As we saw on Friday, for centuries the Abbey of St-Denys used to celebrate the Octave Day of its patron with a Mass where all the sung portions were in Greek. The translation of the sequence Gaude prole Grecia, attributed to both King Robert the Pious and Adam of St-Victor, is especially remarkable for its successful effort to preserve the metrical structure needed to fit the text to the melody.
Beginning with the new Parisian missal promulgated by the Lord Archsbishop François de Harlay in 1684, the neo-Gallican liturgical books that festered in France during the Enlightenment Age altered this sequence to expunge any connection between St Dionysius the Areopagite and St Dionysius of Paris. The Abbey of St-Denys, however, remained firm in defending the Greek origins of its patron, and sung the original text until the Revolution.
Ἑλλὰς, ἐν τέκνῳ χαῖρε·
Ἐν πατρὶ Διονύσῳ.
Ἀγαλλιάσθω πλέον Παρίσιος, εὐσχήμων
Ὁσίου τῷ θανάτῳ.
Until the French Revolution, the custom prevailed in the Royal Abbey of St-Denys to celebrate the Octave Day of its patron St Dionysius on 16 October with a Mass where all the sung parts—the Ordinary, the Propers, and the Preface—were chanted in Greek. The text was translated from the Latin original and set to the same music. The parts said silently by the ministers, including the Canon, remained in Latin.
This Greek Mass was manifestly an expression of the tradition that St Dionysius, first bishop of Paris, was St Dionysius the Areopagite, the Greek disciple of St Paul, philosopher, and first bishop of Athens, who abdicated his Hellenic see to go evangelize Gaul with his companions SS. Eleutherius and Rusticus. However, this custom was only the longest-lived instance of an erstwhile more widespread practice of singing Roman Rite masses partly in Greek. Several mediæval manuscripts survive that contain the Ordinary of the Mass in Greek, written in Latin characters: Doxa en ipsistis Theo; Pisteuo eis ena Theon; Agios, Agios, Agios; and O amnos tu Theu. The fascinating question of the origin of these missae graecae has not been conclusively settled, as we hope to discuss in a future post.
Here we provide a translation of the introduction to an edition of the Greek Mass in honour of St Dionysius published in 1777. The author discusses the origin of the Greek Mass, as well as the practice among the monks of St Denys and elsewhere to receive Communion under both species, also a vestige of a once more common practice.
Three things demand some remark and explanation: first, the origin of this Greek Mass, and of the Prosechanted therein; secondly, the Edition here provided; and thirdly, the custom of Communion under two species observed during this Mass.
On the Origin of this Greek Mass and its Prose.
As the learned Dom Michel Félibien writes in his History of the Royal Abbey of Saint-Denys, the moment when this Mass in Greek began to be celebrated in the Abbey cannot be pinpointed exactly. This use seems to have arisen from the identification of St Dionysius the Areopagite with St Dionysius the first bishop of Paris. This opinion originated, according to some, or was accepted, according to others, from the time of Hilduin, Abbot of St-Denys around the year 826, when ambassadors from Constantinople presented Emperor Louis the Pious with certain works attributed to St Dionysius the Areopagite, wishing, perhaps, to thereby suggest to the French that the first bishop of Paris, venerated from that time as one of the main Apostles of the Gauls, was the Areopagite himself.
Huilduin believed it, and in his thanksgiving letter to Louis the Pious—who had ordered that these works be placed over the tomb of St Dionysius, to whom offered them—assured the Emperor that nineteen miracles had occured at the tomb of the holy martyr the very night the works were placed there. Around the year 835, then, Louis the Pious, attributing his recovery of the throne to the protection of St Dionysius, assigned Hilduin to write a life of this holy bishop, whose relics were kept in his monastery. Huildin, happy to enhance the glory of his abbey and honour its patron, gladly carried out the Emperor’s orders. He says that everything he writes is taken from Greek and Latin authors, from the works of St Dionysius, from his ancient Acts, and, inter alia, from two Masses and some hymns. Were these Masses in Greek or Latin? We do not have the answer, but, as his view that St Dionysius the Areopagite was the same as St Dionysius the first bishop of Paris was prevalent throughout France from the time of his writing until the 17th century, it is quite possible that the monks of this abbey took the occasion to celebrate this Greek Mass every year on the Octave Day of their holy patron. Hulduin died shortly after Louis the Pious, around 22 November 840.
But whatever the origin of this use, it is certain that it is ancient, for this Greek Mass in the Roman Rite, as it is sung today, is marked by a ceremonial over five hundred years old. Moreover, as it is certain that Charlemagne and Louis the Pious introduced the Roman Rite into France at the beginning of the 9th century, the origin of this Mass must lie between the 9th and 13th centuries.
