Companion to the Processional

First Sunday of Advent

Ant. Missus est angelus Gabriel

Bidding Prayers
[Bidding Prayers: Bidding of the Beads]
The Processionale indicates that when the Bidding Prayers take place they follow the procession before Mass, except in parish churches, where the Bidding of the Beads takes place ‘after the Gospel and the Offertory’. Sarum Processionale 1528:5v. Unfortunately ‘after the Gospel and the Offertory’ is ambiguous! Adrian Fortescue, The Mass (1915):295 takes it to mean after the Gospel; Nick Sandon, The Use of Salisbury I (1984):4 takes it to mean after the Offertory. Daniel Rock, The Church of our Fathers II (1905):292 and 294 equivocates. Fortescue, however, also suggests that directly following ‘Oremus’ (this edition, p. 24) is the place where, historically, the ‘Prayers of the Faithful’ belonged: ‘This beginning without a continuation remains as a relic, and an indication of the place of the old prayers of the faithful.’ (Op. cit.:296.). But the ‘Oremus’ appears directly before the offertory, not after! In The Book of Common Prayer, 1552 and 1662, the ‘Prayer for the Church Militant’ appears directly after the Offertory Verse. The weight of argument, together with the logical flow of the Mass, places the parish Bidding of the Beads directly after the Offertory chant, and before the prayer ‘Suscipe Sancta Trinitas’.

Nativity, December 25
Resp. Descendit de celis

Prose. Felix Maria; Familiam custodi

On the Christmas Proses see Thomas Forrest Kelly, “Neuma Triplex”, Acta Musicologica, LX-1 (1988): 1-30.

V. Tanquam sponsus

Prose. Familiam custodi Christe

V. Gloria Patri

Prose. Te Laudant

Ant. Hodie Christus natus est

Saint Stephen, December 26
Resp. Sancte Dei

Prose. Te mundi

Saint John, December 27
Prose. Nascitur

Holy Innocents, December 28
Prose. Sedentem

Saint Thomas, December 29
Resp. Jacet granum

Prose. Clangat pastor

Circumcision, January 1
Prose. Quem etherea

Wednesdays and Fridays throughout Lent

The Litany, which is sung during the return to the chancel after a procession to one of the side altars (in order), is different from the Litany of the Breviary.  This shorter form of the litany contains only 3 apostles/evangelists, 3 martyrs, 3 confessors, and 3 virgins/matrons on each day, beginning with the order given in the breviary, but diverging as the days proceed.  There are 11 such lists, concluding on Wednesday in the sixth week of Lent, the day before Maundy Thursday.  Thus these processions would cover up to 11 of the 13 side altars in Salisbury Cathedral.  Presumably in churches with less than 11 side altars the cycle would begin to repeat.

The MS processional reproduced in Wordsworth, Ceremonies and Processions of the Cathedral Church of Salisbury:64 indicates that the first of the altars to be visited in Salisbury Cathedral is that of St. Martin, the northernmost in the eastern transept.  This source also omits any indication of the use of the litany during the  return to the chancel.

Within this litany are found several saints that are not listed in the breviary litany: Kenelm, Edmund, and Cuthburga.

Palm Sunday
En rex venit

Gloria laus et honor

Rex noster

Holy Saturday

According to Gueranger, the shift of this service from the night to earlier in the day (i.e. afternoon)  occurred during the 11th. Century. (The Liturgical Year: Passiontide and Holy Week: 551.)

Procession to the New Fire

‘through the midst of the Quire’ suggests that the Procession commences by exiting the West doorway of the Quire.  Presumably the Procession would continue west down the Nave to the Font.  The Font was located two bays to the west of the present Font, in the centre of the Nave, in the centre of the third bay from the west.

Blessing of the Fire and Incense

Evidently at Salisbury Cathedral the new fire was kindled between the two pillars that make up the south arcade, presumably on the bench.  The Priest would be in the Nave just to the north of the fire, while the Thurifer would be in the South aisle, just to the south of the fire. While the rubrics indicate that the Thurifer is to the south of the fire, the woodcut shows the Thurifer to the north of the fire.  (The rubrics should be considered more authoritative than the wooduts.)

Such a fire is traditionally kindled from a flint; British Library, Harley MS 2977. a 14th. c. Rituale from Bury St. Edmunds Abbey indicates, ‘. . . accipiat novum ignem de berillo vel de ferro et lapide si sol non apparuerit’ (‘. . . let him take the new light from beryl or from iron and stone if the sun shall not appear’).  As suggested, if the sun does appear, the new would be kindled from either a beryl crystal or a concave mirror.  Indeed it appears that in the early afternoon on Easter eve the suns rays entering through the south aisle window would fall directly on the place of the new fire.

