The Beauty of Order: Radulph of Rivo on Liturgical Reform

A devoted reader might recall an old post on the work of Radulph of Rivo (d. 1403). Radulph was a Dutch doctor utriusque iuris, liturgist, historian, and dean of the Tongres cathedral chapter whose several works on the liturgy are of primary importance for understanding the development of the Mass and Breviary.

Your industrious servants have been laboring over his treatise De canonum observantia (1397) lately, converting it into the mercantile patois of the age, and will be posting sections over the coming week.

Today we reintroduce the treatise and give our translation of its first Proposition.

The Augustinian canons of the Congregation of Windesheim, an outgrowth of the devotio moderna, were zealous to find the proper liturgy to suit their reforming agenda, but had begun bickering among themselves. Some houses began to imitate the uses and abuses of their local diocese, borrowing indiscriminately here and there.

A Canon Regular of the Congregation of Windesheim in choir habit (Bibliothèque municipale de Rouen, Montbret g 2614-1 pl. 44)

To resolve the ensuing embroglio and bring order to the fledgling congregation, the superiors put out a call for aid and consulted with local experts. Radulph, a professor at the University of Cologne and one of the foremost churchmen of the region, responded to them with a brief treatise, the De canonum observantia. In it, he laid out how the devout canons should go about establishing a uniform ritual practice for their order based on the most approved sources, so that they might “have one manner of living suitable to those who walk in God’s way.”

Naturally, he turned to Rome for an authoritative model. The Holy and Roman Church, over which Christ had placed Peter and his successors, had been established as the mirror and example for all. Canon law was clear: “Whatever she decided, whatever she ordered, must be observed forever and irrefragably.”

But what was the Roman rite?

When Radulph journeyed to Rome in the winter of 1396 to study the canons’ request, he was surprised to discover that the old Roman rite was no longer celebrated there. Over a century before, the popes had replaced the ancient rites of the basilicas with abbreviated books used by the papal curia:

“During my stay in Rome, I learned that the truth [about the Franciscan books] is quite to the contrary. In fact, when the Roman Pontiffs resided at the Lateran, they observed a less complete form of the Roman office than what was observed in the other collegiate churches of the city. Moreover, the chapel clergy, whether by papal mandate or on their own authority, always abbreviated the Roman office and often altered it, according as it suited the Lord Pope and the Cardinals to observe it.” 

In their reforming zeal, the Franciscans, whose houses were spread throughout the lands of Christendom, claimed that their missal and breviary were the authentic Roman rite, the very ancient liturgy of the bishops of Rome. In actuality, the books presented an abbreviated form of the ancient Roman liturgy borrowed from the papal chapel. Their claims caused consternation to the clergy and religious of Europe’s ancient churches, whose own uses contained elements that seemed, in light of the Franciscan books, to be spurious, but which could actually lay claim to a venerable antiquity. The burden of Radulph’s Propositions 22 and 23, on the order of the Divine Office and of the Mass, respectively, is to prove that the Franciscan books are not the only authentic representatives of the Roman rite: that the uses of the French and German churches also rest on venerable authority.

Faced with his discovery about the Franciscan books, Radulph sets out in De canonum to chart a course of conservative liturgical reform that hews closely to Roman authority, pointing out the received general customs within the churches of the Roman rite, their authority and antiquity, and the ways various churches have diverged them it. He appeals to canon law, to the approved uses of ancient churches and religious rites, to the famous commentators Durandus, Bernold, and Honorius, and to old liturgical books he found in Rome.

Ultimately, he argues that a most decent and beautiful liturgical order must imitate the primitive Gregorian liturgy of Rome that flourished before the imposition of the Franciscan books. Though the “Roman Church” had always been the source of authentic Church order, Radulph argues that the ritual prevailing in the City could not be trusted without careful discrimination. Rather, authoritative models must be sought in general custom, in the rites of old churches (such as Milan), in the sacred canons, and in the uses of reputable religious orders (such as the Benedictines and Carthusians).

On the eve of the massive liturgical changes that swept Europe in the next century and in the midst of a crisis of papal government, Radulph’s treatise stands out as a sound guide to understanding and faithfully embracing the riches of the Latin liturgical tradition. His conservative intervention looks forward to the work of the Tridentine liturgical commission, whose members had access to Hittorp’s 1568 edition of his treatise.

A skilled canonist, Radulph carefully categorizes and ranks the various sources of ritual authority (general and local tradition, collections of canon law, treatises by respected commentators, etc), notes what is essential and what is subject to variation, and tells us how to spot innovation and illegitimate novelty. His overriding concern is to promote a religious obedience to the beautiful ritual order that has been ordained by the sacred canons, avoiding what is superfluous, spurious, or harmful. The whole is imbued with a spirit of reform that seeks to form the Christian heart through a faithful adherence to the Church’s lex orandi.

