Gemma Animae (209 – 218): The Bishop’s Vestments

(Cross-posted at Liturgical Arts Journal today).

On Thursday, we saw the Gemma Animae‘s commentary on the priestly vestments. Today we look at the bishop’s vestments, following up on several other posts last week on pontifical sandals and gloves.

If the seven priestly vestments signified the perfection of priestly virtue and the fullness of divine life poured out in the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, then the seven additional vestments of the bishop indicate another level of perfection, corresponding to his higher state. We notice the same pattern here: the garments are read according to all four modes of Scriptural interpretation, bringing into relief the person of Christ incarnate in the bishop and his liturgical action.

Largely, the bishop’s garments represent his preaching, teaching, and pastoral functions. We don’t often think of the rich symbolic meanings behind the ancient garments, so redolent with Scriptural and Christological associations. The mystical commentary can give us eyes to see.

Honorius of Autun, Gemma Animae, ch. 209 – 218

Ch. 209
On Episcopal Vestments

The bishops wears the same seven vestments and is adorned by seven more, namely the sandals, dalmatic, rationale, mitre, gloves, ring, and staff. The word sandals (sandalia) comes from the sandarac plant (sandica herba) also known as sandaracus, with which the sandals are said to be painted. We believe that their use comes from Our Lord himself or from the apostles, who preached in them. It is the sort of open footwear in which the foot is partly covered and partly nude. Thus it signifies preaching, in which the Gospel is partly opened to listeners, and partly left closed.

Ch. 210
On Sandals

Sandals are made from the skins of dead animals because the Apostles and Doctors of the Church strengthen their preaching with the writings of the prophets, who are God’s animals. The bottom of the foot is covered by the sole of this shoe, and the top is naked because in Gospel preaching the truth must be hidden from carnal men through the letter, but laid bare for spiritual men through allegory. A strap of white leather runs up from the sole because the preacher must leave behind all earthly business and his tongue must be innocent and without guile. A connected strap runs above the foot because they carry good news [of their preaching] to the bishop. The upper strap (lingua) is the tongue of spiritual men, who chose him for the work of preaching. Sandals are covered on the inside with white leather because the preacher’s conscience should shine with purity before God. But outside its appearance is black, because his life should be cast down in humility before men. The top part where the foot enters is stitched from many threads, because he must pour heavenly preaching into minds through many sentences. The strap (lingua) lies over the foot, and the preacher’s tongue (lingua) over the people. The string that runs from the strap to the other side of the sole is evangelical perfection that stretches toward God. The strings that run from both sides are the law and prophecy, which bear testimony to the Gospel. Tying the sandal is the mystery of Christ’s Incarnation, which is untied by the hand of the preacher. He trods upon the padding underneath his foot so that he may learn to despise the things of this world and to love the things of heaven. The priests of the Law wore stockings which covered uncleanness. The priests of the Church wear sandals because they preach cleanness also to others.

Ch. 211
On the Dalmatic

The dalmatic is named after the province of Dalmatia, where it was first invented. It stands for the Lord’s seamless tunic and the apostles’ colobium. The colobium was a hooded garment without sleeves, as can still be seen in monastic hoods or the tunics of sailors. Now Pope St. Sylvester substituted the colobium with the dalmatic, adding sleeves and ordering it to be worn during the Sacrifice. It is worn by the bishop at Mass, when Christ’s Passion is celebrated, because it is shaped like the Cross. The vestment is white because Christ’s flesh was generated from a chaste virgin and because the bishop’s life must be a shining example of chastity. It has the form of the Cross because Christ underwent the torture of the Cross for our sake, and the bishop must crucify himself to vice and concupiscence. The sleeves of this garment are like the wings of a mother hen, for God nurtured the first humans in Paradise like eggs in a nest. He gathered up the Church, his chicks, under his wings of grace and mercy. In the same way the bishop must gather up the faithful under the wings of the Old and New Law by his preaching, spread himself over them by his good conduct, and by his prayer protect them from the raptors of the sky, who are the demons. The dalmatic must be seamless as the Lord’s tunic, because he must keep the integrity of the faith whole and entire.

Ch. 212
On the Dalmatic and What it Signifies

The dalmatic also signifies religion pure and unspotted, for we are commanded to visit the orphans and widows and to keep our life spotless before God. The dalmatic has two scarlet stripes in front and behind, because the Old and New Law shine with the love of God and neighbor, in which the bishop must be wreathed. The two purple stripes signify the blood of Christ, poured out for two peoples. Unspottedness corresponds to the love of God; the visitation of our brethren to the love of neighbor; and the scarlet color is understood to be works of mercy, which are offered on account of the twin love of widows and orphans. The tassels that hang from the dalmatic are the words and example of the preacher, which flow from the virtue of religion. The tassels hang in front and behind because the twin commandment of love is found in both the Law and the Gospel. In each of the stripes there are fifteen tassels on each side, before and behind, because in the Old Law fifteen psalms go out like the fifteen steps on the way of charity, and likewise in the New there are fifteen branches sprouting from the tree of life. Now the branches are these: “Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends”  (I Corinthians 13). The left side has tassels that signify the toils of human labor because the active life is worried and troubled about many things. The right side does not have tassels because the contemplative life remains calm, and the queen standing at the right hand has nothing sinister in her. The great size of the sleeves is the good cheer of the giver.

Ch. 213
On the Rationale

The rationale is taken from the Law, where it was made of gold, violet, and purple and measured one span (Exodus 28). Doctrine and truth were placed on it, and twelve precious stones, in which the names of the sons of Israel were inscribed, and the pontiff wore it on his chest as a remembrance of the people. This garment appears also among our vestments. It is attached to the chest at the top part of the chasuble, covered in gold and gems. It warns the bishop to be vigorous in reason and by the gold of wisdom, the violet of spiritual intelligence, and the purple of patience to tend always toward Christ (who measures the heavens in a span), to radiate doctrine and truth, to shine with the gems of virtue, to imitate the holiness of the twelve apostles, and to remember the whole people in the Sacrifice .

