Rupert of Deutz on the Entrance to the Altar

As the priest makes his way up to the holy altar, he himself and the entire Church present must expand their souls and cherish in the ample bosom of faith the memory of Our Lord Jesus Christ’s incarnation, nativity, passion, resurrection, and ascension, as well as the memory of all the holy men who from the beginning of the world awaited these things in hope, prefigured them with deeds, and prophesied them with words or writings. As they contemplate, let them break out into speech, singing the antiphon called the “introit.” 

For just as the priest’s entrance manifests the Son of God’s entry into this world, so the antiphon called “introit” manifests the voices and expectation of the patriarchs and prophets. As the priest enters, therefore, the aforesaid antiphon is sung at least once with a pomp that is most suitable to the reality signified. Forth first go the flaming candles as a symbol of the joy that irradiated all the earth at the Savior’s birth, of which the angel told the shepherds: I bring you good tidings of great joy.[1] Two ministers go before the priest, not together or side by side, but the subdeacon first, then the deacon. For these two signify the Old and New Testaments, the Law and the Gospel: the Law prior in time, but the Gospel greater in dignity. And the Savior brought with him these two salvific dispensations, for he brought the Gospel, and came not to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it.[2] These two are the feet of the angel who came down from heaven, clothed with a cloud, and set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot upon the earth.[3] For when John the Baptist and our Lord were teaching, the people listened calmly to the Law’s moral teaching, but against the worshipful Gospel and the plain doctrine of the faith, their tempestuous and salty hearts swelled with rage as the wonderful surges of the sea,[4] as when, for example, he said, “I and the Father are one,”[5] and “Before Abraham was made, I am.”[6]

The subdeacon carries the Gospel book precisely because the law bears witness to Christ, as he said to the Jews: If you did believe Moses, you would believe me also, for he wrote of me.[7] He carries it closed because before the slain Lamb had opened the seven seals, the mystery of his Passion was hidden in the book of the Law.


De antiphona ad introitum

Sacerdote tandem ad sanctum altare ingressuro debet tam ipse sacerdos quam et tota praesens Ecclesia dilatare animam suam et amplo fidei sinu tenere memoriam incarnationis, nativitatis, passionis, resurrectionis et ascensionis Iesu Christi Domini nostri et memoriam omnium sanctorum, qui eum ab initio mundi votis exspectaverunt, gestis praefiguraverunt, dictisque aut scriptis prophetaverunt, et in eorum contemplatione in voces erumpere, praecinendo antiphonam, quae dicitur ad introitum. 

Nam sicut introitus sacerdotis ingressum Filii Dei in hunc mundum, sic antiphona, quae dicitur ad introitum, voces et exspectationem praefert patriarcharum et prophetarum. Ingreditur ergo antiphona praedicta non minus quam semel decantata cum eiusmodi pompa quae significatae rei aptissime congruit. Praecedunt flammantes cereoli, videlicet in signum gaudii, quod in ortu Salvatoris omni mundo effulsit, de quo angelus ad pastores: Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum etc. Praeveniunt sacerdotem ministri duo, non pariter, neque a latere incedentes sed ante subdiaconus, post diaconus. Signant enim hi duo Vetus et Novum Testamentum, id est legem et Evangelium, quorum lex tempore prior, Evangelium vero dignitate maius est. Haec namque duo salutis ministeria Salvator invexit, qui Evangelium quidem attulit, legem vero non solvere, sed adimplere venit

Isti sunt duo pedes angeli, qui, ut supra dictum est: Descendit de caelo amictus nube, et posuit pedem dextrum suum supra mare, sinistrum super terram. Legalis enim moralitas, Ioanne baptista vel ipso Domino docente, tranquillitus audita est. Contra evangelicam vero dignitatem, id est manifestam fidei doctrinam, verbi gratia cum diceret: Ego et Pater unum sumus, et: Antequam Abraham fieret ego sum, veluti mirabiles elationes maris fluxa et salsa corda tumuerunt. 

Subdiaconus quoque praefert textum Evangelii, quia profecto lex testimonia continet Christi, sicut ipse dicit Iudaeis: Si crederetis Moysi, crederetis forsitan et mihi; de me enim ille scripsit. Portat vero clausum quia videlicet antequam Agnus occisus aperuisset signacula septem, clausum erat in libro legis sacramentum eius passionis.


[1] Luke 2:10

[2] Cf. Matthew 5:17

[3] Apocalypse 10:1–2

[4] Psalm 92:4

[5] John 10:30

[6] John 8:58

[7] John 5:46

Rupert of Deutz on the Beginning of the Mass (De divinis officiis 1.17)

In this passage, Rupert of Deutz shows how David instituted Jewish worship to signify the perfect worship that would be offered by his descendant Jesus Christ.

In the proposed order of the daily cursus, we are obliged to draw nigh unto the treasury of the highest sacrament, that is unto the sacristy[1] of the Mass. And if the treasurer of salvation and orderer of charity[2] leads the way, and the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, opens the door, then my soul will rejoice and sing because the king has brought her into the cellar of wine.[3]

For it is the sanctuary of propitiation, that propitiatory upon which two cherubim with facing faces, that is, the two Testaments, gaze upon one another.[4] For what in the Old Testament was promised, prefigured, and hailed from afar, but in the New is given, revealed, and made public, is present here and now, not in shadow but in truth, not in figure but in reality. 

Here is accomplished that in which our David seemed mad to King Achis[5] when he struck the timbrel[6] by hanging on the Cross and stumbled against the doors of the gates of the city, which is to say against the closed hearts of those who did not believe in him; when he was borne in his own hands[7] while holding bread and wine and saying: “This is my body; this is my blood, the new testament”;[8] when his spittle ran down upon his beard, that is, when he seemed utter childish things, saying, “Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you.”[9] He fled therefore, from that people of his,[10] which he now calls “Achis,” which means “How can it be?” because they had said, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?[11] But formerly he called them “Abimelech,” which means “my Father’s kingdom,” and having taken up rule over the true Judæa and the true Israel, now the glorious precentor, clothed in a robe of fine linen and clad with an ephod of linen according to the mystical sense of Paralipomenon,[12] leads the choirs as he sacrifices and leaps[13] before the Lord’s ark of the covenant.[14]  

David feigns madness before King Achis, from the Golden Psalter of St. Gall, 9th century

