Sabbato Sancto

sabbato[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, and here.]

In the presbyterium, on the lowest step of Gospel side of the altar, we find: a support for the triple branched candle (or the Serpentine); the candlestick for the Paschal Candle; a pulpit covered with a white cloth for the singing of the Praeconium; a lectern in medio choro or on the Epistle side, for the reading of the Prophecies. On a bench are to be found violet vestments: a chasuble for the priest, and maniples for his ministers and he, which are put on after the Praeconium. On the credence, covered with a white cloth, we find: the chalice; white vestments; a small candle; the missal for singing the Praeconium. In the Cruciario [NB: I was not able to identify which part of the church this is], or in the church’s atrium,on the Epistle side, a table is prepared with a white cloth, and upon it: a lectern or violet cushion with the missal and a small candle. To the left of the table we find all that is needed for lighting the new fire. To the right of the table is to be found the triple branched candle, which is to be elegantly ornate. In the baptistery there is a table covered with a white cloth; on it: lectern with missal; Holy oils; a vessel for holy water and hyssop;  a small cup with cotton or pieces of bread.

arundina serpentina

The arundina serpentine can be seen in the lower half of the picture, with the three candles protruding from the dragon’s mouth. This was taken in the cathedral of Braga on the Easter Vigil in 2009. The rite used was a hybrid of the Bragan rite, according to the author of the photograph.

Once everything is prepared, and None having been said, the priest and his ministers wearing violet vestments (the priest does not wear the chasuble, but a cope; the ministers wear dalmatics) proceed to the atrium or Cruciario. They leave the sacristy in procession: thurifer with an empty thurible; crossbearer between two candlebearers with extinguished candles; an acolyte with a silver bowl containing the 5 grains of incense; an acolyte with a vessel of holy water; other members of the clergy; finally the priest flanked by his ministers. Arriving at the church’s atrium the priest says, not intoning:

V/ Adiutorium nostrum in nomine Domini.
R/ Qui fecit caelum et terram.
V/ Sit nomen benedictum.
R/ Ex hoc nunc et usque in saeculum.

V/ Our help is in the name of the Lord.
R/ Who made heaven and earth.
V/ May His name be blessed. [NB: Not the typical Roman formula]
R/ From now and unto the next age.
Let us pray.

The first prayer is the same as the Roman. The second is a variation on the Roman’s second prayer:

Domine Deus, Pater omnipotens, Lumen indeficiens, sancte Conditor omnium luminum: benedic, quaesumus, hoc lumen, quod a te santificatum atque benedictum est, qui illuminasti totum mundum: ut ab eo lumine accendamur et illuminemur, scilicet igne caritatis tuae quo Moysen illuminasti: et hoc lumen tribue cordibus nostris; ut ad vitam aeternam pervenire valeamus. Per Christum…

Lord God, Almighty Father, undying Light, holy Creator of all light: Bless, we ask, this light, which has been sanctified and blessed by Thee, who illuminated the whole world: that by thy light we be enlightened and illuminated indeed by the fire of Thy charity by which Thee illuminated Moses: Give this light also to our hearts, that we might be able to reach eternal life Through Christ

The third prayer is also different from the Roman, as it omits contra igníta tela
inimíci, et illústra grátia coelésti
; and ends with Qui vivis et regnas cum eódem Unigénito tuo, in unitate eiusdem Spiritus Sancti, Deus: per ómnia sǽcula sæculórum (Who lives and reigns with Thy (same) Only Begotten, in the unity of the (same) Holy Ghost, God, through the ages of ages.).

Then follows the blessing of the five grains of incense, as in the Roman Missal. At the end of the Veniat, after the Amen, the priest says:

Benedictio Dei Patris omnipotentis et Filii et Spiritus Sancti descendat et maneat super hoc lumen et incensum istud.

May the blessing of God the Almighty Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost descend and remain over his light and that incense.

The acolyte then places the coals in the thurible; after the blessing the priest imposes incense, as normal, afterwards asperging the 5 grains and new fire saying the Asperges me, Domine without chanting or the psalm, and incenses them thrice. The three branched candle as well as the candlebearers’ candles are lit from the fire. They then process to the presbyterium in the same order, except that behind the crossbearer follows an acolyte with the three branched candle (or serpentina). Arriving at the altar, they reverence it. The deacon them puts on his white dalmatic, asks for the blessing as is usual at the singing of the Gospel. The priest says the following prayer:

Caelesti benedictione benedicat te divina Maiestas et una Deitas Pater, et Filius, et Spiritus Sanctus. Amen.

May the divine Majesty and one Godhead bless you with a heavenly blessing: Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.