Prayer. Domine Deus noster Pater omnipotens
‘omnem hominem venientem in hunc mundum’ John 1:9.
‘et sicut illuminasti . . . ‘ appears to be a later addition. It is not found in the earlier Sarum sources, nor is it commonly found elsewhere. It makes the connection between the new fire and the pillar of fire (Exodus 13:21) and it invokes a blessing upon the candle on the spear, which is otherwise not specifically blessed.

Prayer. Domine sancte Pater omnipotens

Prayer. Celesti lumine quesumus Domine
The phrases ‘nos participes’ and ‘percipiamus effect/affectu’ suggest that this Prayer was originally intended as a Postcommunion; ‘Celesti lumine’ suggests its use at Epiphany. This prayer is the subject of a detailed analysis by Daniel McCarthy OSB in The Tablet, January 3, 2009, p. 20.

Exorcism. Exorcizo te immundissime spiritus
This exorcism appears to be unique to the Sarum Rite. It does not appear in the Rouen or York sources.

Prayer. Eternam ac justissimam pietatem tuam
‘. . . sicut incensum jecoris piscis . . . liberationem.’ cf. Tob. 6:5-8; 8:2-3.

Prayer. Descendat benedictio tua Domine
‘Dirigatur otatio mea . . . ‘ Ps. 140:2.
‘bonus odor Deo’ 2 Cor. 2:15.

Procession to the Paschal Candle

Hymn. Inventor rutili

Text a cento from the ‘Hymn ad incensum lucernae’ by Pruentius (Cathemerinon 5)

Given the rubric ‘in redeundo‘ we ought to assume that all those not taking direct part in the Blessing of the Paschal Candle return to their usual places in the Quire.

Station at the Paschal Candle

The Sarum sources do not specify the location of the Paschal Candle, perhaps because of the variations in the layout of different presbyteries.  In Salisbury Cathedral the Paschal Candle would presumably be set up in the 7th bay of the church (counting from the east), or the third bay of the presbytery. (The Presbytery Step was originally located at the west edge of the 7th bay, one bay to the west of the current chancel railing.) The woodcuts found in the Processionals show the Paschal Candle on the south side of the presbytery. During the Exultet the Deacon in fact faces not the unlit Paschal Candle to the south, but the lighted Spear to the north–at least until the lighting of the Paschal Candle.

The more typical location of the Paschal Candle in the western liturgies is on the North side of the sanctuary (Frederick George Lee, A Glossary of Liturgical and Ecclesiastical Terms (London: Bernard Quaritch, 1877):117).

The Processionals makes clear what is not clear in the missals, that the function of the Subdeacon is to hold the Text.

[Proclamation] Exultet jam angelica
As noted in David Hiley, Western Plainchant (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990):51. the Sarum form of the melody appears to be an ornamented form of the simpler melody that is found in Hereford, York, Rouen, and Paris sources, among others.
At (8.) ‘cum Sancto Spiritu’ is not normally found in the Roman Rite. It appears in both the Sarum and York texts, but not in the printed Hereford Missal. It also occurs in the Leofric Missal of the 10th-11th. c. and in a Parisian Missal dated 1481.
At (18.) ‘et nostrum’ is not found in the Roman Rite. It appears in the Sarum and York texts, and in the printed Hereford Missal. It also occurs in the Leofric Missal of the 10th-11th. c. and in the Rouen Missal 1495, but not in the Parisian Missal 1481.
At (21.) ‘et nox ut dies illuminabitur, after Ps. 138:12.
‘et nox illuminatio mea in deliciis meis, Ps. 138:11.

It may be presumed that a pause in the singing takes place while the Deacon places incense in the Paschal Candle and in the small candle on the spear.  The Deacon would have to turn to the south to affix the incense into the Paschal Candle.

The Paschal Candle is lit from the small candle on the spear.  Considering that the spear is held by someone standing in the Presbytery, it would be most likely that, if necessary, a ladder would be used to reach the top of the Paschal Candle (which was as high as 36 feet at Salisbury Cathedral).

(It may be that on subsequent occasions within Eastertide the Paschal Candle was extinguished and relit via the south triforium, which at just over 40 feet is slightly higher than the 36 feet of the Paschal Candle.)

With the movement of the Spear-bearer and the focus on turning to the Paschal Candle, it would seem appropriate that the Deacon (and Subdeacon bearing the Text) re-orient themselves at this time to the south, facing the newly lit Paschal Candle.

At (26.) many non-Sarum sources have ‘mutuati tamen luminis’. These include Hereford, Rouen, Paris, and Rome.
The Leofric and York Missals omit ‘tamen’.
At (27.) the Paris Missal 1481 and the Hereford Missal have ‘Alitur a liquantibus’.
The Roman Missal has ‘Alitur enim liquantibus
The Leofric Missal, Rouen Missal 1495, and York Missal 1533 are the same as Sarum here.