O King, O Prince of the sacred rites! What does it portend, this mighty leaping of the famous chief as he heads to the tent of God’s ark, offers a holocaust in the ephod, and blesses the people in God’s name, even though, being of the tribe of Judah, he had no share of the priesthood? Yet the Lord put away the tabernacle of Silochose the tribe of Judah, chose his servant David.[15]Behold, the king from the tribe of Judah lusts to take part boldly in the rites he knew were due to his son, his Lord, about whom he said: The Lord hath sworn, and he will not repent: Thou art a priest for ever according to the order of Melchisedech.[16] So behold how he bids the priests, orders the levites to sanctify themselves,[17] establishes the cantors, picks out some to sing the sacred mysteries, to sing for the octave, others to blare trumpets, to sound horns, to strum lyres, cymbals, psalteries, and organs.[18] In all this celebration, he had his Son in mind: Ascending on high, he led captivity captive; he gave gifts to men.[19]

The Lord’s ark, which has sometimes been taken to represent any ecclesiastical ruler, much more appropriately designates the humanity of Christ our Savior, which has a window on its side, that is the wound made by the lance, whence flowed water and blood. Within, it contains manna, that is God’s Word united to itself, and the tables of the testament, for in him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,[20] and the rod of priestly and royal power. David, therefore, brought the ark of our God into Jerusalem after the destruction of death’s empire,[21] that is, of Saul’s kingdom, and placed it upon the tabernacle of heaven, which he himself pitched.[22]  Beholding the ark, the Church’s choir rouses itself in the days following Easter to follow the example of the older people and sing to her David, singing this responsory:[23] The people sang in Israel, alleluia.[24]

So the whole multitude of Jacob sings as the law prescribes and in the Lord’s house David himself strikes the zither with the cantors. For Israel has learned whatever she sings from this teacher, from this precentor, who struck the zithers of their hearts with God’s fingers. Thus prompted, the heart’s joy erupts exultantly into bodily words and the choirs into a harmony, now grave, now higher and piercing, and since she resounds with one faith, David hears the sweet song of that great body of the Church, spread throughout all peoples, equally, everywhere and all at once, and manifold from all sides, and one.


Iam nunc ad thesaurum summi sacramenti, scilicet ad missae secretarium, accedere quotidiani cursus ordo propositus exposcit. Quod si mihi pervium fecerit thesaurarius salutis atque ordinator caritatis, si aperuerit clavis David, qui aperit et nemo claudit, claudit et nemo aperit, gratulari et cantare licebit animae meae, quod eam rex in cellam vinariam introduxerit.

Hoc enim sacrarium propitiationis est, hoc illud propitiatorium, in quod versis vultibus duo cherubim, id est duo Testamenta, mutuo se aspiciunt. Nam quod in Veteri Testamento promissum, praesignatum et a longe salutatum, in Novo autem datum, revelatum et palam factum est, hic praesentialiter exhibetur, non in umbra sed in veritate, non in figura sed in re. 

Hic illud agitur, in quo noster David insanire videbatur regi Achis, quando tympanizabat pendens in cruce et impingebat ad ostia civitatis, id est ad conclusa corda non credentium sibi, quando ferebatur in manibus suis tenens panem et vinum, et dicens: “Hoc est corpus meum, hic est sanguis meus novum testamentum,” quando defluebant salivae in barbam, id est videbatur loqui infantilia, dicens: “Nisi manducaveritis carnem meam et biberitis meum sanguinem, non habebitis vitam in vobis.” Fugit quippe ab illo populo suo, quem nunc vocat Achis, id est “Quomodo est,” eo quod dixerit: “Quomodo potest hic nobis carnem suam dare ad manducandum?” Vocabat autem eum prius Abimelech, id est “Patris mei regnum,” et accepto regno super verum Iudam verumque Israel, nunc iuxta mysticum sensum Paralipomenon indutus stola byssina, vestitus Ephod lineo praecentor inclytus choros ducit sacrificans et subsilit coram arca foederis Domini.

O regem, o sacrorum principem! Quid sibi vult tantum tam clari capitis tripudium, dum tendit arcae Dei tabernaculum et indutus Ephod offert holocaustum et in nomine Domini benedicit populum, ad quem, cum esset de tribu Iuda, non pertinebat sacerdotium? Sed repulit Dominus tabernaculum Silo et occisis sacerdotibus Silo elegit tribum Iuda, elegit David servum suum. Ecce praegestit rex de tribu Iuda confidenter agere in his, quae deberi sciebat filio suo, Domino suo, in quem haec dicebat: Iuravit Dominus et non paenitebit eum, tu es sacerdos in aeternum secundum ordinem Melchisedech. Ecce imperat sacerdotibus, mandat levitis, ut sanctificentur, cantores constituit, eligit qui cantent arcana, qui canant pro octava, qui clangant tubis, qui personent buccinis, qui concrepent lyris, cymbalis, nablis, organis. In his omnibus ad Filium respicit: Ascendens enim in altum captivam duxit captivitatem, dedit dona hominibus.

Sciendum namque arcam Domini, quae interdum pro quovis rectore ecclesiae accipi consuevit, multo magis convenienter designare humanitatem salvatoris Christi, quae in latere fenestram habet, id est vulnus lanceae, quo fluxerunt aqua et sanguis, intus continens manna, id est unitum sibi Verbum Dei, et tabulas testamenti, quia in ipso sunt omnes thesauri sapientiae et scientiae absconditi, et virgam sacerdotalis et regiae potestatis. Arcam ergo Dei noster David mortis imperio quasi regno Saul destructo deducit in Ierusalem et collocat in tabernaculo caeli, quod ipse tetendit. Quod respiciens ecclesiae chorus diebus proximis sanctae resurrectionis exemplo prioris populi sese excitat ad concinendum suo David, dum hoc responsorium cantat: Decantabat populus in Israel alleluia.

Canit ergo universa multitudo Iacob legitime et ipse David cum cantoribus citharam percutit in domo Domini. Quidquid enim Israel canit, hoc magistro, hoc praecentore, citharas cordium digitis Dei percutiente didicit. Ad hoc concitatus iubilus cordis in voces corporeas chorique concentum nunc graviter, nunc acute aut excellenter erumpit et magni corporis ecclesiae per omnes gentes diffusae, quia una fide resonat, cantus pariter et in simul ubique et undique multiplex et unus ab ipso suaviter auditur. 


[1] The secretarium was a place set aside for magistrates in the Roman basilica. Christians used it as another word to designate the sacristy (sacrarium). Whether sacred or secret, the sacristy was seen as a symbol of Christ’s hidden origin in the Blessed Trinity, from which, like the priest, he came forth into the world.

