Feria VI in Parasceve

[NB: When the Roman Rite is refered to in this post, it is meant the pre-1955 ritual. For a synopsis of the variations between the pre-’55 and post-’55 Roman rite, see here.]

The rubrics state that Prime, Terce, Sext, and None should be said in choro, in a low, almost imperceptible voice. The priest, wearing a black cope, and his ministers wearing black folded chasubles, without candles or incense, proceed to the altar, and at the bottom step prostrate themselves on black or violet cushions. The celebrant says in a low voice, if he wishes, the following prayer [NB: I am told that in the Roman Rite, Psalm 50 would be said, though it does not appear in the rubrics]:

Deus, qui peccati veteris hereditariam mortem, in qua posteritatis genus omne successerat, Christi tui, Domini nostri, passione solvisti: da, ut, conformes eidem facti; sicut imaginem terreni, naturae necessitate portavimus, ita imaginem caelestis, gratiae sanctificatione portemus. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

O God, who hast broken [us] free from the inherited death of the ancient sin, in which every kind of posterity had followed, by the passion of our Lord, thy Christ:  grant, that, having been made conformed to the same , as we, by necessity have born the image of the nature of the world, in that way may, through the sanctification of grace, we bear the image of heaven. Through the same Christ our Lord.  Amen.

The liturgy follows exactly as in the Roman Missal. During the reading of the Passion, the reader audibly strikes the book with his right hand when he arrives at Et inclinato capite tradidit spiritum; all kneel and say the Credo or another short prayer in a low voice (just as on Palm Sunday).

Arriving at the Great Intercessions, we find some variances. The chant for Flectamos genua and Levate is more “elaborate” than in the Roman Rite – it varies from prayer to prayer, as can be seen in the following pictures.

flectamus 1flectamus 2flectamus 3flectamus 4flectamus 5flectamus 6flectamus 7flectamus 8

While in the Roman Missal there is a prayer for the emperor, in the Bragan we have in its place a prayer for the king, which begins with Oremus et pro fidelissimo rege nostro, and then follows exactly the same as its Roman counterpart.

After the prayer pro paganis, the Bragan Missal starts to show some of its particularities. The priest removes his cope, while his ministers remove their chasubles and maniples.  While in the Roman Rite the celebrant receives the Crucifix from the deacon, in the Bragan the two senior-most clerics do so, in the following fashion. Two cantors, in amice and alb, approach the altar to sing the Agios. The two senior-most clerics, having the Crucifix, kneel at the bottom step of the altar and begin the Improperia, which varies somewhat from the one found in the Roman Rite. When the first verse is finished the two cantors kneel between the altar and choir and sing the Agios, to which the choir responds with the Sanctus Deus. The two clerics ascend the second step and there follows the next verse, followed by the Agios and then the Sanctus; the clerics ascend the third step, followed by the next verse, Agios, and Sanctus.

popule 1popule 2popule 3popule 4

A recording of the Bragan Popule meus can be found here, courtesy of the author of the blog Divini cultus sanctitatem.

The clerics then hand the veiled Crucifix to the priest, who is on the Epistle side of the altar. The two clerics, one on the right and the other on the left of the altar,  then raise a white linen, suspended by two poles, so that the priest and his ministers may not be seen by the congregation. The linen is lowered a bit so that the congregation may adore the Crucifix, then it is raised again; this is done thrice. The third time the whole linen should be removed so that the congregation may adore the whole Crucifix. The priest then unveils it with his right hand, up to the head, which remains veiled. Then, with the help of his ministers, he elevates the Crucifix, but no higher than his eyes, and showing the people the Crucifix starts in a low tone the antiphon Ecce lignum Crucis , and the choir responds with In quo salus mundi pependit: venite, adoremus. The priest places the Cross on the altar and then he and his ministers take off their shoes.

Ecce lignum 1Ecce lignum 2

Adoration of the Cross is the same as in the Roman Rite, with a triple genuflection, but there is the option of saying the verse O Crux, ave spes unica while genuflecting.

While adoration of the Cross takes place the choir sings the antiphon Crucem tuam adoramus, Domine, according to the Gradual, followed by Pange lingua, as in the Roman Rite. Afterwards, the Cross is given to the priest, who elevates it while intoning the antiphon Super omnia ligna cedrorum (Above all the cedar trees); the choir responding with Tu sola excelsior, in qua vita mundi pependit, in qua Christus triumphavit, et mors mortem superavit in aeternum (Only thou art the most high, upon whom hath hanged the life of the world, upon whom hath Christ triumphed, and hath conquered death forever).

Super omnia 1Super omnia 2The celebrant places the Crucifix erect upon the altar,  and upon returning to the place where he had left the cope, puts on his chasuble and shoes, as do the ministers . After the cushion and linens are removed from the altar, the candles are lit and the priest with his ministers kneel at the bottom step of the altar. After the Confiteor the deacon rises, takes the burse, and goes up to the altar where he unfolds the corporal and places the purifier. Then follows a procession, with the same formation as the previous day (but with the processional cross unveiled), which heads towards the chapel where the Blessed Sacrament is deposited. The deacon removes the chalice from where the Blessed Sacrament is deposited, while the priest imposes incense without the blessing. The deacon the hands the Blessed Sacrament to the priest, who turns to the congregation intoning the antiphon Hoc corpus, quod pro vobis tradetur (This body, which will be given up for you); the choir responding with Hic calix novi testamenti est in meo sanguine, dicit Dominus: hoc facite, quotiescumque sumitis, in meam commemorationem (This chalice of the new testament in my blood, saith the Lord: whenever you shall do it, do it in my memory) while the procession returns to the altar.

hoc corpus 1hoc corpus 2

In the Roman Rite, the priest says nothing as the hymn Vexilla Regis prodeunt is sung during the procession. Upon arriving at the altar, the chalice is placed upon the altar stone and the Gift is incensed as is done in the Roman Rite. The deacon unveils the Gift, the priest places the host on the paten upon the corporal, and the subdeacon pours water and wine into the chalice, as is normally done at Mass. The Bragan Rite differs from the Roman only in the sequence of incensation and preparation of the gifts. After the  In spiritu humilitatis and the Orate fratres (Bragan variant, as already noted in the section on the Ordo Missae), the Pater Noster follows, its tone a bit different from the usual Roman ferial tone, as can be seen in the following picture.

