Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Sarum Office Hymns "From the Octave of Corpus Christi until Advent"

I have never posted the Sarum hymns for this long period in Ordinary Time!

So I'll do it now; again the listing is from Hymn Melodies for the Whole Year from the Sarum Service Books.
From the Octave of Corpus Christi until Advent :

Mattins:   Nocte surgentes    (Sundays ... ... ... 16;  Ferias ... ... ... 18)
Lauds:  Ecce iam noctis  (Sundays ... ... ... 16;  Ferias ... ... ... 18)
Evensong:  Daily except Sats. - Lucis Creator optime ... 19
                 On Saturdays - O Lux beata, Trinitas ... 22

Tunes 16, 18, and 22 are not used, according to Hymn Melodies, at any other time during the year - but  Lucis Creator optime, sung to tune 19, is also the Sunday Evensong hymn  "From the Оctave of the Epiphany until the 1st Sunday in Lent," the other part of "Ordinary Time" during the year.

As you can see, the formula is to sing two different hymns to the same hymn tunes at Lauds and Mattins depending on whether it's a Sunday or a Feria; here are chant scores 16 and 18:

The LLPB offers this mp3 file as an example of melody #16 above; it's listed on their "Weekday Propers Sung" page as the hymn for Sunday Morning Prayer, and is called "Father We Praise Thee."  The hymns Ecce iam noctis (for Lauds) and Nocte surgentes (for Mattins) seem to be closely related thematically, and the LLPB English version could possibly, I'd say, stand in for either one!  But melody #16 is used at Sundays Lauds during this period, so I'd suggest singing it as Ecce iam noctis.  Or, you could use the English words from TPL below, if you'd prefer.

Here are the English words on the mp3, from Oremus; to reinforce my point above, they write that it's "(Noc­te sur­gen­es vi­gil­e­mus om­nes); trans­lat­ed from La­tin to Eng­lish by in The Eng­lish Hymn­al (Lon­don: Ox­ford Un­i­ver­si­ty Press, 1906), num­ber 165."
Father, we praise Thee, now the night is over;
Active and watchful, stand we all before Thee;
Singing, we offer, prayer and meditation;
Thus we adore Thee.

Monarch of all things, fit us for Thy mansions;
Banish our weakness, health and wholeness sending;
Bring us to Heaven, where Thy saints united
Joy without ending.

All holy Father, Son and equal Spirit,
Trinity blessèd, send us Thy salvation;
Thine is the glory, gleaming and resounding
Through all creation.

Here are the words to Ecce iam noctis in Latin and one English translation (not the same as the words on the recording); as you can see, it's the 11-11-11-5 meter, the Sapphic and Adonic one.
ECCE iam noctis tenuatur umbra
lucis aurora rutilans coruscat;
nisibus totis rogitemus omnes cunctipotentem,1
LO! the dim shadows of the night are waning;
radiantly glowing, dawn of day returneth;
fervent in spirit, to the mighty Father
pray we devoutly.
Ut Deus, nostri miseratus, omnem
pellat angorem, tribuat salutem,
donet et nobis pietate patris regna polorum.2
So shall our Maker, of His great compassion,
banish all sickness, kindly health bestowing;
and may He grant us, of a Father's goodness,
mansions in heaven.
Praestet hoc nobis Deitas beata
Patris ac Nati, pariterque Sancti
Spiritus, cuius resonat per omnem gloria mundum. Amen.
This He vouchsafe us, God for ever blessed,
Father eternal, Son, and Holy Spirit,
Whose is the glory which through all creation
ever resoundeth. Amen.

Latin from the Liturgia Horarum. Tr. by Rev. Maxwell Julius Blacker (1822-1888).

Changes made by Pope Urban VIII in 1632 to the Roman Breviary:
1 ... / lux et aurorae rutilans coruscat:/ supplices rerum Dominum canora voce precemur.
2 Ut reos culpae miseratus omnem/ pellat angorem, tribuat salutem,/ donet et nobis sempiternae munera pacis.

Here's an mp3 of Ecce iam noctis from Liber Hymnarius; the tune used is just about the same as the Sarum chant tune #18 above, except for a few notes in the 3rd and 4th stanzas - so, you can sing this melody, using the English words for Father, We Praise Thee above, at Lauds on feria days other than Sunday.

TPL has this, about Ecce iam noctis:
Attributed to Pope St. Gregory the Great (540-604), but some think it may be a later composition by Alcuin (732-804). In the current Liturgia Horarum it is used for Laudes for the Sundays of the second and fourth weeks of the Psalter during Ordinary Time. In the Roman Breviary it is used for Lauds on the fourth and subsequent Sundays after Pentecost until September 27 inclusive.

Here's something from TPL about Nocte Surgentes, the Mattins hymn, including the words in Latin and English; again, you can see that it's in the Sapphic and Adonic, 11-11-11-5, meter.  Sing it to tune #16 as above on Sundays, or to tune #18 on ferias other than Sunday.  The English words below are metrical, and do fit the melody.
This hymn is usually attributed to Pope St. Gregory the Great (540-604), though some ascribe the hymn to Alcuin. In the Roman Breviary this hymn is used at Sunday Matins on the fourth and subsequent Sundays after Pentecost through September 27. In the Liturgia Horarum it is used for the Office of the Readings on Tuesdays during the second and fourth weeks of the Psalter during Ordinary Time.
NOCTE surgentes vigilemus omnes,
semper in psalmis meditemur atque
viribus totis Domino canamus
dulciter hymnos,
NOW from the slumbers of the night arising,
chant we the holy psalmody of David,
hymns to our Master, with a voice concordant,
sweetly intoning.
Ut, pio regi pariter canentes,
cum suis sanctis mereamur aulam
ingredi caeli, simul et beatam
ducere vitam.
So may out Monarch pitifully hear us,
that we may merit with His Saints to enter
mansions eternal, there withal possessing
joy beatific.
Praestet hoc nobis Deitas beata
Patris ac Nati, pariterque Sancti
Spiritus, cuius resonat per omnem
gloria mundum. Amen.
This be our portion, God forever blessed,
Father eternal, Son, and Holy Spirit,
Whose i s the glory, which through all creation
ever resoundeth. Amen.