De Canonum Observantia Liber

Proposition I

That those who profess the canonical life should observe good canonical manners and observe what the canons proscribe with regards to the canonical offices

My lords and fathers in religion, the Prior and co-priors of Windesheim, and brethren of the Order of St. Augustine in the diocese of Utrecht, may you have one manner of living suitable to those who walk in God’s way, down which you have, until now, been going one after this manner, and another after that.[1]

The Apostle of truth, in the fourteenth chapter of the First Letter to the Corinthians, toward the end, writes: “But let all things be done honorably, and according to order.”[2] The honorable is chosen for its own sake, as said in the first book of the Rhetoric.[3] And according to St. Augustine, “The honorable draws us to it by its intrinsic merit, and attracts us by its own worth.”[4] As St. Augustine says in his book On the Nature of Good, chapter 3: “All things in proportion as they are better measured, formed, and ordered, are assuredly good in a higher degree; but in proportion as they are measured, formed, and ordered in an inferior degree, are they the less good.”[5] And in his book On True Religion, chapter 25: “Everything is beautiful that is in due order. And thus says the Apostle: ‘There is no order but from God.’”[6] And St. Bernard said somewhere: “Discretion gives order to every virtue; order brings measure, beauty, and continuity.”[7] These prefatory words admonish us in our deeds to flee what is spurious or false, to seek what is meet and profitable, and to keep what we find in its proper order. For he who does not maintain order in the things done in God’s obedience introduces disorder and puts himself in danger of sin. If therefore we are bound to keep decency and order in all of our deeds, then how incomparably more honorably and in accordance with all due order must we perform those things which bind us to God, so that we admit in them only what is honorable, worthy, and approved; avoid what is apocryphal, dubious, or spurious; and maintain an order that is in every respect approved, observing neither more nor less than we ought.

My beloved, if, in your divers locales and parts where religious life has now begun to flourish once more, you adopt the sacred ecclesiastical canons just as they were set down by our holy Fathers and, when they are lacking, the canonical good manners of both the local regions where your order is found and those of the other religious orders, putting away the practices of the secular clergy, then you would do all things honorably and in good order; then no diversity or variety or discrepancy in the divine offices and other regular observances would arise between you and those in other places. For whatever is read, sung, or observed in the Divine Office has been prescribed long before out of the canonical Scriptures, the statutes of our Fathers, and the general uses of your and the other religious orders, so that God’s soldiers have no need to involve themselves in secular business. But since you are of the opinion that you should not observe what has been handed down, but rather whatever of the practice of secular churches pleases you, the ancient Traditions are being corrupted by human presumption, the order of things is disturbed, your rule is offended, and between you and your confreres who are in Brabant have needlessly arisen divers and varying practices.

Desiring, therefore, to bring this diversity of the divine and canonical Office into a concord that is honorable and according to order and in keeping with the precept of your rule, I have spent a good deal of time drafting a work from the materials I have found in various churches and books, both in foreign parts and at Rome. It is my intention, once my notes have arrived from Rome—they are still in transit—to set forth everything in one book. From the few notes in my possession from other writings, I now offer to your charity a brief work, before the countryside becomes white to harvest,[8] begging you, humbly and devotedly, to pardon its imperfections.

[1] 1 Corinthians 7:7.

[2] 1 Corinthians 14:40.

[3] Aristotle, Rhetoric 1.9: “καλὸν μὲν οὖν ἐστιν ὃ ἂν δι᾽ αὑτὸ αἱρετὸν.”

[4] Cf. St. Augustine, De diversis quaestionibus LXXXIII liber unus, no. 30—PL, 40:19. David L. Mosher, Eighty-Three Different Questions (Fathers of the Church Patristic Series), Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press,1982, 55. Cf. Peter Lombard, Sentences 4, d. 31, a. 1, q. 1: “Honestum est quod sua vi nos trahit et dignitate nos allicit.” This is taken almost verbatim from Cicero: “Nam est quiddam quod sua vi nos allicit ad se, non emolumento captans aliquo sed trahens sua dignitate” (Jeffrey Henderson, On Invention, Harvard University Press: Harvard University Press, 1949, 324).

[5] Augustine, On the Nature of Good 3 – PL 42:553, translated by Albert H. Newman, from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 4, edited by Philip Schaff (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1887). Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <>.

[6] See On True Religion 41.77: “Nihil enim est ordinatum quod non sit pulchrum. Et, sicut ait apostolus, ‘omnis ordo a deo est’” (Burleigh, pg. 265). The latter phrase misquotes Rom. 13.1 under the influence of the idea of ‘order.’ In Retractions 1.13.8 he admits his error, since Paul actually wrote “quae autem sunt a deo ordinata sunt.”

[7] Sermones in Cantica, XLIX, no. 5 (PL 183. 1018; Leclercq 2.76).

[8] Cf. John 4:35.

Key to Heaven and the Destruction of Hell: A Sermon from the Speculum Ecclesię on Roodmas

The root of Jesse shall stand for an ensign of the people.[1] Jesse was father to David the king, from whose seed Christ descended. This root of Jesse was Christ according to his divinity;[2] the twig that sprouted from Jesse was Christ born according to his humanity. It standeth for an ensign of the people, because the Holy Cross of Christ’s Passion and our redemption is an ensign for the entire Christian people. This is the ensign gainsaid by Jews and paynim, but it blesses the multitude of the faithful and every creature of the sacraments, and vanquishes all adversity. This Holy Cross is venerated by the angels and adored by men. Verily, by the cross the devil is made captive, the world is liberated, hell is despoiled, paradise is gladdened, and the Christian people around the globe are invited into the heavenly kingdom. 

The idea that Christ was the root might be based on an early version of the Stirps Jesse such as the one shown here from the Vyšehrad Codex, which is the earliest surviving example. It has Christ at the root of the tree, but the later tradition has Jesse at the base.

