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A History Of The Mass And Its Ceremonies In The Eastern And Western Church -Rev John O'Brien A.M.

The Liturgies of the Western, or Latin, Church need nothing more at our hands than a passing notice; for, with the exception of one or two normas, which are better called rites than Liturgies—viz., the Ambrosian and Mozarabic—the Roman has undisturbed and universal sway. Of the two exceptions named—the former peculiar to the ancient Church of Milan, the latter confined to the city of Toledo, in Spain—a full account is given in another part of our work, so that more need not be said of them here. As for the so-called Gallican and Lyonese Liturgies, they are now things of the past. The few vestiges that yet remain to tell that they had at one time a place in the Church will be noticed in due course; as will also the fragments that are left us of the celebrated Rite of Sarum, which at one time formed the chief glory of the English Church.

In concluding our dissertation we beg leave to direct the reader’s attention to the following important fact: viz., that throughout the entire East the word Liturgy (from the Greek λεῖτον, public, and ἔργον, a work) means always the norma of the Mass, and no more; but in the West it is the complexus of all the rites and ceremonies that are used by the Church in the administration of the Sacraments and in all her sacred offices. It is well to keep this in mind, for some are perpetually confounding Liturgy and Rubrics, thinking that both mean one and the same thing. There is about the same difference between them as between mathematics and arithmetic. The one includes the other and a great deal more besides. The Rubrics, according to the primitive acceptation of the word, are nothing but the directions given in red letters for the due performance of any particular ceremony; when reduced to a regular system or science they are the elucidation of these directions, and nothing more. But the aim of Liturgy is of a far more comprehensive and elevated nature, for it takes in everything that is in any way connected with the sacred functions of the Church.








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