Pater 1Pater 2The priest says the embolism in the ferial tone, as in the Roman Rite. Also, as in the Roman Rite, neither Pax Domini nor Agnus Dei are said, nor is the Pax given. The priest says, however, in a low voice, the following prayer:

Domine Iesu Christe, qui dixisti Apostolis tuis: Pacem meam do vobis, pacem relinquo vobis: ne respicias pecata mea, sed fidem Ecclesiae tuae: eamque secundum voluntatem tua pacificare, custodire et coadunare digneris: Qui vivis et regans com Deo Patre in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus. Per omnia…

O Lord Jesus Christ, who hast said to thine Apostles. Peace I leave you, my peace I give you, regard not my sins but the faith of thy Church, and be pleased to give her peace, protect,  and unity according to thy will. Who liveth and reigneth God…

(its Roman equivalent is not said today), followed by Perceptio Corporis tui. Communion and ablutions are the same as the Roman. Vespers follow immediately, just as in the Roman.

As pertains to Vespers, before the antiphons are repeated at the end of the psalms, there is the indication that Miserere nostri is to be said [NB: Is this the verse taken from the Te Deum or from Psalm 122? We have yet to confirm this]; this indication is not in the Roman Breviary. The final Psalm is 143, Benedictus Dominus Deus meus (the Roman Breviary has Psalm 141), with a different antiphon from the Roman as well,  De manu filiorum alienorum, libera me, Domine. When the Psalms are finished two members of the clergy sing the following verses:

V/ Christus factus est pro nobis obediens usque ad mortem.
R/ Mortem autem crucis.

Christus factus

Then follows the Magnificat with the antiphon Tanto tempore vobiscum eram docens in templo et non me tenuistis, modo flagellatum ducitis ad crucifigendum (So long I was with you teaching in the temple and you laid not your hands upon me, but now you lead me to be crucified).

MagnificatAfter the Magnificat the Pater is said in a low voice, followed by Psalm 50 in a “grave tone”, with the chorus alternating verses. The priest then says the prayer Respice, quaesumus, Domine in the same tone, concluding with Qui tecum in a low voice.

During Vespers four clerics, chosen according to dignity, go to the sacristy to prepare a bier/coffin, covered with a black cloth, where four black cloths will be placed which will receive: the books of the Old and New Testament, or the Missal; a small cross; a bell; empty jars and the keys to the church. The priest removes the chalice from on top of the altar, the ministers remove themselves to the Gospel side, and the four clerics place the bier upon the altar. The deacon then closes the bier and places the keys, hung by a silk cord, around the priest’s neck, who then imposes incense without the blessing and incenses the Blessed Sacrament while kneeling.

Once Vespers are over, there immediately follows something particular to the Bragan Rite on this day – a Theophoric Procession.
Immediately after Vespers the priest imposes, without blessing, incense in two thuribles, and incenses the Blessed Sacrament while kneeling. Two torchbearers then head the procession, followed by all the members of the clergy, vested in black, with their amices upon their heads as a sign of mourning. The clergy processes in pairs, with candles, with the younger members in the front. Four priests then transport the bier on their shoulders, beneath a black baldachin. When the two torchbearers being the procession, two clerics sing the verse Heu, heu, Domine: heu, heu, Salvator noster (Alas, alas, O Lord: alas, alas, O our Saviour); the choir responding Pupilli facti sumums absque Patre: Mater nostra vidua (We have been made orphans without a Father: our mother [has been made] a widow). The procession advances to the verse Heu, heu, stopping when the choir answers.

heu heu 1heu heu 2This goes on until the procession arrives at the place where the Blessed Sacrament will be put to rest. A veil or curtain is put up and the priest with his ministers go into the place where the bier is placed. The bier having been placed on the altar and the Blessed Sacrament having been incensed, the priest alternates with the choir:

V/ In pace factus est locus eius.
R/ Et habitatio eius Sion.
V/ Caro mea.
R/ Requiescat in pace.
V/ In pace in idipsum.
R/ Dormiam et requiescam.

V/ His way is made in peace.
R/ And his dwelling place in Sion.
V/ May my body.
R/ Rest in peace.
V/ In peace, indeed.
R/ I will sleep and I will rest.

When the responsory is finished, the veil is taken away and the choir sings another responsory, Sepulto Domino, which varies somewhat from the third responsory of the third nocturn of Tenebrae for Holy Saturday.

sepulto 1sepulto 2

After a brief genuflection in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, all return with their heads covered to the sacristy. Should the high altar be passed on the way, a genuflection should be made to the Cross.


I am once again indebted to the author of The Rad Trad blog, for his inestimable help with the interpretation of the missal’s rubrics.

The verse O Crux, ave spes unica is taken from the hymn Vexilla Regis Produent.

A picture of the bier (as is currently in use) at its final resting place may be seen here.

About Βαρθολομαίος

Husband and father of 4, enamoured with the Liturgy, the Fathers, Sacred Scriptures and the Christian monastic tradition. Trying to persevere through the "dura et aspera" while "de Dei misericordia numquam desperare."
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1 Response to Feria VI in Parasceve

  1. Pingback: A glimpse | Alma Bracarense

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