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it bears in the rule of St. Benedict". And we find a trace of the ancient custom of the Roman church in a manuscript ritual, referred to by Mabillon, where, in a litany on the vigil of the Assumption, the people repeated, with tears and prayers, Kyrie eleēson a hundred times, Christe eleēson a hundred times, and Kyrie eleēson again a hundred times". That the service performed in the procession according to the Roman church is much altered from what it formerly was, will appear by comparing the Roman ritual with the Antiphonary of Gregory the Great “. In this last there are only a great number of anthems appointed to be sung during the procession; in the former there is but one anthem and a psalm, which are followed by the invocations and prayers, and penitential psalms. These anthems were certainly sung in the procession formerly; for venerable Bede relates, that Augustine and his brethren, approaching for the first time the city of Canterbury, sang with one voice this litany; “We implore thee, “O Lord, in thy great mercy, to remove thy wrath “and anger from this city, and from thy holy “dwelling, for we have sinned. Alleluia".” This anthem occurs in the Antiphonary of Gregory, above referred to, and is there appointed to be used in the procession *. We also find in the Ordo Romanus that anthems were sung in procession, when relics were carried on the days of litany ; and for those anthems it refers us to the Antiphonary '. It is to be noted, however, that the Ordo Romanus speaks as if the repetition of Kyrie eleéson formed a great part of the service: “ Let no one then presume to “ride, but let all walk with bare feet. Let not women “ lead the choirs, but let all together sing Kyrie eleë“son, and with contrition of heart implore the merey “ of God for pardon of their sins, for peace, for deli“verance from plague, for preserving the fruits of the “earth, and for other necessities*.” It appears from this that the Roman office for procession formerly consisted of many anthems, of a very frequent repetition of Kyrie eleēson, (for which the invocation of saints was afterwards substituted,) and of the obsecrations, deprecations, and intercessions, which are still found in the latter part of the litany in the Roman offices. After the procession, no doubt, they repeated in station appropriate collects or prayers; but we have no account, I believe, of the reading of any lessons during the Roman litany; though the church of Milan and the churches of Gaul and of Constantinople certainly had lessons in their station, or that part of the office which was performed in the church.
* S. Benedict. Regula, c. 9.
“Supplicatio litaniae, id est,
Rit. lib. i. c. i. art. 18, p. 175.
It would seem that the words
The church of England appears to have received the stated rogation or litany days of the Gallican church at an early period, and from that time to the present, she has reckoned them amongst her days of fasting. Formerly in this church there were processions on all these days, but in the course of time this ancient custom has been confined to one day, on which the people still perambulate the bounds of their parishes. According to the injunctions or advertisements of queen Elizabeth, the office for these days was to consist of the two psalms, beginning “Benedic anima mea,” of the litany and suffrages, and a homily especially appointed for the occasion. This office was recited in church, on the return of the people from the procession, and in the course of the procession the curate was to admonish the people to give thanks to God, with the saying of the hundred and third psalm; and at the same time he should inculcate these, or such sentences, “Cursed be he which translateth the bounds or dolles of his neighbour",” &c. The repetition of psalms and verses of Scripture in the procession was perfectly accordant with the practice of the church during the fifth century, and afterwards. Let us however pass from the consideration of this ancient litany or rogation, which appears indeed to bear some of the marks of time; and consider the extraordinary supplications of the church, which are made for rain, for fair weather, in time of rain, dearth, and famine, in times of war, or of pestilence. On these occasions, according to the English ritual, there is no procession, but as in primitive ages, the whole office is performed in the church; and the peculiarity of the offices for these occasions consists in the addition of an appropriate collect to the morning prayer, or litany, according to the day of the week. When these offices comprise the litany, they certainly approach nearest to the practice of primitive ages, at least to that of the eastern churches in early times. Considering the litany simply as a certain assemblage of prayers ordinarily used in divine service, it may be regarded in three points of view. First, as a termination of the office of morning prayer; in which case we may refer for a confirmation of its antiquity and propriety, to the ancient office of matins, according to the church of Constantinople, when a form of prayer resembling our litany occurs near the conclusion': and a similar form of prayer is visible in the morning office of the Apostolical Constitutions, which were written in the east, about the end of the third, or beginning of the fourth century'. Secondly, we may consider the litany as a distinct service, said after the morning prayer: and in this case we find a confirmation of our practice in the ancient rites of the English church, where the litany was appointed to be said in the same manner during the greatest part of Lent". Thirdly, we may consider the litany as an introduction to the liturgy or communion service: and to prove the antiquity and propriety of this position, we refer to the ancient liturgies of the patriarchate of Constantinople, and of the church of Milan', and to the liturgy of the Roman church in ancient times; for since the ninth century the litany has not been repeated after Kyrie eleēson in the Roman liturgy". The form of prayer in our litany, according to which the minister or priest precents, or repeats the beginning of each petition, and the people respond, has been used in the western churches from a remote period; but we cannot with justice ascribe its origination to these churches. The most ancient western formularies of this kind are too evidently
i Goar, Rituale Graec. p. 54.
j Apost. Const. lib. viii. c. 37. The prayers for the faithful there referred to are contained in c. 10 of the same book.
* Breviar. Sarisb. pars hyemalis, fol. 68. The litany was said with the gradual psalms, after the office for the third hour, from Monday in the first
week of Lent, to Wednesday