Ordo Romanus XVII

The Ordo Romanus XVII, is one of some fifty documents, known collectively as the Ordines romani that describe the liturgy of eighth-century Rome and its adoption in the Frankish lands. It was written by an East-Frankish monk in the final decades of the eighth century. The entire document lists the various liturgical conceits for the feasts of the church year. Document XVII refers to no specific feast and is indicative of a common Mass. The details of the ceremony have little changed in the ensuing 1200 years.

17. In the manner and order of performing the solemnities of the Mass on that very day [Christmas] and on all important festivals is to be as follows. The priests and deacons, when the hour draws near for them to begin the Mass enter the sacristy, clothe themselves with the proper vestments for the Mass, and arrange themselves according to rank, as is the custom.
18. And then the clergy begins the antiphon proper to that day.
19. When they commence the first verse of the psalm, the priests leave the sacristy according to the date of their ordination, first those priests who are celebrating the public Mass on that day, walking together two by two.
20. Then there follow those holding the candelabras with lighted tapers, both the seven [holding candelabras] and the two [with the Gospel],walking in pairs, and those with the tower-shaped censers, processing before the priest.
21. And the priest who will celebrate the Mass follows, with deacons to his left and to his right.
22. And other deacons follow these, walking in pairs. Similarly the subdeacons follow after them, proceeding rather slowly, moving with trembling and reverence.
23. When they come before the altar, they separate and face the space before the priest, looking across at each other.
24. The celebrant inclines his head in prayer and gives the peace to one priest on his right and to all his deacons. In doing this he faces in such a direction that, after demonstrating peace and harmony to the entire order of priests and his clergy, he might draw near to offer the sacrifice to God with a pure heart.
25. Then he approaches the altar and, with his entire body prostrate upon the floor, he pours our prayers for himself and for the sins of the people, until they sing the introit antiphon with the psalm and the Gloria patri with the verses ad repentendum.
26. Arising from prayer he kisses the holy gospel book that is placed on the altar, he and all the deacons as well.
27. He moves behind the altar with his deacons and looks out from the East [toward the congregation] while the deacons remain next to him, one group on the right and the other on the left, the other priests stand next to the altar, arranged by their rank.
28. When the Introit antiphon and the ninefold Kyrie eleison are completed, the priest, facing the people, begins the Gloria in excelsis Deo. And when they arrive at the words pax hominibus bonae voluntatis they look again toward the East until the Gloria in excelsis Deo is completed.
29. And then the priest turns to the people and says, "Peace to you," and all respond, "And with your spirit."
30. Then he looks to the East and says the proper prayer of the day.
31. The celebrating priest then sits in his chair behind the altar, while the deacons remain standing at his side, and the other priests sit on benches next to the altar.
32. The lector now enters to read the [Epistle].
33. And the subdeacons go up around the altar so that they are ready for all that the deacons might require of them.
34. After the lesson is read, so too is the response [Gradual] sung and then the Alleluia.
35. The deacon then inclines his head toward the knees of the priest. After accepting the priest's blessing, the deacon proceeds to the altar, kisses the holy gospel book, and elevates it with his hands in great reverence. Going before him are two candelabras with lighted tapers, and the tower-shaped censer; he mounts the steps of the ambo, makes the sign of the cross on his forehead, looks up to heaven, and says, "The Lord be with you," and all respond, "and with your spirit." He then announces the gospel lesson and reads it.
36. When he has completed the reading, the priest says to him, "Peace to you." Next the priest says, "The Lord be with you," then "Let us pray," and sits upon his chair.
37. Then an acolyte pours water over the hands of the priest, while the deacons dress the altar.
38. In a monastery where the people, including the women, are allowed to enter, the priest goes down from his chair with the deacons and accepts the offerings [that is, the bread] from the people; he places these offerings in linen cloths, which the acolyte is to carry before his breast.
39. Similarly the deacons accept the wine and place it in silver vessels, or chalices, which the acolytes are to carry.
40. After the reception of the offerings the priest returns to his chair and again washes his hands.
41. But in a monastery where women do not enter, after the first time the priest washes his hands, the priest and deacons go to the sacristy to receive the gifts. They process then from the sacristy and the gifts are placed on the altar, while the brethren sing the offertory.
42. Then the priest goes to the altar and takes the proper offerings; he raises his eyes to heaven and his hands with the offerings, and prays to the Lord, then places the offerings on the altar.
43. Similarly he offers the wine.
44. The deacons go behind the priest and arrange themselves by rank, and the subdeacons go behind the altar and place themselves by rank, while the priests stand in order before the altar.
45. Then the celebrating priest, with the other priests on his right and left, offers a prayer.
46. He inclines his face to the earth and says the prayer in secret, with no one else able to hear it, until he arrives at the words: "through all ages of ages," and all reply, "Amen."
47. Immediately he says, "The Lord be with you," then "Lift up your hearts," then "Let us give thanks to the Lord our God," and then he commences the preface; he lifts his voice and proclaims the preface so that it may be heard by virtually all.
48. When he arrives at the words, "the dominations adore," all the priests and deacons incline their faces to the earth, and when he arrives at the words, "we sing in humble confession: Sanctus," the deacons bow again and the clergy with all the people.
49. And as all proclaim the Sanctus with great reverence and trembling, the priest begins the canon, [the eucharistic prayer] in a contrastingly low voice.
50. The priests, deacons, and subdeacons remain bowed all the while up to the place where the priest says, "to us sinners also."
51. And when he arrives at the words, "deign to look upon us with a gracious and serene countenance," the priest inclines his head toward the altar and prays humbly until he says, "so that whatever from the participation in this sacrifice."
52. After the subdeacons arise, one of them goes and takes the paten [the plate used to hold the bread] from the acolyte and returns to where he stood in rank and holds the paten before his breast until the priest says, "all honor and glory."
53. When the priest arrives at the words, "through him and with him," he lifts the proper offerings from the altar and places them above the mouth of the chalice, which is held by the deacon who elevates it somewhat until the priests says, "through all ages of ages. Amen." [the concluding words of the eucharistic prayer].
54. The priests and deacons remain continuously bowed in the same place except for the deacon who holds up the chalice.
55. The subdeacon who holds the paten gives it to the deacon at the point that the priest says, "all honor and glory." And the deacon holds it until the Lord's Prayer is finished and then hands it to the priest.
56. After the Lord's Prayer, the priest, while continuing to pray, takes the offerings and places them on the paten. He breaks off a small piece of the bread offering and places it in the chalice, makes the sign of the cross over it three times, and says: "The peace of the Lord be always with you."
57. And then the people exchange the peace.
58. Then, if necessary, the priests first break up the bread offerings upon the altar, and then the deacons whoa re near the altar, as the subdeacon holds the paten before himself, break up these bread offerings [upon the paten], while the brethren sing Agnus dei.
59. Then the priests and deacons receive communion according to their rank.
60. Afterwards the deacon takes the chalice to the right side of the altar, holding it up in his hands, and announces the festivals of the saints for the coming week in the following manner: "That approaching day is the feast of the holy Mary, or of a confessor, or of some other saint," whatever is to come according to the Martyrology. And all respond, "Thanks be to God."
61. Then, after the singing of the communion antiphon, and the communion of all, the priest says the oration.
62. And the deacon sings, "Go the Mass is ended," and all reply, "Thanks be to God." And it is finished.
63. After this the priest returns to the sacristy with his ministers and all their paraphernalia, just as they previously exited from the sacristy. And they remove the vestments with which they celebrated the solemnities of the Mass. And now everything has been completed.

fromLeo Treitler, ed., Strunks's Source Readings in Music History, 171-175

to the Index