Here's an mp3 of Nocte Surgentes, from Liber Hymnarius (see my post here about this new site); and here's their page about the hymn.  This is not the same tune as either #16 or #18 above, though.

And here are the two different Vespers melodies, #19 and 22:

Here again is the mp3 from the LLPB of Lucis Creator optime, sung to tune #19;  it's listed on the LLPB "Weekday Propers Sung" page as the hymn for Sunday Vespers (listed above as "daily except Saturday").  The cantor is using the English translation by J. M. Neale (below). 
TPL says this about the hymn, and includes the words below in Latin and English:
Attributed to Pope St. Gregory the Great (540-604), this hymn is used in the Roman Breviary at Vespers for Sundays after Epiphany and Sundays after Pentecost. In the Liturgia Horarum it is used for Sunday evening Vespers for Ordinary time for the first and third weeks of the Psalter.
LUCIS Creator optime
lucem dierum proferens,
primordiis lucis novae,
mundi parans originem:
O BLEST Creator of the light,
Who mak'st the day with radiance bright,
and o'er the forming world didst call
the light from chaos first of all;
Qui mane iunctum vesperi
diem vocari praecipis:
tetrum chaos illabitur,1
audi preces cum fletibus.
Whose wisdom joined in meet array
the morn and eve, and named them Day:
night comes with all its darkling fears;
regard Thy people's prayers and tears.
Ne mens gravata crimine,
vitae sit exsul munere,
dum nil perenne cogitat,
seseque culpis illigat.
Lest, sunk in sin, and whelmed with strife,
they lose the gift of endless life;
while thinking but the thoughts of time,
they weave new chains of woe and crime.
Caeleste pulset ostium:2
vitale tollat praemium:
vitemus omne noxium:
purgemus omne pessimum.
But grant them grace that they may strain
the heavenly gate and prize to gain:
each harmful lure aside to cast,
and purge away each error past.
Praesta, Pater piissime,
Patrique compar Unice,
cum Spiritu Paraclito
regnans per omne saeculum. Amen.
O Father, that we ask be done,
through Jesus Christ, Thine only Son;
Who, with the Holy Ghost and Thee,
doth live and reign eternally. Amen.

From the Roman Breviary, translation by J. M. Neale (1818-1866).

Changes made by Pope Urban VIII in 1632 to the Roman Breviary:
1 illabitur tetrum chaos,
2 The Liturgia Horarum has: Caelorum pulset intimum.

Here is LLPB 's  mp3 (in English) of O Lux Beata Trinitas ("O Trinity of Blessed Light") sung to melody #22; it's quite beautiful, and uses the J.M. Neale translation below (with a different doxology).

This is a well-known tune any case, for a well-known hym.  TPL offers this about it:
This hymn is ascribed to St. Ambrose (340-397) and is used for Sunday Vespers for the second and fourth weeks of the Psalter in the Liturgy of the Hours. The hymn appears in the Roman Breviary under the title of Iam sol recedit igneus, where it is the Vespers hymn for the ferial office on Saturdays and Trinity Sunday.
O LUX beata Trinitas,
et principalis Unitas,
iam sol recedit igneus,
infunde lumen cordibus.
O TRINITY of blessed Light,
O Unity of sovereign might,
as now the fiery sun departs,
shed Thou Thy beams within our hearts.
Te mane laudum carmine,
te deprecemur vespere:
te nostra supplex gloria
per cuncta laudet saecula.
To Thee our morning song of praise,
to Thee our evening prayer we raise;
Thee may our glory evermore
in lowly reverence adore.
Deo Patri sit gloria,
eiusque soli Filio,
cum Spiritu Paraclito,
et nunc, et in perpetuum.
All laud to God the Father be;
all praise, Eternal Son, to Thee;
all glory, as is ever meet,
to God the Holy Paraclete.

From the Liturgia Horarum. Translation by J. M. Neale (1818-1866).

This is an mp3 of O Lux beata, Trinitas from Liber Hymnarius; again, the tune used is very similar to the Sarum chant tune, #22, above, with some differences in various flourishes. 

Interesting to me that this hymn is sung on Saturdays at Vespers!  Of course, Saturday Vespers is First Vespers of Sunday, so it does make sense.

So, there you have the hymnody for the Hours in the Sarum Use,  for this long stretch between June and November!   I didn't realize I hadn't posted this before - and there are still some missing items in my references.  I'm missing the hymnody for the Little Hours, for instance - and never did get back to that massive 21-count section of hymns for the period between Epiphany and Lent. I'll get there, eventually, though.

I'm excited about the Liber Hymnarius website!   It looks like it aims to be a complete hymn-tune reference for the Hours, which would be fantastic to have at one site.

The Liber Hymnarius wiki

A new (to me) and very interesting-looking website, the Liber Hymnarius wiki. From the main page:
Liber Hymnarius wiki

Dedicated to Our Lady, in memory of her nativity.
Welcome to the Liber Hymnarius wiki, a place where recordings and translations of the contents of the Liber Hymnarius can be collected.
And an information box there says this:

Under Construction The vast majority of the pages on this wiki have not yet been created. Blue links lead to pages that have already been worked on, while red links lead to pages that are still waiting to be made.
Which means that those of us with an interest in these things can contribute to this project.  The Community Portal page says this:

There are two big goals for the Liber Hymnarius wiki:
  • to provide recordings of the hymns of the Liber Hymnarius
  • to provide translations of the hymns.
For recordings, please try to keep the third line from the bottom on A.

“What can I do to help?”

