Gospel, Book of The
Gospel, Book Of The the name of the volume from which the lessons were read. We extract an account of it from Walcott, Sac. Archaeol. s.v. SEE EVANGELISTARIUM.
"This volume, usually splendidly illuminated and bound in jewelled covers, always stood on the altar upon a stand, and the latter is called in 1640, in England, a desk with degrees of advancement, in 1558 it stood in the midst of the altar. Two tapers, according to Amalarins, were carried before the gospeller to represent the light of the gospel in the world, and other candles, signifying the law and the prophets, were extinguished, to show their accomplishment in the gospel. In St. Augustine's time the gospel was read on the north side, in allusion to the prophetical verse, Jer 3:12 and the old sacramentaries added, because it is preached to those cold in faith; but at Rome, because the men sat On the south side, and the women on the north, the deacon turned to the former, as mentioned by Amalarius, probably in allusion to 1Co 14:35. The Gemma Animae speaks of reading from the north side as a new custom, but it is prescribed by the use of Hereford and Seville. In some parts of England, however, the south side was still observed as late as the 15th century. When the epistle was read on the lowest, the gospel was read on the upper choir steps from a lectern; on principal festivals, Palm Sunday, and the eves of Easter and Pentecost, they were read in the rood-loft. As at St. Paul's, in cathedrals of the new foundation, also, and in all cathedrals, by the canons of 1603, a gospeller and epistolar, or. deacon and subdeacon, who are either minoro canons or priest-vicars, are appointed; they are to be vested 'agreeably' to the celebrant or principal minister, that is, in codes. In 1159 all these were to be canons at York, by pope Alexander III's order. Anasta siuls I, c. 405, ordered all priests to stand and bow reverently at the reading of the gospel. In the 6th century the people stood at the reading of both these lections, but standing was retained at the gospel only, in deference to Him that speaketh therein. At the end of the epistle the words are said, 'Here endeth the epistle,' but no such form follows the gospel, because it is continued in the creed. The custom of saying 'Glory be to thee, O Lord,' prescribed before the gospel in Edward VI's First Book, and saying after it 'Thanks be to God for his holy gospel, is as old as the time of St. Chrysostom. In Poland, during a time of idolatry, prince Mieczlaus ordered in 968 that at mass, as a sign of Christian faith, while the gospel was reading every man should draw his sword half out of his scabbard, to show that all were ready to fight. to death for the gospel. There was a curious English mediaeval superstition of crossing the legs when the gospel from the first chapter of St. John was read. The Gospel oak was the tree at which the gospel was read in the Rogation processions."