Thursday, February 22, 2018


In the Gothispanic and Early Mozarabic Rite, Lent begins on the Monday preceding the Roman Rite’s Ash Wednesday.  Tuesday, then, is not a time for carnival (saying goodbye to the meats)  but rather, the Sunday prior.

Our Carnival occurs on the Sunday “In Carnes Tollendas” which translates to “When the Meats are Removed” for indeed, fasting begins the following day: Monday.

With that Monday, then, begin the 40 days of Lent or preparation for the Pascal Mystery.

If you count the days, however, there seem to be 46 days in Lent, not 40 but there is a couple of  technical reasons for this:

1-      The six Sundays of Lent are not counted as fast-days, for they are Feasts of the Lord.  This is signified by keeping the altar visible from the Vespers around sunset of each Saturday until after the Sunday mass is achieved.  We must remember that the altar remains veiled by curtains on all of the feriae, and no memory, feast or solemnity is celebrated during Lent in this Rite… not even that of Our Lady on March 25, for which the 18th of December was invented instead - Her Feast of the Expectation that initiates the octave to Christmas.  For Lent, the altar remains veiled for 40 of the 46 days except during the canon of the mass.
2-     In Holy Week, meaning the feriae after the sixth Sunday of Lent (aka Palm Sunday) includes Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.   These four feriae plus the six feriae preceding the six Sundays of Lent are what yield the 40 days of fasting  4+(6x6)=40.
3-     Holy Thursday is included because liturgical days begin the evening prior.  Thence, the Quinta Feria begins on the evening of the Cuarta Feria of Holy Week (Wednesday evening). 
4-     The Extraordinary Service of The Institution of the Lord’s Supper which is celebrated as the beginning of The Holy Triduum is thus, technically, after the 40 days have been achieved.   It is performed after the reconciliation of the Penitents and last instruction of catechumens so they may partake in the Pascal Mystery achieved by Easter.
5-     The Triduum in Tenebris is not part of Lent.  The stripping of the altar, the curtains and extinguishing of every last light signifies the darkness (the Tenebrae) which can and will only be resolved with the lighting of the new fire on the beginning of the Resurrection (Easter Vigil which begins on the Sexta Feria which is Holy Saturday).
6-     During the Triduum in Tenebris, no lights are lit in the churches for the sake of ceremonial contrast against the Easter season of light.  For this reason, the liturgical functions such as the exit from the church after the expoliation of the altar on the Fifth Feria (Holy Thursday), Veneration of the Cross on the Sixth Feria and the Gathering of the faithful before the lighting of the new fire on Holy Saturday (Easter Vigil) occur during the day (usually around 3pm or “hora nona”). That way: there is no need to light candles and the symbolism is preserved.  The natural sun light is otherwise blocked by window curtains or shutters according to the rubrics.


Feast -0  Sunday In Carnes Tollendas (NOT part of Lent)
First week of Lent, called “In Carnes Tollendas”             6 Feriae
Feast - I Sunday of Lent                                                                    +
            Second week of Lent                                                              6 Feriae
Feast -II Sunday of Lent                                                                   +
Third week of Lent                                                                6 Feriae
Feast -III Sunday of Lent                                                                 +
Fourth week of Lent                                                              6 Feriae
Feast –IIII1 Sunday of Lent                                                             +
Fifth week of Lent                                                                 6 Feriae
Feast -V Sunday of Lent                                                                   +
Sixth week of Lent                                                                 6 Feriae
Feast -VI Sunday of Lent  = Palm Sunday                                    +
Holy Week                                                                              4 Feriae2
                                                                                                40 days of Fasting

The 6 Sundays are not counted, for they are not days of fasting on account of being celebrated as Feasts of the Lord.
Of the 40 days of fasting: 36 are the Feriae in during Lent, plus the 4 days of Holy Week prior to the beginning of the Liturgical Triduum.

1-IIII is used instead of IV in the Gothic Kingdom and the liturgical texts of its tradition in the Hispanic provinces and Gallia Narbonensis.