The deacon then goes to the pulpit, and without making the sign of the cross, incenses the missal. To his right: a candlebearer, corssbearer with the cross, and thurifer; to his left: another candlebearers and two acolytes, one with the three branched candle, the other with the 5 grains. The deacon then sings the Praeconium, the neumes varying somewhat slightly from the one found in the Roman Missal.

exult 1exult 2exult 3exult 4exult 5exult 6exult 7exult 8exult 9exult 10

Also, there is a verse which is not extant in the Roman. It comes immediately after apis mater eduxit:

O vere et admirabilis apis, cujus nec sexum masculi violant, foetus non cassant, nec filii destruunt castitatem! Sic sancta concepit virgo Maria, virgo peperit, et virgo permansit.

O truly admirable bee, whose sex the males do not violate, they do not destroy the progeny, nor do the sons destroy chastity. Thus did the Holy Virgin Mary conceive, the virgin gave birth, and she remained a virgin.

Video of the Exultet, in which the above mentioned verse is sung. The verse is sung at 11m40s.

At the end, the emperor is not mentioned, but rather the king.

Following the Praeconium, the priest removes his cope and puts on his violet chasuble and maniple; the other ministers put on their violet maniples as well.  The Prophecies’ titles are not read, neither is Deo gratias said at the end.

There are fewer Prophecies in the Bragan Rite than in the Roman. They are as follows:

  1. Gen. 1:1-31; 2: 1-2
  2. Ex 14:24-31; 15:1 (the same Tract as the Roman is also used)
  3. Is 4:1-6 (the prayer used for the 7th Prophecy in the Roman Missal is used here)
  4. Is 54:16; 55:1-11 (this Prophecy is followed by the Tract used for the 10th in the Roman; the prayer is that of the 6th)

Afterwards follows the Tract Sicut Servus. After the Tract the following prayer is said without Dominus vobiscum or Flectamos genua.

Concede quaesumus, omnipotens deus, ut qui festa paschalia agimus, caelestibus desideriis accensi, fontem vitae sitiamus. Per dominum.

Grant, we ask, Almight God, that we who celebrate the Paschal feast, having been kindled with heavenly desire, may thirst for the fountain of life.

The priest removes his chasuble and maiple, putting on the cope again; his ministers remove their maniples; all return proceed to the lowest step of the altar. Everyone having knelt, two cantors in the choir or presbyterium begin the Litany of the Saints.At Sancta Virgo Virginum all rise and a procession takes place within the church, which is circled three times. The procession takes the following form: member of the clergy with the Paschal Candle, followed by another with the arundine, the crossbearer with the cross between two candlebearers with lit candles, rest of the clergy with the priest and his ministers at the end, and finally the congregation. After the third procession around the church, all stop at the gates of the baptistery.

The Bragan litany presents the following differences from that of the Roman on this day:

  • The Litany is the one used for the Rogations in the Roman missal;
  • After Christe, exaudi nos comes Christe, defende nos, which is absent from the Roman;
  • There are a series of Bragan saints, some of which particular to Braga: after  Stephane comes Petre de Rates; after Cosma et Damiane come Georgi, Victor, Pelagi, Iacobe Intercise, Ovidi, Torquate; after Martine come Fructuose, Geralde, Martine de Dume, Ludovice, Bonaventura; Francisce is between Benedicte and Bernarde;Maria Magdalena comes between Anna and Martha; after Agatha come Quiteria, Engratia; after Catharina come Barbara, Clara, Elisabeth;
  • the verses Monachi and Sacerdotes are switched;
  • Et omnes errantes is not found in the final rogations;
  • Between Ut omnibus benefactoribus et Ut fructus terrae we find Ut animas nostras, fratrum, propinquorum et benefactorum nostrorum ab eternae damnatione eripias (That Thee rescue our souls, the souls of our brothers, of our neighbor and of our benefeactors from eternal damnation.

After Ut nos exaudire digneris, te rogamus the celebrant goes to the font and sings, while making the sign of the cross:

Ut fontem istum bene+dicere digneris, te rogamus, audi nos.
Ut fontem istum bene+dicere, et sanctifi+care digneris, te rogamus, audi nos.
Ut fontem istum benedi+cere, et sanctifi+care, et conse+crare, te rogamus, audi nos.

That Thee deign to bless this font, we ask you; Hear us!
That Thee deign to bless and sanctify this font, we ask you; Hear us!
That Thee deign to bless and sanctify and consecrate this font, we ask you; Hear us!

ut fontem

The cantors then follow with Fili Dei, te rogamus, which is repeated three times. Then follows the three Agnus Dei, and afterwards the celebrante begins the Christe audi nos, Christe exaudi nos, Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie, eleison.