[2] Cf. Canticle of Canticles 2:4.

[3] Cf. Canticle of Canticles 2:4.

[4] Propitiatorium was another name for the tabernacle. 

[5] 1 Kings 21:13. Rupert follows the version of this passage used by Augustine in Enarrationes in Psalmos 33.2, which differs considerably from the version found in the Vulgate. 

[6] According to Augustine, Enarr. in ps. 149.3 – CC 40, 149.8.8-10 (pg. 2183), the stretched skin of a timbrel signifies crucifixion of the flesh.

[7] Old Latin version

[8]  Mark 14; Matthew 26, Luke 22

[9] John 6:54

[10] David first departs from Abimelech the priest (thus in Psalm 33:1, but in 1 Kings the priest is named Achimelech) and, while fleeing from Saul meets Achis (1 Kings 21:10). He feigns insanity so that Achis will not receive him, and then he flees to the cave of Odollam (1 Kings 22:1).

[11] John 6:53. Jesus is forced to flee from the Jews after this episode. 

[12] 1 Paralipomenon 15:27. Since they performed the Scriptural readings and offices, they clergy were seen to represent Old Testament figures. Here the precentor is styled as David. The precentor was a very important officer in the choir. He was responsible for overseeing the scriptorium, training singers and assigning their parts, writing out and selecting liturgical material, and ruling the choir on certain days.  In the cathedral of Sens, the precentor was actually required to dance each year.

[13] 2 Kings 6:16

[14] Rupert’s claim relates to Augustine’s attempt to explain the titulus of Psalm 33 (“For David, when he changed his countenance before Abimelech [sic, Vulgate Achimelech], who dismissed him, and he went his way.”) In the Book of Kings, it is Achis who dismisses David, but the psalm title changes the name to Abimalech. For Augustine, that is because David’s playing the madman, like his slaying of Goliath, was an allegory for Christ’s crucifixion. The psalm title represents the allegory by calling Achis Abimelech, meaning, according to Augustine, “kingdom of my father,” because the Jews, who were the Father’s kingdom, rejected Christ and his sacraments. (CC 38, 33, pg. 272 – 281).

[15] Psalm 77:60, 68, 70.

[16] Ps 109:4.

[17] 1 Paralipomenon 15:12: Vos, qui estis principes familiarum Leviticarum, sanctificamini cum fratribus vestris.

[18] 1 Paralipomenon 15:28: Universusque Israel deducebant arcam foederis Domini in jubilo, et sonitu buccinae, et tubis, et cymbalis, et nablis, et citharis concrepantes.

[19] Ps 67:19; Eph 4:8

[20] Cf. Heb. 9:4, Col. 2:3.

[21] Cf. 1 Corinthians 15:26

[22] Cf. 2 Kings 6.

[23] 1 Chronicles 15:16

[24] Cantus Index 006400, sung at Matins in the weeks following Easter.

Almsgiving is Good with Fasting: Honorius Augustodunensis on the Second Sunday of Lent

Be at agreement with thy adversary betimes, whilst thou art in the way with him.[1] This life we live, dearly beloved, is like a way by which we press on to the fatherland, and each day we dwell here is, as it were, a stage of our journey. Our adversary in this way is the divine speech. For when we begin to burn with wrath or hatred, he says to us: Thou shalt not kill.[2] When we lust to drink our fill of the flesh’s  impurity, he says: Thou shalt not commit adultery.[3] When we covet another’s property, he says: Thou shalt not steal.[4] When we work wickedness against our neighbors, he says: Thou shalt not bear false witness.[5] So he stands athwart us in all our desires, accompanying us on the way like an adversary. Let us be in agreement with him betimes, lest perchance he accuse us before Christ the Judge, and the Judge hand us over to the bailiff, that is, the devil, that he might put us in jail, that is, in hell, for we shall not go out from thence until we pay the last farthing,[6] that is, until we have been punished for the least of our sins. Since we are composed of four elements, we must pay God four farthings. From fire we owe the fervor of charity, from air clarity of thought, from water the cleansing that comes from baptism and tears, and from earth the devotion of our bound service. But this last farthing perverts the other senses with carnal impulses and leads them astray into unlawful deeds. Earth, forsooth, brings anger from fire, pride from air, the flood of lust from water, and attachment to worldly pleasures from itself. We are bound to pay back this farthing in prison, when we are made to atone for our worldly deeds through everlasting punishments. 

And so, dearly beloved, it behoves you during these days to come together frequently in church, to hear salutary admonitions with an attentive ear, to pray for yourselves and for the entire people, and to refrain from gossiping and empty chatter, especially in church, since for every idle word that men shall speak, they shall render an account for it in the day of judgment.[7] For many frequent churches—’tis with pain that I am bound to say it—who would have done much better to remain at home. 

When Our Lord was preaching, crowds flocked together to him with divers intentions. Some for the doctrine of heavenly life which sweetly flowed from his mouth. Others for the sake of healing, since he cured all infirmities. Others because of want, since he easily sated five thousand men with five loaves of bread. Others because of the grandeur of his miracles, since he gave sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, walking to the lame, and life to the dead. Others because of envy, that they might mock his words and twist his deeds to appear evil. Likewise today many come to church, some to hear the divine office and the words of life, other to confess their sins and pour forth their prayers to God, others to chatter with their friends, others to ambush their enemies, others to be seen in glamorous garments, others to parley with pretty girls, others to mock God’s words and disrupt the divine service. These come at the devil’s bidding, for while he is otherwise occupied he sends forth these men to impede God’s work. But just as Christ did not halt his preaching of heavenly things to Peter and the apostles, even though he knew that it tormented Judas and the Pharisees, so we must needs preach eternal joys to the sons of God who yearn for their fatherland, even though we know that this will harrow the heralds, nay, the sons of the devil. 

There was a commandment under the Law that little bells should be woven into the priestly garment,[8] so that as the priest entered the tabernacle a sound should be heard and he should not die. The garment adorned with bells is the life of priests, dedicated to preaching. For if they proclaim God’s kingdom and his justice to the people, they save their souls. But if they should conceal his justice, and the people should perish in their iniquity, their blood shall be required at the priests’ hand, as if they had killed them.[9]

There is a beautiful, multicolored beast called the panther.[10] It enters the woods and feeds on divers herbs. Then it stands upon a rock and cries out, and the entire throng of beasts gathers hastily around it, except the dragon who alone takes flight. Then the panther belches out a sweet smell that heals every infirmity. This beast signifies the priests, particolored with many virtues, who ought to enter the forest of Scripture and each their fill of various verses like so many herbs. Then they should stand upon the Rock that is Christ through their good works, summon the people from all parts with their preaching, and then breathe out the healthful odor of Scripture, curing the sick of their diseases with the medicine of their tongue and driving the dragon, which is the devil, away from them.

