sunday. The Feriæ of Advent continue until the Feriæ de Exceptato begin. These days, which some say must have been originally de Expectato, a quite unnecessary supposition, and on which the ordinary sequence of the Psalter is interrupted and certain proper psalms and antiphons are said, occur according to the following rule: "Officium in Adventu proprium quod de Exceptato dicitur semper celebratur in hac hebd. VI Adv. nisi dies Nativitatis Domini inciderit in fer. III, vel IV; tunc de Exceptato fit in hebd. V Adv. "So that there must be two and there may be seven of these days. Christmas Eve is not exactly counted as one of them, though, if it falls on a weekday, it has the proper psalms and antiphons of that Feria de Exceptato. If it falls on a Sunday, as in 1905, that is not one of the six Sundays of Advent, the last of which is the Sunday before, but the antiphons of the sixth Sunday are used. On the sixth Sunday of Advent the Annunciation (de Incarnatione D. N. J. C.) is celebrated, for, since no fixed festivals are kept during Lent or Easter Week, it cannot be properly celebrated on 25 March, though it is found there in the Calendar and has an Office in the Breviary. On this Sunday there are two Masses, una de Adventu et altera de Incarnatione. This day may be compared with the Mozarabic feast of the Annunciation on 18 December, which is the Roman Expectatio Partus B. M. V.

Christmas Day has three Masses, in Nocte Sanctâ, in Aurorâ, and in Die, as in the Roman Rite, and the festivals which follow Christmas are included in the De Tempore, though there is a slight discrepancy between the Missal and Breviary, the former putting the lesser feasts of January which come before the Epiphany in the Sanctorale, and the latter including all days up to the Octave of the Epiphany in the Temporale, except 9 January (The Forty Martyrs of Sebaste). The day after the Epiphany is the Christophoria, the Return from Egypt. The Sundays after the Epiphany vary, of course, in number, six being, as in the Roman Rite, the maximum. The second is the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus. Then follow Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima Sundays, on which, though Gloria in Excelsis and Hallelujah are used, the vestments are violet.

There is no Ash Wednesday, and Lent begins liturgically on the first Sunday, the fast beginning on the Monday. Until the time of St. Charles Borromeo the liturgical Lent, with its use of litanies on Sundays instead of Gloria in Excelsis and the disuse of Hallelujah, began on the Monday. The title of the Sunday, both then and now, was and is Dominica in capite Quadragesimæ. The other Sundays of Lent are styled De Samaritanâ, De Abraham, De Cæco, De Lazaro, and of course, in Ramis Palmarum (or Dominica Olivarum). The names of the second to the fifth Sundays are in allusion to the subject of the Gospel of the day, not, as in the Roman Rite, to the Introit. (Cf. nomenclature of Greek Rite.) Passiontide does not begin until Holy Week. The day before Palm Sunday is Sabbatum in Traditione Symboli. This, the Blessing of the Font, the extra Masses pro Baptizatis in Ecclesiâ Hyemali on Easter Eve and every day of Easter Week, and the name of the first Sunday after Easter in albis depositis, show even more of a lingering memory of the old Easter Baptisms than the similar survivals in the Roman Rite. Holy Week is Hebdomada Authentica. Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Eve, and Easter Day are named as in the Roman Rite.

The five Sundays after Easter, Ascension, Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, and Corpus Christi follow, as in the Roman Rite, but the Triduum Litaniarum (Rogation Days) comes on the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday after, instead of before, Ascension Day. The Sundays after Pentecost continue eo nomine until the Decollation of St. John (29 August). There may be as many as fifteen of them. Then follow either four or five Sundays post Decollationem S. Joannis Baptistæ, then three Sundays of October, the third of which is Dedicatio Ecclesiæ Majoris. The rest of the Sundays until Advent are post Dedicationem.

The Calendar of the Saints calls for little notice. There are many local saints, and several feasts which are given in the Roman Calendar in late February, March, and early April are given on other days, because of the rule against feasts in Lent. Only St. Joseph and the Annunciation come in the Lenten part of the Calendar, but the Masses of these are given on 12 December and the sixth Sunday of Advent respectively. The days are classified as follows:

  1. Solemnitates Domini
  2. Sundays
  3. Solemnia B. M. V. et Sanctorum
  4. Solemnia Majora: St. Agatha, St. Agnes, St. Anthony, St. Apollinaris, St. Benedict, St. Dominic, the Translations of Saints Ambrose, Protasius, and Gervasius, St. Francis, St. Mary Magdalene, Sts. Nabor and Felix, St. Sebastian, St. Victor, St. Vincent.
  5. Alia Solemnia are days noted as such in the Calendar, and the days of saints whose bodies or important relics are preserved in any particular church become Solemnia for that church.
  6. Non-Solemnia Privilegiata
  7. Non-Solemnia Simplicia