Ch. 214
On the Pontifical Mitre

The pontifical mitre is also taken from the practice of the Law. It is made from cotton and is called a tiara, cidaris, infula, or pileus. The mitre that veils the head, in which the senses are located, means custody of the senses against the temptations of the world through following the Lord’s commands. We do this in exchange for the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. The mitre is also the Church, and the head is Christ, of whom the bishop is a figure. The mitre that surrounds the bishop’s head is made of cotton, a material that is rendered white through much labor, while the Church is made clean by Baptism, made white by the labor of good works, and deeply yearns to see Christ her head in glory, never ceasing to imitate him through various passions in order to obtain the crown of life. Moreover, the bishop’s head is adorned with the mitre when the Church enlightened by his doctrine gives honor to his dignity, and the whole clergy and people gather around him.

Ch. 215
On the Gloves

The use of gloves has been handed down by the Apostles. Now the hands signify good works, but the gloves signify their hiddenness. For sometimes the hands are veiled in the gloves and sometimes they are taken off to leave the hands bare. In the same way good works are sometimes concealed in order to avoid all show of arrogance, but at other times they are made manifest for the edification of our neighbors. Gloves are put on when the following is fulfilled: “Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them” (Matthew 6:1). They are taken off again when this one is fulfilled: “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). The gloves are seamless because the pontiff’s actions must be concordant with the true faith.

Ch. 216
On the Ring

The use of the ring is believed to come from the Gospel, where the prodigal son is vested in a robe and a ring is put on his finger for the feast of the fattened calf (Luke 15). Formerly kings used to sign letters with a ring and noblemen used to wed their wives this way. It is said that a wise man named Prometheus first made an iron ring as a sign of love, and placed a stone of adamant in it. For just as iron vanquishes all, so love conquers all. And as adamant cannot be broken, so love cannot be overcome. He decided to wear it on the finger through which the heart’s vein runs, and thus it has the name annularis. But later gold rings were substituted for iron ones and set with gems rather than adamant. For just as gold is the most excellent metal, so affection is the most excellent of good things, and just as gold is embellished with a gem, so love is adorned by affection. The bishop wears a ring to show that he is the Church’s spouse and like Christ will lay down his life for her in time of need. Let him seal the mysteries of Scripture in a place hidden from the unfaithful, but unseal all secrets for the Church.

Ch. 217
On the Episcopal Staff

The staff is used on the authority of the Law and the Gospel, and is called the pastoral staff, shepherd’s crook (capuita), rod (ferula), or crook (pedum). For Moses held a staff in hand when he pastured his sheep. At the Lord’s command, he carried it into Egypt with him, used it to work wonders that terrified his enemies, who were like wolves devouring the Lord’s flock. Like a shepherd leading his sheep to pasture, he led the Lord’s flock out of Egypt through the Red Sea with this staff, used it to bring bread from heaven and water from the rock, and led them with it into the land flowing with milk and honey. This staff was nothing other than pastoral staff, which he used to guide his flock like a shepherd. Some authors call this staff a crook (pedum), because shepherds used its curved head to grab and drag the feet of their flock.

Ch. 218
Again on the Episcopal Rod and Staff

In the Gospel Our Lord commanded the apostles to carry nothing with them besides a staff when they went to preach (Mark 6; Luke 9). Because the bishops are the pastors of the Lord’s flock, as both Moses and the apostles were, so they keep a staff for protection. The staff signifies the authority of Christian doctrine, by which the weak are supported. The rod is a figure for the power of governing, by which the ways of the unjust are corrected. The bishops carry a staff to raise up the weak in faith through sound teaching; they carry a rod to correct the restless through their power. The rod or staff is curved so that it can drag the wayward sheep back toward penitence by their teaching. It is sharp on the end to cast out the rebellious by excommunication and frighten the heretics away like wolves from Christ’s sheepfold.

Aesthetics of the Cross in Medieval Commentary (Gemma Animae 198-208)

Crucifix (San Gimignano)
Crucifix of San Gimignano (Source)

(Originally published at Liturgical Arts Journal).

One of the goals of LAJ is to showcase the breathtaking beauty of Catholic liturgical culture. From the general reaction to the stunning images that are shared on LAJ’s Facebook page (which, at the time this was written, has over 11,000 followers), it is clear that this is a useful and edifying approach that many crave for. If Catholics recover their self-respect, there’s no reason the modern version of the pagan (or Catholic, for that matter!) shouldn’t say of the Latins what the awestruck Russian pilgrims said about the Greeks of old:

“Then we came to the Greeks, and we were taken to the place where they worship their God [….] We knew not whether we were in heaven or on earth. For on earth there is no such splendour or such beauty, and we are at a loss how to describe it. We know only that God dwells there among men, and their service is fairer than the ceremonies of other nations. For we cannot forget that beauty.”

Of course, if taken in isolation, such things can give rise to (unjust) criticisms of aestheticism, of a “bells and whistles” approach to Catholicism. The other side of the liturgical coin that goes along with the material beauty of these liturgical elements is their spiritual meaning. If every word in Scripture has a literal and spiritual sense, analogously each liturgical item has both a literal, artistic sense and a spiritual-aesthetic sense that draws it into the very unaesthetic reality of Christ’s bloody Passion and our own tribulation-filled participation in that Passion.

Fr. Nicholas Gihr explains the place of mystical interpretation:

“All that is precious belongs to the Lord and should serve to promote His glory; therefore, the Church would have not only rich vessels, but also handsome vestments for the service of the altar. The richness and the value of the sacred vestments betoken and awaken due reverence for Divine service, and set forth before the faithful the incomprehensible grandeur and holiness of the mysteries of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. Vestments for Divine worship become sacred in a special manner by reason of the blessing of the Church imparted to them, and of their religious symbolical meaning [….] The sacred vestments enjoy another religious feature by means of the mystic-symbolical (mysterious) meaning which the Church ascribes to them, and which should be ascribed to them. In the meaning of the Church of God there is nothing merely exterior: all is figurative and expressive of the interior, there all is “spirit and life”. The Church endeavors, namely, to spiritualize and transform, so to speak, corporeal things by means of higher, supernatural relations, in order to direct the observing, reflecting mind of the faithful to what is invisible, divine and eternal.

This is also the case with the liturgical vestments, which thus acquire the significance and virtue of a picture; for they indicate not only in general the majesty of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, but they express, in a special way, manifold mysteries that excite and nourish devotion. The sacred vestments are full of salutary instruction and admonition for all that will comprehend their meaning and attend to their language. Even if they were not originally introduced on account of this symbolism, the Church afterward justly ascribed to them a higher and mystical meaning, inasmuch as she made use, for example, of the name and origin, the color and destination, the usage and form, as well as the method and manner of putting on and wearing the vestments, in order to express mysteries of the life of Christ and of faith, and moral admonitions. The symbolical conception and meaning of the liturgical vestments is, therefore, fully justified and established” [1].

