Gemma Animae (13): De Ecclesia et Secundo Officio

Ch. 13

On the Church and the Second Office

Bishop Dominique Rey, the current bishop of Fréjus-Toulon

The previous office is concerned with Christ the head, but the next with his body the Church. She was prefigured by Mary, the sister of Moses, and she sang before the liberated people, and they responded in song. So now that Christ is seated, the lector recites the Epistle in the pulpit and the choir responds in song; as Christ took his seat in heaven, the order of doctors thundered forth Scripture to the world, and everywhere the people resounded Christ’s praise. The higher place is reserved to the bishop so that he may superintend and so to speak guard the people. In the same way the Lord sitting in the heights of the heavens watches over his chariot, which is to say his city, which is the Church.

[1] Readers who have been observing the Latin text of the work may notice: the lapidary style and the strict parallel constructions that often end in rhyming verbs. This is clear evidence of orality, and leads us to believe that the text was written not only to be read but to be easily committed to memory.


De Ecclesia, et secundo officio.

In superiori officio de capite nostro Christo. In sequenti vero de corpore eius Ecclesia agitur. Quam Maria soror Moysi praefigurabat, quae populo liberato praecinebat, et turba canticum respondebat. Sic, Christo residente, lector Epistolam in pulpito recitat et chorus cantum resonat; quia, Christo in coelis residente, doctorum ordo Scripturam mundo intonuit, et omnis ubique populus laudem Christo sonuit. Altior locus ponitur episcopo, ut superintendat, et tanquam populum custodiat, ut vinitori locus sit ut vineam custodiat. Sic Dominus in alto coelorum sedens custodit currum suum, id est civitatem suam, videlicet Ecclesiam.

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