Mozarabian Liturgy

Mozarabian Liturgy is the name of a Christian liturgy originally in use among those Christian inhabitants of Spain, SEE MOZARABIANS, who remained faithful to their religion after the Arabic conquest. It is not apparent yet how the liturgy came to be called Mozarabian, for if the word itself were a nickname, it is not at all likely that these Christians would themselves have adopted that byname. In all probability it was connected with it at a much later date than the original introduction of this liturgy itself into Spain. Walcott (Sacred Archaeol. page 393) thinks that " it received its present title possibly from the right being a concession within the Moorish pale." Its origin is traced by some to Isidore of Seville (q.v.). SEE LITURGY, (3). Recent researches, however, would make it almost certain that it is of much more ancient origin, and that it was only completed, or, at least, established by him and the fathers of the fourth Council of Toledo (633). Roman Catholic writers go so far as to ascribe it to the apostles themselves who converted Spain (comp. Migne's Patrologia, volume 84 [Paris, 1850]). Though closely resembling the Gallican liturgy, it cannot. on the other hand, have come into Spain from Gaul, for there are differences between the two which could not be accounted for in such a case. It is consequently most likely that it originated among the Christians of Spain, but the name of its author cannot be ascertained. The uniformity of style and singleness of plan show that the greatest part at least, if not the whole, was the work of one writer. This liturgy remained in use in Spain throughout the Middle Ages, to the exclusion of the Roman Catholic form, which liberty may be accounted for by the isolated, independent position of these communities, as otherwise they would soon have been brought to yield to the influence of Rome. As it was, they succeeded in obtaining the recognition of their liturgy by two popes — by John X in 918, and by Alexander II in 1064. About the same time, however, that the last recognition was secured at Rome the Mozarabic liturgy was silenced in Aragon to spread the Roman liturgy, and in 1074 it was suppressed for the' same reason, by Sancho III of Navarre, in Navarre, Castile, and Leon, to the great regret of the people, who consoled themselves characteristically with the proverb, "Quo volunt reges vadunt leges" (Roderic, De Reb. Hisp. 6:26). From Rome the first authoritative word for the exclusion of the Mozarabic liturgy came in the pontificate of Gregory VII (11th century). He compelled most of the Spanish churches and convents to adopt the common uniform liturgy of the Romish Church. Six Mozarabic congregations, chiefly in Leon and Toledo, were, however, permitted to retain their ancient ritual, and though it soon fell into disuse among them also, it was yet preserved long enough to save it from final destruction; and when the learned cardinal Ximenes, for the correction of the liturgies then in use, consulted all the ancient MSS. of liturgies extant. and thus came across the Mozarabic also, he became so much interested in its preservation that he caused a careful copy to be made, and it was printed for the first time in 1500. Two years later a Breviary was prepared to complete it. Both works were printed at Toledo by a German, Peter Hagenbach, and were approved by pope Julius II. The title of this compilation is, Missale Mistum secundum Regulam Beati Isidori Dictum Mozarabicum, which has, however, by some unfortunate accident, remained incomplete. A whole third of the Church-year is left out entirely. Ximenes, in the mean time, the more surely to preserve the Mozarabic liturgy, expressly founded a chapel at Toledo, with a college of thirteen chaplains, whose duty he made it to say mass according to the Mozarabic manner. This institution is still in existence.

The principal characteristics of the Mozarabic liturgy are:

1. Its festivals, which are different from those of the Roman Catholic Church; for instance, its Advent contains six Sundays, as in the ancient Milanese and in the Greek Church: this indicates a certain connection with these. There are two festivals of the Annunciation, one on March 24, as in the Roman Catholic liturgy, and the other on December 18, which they designate by the peculiar name of "Sancta Maria de la O," because at the close of this festival both clergy and laity "sine ordine voce clara O longum proferunt ad flagrans illud desiderium significandum, quo sancti omnes in limbo, in coelo angeli totusque orbis tenebatur nativitatis Redemptoris" (see the Preface to Migne's Patrologia, page 170, D).

2. With regard to the lessons, the evangelists in this liturgy are not entirely similar; thus the lesson containing the parable of the rich man and Lazarus is placed before Lent as a sort of admonition against the riotousness prevailing at that period. But a point of much greater importance is the fact that there were not only two lessons, namely, the epistle and gospel, appointed for each great festival, but three; a lesson from the Old Testament being read before the epistle. This was taken not only from the poetical and historical books, but even from Jesus Sirach. Another remarkable fact is that between Easter and Pentecost the lesson from the Old Testament was replaced by portions of Revelation, and that from the epistles by the Acts.

3. The principal characteristic of this missale is the strong homiletic element it contains besides the liturgical. Thus, after the three Biblical lessons, and before the real offering, there was always an address to the people, specially appointed for each day of worship. These addresses are short, their tone familiar, but at the same time exegetical (as when treating of the allegorical character of Lazarus's resurrection, on the third Sunday in Lent [Migne, page 341]), while a certain rhetorical elegance (as in the mass for Easter and Ascension day) bespeaks one who was familiar with homiletic expressions. On this point there is a resemblance to the Gallican liturgy; although the latter, as given in Mabillon's edition (Paris, 1729), contains no such elements, yet the publisher says (p. 29): "Et Salvianus Massiliensis presbyter clarissimus homilias episcopis factas, Sacramentorum vero, quantas nec recorder, ait Gennadius, composuit. Quo in loco sacramentorum homiliae intelliguntur vel sermones de mysteriis sacris, inter missarum solemnia quondam ex more Gallicano recitari soliti; vel orationes seu praefationes ad missam." The part, moreover, which is specially called prefatio is, in the Western missale, called inlatio.

4. Some parts of this liturgy recall the Eastern Church, as, for instance, the repetition of three Agios after the Benedictus, while in the Roman liturgy the word Sanctus precedes it (although the Greek word occurs also in the Roman hymns of Palestrina); also the formula in the Communion, Sancta Sanctis; but particularly the division of the host into nine parts, which, like the leaves in the Greek rite, have special names and significations, and are also to be laid and used in a certain order.

5. The Mozarabic chant has great similarity to the Gregorian, yet it is clear that here also the Spanish Church preserved some national characteristics, as is shown by tie specimens contained in Migne's edition (Preface, pages 33-36). These indicate a greater tendency to melody and a figurative style than is found in the Gregorian chant. It is named the Eugenian chant, from its author, the third archbishop of Toledo, Eugene, who, in regard to hymnology, occupies the same place in the Mozarabic Church, in opposition to Gregory, as does Isidore in the liturgical part. Further comparison between the two rites, implying that of the Breviaries, would be out of place here; we will merely remark that, as a whole, the Mozarabic liturgy is one of the most precious monuments of ancient Christianity, and is not inferior to any other liturgy in point of rich illustrations from Scripture, liturgical application of passages, nobleness of thought, etc. See Palmer, Origin. litur. volume 1, § 10, page 166 sq.; Bona, Res. Liturg. 1:11 sq.; Pinius, De Lit. Mos.; Lesleius, Mis. Mos. Pref.; Martene, De Antiqu. Eccl. Ritibus, 1:457 sq.; Christian Remembrancer, October 1853.

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