2-Holy Thursday (the 4th Feria) has its ordinary vespers, matins and mass before the “extraordinary” mass that commemorates the Institution of The Lord’s Supper, Stripping of the Altars, Washing of the Feet and Charity Meal for those who had their feet washed - ceremonies which begin and form part of the Holy Triduum.  It is deemed extraordinary, in part, because of its extensive and particular rubrics compared to all the other days preceding it.

This is part of a couple of books which we are in the process of editing, explaining the rites and rituals of the precursor of what you may know as the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite which is a result of the 16th century Cisnerian reforms.  

Our aim is bringing to light the earlier practices in hopes of enriching the patrimony of the Catholic Church with aspects which have been re-interpreted through modernizing paradigms and interpolations which ultimately has created new forms and forgotten some of the old.  Part of this, a key to decipher Eugenian Chant and later Mozarabic Chant.

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Monday, February 19, 2018

No Sex Capparum For Lent

Here's a somewhat quick design for the celebration of a Solemnity which we call Sex Capparum on account of requiring six cantors vested in copes (cappae in late Latin).

Sex Capparum is the the term used for the triple celebrations in the Gothispanic and early Mozarabic Rite, which is forbidden throughout Lent even if it were the feast of your Patron Saint.   

It entails the decoration of all "three choirs" (the area of the altar, the area of the quire, and the area of the nave) with wall hangings, carpets, flowers, greenery and whatever else is customary.

The triple choir refers also to the the fact that "one choir" means a pair of choristers where one faces north and the other south at the quire of the church.  Alternatively, one simple choir is required for the Memoriae II Capparum (Simple Feasts) and the two pairs required for the Festa IIII Capparum (our Double Feats).

The three pairs of choristers that face each other from the north and south will sing the complex melodies of the celebration of a Solemnia VI Capparum.

These six members of the chapel who vest in copes for the celebration of the Hours and Mass of the greatest feats, are in charge of the melismatic singing peculiar to the Gothispanic and Early Mozarabic Rite,  known as Eugenian or Melodic Chant.

The difference between our Eugenian Chant and  Gregorian Chant (as coined in the  Roman Rite) is the profusion of melesmas or florid adornment during sung vowels.  In Gregorian Chant one sings many syllables on one note, whereas we sing many notes for each syllable.


The image, besides the places of the six Caperos that constitute the triple choir,  shows the relative positions of the Lector, Subdeacon, and Deacon for their respective readings.

The celebrant seats "ante altare" since the curtains to the altar are open from the beginning of vespers which is the start of the Liturgical Day on account of the mass not being a Feria.

This allows the deacon to occupy the principal tribune (aka pulpitum in Latin or chaire in French)  near the altar which is where the celebrant seats when the altar remains veiled on the Feriae until the Sacrificium (which is the equivalent of the roman Offertory).

This is all part of an introductory text on the Gothispanic and Early Mozarabic Rites in the works, whose aim is explaining some of the particular liturgical practices which have not filtered through the Cisnerian reforms of the sixteenth century to become what scholars have reconstructed into the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite.

We already spoke about the importance of architecture in the liturgy designed by Saint Isidore (patron saint of the internet! yes..) and the other bishops of Spain from the 6th thru 11th centuries here.

Along with this, we are preparing another introductory text on Eugenian Chant with a key which we hope will help the music scholars decipher our apparently elusive neumes.

As now it is Lent, all altars remain veiled, no melodic singing, organum or for that reason, choirs vested in copes are allowed.  No Gloria, no Allelujas, no carpets, no flowers, no bema-tribune with icons or statues in medio choro nor days in which the curtains of the altar remain open for longer than the duration of the mass (other than Sundays).  None of this shall be again until the Vigil of Easter - when instead of the Newborn Jesus (of the image here), the Pascal Candle (or sometimes with it the baptismal font) will be center-stage. 

All time of preparation is in faith of a Resurrection if we have faith, is it not?

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More concrete details to follow soon.