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lated by Gelasius". It contains several books, as his appears to have done. A comparison of it with any ancient copy of Gregory's sacramentary will shew alterations in the latter, exactly corresponding with those which Gregory is said to have made in Gelasius's sacramentary. This ancient manuscript appears to have been written in or after the time of Gregory the Great in some remote province, and therefore it contains a few things which were added to the Roman liturgy after the time of Gelasius; but it represents the order of prayers and canon generally as they were in the time of Gelasius, and that order and canon are the same as those which were used in the time of Gregory, one hundred years afterwards. The Roman liturgy is therefore as old as the time of Gelasius A.D. 492, and there is neither proof nor presumption that he was its author, though doubtless he composed many collects, and a considerable part of the sacramentary. In fact, a manuscript Sacramentary is in existence, which is supposed by learned men to have been written before the time of Gelasius", and evidently refers to the same order and canon as that used in his time. By Muratori it is referred to the time of Felix, patriarch of Rome, A.D. 483; but it is more generally known by the appellation of the Leonian sacramentary. Leo the Great, bishop of Rome in the time of the council of Chalcedon, A.D. 451, is said to have added to the canon certain words which are specified", and hence we may infer that the remainder of the canon was in existence before his time. Critics discover in the writings of this bishop many passages which seem to have been transcribed almost verbatim into the sacramentary, and they also detect in several parts of that book a style, which, as they affirm, bears internal evidence of the authorship of Leo ". It is certainly by no means improbable that he may have written several missae. The fifth century was remarkable for the number of persons who composed missae in the west, and Leo may very well have been amongst the number. Some time before Leo, Innocentius, bishop of Rome, speaks of the Roman rites in his time as having descended from St. Peter the Apostle; and there is no sort of reason to think that they differed materially from those used in the time of Gelasius at the end of the same century'. We find from his directions to Decentius, bishop of Eugubium, that the kiss of peace was then, as in after-times, given after the canon, according to the Roman rite". It appears also, that the names of those who offered were recited after their oblations had been commended to the acceptance of God in the canon', as we find to have been the case afterwards at Rome; and not before the canon, as in the Gallican and Spanish liturgies. As far then as the testimony of Innocentius goes, it proves the substantial conformity of the Roman rite at the beginning of the fifth century with that at the end of the same century.
* Cave, Historia Liter. tom. i. p. 464. Thomasius, Codices Sacramentorum. Muratori, de Reb. Liturg. Dissertat. Liturg. Rom. tom. i. p. 51, &c.
° This sacramentary was first published by Blanchinius in the fourth volume of Anastasius Bibliothecarius, under the title of the Sacramentary of Pope Leo. It was copied from a MS. in the library of the
Chapter of Verona, written 1000 (1100) years ago. Muratori has given a learned dissertation on this sacramentary
in the first volume of his Li
turgia Rom. vet. in which also he has reprinted the Leonian sacramentary. See also for an account of the controversies relative to this document Zaccaria Bibliotheca Ritualis, lib.i. c. 3, p. 41, &c.
P “Sanctum sacrificium,” “immaculatam hostiam.” Anastas. Biblioth. in Vita Leonis. Walafrid. Strabo, de Reb. Eccles. c. 22. Compare Menard. Sacramentar. Gregorii, p. 3.
* See Muratori Liturg. Rom. vet. tom. i. p. 19, &c.
* “Si instituta ecclesiastica, ut sunt a beatis apostolis tradita, integra vellent servare
Domini sacerdotes, nulla diversitas, nulla varietas in ipsis ordinibus et consecrationibus haberetur—quis enim nesciat, aut non advertat, id quod a principe apostolorum Petro Romanae ecclesiae traditum est,” &c. Innocent. Epist. ad Decentium Eugub. Labbe, Concil. tom. ii. p. 1245.