Plenty! There are one big and two smaller areas that have yet to be tackled:

  • The big one: cross-reference of the melodies. Noticed how many
    of the melodies are the same? It would be great to easily be able to
    pull up all the hymns with the same melody. Right now, the only way to
    do that is to sift through the category each hymn is placed in according
    to meter. Huge thanks to Benstox for getting this going!
  • A littler one: cross-reference of the authors. For example, it
    would be nice to search for St. Ambrose and find a page for him with
    links to his hymns. Again, thanks to Benstox for putting in the time necessary to make this happen!
  • A littler one: cross-reference of the liturgical usage. Right
    now, coming to a particular hymn page from an outside website (like a
    search engine) won't tell you for what the hymn is used.
Many thanks also to Brennansia for providing so many translations!

Anything you can do to help is greatly appreciated!

Recordings that Contain Errors

In any case, it means that there is now a resource on the web dedicated to the hymnody of the hours, which is certainly an excellent thing.

The site contains, at the moment, these sections:
And links to these external sources:

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Cristóbal de Morales: Missa Benedicta est regina caelorum

It's the Gloria from the "Blessed is the Queen of Heaven Mass," in honor of today's Feast of St. Mary the Virgin.

From the wonderful Full Homely Divinity website:

The Feast of Saint Mary the Virgin - Marymas
August 15th

O God, who hast taken to thyself the blessed Virgin Mary, mother of thy incarnate Son: Grant that we, who have been redeemed by his blood, may share with her the glory of thine eternal kingdom; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (Collect for the feast, 1979 BCP)

The feast days of the saints are often referred to as their "heavenly birthdays" since they ordinarily celebrate the day when the saint died and thus passed into the new life of the Kingdom of Heaven.  No one illustrates this better than the Blessed Virgin Mary. Tradition relates that, when the time of her death drew near, all of the apostles gathered in Jerusalem to be with her--all except Thomas, who was preaching the Gospel in India and was unable to return to Jerusalem in time. The apostles gathered around her in a house on Mount Zion, near the Upper Room where they had shared the Last Supper with Jesus and had also received the Holy Spirit with Mary on Pentecost. In the charming medieval carving at the left, John still appears quite youthful, standing on the near side of her bed. Peter is wearing glasses and is reading to her. When she died, the apostles carried her to a tomb in the Garden of Gethsemane, which, tradition says, belonged to Mary's family. 

Some time later, the apostles discovered that Mary's tomb was empty. This was not like the Resurrection of Jesus: Mary was not raised from the dead and did not appear to the apostles after her death; nor did an angel announce the news. Rather, her tomb was simply empty and they concluded that she had been taken directly into heaven ("assumed"), in much the same way that scripture and tradition attest that the greatest saints of the Old Testament--Enoch, Moses, and Elijah--were taken up bodily. In time, Thomas returned from India and the apostles told him what had happened, together with their conviction that Mary had been assumed into heaven. According to this tradition, Thomas once again played the role of the doubter and insisted that he would have to see the evidence before he would believe. At this point, we may perhaps be forgiven for thinking that the tradition is a bit unfair to Thomas. It hardly seems possible that this apostle who had traveled far and risked much to share his faith would make the same mistake twice. Nevertheless, the tradition has him going to the tombEntrance to the Medieval Basilica over the Tomb of Mary of Mary where, instead of her body, he found the tomb full of fragrant flowers--one version of the tradition says the flowers were roses and lilies. And then, looking up, he saw Mary herself, going up to heaven. Looking back, she saw Thomas and dropped the girdle which had tied her robe and an angel delivered it into the hands of Thomas.

It was not until 1950 that the Assumption of Mary was defined as a dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, when Pope Pius XII proclaimed that "the ever-virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heaven." In reality, however, this dogma was nothing new. It simply made it a matter of obligation for Roman Catholics to believe what many Christians have always believed, namely, that God had "taken to himself," for eternity, the blessed woman who had borne his incarnate Son in time. All believers look forward to "the resurrection of the body and the life of the world to come." At the Council of Chalcedon in 451, the emperor asked the patriarch of Jerusalem to bring the relics of Mary to Constantinople so that they could be enshrined at what was then the center of the world. The patriarch replied that there were no relics because, as he said, the apostles had found that her tomb was empty and her body had been assumed into heaven: she had already gone where we all hope to go.

Some Christians have difficulty with this idea because it is not in the Bible (though, as we have already noted, the Bible does tell of others who have been assumed, body and soul, into heaven). Nevertheless, Mary's role in our salvation, and her particular relationship with God is a pivotal one on our behalf. Her "yes" to the Archangel Gabriel opened the way for God to take on our humanity, to become fully one with us in the flesh. As an ancient prayer says, God humbled himself to share our humanity in order that we might share in his divinity. In the moment that Mary said "yes" to God's plan, she was already one with God in a unique way, bearing within her body God himself. A connection such as this transcends by far the intimacy of human relationships. Indeed, it reaches beyond death--and so the Church believes.

At the Council of Ephesus in 431, Mary was given the title "Theotokos"--"God-bearer" or "Mother of God." Nestorius taught that the divinity and humanity of Jesus were distinct and never mingled, so that Mary was "Christotokos," the mother of the man Jesus, but not the mother of God incarnate. The teaching of Nestorius was rejected by the Council and Mary has been known ever since as Theotokos, in token of the fact that she carried God himself in her womb, and continued ever after to share a special union with him, both in life and in death. In the West, Mary's feast on August 15th is called the Assumption. In the East it is called Koimesis--"Dormition" or "Falling Asleep." Both titles areRussian Icon of the Dormition - 19th century somewhat vague about the details. Indeed, in spite of the tradition concerning Thomas's vision of her ascent into heaven, the Church is officially silent on the way in which she got there. What is clear is that, as our Collect says, God took Mary to himself, to be with him and one with him for ever. And that is what we celebrate on this day.

