Hispano-Mozarabic Illationes for Advent: A Euchological Enrichment, Part One

One of the great blessings of my time of study at S. Anselmo in Rome was the opportunity to take a course from Jordi Pinell, OSB. I and my fellow students were the beneficiaries of one of the giants in historical liturgy who, like Anscar Chupungco, OSB, placed his historical studies at the service of the praying church. When in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council some non-Roman Western rites undertook the task of liturgical revision, Fr. Pinell served as chairman for a committee of experts preparing the so-called “Visigothic,” “Mozarabic,” or “Old Spanish” Rite for wider usage, especially in the Spanish-speaking world. The fruits of their labor appeared in the 1990s when the Missale Hispano-Mozarabicum and the Liber Commicus were published under the auspices of the Spanish Episcopal Conference and the Archbishop of Toledo.[ii]

Intending one opportunity for the readership of Pray Tell to deepen their appreciation and love for the season of Advent, I would like to offer translations of the “Illationes” for the six Sundays of Advent appearing in the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite.

As one of the variable segments of this rite’s Eucharistic Prayer, an “Illatio” is best compared with the Ambrosian “Contestatio” and the Roman “Praefatio.” These euchological texts are all introduced by a dialogue between ordained ministers and the assembly and concluded by the singing of the “Sanctus.” Each of these texts also reveals a tripartite structure: a “protocol” making the transition from the concluding words of the opening dialogue; a “body” articulating the particular reasons for praising and thanking God at a given eucharist; and an “eschatocol” making the transition to the “Holy, Holy, Holy.”

The opening dialogue in the Hispano-Mozarabic rite involves both the presiding priest and a deacon:

Priest: I will go up to the altar of my God.  (Introibo ad altare Dei mei.)
Assembly: To God who gives joy to my youth.  (Ad Deum qui laetificat iuventutem meam.)
Deacon: Ears to the Lord. (Aures ad Dominum.)
Assembly: We have them [lifted] to the Lord.  (Habemus ad Dominum.)
Priest: Up with [your[ hearts.  (Sursum corda.)
Assembly: We lift them to the Lord. (Levemus ad Dominum).
Priest: To our God and Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who is in the heavens, let us offer worthy praises and worthy thanks.  (Deo ac Domino nostro Iesu Christo Filio Dei, qui est in caelis, dignas laudes dignasque gratias referamus.)
Assembly: It is right and just.  (Dignum et iustum est.)

The “Holy, Holy, Holy” is also distinctive in the Hispano-Mozarabic rite, citing Isaiah 6:3 in Latin and the beginning of the acclamation and in Greek at its conclusion:

Assembly: Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts. (Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus Dominus Deus Sabaoth)
Full are the heavens and the earth with the glory of your majesty. (Pleni sunt caeli et terra gloria maiestatis tuae.)
Hosanna to the Son of David.  (Hosanna Filio David.)
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.  (Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini.)
Hosanna in the highest.  (Hosanna in excelsis.)
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God. (Hagios, Hagios, Hagios, Kyrie o Theos.)

With that as background, we now turn to the Illatio for the First Sunday of Advent. I will offer the Latin text first, with my English translation (intended only as a slavishly literal translation and not for liturgical use):

[Protocol]: Dignum et iustum est nos tibi gratias agere, / Domine, sancte Pater, aeterne omnipotens Deus, / per Iesum Christum Filium tuum Dominum nostrum;

It is right and just for us to give thanks to you, / Lord, holy Father, almighty, eternal God, / through Jesus Christ your Son, our Lord:

[Body]: quem Ioannes fidelis amicus praecessit nascendo, / praecessit in desertis eremi praedicando, / praecessit baptizando; / viam quoque praeparans iudici ac redemptori, / convocavit peccatores ad penitentiam, / et populum Salvatori acquirens / baptizavit in Iordone peccata propria confitentes.

Whom [i.e., Christ], John, the faithful friend, preceded by being conceived, / preceded by preaching in the desert wilderness, / [and] preceded by baptizing; / indeed, preparing the way for the Judge and Redeemer, / he called sinners to penitence together, / and gaining a people for the Savior / baptized them in the Jordan with them confessing their sins.

