Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Seventh Sunday in Easter: Alleluia. Non vos reliquam orphanos ("I will not leave you orphans")

GREGORIAN ALLELUIA • Non Vos Relinquam (6221) from Corpus Christi Watershed on Vimeo.

The text for this chant comes from John 14:18 and John 16:22b; both verses come from Christ's "Farewell Discourse."
I will not leave you orphans. I am going, but I will come back to you, and your hearts will be full of joy.

Interestingly, it seems that Young's Literal Translation (1898) renders the first phrase as "I will not leave you bereaved" - and it seems the King James translators went that way, too, with the famous "I will not leave you comfortless."  I'm interested in knowing why, actually - and will try to find out.  "Orphanos" seems clear and straightforward enough, to me - but perhaps there's something else going on here.

This is the full chant score; as you can see, it's a very complex chant - fitting, for one of the last Sunday chants in the Easter season:

Here it is sung in monastic choir, by the São Paulo Benedictines:

This text is also the Antiphon upon Magnificat for First Vespers of Pentecost; to see it in context, use Divinum Officium and enter 6-7-2014, then click "Vesperae."   This is a very old usage, going back to the "pre Trident monastic" Roman Breviary.

This is a video of William Byrd's setting of the text, from 1607, sung by The Cambridge Singers.

Here, as "I will not leave you comfortless,"  it's sung beautifully in English by the "Mennonite Acapella" Oasis Chorale:

Here's an interesting little item about the liturgy during the "Ascentiontide" period at Full Homely Divinity's "Rogation and Ascension" page:
Traditionally, the Paschal Candle was extinguished following the reading of the  Gospel on Ascension Day. The gentle ascent and disappearance of the smoke from the smoldering wick was a poignant symbol of the departure of the Risen Lord from the earth.  Now, it is customary in many places to keep the Candle burning until Pentecost and to omit entirely any special ceremony of extinguishing it. There are credible reasons for this change. On the other hand, it is noteworthy that so little attention is given to the extinguishing of this Candle which was lit with major ceremony at the beginning of the Paschal Vigil and holds a place of such prominence in the church building throughout the season.

Like the Church at large, we at FHD are not of one mind on this practice. However, apart from the rites of the Church set forth by authority (i.e., The Book of Common Prayer), it is never our intent to prescribe, only to suggest. The rubric regarding the Paschal Candle in the American Prayer Book (p. 287) says "It is customary that the Paschal Candle burn at all services from Easter Day through the Day of Pentecost." At the risk of being accused of nitpicking, we note that "customary" is a relative term. Customs vary over both time and space and we are simply pointing out that this is one that is not universal. It has changed before and it could change again. Some of us see value in the old custom, and like it enough to keep it alive.

There are other liturgical customs for this day which have also fallen by the way. One such custom was the lifting up of a statue or picture of Christ. In some places, this was quite elaborate, with ropes or chains rigged to elevate the image. In some places, it disappeared behind a veil or into a representation of clouds, while in others it went through a hole in the ceiling. After the image vanished, the congregation would be showered with rose petals and other flowers, symbolizing the gifts which the ascended Christ gives to his Church:  When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive; he gave gifts to his people....that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers.... (Ephesians 4:7,11)

In Germany, it was the custom for the priest to lift high a crucifix after the reading of the Ascension Gospel.  This custom has much to recommend it. It makes visible the symbolic link between the Cross and the Ascension which is implicit in Jesus' words when he says, And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself. (John 12:32)   On the Cross, Jesus is glorified. When he ascends, he ascends to reign in glory. It could be a simple, yet effective, bit of liturgical drama to revive this custom. An extra acolyte, carrying a crucifix, could be added to the Gospel procession on Ascension Day. Or, if the parish owns a processional cross which has a figure of Christ on it, that should be carried at the head of the Gospel procession. It is important for this particular ceremony that the cross not be empty. While in many contexts an empty cross is an effective symbol, here the focus is on Christ himself, so a crucifix is needed. At the conclusion of the reading of the Gospel, instead of lifting the Gospel book and proclaiming "The Gospel of the Lord," the deacon or priest should exchange the book for the crucifix, and lift it high. It is still appropriate to say "The Gospel of the Lord," for the uplifted figure of Christ on the cross is indeed the Good News (Gospel) that we proclaim and celebrate. A processional crucifix would be especially dramatic as it would enable the Gospeller to lift the figure very high.

And don't forget to check out, and pray, FHD's Ascension-to-Pentecost "Novena to the Holy Spirit" at the bottom of the same page. lists all the propers for today, which were the same in the Tridentine Rite:
Hebdomada septima paschæ
Introitus: Ps. 26, 7.8.9 et 1 Exaudi, Domine... tibi dixit (not available)
Alleluia: Ps. 46, 9 Regnavit Dominus (not available)
Alleluia: Io. 14, 18 Non vos relinquam (3m32.2s - 3316 kb)
Offertorium: Ps. 46, 6 Ascendit Deus (1m33.8s - 1469 kb MONO)
Communio: Io. 17, 12.13.15 Pater, cum essem (not available)

And these are posts on Chantblog for today's propers:

Here's a rather amazing and beautiful painted Paschal Candle at the church of St. James, Spanish Place (Marylebone, London):

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014

    The Communion Song(s) for the Feast of the Ascension

    There are three different Communion chants for the Feast of the Ascension - one for each year.  I'll post all of them here.