There are two places in Jerusalem associated with the end of Mary's earthly life. One is the basilica in the Garden of Gethsemane (above) which houses her tomb. The other is a monastery on Mount Zion on the traditional site of her falling asleep. Dormition is the name the community of German Benedictines have given to the Abbey that crowns Mount Zion. A life-sized sculpture of the Theotokos in the crypt of the Abbey church shows the influence of traditional Byzantine iconography. In the traditional Orthodox icon, Jesus himself is depicted, standing by his Mother as she falls asleep, and holding her soul, like a child, in his arm.

Taking its cue from the experience of Thomas at the tomb of Mary, the celebration of this feast includes the blessing of fragrant flowers and herbs. Flowers have always been associated with Mary in a particular way. She is the Mystical Rose and many flowers are named for her or have popular names that relate to her. Here is a link describing many of Mary's flowers. And here is another link to a slide show with more information about Mary's flowers and Mary Gardens. A Mary Garden is a place to honor the Mother of God, as well as a place to go for quiet reflection and prayer. It could also provide a setting for your Easter Garden.  Mary Gardens may be found on the grounds of monasteries and churches, and also in the gardens of private homes. They are planted with flowers, herbs, and trees that are named for Mary or associated with her and her Son in scripture and tradition. They may also have statuary, icons, and other art and symbols that provide a focus for prayer and contemplation. Ideally, a Mary Garden is enclosed to provide a place truly set-apart, but even a dish garden can serve the purpose if properly used as a means of focusing prayer.

August is the wrong time to plant any kind of garden, but Marymas would be a good day to begin planning and marking out a Mary Garden. Some plants and seeds and bulbs do best if planted in the fall, and others can be added in the spring. Here is a link that will help you choose appropriate plants for your Mary Garden. In addition to the online resources linked above, Vincenzina Krymow's book Mary's Flowers is a beautifully illustrated text about the flowers associated with Mary and their legends. It includes information about how to create your own Mary Garden. Krymow has also written a companion volume, Healing Plants of the Bible. (Click here to find both of these books in our Bookshop.)

Llandaff Cathedral in Wales has a unique variation on a Mary Garden which we like a lot: each of the niches in the reredos of the Lady Chapel has a sculpture of a flower named in Welsh in honor of Mary.

From ancient times, in every culture, herbs and various flowers have been known to have healing properties. The blessing of herbs and flowers on Marymas is a way of "baptizing" the wisdom of traditional healing and combining it with the Christian wisdom that recognizes that God is the true source of healing and that salvation (wholeness) is ultimately found only in the Son of Mary, Jesus Christ. Thus, it was customary for the faithful to bring bunches of herbs and wild flowers to church on this day. They were blessed at the beginning of the Eucharist and then taken home to be used for healing and protection through the coming year. For the renewal of this tradition, an abbreviated form of the traditional prayers are found on our Marymas Prayers page (click on the title).

In many parishes and especially at shrines, this is a day for processions and for celebrations that continue after the liturgical observances have been completed. Traditionally, working people had a holiday from work, so that there were also family celebrations. Today, we must be more creative about marking these holidays in our homes, and it may be necessary to transfer some of the celebration to the weekend in order to keep the spirit of a fully homely divinity alive and healthy. If your parish does not have a procession on this day, or if you are unable to attend, why not have a family procession? Hymn singing does not require an organ for accompaniment, and does not need to rival the Kings College Choir in order to praise God in joyful song. (You will find an assortment of good hymns on our Sing of Mary page.) Homemade banners can be as simple as strips of cloth waved by children, or as elaborate as those with greater skills can make them. Our homes can be filled with fragrant flowers and herbs. In the northern hemisphere, this is an outdoor feast. If you do not have a Mary Garden, any garden or park will serve--even the back porch, fitted out with potted plants and cut flowers and herbs, will serve quite well.

An especially good, yet relatively simple way to celebrate this feast is to have a tea party. A festive table can be set in your version of a Mary Garden, which is already full of flowers. Perhaps a few Mary flowers could be put in a small vase on the table. For drinks, we suggest teas that are scented with herbs or made entirely with herbs, as well as a fruit and herb punch from our friends at Catholic Culture that children will enjoy. For those who like old fashioned black teas, there are teas that are flavored with roses--a natural for the feast of the Mystical Rose. Earl Grey tea is another good choice as it is infused with Bergamot, a variety of Monarda, or Bee Balm, which is also known as Sweet Mary. For food, at the tea party, we suggest nasturtium sandwiches and strawberry shortcake. It is a little late in the season for local strawberries but, with modern refrigeration and transportation, it seems that almost any fresh fruit or vegetable can be obtained year-round. The strawberry was known as the "Fruitful Virgin" because it blooms and bears fruit at the same time. Another lovely European tradition says that the strawberry is sacred to Mary who accompanies children to keep them safe when they go strawberry picking on St. John's Day. The nasturtium is known as "St. Joseph's Flower." It is an edible flower and can be combined with cream cheese to make tea sandwiches. Tea should be accompanied by prayers appropriate to the occasion, such as the Collect of the Day which begins this article. Children should be told the story of Mary's heavenly birthday--how else will they learn it? Tomie de Paola's beautifully illustrated book Mary:The Mother of Jesus (available in our Bookshop) tells the story reverently and well. Finally, everyone will enjoy a walk in the garden which could easily be made into a game, with an award, such as a Mary-blue ribbon, for the person who identifies the most flowers and herbs that are named for Mary.

For more information about Mary on FHD, click on the links below and also visit our pages on Marymas Prayers and Sing to Mary

This is from that "Marymas Prayers" link:

Prayers for Marymas
(The Feast of Saint Mary the Virgin)

Walsingham PilgrimageMarymas (August 15th) is certainly a day for a procession and other festivities and prayers. The procession may be part of the liturgy and very grand, or it may be a family or neighborhood affair. A procession can be a parade for people to watch, or it might have a destination, such as a Mary Garden. A procession is a celebration, so it should be happy, not sombre. Still, it is always best for a procession to have litanies and hymns for people to participate in while they are walking. Otherwise, they may forget why they are are processing and wander off to the playground before the procession is over.