When the Congregation of St Maur took over the Abbey of St-Denys in 1633, it did not think it needful to change its customs, and hence has continued to celebrate the Greek Mass, without presuming to enter into a debate about the three different views that the scholars hold about St Dionysius. Some, like Hilduin, assert that St Dionysius, the first bishop of Paris, was the same as St Dionysius the Areopagite, first bishop of Athens. Others believe, following the Acts of the Martyrdom of St Dionysius, which are recognized as predating Hilduin, that another St Dionysius, different from the Areopagite, was sent to the Gauls by Pope St Clement. The third party holds, following Sulpicius Severus, that the faith did not reach the Gauls until the second century, and, following St Gregory of Tours, that St Dionysius was one of those sent to the Gauls in the middle of the third century. But ALL ARE AGREED in honouring St Dionysius as the first bishop of Paris.
The monks of St Dionysius have preserved the ancient Mass as it was handed down to them by their predecessors.
And so one should hardly be surprised to find in this Mass an Epistle taken from the Acts of the Apostles that makes reference to St Dionysius the Areopagite, and in the Prose, the martyrdom of St Dionysius is placed during the rule of the Emperor Domitian, whose persecution began in the year 95, and ended with his death in 96. It is remarkable that this Prose certainly supposes that St Dionysius came from Greece, as is clearly enough shown by his name, but does not say that he was the same as the Areopagite. The Greek Prose is simply a translation of the Latin Prose, and the Latin Prose or Sequence might have been written by King Robert, son of Hugh Capet, who died in 1031. It is essentially the same as the one sung in the diocese of Paris; only a few stanzas have been changed in the last few centuries. The chant is also essentially the same, with only minor differences.
François de Harlay, Archbishop of Paris († 1695), after having consulted the theological faculty of Paris about the reform of the Parisian breviary, decided that this breviary would follow the ancient tradition of the Gallican church about the identity of St Dionysius the Areopagite and St Dionysius bishop of Paris.
About Communion under Two Species
Most people who attend the main Mass in the Abbey of St.-Denys on Sundays and feasts pay no heed to something that might prove edifying to their piety, and remind them of one of the most respectable customs of the early Church: viz., that the celebrant, deacon, and subdeacon receive communion under both species.
Immediately after the Kiss of Peace, which those in choir give one another during the Agnus Dei, the deacon goes up to the left of the celebrant, while the subdeacon betakes himself to the credence to pick up an empty chalice and a golden reed (chalumeau; Latin calamus, fistula) which he takes to the altar at the celebrant’s right.
While the celebrant receives the Body of Our Lord under the species of bread, these two ministers bow profoundly and say the Confiteor. Then, the subdeacon present the golden reed to the celebrant, who uses it to drink part of the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ in the large chalice by sipping it. At this moment, all those in choir come together beneath the altar steps, with the deacon and subdeacon above them, and make a profound genuflection.
The celebrant, after having taken part of the Precious Blood, gets up and the deacon takes the chalice with one hand and the reed with the other. He remains beside the altar for an instant to give the celebrant time to adore the Saviour’s Blood. Then, the deacon and subdeacon, to the former’s left, go together to the Altar of Communion, preceded by part of the clerics in choir. This Altar stands against a pillar of the sanctuary, on the Gospel side. Here, the deacon, after having put down the chalice and reed in the hands of the subdeacon, goes back to genuflect before the middle of the high altar, where he receives Communion from the hands of the celebrant under the species of bread, as usual. He then comes down, genuflects again, and returns to the small altar. When he arrives, he again adores Our Lord and takes the reed from the hands of the subdeacon, with the end of which he takes the particle that the celebrant placed there after the fraction of the host. He takes it up to his mouth and swallows it, and then takes portion of the Precious Blood by sipping it.
Meanwhile, the sub-deacon does the same thing. He leaves the little altar after having adored the Saviour’s Blood and goes to the base of the high altar to make a genuflection, climbs the steps, receives Communion from the hands of the celebrant, and returns to take the rest of the Precious Blood with the reed which the Deacon gives to him.
This done, the deacon pours wine into the chalice for the ablution, drinks a portion of it with the reed, and ascends the altar to change the celebrant’s book to the other side. The subdeacon, after having taken his own part of the ablution, takes the chalice and carries it to the altar, where he purifies it along with the one used by the celebrant for his particular ablutions, then carries everything back to the credence.
On Maundy Thursday, although all the religious of the community communicate at the High Mass under the species of bread, a Communion under two species is made nevertheless by the deacon and subdeacon immediately before the general communion.
On the opening day of the general Diet that takes place at St-Denys every three years with a Solemn Mass of the Holy Spirit, on the Second Sunday after Easter, the ministers at the altar are members of this assembly. Nevertheless the deacon and subdeacon commune under the two species because they are monks of the same body of a single Congregation, which justifies the same privilege.
This ceremony, or rather this communion under two species, which appears to be a privilege and which is today effectively a very singular prerogative, is nothing more than the ancient custom of many churches of France.
