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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 Ambrosian Rite, so called from St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, A.D. 374, claims a very high antiquity. According to the Milanese themselves, its main structure is the work of St. Barnabas, Apostle; but as it received a fresh touching-up at the hands of St. Ambrose, it is generally ascribed to him and called by his name. Many attempts have been made to abolish this rite altogether and substitute the Roman in its stead, but all to no purpose. The Milanese cling to it with a dying man’s grasp, and the Holy See, to choose the less of two evils, and make itself all to all where nothing trenches upon faith, permits them “to abound in their own sense.” In the year 1497 Pope Alexander VI. solemnly confirmed its use, and ever since then it has been strictly adhered to at Milan; not, however, in all the churches, for some even now follow the Roman Rite, but in a few belonging to the diocese (Kozma, 156). St. Charles Borromeo did much to uphold this rite during his time (1590). Some of the peculiarities of the rite are as follows: It allows the “Agnus Dei” only in Masses for the dead. The text of Scripture used is not that followed by the Roman Rite, but one of those versions in use before St. Jerome’s Vulgate was published. On Easter Sunday two Masses are prescribed, one for the newly baptized, the other of the day itself. Throughout the whole of Lent there is no Mass on Friday of any kind (this was an ordinance of St. Charles Borromeo). On Sundays and feasts of great solemnity a lesson from the Old Testament is read before the Epistle, together with some versicles, after the manner of our Gradual. Immediately before consecration the priest saying Mass goes, according to this rite, to the Epistle corner of the altar and washes his hands in silence. The other peculiarities will be noticed as we go on (see Institutiones Liturgicæ, vol. ii. p. 300, by Maringola; Cardinal Bona, 218; Gavantus, 22; Kozma, 156).

We mention, in passing, that according to this rite the Sacrament of Baptism is administered by immersion, and not by infusion, as with all who follow the Roman Rite.








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