A litany is a form of prayer that is easy for large groups to participate in. A leader says the changing parts of the litany and the people respond with the same words, such as "Lord, have mercy" or "Pray for us" after each petition. A litany may be said or sung. The Litany of the Saints is always appropriate for church processions. There are also litanies that are just about Mary, and one of those would be especially appropriate on this day. In this Litany from Saint Augustine's Prayer Book, Mary is addressed by many of her traditional titles. In it, we call upon the the person who is the closest of all people to the heart of God, to pray for us.

Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.

God the Father of Heaven,       
                              have mercy upon us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
                              have mercy upon us.
God the Holy Ghost, the Sanctifier, 
                              have mercy upon us.
Holy Trinity, One God,  
                              have mercy upon us.

Holy Mary, pray for us.
Holy Mother of God, pray for us.
Holy Virgin of virgins, pray for us. 
Mother of Christ, pray for us.
Mother of divine Grace, pray for us.
Mother most pure, pray for us.
Mother most chaste, pray for us.
Mother inviolate, pray for us.
Mother undefiled, pray for us.
Mother most amiable, pray for us.
Mother most admirable, pray for us.
Mother of our Creator, pray for us.
Mother of our Savior, pray for us.
Virgin most prudent, pray for us.
Virgin most venerable, pray for us.
Virgin most renowned, pray for us.
Virgin most powerful, pray for us.
Virgin most merciful, pray for us.
Virgin most faithful, pray for us.
Mirror of Justice, pray for us.   
Seat of Wisdom, pray for us.
Cause of our Joy, pray for us.
Spiritual vessel, pray for us.
Vessel of honor, pray for us.
Singular vessel of devotion, pray for us.
Mystical Rose, pray for us.
Tower of David, pray for us.
Tower of ivory, pray for us.
House of gold, pray for us.
Ark of the covenant, pray for us.
Gate of heaven, pray for us.
Morning star, pray for us.
Health of the sick, pray for us.
Refuge of sinners, pray for us.
Comforter of the afflicted, pray for us.
Help of Christians, pray for us.
Queen of Angels, pray for us.
Queen of Patriarchs, pray for us.
Queen of Prophets, pray for us.
Queen of Apostles, pray for us.
Queen of Martyrs, pray for us.
Queen of Confessors, pray for us.
Queen of Virgins, pray for us.
Queen of all Saints, pray for us.
Queen of Peace, pray for us.

Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world,
                         spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world,
                         hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world,
                         have mercy upon us.

Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.

We beseech thee, O Lord, pour thy grace into our hearts; that as we have known the Incarnation of thy Son Jesus Christ by the message of an Angel, so, by his Cross and Passion, we may be brought unto the glory of his Resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

Blessing of a Mary Garden

Almighty and everlasting God: We beseech thee to bless this garden that has been planted in honor of our most blessed and glorious Lady, the ever-Virgin Mary. Make it a place of tranquility and peace, and a pleasing commemoration of the goodness and virtue of thy dear Mother. May it be fragrant with the abundance of good things and a safe refuge where, through the prayers of the Theotokos, thy faithful people may find rest from their labors, comfort in their sorrow, and healing from their ills; through Jesus Christ, Son of Mary and Son of God, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Old Rose - Photo by Rodney Blackhirst

Blessing of Herbs on Marymas

V:  Our help is in the name of the Lord;
R:  Who hath made heaven and earth.

Psalm 65 may be said or sung

Let us pray.

Almighty, eternal God, Creator of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible: As thou didst command that the earth bring forth plants and trees for the use of men and animals, and that these plants should serve not only as food but as medicine in time of sickness, we beseech thee to bless these various herbs and plants which we now present unto thee;  

Holy Father, who on this day didst raise the root of Jesse, the mother of thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, to the heights of heaven: We humbly pray thee, that, by her intercession, these herbs may be for us a source of protection and a means of healing from all sickness and tribulation when we use them in Thy name.

Savior and Redeemer of humankind, grant that, wherever these herbs may be placed, they may be a potent means against sickness and pestilence, against the poison of serpents and the sting of poisonous animals, as also against the deceits, snares, and machinations of the devil; and grant that we may be made worthy to be received into heaven together with the most Blessed Virgin Mary and all thy saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

The Rosary

The rosary might best be described as a method of meditative prayer. It entails reciting certain fixed prayers for a set number of times and using those prayers as a kind of meditative background noise to blot out distractions while the person who is saying the rosary meditates prayerfully on a passage of scripture or other sacred subject. A string of beads is used to count the fixed prayers. The devotion was made popular by St. Dominic in the 12th century. The word rosary means "a garland of roses" and is a reference to Mary, the Mystical Rose, who is at the center of the mysteries which are meditated upon. The traditional rosary has been a popular devotion among Anglicans of a catholic frame of mind for many years.  A fuller description of how it works may be found by clicking here. Recently, some Anglicans have developed a variation on the traditional rosary which they call the Anglican rosary. Information about how it works may be found by clicking here.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

For the Feast of the Assumption: "Come my swete, come my flower" (Geoffrey Burgon)

markfromireland at Saturday Chorale offers another lovely post today, anticipating this week's (August 15) Feast of the Assumption.  I'll just post the whole thing here, as it seems there's nothing I ought to add or take away (and I know parts of the post will be of particular interest to some of our friends!):
Just a short posting today about a piece by one of my favourite modern English composers,  Geoffrey Burgon.  (If you're new to Burgon's music you'll find all my postings on music here:  Geoffrey Burgon | Saturday Chorale). Burgon composed The Assumption in 2001 it's a deceptively simple piece of music in which each of the eminently singable four voice lines combine to produce a piece of music that greatly exceeds the sum of its parts. As well as being a lovely piece of music it shows Burgon's abiding interest in and affinity with early English texts. Pre-reformation England was famous for its devotion to the Virgin Mary. This devotion was notable from the earliest times and long predated even Abbot Ælfric of Eynsham's  sermons and the Blickling Homilies. The text 'Come my swete, come my flower' is early medieval and consists of a dialogue between Christ and his mother in which Christ calls her up to heaven and responds with eagerness and love. It's a charming setting of a charming text sung beautifully by the Wells Cathedral Choir conducted by Matthew Owens. Enjoy :-).

