19 November 2023

Barberini (2)

"Imploret, clementissime Domine, nostris opportunam necessitatem opem devote a nobis prolata meditatio, qua sanctus olim Joannes Chrysostomus, in hac basilica conditus, te cum beatissimis Apostolis Petro et Paulo repraesentavit sic colloquentem: Circumdate hanc novam Sion, et circumvallate eam: hoc est, custodite, munite, precibus firmate; ut quando irascor in tempore, et orbem terrae concutio, aspiciens sepulcrum vestrum nunquam desiturum, et quae libenter propter me geritis stigmata, iram misericordia vincam, et ob hanc percipiam vestram intercessionem. Etenim quando Sacerdotium et Regnum video  lacrymari, statim quasi compatiens ad commiserationem flector, et illius meae vocis reminiscor: Protegam urbem hanc propter David servum meum, et Aaron, sanctum meum. Domine, fiat, fiat, Amen, Amen."

That is the text of the prayer of which I yesterday provided a translation. It follows penitential prayers and versicles and responses imploring Apostolic intercessions. Then comes the exquisite and ancient prayer which serves as the Collect of the Vigil Mass of SS Peter and Paul ... and, finally, Imploret

Somebody out there will be able to explain it all. To me, its oddities include the combination of SS Peter and Paul, who are not buried in the same basilica ... was the prayer to be said at the sepulcre of each of them? Is the prayer connected with Pope Urban's Consecration of the [new] Basilica of S Peter? It surely can't have been part of the actual service of Dedication, because the Dedication of even quite a modestly sized church is a lengthy business, and no sane Pope (or MC) would want to add stuff. 

Does 'Regnum' simply nod politely to Ancien regime  polity, or does it mean the Papal States?

Most interesting to me is the theological implication that Urbs Roma is an ancient and venerable Sacramental in which the City represents and carries the symbolic weight of the city of YHWH, the Sion of God. That idea, of course, certainly goes back to the composition of the Mass of Laetare  Sunday and probably to the Empress Helena.


Frugifex said...

“Opportunam necessitatem opem” should read “opportunam necessitatibus opem”.

Stephen v.B. said...

A bit odd, indeed. The words in hac basilica conditus, 'buried in *this* basilica', refer only to Sanctus Joannes Chrysostomus, St. John Chrysostom, whose relics were indeed kept in St. Peter's Basilica until 2004, when the Pope of the day decided to return them to Constantinople (in atonement for that unfortunate affair of 1204). Linking SS. Peter and Paul, the apostles of Rome, is not strange in itself, but the words sepulcrum vestrum in this prayer can only point to Rome as such, not to any particular church in Rome. The City is to be kept safe forever, since it *is* the tomb of the two great apostles.

That said, the prayer only makes sense if recited in St. Peter's Basilica, to which it refers by mentioning the tomb of St. John Chrysostom - which is no longer there.

The good old Raccolta contains a note: "Pope Urban VIII., in his Constitution Inter primarias, Nov. 15, 1630 (Bullar. Basil. Vatic., tom. iii. p. 242, edit. Rom. 1752), granted to all faithful Christians who, devoutly visiting the sacred Confession of St. Peter the Apostle in the Vatican Basilica, shall say the prayer “Ante oculos tuos, Domine,” &c. [...] a plenary indulgence [...]", and adds that Pope Urban recommended the insertion of this prayer - with its accompanying versicles - into all breviaries. Hence its appearance in 1874. But the text clearly assumes that the person praying it is, in fact, in Saint Peter's Basilica.

Rubricarius said...

Very interesting.

It is not in the 1910 Breviary I use. I looked at a selection of 19thC Breviaries on GoogleBooks and it was quite hard to find. Not a scientific enquiry but most editions did not appear to have the texts.

Rubricarius said...

Further to my earlier comment I have been able to look at other Breviary sets I have:

1835 Rome: Not present
1843 Tournai: Not present
1854 Rome: Present
1879 Mechlin: Not present
1890 Desclee: Not present

So the interesting question has to be why is the rather curious set of Urban's prayers in some editions not others?