Feasts are also grouped into four classes: First class of Solemnitates Domini and Solemnia; second class of the same; greater and ordinary Solemnia; non-Solemnia, divided into privilegiata and simplicia. Solemnia have two vespers, non-Solemnia only one, the first. The privilegiata have certain propria and the simplicia only the communia. The general principle of occurrences is that common to the whole Western Church. If two festivals fall on the same day, the lesser is either transferred, merely commemorated, or omitted. But the Ambrosian Rite differs materially from the Roman in the rank given to Sunday, which is only superseded by a Solemnitas Domini, and not always then, for if the Name of Jesus or the Purification falls on Septuagesima, Sexagesima, or Quinquagesima Sunday, it is transferred, though the distribution and procession of candles takes place on the Sunday on which the Purification actually falls. If a Solemne Sanctorum or a privileged non-Solemne falls on a Sunday, a Solemnitas Domini, the Friday or Saturday of the fourth or fifth week of Advent, a Feria de Exceptato, within an Octave of a great Feast, a Feria Litaniarum, or a Feria of Lent, the whole office is of the Sunday, Solemnitas Domini, etc., and the Solemne or non-Solemne privilegiatum is transferred, in most cases to the next clear day, but in the case of Solemnia of the first or second class to the next Feria, quocumque festo etiam solemni impedita. A simple non-Solemne is never transferred, but it is omitted altogether if a Solemne of the first class falls on the same day, and in other cases of occurrences it is commemorated, though of course it supersedes an ordinary Feria. The concurrences of the first Vespers of one feast with the second of another are arranged on much the same principle, the chief peculiarity being that if a Solemne Sanctorum falls on a Monday its first Vespers is kept not on the Sunday, but on the preceding Saturday, except in Advent, when this rule applies only to Solemnia of the first and second class, and other Solemnia are only commemorated at Sunday Vespers. The liturgical colours of the Ambrosian Rite are very similar to those of the Roman, the most important differences being that (except when some greater day occurs) red is used on the Sundays and Feriæ after Pentecost and the Decollation of St. John until the Eve of the Dedication (third Sunday in October), on Corpus Christi and its Octave, and during Holy Week, except on Good Friday, as well as on the days on which it is used in the Roman Rite, and that (with similar exceptions) green is only used from the Octave of the Epiphany to the eve of Septuagesima, from Low Sunday to the Friday before Pentecost, after the Dedication to Advent, and on feasts of abbots.

The Divine Office

The distribution of the Psalter

The Ambrosian distribution of the Psalter is partly fortnightly and partly weekly. Psalms i to cviii are divided into ten decuriœ, one of which, in its numerical order, divided into three Nocturns, is recited at Matins on the Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays of each fortnight, each Nocturn being said under one antiphon. At the Matins of Sunday and Solemnitates Domini and on Feriœ in Easter and Whitsun weeks and the octave of Corpus Christi, there are no psalms, but three Old Testament canticles, Isaias xxvi, De nocte vigilatâ; the Canticle of Anna (I K. ii), Confirmatum est; and the Canticle of Jonas (ii), Clamavi ad Dominum, or of Habacuc (iii), Domine audivi. And on Saturdays the Canticle of Moses (Exod. xv), Cantemus Domino, and half of Psalm cxviii take the place of Decuriœ at the three Nocturns.

At Vespers, Psalms cix to cxlvii, except cxvii, cxviii, and cxxxiii, which are used elsewhere, and cxlii, which is only used in the Office of the Dead and as Psalmus Directus at Lauds on Fridays, aro divided between the whole seven days of each week in their numerical sequence, and in the same manner as in the Roman Rite.

Psalm cxviii, besides being used on Saturdays, is distributed among the four lesser Hours exactly as in the Roman Rite; Psalm l is said at Lauds every day except Sunday, when the Benedicite, and Saturday, when Psalm cxvii, takes its place, and with the Preces (when these are used) at Prime and Terce throughout the year and at None during Lent, while at the Preces of Sext Psalm liii is said, and at those of None Psalm lxxxv, except during Lent. Psalm liii precedes Beati immaculati at Prime, and Psalms iv, xxx, 1-6, xc and cxxxiii are said daily, as in the Roman Rite, at Compline.

At Lauds a single Psalm, known as Psalmus Directus, differing with the day of the week, is also said.


Table of Decuriæ Nocturn I Nocturn II Nocturn III Day
Decuriœ 1 Ps i-viii Ps ix-xii Ps xiii-xvi 1st week, Monday
Decuriœ 2 Ps xvii-xx Ps xxi-xxv Ps xxvi-xxx 1st week, Tuesday
Decuriœ 3 Ps xxxi-xxxiii Ps xxxiv-xxxvi Ps xxxvii-xl 1st week, Wednesday
Decuriœ 4 Ps xli-xliii Ps xliv-xlvi Ps xlvii-l 1st week, Thursday
Decuriœ 5 Ps li-liv Ps lv-lvii Ps lviii-lx 1st week, Friday
Decuriœ 6 Ps lxi-lxiv Ps lxv-lxvii Ps lxviii-lxx 2nd week, Monday
Decuriœ 7 Ps lxxi-lxxv Ps lxxvi-lxxvii Ps lxxviii-lxxx 2nd week, Tuesday
Decuriœ 8 Ps lxxxi-lxxxiv Ps lxxxv-lxxxvii Ps lxxxviii-xc 2nd week, Wednesday
Decuriœ 9 Ps xci-xciii Ps xciv-xcvi Ps xcvii-c 2nd week, Thursday
Decuriœ 10 Ps ci-ciii Ps civ-cv Ps cvi-cviii 2nd week, Friday