    Year A's chant is Data est mihi ("All power is given to me"):

    The text is this familiar one, from Matthew 28, containing the very last words of Matthew's Gospel:
    18  [And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying:] All power is given to me in heaven and in earth.
    19 Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

    Here's James MacMillan's Data est mihi, sung by the Westminster Choir conducted by Joe Miller; this piece comes from a collection called "The Strathclyde Motets."   This video was recorded "at the Choir's Homecoming Concert in Princeton, N.J. in January 2011":

    The Communio for Year B is Signa autem eos ("These signs will accompany them"):

    Signa autem eos, qui in me credunt, hæc sequéntur: dæmónia ejícient: super ægros manus impónent, et bene habébunt. from Corpus Christi Watershed on Vimeo.

    The text is taken from Mark 16:17-18, the last part of Mark's Gospel:
    17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
    (There are only two more verses after this, these:
    19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.

    But of course, there's that footnote, too: "Some of the earliest manuscripts do not include 16:9–20.")

    Psallite Domino ("Sing to the Lord") is the Communion song for Year C; here it's sung by the Congregation of St. Lazarus Autun:

    This text comes, while taking some liberties, from Psalm (67/)68:
    33 to him who rides in the heavens, the ancient heavens;
        behold, he sends out his voice, his mighty voice.
    34 Ascribe power to God,
        whose majesty is over Israel,
        and whose power is in the skies.

    Here's a very nice polyphonic Psallite Domino:  this piece was composed by Sebastiaan Van Steenberge, performed by Koristen van Keizersberg (Director: Peter Maus), and recorded at Keizersberg Abbey in Leuven, Belgium in May 2008:

    Here, from, are all the Mass Propers for Ascension, sung by the Sao Paulo Benedictines:

    In Ascensione Domini
    Introitus: Act. 1, 11; Ps. 46 Viri Galilæi (2m48.4s - 2635 kb) score here
    Alleluia: Ps. 46, 6 Ascendit Deus (1m50.2s - 1725 kb) score here
    Alleluia: Ps. 67, 18.19 Dominus in Sina (2m33.9s - 2409 kb) score here
    Offertorium: Ps. 46, 6 Ascendit Deus (1m33.8s - 1469 kb MONO due to problems with my recording setscore here
    (anno A)Mt. 28, 18.19 Data est mihi (1m21.9s - 1283 kb) score here
    (anno B)Mc. 16, 17.18 Signa (1m05.5s - 1027 kb)
    (anno C)  Ps. 67, 33.34 Psallite Domino (59.0s - 925 kb MONO due to problems with my recording setscore here

    You can read other posts about the day's propers on Chantblog as well:

    Don't forget to read Full Homely Divinity's article on Ascension.

    And here's a wonderful thing - a glorious piece I didn't know existed until just now!  It's Bach's Ascension Oratorio (AKA the Cantata for Ascension Day, Lobet Gott in seinen Reichen - "Praise God in His Kingdoms"), first performed on May 19, 1735 in Leipzig.    Listen especially for Ach, bleibe doch, mein liebstes Leben here - which ultimately became the Agnus Dei in the B Minor Mass: 

    The German and English words are here (and also here).

    This is the list of movements and musicians from the YouTube page:
    Johann Sebastian Bach
    Ascension Oratorio, BWV 11
    (Cantata, Lobet Gott in seinen Reichen, BWV 11)

    Part I
    1 Chorus. Lobet Gott in seinen Reichen
    2 Evangelista. Der Herr Jesus hub seine Hände auf
    3 Recitativo. Ach, Jesu, ist dein Abschied
    4 Aria. Ach, bleibe doch, mein liebstes Leben
    5 Evangelista. Und ward aufgehoben zusehends
    6 Chorale. Nun lieget alles unter dir

    Part II
    7 Evangelista. Und da sie ihm nachsahen
    8 Recitativo. Ach ja! so komme bald zurück
    9 Evangelista. Sie aber beteten ihn an
    10 Aria. Jesu, deine Gnadenblicke
    11 Chorale. Wenn soll es doch geschehen

    Hannah Morrison, soprano
    Meg Bragle, mezzo-soprano
    Nicholas Mulroy, tenor
    Peter Harvey, bass

    Monteverdi Choir
    English Baroque Soloists
    John Eliot Gardiner, conductor

    This depiction of the Ascension comes from Folio 13v of the Rabula Gospels (Mesopotamia, 6th century AD):

    Monday, May 26, 2014

    May 26: St. Augustine of Canterbury

    Via JohnTheLutheran:
    England was converted to the faith when St Augustine of Canterbury arrived on the island of Thanet with forty companions. They might have offered service and they probably preached, but they certainly settled down to Benedictine stability and contemplated God. That is one out of thousands of examples of the mystical process of spiritual power. It is mysterious but indisputable.