The Hereford Missal And Rouen Missal 1495 add here the following: ‘O vere et mirabilis apis : cujus nec sexum masculi violant, fetus non quassant, nec filii destruant [‘destruunt’, Rouen} castitatem. Sicut sancta concepit virgo Maria, virgo peperit, et virgo permansit.’
The Leofric Missal has a longer passage: ‘Apes ceteris que subjecta sunt homini animantibus antecellit. Quum sit minima corporis parvitate, ingentes animos angusto versat in pectore, viribus imbecillis, sed fortis ingenio. O vere beata et mirabilia apes. O vere et mirabilis apes, cujus nec sexum masculi violant, fetus non quassant, nec filii destruant castitatem. Sicut sancta concepit virgo Maria, virgo peperit, et virgo permansit.’

At (28.) the Roman Missal, the Paris Missal 1481, and York Missal 1533 have ‘O vere beata nox’. Hereford and Rouen 1495 follows Sarum here.
At (29.) the Roman Missal York 1533, Paris 1481, have ‘Oramus ergo te’. The Leofric Missal the Hereford Missal, and the Rouen Missal 1495 and the same as Sarum here.
At (30.) the Roman Missal has ‘Et in odorem’; the Hereford Missal has ‘accensus’.
At (34.) the Roman Missal 1962 has ‘omnemque clerum’ and ‘una cum beatissimo papa nostro N. et antistite nostro N.’ and adds after ‘gaudiis’, ‘assiduus protectione regere, gubernare, et’ The Paris Missal, 1481, has ‘una cum papa nostro N. et antistite nostro N. necnon et gloriosissimo rege nostro N.’
The York Missal 1533 has ‘in archiepiscopo nostro’.
The Hereford Missal has ‘et antistite nostro N. necnon et Anglorum rege N. et principe nostro N.’
The amended text of the Leofric Missal is ‘papa nostro, et archiepiscopo nostro
atque rege nostro’.
The Rouen Missal, 1495. has ‘et Antistite nostro N. necnon Francorum rege N.’
35. The conclusion appears in the Sarum, Hereford and Rouen Uses. Many other sources, such as Paris 1481, and York 1533, end with the common doxology, ‘Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum’ etc.

Beginning at the reference to the Pope, there is a wide divergence of endings that have been occasioned by historical circumstances. Thomas Forrest Kelley, The Exultet in Southern Italy (New York, Oxford University Press, 1996), provides a great deal of information on the history, style, and variations of the Exultet.

Tract. Cantemus Domino  (after Exodus 15:1 (21), 2; Eccl. 51:2; Judith 16:3)
This Tract is also sung at the Vigil of Pentecost.

Tract. Vinea facta est (after Is. 5:1, 5; 34:15; Judges 16:4; Is. 5:2, Matt. 21:33.)

‘Sorec’ is the name of a valley in the Judean Hills.  Evidently the reference is due to its etymology, as either ‘fruitless tree’ or ‘special vine’.

Tract. Audite celum et loquar (after Deut. 32:1-4.)

Tract. Sicut cervus desiderat (Ps. 41: 2-4) (‘Sicut’ is Old Roman; ‘apparbeo’ is Gallican; ‘per singuos dies’ is neither)

Litany. Rex sanctorum angelorum
AH-50:#183, p. 242. (Attributed doubtfully to Ratpertus, monk of St. Gall, d. after 884.)
Translation © 2014 by Matthew Carver. Used with permission.

‘. . . a metrical Litany dating from around the 10th century. It may have begun in St. Gall, but spread quickly throughout the bishoprics of Germany before being approved for church use by Pope Nicholas III. The original is a sort of abbreviated (or sevenfold) litany which also included in some places a variable stanza to a certain local patron saint (such as St. Gall). This Litany was associated with the seven penitential psalms, after which it was sung. Since this usually happened on a vigil, and the Vigils of Easter and Pentecost included the blessing of the font, stanzas 6, 7, and 8 are sung on such occasions where baptizands are present.’ Matthew Carver, Hymnoglypt, April 19, 2014.

Ending as it does on B, this chant appears to fall outside the modal classification system; however, the Verse endings on G, as well as the extent of the range to low D would justify labeling it Mode VIII.

Adult baptism on the Easter Vigil was a very rare event during the middle ages, seeing that infant baptism was practised pretty much universally.

A metrical translation by Pearson (omitting verses 6-8) appears in The Sarum Missal in English:170. Another translation,’Thou the holy angels’ King’ (again omitting verses 6-8) appears in Warren’s Sarum Missal I:284. Although it is in rhyme it does not follow the metre of the original.

The liturgy continues with the Mass. See the Missal, 742.