Gasparo 2
Torculus Christi, Gasparro (Source)

In other words, excellent liturgical art is an imperative, and it becomes especially spiritually useful to us when we see them in light of the mysteries of the Passion. Gihr’s thought dovetails well with what Ratzinger said about the connection between Eucharist and life. Without sacred art pointing us to the Cross, the Eucharist would remain mere ritual:

“Just as the Cross of Christ provides the eucharistic liturgy with its reality and content and lifts it above what is merely ritual and symbolic, making it into the real worship for all the world, so the Eucharist must ever and again press out beyond the sphere of mere cult, must become reality over and beyond that sphere, precisely in order that it may wholly become what it is and remain what it is.” [2]

The Eucharist “presses out” to give the Christian virtues a cultic center, so that “they are brought into line with the Cross of Christ himself, so that they appear as the continuing realization of what is portrayed in the Eucharist, and thus hold fast, throughout the epoch of the Church, that close connection between sacrament and life which stand at the origin of the Sacrament and is what alone constitutes the Sacrament as such.” [3]

The medieval translation offered below is an example of this “pressing out” of the sacramentality of Catholic art. Honorius draws each priestly garment into the Paschal Mystery, making it a sign of the Passion of Christ or of Christ’s virtues. Each of the virtues signified by a garment is won in the hard toil of asceticism, and all find their unity in the priest’s cultic character. The priest becomes a walking symbolic embodiment of asceticism.

In this light, any accusation of “aestheticism” disappears entirely: since allegory relentless directs the aesthetic exterior into a dramatic revelation of the Passion of Christ, and of our own Passions lived on its model. Allegory makes ascetic, along with aesthetic liturgical participation possible, making every liturgical instrument an instrument of our own Passion.

* * *

Gasparo 3.png
Blessed Pius IX, Gasparro (Source)

Ch. 198
On the Sacred Vestments

We have spoken thus far briefly about the ministers of the Church, now a few points must be added on the sacred vestments. Sacred vestments are taken from the Old Law. The ministers of Christ and his Church serve in white vestments because the angels, the ministers of the eternal king, appeared in white garments. Through the white vestments ministers working in the service of Christ are admonished to imitate the purity and chastity of the angels, who are the ministers of God. But the vestments that decorate the exterior stand for the virtues that adorn the interior man. Now there are seven vestments assigned to priests, for they are marked with the seven-fold orders so that they may shine with the seven virtues given by the seven-fold Spirit, and so adorned may proceed with the angels in the service of Christ.

Ch. 199
On the Priest’s Preparation

The priest who is to celebrate Mass, i.e. to wage spiritual warfare on behalf of the Church, must gird himself with spiritual weapons so that he may be defended against enemy’s temptations toward the vices. First he takes off his ordinary garments and puts on clean ones because one who is about to handle or receive the Body of Christ must take off the old man and his works, which are vices and sin, and “put on the new man,” i.e. the virtues and good works, “according to the likeness of God” (Ephesians 4). Then he combs his hair because the priest must compose his mind. He rinses his hands with water because he must wash away carnal works with weeping. Finally he washes any uncleanness from them because it is fitting for him to wipe away all works of the flesh through penitence.

Ch. 200
On the Washing of Hands

Before they sacrificed, the priests of the Law washed themselves in a basin made from the mirrors of the women who served at the entrance of the tabernacle. The basin made from the mirrors of women is Sacred Scripture, which is written about the conspicuous lives of holy souls. The women served at the entrance of the tabernacle because they yearned without ceasing after God’s eternal tabernacle. Priests on their way to sacrifice must wash in this basin, i.e. consider their life diligently in light of Sacred Scripture, purge themselves from faults by following the examples of the saints, and only then begin the Lord’s sacrifice.

Ch. 201
On the Amice

Next the priest puts on what the Law called the ephod (Exodus 30) and what we call the amice (amictus). It covers the head, neck, and shoulders (hence its name humerale) and is fastened with two ribbons at the breast. We wear it on our head, signifying hope for heavenly things, and we cover our head with the amice when we serve God in hope for heavenly things. We also use it to cover our neck, by which the voice is expressed, and we do this in hope of life, putting so to speak a guard on our mouth (Psalm 140:3) as a warning not to let any word escape our mouths unless it be to the praise of God. We cover our shoulders, which carry burdens, if we bear the Lord’s light yoke patiently. We do this if we undertake the works of the active life in hope of future things and come to our neighbor’s aid in times of need. The corners of the amice signify faith and works, which are both tied to hope. The corners are folded over one another in front of the chest, the upper one concealing the lower. This is because faith and works are joined, but faith is hidden in the heart, while works are manifest publicly for the edification of our neighbor. One corner is hidden, the other appears, because our acts shine before our neighbors, but our intention is hidden inside, visible only to God. The amice is fastened at the chest because wicked thoughts are excluded from the priest’s mind due to his hope for the heavenly fatherland. The two bands that fasten the amice at the breast are fear of punishment and the desire for eternal life, which the hope for heavenly things engraves on our hearts. It is a white vestment, because all of these things are splendid in the eyes of the Lord.

Ch. 202
On the Alb

Next he puts on the alb, which the Law called the linen tunic or the talaris and the Greeks call the poderis [ποδήρις]. It denotes chastity, which adorns the whole life of the priest. It descends to the ankles because the priest must preserve chastity until the end of his life. The opening (caputium) through which the head is passed is his profession, in which he promised to observe chastity. The string (ligula) that tightens and loosens the opening is the power of the priestly tongue, which binds sinners and losses the penitent. This garment is trimmed in the middle, wider at the base, and is divided into numerous folds (commissuris), because the virtue of chastity is hemmed in on every side by the pressures of the world, but is nourished and expanded by charity and divided into many virtues. This whiteness of this vestment is brilliant, because holiness shines forth before the face of God and his Angels.