Non homines innovandi plenam conferans gratiam, / sed piissimi Salvatoris admonens exspectare praesentiam. / Non remittens ipse peccata ad se venientibus, / sed remissionem peccatorum / ad futurum pollicens esse credentibus; / ut descendentibus in aquam penitentiae, / ab illo sperarent remedium indulgentiae, / quem venturum audiebant plenum dono veritatis et gratiae.

He does not confer the complete grace of renewal upon human beings, / but admonishes them to look for the presence of the most benevolent Savior. / He does not remit the sins of those coming to him, but promises to those believing the remission of [their] sins / in the future; / so that, to those descending into the water of penitence, / they might hope for the remedy of forgiveness from him / whom they heard would come completely by the gift of truth and grace.

Baptizatur igitur ab eo Christus / ex elemento visibili et spiritu invisibili. / Ducebantur per oboedientiam ad misericordiam, / per filium sterilis ad filium virginis, / per Ioannem hominem magnum ad Christum hominem Deum.

Thus Christ was baptized by him, / from a visible element and an invisible spirit. / They were being led through obedience to mercy, / through the son of one-who-was-sterile to the son of a virgin, / through John the great man to Christ the God-man.

[Eschatocol]: Quem adorant Angeli et Archangeli, / Throni, Dominationibus ac Potestates, / ita dicentes:

Whom Angels and Archangels, / Thrones, Dominations and Powers adore, / thus proclaiming:

With the post-Vatican II revision of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite, a two-year cycle of Sunday readings appears in their lectionary for Mass, the Liber Commicus. The Illatio for the first Sunday of Advent powerfully complements the gospels assigned for the day (Luke 3:1-18 in Year One and Matthew 3:1-11 in Year Two) presenting the ministry of John the Forerunner. Its beauty may enrich the reflections of Roman Rite Christians especially in their Advent season when the figures immediately associated with the birth of Christ, including John the Baptist, come to prominence.

[ii]Conferencia Episcopal Española, Missale Hispano-Mozarabicum (2 vols.) (Barcelona: Impresso pro Credograf, S.A., Rippollet, 1991/1994) and Conferencia Episcopal Española, Missale Hispano-Mozarabicum. Liber Commicus, (2 vols.) (Barcelona, Impresso pro Credograf, S.A., Rippollet, 1991/1995).

Featured image: Title page of the Missale Mixtum secundum regulam beati Isidori (1500)







3 responses to “Hispano-Mozarabic Illationes for Advent: A Euchological Enrichment, Part One”

  1. LInda reid Avatar
    LInda reid

    Thank you for this! I love the poetic comparisons between John and Jesus which establish a beautiful relationship between them!

  2. Michael Slusser Avatar
    Michael Slusser

    It’s wonderful. It puts the Latin preface in the shade.
    But I was waiting with hopeful excitement for “preceded by being arrested” or something to that effect. It didn’t come, although in Mark and Matthew that event triggered Jesus’ own preaching ministry.

    1. Alan Griffiths Avatar
      Alan Griffiths

      I don’t think that is being fair to the Latin preface (I take it that’s Advent Preface 1 in the Roman Missal). This is not a comparison of like with like.

      Unlike the Mozarabic ‘Illatio,’ the Advent Preface 1 is not tied to a gospel reading but is a sort of embodied expression of both the significance and the shape (cf. Universal Norms on the Liturgical Year no.39) of the Advent Season as a whole, with its bipartite structure: ‘Qui primo adventu … ut cum secundo venerit …’

      Accordingly, it offers a very ‘advent-y’ series of contrasts between first and second comings: so ‘in humilitate carnis assumptae’ contrasts with ‘in suae gloria maiestatis;’ and ‘dispositionis antiquae munus’ contrasts with ‘manifesto demum munere …’

      Also, it is an elegant composition with sources mainly drawn from the Verona Sacramentary and the works of Pope St. Leo the Great (see Johnson and Ward, ‘The Prefaces of the Roman Missal, A Source Compendium’).

      Lastly, it has a great ‘beat’ and is a joy to chant. The final line before the concluding embolism is really good: ‘…quod nunc audemus expectare promissum.’ Unfortunately, this highly rhythmic expression is only weakly realised in the English version we now use: ‘… the great promise in which now we dare to hope.’


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