Our Holy Father the Pope, in Masses at which he celebrates, gives the deacon and subdeacon communion not with two individual hosts but from half of the large host he consecrates at Mass, of which he puts a portion in the chalice after the fraction. Thus the pope communicates with only half of the host and then takes a portion of the Precious Blood with the reed. Thereafter, having divided the half of the host already eaten into into two parts, he gives one to the deacon, who takes with the end of the reed the part the Pope has left in the chalice. Then he takes a portion of the Precious Blood. The Pope thereupon gives the other part of the large host to the subdeacon, to whom the deacon gives the reed that he might take the rest of the Precious Blood. The deacon then puts a bit of wine into the chalice for the ablution, of which he takes a portion and the subdeacon the other.
The Lord Bishop of Chartres has informed us that on Maundy Thursday, he receives communion with the deacon and subdeacon under both species, with the difference that the bishop himself consumes the portion of the host he put into the chalice.
In the Abbey of Cluny, communion is received under both species on all Sundays and all Major and Minor Solemnities, which are called Feasts of the First and Second Order in the Congregation of St Maur.
Before Mass, the Sacristan prepares a credence on the Gospel side. He covers it with a very clean cloth, two candlesticks with their candles, a cross in the middle, and a chalice to give the ablution to those who received communion under the species of bread and wine, who use a reed given to them for this purpose during communion.
The deacon always performs this ceremony. After consuming the large host, the celebrant drinks a bit of the Precious Blood with the particle that is in the chalice. He then goes to the epistle side to make way for the deacon, who takes the chalice, takes it to the credence that has been prepared, upon which lies a corporal and a purificator. The two acolytes accompany him with their candlesticks on hand.
After the due inclinations and genuflexions, the deacon remains on his knees next to the credence, while the celebrant gives communion to the subdeacon (if he is not a priest) and to the two acolytes, professed monks who are called assistants.
The subdeacon and these two acolyte assistants then go to the small altar or credence and there receive communion under the species of wine by means of the reed. The deacon gives this reed to the subdeacon, putting it between his fingers, and then to the two others.
When all three of them have partaken of the Precious Blood, the deacon takes the chalice, in which there is still wine left, and carries it to the high altar accompanied as before by the acolytes with their candles. The celebrant consumes the remaining wine. Then the necessary ablutions take place, for the celebrant as well as for those who have communicated under two species.
This communion is not done under two species at Cluny at the great masses in commemoration of the dead, as it in at St-Denys.
The deacon who serves at the altar on the days of this communion is always a priest and he does not take part in it. It is his duty to keep the chalice on the credence and present the reed to the three communicants.
On the opening day of the General Chapter at Cluny, a ceremony is performed in the church which is considered a vestige of venerable antiquity. At the offertory, each of the capitulars goes up bearing a small bread to be consecrated for communion. They put it upon a paten held by the Lord Abbot General, kissing his ring and the paten. During communion, all the capitulars go up to the altar to receive the species they have offered, but they do not receive communion under the species of wine, except for the two acolytes assistants, as mentioned above.
This communion is a remnant of the ancient practice of many churches, which since the holy Council of Trent has become the precious prerogative of those churches that have preserved it. Indeed, the in records of this Council, collected by M. Dupuy, one finds that the ambassadors of the King of France pointed out to the Council legates that, if anything would be changed in what had been planned in the 21st session, it should be without prejudice to the prerogative of the Kings of France, who received communion under both species on the day of their Coronation and Anointing, and to the ancient custom of certain Monasteries of the Realm where the monks who were not yet priests also communicated under both species on certain days of the year. Although the Abbey of St-Denys was not mentioned specifically, it is certain that it was included in the ambassadors’ Instruction, as was the Abbey of Cluny. To-day, only these two monasteries have retained communion under both species, not by special privilege, as many suppose, but by uninterrupted practice in these two churches during the Solemn Mass of Sundays and the main feasts of the year.
Prose (prosa) is the usual Gallican term for a Sequence (sequentia).
Akin to the fistula, the reed used by the Pope to receive the Precious Blood in Papal Mass.
Chapter XXXIII Destroying the jubés causes scandal to Catholics and Heretics.
The [architectural and ceremonial] order of the Church is something so beautiful, so wisely disposed, so edifying, that every true Christian is obliged to love it, and to contribute, as far as possible, to its preservation.
But the ambonoclasts have taken no regard for this order. For in the end jubés are part of the Church’s order, because they are part of our churches; because without them our churches become imperfect and mutilated; and because they have always been found wherever their constructions has been possible or necessary. Thus destroying the jubés is to act contrary to the Church’s order.
It is also part of the Church’s [order] to chant the Gospel in the jubés. It has been chanted there in every century. Tradition bears testimony to this. The authors who wrote on the divine offices speak of it as as a custom observed constantly and by everyone, they have commented on the ceremonies attached to it, expounded on its mysteries, and explained its reasons. Finally, the author of the Micrologus (Ch. 4), where he claims that the Church does not assign priests the office of chanting the Gospel in the jubés as she has the deacons, necessarily assumes that the deacons chant it there: “Nor does the priestly ordo demand that they ascend into the ambo to read the Gospel like a deacon.”
But how can we chant the Gospel in the jubés if they have been knocked down? Thus, destroying jubés is to go against the Church’s order.