    When we look at our contemporary trouble spots, at violence in the inner cities, at racial hatred, or torture, murder and rape, I can muster little faith in the efficacy of ‘praying about it’. I have absolute confidence in the efficacy of planting a contemplative community in the middle of it and letting God manifest his power. Prayer, real prayer, is no last resort but the first priority.

    Martin Thornton, A Joyful Heart.

    /via @martin_thornton

    More about Augustine of Canterbury, Bishop and Missionary (26 May, 605), whose feast day it is today:
    The Christian Church was established in the British Isles well before 300. Some scholars believe that it was introduced by missionaries from the Eastern or Greek-speaking half of the Mediterranean world. Celtic Christianity had its own distinctive culture, and Greek scholarship flourished in Ireland for several centuries after it had died elsewhere in Western Europe.

    However, in the fifth century Britain was invaded by non-Christian Germanic tribes: the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes. They conquered the native Celtic Christians (despite resistance by, among others, a leader whose story has come down to us, doubtless with some exaggeration, as that of King Arthur), or drove them north and west into Cornwall, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. From these regions Celtic Christian missionaries returned to England to preach the Gospel to the heathen invaders. 

    Meanwhile, the Bishop of Rome, Gregory the Great, decided to send missionaries from Rome, a group of monks led by their prior, Augustine (not to be confused with the more  famous Augustine of Hippo). They arrived in Kent (the southeast corner of England) in 597, and the king, whose wife was a Christian, allowed them to settle and preach. Their preaching was outstandingly successful, the people were hungry for the Good News of salvation, and they made thousands of converts in a short time. In 601 the king himself was converted and baptised. Augustine was consecrated bishop and established his headquarters at Canterbury. From his day to the present, there has been an unbroken succession of archbishops of Canterbury.

    In 603, he held a conference with the leaders of the already existing Christian congregations in Britain, but failed to reach an accomodation with them, largely due to his own tactlessness, and his insistence (contrary, it may be noted, to Gregory's explicit advice) on imposing Roman customs on a church long accustomed to its own traditions of worship. It is said that the British bishops, before going to meet Augustine, consulted a hermit with a reputation for wisdom and holiness, asking him, "Shall we accept this man as our leader, or not?" The hermit replied, "If, at your meeting, he rises to greet you, then accept him, but if he remains seated, then he is arrogant and unfit to lead, and you ought to reject him." Augustine, alas, remained seated. It took another sixty years before the breach was healed.

    PRAYER (traditional language)

    O Lord our God, who by thy Son Jesus Christ didst call thine Apostles and send them forth to preach the Gospel to the nations: We bless thy holy name for thy servant Augustine, first Archbishop of Canterbury, whose labors in propagating thy Church among the English people we commemorate today; and we pray that all whom thou dost call and send may do thy will, and bide thy time, and see thy glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

    PRAYER (contemporary language)

    O Lord our God, who by your Son Jesus Christ called your Apostles and sent them forth to preach the Gospel to the nations: We bless your holy name for your servant Augustine, first Archbishop of Canterbury, whose labors in propagating your Church among the English people we commemorate today; and we pray that all whom you call and send may do your will, and bide your time, and see your glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

    The readings for the day are here:
    2 Corinthians 5:17-20a
    Luke 5:1-11
    Psalm 66:1-8 or
    Psalm 103:1-4, 13-18

    Here's Auggie carrying Canterbury Cathedral:

    Once I get my post for "Common of Saints: Feasts of a Confessor" done, I'll link to it!

    Friday, May 23, 2014

    Surrexit Christus, et illuxit nobis ("Christ is risen, and has illumined us") and Exivi a Patre ("I came from the Father"): The First Alleluia(s) for the Sixth Easter Sunday

    Beautifully chanted by an unknown singer.    There are two chants on this video:  the first is Surrexit Christus, and the second Exivi a Patre.  Surrexit is prescribed as the First Alleluia for Year A; Exivi for Year B; either can be used as the First Alleluia for Year C.

    Although the chants are set one right after the other on the video, I'm separating the words and scores below, to emphasize that these are two completely separate chants:
    Surrexit Christus, et illuxit nobis
    Alleluia, alleluia. V. Surrexit Christus, et illuxit nobis, quos redemit sanguine suo. Alleluia.  
    Alleluia, alleluia. Vs. Christ has risen and he has shone upon us whom he has ransomed with his own blood. says this text comes from John 14:18, but I don't see any evidence of this; to me it seems to be a composite of various ideas from various Scriptural sources, including Isaiah and perhaps the Gospels of Mark and John - although it's quite possible it's a direct quote from some extra-Biblical source.  Will continue to investigate.