The Panther as depicted in a 13th-century English bestiary (Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS. 764, fol. 7v).

During these days, dearly beloved, we omit the Alleluia, which is a joyful strain, and sing the Tract, a song of sadness, since it behoves us here below to be saddened on account of our sins so that we might be permitted someday to rejoice with the angels. Hence, too, a veil is now suspended in the churches which hides the secrets of the sanctuary from the people, since heavenly things are concealed from us on account of our sins, but they shall be disclosed to us through penance. 

We read that Jerusalem was surrounded by a triple wall. Nabuchodosonor assaulted and seized it with the help of six kings, killing some of the inhabitants and hauling the others off to Babylon. Some who fled to the tower in the midst of the city were saved. 

Jerusalem is the faithful people, surrounded by a triple wall, to wit, by faith, hope, and charity. Nabuchodonosor—that is, pride, the chief vice—attacks it with the other six vices—that is, envy, hate, vainglory, avarice, gluttony, and lust—and destroys its walls—that is, faith, hope, and charity. He kills the inhabitants when he crushes the faithful with mortal sins. He hauls the others off to Babylon when he carries off to the underworld those who are dead in their sins. Let each of the faithful, then, when once the walls of virtue have been destroyed,  flee forthwith to the tower of confession, lest the Chaldeans—that is, the demons—slay them. 

We also read today[11] that when our Lord withdrew into the parts of Tyre, a woman of Canaan cried out to him for the sake of her daughter, who was grievously troubled by a demon, and begged him insistently for her health. Tyre is this world, into whose parts our Lord retired when he put on our flesh. The woman who came out of those coasts is the Church, gathered from the Gentiles. Her daughter, troubled by a demon, is what soul soever has been seized by vices. She is cured at her mother’s entreaties when the soul, converted by the Church’s prayers, is cleansed of her vices. For the merciful Lord comes to seek the sheep that are lost of the house of Israel, that is, of the assembly of the angels, and, having found them, to restore them to their company. 

Christ and the Canaanite woman, with the Second Sunday of Lent’s Introit. From the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, 1410.

Wherefore, dearly beloved, sanctify ye a fast[12] in order that you might merit to rejoice in the eternal banquet with the angels in the pastures of life. Honor your prelates and elders, support your parents in their old age or poverty out of your own resources. 

The examples of the birds admonish us to carry out these good works. We read that when the eagle grows old,  its chicks feed it until it is reborn and its youth restored. Likewise, too, it is said that the bee-eater, when it grows old, is nourished by its chicks.[13] And when the stork is weighed down by old age and bereft of its feathers, its chicks envelop it with their wings and restore it with plentiful food.[14] If the birds do such things, how much more meet is it that men do the same?

Redeem yourselves with alms from the peril of punishment for your sins, for almsgiving is good with fasting.[15] It delivereth from death and purgeth away sins,[16] and does not suffer the soul to go into darkness,[17] but obtains for it life everlasting. Yea verily, Tabitha, full of good works and almsdeeds,[18] was raised back to life amidst the weeping of widows and orphans, for when they showed Peter the garments she had made for them, he forthwith restored life to her. Dearly beloved, behold the value of almsgiving. Not only does it free souls from death, but it even raises bodies from death. Tobias, too, who lost the light of his eyes for four years, received it again when an angel visited him thanks to his almsdeeds and fasts.[19]

St. Peter raises Tabitha (13th century French psalter, Morgan Library & Museum, MS M.729, fol. 303r).

We read about a certain toller who never gave alms to any poor beggar.[20] One day, the beggars were comparing their haul of goods which various people had given them and noted how the toller, although exceedingly rich, never gave them anything. Then one of the beggars said that he would get alms from him presently. After each of the other beggars promised to give him their shares of alms if he could wring even a penny from the toller, he ran forthwith to his house and begged for alms with importunate cries. At that moment, the stewards were placing bread on the table. The toller, full of wrath, looked around to see if mayhap any wood or stone offered itself to him to throw in the face of the yeller. Finally out of anger he grabbed a loaf of bread and cast it into the mouth of the beggar as he cried out. Taking it, he returned happily to his companions and showed them the loaf which he told them he received from the toller.

Not much later the same toller was struck by a serious illness and was near his end. Demons immediately gathered around him, reviewing before him all his evil deeds. Angels then arrived and required of the toller’s guardian angel his good deeds, but he replied that the toller had never wished to assent to his encouragements to do good, except that one day he wrathfully threw a loaf of bread at a beggar which he had brought with him now. The angels took the loaf from him and broke it into tiny crumbs, and as the demons put the heavy weights of the toller’s sins on the scales, the angels placed a crumb, which proved heavier. They continued doing so until the crumbs were heavier than the devil’s weights. But the demons roared that an injury had been done to them, crying out that they would drag their servant away with them by force. The matter was given over to God’s judgment, but at the angel’s prayers the toller was permitted to return to life. As soon as he recovered from his illness, he gave thanks to the immense clemency of God, and thenceforth distributed countless alms to all the destitute. 

One day, he met a beggar on the road and forthwith dressed him with the precious garment he was warning. The beggar, however, wished to sell it. When the toller saw the garment hanging in a market, he was saddened, and returned home weeping and thus fell asleep on account of his sorrow. Our Lord Jesus appeared to him clad in that same garment and asked him why he wept. He replied, “Because what I, all unworthy, give your servants, they scorn to wear.” But Jesus showed him the garment and said, “Behold, I am wearing the garment you gave me.” The toller awoke and declared that blessed are the poor, among whose number the Lord counts himself. He immediately sold all his belongings and distributed them to the needy. Moreover, he commanded his servant to sell him and pay out the money he made among the poor.  With difficulty he compelled the servant to do so, but the servant finally sold the toller to traders and bestowed the money on the destitute, as he had asked. After being sold, the toller served his lord faithfully and daily gave his lunch to the indigent, contenting himself with bread and water. At last he merited the starry kingdom and shone with glorious miracles.