Further, disturbing the church’s order is another way to act against it, and one certainly disturbs it when one obliges deacons to chant the Gospel somewhere else than in the jubés where they are accustomed to sing it. And St. Augustine’s rule applies very well here: “Changing a custom, no matter how much advantage it might bring, always causes trouble on account of its newness.”
Now it simply isn’t possible that a change of this nature and importance has had the approval of people who have zeal for good discipline, are concerned for the Church’s honor, and have respect for sacred tradition. At least I am certain that Raoul de Breda, who argued that there should be no novelty whatsoever in the divine offices, would want to repeat: “In divino officio est a novitatibus omnimodo abstinendum.”
And I make bold to say that Nicholas de Clémenge, Archdeacon of Bayeux, would decry it with all his power, because he has said on a similar occasion that “there is nothing more capricious, more unreliable, more shameful, more ridiculous than to change one’s order continually, to abrogate its uses, to abolish its customs, to exchange its rules for new ones, or rather, for new irregularities.”
This change can only scandalize the true faithful when they see that it is directly contrary to the wise maxim of St. Ambrose, who said that we must defend the customs of the Church wherever we find them, if we want to avoid scandalizing anyone or being scandalized ourselves.
It can only scandalize them when they see it is the work of a few individual, unenlightened men poorly versed in their duties, and that the divine offices and customs of the churches should not be governed by the caprice of individuals but by the authority of the ancients, as Raoul claims once again: “Officium divinum majorum auctoritate non diversorum arbitrio regi debet.”
It can only scandalize them when they see ceremonies full of great mystery abolished, such holy ceremonies that were formerly practiced in churches that had jubés, and are practiced no more today because there are no more jubés.
Finally, when they see this one change becomes a pretence for making considerable innovations in the Missals and Ceremonials, where it is necessary to erase ancient rubrics and substitute new ones in their place: this is another example of the disorder Nicholas of Clémenge complained about: “The ancient practices of the churches is being destroyed, their ancient customs and ancient government violated. Their customary books are being ruined and every day new erasures, subtractions, and additions are made.”
Finally, this change can only scandalize the heretics who are already poorly informed about the Church’s ceremonies, giving them excuse to believe and to say: “Our Fathers were ignorant and mistaken about ceremonies of reading the Gospel on the jubés; they were inappropriate, baseless, pointless, and completely useless, or at least indifferent, since they were abolished so easily and without any scruple. No, everyone considered it a brave deed!
The Son of God pronounced terrible curses on the authors of scandal: “Woe to him by whom scandal comes.” And the holy Apostle Paul expressly forbids Christians “Give no offence to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God.”
Chapter XXXIV The damage is not irreparable. Three ways to restore the jubés.
Even so, we desire to enter into good relations with the ambonoclasts. For the interest of the Church and their own honor, I think there is no better way to do this than by assuring them that their fault, however great, is not irreparable, and by proposing to them the means of making up for it. Nevertheless, the only thing is to rebuild the jubés where they have been destroyed, and they can do this in several ways.
I do not know whether there have been ambonoclasts in the East, but I am sure they have never destroyed their jubés out of a desire to make their churches more clear and orderly. On the contrary, I find that Simeon of Thessalonica and other Greeks who have written since the fall of the eastern empire, presuppose the existence of jubés in their churches. Arcudius of Corfou, M. Allatio of Chios, also assume it, though M. Allatio claims they have fallen into disuse in nearly all of Greek, probably because, as we have remarked, the Turks do not permit the Greeks to restore their churches to their former condition.
But without lingering any longer over the jubés of the eastern churches, we dedicate ourselves solely to what can be done for the re-establishment of the jubés of the western churches.
The portable and rolling jubés like the one used at St. John Lateran to chant the Exultet or the blessing of the Paschal candle; at St. Calixtus of Cysoing, and a few other churches of Flanders for chanting the Epistle and Gospel, besides being cumbersome, since they have to be moved for the various readings that they are used for, and since this transition always involves some disturbance of the divine offices, they do not seem very serviceable for carrying out the ceremonies of the Gospel reading with dignity and convenience. Therefore I do not think the ambonoclasts would sufficiently repair the damage they have done to the churches whose jubés they have demolished if they erect new ones of this type.
The jubés in the eastern style, in front of the sanctuary door, are as unsuitable for us as for the ambonoclasts, because we are not used to them, they are not from our tradition, and they block the view of everyone behind them so that they cannot see the choir and altar.
Since the ambonoclasts are particularly set against the jubés that cross the whole width of the choir, a proposal to restore them to their previous state would certainly not be well received. Their own vanity would be opposed, preventing them from making a public admission of their fault. Nevertheless, since this is a very ancient form of the jubé, found in nearly all the great ancient churches cathedral, parish, or collegial, and are admirably suited to house with pomp and majesty and in good order all the ceremonies for which they have always been intended, it would be desirable to preserve their memory. The ambonoclasts could restore them in such a manner that the lower levels are open, supported only by columns of proportionate size, and so that the cloister abutting it is merely a balustrade, as in the cathedral churches of Reims and Noyon. They should place open double stairways on the two extremities, with one entrance from the nave and the other from the choir, as in each of the two tribunes of the metropolitan church of Sens. This architecture would go a long way to remedy, I think, the small inconveniences the ambonoclasts have pointed out in this type of jubé. Then the churches would never have an obstructed view, and people in the nave would be able to see what is going on in the choir and at the altar.