    Here's the chant score:

    Exivi a Patre
    Alleluia, alleluia. 
    V. Exivi a Patre, et veni in mundum: iterum relinquo mundum, et vado ad Patrem, alleluia.

    Alleluia, alleluia.   V.  I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.

    This text comes directly from John 16:28.   Here's the full chant score:

    In the Extraordinary Form, Surrexit Christus and Exivi a Patre are the First and Second Alleluias for this Easter Sunday (i.e., they were in this configuration in the Tridentine Rite)Today, though, there are three other chants used for the Second Alleluias - which I will discuss, no doubt, during future Easter season posts!

    All of today's chants, though, for all three years - with the exception of the Introit and the Offertory (and also today's Surrexit Christus, as noted above) - come from  the Gospel of John.   Ascension is this Thursday, so citations from Christs' "Farewell Discourse" in John are very apropos.

    In our current three-year Lectionary, we read from the Book of Acts, rather than from the Old Testament, on each Sunday after Easter.  I'm second to nobody in my love of and appreciation for the Old Testament - but I do like this development.  (In any case, there was no assigned Old Testament reading in the historic lectionay, so the addition of an OT reading is itself a happy development as far as I'm concerned.)

    This week's reading from Acts is one of my all-time favorites:
    Acts 17:22-31

    Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, "Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way. For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription, `To an unknown god.' What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him-- though indeed he is not far from each one of us. For `In him we live and move and have our being'; as even some of your own poets have said,

    `For we too are his offspring.'

    Since we are God's offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals. While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead."

    And the Gospel reading is this short, beautiful passage:
    John 14:15-21

    Jesus said to his disciples, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.

    "I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them."

    The "historic lectionary" prescribed a reading from John 16 for today - a passage that that includes the text of the chant Exvivi at Patre:
    JESUS said unto his disciples, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.  Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.  These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father.  At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you; for the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.  I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.  His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb.  Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God.  Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe?  Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.  These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.  In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

      Also prescribed was this passage from James:
    BE ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.  For if any be a hearer of the Word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass.  For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.  But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.  If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.  Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

    The historic lectionary marks this as Rogation Sunday as well (called Rogate here); the Rogation Days are the three weekdays prior to the Feast of the Ascension.  Here's an introductory bit from a citation at that link:
    The Rogation Days, the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before Ascension Day, originated in Vienne, France (not Vienna, Austria), in 470 after a series of natural disasters had caused much suffering among the people. Archbishop Mamertus proclaimed a fast and ordered that special litanies and prayers be said as the population processed around their fields, asking God's protection and blessing on the crops that were just beginning to sprout. The Latin word rogare means "to ask", thus these were "rogation" processions. In an agricultural society, closely connected with the soil and highly vulnerable to the uncertainties of nature, this was an idea that took root quickly, and the custom spread around Europe and over to Britain. The Sunday before the Rogation Days came to be considered a part of Rogationtide (or "Rogantide") and was known as Rogation Sunday. The Gospel formerly appointed for that day was from John 16, where Jesus tells his disciples to ask, and ye shall receive.

    Here's another Chantblog post, including video, of A Rogation Days processional hymn: Ardua spes mundi

    The collect for today in the "historic lectionary" seems to have at least partly inspired the one for the current lectionary; see below for much more about the latter, though.

    Here's the old Collect for today, followed by today's current one:
    O LORD, from whom all good things do come: Grant to us thy humble servants, that by thy holy inspiration we may think those things that be good, and by thy merciful guiding may perform the same; through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.

    O God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as surpass our understanding: Pour into our hearts such love towards you, that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

    The website of Trinity Episcopal Church (Concord, MA) has this about this new collect:
    In the past weeks we have been the beneficiaries of a series of prayers that have emphasized the incredible gifts that God has given us in the glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Since Easter Day, our Collects have lovingly reminded us that, “…we have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ,”, “…that we may behold him in all his redeeming work,” that we, “…may follow where he leads, and, “…to know your Son Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life.”  Now, we hear the crowning affirmation that, “…we may obtain God’s promises which exceed all that we can desire!”  Truly, as we approach the celebration of Ascension Day, we have been endowed with the gifts to go forth into the world in Christ’s name.  Our Collect is clearly inspired by the words from First Corinthians 2:9:  “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who have loved him,” which in turn could be viewed as a free translation of Isaiah 64:4.  The Collect has its roots in the Gallican missal.  It was originally positioned in the Sarum Rite for the Sixth Sunday after Trinity where it stayed through our 1928 BCP.  With further revisions, the Collect was relocated to its Easter position.  Marion Hatchett points out that in the Latin, there is a distinction between the two uses of the word “love.”  In the phrases, “…those who love,” and, “…that we, loving,” love is related to the verb “diligere” whose root is “to choose.”  The other use in, “…pour into our hearts such love,” stems from the familiar Latin “amor.”  The Result Clause holds out to us the extraordinary assurance that, “…we loving you in all things and above all things may obtain your promises which exceed all that we can desire.”  Perhaps in the coming days, we can all reflect and meditate on just what this passage means to us.  Clearly our basic desires are not materialistic; rather our goal is to belong to, and to be in a closer fellowship with God so that we may follow where he leads.