Ch. 203
On the Cingulum

Next the priest girds himself with the cingulum, called a belt in the Law and a zona by the Greeks. The cingulum is girded around the loins and tightened to prevent the alb from billowing out and impeding his step. It signifies custody of the mind or conscience, which curbs wantonness and protects chastity, lest he fall into carnal things that impede the progress of good works, or be cast down into ruin through concupiscence.

Ch. 204
On the Stole

The priest next places the stole, or orarium on his neck, through which we are to understand obedience to the Gospel. For the Gospel is the sweet yoke of the Lord, and obedience is the thong; so it is as if the priest is tied to the yoke of Christ with thongs when he puts the stole around his neck. It is placed first on the left shoulder and drawn across the heart to the right side, because obedience to the Gospel is first observed in the active life. Then it is drawn through love to the right side of the contemplative life, then it is adjusted around the neck to the right shoulder, but not removed from the left, because after a while loving obedience to God is raised up to contemplation, while because of his love of neighbor he is not withdrawn from his neighbors in the active life.

Ch. 205
On Innocence

The stole also expresses innocence, which was lost in the first man and recovered when the fatted calf was slain. Blessed are they who keep their stole from the stain of transgressions, and when stained wash it with their tears, because their strength is in the wood of life, and in Christ they will possess the glory they had lost. Now the patriarchs used this vestment before the Law, and they were called the birth-right (primogenita). It was a priestly garment that eldest sons, such as Jacob and Isaac, received with the paternal blessing, and used to offer sacrifices to God as priests. Hence it is written: Sell me your birthright (primogenita tua) (Genesis 25). This was Esau’s stole. The stola was once called missa: for it was a white garment reaching down to the ground, but after the introduction of the alb, it was changed to its current form.

Ch. 206
On the Subcingulum

Next the subcingulum, which is called the perizoma or subcinctorium, is hung twice around the loins. It signifies the love of almsgiving, which restrains the disorder of sin. It has two parts because it is a precept binding on everyone to save his own soul first by avoiding sin, and then by giving his neighbor all his due.

Ch. 207
On the Chasuble

The chasuble is worn on top of all the other vestments, and it is charity, the most eminent among all the virtues in our faith. Chasuble (casula) means a small house, for just as the whole man is covered by a house, so charity embraces the whole body of the virtues. This vestment is also called planeta (which means wandering (error), because its stray (errabundus) folds must be lifted by each arm. It is folded twice in two places at the chest and between the shoulders; in two places, i.e. the arms, it is triple folded. It is double-folded at the chest because charity generates a holy mind and a good will. It is double-folded between the shoulders because through the same charity we are able to bear the adversities imposed by both our neighbors and our enemies. The vestment is lifted at the arms when charity does good works. On the right arm it is triple folded, when charity serves monks, clergy, and Christians out of love for God. It is triple-folded on the left when we offer material necessities to bad Catholics, Jews, or pagans. The chasuble is raised by the left arm so that we may love our friends in God. It is folded on the left, so that we may love our enemies for the Lord. The amice is tied on the outside, because hope always implies charity.

Ch. 208
On the Maniple

In the last place, the priest places the fanon (fanonem) on his left arm, which is also called the maniple (mappula) and kerchief (sudarium) because formerly it was used to wipe sweat or clean the nose. It signifies penitence, by which the stain of our daily trespasses is wiped away. It is worn on the left arm because we may wash our life clean by penitence only in the present time.

Having put on all these vestments the priest goes forth. But first he makes a confession, because even if his life shines resplendently with these virtues, it is fitting that he should call himself an unworthy servant, accuse himself of his past sins, and admit his guilt, so that he may find grace before the face of God.


[1] N. Gihr, The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass Dogmatically, Liturgically, and Ascetically Explained (Freiberg: Herder, 1902), pp. 271–272.

[2] Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, “Eucharist and Mission,” in Pilgrim Fellowship of Faith: The Church as Communion (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2002), pp. 90–122; pg. 98.

[3] Ibid., pp. 98–99.

Lebrun: On the Sign of the Cross (and wigs!)


Beginning the Mass with the Sign of the Cross.

Image result for 18th century bishop's wig

Whatever the form of the preparation the priest has performed before he vests himself in the priestly garments, he now goes to the food of the altar and there recalls that he is full of misery, and that he has need of a very particular assistance from God to offer a victim as pure and holy as that of the adorable Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It is sentiments such as these that detain him at the foot of the altar as he prepares to ask for the grace to ascend in a holy manner.

The Christian people, who ordinarily do not prepare themselves in a particular way before coming to Mass, should take care that at the beginning of this public preparation, which he shares with the priest and which belongs to him as well, he disposes himself to obtain the graces necessary to participate in the fruit of the Sacrifice.


Standing at the base of the altar, at the last step, in the middle of the altar, with head uncovered and hands joined, he makes the sign of the cross with his right hand, from his forehead to his chest, saying in an audible voice: In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.


On the practice of leaving the head uncovered; on the permission to wear a cap or wig; on the several ways of making the sign of the Cross and the reasons we begin with this sign

Bishop Richard Challoner (Source)
  1. The priest begins the Mass with his head uncovered, because the ancient custom of the Church is that men prayer with their heads bared. St. Paul recommended it,[1] and the Council of Rome presided over by Pope Zachary (743) makes it clear that this custom must be observed absolutely at Mass, and forbids the bishop, priest, or deacon to assist at the altar with head covered, on pain of excommunication.[2] It was nothing less than necessity that forced the popes and bishops to permit the wearing of the skull cap during Mass, and this permission does not include the time from the Canon to the end of the Communion.[3]
  2. The priest joins his hands, and keeps them in this position for the whole Mass, except when he needs to use them for some other task or raise them in prayer. Pope Nicholas I says that it is very fitting to have one’s hands tied, so to speak, when praying before God, and to bear ourselves in his presence as ones prepared to suffer punishment and to avoid being condemned like the wicked men in the Gospel parable.[4]
  3. The priest makes the sign of the Cross with his right hand, because this is the hand we use ordinarily, and because it has always been done this way.[5]
  4. He makes it from the forehead to the chest, thus including all the different ways the sign has been made. The ancient Roman Ordines note that it was made on the forehead.[6] This was a very common way and is still followed in some places, but it has been made also on the mouth and the heart. Now when we make it from the forehead to the chest we include all these: the forehead, mouth, and heart.

