History of the use/rite of Braga (III)

The 16th century was witness to the beginning of bi-ritualism in the archdiocese. We begin to see Roman elements creeping into the Bragan use (e.g., saints from the Roman calendar, the Bragan calendar being very sparse at the time; rules for the Gloria and Credo). At this time the desire for a change of rite in order to conform to the Roman praxis was considered laudable. The archbishop Diogo de Sousa (1505-1532) supplied the cathedral with more liturgical manuscripts and ordered more editions to be printed. At the same time, he ordered more Roman books to be printed, though we are unaware of his motivation. The fables concerning St. Pedro de Rates first appear in the breviaries of 1511 and 1528. The rubrics of the 1512 missal indicated that the Paschal Vigil should be celebrated at night (missa in nocte dicatur). In 1521 the archbishop directed Fr. Xystus Figueira to write a guide for clergy on how to recite the Office according to Bragan custom. In 1538 a liturgical oddity happened: the printing of the Rituale (12/7) was shortly followed by that of the missal (16/7); however, the ordo found in the first book was that of the diocese of Coimbra!


Baltazar Limpo, OC

Baltazar Limpo, OC (1550-1558) introduced a number of innovations into the missal:

  • fixed the prayers at the foot of the altar and added the Ave Maria;
  • the praeparatio calcis was permitted to be done either at the beginning of Mass or before or after the Gospel;
  • prayers at the Offertory;
  • added preparatory prayers for the priest’s communion;
  • for the laity’s preparation for communion, added the possibility of the Confiteor being said in Portuguese;
  • Sub tuum praesidium at the end of Mass [Dr. Carvalho says that it was the Salve Regina; however the latter cannot be found among the Marian antiphons recited at the end of  Mass];
  • structure of ancient rites suffered significant alterations

While the missal was printed in Lyon and the archbishop was a Carmelite, no direct dependencies from the Carmelite or Lyonnaisse missals can be detected in that of Braga. There are shared bits, but they can also be found in other French books (be they local uses or those of religious orders). There does seem to be a direct dependency with another missal, however: a recent study by Dr. Joaquim Felix de Carvalho has discovered that Baltazar’s missal relies heavily upon the missal of Salamanca (1533). Already at a diocesan synod in 1537 the clergy were permitted to pray the Roman Office when extra chorum; however, choirs and cathedral, collegiate churches and religious houses were not to take advantage of this privilege without the superior obtaining the consent of the majority. Not reciting the Bragan Office (in the case of not having been granted such a privilege) could result in excommunication. The 1558 edition of the Bragan missal already saw an attempt to make it similar to the Roman; this edition would be the last one before 1924. In 1594 a diocesan synod reaffirmed the obligation of praying the Divine Office according the the Bragan breviary under pain of excommunication; churches were to conform to the use of the primatial church, and if only one Mass was to be said then it must necessarily be according to the Bragan rite.

In 1600 the primate approved statutes of the cathedral chapter, prescribing all Hours and Offices to be according to the Bragan use. The introduction of the Roman breviary was proposed during the episcopate of Rodrigo da Cunha (1626-1634); however, the cathedral canons opposed the measure, citing archbishop Bartolomeu, who had assisted at the Council of Trent and was in favour of maintaining the liturgical customs of Braga. In the end, a reform of the breviary resulted in the:

  • introduction of Roman hymns;
  • revision of biblical texts, according to the Vulgata approved at Trent;
  • elimination of homilies by Origin and some attributed to St. Augustine;
  • obligatory character of the Canticum Canticorum extra chorum being removed;

D. Gueranger, one of the founding members of the original Liturgical Movement in the 19th century, said of the 1634 Bragan breviary that it was “essentially the Roman breviary, but with some particularities”. It should be noted that Rodrigo was in favour of introducing the Roman rite, but faced serious opposition from the canons. The chapel of the Misericordia of Braga was authorized the use of the Roman breviary (1629), in spite of the founder having required that only the Bragan be used. A manual for the administration of the Sacraments was approved in 1637, having been printed in 1697.