    Here's the entire list of chants for the Sixth Sunday of Easter, from
    Hebdomada sexta paschæ Dominica

    Introitus: Cf. Is. 48, 20; Ps. 65 Vocem iucunditatis (3m57.1s - 3708 kb) score

    Alleluia I.:
                        (anno A) Io. 14, 18 Surrexit Christus et illuxit (2m40.8s - 2514 kb) score
                        (anno B) Io. 16, 28 Exivi a Patre (3m35.4s - 3368 kb) score
                        (anno C) Surrexit vel Exivi

    Alleluia II.:
                        (anno A) Io. 14, 18 Non vos relinquam (3m32.2s - 3316 kb) score
                        (anno B) Io. 15, 16 Ego vos elegi (3m32.7 - 3326 kb) score
                        (anno C) Io. 14, 26 Spiritus Sanctus docebit vos (1m32.7s - 1450 kb) score

    Offertorium: Ps. 65, 8.9.20 Benedicite, gentes (2m31.1s - 2364 kb) score

                        (anno A) Io. 14, 18 Non vos relinquam orphanos (1m16.8s - 1202 kb) score
                        (anno B) Io. 15, 16 Ego vos elegi (58.6s - 918 kb) score
                        (anno C) Io. 14, 26 Spiritus Sanctus docebit vos (42.1s - 660 kb) score

    And here are posts on Chant blog for some of these; it will take me a long time to get to all of them!

     Here's Duccio's Christ Taking Leave of the Apostles, c. 1310:

      "Genesis Chapters 1-11"

      Here's a terrific video that showed up in my Twitter feed this morning; great animations and an excellent approach to interpretation:

      From the YouTube page:
      Published on May 19, 2014
      An animated walk through of Genesis 1 to 11.
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      Book of Genesis can be broken up in two parts. The first part, chapters
      1-11, trace the story of God and the whole world from creation all the
      way to the tower of Babel.

      The Bible Project is a non-profit
      creating animated videos that explain the narrative of the Bible. These
      videos are free to use for personal and educational. Download a full
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      Genesis P1 Transcript:

      About the authors:

      Tim Mackie is a Pastor of Door of Hope church and a Professor at Western Seminary.

      Jon Collins is a founder of Epipheo and Sincerely Truman and a veteran explainer video producer.

      Thursday, May 15, 2014

      The First Alleluia for the Fifth Easter Sunday: Dextera Dei ("The Right Hand of God")

      Here's this chant, sung by the monks of St. Benedict's Monastery in São Paulo (Brazil):

      The text comes from Psalm (117/)118, vv. 15-16:
      The right hand of God has wrought strength; the right hand of the Lord has exalted me.
      (Although the Latin text of the Psalm actually reads "Dextera Domini," and not "Dextera Dei.")

      Here's the full chant score:

      It seems very likely to me that the text for this Alleluia was chosen as a continuity with the theme begun in the Introit, Cantate Domino ("Sing to the Lord").  Here's that text:
      Sing to the Lord a new song, alleluia; for the Lord has accomplished wondrous deeds, alleluia; he has revealed his justice in the sight of the Gentiles, alleluia, alleluia. His right hand and his holy arm have given him victory.
      All the chant propers for this Sunday - except the Communio - are the same today as they were in the older Tridentine rite.

      Here's a nice "Dextera Domini" sung by the Jeune Choeur Saint Evode ("the St. Evode Youth Choir"), apparently related in some way to (or else singing with) the Choeur de la Cathédrale de Rouen [France];  the conductor is Loïc Barrois and the organist is Monika Beuzelin.    They are attributing this piece, I think, to "Concini," although I'm not sure who that is.  This piece includes the next verse of Psalm 118, too ("I shall not die, but live - and declare the works of the Lord"):
      Dextera Domini fecit virtutem,
      Dextera Domini exaltavit me:
      non moriar, sed vivam,
      et narrabo opera Domini.