Therefore, dearly beloved, since alms thus free us from every evil and so powerfully exalt man to the heavens, distribute them frequently according to your means, and hasten to stow away your belongings as heavenly treasures. Let no one say that he has nothing to give, since the Judge promises a reward for a cup of cold water.[21] And he who has no possessions to give can offer good will. Make, therefore, paupers to be your friends of the mammon of iniquity, that when you shall fail, they may receive you into everlasting dwellings,[22] where there are joys which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, &c.[23]

St. Laurence distributing alms.

Esto consentiens aduersario tuo cito, dum es cum illo in uia. Vita ista, karissimi, qua uiuimus est quędam uia qua ad patriam tendimus. Quot enim dies hic ducimus, quasi tot dietas currimus. In uia hac noster aduersarius est sermo diuinus. Cum enim iram uel odium perficere exardescimus, dicit nobis: Non occides. Cum carnis inmundiciam explere concupiscimus, dicit: Non mechaberis. Cum alienis rebus inhiamus, dicit: Non furaberis. Cum proximis[24] mala molimur, dicit: Non falsum testimonium dices. Ergo quia in omnibus desideriis nostris nobis aduersatur, quasi aduersarius in uia nos comitatur. Huic aduersario consentiamus cito, ne forte accusando tradat nos iudici xpo, iudex uero ministro, id est diabolo, qui mittat nos in carcerem, id est in infernum, quia inde non exibimus donec nouissimum quadrantem reddamus, id est pro minimo peccato penas recipiamus. Ex iiii.or namque qualitatibus subsistimus, et ideo iiii.or quadrantes Deo persoluere debemus. Ex igne enim caritatis feruorem, ex aere ingenii perspicacitatem, ex aqua baptismi et lacrimarum abolitionem, ex terra debitę seruitutis debemus deuotionem. Sed hic quadrans nouissimus peruertit cęteros sensus per carnales impetus, et pertrahit eos ad illicitos actus. Et de igne quidem furorem, de aere elationem, de aqua libidinis fluxum, terra de se reddit mundanorum desideriorum appetitum. Hunc quadrantem cogimur in carcere persoluere, dum terrena opera in ęternis pęnis compellimur luere.

Vnde, karissimi, decet uos frequenter istis diebus ad ęcclesiam conuenire, monita salutaria intenta aure audire, pro vobis et pro omni populo orare, fabulas et inania colloquia ubique, sed maxime in ęcclesia declinare, quia de omni uerbo ocioso quod locuti fuerint homines reddent Deo racionem in die iudicii. Multi etenim[25] frequentant ęcclesias, quod cum gemitu cogor dicere, quibus multo melius esset domi residere.

Predicante Domino, turbę ad eum diuersa mente confluxere. Quidam ob celestis uitę doctrinam, quę dulcis de ore ipsius manabat; quidam ob medelam, quia omnem languorem curabat; quidam ob inopiam, quia facile quinque panibus v. milia hominum saciabat; quidam ob signorum magnitudinem, quia cecis uisum, surdis auditum, claudis gressum, mortuis uitam dabat; quidam ob inuidiam, ut uerba ejus irriderent et opera eius ad malum peruerterent. Ita hodie plurimi ad ęcclesiam confluunt, quidam ut diuinum officium et uitę uerba audiant, quidam ut peccata sua confiteantur et preces Domino fundant, aliqui ut amicis confabulentur, alii ut inimicis insidientur, quidam ut preciose vestiti uideantur, alii ut mulierculis colloquantur, alii ut uerba Dei irrideant et operi[26] Dei impedimento fiant. Hii ueniunt missi a diabolo, quia dum ipse alias occupatur, premittit hos ut opus Dei per eos impediatur.[27]Sed sicut xpc non cessauit Petro et apostolis celestia nunciare, quamuis sciret hoc[28] Iudam et Phariseos cruciare, ita oportet nos filiis Dei patriam suam desiderantibus gaudia sempiterna preloqui, quamuis nouerimus nuncios, immo filios diaboli inde torqueri.

Erat namque preceptum in lege, ut tintinnabula essent intexta in sacerdotali ueste, ut ingrediens[29] tabernaculum sonitus audiretur, et non moreretur. Vestis tintinnabulis intexta, est uita sacerdotum predicatione subnixa. Si enim populo regnum Dei et iusticiam eius annuntiant, animas suas saluant. Si autem iusticiam absconderint, et populus iniquitate mortuus fueritsanguis eius de manu sacerdotum requiritur, quasi eum occiderit.

Est bestia nomine panthera, uariis coloribus decora. Hęc siluam ingreditur, diuersis herbis uescitur, et deinde in petra stans uocem emittit, et omnis turba bestiarum[30] in circuitu accurrit, solus draco fugit. Tunc suauem odorem eructat, et omnes languores sanat. Per hanc bestiam significantur sacerdotes multis uirtutibus discolores, quos conuenit siluam Scripturę ingredi, uariis sententiis ut herbis repleri, deinde in petra xpo bonis operibus stare, populum undique predicando[31] conuocare, et tunc salubrem Scripturę odorem efflare, et egros morbis lingu​​ę medicamine curare, draconem diabolum ab eis effugare.

Istis diebus, karissimi, Alleluia quod est melos laeticię intermittimus, et Tractum, cantum tristicię, canimus, quia pro peccatis nostris oportet nos hic tristari, ut liceat nobis quandoque cum angelis letari. Ideo etiam nunc uela in ecclesiis suspenduntur, quo populo secreta sanctuarii absconduntur, quia cęlestia nobis ob peccata celantur quę ob penitentiam nobis reserantur.

Legitur quod Ierusalem[32] triplici muro circumdata fuerit, quam Nabuchodonosor auxilio vi. regum expugnando cepit, inhabitantes quosdam occidit, quosdam in Babylonem duxit. Aliqui qui in turrim in medio ciuitatis sitam fugerunt, saluati sunt.

Ierusalem[33] sunt fidelium populi, triplici muro scilicet fide, spe, caritate circumdati. Quos Nabuchodonosor, id est superbia, principale uicium, cum aliis vi. uiciis, id est inuidia, odio, uanagloria, auaricia, crapula, luxuria, pugnans inuadit, muros, id est fidem, spem, caritatem destruit. Inhabitantes occidit dum fideles peccatis mortis obruit. Alios in Babylonem duxit, dum in peccatis mortuos ad tartara rapit. Turris uero civitatis, est protectio confessionis. Quisque ergo fidelium, destructis muris uirtutum, ad turrim[34] confessionis festinanter fugiat, ne a Chaldeis, id est a demonibus, pereat.