If this compromise solution doesn’t suit the ambonoclasts, they can build small tribunes between the choir and the nave on the two corners of the choir, crossing only a part of the choir’s width, and similar to the ones found in Rome in the churches of San Clemente, Santa Maria in Aracoeli, San Cesareo and San Nereo ; in Milan in the cathedral church; in San Miniato of Florence; in Sens in the metropolitan church and the parish church of St. Hilary; and in Paris in the parish churches of St. John en Grève, St. Gervais, and St. Nicolas-des-Champs. […]
Finally, if even these jubés do not please the ambonoclasts, they may build ones bigger than our largest preaching pulpits, in which one may chant at least the Lessons of Matins, the Epistle and Gospel with convenience and decency. They can place them between the choir and the nave, in the middle of the enclosure between the two doors of the choir, as at the parish church of Ste Cérotte near St. Calais in Maine, or near the middle of the nave on the Gospel side as at San Pancrazio in Rome, or on the Epistle side as at Sant’Ambrogio of Milan and San Salvatore in Ravenna.
However they rebuild the jubés, we will be content if they do, and we will stop criticizing them for their lack of respect for the ancient ceremonies of the Church, for their double temerity, for rendering our churches imperfect and even mutilated, for sinning against the prescribed rules, the holy Fathers, and the Council of Trent, for destroying the memory of the mysteries that the jubés embody in the thought of the holy Fathers and other ecclesiastical writers, for abolishing important ceremonies and so diminishing the worship of God, for destroying the reasons for the ceremonies that take place in the jubés, for overthrowing the order of the Church and scandalizing Catholics and heretics alike. We can even promise them that the Church will be edified, that truly enlightened and genuinely pious people will laud them for their humble submission that they will render to the truth after being apprised of it.
It is still little understood why the jubés in French churches were so quickly and methodically replaced in the 17th and 18th centuries, but one of the reasons the “ambonoclasts” of the time gave to justify removing screens was that they were “regarded as useless ornaments, irregular protrusions, and inconvenient obstacles which rob the faithful of a view of the holy altars and prevent them from contemplating the most august Mysteries at their leisure.”
In other words, an aesthetic complaint–they obstructed a clear view of the interior and its main lines–combined with a “pastoral concern”–that they excluded the laity. Fr. Thiers takes on the first of these objections in this chapter.
Destroying the jubés mutilates our churches
One of the principal reasons that ought to arrest the immoderate and benighted zeal of the jubés declared enemies is that they cannot remove them from churches without rendering them imperfect, and I daresay, mutilated. For a thing is imperfect and mutilated when it lacks one of the parts that it should have and of which it ought to be composed. Now it is certain that, generally speaking, the jubés are an integral part of churches, especially of great and ancient churches.
For this reason St. Germanus, Patriarch of Constantinople, explaining the main parts of the church in his Meditation on Church Matters, includes the jubé. Symeon of Thessalonica, in his book Interpretation of the Christian Temple and its Rituals, published in Fr. Goar’s Euchologe, also places it among the parts of a church. William Durandus, speaking of the church and its parts at the beginning of his Rationale, mentions the jubé explicitly. The Ceremoniale Episcoporum numbers the jubé among the things necessary for Solemn Masses: Ambones ubi epistola et evangelia decantari solent. Hospinien and Fr. Boulanger, in their treatises on temples, did not neglect the jubés. Neither did M. Allatio in his second letter to Fr. Morin, Des Temples des Grecs d’aujourd’hui. Fr. Goar and M. de Schelstrate gave them a place in the plans they made of eastern churches. Fr. Morin gives them ample treatment in his book De antiquis Christianorum Ecclesiis, and mentions them elsewhere. Finally, Fr. Cabassout very explicitly affirms, in his Diatribe de la situation, des parties, et de la forme des anciennes Eglises, that the jubé is the third part of the church: Tertia ecclesiae pars ambon dicebatur.
I am well aware that there are a number of churches without jubés, of which, therefore, jubés are not an integral part. But I also know that this does not justify the conduct of the ambonoclasts. For these churches are either cathedral churches, parish churches, collegiate churches, churches belonging to regulars, or private chapels. I maintain that of those churches that do not now have jubés, some either had them formerly, or if they never had them, that there is a reason for it. Let me explain.
a) Cathedral Churches
I know of no great, ancient cathedral that does not have a jubé. But if there are some that lack a jubé, it is because they have been destroyed by fire, damaged during war, or demolished by the heretics. The new cathedrals that do not have jubés are:
1) Those that have all been built, repaired, for renovated recently by architects who do not know the rules of the Church, or did not want to be bound by them and thought the jubés completely useless. So there is no jubé in the new Cathedral of Besançon, though there was a very beautiful one in the ancient cathedral, which was demolished in our time.