Rodrigo de Moura Teles

Rodrigo de Moura Teles (archbishop from 1704-1728) asked the Apostolic See to be dispensed from reciting the Bragan breviary. His request was approved; however, he eventually opted in favour of the Bragan. In spite of his declaration of favouring the local use, he ended up being buried with Roman ceremonial. As a side note, he instituted lausperene in 1709, a practice which is still maintained to this day all throughout Lent. Gaspar de Braganca (1758-1789) tried to adopt the Roman rite, and even went so far as to reform the cathedral chant by bringing in friars to teach Roman chant in the seminary and primatial church. The chapter approved the introduction of Roman chant and new feasts, but vigorously opposed the change of rites. The canons agreed that the cerimonials of 1558 were to be retained even if they were not found in earlier missals. A Benedictine, Fr. Jose de San Miguel, was brought in to help clear up the cathedral’s liturgical issues and history. While he reached some strange conclusions about the Bragan use’s origin (going so far as to claim that it came from the Benedictines of Tibaes!), he was of the opinion that the Congregation of Rites should be consulted before introducing any changes, and should the archbishop persist on attempting to introduce the Roman rite, then the Crown should be approached! The chapter of April 7th, 1780 discussed the question of suppressing the Marian tropes in the Gloria, but decided in favour of retaining them. Nonetheless, in spite of the insistence of maintaining Braga’s liturgical heritage, solemn funeral ceremonies continued to be celebrated in the primatial church with recourse to the Roman rite without any protest from the canons.

From 1876 to 1883 a practical school of the Roman rite was established in the seminary, and the authorities intended to modify the breviary without informing Rome. This lead to an enormous backlash from laity and clergy, much like what had taken place in Lyon only 20 years prior under similar circumstances, resulting in the archdiocese being flooded with pamphlets and newspaper articles defending the liturgical patrimony.


A new perpetual calendar was approved for the archdiocese by the Congregation of Rites in 1906. In 1907 the primatial church was granted privileges of a minor basilica, including the adoption of the following insignia: the pavilhao (a kind of large yellow and purple striped umbrella) and the campanario (a staff with an elaborately carved top enclosing a bell, which was preceded by the mace bearer). The Congregation of Rites approved in 1908 the basis suggested for reform of the Bragan rite. Pope Benedict XV’s bull, Sedis hujus Apostolicae (1919), approved the reform of the breviary. This reform preserved the original structure of the rite (the distribution of the Psalms followed Divina Afflatu), suppressed any lessons unhistorical or contrary to the proved tradition of the Church, and clergy were reminded of the obligatory nature of the breviary. A solemn thanksgiving for the restoration of the traditional liturgy was celebrated at the cathedral on the feast of the Immaculate Conception in 1919. A mandate from the archbishop was issued November 5th 1923, directing clergy to recite the reformed breviary and ceremonies of high Mass according to the local use from January 1st 1924. The new edition of the missal was approved by Pope Pius XI in 1924, on the feast of the Immaculate Conception. While it is believed that this reform was a return to a “purer” form of the Bragan tradition, it was based on the missal of D. Baltazar, perhaps oblivious to the amount of innovations introduced at the time.


Campanario, with pavilhão in the background

We have already discussed here the attempts at reform of the use in the aftermath of the promulgation of the Novus Ordo Missae. It has recently come to our attention that some form of alterations were approved in the mid-to-late 1970’s. These changes will be addressed sometime in the future, once enough information has been gathered.

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History of the use/rite of Braga (II)


Kingdoms of Leon and Castile (1037)

The definitive restoration of the diocese of Braga did not take place before the mid-12th century. Bishop Pedro was chosen for the diocese in 1070, but in 1088 the bishop of Lugo still retained the title of metropolitan (with the invasion of the Iberian peninsula by the Moors in 711, Lugo assumed prominence after Braga fell). At the Council of Burgos (1080) the Mozarabic rite was abrogated, resulting in the adoption of the Roman rite in the kingdoms of Leon and Castile (it is possible that Braga and Coimbra were the last “refuge” of the Mozarabic rite during the reign of Alfonso VI). The establishment of the Roman rite in the Iberian peninsula was largely the work of Cluny, resulting in many Cluniac and French features being adopted into the liturgy.