The deficiency of more ancient evidence, at least of any generally known, forbids me to penetrate further into the darkness of antiquity. I leave to those who are more interested in the subject, the task of investigating minutely the writings of those Fathers who lived in Italy and Sicily, and whose works may be supposed to throw light on the ancient Roman liturgy. Suffice it to say, that this liturgy was substantially the same in the time of Gelasius as it was in that of Gregory, that it appears to have been the same in the time of Innocentius at the beginning of the fifth century, and was esteemed at that time, and in the subsequent age, to be of apostolical antiquity.
* “Pacem ergo asseris ante confecta mysteria quosdam populis imperare, vel sibi inter sacerdotes tradere, cum post omnia, quae aperire non debeo, pax sit necessario indicenda,” &c. Ibid. p. 1246. Compare Menard. Sacr. Gregor. p. 4.
* “De nominibus vero recitandis, antequam preces sacerdos faciat, atque eorum oblationes, quorum nomina recitanda sunt, sua oratione commendet, quam superfluum sit
et ipse pro tua prudentia recognoscis—prius ergo oblationes sunt commendandae, ac tunc eorum nomina, quorum sunt oblationes, edicenda, ut inter sacra mysteria nominentur, non inter alia quae ante praemittimus, ut ipsis mysteriis viam futuris precibus aperiamus.” Ibid. p. 1246. See Menard, Sacr. Gregor. p. 377. Bona, Rer. Liturg. lib. ii. c. 16, § 6, p. 473, &c.
But though we are left at the end of the four first centuries by Innocentius, the earliest Roman writer who has been quoted as alluding to the liturgy, we may, perhaps, by looking in another direction, acquire some further information on the subject. The period at which Christianity penetrated into Africa is uncertain; but it is very likely that the first missionaries may have come from Rome, as being the nearest apostolical church, and abounding in every thing which could assist such an enterprise. It is probable, for the same reasons, that the first bishops of Africa may have been ordained at Rome. These circumstances would induce us to conjecture, that the African liturgy was originally the same as the Roman; and in fact it appears, from an investigation of the few notices relative to the liturgy which are extant in the writings of the African Fathers, that the Roman and the African liturgies were alike". If we consider the independence of the African churches in the time of Cyprian, A.D. 250, and therefore the improbability that they should have received their liturgy from the church of Rome, unless it had been brought by their first bishops; and if we reflect that these bishops must have been ordained long before the time of Cyprian and Tertullian, we may perhaps see some reason for tracing back the general order and substance of the ancient Roman liturgy, as used in the time of Gregory the Great, to the second century. Another proof of the antiquity of the same liturgy is derivable from the liturgy of Milan, commonly called the Ambrosian. Various circumstances prove the great antiquity of the latter formulary, and its diversity from the Roman, at least since the time of Gregory the Great, but probably from the fifth century. Yet the Milan liturgy is evidently derived originally from the Roman", and as the bishop of Milan possessed the authority of patriarch or exarch over the Italic diocese, and was not ordained by the patriarch of Rome, but perfectly independent of him, there seems no more probable way of accounting for the use of the Roman liturgy during the primitive ages in the Italic diocese, or all the north of Italy, than by supposing that it was introduced by the first bishops, who were probably ordained at Rome. Combining these circumstances together, there seems nothing unreasonable in thinking that the Roman liturgy, as used in the time of Gregory the Great, may have existed from a period of the most remote antiquity; and perhaps there are nearly as good reasons for referring its original composition to the apostolic age, as there are in the case of the great oriental liturgy, which I have noticed in the three first sections of this Dissertation. That several particular words and expressions and prayers were of a more recent date, is indeed apparent. We are well aware that the primitive liturgies were not committed to writing at first, but to memory; and thus, of course, many variations would be introduced; yet the principal substance and order might still be preserved; and it is only for the antiquity of the main order that I contend, not for that of every individual part. Let us, then, examine briefly the order of this ancient liturgy, omitting those parts which appear
* See section viii. of this Dissertation.