7 June 2020

The Trinity Preface

We now return to the Trinity Preface during all these Sundays post Trinitatem: we shall know it quite well by December! Whence cometh it?

There are phrases from the Trinity Sunday preface within the Stowe Missal. This is a liturgical book scribed in the 790s, but copied undoubtedly from a much earlier source (for example, it lacks evidence of the Gregorian changes, such as the moving of the Pater Noster to a place immediately after the Roman Canon and before the Fraction). It may have been the book of an itinerant priest in South-West Ireland, or one who could not afford a large Mass-book (it only has one Epistle and Gospel, but is clearly meant for all-the-year use since it has the seasonal paragraphs of the Communicantes). And the Preface in this rite goes as follows:
" ... through Christ our Lord: who with thine only begotten Son and the Holy Ghost art one God and immortal God and incorruptible and immovable God and invisible and faithful God [much more like this up to:] good and holy God, not singulariter of one person but of the one substance of the Trinity; Thee we believe, Thee we bless; Thee we adore [etc.]."

This faintly reminds me of the same place in the Anaphora of S John Chrysostom:
" ...For thou art God ineffable, incomprehensible,invisible, inconceivable, ever being as Thou art, Thou and thine only-begotten Son and thy Holy Spirit [etc.]."
Is this simply a generic similarity, of Christians toto orbe divisi thinking the same way in the same context, or is there a textual link? I strongly incline to the former possibility.

The preface of the Trinity, in more or less its present form, is in the Gelasian Sacramentary, for use on the Sunday after Pentecost. Is it from a source like this that Alcuin borrowed it for the Sunday Mass of the little book which I am sure (pace G G Willis) he put together for priests minimally equipped during the Carolingian period?

A brief look at the manuscript evidence suggests to me that the rubric directing this Preface to be used on the Sundays after Trinity (aka after the Octave of Pentecost) first appears in Sarum Missals early in the 14th century ... as one might expect. It is also in the Westminster and Hereford Missals; was it universal in the later English Middle Ages?

We then have a gap until Pope Clement XIII made it the Green Sunday (and Advent etc.) Preface in the Missale Romanum in 1759. Had there been continuity anywhere in this custom between the Tridentine curtailing of local rites, and the 18th century ... or did it just occur to the pope quite spontaneously that it was a good idea to make the Trinity Preface the all-purpose Sunday Preface? After all, Sunday commemorates the Creation, the Resurrection, the advent of the Spirit ...

2 comments:

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

Dear Father. Blessed as he is to be able to assist at The Holy Holocaust, ABS is always reminded of the classical identification of this time of Pentecost, First Sunday of Pentecost -Twenty Eighth Sunday after Pentecost, rather than the irksome, Ordinary Time, for we are now concentrating on the office and action of The Holy Ghost in Holy Mother Church, and her children, which is anything but ordinary.

It is almost as though the ecclesiastical and liturgical revolutionaries cared little for the souls of the faithful in which The Holy Ghost is actualising His sacred mission of Salvation and Sanctification.

Thanks be to God that Tradition is slowly being resurrected and thank you Father for your part in its rebirth.

prince Matecki said...

Dear Father,
I own a gallican missal, printed in Lyon in 1552,apud Jacobum Crozet, i.e. before the missal approved after the council of Trent was published. Interestingly, it has quite a number of prefations, however it gives a prefation for sundays after easter as to be used if and when there is no special prefation.
The rubric is:
Sequens praefatio cum suo canto(it has notes..) dicit a vigilia pas(chalis)...ad aoctavam et in solemnibus festis et per ..( a lot of abbreviaturas) ubi non assignatur alia praefatio.
The text is:
"Vere dignum et salutare (est) TE quidem domine omni tempore sed in hoc potissimum die gloriosus praedicare cum pasche notrum immolatus est christi. Ipse enim verus est agnus qui abstulit peccata mundi. Qui mortem nostram moriendo destruxit et vitam resurgendo reparavit. Et ideo com angelis et archangelis cum thronis et dominationibus com omni militia celestis exercitus hymnum glorie tue can(t)imus sine fine dicentes"
(The text makes Et ideo..., the priest was supposed to know the subsequent formula by heart as it was the same in all prefations in this missal or look it up a page before)
The text is rather similar to the current prefation I for easter tide, however without the "Quaprópter, profúsis paschálibus gáudiis, totus in orbe terrárum mundus exsúltat. Sed et supérnæ virtútes.." which is leading to the sanctus.