Legitur etiam hodie, cum Dominus in partes Tyri secederet, quod mulier Chananea ad eum pro filia sua clamaret, quam demonium male uexabat, et protinus salutem filię impetrabat. Tyrus est hic mundus, in cuius partes Dominus secessit, dum carnem nostram induit. Mulier, a finibus illis egressa, est Ecclesia de gentibus congregata. Cuius filia quę a demonio uexatur est quęlibet anima quę a uiciis occupatur. Hęc matre orante curatur, dum conuersa anima per orationem Ęcclesię[35] a uiciis purgatur. Venit enim pius Dominus ut querat oues[36] quę perierunt domus Israel, id est cetus angelorum, et inuentas reducat ad societatem eorum. 

Vnde, karissimi, sanctificate ieiunium, ut pascuis uitę[37] mereamini cum angelis habere ęternarum epularum gaudium. Prelatos uestros et omnes maiores honorate, parentes uestros in senectute uel egestate consumptos rebus uestris sustentate. Ad hec enim exercenda, monent nos auium exempla. Nam legitur quod aquila senescens a pullis suis pascatur, usque dum in pristinam iuventutem renascatur. Similiter etenim[38] fertur quod merops senescens, a pullis suis nutriatur. Cyconia quoque, senectute grauata et plumis nudata, a pullis alis circumuelatur et cibo assiduo recreatur. Et si talia exercent uolucres, quanto magis decet ut ea expleant homines? 

Elemosinis redimite uos a peccatorum[39] penarum periculo, quia bona est ęlemosina cum ieiunio. Hęc a morte liberat et hęcpeccata purgatet in tenebras ire non patitur, sed uitam ęternam per eam dabitur. Thabita quippe, plena operibus bonis et ęlemosinis, ad uitam resuscitatur, uiduis et orphanis flentibus. Cum enim uestes ostenderent quas illis faciebat, mox eam Petrus uitę restituebat. En, karissimi, quantum ęlemosinę ualent. Non solum enim a morte animę[40] liberant, sed etiam a morte corporis suscitant. Tobyas quoque, qui quadriennio lumen oculorum amiserat, per ęlemosinas et ieiunia angelo uisitante receperat.

Legitur de quodam theloneario, quod nunquam ęlemosinam prebuerit alicui pauperculo. Quadam die dum pauperes inter se conferrent[41] quanta bona illi et illi eis impendissent, ille uero thelonearius, quamvis ditissimus, nunquam aliquid boni eis exhibuisset, unus illorum intulit quod ad presens elemosinam ab eo accepturus sit. Cui dum unusquisque prout habuit deposuisset, si ab eo saltim[42] minimum quid acciperet, ille protinus ad domum thelonearii cucurrit, elemosinam importunis uocibus petiit. Ea uero hora panis a ministris mensę inponebatur. Cumque thelonearius furore repletus circumspiceret, si forte lignum uel lapis se furenti offerret, quod in faciem uociferantis iactaretur, pre ira cuneum arripuit, in ora clamantis pauperis proiecit. Quem ille amplectitur, letus ad socios regreditur, cuneum demonstrat, quem se ab eo accepisse memorat. 

Non multo post idem thelonearius est graui infirmitate tactus, et ad extrema perductus. Ad quem mox demones convenerunt, cuncta eius male gesta eo uidente recensuerunt. Cumque et[43] angeli adessent, et ab eius custode bona eius requirerent, dixit quod nunquam sibi assensum ad bonum prebere uoluerit, nisi quod quadam die cuneum iratus in pauperem iactauerit, quem ipse nunc secum adtulerit. Angeli uero cuneum ab eo acceperunt, et in minimas micas diuiserunt. Et cum demones grauia pondera peccatorum in statera ponerent, angeli micam imponebant, quę preponderabat. Hoc tamdiu fecerunt usque dum micę ponderibus demonum preponderabant. Demones uero iniuriam sibi factam uociferabant, proprium suum seruum per uim sibi tolli clamitabant. Res in iudicium Dei differtur, sed angelis orantibus ad uitam redire permittitur. Qui mox de infirmitate conualuit, gratias immensę clementię Dei retulit, infinitas elemosinas omnibus egenis deinde cottidie exhibuit. 

Quodam die pauperem obuium habuit, quem protinus ueste preciosa, qua ipse utebatur, induit, pauper uero eam uendere uoluit. Postquam ille uestem in uenalium rerum loco pendentem uidit, mestus factus, domum rediens fleuit, et ita pre tristicia obdormiuit. Cui Dominus ihc eadem ueste indutus apparuit, cur fleret inquisiuit. At ille: « Quia inquit, quod tuis famulis a nobis indignis datur, portare dedignatur. » Ille uero uestem pretulit. « En, inquit, quam dedisti uestis me tegit. » At ille euigilans, pauperes beatos predicat, de quorum numero se Dominus affirmat. Protinus omnem substantiam suam uendidit, egenis cuncta distribuit. Insuper seruo suo precepit ut se uenderet et acceptam pro eo pecuniam pauperibus erogaret. Quem vix ad hoc compulit quod eum negociatoribus uendidit et pecuniam, ut petiit, miseris impertiit. Ipse uero uenditus domino suo fideliter seruiuit, annonam suam cottidie indigentibus tribuit, ipse pane et aqua contentus fuit. Tandem gloriosis miraculis claruit, qui iam syderea regna promeruit. 

Igitur, karissimi, dum ęlemosina ita ab omni malo liberet et sic potenter ad celestia hominem exaltet, hanc omnes pro modulo vestro frequentate, res uestras in cęlestes thesauros recondere festinate. Nemo dicat quod quid det non habeat,[44] cum iudex pro calice aquę frigide premium repromittat. Et cui deest substantia quę detur, ab eo bona uoluntas accipitur. Facite ergo uobis pauperes amicos de iniquitatis mammona, ut cum defeceritis, recipiant uos in ęterna tabernacula, ubi sunt gaudia quę oculus non uidit, nec auris, &c. 


[1] Matthew 5:25.

[2] Exodus 20:13.

[3] Exodus 20:14.

[4] Exodus 20:15.

[5] Exodus 20:16.

[6] Matthew 5:26.

[7] Matthew 12:36.

[8] Cf. Exodus 39:23, 34.

[9] Cf. Ezechiel 3:18–21. ​​Gregory makes use of this and the next biblical passage in his discussion of a pastor’s burden in Letter 34 (PL 77:488).