Easter Day

The Procession and Mass on Easter Day has been edited by Terence Bailey in W Thomas Marrocco and Nicholas Sandon, eds., The Oxford Anthology of Medieval Music (London: Oxford University Press, 1977): 22-47.


‘For prayer is the wing of the soul by which she fleeth to heaven, to the end that she may follow Jesu Christ ascending up before us to show us the way.  And know ye that the soul that aboundeth in plenty of flesh, and hath but few pens and feathers, he may not well fly.  Thus this Litany is called procession, for then the Church maketh general procession.  And in this procession the cross is borne, the clocks and the bells be sounded and rung, the banners be borne, and in some churches a dragon with a great tail is borne.  And aid and help is demanded of all saints.  And the cause why the cross is borne and the bells rung is for to make the evil spirits afraid and to flee; for like as the kings have in battles tokens and signs-royal, as their trumpets and banners, right so the king of heaven perdurable hath his signs militant in the Church.  He hath bells for business and for trumps, he hath the cross for banners.  And like as a tyrant and a malefactor should much doubt when he shall hear the business and trumps of a mighty king in his land, and shall see his banners, in like wise the enemies, the evil spirits that be in the region of the air, doubt much when they hear the trumpets of God which be the bells rung, and when they see the banners borne on high.  And this is the cause why the bells be rung when it thundereth, and when great tempests and outrages of weather happen, to the end that the fiends and the evil spirits should be abashed and flee, and cease of the moving of tempests.  Howbeit also that there is another cause therewith; that is for to warn the Christian people, that they put them in devotion and in prayer, for to pray God that the tempest may cease.  There is also the banner of the King, that is the cross, which the enemies dread much and doubt.  For they dread the staff with which they have been hurt.  And this is the reason wherefore in some churches in the time of tempest and of thunder, they set out the cross against the tempest to the end that the wicked spirits see the banner of the sovereign king, and for dread thereof they flee.  And therefore in procession the cross is borne, and the bells rung for to chase and hunt away the fiends being in the air, and to the end that they leave to tempest us.  The cross is borne for to represent the victory of the resurrection, and of the ascension of Jesu Christ.  For he ascended into Heaven with all a great prey.  And thus this banner that flyeth in the air signifieth Jesu Christ ascending into heaven.  And as the people follow the cross, the banners, and the procession, right so when Jesu Christ styed up into heaven a great multitude of saints followed him.  And the song that is sung in the procession signifieth the song of angels and the praisings that came against Jesu Christ and conducted and conveyed him to heaven where is great joy and melody.  In some churches, and in especial in them of France, is accustomed to bear a dragon with a long tail filled full of chaff or other thing.  The two first days it is borne before the cross, and on the third day they bear it after the cross, with the tail all void, by which is understood that the first day tofore the law, or the second under the law, the devil reigned in the world, and on the third day, of grace, by the passion of Jesu Christ, he was put out of his realm.’ The Golden Legend (Caxton, 1483):22v.


See also the hymn. Chorus nove Hierusalem (Breviary 1312): ‘ . . .2. Quo Christus invictus leo, Dracone surgens obruto . . .’

Corpus Christi
Ant. Crux fidelis

Invention of the Cross, May 3
Ant, O crux gloriosa

Resp. O crux gloriosa

Saint Mary Magdalene, July 22
Resp. O felix sacrorum

Saint Anne, July 26
Beata virgo virginum

Saint Katharine, November 25
R Virgo. R O mater

Antiphons off the Blessed Virgin

Ant. Salve regina

attr. Hermann of Reichenau, 11th. c.

Performing trans. Winfred Douglas, Monastic Diurnal: 155; Scholarly trans. based on Rev. Adrian Fortescue, 1913.  Verses trans. Matthew Carver.  © 2013 by Matthew Carver. Used with permission.

The modern editions begin ‘Salve regina mater misericordie’.

V. Virgo mater ecclesie

The verses constitute an interpolated hymn of four stanzas.

The only other settings of this text in CANTUS are the adiastematic sources CH-SGs 388:471 and CH-SGs 390:10.

Ant. Regina celi letare

Ant. Nesciens mater virgo virum

Ant. Ave regina celorum Mater regis angelorum

This antiphon is in metre and rhyme.

Performing translation WR; scholarly translation (metrical).© 2019 by Matthew Carver. Used with permission.

Other texts, such as the York Processional,  often have ‘funde preces ad filium’

See also ‘Kathleen Marie McGhee, The Antiphon Ave Regina Caelorum Mater Regis Angelorum in the Music and Art of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.  University of Maryland, 1986.

Ant. Mater ora filium

The configuration of this antiphon does not precisely correlate to any ending of Tones V or VI.  However, seeing that all antiphons in the Tonale in Tone VI begin on the finalis, Tone V.i. seems most appropriate.  The question is purely theorectical, seeing that this antiphon is never connected to psalmody,