2) Those that were formerly Huguenot churches, as that of La Rochelle;
3) Those that were erected over what used to be monastic churches, where there was no jubé originally. Jubés could very well have been built in such cathedrals after they changed their state and character, but the prelates and canons who governed them either were not willing or generous enough to make the expense, or did not find the space suitable for one, or had some other reason for not building a jubé.
Whatever the case may be, we must grant this in justice to the cathedrals, that they are incomparably more attached to ancient practice than other churches are, that they are less prone to make innovations, and that they preserve their jubés more religiously.
b) Parish Churches
The great, ancient parish churches too formerly had their own jubés, and there are many today where jubés may be found. The parishes of Rome, which later become the cardinals’ titular churches, are a good example. St. Sylvester had one built in the church of San Lorenzo; Sixtus III beautified the jubé of the church of St. Mary Major with porphyry; and Sergius I built the jubé of the church of Ss. Cosmas and Damian.
Since there were formerly stational masses in the parish churches of Rome, there must have been jubés in these churches because the Ordo Romanus, which explains the ceremonies that were observed in these Solemn Masses, notes expressly that the Gospel is chanted in the jubé.
In Sens there are jubés in the parish churches of Saint-Hilaire, Sainte-Colombe-la-Petite, Saint-Pierre-le-Rond, and Saint-Maurice. In Rouen there are jubés in the churches of Saint-Maclou and Saint-Vivien. Finally, there are jubés in innumerable other parish churches of various dioceses and cities where the piety of the people, the zeal and enlightenment of pastors and bishops have devotedly preserved them.
But it is not surprising that most small parish churches have never had jubés. For there would have been no use for them, since they were served by only one priest and it would not have been quite convenient for him to leave the the altar to go sing the the Epistle and Gospel on the jubé. Additionally, High Masses were often not sung in these churches for lack of cantors. When they were sung on certain solemn days, the priest could chant the Epistle and Gospel in a loud voice and be understood by the people, who were not numerous nor far removed from him. Centuries have passed and the situation is no longer so: there are scarcely any little parishes today where the Mass is not chanted at least on Sundays and solemn feasts.
As the number of faithful has increased, vicars and priests have been added to many parishes, and if they have not had jubés built it is not because they are not necessary to perform the divine offices well, but either because the arrangement of the space does not permit it or because neither the priests nor the people have had the means.
Nevertheless, there are still a large number of jubés to be seen in the churches of large towns and villages that fire, war, and heresy have spared, and which have not been exposed to the reckless and irregular renovation of the new ambonoclast architects.
c) Collegiate Churches
We can make the same judgment about collegiate churches as about the cathedrals. All the great ancient collegiate churches have their jubés, with the exceptions however that we made when speaking about cathedrals.
There are jubés in the collegiate churches of Saint-Étienne and Saint-Just in Lyon, and there was once one in St. Nizier before the Huguenots demolished it in 1585. There are jubés in the collegiate church of Saint-Martin de Tours, Saint-Symphorien, and Sainte-Balsamie of Reims, of Saint-Pierre in Mâcon, Saint-André in Chartres, in Monbrison, in Saint-Quentin in Vermandois, etc.
d) Churches of the Regular Orders
With respect to the churches of the Regular Orders, we must make distinctions with respect to time periods and the different institutes in order to know whether they once had jubés, and if they had them, where they are today.
In the West it seems that religious went a long time without building jubés, as much because their churches were small in the beginning—nothing more than oratories as St. Benedict calls them several times in the rule—as because it was long forbidden to celebrate public masses in them, i.e., mass at which seculars were permitted to assist, and seculars were for a long time not at liberty to enter.
Nevertheless, it is not impossible that the monks of St Benedict, among others, had jubés in their churches before that time [the mid-12th century, before which religious were not permitted to administer the sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist to the faithful, to hold public assemblies, or to say public Masses in the churches of their monasteries]. There were jubés in the Abbey of St Gall in Switzerland in the 9th century, in the Abbey of St Medard in Soissons in the 10th century, and in the Abbey of St Josse in Picardy in the 11th century, as we have already seen.
Pope Victor III, after the middle of the 11th century, while still Abbot of Monte Cassino, made a jubé to be built which in truth was made of nothing more than wood, but embellished with sculptures and gilding. Cardinal Leo, bishop of Ostia, who reports it, states that the lessons of Matins and the Epistle and the Gospel at Mass where read thereupon on the main feasts of the year.
There were also jubés in the churches of nuns of the Order of St Benedict from the 8th century. Chrodegang, bishop of Metz, ordered a very beautiful one to be built in Metz in the church of Saint-Pierre-le-Vieil, also called de Haut-moutier, or de Marmoutier, where there were once three hundred nuns, according to the observations of M. de Sainte-Marthe.