      Here are all the chants for today from
      Hebdomada quinta paschæ
      Introitus: Ps. 97, 1.2 Cantate Domino (cum Gloria Patri) (4m35.5s - 4308 kb) score
      Alleluia: Ps. 117, 16 Dextera Dei (2m02.2s - 1912 kb) score
      Alleluia: Rom. 6, 9 Christus resurgens (3m10.5s - 2978 kb) score
      Offertorium: Ps. 65, 1.2.16 Iubilate Deo universa terra (3m31.6s - 3306 kb) score
                      (anno A)Io. 14, 9 Tanto tempore (1m24.6s - 1324 kb) score
                              Io. 15, 5 Ego sum vitis vera (1m01.1s - 956 kb)

      And here are Chantblog posts on some of these propers:

      There is an entire Wikipedia listing - a long one! - about "The Hand of God"; this comes from the introduction:

      The Hand of God, or Manus Dei in Latin, also known as Dextera domini/dei, the "right hand of God", is a motif in Jewish and Christian art, especially of the Late Antique and Early Medieval periods, when depiction of Jehovah or God the Father as a full human figure was considered unacceptable. The hand, sometimes including a portion of an arm, or ending about the wrist, is used to indicate the intervention in or approval of affairs on Earth by God, and sometimes as a subject in itself. It is an artistic metaphor that is generally not intended to indicate that a hand was physically present or seen at any subject depicted. The Hand is seen appearing from above in a fairly restricted number of narrative contexts, often in a blessing gesture (in Christian examples), but sometimes performing an action. In later Christian works it tends to be replaced by a fully realized figure of God the Father, whose depiction had become acceptable in Western Christianity, although not in Eastern Orthodox or Jewish art.[1] Though the hand of God has traditionally been understood as a symbol for God's intervention or approval of human affairs, it is also possible that the hand of God reflects the anthropomorphic conceptions of the deity which may have persisted in late antiquity.[2]

      The largest group of Jewish imagery from the ancient world, the 3rd century synagogue at Dura-Europas, has the hand of God in five different scenes, including the Sacrifice of Isaac,[3] and no doubt this was one of the many iconographic features taken over by Christian art from what seems to have been a vigorous tradition of Jewish narrative art. Here and elsewhere it often represents the bath Kol (literally "daughter of a voice") or voice of God,[4] a use also taken over into Christian art.

      The hand may also relate to older traditions in various other religions in the Ancient Near East.[5] Like the hamsa amulet, the hand is sometimes shown alone on buildings, although it does not seem to have existed as a portable amulet-type object in Christian use. It is found from the 4th century on in the Catacombs of Rome, including paintings of Moses receiving the Law and the Sacrifice of Isaac.[6]

      There are numerous references to the hand, or arm, of God in the Hebrew Bible, some clearly metaphorical in the way that remains current in modern English, but others capable of a literal interpretation.[7] They are usually distinguished from references to a placement at the right hand of God. Later rabbinic literature also contains a number of references. There are three occasions in the gospels when the voice of God is heard, and the hand often represents this in visual art.[8] Gertrud Schiller distinguishes three functions of the hand in Christian art: as symbol of either God's presence or the voice of God, or signifying God's acceptance of a sacrifice.[9]

      Following are some examples of "Hand of God" art.

      This is "Jews cross Red Sea pursued by Pharoah."  It's a "fresco from Dura Europos synagogue, 244-256 CE" (photo by Becklectic):

      This is Ezekiel's "In the Valley of Dry Bones"; it's a fresco from Doura Europos (I assume again from the synagogue there) and from sometime in the 3rd Century.  DE was border city of the Roman Empire founded in 312 BC by Seleucus I and destroyed 256/257 AD by the Sassanid Empire.

      Here's a translation from the German of this page, describing this fresco:
      Ezekiel describes in chapter 37 a vision in which God brings the dead bones of the people back to life. It is strongly reminiscent of the creation stories of Genesis 1 and 2.  Here the idea of ​​a resurrection from the dead is first formulated.

      Ezekiel (Ezekiel) connects the proclamation of the approaching final judgment (Ez 7) with visions that look back on past history and this "project": not only the "abominations" (Ezekiel 8) that the destruction of the First Temple (Ez 9) and caused pull the downfall of the monarchy (Ez 19), but also the victory of Nebuchadnezzar over Egypt (Ezek. 29-32). Yet unconnected with it now also occurs the idea of an otherworldly Raise Dead shows (Ez 37).
      This really lovely piece - it includes a delightful "right hand of God" motif I've never seen before, as God reaches down to help Christ ascend to heaven! - is "Women at the Grave of Christ and Ascension of Christ (so-called „Reidersche Tafel“); Ivory; Milan or Rome, c. 400 AD]]":

      This is the Binding of Isaac, a capital at the Visigothic church at San Pedro de la Nave (Spain).  The church was built at some point between 680 and 711 CE. 

      This is "Moses receiving the Law" from the Paris Psalter ((BnF MS Grec 139), folio 422v).  According to this page, "Together with Basil I's Homilies of St Gregory Nazianzus, the Paris Psalter is considered a key monument of the so-called Macedonian Renaissance in Byzantine art during the 10th century."

      Friday, May 09, 2014

      The First Alleluia for the Fourth Sunday of Easter: Redemptionem misit Dominus ("He sent redemption to his people")

      Here is this Alleluia; there's no information about the singers, but it sounds like the Solesmes choir to me:

      Allelúja, allelúja. Vs. Redemptiónem misit Dóminus pópulo suo. from Corpus Christi Watershed on Vimeo.

