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

This religious body, so called from La Chartreuse, near Grenoble, in France, the wild valley in which their first monastery was built, was founded in the year 1084 by St. Bruno, a priest of Cologne. It is regarded as the strictest order in the Church, and is the only one which a member from one of the mendicant orders can join as being of a higher order of perfection than his own. It has as its device a cross surmounting a globe, with the inscription, “Stat crux dum volvitur orbis”—that is, “The cross stands as long as the earth moves.” In England they are called the “Charter-House” Monks, a corruption of Chartreuse. Their habit is entirely white, but abroad they wear over it a black cowl. One strange and rare privilege enjoyed by the nuns of their order is that, at the solemn moment of making their vows, they put on a maniple and stole, and are allowed to sing the Epistle in Solemn High Mass (Romsee, iv. 356, note). They use no musical instruments whatever in their service, but sing everything according to the pure Gregorian style.

The peculiarities of their Mass are as follows: They put the wine and water in the chalice at the beginning, and say the introductory psalm and Confiteor, not at the centre, as we do, but at the Gospel side, with face towards the altar. Their form of confession is much shorter than ours, and instead of saying the “Oramus te, Domine,” when they ascend the altar-steps, they say a Pater and Ave, and then sign themselves with the cross. They say the “Gloria in excelsis” at the Epistle corner, where the book is, and turn round in the same place to say the “Dominus vobiscum.” They kiss the margin of the missal after the Gospel instead of the text itself, and only make a profound bow instead of a genuflection at the “Et homo factus est” of the Creed. In fact, at no part of the entire Mass do they touch the ground with the knee when they make a reverence, as we do. They bless both water and wine by one single cross at the Offertory, and make the oblation of Host and chalice one joint act by placing the paten and the large bread on the mouth of the latter. From the beginning of the Canon to the “Hanc igitur” they stretch out their arms in such a manner as to exhibit the form of a cross, and at the Consecration they elevate the chalice only a few inches from the altar, never high enough to be seen by the people, just as we do at the “Omnis honor et gloria” before the “Pater noster.” After consecration they extend their hands again in form of a cross until the “Supplices te rogamus,” when they bow and cross one upon the other.

At the end of Mass they do not bless the people, as we do, nor say the Gospel of St. John, but come down and return to the sacristy the moment they have recited the “Placeat.” A few of their other peculiarities will be noticed throughout this work.








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