During Lent Psalm xc is said as Psalmus Directus at Vespers, except on Sundays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and the "Four Verses of a Psalm" at Lauds on Saturdays are alternately from the twelfth and first parts of Ps. cxviii, and on the six Sundays the "Four Verses" are from lxix, lxii, ci, lxii, lxii, lviii. During Lent also the Vesper "Four Verses" are different for every day, except that there are none on Friday, and those on the first four Saturdays are from Ps. xci. In Holy Week the Psalms at the Nocturns and at Vespers are all proper, and there are also proper Psalms during the period from the first Feria de Exceptato until the Circumcision; and on the Annunciation (sixth Sunday of Advent), Epiphany, Christophoria, Name of Jesus, Ascension, Corpus Christi, the Dedication and many Solemnia Sanctorum, and on many other saints' days the Decuriœ are superseded by Psalms of the Common of Saints.

Other details of the Divine Office

Antiphonœ, similar in construction to those in the Roman Rite are: in Psalmis et canticis, used as in the Roman Rite; in Choro, said after the Lucernarium on Sundays, at the second Vespers of Solemnia, or on other saints' days, at first Vespers, but not on Feriœ, except Saturdays in Advent; ad Crucem, said on Solemnitates Domini, on Sundays, except in Lent, and on Solemnia. Responsoria are constructed as in the Roman Rite, and are: Post hymnum, said after the hymn at Matins; Inter lectiones at Matins; cum Infantibus or cum Pueris after the hymn at the first Vespers of Solemnia; in Choro, said at Vespers on Sundays, at the second Vespers of Solemnia, and at the first of Non-Solemnia, after the hymn; in Baptisterio, at Lauds and Vespers of some Solemnitates after the first Psallenda, on Feriœ after the twelve Kyries, at Vespers after the prayer which follows Magnificat; Diaconalia or Quadragesimalia, on Wednesdays in Lent and on Good Friday; ad Cornu Altaris, at Lauds before the Psalmus Directus on Christmas Day, the Epiphany, and Easter Eve; Gradualia, said after the hymn at Lauds on Feriœ in Lent. Lucernaria are Responsoria which begin Vespers. Psallendœ are single verses, often from the Psalms, said after the twelve Kyries and the second prayer at Lauds, and after the prayers at Vespers. They are variable according to the day, and are followed by either one or two fixed Complenda or Completoria, which are also single verses. Psalmi Directi are said at Lauds and sometimes at Vespers. They are sung together by both choirs, not antiphonally. Psalmi Quatuor Versus is the name given to four verses of a psalm said at Vespers and Lauds on weekdays, after one of the Collects. Among the Hymns, besides those by St. Ambrose, or commonly attributed to him, many are included by other authors, such as Prudentius, Venantius Fortunatus, St. Gregory, St. Thomas Aquinas, and many whose authorship is unknown. A considerable number of well-known hymns (e. g. "Ave Maris Stella", "A Solis Ortus Cardine", "Jesu Redemptor Omnium," "Iste Confessor") are not in the Ambrosian Hymnal, but there are many there which are not in the Roman, and those that are common to both generally appear as they were before the revisions of Urban VIII, though some have variants of their own. Capitula are short lessons of Scripture used as in the Roman Rite. At the Lesser Hours and Compline Capitula taken from the Epistles are called Epistolellœ.

Construction of the Divine Office

(The constantly occurring Dominus vobiscum, etc., has been omitted in this analysis.)