[10] See Physiologus (CPL 1154), “On the Panther.” Eng. trans. by Michael Curley (Austin, 1979), 42–45. Honorius draws the connection between the panther, the virtues, and priestly vestments most explicitly in a passage from the Sacramentarium 29 (PL 172:762–763): “The panther is a beast of seven colors: black, white, gray, gold, green, bronze, red. The panther feeds on various herbs and, perched on a rock, cures with its breath the sick animals who come to it. The panther stands for the priest, who has seven vestments and seven virtues. The color black signifies humility, white chastity, gray prudence, gold wisdom, green faith, bronze hope, and red charity. The various herbs are the various verses of Scripture; the rock is Christ, and the sick beasts are men sick with sin. The priest cures them when he recites them verses from Scripture. When the priest vests, he as it were begins a duel with the devil on the Church’s behalf. He puts the amice, i.e. hope, on his head for a helmet; he dons the alb, i.e. faith, as a breastplate; the cingulum, i.e. chastity, for a swordbelt; the subcingulum, i.e. the witness of Scripture or the examples of the saints, as a bow and arrows; the stole, i.e. obedience or justice, for a lance or sling; the maniple on his hand, i.e. good works, for a war-club; the chasuble, i.e. charity, for a shield; the Gospel book, i.e. God’s word, for a sword; sandals, i.e. preaching, for his knightly shoes.” See also Gemma animae 1.83, on the priest’s armor. On the history of color interpretation from early Latin sources through the medieval encyclopedic tradition, see the exhaustive study of Christel Meier and Rudolf Suntrup, Lexikon der Farbenbedeutungen im Mittelalter: Pictura et Poesis (Cologne, 2011).

[11] The Gospel pericope Honorius expounds here is Matthew 15:21–28, which was read in a number of medieval Transalpine uses. The Tridentine pericope, however, is the account of the Transfiguration in Matthew 17:1–9.

[12] Joel 

[13] See Pliny, Natural History X, 33; and St. Isidore of Seville, Etymologies XII, 94; and Physiologus 10 (Curley 14–15).

[14] See Pliny, Natural History VIII, 41; and St. Isidore of Seville, Etymologies XII, 7.

[15] Cf. Tobias 12:8

[16] Tobias 12:9.

[17] Tobias 4:11.

[18] Acts 9:36.

[19] Cf. Tobias 11.

[20] The story of Peter the Toller, famously recorded in the Golden Legend in the entry of St. John the Almsgiver, is told in Leontius’ life of this saint (ch. 31), translated into Latin by Anastasius Bibliothecarius in the 9th century (PL 73:356–359). 

[21] Matthew 10:42.

[22] Luke 16:9.

[23] 1 Corinthians 2:9.

[24] nostris add. PL

[25] enim PL

[26] operae PL

[27] insidiatur PL

[28] haec PL

[29] ingrediente PL

[30] herbarum A in margine

[31] omit. PL

[32] Hierosolyma PL

[33] Hierosolyma PL

[34] turrem PL

[35] omit. PL

[36] omit. PL

[37] passionis eius consortes PL

[38] omit. PL

[39] et add. PL

[40] differrent PL

[41] different PL

[42] saltem PL

[43] omit. PL

[44] Ab eo bona voluntas accipitur add. PL

De Can. Observ. 18: Saints’ Feasts of Nine and Three Lessons

In Proposition 18, Radulph addresses the difference between saints’ feasts of nine and of three lessons. He argues that the former should imitate the Sunday office and the latter the ferial office, criticizing uses which drew up sub-categories of feasts of three lessons. Radulph defends the simplicity in this matter followed by orders such as the Carthusians and the Teutonic Knights.


Proposition XVIII

The office of saints’ feasts of nine lessons is kept like a Sunday, that of three readings like a feria

“The disciple is not above the master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord.”[1]

Let the servant be glad to be in his lord’s family; it does not suit him to be honored above his lord. God’s saints, therefore, who are the Lord’s servants, are happy when their days are kept in a manner proportional to those of Christ their Lord. So saints’ days of nine lessons, which are called festivals (festivitates), should have an office like Sunday’s, running from Vespers to Vespers. St. Benedict prescribes as much in chapter 33, saying:

On the festivals of saints, and all other solemnities, let the Office be ordered as we have prescribed for Sundays: except that the psalms, antiphons, and lessons suitable to the day are to be said. Their quantity, however, shall remain as we have appointed above.[2]

Thus far there. 

Likewise when we observe saints of three lessons we ought to follow the structure of a private day of the ferial office, as set forth below.  It is part of the beauty of the divine office that festivals are kept with features of the Sunday office and saints’ days of three lessons like the ferial or private office. And if the prerogatives of Sunday and the privileges of nine lessons be applied to private days, it would spoil the office and undo the order itself. For the Holy Fathers were studiously careful to preserve harmony in ecclesiastical services and prohibit all dissonance. 

Nine-lesson feasts in the kalendar of the 1302 Breviary of Metz (Verdun, Bibl. mun., ms. 0107, fol. 103).

So festivals are kept on the pattern of Sunday with both Vespers, and at these offices and at Lauds the [proper] antiphons, when they exist, are by all means to be sung over the psalms always and everywhere, as stated in proposition 10. For first Vespers the ferial psalms and ferial antiphons, unless proper ones exist. With respect to the Vespers responsory of a double office, it is a widespread custom to sing a responsory at both Vespers. And if the people celebrate the festival, let it be sung at first Vespers. Suffrages should be said as on Sunday, but abbreviated on solemnities. The Invitatory should be solemn and the hymn should, of course, be sung at Nocturns, in which the nine antiphons over nine psalms are not to be omitted. Let the lessons and responsories be authentic, and sing nine responsories. Te DeumGloria in excelsis, and Ite missa est are said in seasons when they can be said on the Sunday; otherwise, let not the servant be greater than his master, without the Lord’s special dispensation. It is customary to celebrate the Mass of the festival as a community. At second Vespers all the antiphons from Lauds are said over the ferial psalms, unless the festival has special ones, such as of the Apostles and, according to a widespread custom, of several others. But if two festivals of nine readings or a festival and a Sunday or a feast of three readings fall on the same day, both of which demand per sea full office, let the more important be kept in full and only a commemoration made of the other. But if it seems good to celebrate both in full, let one be deferred to the following day, just as Pope Gregory celebrated the feast of St. Paul after the feast of St. Peter. For the other practice, which lumps together two offices for celebration on the same day, keeping one nocturn of one feast and the rest of the other, is not allowed by the authority of the holy Fathers, who always instructed us to maintain harmony in the offices, as said above, for when we strain to perform both on the same day, we find that we have celebrated neither with the reverence due to the divine offices. 