Finally, there are still jubés in the Abbatial Churches of Saint-Denys in France, of Saint-Cornille in Compiégne, of Saint-Rémi and Saint-Nicaise in Reims, of Saint-Pére in Chartres, of Saint-Faron in Meaux, of Saint-Ouen in Rouen, of Saint-Taurin in Evreux, in Fécan, etc.
1) The monks of Cluny, who appeared in 910, have jubés in their churches, but in very few of them, because there were few Cluniac monasteries where public masses were said, given the fervor of their institution.
For the same reason, many other religious congregations that came thereafter and also fight under the Rule of St Benedict have no or almost no jubés in their churches.
2) The Cistercians have jubés, at least in their great churches, and they chant the Lessons of Matins there, as we have shown in the words of Paris, Abbot de Foucarmont.
3) The Canons Regular, such as those later known as the Canons Regular of St Augustine, also had jubés in their churches, for very ancient ones still exist at present at St. Denis of Reims and Toussaints in Châlon sur-Marne, etc.
4) The Carthusians do not have jubés in their churches because they belong only to themselves. The strict solitude they profess does not allow them to invite laymen in.
5) The Premonstratensians also have them. The jubé of St. Sebastian in Vicogne [destroyed in the Revolution] is one of the most magnificent in all Christendom, and there are a number of others in churches belonging to this order.
6) The Missal of the Mercedarians presupposes that the churches of this Order have jubés.
7) If we took the time, it would be easy to show how the Carmelites, Franciscans, Dominicans, and Augustinians once had and still do have jubés in their churches. They exist in most of their ancient churches, and where they do not, one can find some vestiges of them where indifference for the ancient ceremonies of the Church or some other bad reason has led to their destruction.
8) Since the Barnabites, Theatines, Jesuits, Fathers of the Oratory, and some other new Institutes never, or almost never say High or Solemn Masses in their churches, jubés would be quite useless for them. Thus they ordinarily do not have them. Yet their churches and chapels are not imperfect or mutilated, because they were not built to have jubés, and nothing is imperfect or mutilated unless it lacks one of its essential parts.
Du premier esprit de l’ordre de Cisteaux, ch. 1, sect. 2.
 This is wrong, or perhaps things changed later, because in fact Carthusians did have lay or converse brothers who would stay outside the rood-screen, whereas the fully professed where within. In the Charterhouse in Fréjus-Toulon the rood screen is still standing.
That it is Doubly Temerarious to Demolish Jubés in Churches
And so, given that jubés in churches are an ancient institution, that they are the fruits of the piety of our forefathers, that they are the work of their hands, is it not temerarious to cast them onto the ground? In the end, what right, what authority, or what attribute do these Ambonoclasts have to attack the ancients on a matter of which the entire Church approves and which the entirety of Tradition supports? The Wise Man warns us in the book of Proverbs against transgressing the bounds our forefathers set down: Non transgrediaris terminos quos posuerunt Patres tui; yet the Ambonoclasts are certain to have transgressed them. Are they wiser, cleverer, more pious, or more zealous than our forefathers, that they dare thus criticize their ways?
St. Bernard reflected upon a similar principle in his letter to the canons of Lyons, who had decided to celebrate in their Church the feast of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin. This holy abbot, who disliked novel devotions, unless they were solidly established, told them that they were making a grave mistake in celebrating a feast that was not authorized by the customs of the Church, nor by right reason, nor by ancient tradition: Novum inducendo celebritatem quam ritus Ecclesiæ nescit, non probat ratio, non commendat antiqua traditio. And, in order to persuade them, he said to them, inter alia, that they were not wiser, nor more devout than their forefathers, and it was with dangerous presumption that they accepted a feast their forefathers had wisely rejected: Numquid Patribus doctiores aut devotiores sumus? Periculose præsumimus quidquid ipsorum in talibus prudentia præterivit.
This great saint might have formulated this line of reasoning based on what St Augustine wrote to Cafulanus, that when it comes to the things about which Holy Scripture has not decided anything, the customs of the people of God and the practices of the ancients must have force of law: In his rebus, de quibus nihil certi statuit Scriptura divina, mos populi Dei, et instituta majorum pro lege tenenda sunt.
In Cassian, Abba Theonas states the same thought when he says that one must have recourse to the authority of the ancients, and receive with respect the practices that they have handed down to us, without even examining the reasons they had in handing them down to us. Oportet nos (these are his own words) auctoritati Patrum, consuetudinique majorum, usque ad nostrum tempus per tantam annorum seriem protelatæ, etiam non percepta ratione cedere, eamque, ut antiquitus tradita est, jugi observantia ac reverentia custodire.
This is also the sentiment expressed by Emperor Justinian, for he declares that customs are like laws: Diuturni mores, consensu utentium approbati, legem imitantur. He adds that ancient customs must be preserved and one must not stray from the reasons whereupon they are based, and that the presidents or governors of the provinces must ensure that nothing is done contrary thereto: Consuetudo præcedens (he says) et ratio quæ consuetudinem suasit, custodienda est; et ne quid contra longam consuetudinem fiat, ad solicitudinem suam revocabit Præses provinciæ.