Video Source: Burgon - Come my swete come my flower – YouTube  Published on Aug 11, 2012 by markfromireland

Text: The Assumption Come my swete, come my flower

Come my swete, come my flower,
Come my culver, mine own bower,
Come my mother now with me,
For Heaven-queen I make thee.

My swete Son, with all my love
I come with thee to thyn above;
Where thou art now let me be,
For all my love is laid on thee.

Come my swete, come my flower …

Saturday, August 04, 2012

For the Feast of the Transfiguration: Quicumque Christum Quaeritis

The beautiful Quicumque Christum Quaeritis is the (August 6) Feast of the Transfiguration hymn for Vespers and Matins in the Roman Breviary (although not in the Sarum).

It consists of vv. 1-4, 37-40, 41-44, and 85-88 of Aurelius Prudentius' Hymnus Epiphaniae found here, along with a dozen or so others of his hymns, originally compiled and translated by Martin Pope (with thanks to Project Gutenberg).  Prudentius was a Roman Christian and poet born in the year 348.


Here are the words to Quicumque Christum Quaeritis, in Latin and English:

Quicumque Christum quæritis,
oculos in altum tollite:
illic licebit visere
signum perennis gloriæ.

Inlustre quiddam cernimus,
quod nesciat finem pati,
sublime, celsum, interminum,
antiquius caelo et chao.

Hic ille rex est gentium
populique rex Iudaici,
promissus Abrahae patri
eiusque in aevum semini.

Hunc et prophetis testibus
isdemque signatoribus,
testator et sator iubet
adire regnum et cernere:

Gloria Tibi, Domine
Qui natus es de virgine
Cum Patre et Samcto Spiritu,
in sempiterna sæcula.

Lift up your eyes, whoe'er ye be
That fare the new-born Christ to see:
For yonder is the shining sign
Of grace perennial and divine.

Sure 'tis the sign most reverend
Of Being that doth know no end:
Of One in state sublime arrayed
Ere sky and chaos yet were made.

This is the King of Israel,
Of all in Gentile lands that dwell:
The King to Abram and his seed
Throughout all ages erst decreed.

The prophets witnessed to the bond
Which sealed to Him the realm profound:
The Father's Kingdom He received
And the vast legacy perceived.

All glory be to you O Lord,
Son of the Virgin, the blessed Word,
With Father and Blest Spirit One
Until the ages’ course is done.

(The doxology above is not correct, in the second line; I can't quite make out the text in the video, though.)

Pope's notes for this hymn (and for others!) are interesting; the first points out that

This poem has given four hymns to the Roman Breviary:--

(1) For the Feast of the Transfiguration, Vespers and Matins consisting of ll. 1-4, 37-40, 41-44, 85-88.
(2) For the Epiphany at Lauds, beginning O sola magnarum urbium, ll. 77-80, 5-8, 61-72.
(3) For the Feast of Holy Innocents at Matins, beginning Audit tyrannus anxius, ll. 93-100, 133-136.
(4) Also the Feast of Holy Innocents at Lauds, beginning Salvete flores martyrum, ll. 125-132.

Quicumque Christum quaeritis, says New Advent, is "the opening line of the twelfth (in honor of the Epiphany) and last poem in the 'Cathemerinon' of Prudentius." Further:

This twelfth poem or hymn contains 52 iambic dimeter strophes, and an irregular selection from its 208 lines has furnished four hymns to the Roman Breviary, all of which conclude with the usual Marian doxology ("Jesu tibi sit gloria" etc., not composed by Prudentius), slightly varied to make the doxology appropriate for the several feasts employing the hymns. The four centos are:

Quicumque Christum quaeritis (Matins and first and second Vespers of the feast of the Transfiguration), comprising sixteen lines (I-4, 37-44, 85-88) and the doxology (which changes its second line): Jesu, tibi sit gloria, Qui to revelers parvulis, etc.

Although written for the Epiphany, the lines forming the cento apply well to the Transfiguration, as Daniel notes (Thes. Hymnol., I, p. 136).

The Transfiguration is celebrated twice each liturgical year:  on August 6, its own feast day, and also on the Last Sunday after The Epiphany, when it's the subject of the Lectionary reading. The story appears in each of the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke); for this past year, Year B, the telling of the tale at the last Sunday after Epiphany is from Mark:

Mark 9:2-9

9:2 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them,

9:3 and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them.

9:4 And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus.

9:5 Then Peter said to Jesus, "Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."

9:6 He did not know what to say, for they were terrified.

9:7 Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, "This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!"

9:8 Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.

9:9 As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead.

On the August 6 Feast of the Transfiguration, the Gospel reading is from Luke:
Luke 9:28-36

About eight days after Jesus had foretold his death and resurrection, Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah"--not knowing what he said. While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, "This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!" When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.

The Old Testament reading for today is the story of Moses on Mt. Sinai, and of his experience of "close encounter" with God:

Exodus 34:29-35

Moses came down from Mount Sinai. As he came down from the mountain with the two tablets of the covenant in his hand, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, the skin of his face was shining, and they were afraid to come near him. But Moses called to them; and Aaron and all the leaders of the congregation returned to him, and Moses spoke with them. Afterward all the Israelites came near, and he gave them in commandment all that the LORD had spoken with him on Mount Sinai. When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face; but whenever Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, he would take the veil off, until he came out; and when he came out, and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, the Israelites would see the face of Moses, that the skin of his face was shining; and Moses would put the veil on his face again, until he went in to speak with him.