Artist’s rendition of Cluny Abbey

Bishop Pedro adopted the Roman rite for the cathedral of Braga, which was consecrated in 1089 by the Cluniac archbishop of Toledo, Bernard de la Sauvetat. Urban II conferred the title of “Primate of Hispania” on the archbishop of Toledo in spite of Braga having a more ancient tradition and being restored before Toledo (the issue of the title would rear its head several times throughout the centuries – once with Pope Honorius III ordering perpetual silence on the matter! –  finally being resolved at Trent).

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Feria IV

There are a number of votive Masses for the Apostles and Evangelists in the Bragan missal which are a bit of a mishmash of the individual Masses of said saints in the Roman. It is not our aim at this time to point out which parts can be found in which Roman Masses, therefore we shall limit ourselves to identifying the Bragan Masses.

Missa de uno S. Apostolo extra tempus paschale

Introit: Ps 138:17; V./ Ps 138:1-2
Collect: Majestatem tuam, Domine
Epistle: Eph 2:19-22
Gradual: Ps 44:17-18
Alleluia: Jn 15:19.16
Tract: Ps 20:3-4
Gospel: Jn 15:12-16
Offertory: Ps 18:5
Secret: Sacrificium nostrum tibi, Domine
Communion: Mt 19:28
Post-communion: Sumpsimus, Domine, divina mysteria


Missa de omnibus Ss. Apostolis extra tempus paschale

Introit: 2 Esdr 9:27; V./ Ps 32:1
Collect: Deus, qui nos per beatos
Epistle: Rm 8:28-39
Gradual: Ps 138:17-18
Alleluia: Lk 22:28.27
Tract: Ps 125:5-6
Gospel: Mt 10:5-15
Offertory: 44:17-18
Secret: Gloriam, Domine, sanctorum Apostolorum
Communion: Mt 19:28-29
Post-communion: Perceptis, Domine, sacramentis, suppliciter exoramus


Missa de Ss. Evangelistis extra tempus paschale

Introit: Eccl 15:5
Collect: Deus, qui beatos Evangelistias
Epistle: Ez 1:10-14
Gradual: Ps 138:17-18
Alleluia: Is 41:27
Tract: Ps 20:3-4
Gospel: Lk 10:1-9
Offertory: Ps 18:5
Secret: Beatorum Evangelistarum veneratione tibi
Communion: Mt 25:40.34
Post-communion: Tribuant nobis, quaesumus, Domine


Missa de uno S. Apostolo tempore paschali

Same as outside of Paschal-tide except for:
Introit: Ps 63:3; V./Ps 63:2
Alleluia: Mt 28:2; Jn 15:16
After Offertory and Communion a double Alleluia is to be added.


Missa de omnibus Ss. Apostolis tempore paschali

Same as outside of Paschal-tide except for:
Triple alleluia to be added at Introit
Alleluia: Sap 5:1; Ps 88:6
After Offertory and Communion a double Alleluia is to be added.


Missa de Ss. Evangelistis tempore paschali

Same as outside of Paschal-tide except for:
Introit: Ps 63:3; V./Ps 63:2
Alleluia: Is 41:27; Ps 88:6
After Offertory and Communion a double Alleluia is to be added.


The rubrics allow on this day as well conventual Masses for: the patron saint of a town, a city, the archdiocese, the province, of Portugal, the titular of the church, or the founder of the religious order.

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History of the use/rite of Braga (I)

After several years of existence we have finally gotten around to writing a summary of the history of the use of Braga. While the Schola de Sainte Cecile’s blog gives a decent outline of the rite’s history, it is in French and, thus, might not be readily accessible to non-francophones. It is also our intent to fill in the gaps of the aforementioned blog’s entry. This topic will take up several posts; once concluded it will all be located in a new blog page.
We culled two main sources for information: Liturgies of the Primatial Sees (King, Archdale); Pontifical de Luxo Bracaro-Romano (Carvalho, Joaquim Felix de). We are indebted to Andrew Klusman and Robert Nugent for making these resources readily available.