The heavenly fatherland exults in the triumph of the holy Cross, the Church rejoices, and Jewish perfidy wastes away. The victory of the holy Cross subjugates death and strips it of its dreadful tyranny. The Holy Cross has become for us the key to heaven, the powerful destruction of Hell. Sanctified by Christ’s body and blood, it is most worthy to be honored by all the faithful. It protects sinners, governs the saints, fosters little ones, makes hale those worn down by age, lifts up the fallen, guides the just, reforms the unjust, and lends assistance to all who show it faithful reverence. On account of the wood, our first parent plunged into the open main of this world as it were into a ship-wrecking whirlpool, and the ravenous Leviathan swallowed the whole human race—a cruel death! Then did our Redeemer raise the standard of the Holy Cross and tie up the foe’s scaly maws with the hook of his flesh, so that pierced with the point of the life-giving wood, that vile beast of prey vomited up those he had gulped because of the forbidden wood. This Holy Cross is our lamp of eternal light in the darkness of this life, leading those who follow it into heaven, and granting those who love it angelic joys. 

Heaven has often made known the virtue of his Holy Cross in wondrous ways.

In a town there was a certain Christian who owned a figure of the Holy Cross. When he died, a Jew came into possession of his house. One day he invited his co-religionists to a banquet, not knowing that there was a crucifix in the house. Now when in the midst of feasting they espied the image of the Holy Cross, they arose with a mad shout and seized the crucifix. “We have heard,” they said, “that our fathers flogged Jesus; we too ought to disgrace his image with floggings.” Howling these words, the faithless Jews inflicted beatings upon the crucifix and—wonder of wonders!—their blows drew out drops of blood. Jeering at this wonder in their delirium, they said that Jesus was wounded by their ancestors, so likewise his image should suffer at their hands. And so they stabbed and poked holes in it with their knives, but to Christ’s glory streams of blood flowed out. After word of the affair got out, a throng of cripples rushed to the spot, gathered the dripping blood in vessels, and smeared it on their disabled limbs. O what wondrous miracles of Jesus Christ were worked through images of the Holy Cross! Instantly the blind rejoiced to regain their sight, the deaf celebrated their restored hearing, the mute shouted for joy, the lame jumped for joy, and all the crippled celebrated their wholeness. The Jews shouted Christ’s praises in a loud voice, forthwith became believers and were baptized, and venerated the Holy Cross with the highest honor.

Francisco Rizi, Profanation of a Crucifix, 1647-1651

Once upon a time, a Jew was travelling to Rome.[3] As night overtook him, he retired for repose to an abandoned pagan temple by the road, but was so afraid of that place of horror[4] that he signed himself with the Holy Cross. At about midnight a crowd of demons arrived, one of whom was seated on a high chair like a king. He inquired of the others what villainy each had done that day. As they were telling of their mischief, one leapt into the middle to report that he had induced the bishop Andrew, a man of perfect religion, to fall in love with a nun; he had drawn him so far forth that, late at night as the bishop left her, he had given her a merry spank on the back end. As all present shouted their approval and praised his industry, and urged him to bring to completion the job he had begun, the Prince of Evil ordered them to inquire who had dared presume to take shelter in his house. His wicked retainers hastened to the Jew and squinted intently at him. They wondered, saying, “Look, here is an empty vessel, but yet it is signed!” Hearing this, all the evil spirits vanished because they could not bear the name of the Holy Cross. The Jew rose up and came to the bishop at that very hour and told him all that he had seen. The bishop fell prostrate upon the earth and praised God for keeping him from sin, baptized the believing Jew, and shortly thereafter ordained him a priest. The temple wherein the demons had gathered he made into a church dedicated to St. Andrew the Apostle. And so both men whom the devil boasted to have in his power were saved by the virtue of the Cross.

But just as the Cross restores the predestined to life, so it throttles the reprobate. Julian the Apostate, for instance, wanted to learn the magic arts while still a boy, and for that purpose dwelled with a sorcerer in a solitary house.[5] When Julian left the house, he began to invoke demons, but seized with terror at their sight he signed himself with the Holy Cross. Seeing this, the demons fled, leaving the frightened wretch alone. The sorcerer came in and asked him if he had seen anything. Julian replied that he had seen hideous Ethiopians, but they disappeared after he made the sign of the Cross. The sorcerer told him the demons were displeased by this sign and hence withdrew from his presence. On this account the unhappy Julian began to loathe the Lord’s Cross with such hate that he started to detest and abhor the entire Christian religion with his whole heart, and once he became emperor he enforced paganism throughout the globe, striving with all his might to erase the Christian name from the earth. Behold how the Cross, which is the source of salvation for all, became for Julian a pit of death. 