The festal office will be discharged most fittingly if it is made proportionately equal to the Sunday office, as far as the given office permits.

When two festivals occur back to back, they should not share a common Vespers in full, as the Minors do it today abusively. Instead observe what Micrologus says in chapter 35:

All the authentic antiphonaries grant St. Stephen a full second Vespers. Following this example, therefore, we grant all festivals of the year a second Vespers in full, even if a major feast falls on the next day. For it is not reasonable to sing only the vesperal psalms from the previous feast but the rest of the office from the subsequent feast. The Holy Fathers have left us no examples of this, and they taught us above all to preserve the harmony of the offices with particular diligence. Nevertheless, when a high feastival follows a lesser one, it is not unreasonable if it claims for itself the previous feast’s second Vespers in whole, as the Octave day of Christmas takes the Second Vespers of St. Sylvester. First we complete the Vespers of one feast in its entirety then, if necessary, commemorate the next one after the Benedicamus Domino, as we do for St. Stephen and St. John.[3]

Precisely the same principle holds for feasts of three reasons. Just as nine-lesson feasts are kept on the model of Sundays, so three-lesson feasts are kept on the model of ferias. The Carthusian monks and the aforementioned Teutonic lords keep this custom admirably. Thus in the office of saints of three readings there are prostrations whenever they would be done in the ferial office of the season. When there is first Vespers, the ferial antiphons and psalms are said, and the short chapter, hymn, verse, Magnificat antiphons and collect of the saint, and suffrages, as in the ferial office. Compline and Prime in full and with the psalm Miserere, as in the ferial office. The Invitatory is sung in the ferial tone. After the saint’s hymn, a ferial Nocturn is sung, as shown in Proposition 10. Let the lessons from Sacred Scripture be read, according to all the doctors; the responsories, versicles, verse, Lauds antiphons, and the rest are of the saint. Let Vigils and Vespers of the Dead and the gradual and penitential psalms with what follows them be observed just as in the ferial office. Te Deum and Gloria in excelsis should never be said, just as they are not in the ferial office. So it is written, as shown above in Proposition 13. So, therefore, we should do and sing.

At Terce, Sext, and None, according to the widespread custom, let the antiphons of the Holy Trinity be said. But the Mass must be of the saint, if there is a proper one, without Gloria in excelsis and with Benedicamus Domino. And just as on saints’ days of three lessons at the preces of Compline and Prime we add Miserere mei Deus, the Carthusians, who have preces at every hour, add the same psalm to every hour on these days, and in this respect on these days these monks diverge from our custom.

Thus for one who desires to respect the ferial office, it will be easy to keep saints’ days of three lessons. It is true, however, that in both the monastic and our own usage, when these days fall within Eastertide or major octaves, the preces and the rest are omitted, since throughout Eastertide they are omitted. 

But the office of saints of three readings should end with the Mass, for as Micrologus says in chapter 44: 

The Roman custom is that no mention of a saint of three responsories is made after the Mass, whether it be sung at Terce or at Sext. Rather, mention of the saint ends at the Mass,” and we say the rest as a ferial office. “But on a feast of nine lessons the office is festal until Second Vespers.[4]

Thus far the Micrologus.

The Carthusians end feasts this way. This is, therefore, the simple observance of three-lesson feasts, such that they are proportional to the ferial office, as said above. But many alter and corrupt this observance in various ways. For some people distinguish saints’ days of three lessons by various names, entitling them “of three responsories,” etc.[5] Others call them “said on any feria, including (or excluding) Sunday.”[6] Others have it as a “Collect” or without one, as a “Mass,”[7] as “three readings” and a Te Deum or, if it falls on a Sunday, nine readings. Others say them with a Te Deum or without it, or various other ways.[8] In the abusive practice of others, a three-lesson saint’s day cancels the ferial and other particular offices on certain days, just as if they were nine lesson feasts. 

The complex ranking of three-lesson feasts in the Kalendar of the 1492 Utrecht breviary, p. 13.

[1] Matthew 10:24–25.

[2] Actually Benedict, Rule 14. Translation by Justin McCann.

[3] Micrologus 35.

[4] Micrologus 49.

[5] Cf. Breviarium Camaracense (1497), which uses various titles: III lec., III ℟ cum nocturno, III ℟. cum missa.

[6] Breviarium Traiectense (1492), which uses titles such as Missa de hoc omni feria sed non in dominica or simply De hoc omni feria.

[7] Cf. Missale Leodiensis Eccleisae (1502), which uses various titles: III lec, Collecta, Missa

[8] A marginal notation reads “at Groenendael,” an Augustinian house mentioned above. We could not find any books for comparison.

Chantons toujours !

Officially, in the commune of Sainte-Pallaye, in the Yonne department, it was the third day of the month of Pluviôse, year III of the French Republic (1794). While one thread of history played out on the battlefields and in the Parisian corridors of power, the inhabitants of this little winemaking Burgundian village came together in their church to celebrate the feast of the martyr St. Vincent, patron saint of winegrowers. Recent laws had allowed Catholic worship to resume, albeit under strict conditions, but the church of Sainte-Pallaye was still considered a Temple to the Supreme Being by municipal officials. Finding the place closed, the villagers broke in through a window and smashed in the main door. They organized themselves in the choir, distributed the roles, and sang the proper Mass of this feast. Only one figure was missing: the priest. 

Alarmed, the municipal officials intervened. Arriving at the church, the mayor declared that the assembled people were acting outside the law and ordered them to disperse forthwith. One Edme Jacques Miné, a prominent figure of the commune, was at that moment standing on the pulpit, singing the Offertory. Over the din, he exclaimed to the parishioners, Chantons toujours ! In other words, let us keep singing regardless of what happens, or even, let us sing without ceasing, as if no event, no ecclesiastical or civil law, or physical constraint could stand in the way of this toujours.

A great trumult then broke out, upon which the mayor threatened to write up an official statement about the people’s misconduct and send it to a higher representative. As the municipal officials departed, rebuffed, Miné intoned a Per omnia saecula saeculorum, “as if taunting us,” wrote their secretary.  

The parish church of Sainte-Pallaye