  • Matins: Pater noster; Ave Maria; Deus in adjutorium; Gloria Patri; Hallelujah or Laus tibi. (The Ambrosians transliterate Hallelujah from Hebrew, not from Greek. They also write caelum not coelum and seculum not saeculum.) Hymn; Responsorium; canticle, Benedictus es (Dan. iii); Kyrie eleison, thrice Psalms or Canticles of the three Nocturns; Lessons, with Responsoria and Benedictions — usually three Lessons, Sundays, homilies; weekdays from the Bible; saints' days, Bible and life of saint. On Christmas Day and Epiphany nine lessons; on Good Friday, six; on Easter Eve, none. On Sundays and festivals, except in Lent and Advent, Te Deum follows.
  • Lauds: Introduction as at Matins; canticle, Benedictus, Attende cœlum or Clamavi; Kyrie, thrice; Antiphona ad Crucem, repeated five or seven times, not said on Feriœ; Oratio secreta i; canticle, Cantemus Domino (Ex. xv); Kyrie, thrice; Oratio secreta ii; canticle, Benedicite, Confitemini Domino (Ps. cxvii), or Miserere (Ps. l); Kyrie, thrice; Oratio i; psalms, Laudate (Pss. cxlviii-cl, cxvi); Capitulum; Kyrie, thrice. Psalmus Directus; hymn (on weekdays in Lent, Graduale); Kyrie, twelve times. On Sundays and festivals, Psallenda and Completorium; on Feriœ, Responsorium in Baptisterio; Kyrie, thrice; Oratio ii. On Sundays and Solemnitates Domini, Psallenda ii and Completorium ii; on weekdays Psalmi iv, versus and Completorium; Kyrie, thrice; Oratio iii; commemorations, if any; concluding versicles and responses.
  • Little Hours (Prime, Terce, Sext, None): Introduction as at Matins. Hymn; psalms; Epistolella; Responsorium Breve (at Prime, Quicunque vult); Capitulum; Preces (when said); at Prime, three Orationes, at other Hours, one; Kyrie, thrice; Benedicamus Domino, etc. (at Prime in choir the Martyrology, followed by Exultabunt Sancti etc., and a prayer); Fidelium animœ etc.
  • Vespers: Introduction as at Matins. On Sundays and Feriœ: Lucernarium; (on Sundays, Antiphona in choro); hymn; Responsorium in choro; five psalms; Kyrie, thrice; Oratio i; Magnificat; Oratio ii; on Sundays, Psallenda i, and two Completoria; on Feriœ, Responsorium in Baptisterio; Kyrie, thrice; Oratio iii; on Sundays, Psallenda ii, and two Completoria; on Feriœ, Psalmi iv versus; Kyrie, thrice; Oratio iv; commemorations, if any. On saints' days; Lucernarium; at second vespers Antiphona in choro; hymn; Responsorium in choro or cum infantibus; psalm; Kyrie, thrice; Oratio i; Psalm; Oratio ii; Magnificat; Kyrie, thrice; Oratio iii; Psallenda and two Completoria; Kyrie, thrice; Oratio iv; commemorations. Concluding versicles and responses.
  • Compline: Introduction, with addition of Converte nos, etc.; hymn (Te Lucis); Psalms iv, xxx, 1-7, xc, cxxxii, cxxxiii, cxvi; Epistolella; Responsorium; Nunc Dimittis; Capitulum; Kyrie, thrice; Preces (when said); Oratio i, Oratio ii; concluding versicles and responses; Antiphon of Our Lady; Confiteor. There are antiphons to all psalms, except those of Compline, and to all canticles. During Lent, except on Saturdays and Sundays, there are two lessons (from Genesis and Proverbs) after Terce; and on Wednesdays and Fridays of Lent and on Feriœ de Exceptato litanies are said then.

The Mass

The Ambrosian Mass in its present form is best shown by an analysis pointing out the differences from the Tridentine Mass. As a great part of it agrees word for word with the Roman, it will only be necessary to indicate the agreements, without giving the passages in full. There are a certain number of ceremonial differences, the most noticeable of which are:

  • When the deacon and sub-deacon are not occupied, they take up positions at the north and south ends of the altar facing each other.
  • The Prophecy, Epistle, and Gospel are read, in Milan Cathedral, from the great ambon on the north side of the choir, and the procession thereto is accompanied with some state.
  • The offering of bread and wine by the men and women of the Scuola di S. Ambrogio.
  • The filing past and kissing the north corner of the altar at the Offertory.
  • The silent Lavabo just before the Consecration.
  • The absence of bell-ringing at the Elevation.

In the rubrics of the Missal there are certain survivals of ancient usage which could only have applied to the city of Milan itself, and may be compared with the "stations" affixed to certain Masses in the Roman Missal of to-day. The Ambrosian Rite supposes the existence of two cathedrals, the Basilica Major or Ecclesia Æstiva 'summer church', and the Basilica Minor or Ecclesia Hiemalis 'winter church'. Lejay, following Giulini, calls the Ecclesia Major (St. Mary's) the winter church, and St. Thecla the summer church (Cabrol, Dictionnaire d'archéologie chrétienne, col. 1382 sqq.), but Ecclesia Hiematis and Ecclesia Major in the "Bergamo Missal", and Ecclesia Hiemalis and Ad Sanctam Mariam, in all missals, are evidently contrasted with one another. Also the will of Berengarius I, founding St. Rafaele (quoted by Giulini, I, 416) speaks of the latter being near the summer church, which it is, if the summer church is St. Mary's. There is also assumed to be a detached baptistery and a Chapel of the Cross, though mentions of these are found chiefly in the Breviary, and in earlier times the church of St. Laurence was the starting point of the Palm Sunday ceremonies. The greater, or summer, church, under the patronage of Our Lady, is now the Cathedral; the lesser, or winter, church, which stood at the opposite end of the Piazza del Duomo, and was destroyed in 1543, was under the patronage of St. Thecla. As late as the time of Beroldus (twelfth century) the changes from one to the other were made at Easter and at the Dedication of the Great Church (third Sunday in October), and even now the rubric continues to order two Masses on certain great days, one in each church, and on Easter Eve and through Easter week one Mass is ordered daily pro baptizatis in Ecclesia Hiemali, and another, according to the Bergamo book, in Ecclesia Majori. The modern books say, in omni ecclesiâ. There were two baptisteries, both near the greater church.

Analysis of the Ambrosian Mass

The Confiteor.

V. In nomine Patris, etc. R. Amen.

V. Introibo ad Altare Dei. R. Ad Deum qui etc.

V. Confitemini Domino quoniam bonus.

R. Quoniam in sæculum misericordia ejus. Confiteor, etc., Misereatur, etc., Indulgentiam etc., as in the Roman Rite, differing only in adding the name of St. Ambrose to the Confiteor.