Then follows, in modum lectionis the Dominus vobiscum and Et cum spiritu tuo. Afterwards follows the prayer for the blessing of the baptismal font, which is the same as the Roman, except that it ends with tuae virtutis compleatur effectu (May it be filled up by the effect of Thy power).

Then follows the blessing in preface tone, but the Bragan neumes vary somewhat from the Roman, as well as the text. We have […] aequum et salutare, nos tibi semper, et ubique gratias agere: Domini sancte, Pater omnipotens, aeterne Deus: Qui, invisibili […]
The priest also devides the waters in the form of the cross thrice at the words Sit fons vivus, aqua regenerans, unda purificans  (May it be a living font, a regenerating water, a purifying wave). The Bragan missal specifies that at the words in quatro fluminibus that the water should be aspersed in the four directions outside the font. The rubrics make no mention on blowing upon the water in the form of the greek letter Psi, as in the Roman. The Per Dominum Nostrum is sung.

Immediately afterwards comes a version of the Roman prayer Commixtio Chrismatis, which the priest says in a low voice as he mixes the Chrism and Oil of the Catechumens in the form of the cross over the water

Conjunctio Chrismatis sanctificationis: et Olei unctionis, in Christo Iesu, Domino nostro, in vitam aeternam. Amen.

The enjoining of the sanctifying Chrism: and the Oil of unction in Christ Jesus Our Lord, unto eternal life. Amen.

Then follows another prayer, which seems to be a melding of two in the Roman:

In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti Paracleti: sanctificetur et foecundetur de hoc Oleo salutifero et Chrismate fons iste: ad abluenda crimina et ad regenerandas animas in vitam aeternam.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, the Paraclete: May this very font of Chrism be sanctified and made fruitful from this salvific oil: in order to wash away of sins and regenerate souls unto eternal life.

Having blessed the font, the clergy processes back to the main altar singing the Tract Cantemus Domino.
Afterwards the priest and his ministers put on white vestments so as to celebrate Mass, followed by the usual preparation at the foot of the altar. Once that is done, they go to the Paschal Candle extinguishing it and re-lighting it. Every time it is relighted the priest intones Accendite, and the choir responds Deo gratias.

Afterwards the choir sings the Kyrie, followed by the Gloria. At the Gloria the veil is removed from the reredos, bells are rung and the organ is played.
The collect is the same as the Roman, only ending with the added words in unitate eiusdem. The Mass then follows as in the Roman, only the rubrics in the Bragan rite for the Gospel reading says that extinguished candles should be used, not lighted (the Roman says that no candles should be used). As in the Roman, the Agnus Dei and the Pax are ommited, but the priest says in a low voice either Haec sacrosancta commixtio or Fiat commixtio with “the usual prayers, except that of the Pace“. After communion, the celebrant does not say the Communion or Post-Communion, but intones, in choro, the Alleluia antiphon for Vespers Alleluia (x3). Crucifuxus surrexit a mortuis, et redemit nos, sanguine suo, alleluia (Having been crucified He rose-up from the dead and he ransomed us, by His blood. Hallelujah).

Vesperas 1Vesperas 2
Psalm 116 is sung thrice, and the antiphon is always sung at the beginning and at the end. Then follows the Magnificat, with the same antiphon as the Roman. The Bragan Breviary’s rubrics tend to treat antiphons in a special way on certain occasions, and today is one of those – after finishing the Magnificat, the antiphon is repeated in its totality, then comes the Gloria Patri, part of the antiphon (up until the asterisk), then finally the antiphon once more in its totality! During the Magnificat the priest incenses the altar as usual.
Following the Collect, the priest says Dominus vobiscum, but there is no reply. The deacon then sings a very elaborate Ite Missa est.

ite missa
With the Deo gratias both Mass and Vespers are completed.



NLM has an article on the arundina serpentina.

About Br. Gregory

Benedictine oblate, husband and father of 3, enamoured with the Liturgy, Fathers, and Sacred Scriptures. Trying to persevere through the "dura et aspera" while de Dei misericordia numquam desperare."
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3 Responses to Sabbato Sancto

  1. The Rad Trad says:

    The point of carrying unlit candles really drives home that this Mass is a preparation for the Resurrection and not the actual celebration.

    Love the serpentina, a strong parallel with and lesson concerning Scripture, both the “crushing of the serpent” and also the raising of the metal serpent by the Israelites.

  2. Jonas says:

    The arundina photo portrays the rite of “Accendite”. It’s sung three times, gradatim, each time after the Pascal Candle is extinguished. Then, it is relighted, with the light from the arundina.

  3. Pingback: A glimpse | Alma Bracarense

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