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Friday, May 08, 2009

From East to West: part two

In the Sarum Use of the Orthodox Roman Rite, before the Mass of Easter Day, the Holy Things are returned from the Sepulchre, where they have been since Maundy Thursday, to the High Altar. Once this is done, the rubrics require all the bells to be rung together in a clash, and two antiphons to be sung, of which the second is this:

Now let the Jews declare how the soldiers who guarded the sepulchre lost the King when the stone was placed, wherefore they kept not the Rock of righteousness; let them either produce Him buried, or adore Him rising, saying with us: Alleluia! Alelluia!

Christ is removed from the tomb and once again returned to the place of honour in the Church, and this calls those faithful of the Old Covenant to either acknowledge and affirm that it is fulfilled in the Risen Christ or to produce evidence to the contrary.

Compare this to the second resurrectional sticheron of Sunday Matins in tone two, from the Byzantine Rite:

Let the Jews say how the soldiers who kept watch lost the King. Why did the stone not keep the Rock of life? Either give up the buried corpse or worship the Risen One, saying with us: Glory to the magnitude of thy compassions, O our Saviour! Glory to Thee!

At some point in the development of our services,t is clear that there was some borrowing from the one for the use of the other. Our services are replete with this sort of ritual overlap and this shows that the same Faith is expressed in the different rites of the Church, and that their development was not independent of each other. I hope to post a number of examples of this sort of overlap as I encounter them or as they come to mind, firstly, because I find it quite exciting and, secondly, because I think that it is important for people to see that the Western Rite is not something foreign and alien to Orthodoxy but is very much a part of our heritage as Orthodox Christians.


ex_fide said...

I recently came across a Sarum prayer for preparation before Mass which had something to do with recalling the Jews placing the crown of thorns on our Lord. I think in Salisbury they used to blame the Jews for everything.

Michael said...


I don't detect any sense of blame in the antiphons in my post, though: simply a call to acknowledge the fulfilment of the covenant.