On the other hand, by the Cross was Cyprian saved, who had been predestined for eternal life since before all ages. This famous sorcerer, who had driven scores of people mad with his magic arts, performed a multitude of heinous crimes, and riven open a great many pregnant women with spells and sacrificed their babies to demons, came to the way of salvation through the virtue of the Holy Cross in the following manner:

There was a young maid named Justina, beloved of God, whom this sorcerer tried to persuade to consent to his lust. He cast a spirit of fornication into her, but she repulsed it by making the sign of the Holy Cross. When Cyprian questioned the spirit why he had not led the maiden unto him, he said that he had seen a frightful sign and fled from her forthwith. Jeering at him, the sorcerer sent a stronger spirit, whom fear of the Cross likewise put to flight. When Cyprian asked why he had not brought the virgin, he answered that he could not do so on account of some frightful sign. He then undertook to dispatch the prince of demons, who shifted into a woman’s shape, and solicited the maiden with smooth words and fiery darts. As soon as she made the sign of the cross, the evil one vanished like smoke and went back in confusion to the sorcerer, reporting how he had fled from some terrible sign. When Cyprian asked what sign it might be that had undone all their might, the devil replied that Christ’s Cross had sapped all their power and triumphed over all their devilish arts. Hearing this, Cyprian spurned the devil, converted to Christ, and as a perfect example of the Christian religion was raised to be a bishop and noble doctor of the Church, and alongside the same Justina offered himself in the face of divers torments as a living host to God and become a glorious martyr. And thus, with the Cross as their standard, the elect bear home the trophy.[6]

St. Cyprian, demons, and St. Justina, from a French translation of the Legenda aurea (Bibliothèque nationale de France, Français 245, fol. 109, 15th century)

My brethren, you should know what today’s feast is about. Chosroës, king of the Persians, ravaged Judæa and bore off the Holy Cross from Jerusalem unto his own land.[7] There he built a silver[8] tower as a sort of heaven, installing within images of the sun, moon, and stars. This tower was so contrived that it could be moved, and it made a sound like the rumble of thunder. Water too was pumped up through hidden pipes and then came down again like showers into several caverns inside. He hung the Cross up in the tower at his right hand, for his son; to his left he placed a bronze cock that stood for the Holy Spirit, while he sat on a throne in the middle and ordered himself to be worshiped as God the Father. Heraclius, emperor of the Romans, came against him with an army, and Chosroës’ son hastened to meet him at the Danube with a strong force. The people agreed that the princes should engage in a duel on the bridge, and that all should submit to the victor. So it happened, and Heraclius emerged victorious, and the whole army obeyed him. Once he had subjugated Chosroës’ realm, Heraclius climbed up into Chosroës’ “heaven” with a few others, found the tyrant on his throne, asked him if he wished to be baptized, and when he refused, cut off his head. He ordered his son, still a boy, and his whole army to be baptized. He raised the child from the font himself and put him on his father’s throne, giving him command of the kingdom, and then hastened joyfully back to Jerusalem with the Holy Cross. He rode in from the Mount of Olives under the imperial insignia, riding a caparisoned horse, but the city gate before him was blocked off by an attached wall. And behold the Holy Cross shone in the heavens with a blinding light, held above the gate by an angel of the Lord who said, “When the King of Heaven entered these doors on the way to his Passion, he did not flaunt purple cloth or crowns, and was borne on the back not of a haughty steed, but of an ordinary ass.” Thus spoke angel, and disappeared into heaven. The emperor, therefore, removed his ornaments and took up the Cross, resounding a hymn to the Lord with the entire people. Anon the door opened up for him, and the Holy Cross was venerably exalted in the place prepared for it. On the same day, through the glorious Cross a dead man was restored to life, four men with the palsy recovered their health, ten lepers became well, fifteen blind men gained sight, many were freed from demons, and a great number were cured of various diseases. Moreover, as soon as the Cross was carried away from Chosroës’ temple, an exceedingly sweet smell wafted from that province, suffusing the breasts of everyone in Jerusalem.

Heraclius slays Chosroës as depicted in an MS of Alexander of Bremen’s Expositio in Apocalypsin (Cambridge University Library MS Mm.5.31, fol. 80v, 13th century)

Also today Cornelius, bishop of the Romans, and Cyprian, prelate of the Church of Carthage, shed their blood for their sheep and entered the heavenly realm to receive their crowns.

Now, my beloved, lift high the Holy Cross with your praises and shower your prayers upon these holy men, that he who redeemed you by the Cross and made you co-heirs of the Kingdom by his Blood, may grant you to triumph over the world through the standard of the Holy Cross and exult forever with the saints in the heavenly Jerusalem, where eye hath not seen, &c.

Saints Cornelius and Cyprian, from the Hours of Catherine of Cleves (Morgan Library MS M.917/945, ca. 1440)

[1] Isaias 11:10

[2] The Stirps Jesse (“Jesse Tree”) was a new artistic motif when Honorius wrote.

[3] The following exemplum is based on Gregory the Great’s story of Bishop Andrew of Fundi, told in Dialogues 3.7. Gregory’s story makes no mention of the Jew being ordained a priest. 

[4] From the Canticle of Moses, Deuteronomy 32:10.

[5] On the history of this legend, see Companion to Literary Myths, Heroes and Archetypes.

[6] The story of Cyprian and Justina was first told by St. Gregory Nazienzen and Prudentius in the 4th century, when St. Cyprian of Carthage has already been conflated with a Cyprian the Magician, converted by then killed with the maiden Justina in the Diocletian persecution. Usuard has only a short entry on the two on 26th September, and does not conflate them, and Rhabanus Maurus does not tell the extended version.

[7] The story is a summary of the entry for September 14th in Usuard‘s Martyrology (PL 123:356c), itself drawn perhaps from Rhabanus Maurus’ 70th homily, Reversio sanctae atque gloriosissimae crucis Domini nostri Jesu Christi, the earliest evidence for the reception of this legend in the West (Homilia LXX, PL 11:131-134). Neither source mentions the effigy of a dove or makes Chosroës’ blasphemous celestial diorama into a temple of the Trinity; this may be Honorius’s own pen. It later reappears in Sicard of Cremona’s Mitrale and John Beleth’s Summa de ecclesiasticis officiis, as well as in the Legenda aurea. For more on the legend, see A Heritage of Holy Wood: The Legend of the True Cross in Text and Image.