      The text comes from Psalm (110/)111, verse 9; the text itself is just "Alleluia," along with the part in bold below:
      [The LORD] sent redemption to his people;
          he has commanded his covenant forever.
          Holy and awesome is his name!

      Here's the full chant score:

      The second Alleluia digs in to the theme of this Sunday:  Ego sum pastor bonus ("I am the good shepherd").  Here's a video of that chant, sung by the Benedictines of Sao Paolo:

      The text is this well-known one:  
      I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep, and my sheep know me.

      As mentioned previously, "Good Shepherd Sunday" - defined by today's Gospel reading and (most of) these chant propers - was at one time the Third Sunday of Easter; I haven't been able to learn why this changed in the modern lectionary and propers.  In any case, the collect for today is this one:
      O God, whose Son Jesus is the good shepherd of your people: Grant that when we hear his voice we may know him who calls us each by name, and follow where he leads; who, with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

      And the Gospel for this year is from John 10:1-10:
      Jesus said, "Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers." Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.

      So again Jesus said to them, "Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly."

      In fact, we read from the tenth chapter of John on each of the three lectionary years; each reading is on the theme of the Good Shepherd and his sheep.

      It seems that "the Good Shepherd" was one of the earliest and most prevalent ways of thinking about Jesus, and of representing him in art.   This image comes from the Vatican website; it's included in an article about the catacombs, and is labeled "Rome, Catacombs of Priscilla – The Good Shepherd":

      Here's the text that goes with the image, from the same site:
      One of the images represented the most in the art of the catacombs is the Good Shepherd. While the model is taken from pagan culture, it immediately takes on a Christological significance inspired by the parable of the lost sheep. Christ is thus represented as a humble shepherd with a lamb on his shoulders as he watches over his little flock that is sometimes made up of only two sheep placed at his sides.

      Here's another early one (mid-3rd century A.D.), from the ceiling of the S. Callisto catacomb:

      And this one is "The Good Shepherd, mosaic in Mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Ravenna, 1st half of 5th century": has all the propers for today, sung by the Sao Paolo Benedictines:
      Hebdomada quarta paschæ
      Introitus: Ps. 32, 5.6 et 1 Misericordia Domini (cum Gloria Patri) (5m12.2s - 4882 kb) score
      Alleluia: Ps. 110, 9 Redemptionem (1m42.2s - 1600 kb) score
      Alleluia: Io. 10, 14 Ego sum pastor bonus (2m31.5s - 2370 kb) score
      Offertorium: Ps. 62, 2.5 Deus, Deus meus (1m19.4s - 1242 kb) score
      Communio: Io. 10, 11 Ego sum pastor bonus (47.3s - 742 kb) score

      Here are posts about some of these on Chantblog:

        Friday, May 02, 2014

        Cognoverunt discipuli ("The Disciples knew the Lord Jesus"): The First Alleluia for the Third Sunday in Easter

        Here's a CCWatershed video of this very melismatic chant:

        Cognovérunt discípuli Dóminum Jesum in fractióne panis. from Corpus Christi Watershed on Vimeo.

        The text is quite simple, but profound:
        Alleluia.  The disciples knew the Lord Jesus in the breaking of the bread.

        (See my post on Surrexit Dominus Vere for more about a modern fraction anthem that uses this text, working from the melody of another ancient Eastertide chant.)

        Here's the full chant score:

        This chant is also the first alleluia in the Extraordinary Form, so it's been in place a long time.  As you'll see below, though, the Gospel reading for today in the historic lectionary was the "Good Shepherd" reading from John, and other chants for today reflected that theme in the Tridentine Rite.

        There's an antiphon that uses the same text;  per Cantus database, it seems to have been sung at Matins on Easter Tuesday.  Oddly, I haven't been able to find it so far at Divinum Officium, but here's what it looked like in this antiphonary from St. Gall monastery;  the antiphon is written in the left-hand margin:

        Antiphonary from St. Gall for the liturgy of the divine office, as sung by St Gall monks, dating from the 12th century, with addenda until the late 14th century. Illustrated with several initials and (at the beginning) with a miniature of the crucified Christ with Mary and John. (smu)

        In today's lectionary, this Sunday is "Jesus appearance day."   This year is Year A - and the reading is Jesus' appearance to the travelers on the road to Emmaus, so it's quite natural that this chant is sung today, as it's a direct quote from that reading.  In years B and C, we have Jesus' fish-eating appearance from Luke, and his beach appearance (and more fish!) from John, respectively.  Again, all this is quite natural, because - as John notes in his account - "This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead."

        Thus:  three lectionary years, three appearances of Christ on Easter 3; it's perfect!  And I must say I'm very happy to hear the Emmaus story at Sunday worship, as it's one of my very favorites in all the Gospel writings.

        In the "historic lectionary", though, the Third Sunday in Easter was apparently "Good Shepherd" Sunday, and the reading was from John 10:11-16.   The 1928 BCP picked this up as well, via the readings from the 1789 BCP (and from the 1662 before that).    In our current lectionary, "Good Shepherd Sunday" is next Sunday, the fourth in Easter instead of today, the Third.