The Collect for the Feast of the Transfiguration is:

O God, who on the holy mount revealed to chosen witnesses your well-beloved Son, wonderfully transfigured, in raiment white and glistening: Mercifully grant that we, being delivered from the disquietude of this world, may by faith behold the King in his beauty; who with you, O Father, and you, O Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
. about which Hatchett's Commentary says:

This is a slightly revised version of the collect the Rev. Dr. William Reed Huntington wrote for the day, based on the Lukan story of the transfiguration.  It was first included in the 1892 Prayer Book.

Here's the full Transfiguration entry from the wonderful Full Homely Divinity:
The Feast of the Transfiguration is of great antiquity, though it was not established as a feast of universal observance in the West until 1457 in the pontificate of Callistus III. It is, perhaps, for this reason, that there are few special customs associated with the feast. The feast always seems to have been observed on August 6th in the East. It is likely that this is the date of the fourth century dedication of a church on Mount Tabor, the traditional site of the biblical event. However, the earliest Western liturgical reference to the feast is found in the fifth century, when Matthew's account of the Transfiguration was the Gospel for the Ember Saturday in Lent. To make a long story short, it was the 15th century before English Benedictines were keeping it as a major feast in its own right on August 6th and it finally made its way into the Sarum Kalendar. Even so, it had not caught on too strongly since, in spite of its clear biblical warrant, it was dropped in 1549. It appears in some subsequent Prayer Book Kalendars, but without a proper collect and readings. Its full restoration in the American revision of The Book of Common Prayer in 1892 may be attributed to the influence William Reed Huntington. In addition to its celebration on August 6th, the Transfiguration is also commemorated on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday in some recent Prayer Books, such as the 1979.

The feast commemorates a truly startling event, shortly before Jesus went up to Jerusalem to enter into his Passion. Going up to the top of a mountain with Jesus, the inner circle of the disciples, Peter, James, and John, are overwhelmed with a brilliant and unearthly manifestation of their Lord in glory as he converses with Moses and Elijah about the things that are to come. For a moment, the humanity of Jesus is infused with light and it is as if his divinity has become palpable. In fact, the disciples are dumbfounded,  and can barely find words with which to respond. Although they have been with Jesus constantly for three years, they still do not really understand who he is, but a voice from heaven removes any uncertainty when it proclaims, "This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!"

Orthodox Christians have focused on the light that was manifest on this occasion. The thirteenth century Archbishop of Thessalonica, St. Gregory Palamas, taught that the light which infused this scene was not natural, created, or material light, but was the uncreated light of God who is unapproachable in his Essence, but who can be perceived by his energies. St. Gregory taught that the light of Tabor was a particular manifestation of those energies which are also sometimes perceived by those who are deeply immersed in a particular method of prayer known as hesychastic prayer. Hesychastic prayer has evoked some interest among Western Christians in recent years as a result of interest in the Jesus Prayer ("Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner"), which is at the heart of hesychast ascetical practice. The Russian spiritual classic, The Way of the Pilgrim, has popularized the Jesus Prayer among many Western Christians who seek new ways of entering more deeply into the spiritual life.

This extraordinary approach to the light of Tabor is one way of understanding the Transfiguration, but it is dependent on a theology with which most Westerners are not particularly at home. Dr. Marianne Dorman, an Anglican educator offers this meditation on the light of Tabor. Noting that the Orthodox do indeed seem to take this feast more seriously than the Western Church does, she draws on Orthodox liturgical texts and goes on to explore other aspects of this event which can both trouble and transform us in deep and powerful ways. For in the Transfiguration we are taken back in time to creation when God was the only Light, as well as forward to the City of the Lamb where, once again, God is the only Light. The Transfiguration reveals in an unmistakable way the "true light that enlightens everyone coming into the world" (John 1:9) and also foreshows the light of the Resurrection, by which all believers are raised to the light and life of the Kingdom in the Day when he shall come again in glory. Occurring as it does on the way to Jerusalem, the Transfiguration centers all of this in the Cross when even death itself is unable to quench the Light. In short, we may say that the Transfiguration is the Gospel in sum: manifesting the glory and power of God as he renews the whole creation and redeems his people from darkness and sin.

William Reed Huntington was one of the giants of the 19th century Episcopal Church. A leader and a reconciler in critical times, rector of Grace Church, New York City, and a member of the House of Deputies of the General Convention for 36 years, he was known, unofficially of course, as "first presbyter of the Church." Summers usually found Dr. Huntington on Mount Desert Island, Maine, where he was active in the church of St. Mary-by-the-Sea, which had been founded by William Croswell Doane, the Bishop of Albany, who also summered there. It was Dr. Huntington who proposed to revise the Prayer Book and he contributed two collects: the Collect for Monday in Holy Week, and the Collect for the Feast of the Transfiguration. That feast was first observed at St. Mary's in 1887 and it was while climbing nearby Sargent Mountain that he found the inspiration for the Collect, which originally read:

O God, who on the mount didst reveal to chosen witnesses thine only-begotten Son wonderfully transfigured, in raiment white and glistering; Mercifully grant that we, being delivered from the disquietude of this world, may be permitted to behold the King in his beauty, who with thee, O Father, and thee, O Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth, one God, world without end. Amen.

Like Jesus, Dr. Huntington sought out a lonely mountaintop for prayer. It can hardly be imagined that Peter and James and John found the experience anything but disquieting, and Jesus himself, speaking with Moses and Elijah about the trials to come, must also have had some ambivalence about the experience. Nevertheless, it is through such a transforming experience that we are at last permitted to see the vision glorious--the uncreated Light of Tabor which is the King himself in all his beauty. In view of this, time apart, on a mountaintop if possible, but wherever we may withdraw for undisturbed prayer and meditation, is surely the most suitable way of extending this feast beyond the Liturgy into our personal and family festal observances.