[8] Usuard and Rhabanus Maurus read argenteam (“silver”), and most MSS follow them, but Admont, Benediktinerstift, cod. 131 gives ęream (“bronze”), a reading supported by a Kaiserchronik composed in Regensburg ca. 1150, which mentions Chosroës making a “heaven of bronze.”

Radix Ẏesse stabit in signum populorum. Iesse pater Dauid regis erat, de cuius semine xpc processerat. Huius Ẏesse radix erat xpc secundum diuinitatem, natus de uirgula ex eo pullulante secundum humanitatem. Hic stat in signum populorum, quia sancta crux xpi passionis nostrę redemptionis est signum omnium xpianorum. Hoc est signum cui a Iudeis et gentibus contradicitur, sed fidelium multitudo omnisque sacramentorum creatura per illud benedicitur, omnis aduersitas depulsa reuincitur. Hec sancta crux est angelis ueneranda, hominibus adoranda. Per crucem quippe diabolus est captiuatus, mundus liberatus, infernus despoliatus, paradysus iocundatus, omnis per orbem xpianus populus ad celestia regna inuitatus.

De triumpho sanctę crucis celestis exultat patria, gaudet Ęcclesia, Iudaica tabescit perfidia. Mors subiugatur sanctę crucis uictoria, expoliatur tyrannide nequissima. Sancta crux facta est nobis clauis celi, fortis destructio inferni. Quę enim corpore et sanguine Christi sanctificatur, dignissime ab omnibus fidelibus honoratur. Quę peccatores munit, sanctos regit, fouet paruulos, corroborat senio confectos, lapsos erigit, iustos dirigit, iniustos corrigit, omnibus cultoribus suis protectionis auxilia porrigit. Postquam primus parens per lignum in pelagus huius seculi quasi in uorticem naufragii corruit, atque auidus Leuiathan seua morte totum genus humanum absorbuit, placuit Redemptori nostro uexillum sanctę crucis erigere, et hamo carnis suę squamea hostis guttura constringere, ut cuspide uitalis ligni perfossus euomeret, quos per uetitum lignum improbus predo deuorasset. Hec sancta crux est nobis lampas lucis eternę in huius uitę caligine, quae suos sequaces ducit ad celestia, suis amatoribus gaudia confert angelica.

Huius sanctę crucis uirtus sepe notificata est diuinitus.   

In quadam ciuitate quidam xpianus formulam sanctę crucis habebat, cuius mortui domum quidam Iudeus possederat. Hic contribules suos inuitauit ad conuiuium, ignorans in domo esse sanctę crucis signaculum. Inter epulas uero cum sanctę crucis signum conspiciunt, cum insano clamore surgentes formam arripiunt: «Patres nostri, inquiunt, feruntur ihm flagellasse et nos oportet formam illius flagellis dehonestare.» Hec perfidi conclamantes flagellis formulam inficiunt et, quod dictu mirum est, guttas sanguinis plagis eliciunt. Hoc insani deridentes prodigium, aiunt ihm a suis prioribus esse uulneratum, eiusque signum ab eis similia patiendum. Itaque lanceis punctim transforant, sed ad xpi gloriam riui sanguinis manant. Postquam hec fama diuulgat, turba debilium conuolat, uasculis stillantem cruorem excipiunt, membra sua debilia perungunt. O mira ihu Christi miracula, quę operatur per sanctę crucis signacula! Mox ceci uisu iocundantur, surdi auditu gratulantur, muti uoce letantur, claudi gressu exultant, quique debiles sospitate tripudiant, Iudei laudem xpi magna uoce iubilant. Qui protinus credentes baptizantur, sanctam crucem summo honore uenerantur.

Quodam etiam tempore quidam Iudeus Romam pergebat, qui nocte imminente in quodam antiquo templo ydolorum iuxta uiam quiescebat. Sed quia locum horroris expauit, signo sanctę crucis se signauit. Et media fere nocte multitudo demonum aduenit, inter quos quidam ut rex in sublimi consedit, ab aliis inquirit, quid quisque mali egerit. Illis suas nequicias referentibus unus in medium prosilit, se Andream episcopum, summę religionis uirum, in amorem cuiusdam monialis perduxisse retulit, hocque negotium eo perductum ut nocte sero cum de ea discesserit, alapam ei in posteriora blandiens dederit. In cuius laudem dum omnes conclamant, industriamque omnes collaudant, simulque cohortantur ut ceptum opus perficiat, princeps malicię iubet inquirere quisnam presumpserit in eius domo delitescere. Maligni autem satellites accurrunt, Iudeum diligenter inspiciunt, admirantesque: «Ecce, inquiunt, uas uacuum et tamen signatum.» Hoc audito maligni spiritus ut fumus disparuerunt, quia nomen sanctę crucis ferre non ualuerunt. Iudeus autem surgens eadem hora ad episcopum uenit, cunctaque quę uiderat retulit. Episcopus uero humi prostratus Deum laudat, quod eum a peccato custodierat, Iudeum credentem baptizat, non multo post presbyterum ordinat, templum in quo demones conuenerant, in honore sancti Andreę apostoli dedicat. Sic uterque per uirtutem crucis saluatur, quos diabolus in sua potestate habere gloriabatur. 

