QUAERITUR: rubrical V and R symbols for leader and response

A great question for you knowledgable readers and my chance to learn something:

A reader queries:

My question is this: what is the name of the symbols that denote “leader” and “response”? They look like V’s and R’s with ornate slashes through them, but I’ve had no luck finding what they are called or a font that includes them. Any ideas?


Okay!  Have at!

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  1. versicle (2. A short sentence spoken or chanted by a priest and followed by a response from the congregation) and response

  2. Denis Crnkovic says:

    In my experience, most printers refer to these figures as “Versicle” and “Response” marks. There is a nice discourse on them and other liturgical typesetting and printing at


    I do not believe that either of these marks has yet been assigned a Unicode number. So far, the most efficient way to incorporate them into electronic text is to make a picture file and paste it in wherever necessary. (I do,/i> happen to have some 12 pt Modern Roman lead type sorts of these characters. That probably won’t help you, though.)

  3. TrueLiturgy says:
  4. Denis Crnkovic says:

    Apologies for the typo that didn’t close my italics…

  5. Animadversor says:

    There are indeed Unicode numbers for the versicle and response characters; see http://www.unicode.org/charts/PDF/U2100.pdf. that said, not all Unicode fonts can display all Unicode characters. Some fonts that can display these two characters can be found at http://www.fileformat.info/info/unicode/char/2123/fontsupport.htm.

  6. Latter-day Guy says:

    TrueLiturgy, have you ever tried the Cæciliæ font for writing chant? It takes a completely different approach then Festa Dies. I’ve found it very user-friendly. http://www.marello.org/projects/caeciliae

  7. Dan O says:

    The unicode for the versicle is 2123. The unicode for the response is 211F. When editing a document, from the menu tabs chose “Insert” and then “Special Characters”, then enter the unicode hex numbers listed here. Not all word processing applications nor all fonts have these special characters. In a quick test, I found that Google documents had them.

  8. zapman says:

    Latter-day Guy – thanks for the link to Caeciliae – that font is fantastic!

  9. I have always wanted the ability to make these symbols for Word. Thank you to those who posted the links.

  10. ErnieNYC says:

    I was always taught that V7 was for “verso,” or the left side of an open book, and the R7 was for “recto,” or the right side.

  11. According to the Character Viewer application on my Mac, ? and ? are found in the following fonts:
    – Apple Symbols
    – Arial Unicode MS
    – MS Gothic Regular
    – MS Mincho
    – MS PGothic
    – MS PMincho

    The MS typefaces were undoubtably installed with Microsoft Office, and I’d assume the Apple Symbols comes with OS X.

  12. I’m sure your web browser doesn’t support these fonts, so the characters appear as question marks.

  13. Sandra_in_Severn says:

    Windows Vista and Windows 7 running Microsoft Office 2007 have both “Versicle” and “Response” marks in Arial Unicode MS, I did not find a Maltese Cross in Arial Unicode MS, but there is one in Wjngdings, both are default TTF fonts.

  14. Denis Crnkovic says:

    I stand corrected on the unicode numbers for the versicle and response marks. Obviously I am still thinking in letterpress terms. (I also, by the way, have 10 and 12 point Maltese cross Monotype sorts, q.v.


  15. Martial Artist says:

    They definitely are: versicle (℣) and response (℟).

    Keith Töpfer

  16. Martial Artist says:

    The HTML Entity Numbers are:

    Versicle: & # 8483 ; (remove the blank spaces between the ampersand and the semicolon)

    Response: & # 8479 ; (remove the blank spaces between the ampersand and the semicolon)

    NB: Had I not inserted the blank spaces, the HTML rendering engine that renders comments on this site would simply have displayed the actual symbol, not the components of the Entity Number.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  17. mpolo says:

    The Maltese cross is U+2720 (or XML & # 10016 &#10016).

  18. Andrew says:

    V = Versiculus
    R = Responsio

    (Oh tempora. Oh mores. Quorsum pergis orbis olim catholicus?)

  19. It is amazing what we can learn here when people work on a question.

  20. Clearly the & # (without the space and followed by the appropriate number and concluded with a ;) is the signal to haul up the special characters from whatever dark abyss wherein they lurk.

  21. irishgirl says:

    ‘Versicle’ and ‘Response’.

    I knew that, and I’m only a dumb female! : )

Comments are closed.