        The Collect for this Sunday is this one:
        O God, whose blessed Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread: Open the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in all his redeeming work; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

        Interestingly, in the "historic lectionary," John's was the only Gospel read on Sundays during Eastertide.  Personally, I'm very glad to hear from the other Evangelists during this period now.

        Also of note:  the readings for Monday Matins in Easter week are about Emmaus; they come from Gregory the Great's 23rd sermon on the Gospels.   Just to get the flavor of the thing, following are all the instructions for the readings and responsories for that particular Office, from the book The Roman Breviary reformed by order of the holy oecumenical Council of Trent, published in 1908, at Google Books:
        All precisely the same as on Easter Sunday, except the following.

        First Lesson.

        The Lesson is taken from the HolyGospel according to Luke (xxiv. 13.)

        AT that time: Two of Jesus' disciples went that same day to a village, called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs.  And so on.

        Homily by Pope St Gregory [the Great,] (23rd on the Gospels.)

        Dearly beloved brethren, ye hear how that while two of His disciples walked together in the way, not believing in His Resurrection, but talking together concerning Him, the Lord manifested Himself unto them, but yet held their eyes that they should not know Him. This holding of the eyes of their body, wrought by the Lord, was a figure of the spiritual veil which was yet upon the eyes of their heart. For in their heart they loved and yet doubted: even as the Lord drew near to them outwardly, but showed not Who He was. To them that talked together of Him, He revealed His immediate presence; but hid, from them that doubted, the knowledge of His Person.

        First Responsory.

        Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went very early to the sepulchre. That Jesus Whom ye seek, is not here: for He is risen, as He said: He goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see Him. Alleluia, Alleluia.

        Verse. And very early in the morning, the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre, at the rising of the sun; and, entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting upon the right side, who saith unto them:

        Answer. That JESUS Whom ye seek is not here: for He is risen, as He said: He goeth before you into Galilee : there shall ye see Him. Alleluia, Alleluia.

        Second Lesson.

        HE spoke to them; He rebuked the hardness of their heart; "He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself:" and, nevertheless, seeing that He was yet a stranger to faith in their hearts, "He made as though He would have gone further." These words—"He made as though" — would here seem to mean "He feigned," but He Who is simple Truth doth nothing with feigning: He only showed Himself to them in bodily manners, as He was towards them spiritually; but they were put to the proof whether, though they loved Him not yet as their God, they could love Him at least as a wayfarer.

        Second Responsory.

        The Good Shepherd, Who laid down His life for the sheep, yea, Who was contented even to die for His flock, the Good Shepherd is risen again.
        Answer. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

        Verse. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.
        Answer. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

        Verse. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
        Answer. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

        Third Lesson.

        BUT since it was impossible, that they with whom Truth walked, should be loveless, they asked Him as a wayfarer to take of their hospitality. But why say we that they asked Him, when it is written: "And they constrained Him?" From their ensample we learn that we ought not only to bid, but also to urge, wayfarers to our hospitable entertainment. They laid a table therefore, and set before Him bread and meat; and that God Whom they had not known in the expounding of the Holy Scripture, they knew in the breaking of bread. In hearing the commandments of God they were not enlightened, but they were enlightened in the doing of them: as it is written: "Not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified." (Rom. ii. 13.) Whosoever therefore will understand that which he heareth, let him make haste to practise in his works that which he hath already been able to hear. Behold, the Lord was not known while He spake, but He was contented to be known when He brake bread.

        Here are all the chants for this Sunday's mass, from, and sung by the Sao Paolo
        Hebdomada tertia paschæ
        Introitus: Ps. 65, 1.2.3 Iubilate Deo (2m58.9s - 2798 kb) score
        Alleluia: Lc. 24, 35 Cognoverunt discipuli (2m40.0s - 2504 kb) score
        Alleluia: Lc. 24, 32 Oportebat (3m20.3s - 3132 kb) score
        Offertorium: Ps. 145, 2 Lauda, anima mea (1m33.8s - 1468 kb) score
        (anno A) Lc. 24, 34 Surrexit Dominus (44.8s - 702 kb) score
                           (anno B)Ps. 95, 2 Cantate Domino (1m22.5s - 1292 kb) score
                           (anno C) Io. 21, 15.17 Simon Ioannis (1m23.7s - 1310 kb)

        Here are posts for the some of the chants for this day on Chantblog:

        I've posted Caravaggio's terrific Emmaus paintings previously, so here I'll post a few others.

        This one's Duccio di Buoninsegna's "Emmaus", from ~1310:

        This one is Rembrandt's, from 1648:

         Here's an interesting one I've never seen before!  It's by Lelio Orsi, from around 1560:

        I really like this one, though, called "The Supper at Emmaus," by Diego Velázquez, from around 1620:


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