The provincial council of Sens held in Paris in 1528 explains Abba Theonas’ maxim to show that one must always keep ancient customs and enter entirely into their spirit.
The monk Gratian repeats in his Decretals what we have just learned from Justinian, that ancient customs are like laws. He also reports what we have just cited from St Augustine, but he adds one thing which would not be unworthy of the utmost consideration by the Ambonoclasts, viz. that those that violate divine laws and those who despise the customs of the Churches must both be equally punished: Sicut prævaricatores divinarum legum, ita contemptores Ecclesiarum consuetudinum coercendi sunt.
But the temerity of the Ambonoclasts is again in evidence in that, by bringing down jubés to the ground, they significantly alter the shape of churches. Where have they found that individuals were ever allowed to do such a thing, or that such a thing was ever left to their discretion?
Indeed, when God ordered Moses to build the Tabernacle, which was as it were the portable temple of the Jews, He did not grant him the liberty of doing so as he pleased. He Himself prescribed its shape, with an express prohibition of building it otherwise than according to the model which He gave upon the mount. Holy Scripture marks this fact in both the Old and New Testaments. In the Old with these words: “And they shall make me a sanctuary, according to all the likeness of the tabernacle which I will shew thee” &c. “Look and make it according to the pattern, that was shewn thee in the mount.” “And thou shalt make the tabernacle in this manner.” In the New Testament, when it says, “The tabernacle of the testimony, as God ordained speaking to Moses, that he should make it according to the form which he had seen,” &c. “See that thou make all things according to the pattern which was shewn thee on the mount”. Josephus did not forget these circumstances in his Antiquities of the Jews, writing thus: Mensuram et formam Tabernaculi sibi præmonstratam dixit Moyses, nihilque superesse nisi ut ad ejus fabricam se quam primum accingerent Filii Israel, &c. Ita Structuram Tabernaculi agrediuntur Architecti Moyse et mensuram et magnitudinem designante, sicut in monte ex Dei colloquio didicerat, &c.
It was also God Himself Who have David the plan of the Temple of Jerusalem, and which this Prophet-King gave in turn to his son Solomon, enjoining him to follow it point by point. “All these things,” said David to Solomon, “came to me written by the hand of the Lord, that I might understand all the works of the pattern.”
Now, if God did not leave the structure both of the Tabernacle of the Law and of the Temple of Jerusalem to the discretion of Moses, David, and Solomon, who could persuade himself that two or three individuals, enlightened apparently above Moses, David, and Solomon, can dispose according to their whim the shape of our churches, which are much more excellent and perfect than the Tabernacle of the Law and the Temple of Jerusalem, so that they might even be allowed to destroy the jubés, which are not the least ornaments or parts of the church?
All the Ambonoclasts’ tact comes down to saying that jubés make the churches’ choirs difficult to see, and prevent those in the nave from seeing what is being done at the altar and choir. But, again, are they wiser and more devout than our forefathers who built the jubés and left them in the state we see them in today? Do the Ambonoclasts have greater competence than a multitude of bishops, parish priests, canons, abbots, priors, religious, and churchwardens, who, far from destroying them, considered them illustrious monuments of sacred antiquity?
It is true that those jubés that cross the entire front of the choir choir make the choir difficult to see, and prevent those in the nave from seeing what is being done at the altar and choir. But is it therefore such a great inconvenience that church choirs be obscured? On the contrary, does this obscurity not foster more respect for the sacred mysteries and the divine offices that are celebrated in the church choirs? And, finally, what need is there for the faithful in the nave to see what is done at the altar and church choir? Does it not suffice that they see them with the eyes of faith? And, if they are truly faithful, do they not see them in that way, across even the largest jubés, without needing to see them with the eyes of the body?
Almost all the jubés of the Eastern churches are placed in the nave, facing the only or the main gate of the sanctuary, so that it is clear from what we have said before about St Germanus, Patriarch of Constantinople; Paul the Silentiary; Simeon, Archbishop of Thessalonica; Arcudius; Fr Goar; M. du Cange; and M. de Schelstrate, that they obstruct the view of the sanctuary and altar of nearly all the faithful who are in the church’s nave. And yet, who has ever found this worthwhile to write about, or to have them demolished on account of that?
The jubé of the church of St Jean in Lyons was destroyed by the Huguenots in 1562. It was rebuilt in 1585 by the Canons-Count of Lyons, as is attested by the inscription we wrote about in Chapter 25. Less than thirty years have passed since the jubé of the Cathedral of Soissons was rebuilt, and that of the Cathedral of Beauvais is even more recent. Yet these three jubés are built exactly like those against which all fury has been unleashed in our days, to the point where they are brought down to the ground, leaving no trace. These three jubés all cross the front of the choir, making it a bit difficult to see, and prevent what is done in the altar or choir from being seen from the nave. These three reasons, however, have made no impression on the spirits of those who have erected these three jubés or on those who erected all the other jubés of the same structure which we have preserved even today in most of our great and our ancient churches.