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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 ancient Spanish Liturgy introduced by St. Torquatus and his companions resembled the Roman in all essential points. When Spain was invaded by the Suevi, Alani, Vandals, and Visigoths (fifth century), all of whom were Arian, its Liturgy and the Arian Liturgy commingled, and ran hand-in-hand for many years; and from the fact that a constant intercourse was kept up between the Spanish Church and that of Constantinople, the headquarters of the East in the beginning of the fifth century, several Greek customs, as well as those that were rank with Arianism, entered the Spanish Liturgy, so that it stood much in need of renovation. In the year 537 Profuturus, Archbishop of Galicia, wrote for advice in the matter to Pope Vigilius, then the Sovereign Pontiff. His Holiness sent him the Canon of the Mass according to the Roman norma, together with a copy of the entire Mass of Easter, in order that he might shape his new Liturgy by them. Towards the end of the sixth century the Visigoths were converted to the faith, and then the Liturgy of Spain assumed its most important appearance. In the fourth Council of Toledo, A.D. 633, the Spanish bishops, at whose head was St. Isidore of Seville, resolved to banish from the country every foreign rite, and have but one Liturgy throughout the land. From the fact that St. Isidore headed this work, he is generally looked upon as the author of the Liturgy of Spain. The Liturgy so formed, and called by the name of Gothic, was used in Spain without being in any way influenced by the reform of Pope Gregory the Great. A new state of things set in towards the beginning of the eighth century, when the land fell into the hands of the Moors. Those who yielded to the Moorish yoke were called “Mostarabuna,” an Arabic participle meaning “mixed with Arabs,” and this Liturgy was denominated accordingly Muzarabic or Mozarabic. During the dominion of the Moors, which lasted nearly eight hundred years, the Liturgy kept constantly changing and receiving new corruptions, so that at the Synod of San Juan de la Peña, held under the auspices of Pope Alexander II. (1601), Sancho Ramirez, King of Aragon, caused the Gregorian or Roman Rite to supersede the Gothic. The Council of Burgos in 1085 issued a solemn proclamation to this effect. It was no easy matter, however, to effect the introduction of the Gregorian Rite entirely, for people cling with wonderful tenacity to ancient customs. Some were for it, others against it. To settle the matter, strangely enough, an appeal was made to the “judgment of God.” A powerful fire was accordingly made, and a copy of each Liturgy cast into it; whichever came out unhurt was to be the Liturgy of the land. The Gregorian was thrown in first, but scarcely had it touched the flames when it rebounded and fell uninjured by the side of the fire. The Mozarabic was then cast in, and, singular to behold, it remained intact in the midst of the flames! As both liturgies were miraculously preserved, it was decided that both were equally good, and that consequently each should hold a place in Spain. Predominance, however, was soon given to the Gregorian, so that it became the Liturgy of the whole land, with the sole exception of the city of Toledo, where the Mozarabic was employed in six churches—viz., St. Justa, St. Luke, St. Eulalia, St. Mark, St. Sebastian, and St. Torquatus; but as time wore on the Mozarabic was even superseded in these, and solely confined to the cathedral chapel. Cardinal Ximenes, however, by very earnest entreaties, whilst Archbishop of Toledo, caused it to be readopted in five of the churches mentioned, and instituted as its custodians what he termed “Sodales Mozarabes,” a company of thirteen priests, to whom he assigned the Chapel of Corpus Christi. The rite is yet kept up in these places, but nowhere else (see Life of Cardinal Ximenes, by Hefele; Bona, Rer. Liturg., p. 219; Kozma, 157; and Gavantus, Thesaur. Rit., 23). We shall have occasion to refer to the peculiarities of the Mozarabic Rite throughout our work.








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