Sed sicut per crucem predestinati ad uitam reparantur, sic reprobi per eam strangulantur. Nam Iulianus apostata adhuc puer magicam artem discere uolebat, quem magus in deserta domo includebat. Ipse autem egressus cepit demones inuocare, de quorum uisione perterritus Iulianus cepit se signo sanctę crucis signare. Hoc uiso demones aufugerunt, et miserum pauefactum solum reliquerunt. Magus ingressus inquirit, si quid uiderit. At ille dixit se horridos Ęthyopes uidisse, sed signo crucis a se edito subito non comparuisse. Ille uero affirmat eos de hoc signo indignatos fuisse, et ideo presentiam sui subtraxisse. Vnde ipse infelix tanto odio cepit Dominicam crucem execrari, quod omnem xpianam religionem cepit toto corde abhominando detestari, atque imperator factus paganismum per orbem exercere, ac xpianum nomen in quantum potuit conatus est sub celo delere. Ecce crux quę omnibus est causa salutis, extitit huic fouea mortis.

E contra per hanc saluatus est Cyprianus, ad uitam ante secula predestinatus. Hic famosus magus cum plurimos magicis artibus dementasset, multa horribilia flagicia perpetrasset, plures mulieres pregnantes carminibus diuisisset, paruulos earum demonibus immolauisset, per uirtutem sanctę crucis tali modo uenit ad uiam salutis:

Erat quędam Iustina uirgo Deo amabilis, quem hic magus conabatur inclinare ad consensum suę libidinis. Spiritum itaque fornicationis ei immittit, quem illa facto signo crucis a se repulit. A quo dum Cyprianus requisisset, cur uirginem non adduxisset, dixit se signum uidisse terribile et mox ab ea fugisse. Quem ille deridens fortiorem misit, qui similiter per crucis signum aufugit. Sciscitantique Cypriano cur uirginem non adduxerit, ob quoddam terribile signum se non potuisse respondit. Tunc principem demoniorum mittere curauit, qui se in mulierem transfigurauit, uirginem blandis uerbis et igneis telis sollicitauit. Quę mox ut signum crucis edidit, ille malignus ut fumus euanuit, confususque ad magum rediit, se quoddam tremendum signum fugisse retulit. Interroganti autem Cypriano quod illud signum esset quod omnem fortitudinem eorum soluisset, respondit diabolus xpi crucem omnes uires eorum subneruare, omnesque diabolicas artes crucem triumphare. Hoc audiens Cyprianus, diabolum respuens, ad xpm convertitur et in omni xpiana religione perfecte pollens, episcopus et nobilis doctor Ęcclesię preficitur, atque cum eadem Iustina ad diuersa supplicia se hostiam uiuam Deo offerens gloriosus martyr efficitur. Sic per crucis uexillum, referunt electi tropheum. 

Quę autem sit hodierna festiuitas, scire debet uestra fraternitas. Cosdras rex Persarum Iudeam depopulauit, crucem sanctam ab Ierosolimis in terram suam asportauit, ibique turrim pro celo construxit, in qua similitudinem solis et lunę stellarumque finxit. Quę turris quodam artificio mouebatur, et mugitum tonitruorum imitabatur. Aqua quoque per fistulas occultas ascendebat, per quasdam cavernas pro pluuia descendebat. In qua turri crucem a dextris suis pro filio suo fixerat, a sinistris autem gallum aureum pro Spiritu sancto posuerat, in medio ipse in throno residens se ut Deum Patrem coli iusserat. Ad quem Eraclius Romanorum imperator cum exercitu uenit, eique filius Cosdrę cum manu ualida ad Danubium occurrit. Placuit itaque populo ut principes singuli duellum in ponte inirent, uincentique omnes obedirent. Quo facto Eraclius uictoriam obtinuit, omnisque exercitus ei paruit. Qui regnum Cosdrę sibi subiugans in celum ipsius cum paucis ascendit, tyrannum in solio reperit, si uelit baptizari interrogat, renuenti caput amputat. Filium eius adhuc puerum omnemque exercitum baptizari imperat, quem ipse de fonte eleuat, tradito sibi regno in solio patris collocat, ablata cruce cum gaudio Ierosolimam properat. Qui de monte Oliueti imperialibus insignibus falerato equo uehitur, sed porta ciuitatis ante eum coniuncto muro obstruitur. Et ecce sancta crux nimio fulgore in cęlis resplenduit, quam angelus Domini super portam stans manu tenuit: «Quando, inquit, rex cęlorum per has portas passurus est ingressus, non purpura nec diademate nitens equo superbo, sed uilis aselli dorso, est inuectus.» His dictis, angelus recipitur celis. Imperator autem depositis ornamentis crucem manu baiulat, ymnum Domino cum omni populo iubilat. Cui mox porta reseratur, cruxque sancta in loco sibi preparato uenerabiliter exaltatur. Eodem die per crucem gloriosam recepit mortuus uitam, iiiior paralitici adepti sunt sanitatem, x leprosi sospitatem, xv ceci luminis claritatem, plurimi a demonibus liberati, quamplures a uariis languoribus curati. Mox etiam ut crux de fano Cosdrę baiulatur, suauissimus odor de illa prouincia uolitans omnium in Ierosolimis pectoribus infundebatur.