Province of Gallaecia

Braga, formerly known as Bracara Augusta in Roman times, was one of the three juridical divisions of Gallaecia, having been divided by Augustus. There is a tradition of 7 bishops sent by the Apostles Sts. Peter and Paul to evangelize Hispania, having introduced Mass as the Apostles would have celebrated. Saint Cyprian mentions, in 254, a bishop of Astorga, a town of lesser importance than Braga, so it is probable that Braga would have already have had a bishop at this time. The first historical evidence we have concerning the existence of the diocese is in 397, during I Council of Toledo. Saint Peter of Rates is the legendary first bishop of Braga; however, no printed mention of him exists prior to 1511. The first bishop with historical certainty is Paternus, who assisted at the aforementioned council in the year 400.


(St.???) Paternus

The Iberian peninsula was rife with heresy in the first centuries, most notably Arianism, Originism and Priscillianism. The Priscillianist heresy was of a Gnostic-Manichean origin, and by the 5th century the province of Gallaecia was aflame with it, bringing Braga into the spotlight. Priscillianism persisted from the 4th century up until the second half of the sixth. Bishop Paternus and four other bishops renounced the error at the Council of Toledo; the only bishop that had remained faithful to the Catholic faith was, at that time, in exile. Originism was introduced during the Suevic period.

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Feria III

Missa de Angelis

Epistle: Apoc. 19:9-10
Gradual: Ps 102:20; V./ Ps 102:1
Alleluia: Eccl. precatio Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in praelio: ut non pereamus in tremendo judicio. Alleluia.
T.P – Mt 28:2; Ps 137:1-2
Tract: Ps 137:1-2; V./ Apoc. 8:1.5.4
Gospel: Jn 5:1-4
Communion: Dan 3:58

Missa de S. Raphaele Archangelo


Deus, qui beatem Raphaelem Archangelum Tobiae, famulo tuo, properantem praevium direxisti, et inter hujus viae ac vitae varietates atquae discrimina donasti custodem: da quaesumus; ut ejusdem protegamur auxilio, quatenus et vitae praesentis vitemus pericula, et ad gaudia valeamus pervenire caelestia. Per Dominum.

O God, who hast directed blessed Raphael the Archangel to thy servant Tobias as a hastening guide and hast given him as a protector amidst the varieties and dangers of this way and life, grant, we pray, that we may be protected by his help so much that we may evade the dangers of this present life, and may be worth to attain heavenly joy. Through our Lord.

Epistle: Tob 12:7-20 (just a few more verses than in the RM)
Gradual: Ps 102:20; V./ Ps 102:1
Alleluia: Eccl. precatio Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in praelio: ut non pereamus in tremendo judicio. Alleluia.
T.P – Mt 28:2; Ps 137:1-2
Tract: Ps 137:1-2; V./ Apoc. 8:1.5.4

Mitte, Deus, Archangelum tuum Raphaelem cum medicamine opificem, qui sanitatem mentis reportet et corporis, misericordiaque caelestis donum infundat, et quae in nobis sunt adversa deponat: ut, qui nostra iniquitate tabescimus, de tua, quam non meremur, pietate nos laetari concedas. Per Dominum.

Send forth, O God, with remedy, thy labourer, the Archangel Raphael, who bears health of both mind and body, who infuses the heavenly gift of mercy, and rids adverse things in us, so that, we, who by our iniquity, dwindle, by thy kindness, which we do not deserve, might be made joyful. Through our Lord.