After having brought his hand to his chest, the priest brings it to his left shoulder. The Greeks bring it to the right, and the Latins once did so as well, according to Innocent III,[7] who nevertheless believes that it is more natural and easy to touch the left shoulder before the right. We bless all manner of persons and things in this way as well: after making the first line of the Cross in the air, we pass the hand from left to right.

There are also different ways to hold the fingers when making the sign of the Cross. One common practice is to lift three fingers because of the number of the divine persons.[8] The Greeks join the thumb to the ring finger, leaving the others raised.[9] Among the Latins, the custom of raising the first three fingers while crossing the other two has lasted a very long time: it is expressly recommended by Leo IV in 847 and is still used by the Carthusians and Dominicans. But due to the difficulty of holding the last two fingers crossed nearly everyone extends the hand and all the fingers.[10] One must follow current usage on this point and praise whatever is edifying in the differing customs of other times and places. Finally, the priest begins the Mass with the sign of the Cross, as it is fitting for Christians to commence any great action, and especially the act of sacrifice.

Tertullian,[11] St. Cyprian,[12] and many other ancient Fathers[13] tell us that formerly Christians made the sign of the Cross at the outset of all of their actions, either on the forehead, or the mouth, or the heart, or on their arms, so to invoke God’s help in all their needs through the Cross. We make this sign in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, i.e., on the part of and by the power of the three divine persons who desire that we should invoke them with confidence through the sign of the Cross.

In addition to these general purposes, the priest begins the Mass with the sign of the Cross because it should be his intention to recall the memory of the death of Jesus Christ, and thus he says at the same time: In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus sancti: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, to indicate that he is recalling to mind the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ to the honor of the Most Holy Trinity.

The priest and the Christian people have been consecrated to the three Divine Persons through Baptism; to the Father who has adopted them as his sons; to the Son in whom they have been adopted; and to the Holy Spirit through whom they have been adopted by receiving a second birth.[14] This adoption gives the faithful the right to approach the Holy Mysteries, and to offer the Holy Sacrifice along with the priest in the name of the three Divine Persons: in the name of the Father who who has given them his Son to be sacrificed; in the name of the Son who has been given to be immolated; and in the name of the Holy Spirit through whom he is offered.[15] To be offered through the Holy Spirit is to be offered through the spirit of charity and love.


[1] 1 Cor. 11.

[2] Nullus episcopus, presbyter, aut diaconus ad solemnia missarum celebranda praesumat cum baculo introire, aut velato capite altario dei assistere: quoniam et apostolus prohibet viros velato capite orare in ecclesia: et qui temere praesumpserit, communione privetur (Conc. tom. 6. Co. 1549; dist. 1, art. 2 de consecratione, cap. “Nullius”).

[3] The dispensation to wear a wig at the altar is based on necessity, is more dangerous, and should consequently be more rare, not only because it is granted for the whole duration of the Mass, but also because this permission should not be requested except for reasons of grave inconvenience, nor should it be granted by those competent to do so except under fitting restrictions on its length, curling, color, and worldly air, so that while introducing this new invention the rules prescribed by the canons regarding the modesty of the head will not be completely violated. Most people are of the opinion that that it would cause less evil to wear a cap throughout the Mass in order to remedy these inconveniences, rather than to wear a wig which is usually regarded as a sign of worldliness. It is certainly in order to avoid the difficulty of deciding between what is necessary and what is worldly that many cathedral chapters in France have resolved not to permit a priest, deacon, or subdeacon to officiate at the choir altar while wearing a wig, even though the permission has been granted to them by their bishops. The reader may find the Statutes, disputes, and judgments rendered on this article in M. Thiers’s Histoire des perruques (Paris, 1690), chapters 18, 19, and 28.

Love for the ancient discipline has moved the pope to be more rigorous on this point than the chapters have been. He has caused the following Ordinance to be hung in all the sacristies of Rome: “His Holiness desiring to put an end to the unbecoming practice found in sacristies and churches with regard to priests who wear wigs, orders the Rector, Sacristan, and other ministers of this church not to allow any priest to celebrate the Holy Mass nor exercise any ecclesiastical function while wearing a wig, either leaving it in the sacristy or not bringing it there in the first place, and this on pain of being deprived of their office, or of imprisonment, at our discretion. 30th September 1702, Gaspard, Card. Vic.” Today in the diocese of Avignon, which is part of the Papal States, the custom is to take off the wig in the sacristy before saying Mass.

[4] Respons. Ad Consult. Bulg.

[5] Justin. Quaest. 118.

[6] Faciens crucem in fronte sua (Ord. Rom. I and II).

[7] De sacro altaris mysterio, Book 2, Chapter 45.

[8] Honorius, Gemma Animae; Innocent III, De S. altaris myst., Book 5, Chapter 33.

[9] See Hierolexicon Macri et Genebrard on the liturgy, pg. 187. [Ed.: This claim lacks support.]

[10] The rubrics of the Missal of Trèves (1585), based on those of St. Pius V, indicate that the priest should extend all his fingers when to make the sign of the cross on himself, but only three when blessing anything else.

[11] Ad vestitum, etc. frontem crucis signaculo terimus (Coron. Mil. chapter 3 and Book 2 ad uxor.)

[12] Cypt. epist. 58.

[13] Ad omnem actum, ad omnem incessum manus pingat crucem (Jerome, Letter to Eustachius). Cum os stomachumque signaret (Idem ibid.) In fronte, ut semper confiteamur: in corde, ut semper diligamus; signaculum in brachio, ut semper operemur (Ambrose, chapter 8). Basil On the Holy Spirit. Cyril ().

[14] Renatus ex aqua et Spiritu sancto (John 3:5).

[15] Qui per Spiritum Sanctum semetipsum obtulit immaculatum (Hebr. 9:14).




Dom Guéranger on Translating the Missal

Dom Prosper Guéranger, founder and abbot of Solesmes Abbey

As a follow-up to our post about Pope Alexander VII’s brief Ad aures nostras condemning de Voisin’s translation of the missal for use by the laity, and Lebrun’s defence of such translations, we herewith post a translation of Dom Prosper Guéranger’s reflexions on the matter in volume 2 of his Institutions liturgiques.