V. Adjutorium nostrum etc. R. Qui fecit etc.

V. Sit nomen Domini benedictum.

R. Ex hoc nunc et usque in seculum. (Secreto) Rogo to, altissime Deus Sabaoth, Pater sancte, ut pro peccatis meis possim intercedere et astantibus veniam peccatorum promereri ac pacificas singulorum hostias immolare.

Oramus te, Domine etc., as in the Roman Rite. The "Ingressa", which answers to the Roman Introit. Except in the Mass for the Departed, when, even in the 1475 Missal, it is exactly the Roman Introit, it consists of a single passage, generally of Scripture, without Psalm, "Gloria Patri", or repetition.

V. Dominus vobiscum etc.

Gloria in Excelsis — On the Sundays in Lent two litanies are said alternately instead. These litanies strongly resemble the Great Synapte of the Greek Rite and, like that, are said by the deacon. One has the response "Domine Miserere", and the other "Kyrie eleison". A very similar Litany in the Stowe Missal (f 16, b) is called "Deprecatio Sancti Martini pro populo".

Kyrie eleison (thrice).

V. Dominus vobiscum etc.

Oratio super Populum, "vel plures Orationes". The Collect or Collects for the day.

V. Dominus vobiscum etc.

The Prophetical Lesson, when there is one, which is generally on Sundays, "Solemnitates Domini" and "Solemnia", preceded by a benediction; "Prophetica (or Apostolica) Lectio sit nobis salutis eruditio". According to the letters of Paul and Gebehard of Ratisbon, "Gesta Sanctorum" sometimes took the place of the Old Testament Lesson. Passages from Acts and the Book of Revelation are still used.

Psalmellus and Versus.

The Epistle, preceded by the Benediction, "Apostolica doctrina repleat nos gratiâ divinâ".

Hallelujah. Versus. Hallelujah. On "solemnitates Domini" the first Hallelujah is doubled. In Lent, on the Litany days, the "Feriæ de Exceptato" and Vigils, the Cantus, answering to the Roman Tractus, takes the place of the Hallelujahs and Versus. On some "Solemnitates Domini" there is an "Antiphona ante Evangelium" also. There are no Sequences in the Ambrosian Rite. The Psalmellus and Versus of the Epistle and the Versus between Hallelujahs of the Gospel together make up exactly the form of a Roman Gradual, and they often agree with those of the Roman Missal.

The Gospel, preceded by "Munda cor meum", etc., as in the Roman Rite, with the addition of "In nomine Patris, etc." at the end of "Dominus sit in corde meo", before, instead of after which the Gospel is given out. The Gospel is followed by "Laus tibi Christe", and "Per evangelica dicta deleantur nostra delicta".

V. Dominus vobiscum, etc.

Kyrie eleison (thrice).

Antiphona post Evangelium.

Deacon: "Pacem habete". R. "Ad te Domine" (cf. the response Soi Kyrie in the Little Synapte and elsewhere in the Constantinopolitan Rite. In early Manuscripts the form here is: "Pacem habete. V. Corrigite vos ad orationem". R. "Ad te Domine". Lejay considers that the kiss of peace once came at this point.

V. Dominus vobiscum, etc.

Oratio super sindonem. (This prayer may have dropped out of the Roman Rite and may account for the "Oremus" with no prayer to follow at this point.)

The Offertory.

After the prayer, the Priest receives the paten with the Host and offers it, saying, "Suscipe, clementissime Pater hunc Panem sanctum ut fiat Unigeniti tui Corpus, in nomine Patris, etc." Laying the Host on the corporal he pours into the chalice wine, saying: "De latere Christi exivit sanguis", and water, saying: "Et aqua pariter, in nomine, &c." Then he offers the chalice, saying: "Suscipe clementissime Pater, hunc Calicem, vinum aqua mistum ut fiat Unigeniti tui Sanguis, in nomine, etc." At this point, in Milan Cathedral, the Chapter clergy all file past the north corner of the altar, each kissing the corner as he passes. Then follow two prayers of offering, addressed respectively to the Father and to the Trinity, agreeing in meaning with the "Suscipe Sancte Pater" and "Suscipe Sancta Trinitas" of the Roman Rite, but differing altogether in language. On Sundays and feasts of Our Lord and their vigils, there is a third prayer, nearly agreeing in wording with "Suscipe, Sancta Trinitas". Then extending his hands over the oblation, he says: "Et suscipe Sancta Trinitas hanc oblationem pro emundatione mea; ut mundes et purges me ab universis peccatorum maculis, quatenus tibi digne ministrare merear, Deus et clementissime Domine".

He blesses the Oblata, continuing: "Benedictio Dei Omnipotentis Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti copiosa de cælis descendat super hanc nostram oblationem et accepta tibi sit haec oblatio, Domino sancte, Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus, misericordissime rerum Conditor".

[In the eleventh-century Manuscript in the Chapter Library at Milan (in the list of Sacramentaries given above), the "Dominus vobiscum" after the Creed is followed by a prayer: "Adesto Domine supplicationibus nostris et his muneribus præsentiam tuæ majestatis intersere ut quod nostro servitio geritur te potius operante firmetur per omnia, etc.", and there are no other Offertory prayers. At a solemn Mass the blessing of the Incense, and censing of the altar follow. The words are exactly those of the Roman Rite until the delivery of the thurible to the deacon, when instead of "Ascendat in nobis" the priest says: "Ecce odor Sanctorum Dei: tanquam odor agri pleni, quem Deus benedixit".