Hodie etiam Cornelius Romanorum episcopus atque Cyprianus Carthaginensis ęcclesię prelatus sanguinem suum pro ouibus sibi creditis effuderunt, atque regna cęlestia coronandi intrauerunt.

Nunc, karissimi, sanctam crucem laudibus exaltate, hos sanctos precibus pulsate, ut qui uos cruce redemit, sanguine suo regni coheredes fecit, concedat uobis per uexillum sanctę crucis de mundo triumphare, et cum sanctis in cęlesti Ierusalem perenniter exultare. Vbi oculus non, &c.

Proper Verses for the Regina Cæli on the Ascension and Pentecost

Some pre-Tridentine mediæval uses had the custom of altering the third verse of the antiphon Regina cæliResurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia (“Hath risen as he said”)—for the feasts and octaves of the Ascension and Whitsun. The 1560 Breviary of Barcelona, for instance, has the following rubric:

And it is to be noted that from the day of the Ascension until the vigil of Pentecost inclusive [the verse] Resurrexit is omitted & is said Iam ascendit (“Hath already ascended”). And on the day of Pentecost and throughout its octave in the place of the song Iam ascendit sicut dixit is said Adimplevit quod promisit (“Hath fulfilled what he promised”).

Although in the Dominican use the Salve regina is said after Compline throughout the year, adding an alleluia during Paschaltide, some houses did have the custom of singing in Paschaltide the Regina cæli during the procession to the Rosary altar held on Saturdays after Compline, in place of the usual prose Inviolata. Whenever the Regina cæli was sung between Ascension and the Vigil of Pentecost, the verse Resurrexit was also changed to Jam ascendit. In his study on Dominican Compline, Frank Gorton asserts that this practice dates back to 1256 (Compline in the Dominican Rite, p. 141).

The Regina cæli in the 1949 Completorii Libellus juxta ritum S. Ordinis Prædicatorum (p. 132).

Vignettes of Capitular Life in Barcelona: More Stipends, Obits, and Vervain Garlands

As Canon Fàbrega explained in the excerpt posted last week, the clergy of the Cathedral of Barcelona received daily distributions inter praesentes which came from three different purses or funds: the canonical purse, the purse of the Manna, and the common or Anniversary purse. Having described the stipend the canons received  from the first purse each day if they were present in quire, he now turns to the two other sources of payment.

The High Altar of the Cathedral of Barcelona as it looked from the 14th century until 1969, when the retable was ripped away and the sanctuary redesigned in the wake of Vatican II. Engraving by F. J. Parcerisa, 1839.

In addition to the canonical distributions that were reserved to the canons alone, the canons and beneficiaries received another stipend from the hands of the manner or bursar of the Manna, which was “the distribution given for the obits and funerals to be said in the said church” (Libre dels oficials, f. 46r). The amount of this distribution was fixed according to the different categories of burials and Requiem masses.

The third group of distributions inter praesentes which Cathedral clergy received came from the Anniversary purse, also called the common purse because both canons and beneficiaries were paid from it. The Libre dels oficials states, “In this church there is a distribution vulgarly called the common distribution, or Anniversary distribution, which is meted out to the reverend canons and beneficiaries who participate in the divine offices, both day and night” (ff. 46r-47v).

This purse was managed by a protector, a procurator, and a bursar, who had to oversee a variety of aspects of Cathedral life, all of which were suitably enumerated in the chapter constitutions. I cannot mention them all, but by way of example here are a few of their responsibilities (ff. 51):

Pay twenty pounds every year for dowries of maidens to be married.

Pay the usual salaries of the Chapter’s proctors, of the organist of this Cathedral, of the organ pumper, of the protector of the said Anniversaries, of the archivist, of the Chapter notary, of the librarian, of the standard-bearers on Corpus Christi, of the scholar of the chapel of St. Eulalia, and of the readers of the Passions on Holy Week.

Every time a procession of pilgrims to the Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat is held, the procurator of the said Anniversaries is bound and obliged to go before the said procession and to find inns for lodging and to feed the clergy of this Cathedral who go in the said procession, as is the custom, and must also pay from this purse all the expenses of food and drink and otherwise.

Ensure the lighting for the feast of Our Lady in February, and give wax candles to the officials, as is the custom.

Care for the green candle that shines before the True Cross.

Ensure that the vervain garlands are prepared on the morrow of the feast of St. John in June.

But the task that occupied the greater part of the bursar’s time was certainly the management of the stipends he had to give daily to each of the canons, beneficiaries, and chaplains who participated in the liturgical life of the quire or in other legitimately assigned duties. These distributions were also minutely regulated and we cannot explain them fully here, but the norm was the following:

On semidoubles, simples, and ferias

Mattins: 1 penny at the Invitatory
               2 pence at the II Nocturn
               1 penny at the Te Deum
               1 more penny, at the bursar’s discretion
Minor hours: 4 pence (one penny for each hour)
Mass: 1 penny at the Kyrie
           4 pence at the preface
Vespers: 4 pence
Compline: 2 pence
Total: 1 shilling and 8 pence

On Sundays and doubles

Mattins: 1 penny at the Invitatory
               2 pence at the II Nocturn
               1 penny at the Te Deum
               2 more pence, at the bursar’s discretion
Minor hours: 4 pence (one penny for each hour)
Procession: 3 pence
Mass: 2 pence at the Kyrie
           4 pence at the preface
Vespers: 4 pence
Compline: 2 pence
Total: 2 shillings and 1 penny 

Beneficiaries who were not priests received the same amounts minus one penny at Mattins and another at High Mass. Chaplains had somewhat smaller stipends.