Guéranger has been called the “father of the Liturgical Movement”: although the movement proper actually began in the 20th century through the efforts of Dom Lambert Beauduin, Guéranger did pioneer the rediscovery of liturgical piety and worked tirelessly to restore the liturgy to the centre of Christian life, through works like the Institutions liturgiques, written for use by seminarians and clergymen, and L’année liturgique, aimed at the general public. As one sees in the latter work, however, Guéranger refused to print a literal translation of the Roman Canon. He interpreted Ad aures nostras not as addressing particular problems of the 17th century French church, but as a general prohibition on full literal translations of the missal.

Guéranger was keenly aware of the importance of veiling in the liturgy, through which it expresses mystery and revelation (cf. Martin Mosebach, “Revelation Through Veiling in the Old Roman Catholic Liturgy” in The Heresy of Formlessness), and the use of Latin (and the silent Canon) is one of the foremost of these “veils”.

In the excerpt reproduced below, Guéranger warns against allowing the uneducated to have full access to the literal words of the holiest of the Church’s prayers, for it would constitute a rupture of this veil. He alludes to the disastrous consequences that easy access to literal translations of Holy Scripture had during and after the Protestant Revolt, and concludes with poses the rhetorical question: if it is so important that the laity be able to follow what the priest says during Mass word by word, why not just have Mass in the vernacular?

Any Catholic can doubtlessly see, given the gravity of the Roman Pontiff’s language, that [the translation of the Missal] was a grave matter, but more than one of our readers will perhaps be shocked, after what we have just reported, at the indifference wherewith an abuse which so aroused the zeal of Alexander VII is treated to-day. In our times, all the faithful in France, as long as they can read, can scrutinize the most mysterious parts of the Canon of the Mass thanks to the innumerable and ubiquitous translations thereof; and the Bible, in the vulgar tongue, is everywhere placed at their disposal. What are we to think about this state of affairs?

There is no need to bother Rome with the question: many a time, after Alexander VII, she has expressed herself so clearly as to leave no room for doubt. Yet let us keep in mind that the councils of the last three centuries have declared that the use of translations of Holy Scripture—as long as they are not accompanied by a gloss or notes drawn from the Church Fathers and the teachings of tradition—is illicit, and, on the authority of the Holy See and the clergy of France, we aver that any translation of the Canon of the Mass not accompanied by a commentary addressing any difficulties is akin to those prohibited translation of Scripture.


[On the argument that vernacular translations were necessary to facilitate the conversion of Protestants after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes.]

Could there really have been no alternative but an outright translation of the Canon of the Mass? Was it necessary to ignore the prescriptions of the Holy See and the Council of Trent, when it is so easy to attach to the text a commentary putting an end to all objections, a gloss that prevents the eye of a profane and illiterate reader to pierce the shadows that protect the mysteries against his curiosity, as is done everywhere except France?

From the moment the people can read in their own tongue, word by word, what the priest recites at the altar, why should the latter use a foreign language which at that point no longer hides anything? Why should he recite in a low voice what the lowliest charwoman or the coarsest drudge can follow and know as well as he? Those audacious proponents of the anti-liturgical heresy did not neglect to take advantage of these two terrible consequences, as we shall see in the rest of this story.

Tout catholique verra, sans doute, à la gravité du langage du Pontife romain, qu’il s’agissait dans cette occasion d’une affaire majeure ; mais plus d’un de nos lecteurs s’étonnera, peut-être, après ce que nous venons de rapporter, de l’insensibilité avec laquelle on considère aujourd’hui un abus qui excitait à un si haut degré le zèle d’Alexandre VII. Aujourd’hui, tous les fidèles de France, pour peu qu’ils sachent lire, sont à même de scruter ce qu’il y a de plus mystérieux dans le canon de la messe, grâce aux innombrables traductions qui en sont répandues en tous lieux ; la Bible, en langue vulgaire est, de toutes parts, mise à leur disposition : que doit-on penser de cet état de choses ? Certes, ce n’est pas à Rome que nous le demanderons : bien des fois, depuis Alexandre VII, elle s’est exprimée de manière à ne nous laisser aucun doute; mais nous dirons avec tous les conciles des trois derniers siècles, que l’usage des traductions de l’Écriture sainte, tant qu’elles ne sont pas accompagnées d’une glose ou de notes tirées des saints Pères et des enseignements de la tradition, sont illicites, et, avec l’autorité du Saint-Siège et du clergé de France, nous assimilerons aux versions de l’Écriture prohibées, toute traduction du canon de la messe qui serait pas accompagnée d’un commentaire qui prévienne les difficultés. 

[…] Mais n’y avait-il pas d’autre mesure qu’une traduction pure et simple du canon de la messe ? fallait-il compter pour rien les prescriptions du Saint-Siège, du concile de Trente, lorsqu’on avait le moyen si facile et mis en usage en tous lieux, excepté en France, de joindre au texte un commentaire qui arrête les objections, une glose qui ne permet pas que l’œil du lecteur profane et illettré perce des ombres qui garantissent les mystères contre sa curiosité. Du moment que le peuple peut lire en sa langue, mot pour mot, ce que le prêtre récite à l’autel, pourquoi ce dernier use-t-il d’une langue étrangère qui dès lors ne cache plus rien ? pourquoi récite-t-il à voix basse ce que la dernière servante, le plus grossier manœuvre suivent de l’œil et peuvent connaître aussi bien que lui ? Deux conséquences terribles que nos docteurs antiliturgistes ne manqueront pas de tirer avec toute leur audace, ainsi qu’on le verra dans la suite de ce récit.

Crusader Feasts in Spain: The Triumph of the Holy Cross

Although in the popular mind to-day the Crusades are mainly conceived as the Christian effort to wrest the Holy Land from the Mohammedan grasp, they were in fact a wide-ranging military enterprise carried out in divers theatres to humble all enemies of Holy Church. The expeditions to the Holy Land proved ultimately to be a noble lost cause, but all was hardly quiet in the western front: the Crusades in holy Spain were an admirable triumph, banishing the spectre of the paynim from the Iberian peninsula for aye—or at least till the advent of modernity.

Taking advantage of the inner turmoil that afflicted the Visigothic kingdom, the Umayyad horde swept into Spain in the 8th century with astonishing celerity. A few Visigothic Christians were able take refuge in the mountains of Cantabria, however, and under the leadership of Don Pelayo struck a memorable victory against the invaders in 722, and began the arduous process of reconquering the peninsula. 