Then follows the "Offertorium". In the cathedral of Milan there is an interesting ceremony at the Offertory, probably a survival of the early practice of offerings "in kind" by the congregation. Ten old men (known as the Vecchioni) and ten old women, who are supported by the Chapter, wear a special costume and belong to what is called the "Scuola di S. Ambrogio", bring offerings of bread and wine to the choir steps and deliver them to the clergy. There is a detailed account of this ceremony in Beroldus (Ed. Magistretti, 1894, 52). The institution is mentioned in a charter of Bishop Anspert in the ninth century. Wickham Legg (Ecclesiological Essays, 53) says that these offerings are not now used at the Mass then being said, but at some later one. He gives photographs of the old men and women and a full description of the ceremony.

The Creed, preceded by "Dominus vobiscum ", etc. It is here entitled "Symbolum Constantinopolitanum", and differs not at all from that in the Roman Mass.

V. Dominus vobiscum, etc.

Oratio super oblata.

The Preface. The "Sursum corda" etc. is exactly as in the Roman Rite, though the plain chant is altogether different. The Preface itself has the word "quia" after "vere", but otherwise begins as in the Roman Rite, as far as "Æterne Deus". After that comes a marked difference, for instead of only ten variations, there are proper Prefaces for all days that have proper offices, as well as commons of all classes, and in the final clauses, which vary, as in the Roman, according to the ending of the inserted Proper, there are verbal differences.

The Sanctus, exactly as in the Roman Rite.

The Canon.

"Te igitur" exactly as in the Roman Canon. In the printed Missals, even before the Borromean revision, there is a variation which comes after "hæc sancta sacrificia illibata", in the Mass of Easter Eve. In the Bergamo Missal it follows immediately after the "Sanctus", without the "Te igitur" clause. It is: "Vere Sanctus, vere benedictus D. N. J. C. Filius tuus qui cum Dominus esset Majestatis, descendens de cælo formam servi, qui prius perierat, suscepit, et sponte pati dignatus est; ut eum quem ipse fecerat de morte liberaret. Unde et hoc paschale sacrificium tibi offerimus pro his quos ex aqua et Spiritu Sancto regenerare dignatus es dans eis remissionem omnium peccatorum, ut invenires eos in Christo Jesu Domino nostro. Pro quibus tibi, Domine supplices fundimus preces ut nomina eorum pariterque famuli tui Papæ nostri N. et Pontificis nostri N. scripta habeas in Libro Viventium. Per eundem, etc." This is in the form of a Post Sanctus of the Mozarabic Rite, though it does not agree exactly with any particular Post Sanctus.

"Memento Domine" is the same as in the Roman.

"Communicantes" and "Hanc igitur" are variable on certain days, as in the Roman Rite, but the list of saints differs, Linus and Cletus being omitted and Hippolytus, Vincent, Apollinaris, Vitalis, Nazarius and Celsus, Protasius and Gervasius, Victor, Nabor, Felix, and Calimerius being added. In the earlier editions there were the following additional names: Maternus, Eustorgius, Dionysius, Ambrose, Simplitian, Martin, Eusebius, Hilary, Julius, and Benedict.

"Quam oblationem quam pietati tuæ offerimus tu Deus in omnibus quæsumus, etc.", the rest as in the Roman Canon. At this point the Priest washes his hand, "nihil dicens".

The next clauses, reciting the Institution, differ verbally.

"Qui pridie quam pro nostra omniumque salute pateretur (cf. the Maundy Thursday Mass of the Roman Rite) accipiens Panem, elevavit oculis ad cælos ad te Deum Patrem suum omnipotentem, tibi gratias agens benedixit, fregit, deditque Discipulis suis, dicens ad eos: Accipite et manducate ex hoc omnes: Hoc est enim Corpus meum. Simili modo, postquam cœnatum est, accipiens Calicem, elevavit oculos ad cælos, ad te Deum Patrem suum omnipotentem: item tibi gratias agens, benedixit, tradiditque Discipulis suis, dicens ad eos: Accipite et bibite ex eo omnes: Hic est enim Calix, &c. (as in the Roman Canon). Mandans quoque et dicens ad eos: Hæc quotiescunque feceritis in meam commemorationem facietis: Mortem meam prædicabitis, Resurrectionem meam annuntiabitis, Adventum meum sperabitis donec iterum de cælis veniam ad vos." It may be noted that this long ending, commemorating the Death, Resurrection and Second Coming, is nearly identical with that in the "Canon Dominicus Sancti Gilasi" in the Stowe Missal and has resemblances to the forms in several of the West Syrian (Jacobite) anaphoræ. "Unde et memores" differs only in reading "gloriosissimæ" instead of "gloriosæ Ascensionis"

"Supra quæ propitio" inserts "tuo" after "vultu" and reads "justi pueri tui Abel".

"Supplices te rogamus" reads "tremendæ" instead of "divinæ Majestatis."

"Memento etiam Domine" exactly agrees with the Roman Rite.

