Mediaeval Vespers – Sarum Rite

The following is my translation from the Sarum Breviary, Feria Vespers for Tuesday evening.  The Sarum Rite is the old Latin Rite of the British Isles from before the Reformation; those acquainted with Cranmer will find this fairly familiar.  It is not a translation for scholars, and I have modified it slightly for regular use by modern Protestants.  My apologies to High Church purists; there are other translations available, yet I shall footnote changes I can remember.  The rubrics are taken from Charles Howard Walker, The Services of the Church, with Rubrical Directions, According to the Use of the Illustrious Church of Sarum. London: J.T. Hayes, 188?.

A Mediaeval Vespers
Translated and adapted by Matthew Hoskin, 2009*

The service shall begin with all kneeling in humility.  Wherever the + symbol appears, all shall cross themselves.

Officiant: + O God, make speed to save us.

People: O Lord, make haste to help us.

All stand.

O: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

All: As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.

Then shall follow the Psalms, concluding with the Gloria Patri.  The congregation shall remaining standing during the Psalms and recite them alternately by verse, beginning with the Gospel (left) side of the chapel.**

O: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

All: As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.

Then shall follow the Lesson, the congregation seated:

Reader: Today’s lesson is from such a book, such a chapter, and such a verse.

Following the Lesson:

Reader: The Word of the Lord.

People: Thanks be to God.***

Then shall be sung a hymn, all standing.****

All: Keep your word, most holy Father, and you alone who are equal to the Father: reigning with the Holy Spirit through all ages.  Amen.

O: Glory be to You, O Lord, who were born of the Virgin, with the Father and the Holy Spirit for everlasting ages.  Amen.

O: May our prayer be directed to you, O Lord.

P: Just as incense in your sight.

Then shall be sung a hymn.#

O: May our prayer be directed to you, O Lord.

P: Just as incense in your sight.

All: Look upon our lowliness, our God.

Then shall be sung the Magnificat, or the Song of Mary, Luke 1:46-55 (BCP):

My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

For he hath regarded the lowliness of his handmaiden.

For behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

For he that is mighty hath magnified me; and holy is his Name.

And his mercy is on them that fear him throughout all generations.

He hath showed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble and the meek.

He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away.

He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel;

As he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed for ever.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

All: Look upon our lowliness, our God.

Then, all devoutly kneeling, shall be added:

O: Kyrie eleison.

P: Christe eleison.

O: Kyrie eleison.

All: Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive them that trespass against us; And lead us not into temptation, + But deliver us from evil.  Amen.

O: I heard that you will have mercy upon me, O Lord:

P: Cleanse my spirit because I have sinned against you.

O: How long, Lord, until you turn,

P: And attend unto your servants?

O: May your compassion be above us, Lord,

P: So long as we have hoped in you.

O: May your priests be clothed with justice.

P: And may your holy ones rejoice.

O: O God, save the Queen.

P: And hear us on the day in which we call upon you.

O: Make your servants safe.

P: Who hope in you, our God.

O: Make your people safe, O Lord, and bless your inheritance.

P: And rule them and lift them up into eternity.

O: May there be peace in your virtue, O Lord.

P: And abundance in your palaces.

O: Let us pray for the faithful departed.  Give eternal rest to them, O Lord.

P: And may light perpetual shine upon them.

O: Hear, Lord, our voice which cries out to you.

P: Have mercy upon us and hear us.

Psalm 51 NRSV

Left: Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Right: 2Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin.
L: 3For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
R: 4Against you, you alone, have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are justified in your sentence
and blameless when you pass judgement.
L: 5Indeed, I was born guilty,
a sinner when my mother conceived me.
R: 6You desire truth in the inward being;*
therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
L: 7Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
R: 8Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
L: 9Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
R: 10Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right* spirit within me.
L: 11Do not cast me away from your presence,
and do not take your holy spirit from me.
R: 12Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and sustain in me a willing* spirit.
L: 13Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you.
R: 14Deliver me from bloodshed, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.
L: 15O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
R: 16For you have no delight in sacrifice;
if I were to give a burnt-offering, you would not be pleased.
L: 17The sacrifice acceptable to God* is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
R: 18Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
rebuild the walls of Jerusalem,
L: 19then you will delight in right sacrifices,
in burnt-offerings and whole burnt-offerings;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.

O: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

P: As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.

O: Stir yourself, Lord, and help us.

P: And free us because of your name.

O: Lord God of virtues, turn to us.

P: And show your face and we shall be saved.

O: Lord, hear our prayer.

P: And let our cry come unto you.

O: The Lord be with you.

P: And with your spirit.

O: Let us pray.

The Collect for the Day shall follow, all kneeling.##

Then shall follow a brief homily or second lesson, during which the congregation shall be seated.###

A Hymn [optional]

O: May the Lord bless us,

keep away all evil,

and lead us to eternal life. Amen.

Let us bless the Lord.

P: Thanks be to God.

*  *  *  *  *

*If you wish to use this somewhere, please credit the work I put into this service of worship.  Thank you.

**According to the Breviary, Vespers begins right with the Psalms of the day; I chose to interpolate the traditional Benedictine beginning to make the liturgy flow more easily for the non-monastic user.

***Interpolated from the BCP.

****The Sarum hymn is as follows:  Immense caeli conditor, / Qui mixta ne confunderent: / Aquae fluenta dividens, / Caelum dedisti limitem: / Firmans locum caelestibus, / Simulque terrae rivulis: / Ut unda flammas temperet, / Terrae solum ne dissipent: / Infunde nunc piisime, / Donum perennis gratiae: / Fraudis novae ne casibus, / Nos error atterat vetus. / Lucem Fides inveniat, / Sic luminis jubar ferat: / Haec vana cuncta terreat, / Hanc falsa nulla comprimant.

#The Sarum hymn is as follows: Lucis Creator optime, / Lucem dierum proferens; / Primoridiis lucis novae: / Mundi parans originem; / Qui mane junctum vesperi, / Diem vocari praecipis: / Tetrum chaos illabitur, / Audi preces cum fletibus. / Ne mens gravata crimine, / Vitae sit exul munere: / Dum nil perenne cogitat, / Seseque culpis illigat. / Caelorum pulset intinum, / Vitale tollat praemium: / Vitemus omne noxium: / Purgemus omne pessimum.

##Following the Collect of the Day, the Sarum Rite has prayers to the BVM & the saints.

###The Sarum Rite ends after the Collect/prayers to the saints; I have added the homily/second lesson, the third hymn, and the closing.  The closing is taken from Maxwell E Johnson & the Monks of St. John’s Abbey, Benedictine Daily Prayer. Collegeville, Minn.: The Liturgical Press, 2005.


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