The collapse of the Umayyad Caliphate allowed the Reconquista to enjoy great progress: the old Visigothic capital of Toledo was liberated in 1085 by Alphonse VI, king of Castile and Leon (and the figure principally responsible for imposing the Roman rite on Spain). Alarmed by the Christians’ victories, the petty Muslim chieftains of Iberia called for the aid of the brutal Almoravids, who held a north African kingdom centred on Marrakech. They won an alarming victory over the Christians at Sagrajas in 1086, after which they paraded the heads of the Christian dead around Spain and North Africa. This defeat led several Frankish knights to cross over the Pyrenees to succour their Spanish brethren, and although the Almoravid advance was halted, it was not reversed. Many of these knights would go on to participate in the First Crusade, and indeed the Spanish situation was very probably on the mind of the Blessed Urban II when he delivered that momentous sermon in Clermont, urging Christendom to resist the Muslim infidel.

Although this First Crusade was focused on bringing relief to the Byzantines and recovering the Holy Land, Pope Urban was keenly aware that the Spanish Reconquista was but another front of the same war, and when he learned that a band of Catalan knights was preparing to set off to the Holy Land, he urged to fight the Mohammedans in their own land instead. He specifically directed them to liberate the city of Tarragona, near Barcelona, promising them the same indulgences wherewith he had enriched the military pilgrimage to free Jerusalem, warning that “it is no virtue to rescue Christians from the Saracens in one place, only to expose them to the tyranny and oppression of the Saracens in another”. 

Successive popes continued to encourage expeditions to free parts of Spain, and, in 1123, when Pope Calixtus II proclaimed the Second Crusade during the First Lateran Council, he specifically declared that knights could fulfil their Crusader vows in Spain as well as in the Holy Land. At a council held in Santiago de Compostela, Archbishop Diego Gelmírez declared,

Just as the knights of Christ and the faithful sons of Holy Church opened the way to Jerusalem with much labour and spilling of blood, so we should become knights of Christ and, after defeating his wicked enemies the Muslims, open the way to the Sepulchre of the Lord through Spain, which is shorter and much less laborious.

The Reconquista was not merely a political or military excercise, but an integral element of Spanish religious life. In a letter to King Ferdinand the Catholic, Diego de Valera captures this significance when he declares that “the Queen fights [the Muslims] no less with her many alms and devout prayers than you, my Lord, armed with the lance”. As such, it should not be surprising that certain decisive military victories became fixed in the liturgical kalendars of the various dioceses of Iberia. 

The first victory to be commemorated liturgically was the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa. As the chronicle of Don Rodrigo, Archbishop of Toledo—which was the source of the the Second Nocturn lessons in Mattins of the feast—relates:

Alphonse, king of Castille, called the Good, yearned to repair the losses inflicted upon the Christians by the Moors, who held Andalusia and the entire expanse of southern Spain and had once defeated him. He therefore raised a great host, called upon neighbouring kings and princes, and besought the Supreme Pontiff Innocent III to grant that those who should fall in this holy war might not be restrained by any capital offenses from soaring up to heaven forthwith 1.

Alphonse’s armies won a decisive victory on 16 July 1212, and thenceforth the Christians would permanently hold the upper hand in the effort to free the Iberian peninsula.

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The earliest source for the feast of the Triumph of the Cross, from a 13th-century Cistercian lectionary found in the Abbey of Santa María la Real de Las Huelgas.

This victory was commemorated by the feast of the Triumph of the Holy Cross in Las Navas de Tolosa (in festo Triumphi Sanctae Crucis apud Navas Tolosae). The name might have been inspired by the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, which commemorated Emperor Heraclius’s defeat of the Persians, but the Mattins readings also recall miracles that occured during the battle:

And miracles occurred in this battle. First the paucity of Christian fatalities. A Cross, moreover, was seen in the sky by Alphonse and many others in the midst of the confrontation, when our side seemed most imperilled. Further, the Cross which was by custom carried before the Archbishop of Toledo, was twice carried into the enemy array, with the crucifer, Domingo Pascual, a canon of the church of Toledo, coming to no harm. And finally, a great multitude of Moors was crushed in the presence of an image of Our Lady, which was depicted on the royal standards. Wherefore, and because the Cross was the Christian ensign and emblem, this splendid victory was dubbed the Triumph of the Holy Cross 2.

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From a Missal according to the Use of Plasencia (1554)

This feast was a holy day of obligation in many Spanish dioceses during the Middle Ages, and it was one of the select feasts celebrated with a High Mass, Vespers, and sermon in the Royal Chapel of Castile. Some early liturgical books indicate that the propers of the feast were the same as those of the Exaltation except for the lessons at Mattins and the collect:

Collect: God, who by thy Cross willed to grant to the people who believe in thee victory against thine enemies: grant, that by thy mercy thou mightest ever secure victory and honour to those who adore thy Cross. Who livest and reignest, &c. (Deus, qui per crucem tuam populo in te credenti triumphum contra inimicos concedere voluisti: quæsumus, ut tua pietate adorantibus crucem: victoriam semper tribuas et honorem. Qui vivis et regnas, &c.)

Secret (borrowed from the feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross): Mercifully regard, O Lord, the sacrifice which we offer unto thee: that it might set us free from all the miseries of war; and by the banner of the holy Cross of thy Son, may establish us in the security of thy protection, so that we might overcome all the wiles of the enemy. Through the same Lord, &c. (Sacrificium, Domine, quod tibi immolamus, placatus intende: ut ab omni nos eruat bellorum nequitia; et per vexillum sanctæ Crucis Filii tui, ad conterendas adversariorum insidias, nos in tuæ protectionis securitate constituat. Per eundem Dominum, &c.)

Postcommunion (borrowed from a prayer said at the beginning of Mass in the Mozarabic rite): Hear us, O God, our Salvation, and by the triumph of the holy Cross, defend us from all dangers. Through our Lord, &c. (Exaudi nos Deus salutaris noster: et per triumphum sanctæ Crucis, a cunctis nos defende periculis. Per Dominum, &c.)

Later books, however, contain a proper Mass and Office, albeit compiled from preëxisting propers. Notably, they tended to come from Paschal masses, like the propers of the feast of the Liberation of Jerusalem.

