Vespers with no frills

For the Feast of the Cathedra of Peter with a commemoration of Ash Wednesday from the Breviarium Romanum, Vespers in Latin comes straight at ya’ without any bells or whistles.

The meter of the hymn is interesting.

Quodcumque in orbe nexibus revinxeris,
Erit revinctum Petre in arce siderum:
Et quod resolvit hic potestas tradita,
Erit solutum caeli in alto vertice;
In fine mundi iudicabis saeculum.

Patri perenne sit per aevum gloria,
Tibique laudes concinamus inclytas,
Aeterne Nate, sit superne Spiritus,
Honor tibi, decusque: sancta iugiter
Laudetur omne Trinitas per saeculum.

Cretics?  A sort of limping iambic trimeter?  Choliambic?  It is attributed to St. Paulinus of Aquileia, thus Carolingian, accentual rather than quantitative.  I am all at sea.  I took a quick look at the chant melody.  Strange stuff.  And that fourth line in the second stanza throws you, like a horse changing gate.

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  1. JLCG says:

    The fourth line means after decusque” laudetur Sancta Trinitas iugiter ( continuously) per omne saeculum.The Holy Trinity be continuously praised for all time.

  2. twele923 says:

    It seems like an iambic trimeter to me, though not a purely accentual one.

  3. Geoffrey says:

    The Feast of the Chair of St Peter is not ignored in the Extraordinary Form as it is in the Ordinary Form? Interesting…

  4. Apparently some think the hymn’s modelled off “Aurea luce”, which makes sense given the theme. (And then you could sing it to the same tune.) [The theme seems to be the consigning and the power of the keys from Matthew. ]

  5. Interesting ranking. In the Traditional Dominican Rite (1960 calendar), Chair of Peter is a 2d class feast. But Ash Wednesday is ranked as 1st class. As commemorations are not allowed on days of 1st class rank, no commemoration of the Chair.

  6. I might also add that even before 1960, Ash Wednesday in the Dominican Calendar was a “privileged major ferial” and so outranked the Chair which was a Totum Duplex. So it would have been celebrated, not the Chair, although the chair was commemorated. This had been the case since the approbation of the rite in the 1250s.

  7. asperges says:

    @ Fr Augustine: Dominican tradition duly maintained last night at Holy Cross, Leicester with full High Mass for Ash Wed – and well attended. Wonderful. No commemoration.

    As to the verse, if it were of much later date, it would be almost Alexandrine. Having looked up classical metre from school days, I think it something iambic: how safe it is to put a label on post classical poetry, I am not sure.

  8. Gregory DiPippo says:

    Optime Pater, what you have here is the Urban VIII version; here is the earlier version from the Breviary of St. Pius V:

    Quodcumque vinclis super terram strinxeris,
    Erit in astris religatum fortiter:
    Et quod resolvis in terris arbitrio,
    Erit solutum super caeli radium:
    In fine mundi judex eris saeculi.

    Gloria Patri per immensa saecula,
    Sit tibi, Nate, decus et imperium,
    Honor, potestas, Sanctoque Spiritui:
    Sit Trinitati salus individua
    Per infinita saeculorum saecula. Amen.

    In the Breviary of Clement VII (1529) we find the same hymn, but all the 2nd person verbs of the first stanza are in the 3rd person. Note that the 3rd line of the doxology only scans if you read it like this
    “Honor, potestas, Sánctoque Spiritui”.
    I believe the meter is an iambic trimeter (3 pairs of iambs) but written in an age in which the vowel quantities were no longer heard, so the “limp” is mostly unintentional. This and the other hymns of Ss. Peter and Paul in this meter were traditionally attributed to a mythical wife of Boethius called Elpis.

    [You are the go-to-guy for this stuff. Thanks!]

  9. aquinas138 says:

    Fr. Thompson, I think the proper office according to the “1962” books in the Roman Rite should also be Ash Wednesday (#7 in the table of precedence) with no commemoration of the Chair (#16 in the table) – the rankings are the same in the Roman Rite. Even in places where the Chair of St. Peter is kept as a I Class feast (#11 in the table), the office is of Ash Wednesday, as it does not give way to any feast whatsoever. In that case, a I class feast occurring on that day would be translated to the next day of the III or IV class.

    In the Divino Afflatu rubrics, the office is of Ash Wednesday from Matins through None, with a commemoration of the Chair of St. Peter at Antioch and St. Paul at Lauds, and Vespers is I Vespers of St. Peter Damian, with commemorations of the feria, the Chair and St. Paul. Since the Chair has become a duplex simplificatum, it loses its right to have I Vespers, and so on Tuesday evening the office was Vespers of the feria, commemorations of the Chair and St. Paul.

  10. Dear asperges,

    Very, good. I assume that Fr. Thomas was the celebrant. If you have pictures, please mail them to me, I would like to post them. Just email them. You can find my email address at Left sidebar, scroll down a bit.

    –AT op

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