"Nobis quoque, minimis, et peccatoribus famulis tuis de multitudine misericordiæ tuæ," continuing as in the Roman Rite, except for the list of saints, which adds a second Joannes, substitutes Andreas for Matthias, omits Ignatius and Alexander, and adds Euphemia, Justina, Sabina, Thecla, Pelagia, and Catharine (the Manuscripts and 1475 lists omit Catharine), varying the order a little. The ending also differs, "benedicis et nobis famulis tuis largiter præstas ad augmentum fidei et remissionem peccatorum nostrorum: Et est tibi Deo Patri omnipotenti ex+ipso et per+ipsum et in+ipso omnis honor virtus laus et gloria, impe+rium, perpe+tuitas et po+testas in unitate spiritus sancti per infinita secula seculorum. Amen." The Fraction and Commixture occur at this point, instead of after the "Pater Noster" as in the Roman Rite since St. Gregory the Great. The priest breaks the Host over the chalice, saying: Corpus tuum frangitur, Christe, Calix benedicitur"; then laying one part on the paten, he breaks a particle from the other, saying: "Sanguis tuus sit nobis semper ad vitam et ad salvandas animas, Deus noster". Then he puts the particle into the chalice, saying: "Commixtio consecrati Corporis et Sanguinis D. N. J. C. nobis edentibus et sumentibus proficiat ad vitam et gaudium sempiternum". Then follows the "Confractorium", an anthem varying according to the day.

The Pater noster, introduced by the same clause as in the Roman Rite, except on Maundy Thursday and Easter Day, when different forms are used. The Embolism differs somewhat: "Libera nos . . . et intercedente pro nobis Beata Maria Genitrice Dei ac Domini nostri Jesu Christi et Sanctis Apostolis tuis Petro et Paulo atque Andrea et Beato Ambrosio Confessore tuo atque Pontifice una cum omnibus Sanctis tuis . . . ab omni perturbatione securi. Præsta per eum, cum quo beatus vivis et regnas Deus in unitate Spiritus Sancti per omnia secula "seculorum. Amen.

The Pax. The priest says: "Pax et communicatio D. N. J. C. sit semper vobiscum. R. Et cum spiritu tuo". The deacon: "Offerte vobis pacem. R. Deo gratias". The prayer, "Domine Jesu Christe qui dixisti, etc.", which differs from the Roman in reading "pacificare, custodire et regere digneris propitius". Then the "Pax" is given: "V. Pax tecum. R. Et cum spiritu tuo," as in the Roman Rite. In Masses for the Dead the "Offerte vobis pacem ", the prayer, and the giving of the "Pax" are omitted, and the "Agnus Dei", differing from the Roman form "pro defunctis" only in adding "et locum indulgentiæ cum Sanctis tuis in gloria" at the end, is said. The "Agnus Dei" does not occur in other Masses.

The Communion. The preliminary prayers are: "Domine Sancte Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus da mihi hoc Corpus Jesu Christi Filii tui Domini mei ita sumere: ut non sit mihi ad judicium sed ad remissionem omnium peccatorum meorum. Qui tecum vivit, etc.," and "Domine Jesu Christe Fili Dei vivi", which only differs from the Roman in reading "obedire" for "inhærere". Then follows "Domine non sum dignus", as in the Roman Rite, after which comes "Quid retribuam Domino pro omnibus quæ retribuit mihi? Panem cælestem accipiam et nomen Domini invocabo. Corpus D. N. J. C. custodiat animam meam ad vitam æternam. Amen. Quid retribuam, etc.," exactly as in the Roman Rite. Then, at receiving the Chalice, "Præsta, quæso, Domine, ut perceptio Corporis et Sanguinis D. N. J. C. ad vitam nos perducat æternam", after which "Quod ore sumpsimus, Domine, pura mente Capiamus ut de Corpore et Sanguine D. N. J. C. fiat nobis remedium sempiternum". At the Ablution: "Confirma hoc, Deus, quod operatus es in nobis et dona Ecclesiæ tuæ perpetuam tranquillitatem et pacem".

The "Transitorium" (the Ambrosian equivalent of the Roman "Communio") and the "Oratio Post Communionem" follow.

V. Dominus vobiscum, etc.

Kyrie eleison (thrice).

V. Benedicat et exaudiat nos Deus. R. Amen.

V. Procedamus cum pace. R. In nomine Christi.

V. Benedicamus Domino. R. Deo Gratias.

Then follow "Placeat tibi" (slightly varied), the Blessing and the Last Gospel as in the Roman Rite.

The present form from the "Pax" onward dated from the revision of St. Charles Borromeo, and appears for the first time in print in 1594. In 1475, 1560, etc., the form was as follows:

V. Pax et communicatio D. N. J. C. sit semper vobiscum.

R. Et cum spiritu tuo.

V. Offerte nobis pacem. R. Deo gratias. Pax in cælo, pax in terra, pax in omni populo pax sacerdotibus ecclesiarum Dei. Pax Christi et Ecclesiæ maneat semper vobiscum.