Introit: Venite benedicti Patris mei, percipite regnum, quod vobis paratum est ab origine mundi, alleluia, alleluia. Ps. Cantate Dominum canticum novum: cantate Domino omnis terra. (From Easter Wednesday.)

Gradual: Haec dies quam fecit Dominus: exultemus et lætemur in ea. ℣. Dextera Domine fecit virtutem: dextera Domini exaltavit me. (From Easter Wednesday.)

Alleluia: Alleluia, alleluia. ℣. O quam gloriosum est regnum, in quo cum Christo gaudent omnes sancti; amicti stolis albis, sequuntur Agnum quocumque ierit. Alleluia. (From All Saints’ Day in certain uses.)

Offertory: Dextera Domine fecit virtutem: dextera Domini exaltavit me: dextera Domini fecit virtutem: non moriar, sed vivam, et narrabo opera Domini. (From the Second Sunday of Advent.)

Communion: Benedicimus Deum cæli et coram omnibus viventibus confitebimur ei: quia fecit nobiscum misericordiam suam. (From Trinity Sunday.)

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From the Spanish supplement to the Roman Missal (1753)

There is some variation in the various mediæval versions of this feast, but as fixed in the post-Tridentine books, the Epistle pericope is the conclusion of St Paul’s letter to the Galatians (6, 14-18), where the Apostle exclaims, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ; by whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world!”

The Gospel extract—Our Lord’s prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world (Luke 21, 9-19)—might seem odd at first: it appears to be a vision of apocalyptic terror rather than of triumph. Yet it reveals that the Spanish crusaders, like their counterparts in the Holy Land, saw their victories anagogically: despite the horrors of war or the end-times, the Christians will emerge victorious—capillus de capite vestro non peribit—and inherit not merely the kingdom of Spain, but the kingdom of heaven it represents. In fact, the introit is taken from the equivalent account of the apocalypse in the Gospel according to St Matthew: after much tribulation, the sheep shall be separated from the goats, and the everlasting king shall cry, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

The liturgical books of Seville included a sequence for this feast:

Let Spain recall
The new joys of the cross
With happy jubilation.
Remember the new grace,
And the new victory,
Under the patronage of the Cross.

He wished to renew
All the ancient miracles
He had accomplished.

And the incredulous peoples
Who spurned the Cross
Fell smitten before the Cross.

The enemy of the Cross,
The impious king, son of hell,
In madness of mind,

Goes forth against Christ,
And utters blasphemous words
Against the Cross.

In his pride he presses against the stars,
He sets his words against the heavens,
Contemning the holy Cross,
Rejecting the Crucified.

While he ponders haughtily,
He stirs the madness of the barbarians
Into a rage
To their own ruin.

For our patron,
Our goodly Jesus,
Hears the prayers,
Of his faithful
And heeds them.

When he sees
That needs must,
He protects his own,
And rules them,
Providing succour.

Behold, the lovers of the Cross
The followers of Christ the king,
Receive the Spirit,

Stirred by Christ the king,
And marked by the holy Cross,
They boldly fight.

For such a victory,
Glory be to Christ. 

Nova crucis gaudia
Recolat Hispania
Laeto cum tripudio
Novae memor gratiae
Novaeque victoriae
Crucis patrocinio.

Cuncta qui disposuit,
Renovare voluit
Antiqua miracula,

Et qui crucem sperneret,
Ante crucem caderet
Caesa gens incredula.

Crucis hostis impius
Rex, gehennae filius,
Spiritu vesaniae

Contra Christum nititur
Et in crucem loquitur
Sermones blasphemiae.

Fasta premit sidera
Ponit os in aethera
Crucem sanctam improbans,
Crucifixum reprobans;

Dum superbe cogitat
In furorem excitat
Barbarorum rabiem
Ad suam perniciem.

Nam patronus,
Iesus bonus,
Preces audit
Et exaudit
Suorum fidelium;

Cum necesse
Videt esse
Suos tegit
Atque regit
Conferens auxilium.

Ecce, crucis amatores,
Christo duce sectatores
Spiritum concipiunt,

Excitati Christo duce
Et signati sancta cruce
Alacres efficiunt.

Pro tali victoria
Detur Christo gloria.

The synod of Toledo held in 1536 under Cardinal Juan Pardo de Tavera confirmed this feast’s status as a day of obligation. After the Tridentine reforms, all the Spanish dioceses conformed their liturgical books to the Roman ones, but, at the request of King Philip II, on 30 December 1573 Pope Gregory XIII issued the bull Pastoralis officii permitting the lands subject to the Spanish crown to retain several local traditional feasts, including that of the Triumph of the Holy Cross; during this time the feast is also found in liturgical books from Portugal and the New World. In the course of the centuries, however, it was overshadowed by the increasing popularity of the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, also on 16 July, which was fixed onto the universal kalendar in 1726, although the Triumph continued to be celebrated in some dioceses of Spain until the liturgical reforms wrought in the aftermath of Vatican II.

The events of the Reconquista, then, like the rest of the Crusades, were of such religious import as to be worthy of being incorporated into the liturgical life of the dioceses of Spain, and thereby take their proper place in the history of salvation, themselves harbingers of greater victories to come.


1. Alfonsus Castellæ Rex, cognomento Bonus, cupiens damna Christianis a Mauris (Bæticam, totamque illam Australem Hispaniæ plagam possidentibus) illata resarcire (semel enim ab eis fuerat superatus) magnum conflavit exercitum: reges finitimos ac Dynastas solicitavit; condonationes a Summo Pontifice Innocentio Tertio impetravit, ut in eo pio bello qui caderent, nullis capitalibus commissis præpedirentur, quo minus ad cælos statim evolarent.

2. Miraque in hoc prælio contigerunt. Numerus primum occisorum in tanta paucitate Christianorum. Crux item in medio conflictu, cum nostri maxime laborare viderentur, Alfonso, quam plurimisque aliis visa est in aëre. Præterea Crux, quæ præsulem ante Toletanum de more gestabatur, bis (incolumi signifero Dominico Paschasio Toletanæ Ecclesiæ Canonico) aciem hostium sublata penetravit. Denique ad præsentiam imaginis beatæ virginis Mariæ, quæ in vexilla regiis depicta erat, ingens Maurorum multitudo corruit. Quare, et quod Christianis symbolum ac insigne Crux erat, Triumphus sanctæ Crucis hæc præclara victoria appellata est.