At Christmas Mattins, the bursar of the common purse gave each of the assistants two rals (each ral was worth two shillings), and at Tenebrae, he gave each fourteen pence.

Those who attended the processions of Corpus Christi, St. Eulalia, St. Severus, the Assumption, and the Conception received seven pence instead of the usual three, and at the Kyrie at the High Masses on these feasts, they received four pence instead of the usual twopence. 

Vignettes of Capitular Life in Barcelona: A Shilling for Mattins

In the previous installment of this series, Canon Fàbrega i Grau described the “portions” received by those who worked in the Cathedral, which were originally given in foodstuffs, although part thereof was later given in coin. These portions came from half of the Chapter’s patrimony, which itself was divided into twelve equal parts each administered by a provost. Each of the twelve provosts was assigned a month during which he was to hand out the daily portions due to each “portioner”.

The other half of the Chapter’s patrimony was managed by the Casa de la Caritat (“House of Charity”), which used a certain share thereof for works of piety, hence its name. The Casa de la Caritat was established on 24 April 1226 by Bishop Berenguer de Palou, and was originally administered by two canons called caritaters, although within a few decades a single canon-caritater carried out this task.

Faced with a financial crisis, in 1273 Bishop Arnold de Gurb imposed a yearly tax on the ten richest parishes of the diocese, which thenceforth provided the Cathedral with 275 pounds per annum. The canon-caritater was assigned to manage this sum, and was responsible for doling out a certain portion of the money every day to the canons if they were present at the liturgical offices. Fàbrega i Grau now describes how these “daily distributions” worked.

Besides the distribution of the portions, the Cathedral clergy also received funds from another endowment if they were actually present in the functions that took place in the Cathedral throughout the day. These distributions, handed out to those who were physically present in their proper places, came from three different funds or purses: a) the canonical purse; b) the purse of Manna; and c) the common or Anniversary purse.

Ever since the financial reform of the Barcelonan chapter undertaken by Bishop Arnold de Gurb in 1273, the canon-caritater was in charge of handing out what were called the canonical distributions, because they only applied to canons. But since on account of changes in the administration of the distributions, fewer and fewer of them were given as foodstuffs and more and more in coin, on 23 February 1570, Bishop William Caçador instituted a new canonical officer to take over its administration: the clavari (Latin clavarius, “key-bearer”). 

The clavarius was to oversee the daily distributions made in coin made through the hands of a beneficiary who held the office of bursar. The bursar was tasked with handing out the requisite amounts to the canons throughout the day, either in quire or in the places of work assigned by the chapter constitutions. He made the distributions according to a previously-established programme. Although I cannot enter here into too much detail, I can say that these distributions were, generally speaking, the following:

• At Mattins, during the reading of the homily, that is, during the three readings of the Third Nocturn: 1 shilling (on ordinary major doubles, 2 more shillings were added)
• At the beginning of the procession held every Sunday and on double majors before High Mass: 2 pence
• At the end of the procession: 2 pence (on ordinary double majors, 1 shilling was added)
• At High Mass “a bit before raising God”: 2 shillings
• At Vespers, during the Magnificat: 1 shilling
• At Compline, during the Nunc dimittis: 4 pence

Total: 4 shillings and 8 pence

The clergy of the Cathedral of Barcelona entering quire in procession (Engraving by F. J. Parcerisa, 1839).

Extraordinary distributions were meted out on the greatest feasts. Here are a few examples, since I am unable to provide the financial programme of all of them:

On the feast of the Circumcision (1 January)

• I Vespers: 3 shillings
• Compline: 4 pence
• Mattins: 3 shillings
• Procession: 1 shilling
• High Mass: 6 shillings
• II Vespers: 3 shillings
• Compline: 4 pence

Total: 16 shillings and 8 pence

On the feast of the martyrdom of St. Eulalia, patroness of Barcelona (12 February):

• I Vespers: 5 shillings
• Compline: 4 pence
• Mattins: 3 shillings
• Procession: 1 shilling
• High Mass: 6 shillings
• II Vespers: 5 shillings
• Compline: 4 pence

Total: 20 shillings and 8 pence

On the feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross, titular of the Cathedral (3 May):

• I Vespers: 2 shillings
• Compline: 4 pence
• Mattins: 3 shillings
• Procession: 2 shillings
• High Mass: 3 shillings
• II Vespers: 2 shillings
• Compline: 4 pence

Total: 12 shillings and 8 pence

On the feast of Corpus Christi:

“In addition to the usual, during the procession let each canon receive 24 shillings, and during the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at the high altar, on the feast day and throughout the octave, 1 shilling” (Libre dels oficials, f. 40r)

On the feast of the Conception of Our Lady (8 December):

“In addition to the usual, at the procession, 3 shillings” (Libre dels oficials, f. 40v)

On the feast of Christmas:

• I Vespers: 5 shillings
• Compline: 4 pence
• Mattins: 24 shillings
• Procession: 1 shilling
• High Mass: 6 shillings
• II Vespers: 5 shillings
• Compline: 4 pence

Total: 41 shillings and 8 pence

– pp. 40-42