Just as Lammas Day marks the beginning of the wheat harvest with a special blessing of bread, the Transfiguration has traditionally marked the beginning of the harvest of fruit, particularly the fruit of the vine. The transformation which takes place as fruit develops from the bud, to flower, to ripened fruit is a natural transfiguration. The symbolism here is even more pointed with grapes which continue to be transformed from fruit, to juice, to wine, and then, sacramentally, to the Blood of Christ received in the Eucharist. In the East, it is customary to bless a variety of fruits at the conclusion of the Liturgy on the Feast of the Transfiguration. In the West, however, only grapes are blessed and it was the custom, at one time, for a handful of grapes to be squeezed directly into the Chalice, mingling the fresh juice with the already consecrated Wine of the Eucharist. Here is a blessing that may be used to bless grapes for distribution at the conclusion of the Eucharist.

Blessing of Grapes on Transfiguration

Bless, O Father, this new fruit of the vine, which has grown and ripened through good weather, warm sunshine, and drops of rain and dew: may it bring refreshment and joy to us who partake of it. As the buds of the vine have been transformed into ripe and delicious fruit, and as the juice of the fruit is transformed by thy grace into the pure Blood of Christ, so may we be transformed into the mature likeness of him who shed his Blood for us and quenches our thirst with the Cup of Salvation, the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

While Full Homely Divinity is not a political website, it would be unthinkable to omit mention of the fact that on August 6th, 1945, the first nuclear bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. However one chooses to characterize the reasons for that act, it is unarguable that the world was transformed for ever by its blinding light. As we reflect on the meaning of the Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ, surely this is a day when, each year, we must give thought to the stark contrast between those two transforming events, between the power that is now in our hands and the ways in which we use it, and the power that belongs to God alone and the ways in which he uses it.
Yes, exactly:  "As we reflect on the meaning of the Transfiguration of our Lord Jesus Christ, surely this is a day when, each year, we must give thought to the stark contrast between those two transforming events, between the power that is now in our hands and the ways in which we use it, and the power that belongs to God alone and the ways in which he uses it."

This icon of the Transfiguration is "an early-15th century icon from the Tretyakov Gallery, attributed to Theophanes the Greek":

This one is a "Trasfiguration-fresco, in St. George Church in Kurbinovo, Macedonia," and is from, the page says, the 12th C.:

I'd wanted to include something from the 20th Century here; you'd think that the Transfiguration would have been an almost irresistable subject for some of the artists in the past century. Couldn't find anything, though - so I include this Duccio di Buoninsegna rendering from "between 1250 and 1260":

Love the Ducc, anyway. And there's also this beautiful "Gothic altarpiece of Transfiguration, by Bernat Martorell, at Cathedral of Barcelona," from 1445 or so:

You should go have a look in detail at that last one, I think.

I'm hoping for another post, shortly, about another aspect of the Feast of the Transfiguration: its association, especially in the chant propers, with Wisdom.

There will be more to come, too, about Prudentius' poems.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

"Campers in U.K. shun beaches for work on ancient cathedrals"

A terrific project - a great way to get two groups who need each other together - via Episcopal News Service:

Ecumenical News International, London] While many young people in the U.K. are gearing up for a summer of backpacking or the beach, one group is choosing to stay home and spend their holidays in a more unusual way — doing voluntary conservation work in ancient cathedrals, chapels and churches.

Cathedral Camps, run by the U.K. charity Community Service Volunteers, is seeing about 150 young people from ages 16 to 25 painting walls, polishing spires, ringing bells, surveying tombstones and cleaning graveyards during the day and sleeping overnight in gardens, presbyteries or cloisters.

“The experience is a chance to see the hidden corners of some of the nation’s most iconic religious buildings in England, Scotland and Wales,” said Hannah Foxon, a seasoned camper. “It’s also a great way to meet new people and learn new skills. Most volunteers come away with the feeling of great pride, success and achievement. This is my fourth year and fifth camp as a leader for CSV Cathedral Camps, and each camp I have attended has been totally different.”

One of the venues this year is Islington Union Chapel in London — a Victorian building which is used as a non-denominational “free church,” as well as a center for fringe theatre, comedy and music. Campers will be painting, polishing and cleaning the grounds, and may even get treated to concert tickets.

Another, Winchester Cathedral in Hampshire, southeast England, is more than 1,000 years old. The town of Winchester is packed with historic structures such as a fortified medieval gateway, museums and tranquil green spaces.

Bangor Cathedral in North Wales is situated in a region of natural beauty where the Snowdonia Mountains reach the sea. Campers will get a chance to explore the U.K.’s smallest city, which has its own Victorian pier and longest High Street in Wales.

Ripon Cathedral in Yorkshire is described as the “perfect” cathedral due to its epic proportions. Dominating the city skyline, the medieval woodcarving at Ripon inspired Alice in Wonderland author Lewis Carroll.

The first camp, which opened on 4 July, was at Edinburgh’s Gothic Revival 19th century St. Mary’s Cathedral, the largest church in Scotland. Campers have begun polishing, gardening, dusting and are being treated to some outings in Edinburgh.

Wendy Lee, CSV’s project manager for Cathedral Camps, said that the program “is a great opportunity for young people … to learn new skills, while protecting historic places of faith. The charity celebrated its 30th anniversary last year, which is a testament to its success and the young volunteers who show great enthusiasm and commitment. Without the time and energy of volunteers, these jobs will not get done and spectacular buildings may be at risk.”

Cathedral Camps run throughout July and August.  Campers make a contribution of 195 pounds (US$239) towards accommodation, food, tools, equipment, instruction, supervision and work materials.

For more information see:


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