Missa de S. Angelo Custode

(does not seem to exist in the Roman Missal)
Introit: Ps 90:11-12; V./ Ps 90:1

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui angelicam custodiam homini et hominum regnis, provinciis, et civitatibus contulisti: concede propitius; ut nostri regni ac civitatis praesul et custos, Angelus tuus sanctus ipsum totum regnum ac cives ab instantibus periculis corporis et animae et ab omnibus adversitatibus protegat et defendat. Per Dominum.

O omnipotent and eternal God who hast bestowed kingdoms of men, provinces, and cities with an angelic guardian: graciously grant, that the protector and guardian of our kingdom and city, thy holy Angel may protect and defend this whole kingdom and city from present dangers of body and soul and from every misfortune. Through our Lord.

Epistle: 4 Kings 19:32-36
Gradual: Ps 33:8; Ps 33:18
Alleluia: Ps 96:7.10
T.P Mt 28:2; V./ Ps 137:1-2
Tract: Ps 137:1-2; Apoc. 8:1.5.4
Gospel: Mt 2:19-23
Offertory: Ps 28:1-2

Suscipe, Domine, sancte Pater, omnipotens aeterne Deus, haec munera, quae tibi supplicantes offerimus: ut, angelo nostro suffragante Custode, a cunctis muniamur adversis. Per Dominum.

Accept, Lord, holy Father, almighty and ever-living God, these offerings which we offer in humble prayer, that we might be defended from every misfortune by our interceding Guardian angel. Through our Lord.

Communion: Ps 77:24-25

Proficiant nobis, Domine, ad salutem corporis et animae sacramenta quae sumpsimus; ut, angelica opitulante custodia, a cunctis periculis liberati, caelestium donorum mereamur esse participes. Per Dominum.

May the sacraments which we have received, O Lord, profit us for health of body and soul, that, having been freed from every danger by the angelic guardian helper, we may be worthy to participate in heavenly gifts. Through our Lord.

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Feria II

Missa de Ssma Trinitate

Introit: V./ Eccl. laus Benedicamus Patrem et Filium cum Sancto Spiritu: laudemus et superexaltemus eum in saecula.
Gradual: V./ Tob 12:6
Alleluia: V./ Symb. Athan. Qualis Pater, talis Filius, talis Spiritus Sanctus. Alleluia.
T.P – Tob 12:6; Symb. Athan.
Tract: Eccl. vox O adoranda Trinitas, o veneranda Unitas, o perfecta Dietas, o claritas luminis; V./ Dan. 3:52.56

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Bragan hand missal

A Bragan hand missal has recently come in to my possession. Their existence was previously unknown to me, and it was a pleasant surprise to find one. The imprimatur on this particular hand missal is 1962. It is not as elaborate as some of its Roman counterparts (for example, the St. Andrew missal, or the “Lefebvre missal” as it is known in Portugal, do to the “author” being D. Gaspar Lefebvre), but it happens to be very similar to other Portuguese edited Roman hand missals.

Some curiosities about the missal:

  • It seems to only take into account a Dialogue Mass, as it has indications for the celebrant and the faithful, and no indications for the deacon’s parts, incensing, etc.
  • It does not contain the alternative prayers that the celebrant might say in the Ordinary of the Mass;
  • The seasonal Marian antiphons at the end of the Mass are not included;
  • The priest’s prayers are only in Portuguese;
  • The translation of the Te Igitur omits the priest’s mentioning himself;
  • The layout for the Pater indicates that the faithful were to say it (which is not in line with traditional Roman/Bragan praxis);
  • The final blessing, at the end of the Mass, is not according to the Bragan formula, but rather the Roman.
  • The Prefaces are scattered about, appearing only once, on the first feast they are used;
  • The Requiem Mass is the last Mass in the missal;
  • A final note exists, mentioning that the next edition (which I suspect never happened, given the liturgical upheaval the archdiocese went through in the following years) would be better organized.

Here follow some pictures:


First page




As can be seen on the right-hand side, the traditional division of the Mass into Mass of the Catechumens and of the Faithful is not used; rather, Liturgy of the Word and Liturgy of the Sacrifice. A sign of the times?


One of the few images in the missal.


Another image in the missal


Another image.


The Pater

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