Then the Priest gives the "Pax" to the server, saying "Habete vinculum pacis et caritatis ut apti sitis sacrosanctis mysteriis Dei. R. Amen. Domine Sancte Pater etc.", as at present. The second prayer, "Domine Jesu Christe, etc.", was not used. (In the early Manuscripts the giving of the "Pax" ends with "Offerte nobis pacem, etc.")

Quid retribuam, etc. Panem cælestem, etc.

Domine, non sum dignus, etc.

Corpus D. N. J. C. profitiat mihi sumenti et omnibus pro quibus illud obtuli ad vitam et gaudium sempiternum. Amen. (This form is found also in the Chur Missal of 1589.)

Præsta, quæeso, Domine, ut perceptio corporis et sanguinis D. N. J. C. quem pro nobis dignatus est fundere ab omni nos peccati maculâ purget et ad vitam perducat æternam. Per eundem, etc.

Quid retribuam, etc. Calicem salutaris, etc.

Domine non sum dignus, etc.

Corpus et Sanguis D. N. J. C. propitius sit mihi sumenti et omnibus pro quibus illud obtuli ad vitam et gaudiam sempiternam. Per eundem, etc.

Deo gratias. Deo Gratias.

Accepta Christi munera sumamus Dei gratia, non ad judicium sed ad salvandas animas, Deus noster. Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis. Gloria Patri, etc. Sicut erat, etc. Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, suscipe deprecationem nostram. Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi, dona nobis pacem.

Quod ore sumpsimus, etc., as at present.

Confirma hoc, Deus, etc., as at present.

Placeat tibi, etc.

The eleventh-century Manuscript (No. 1-d in list above), quoted in the Solesmes edition of the Bergamo book, does not contain any more at the "Pax" and "Communion" than "Pax et Communicatio, etc." "Offerte vobis pacem." "Oratio post communionem." "Dominus vobiscum, etc." "Quad ore sumpsimus, etc."

The Occasional Services

Of the services in the Ritual and Pontifical there is not much to say. The ceremonies of Baptism differ in their order from those of the Roman Rite. The Ambrosian order is: renunciation; ephphatha; sufflation; unction; exorcism and second sufflation; signing with the Cross; delivery of the salt; introduction into the church; Creed and Lord's Prayer; declaration of faith; Baptism, for which the rubric is: Ter occiput mergit in aqua in crucis formam (and, as Legg points out, the Ambrosians boast that their baptism is always by immersion); litany; anointing with chrism; delivery of white robe and candle; dismissal. A great part of the wording is exactly the same as the Roman.

The order of the Unction of the Sick shows the progress of Roman influence in modern times. The service at present used differs very little except at one point from that given by Magistretti (Mon. Vet., II, 79, 94, 147) from early Manuscripts, and from the form in the undated printed Ritual of the late fifteenth century, but the difference at that point is no less than the introduction of the Roman manner and words of anointing. The old Ambrosian Rite was to anoint the sick person on the breast, the hands, and the feet, with the words: "Ungo te oleo sanctificato, more militis unctus et preparatus ad luctam aerias possis catervas. Operare creatura olei, in nomine+Dei Patris omnipotentis+et Filii+et Spiritus Sancti, ut non lateat spiritus immundus nec in membris nec in medullis nec in ulla compagine membrorum hujus hominis [vel mulieris] sed operetur in eo virtus Christi Filii Altissimi qui cum æterno Patri... . Amen." Then, "Quidquid peccasti per cogitationem cordis [per operationem manuum vel per ingressum pedum] parcat tibi Deus. Amen." The fifteenth-century printed Ritual varies the first anointing. Instead of "Quidquid peccasti", it reads, "Per istam unctionem et cristi sacratissimam passionem si quid peccasti, etc.", the other two being as in the older books. The Ungo te, etc., is repeated with each. A somewhat similar form, but shorter, with the anointing of the five senses and reading Ungimus for Ungo, is given in Harl. Manuscript 2990, an early fifteenth-century North Italian fragment, and in the Venetian printed pre-Tridontine Rituals, a form very like the last (but reading Ungo) with the same anointings as in the Roman Rite, is given as the rite of the Patriarchate of Venice. This form, or something very like it, with the seven anointings is found in the Asti Ritual described by Gastoué. In the modern Ambrosian Ritual the Roman seven anointings and the form, Per istam unctionem, etc., are taken over bodily and the Ungo te has disappeared.

The differences in the Order of Matrimony are very slight, and the other contents of the Ritual call for no special remark. In the ninth-century Pontifical published by Magistretti the consecration of a church includes the solemn entry, the writing of the ABCturium, with the cambutta (that Gaelic word, cam bata, crooked staff, which is commonly used in Gallican books), the blessing and mixture of salt, water, ashes, and wine, the sprinkling and anointing of the church and the altar, the blessing of various utensils, and at the end the deposition of the relics. The order given by Mercati from an eleventh-century Manuscript at Lucca differs from the ninth-century form in that there is a circumambulation and sprinkling, with the signing of the cross on the door, the writing of an alphabet per parietem and the making of three crosses on each wall with chrism, before the entry, and there is no deposition of relics. There are also considerable differences of wording. The ordinations in the ninth-century Manuscript are of the same mixed Roman and Gallican type, but are less developed than those of the modern Roman Pontifical.


See also

Sources and external links

This article incorporates text from the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913, a publication now in the public domain.

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