The two Paschs are the oldest feasts in the calendar.
From the earliest times the Christians kept every Friday as a feast day; and the obvious reasons for those usages explain why Easter is the Sunday by the Anglo-Saxons; so today in Denmark.
A veiled image of the Crucifix is gradually exposed to view, while the celebrant, accompanied by his assistants, sings three times the "Ecce lignum Crucis", etc.
This is followed by another tract (Psalm 139), at the close of which the third lesson, viz. John, is sung by the deacons or recited from a bare pulpit --"dicitur passio super nudum pulpitum".
When this is finished, the celebrant sings a long series of prayers for different intentions, viz.
It is curious to note in these very old Good Friday prayers that the second part is omitted in the prayers for the Jews, owing, it is said, to their having insulted Christ by bending the knee in mockery before Him.
These prayers were not peculiar to Good Friday in the early ages (they were said on Spy Wednesday as late as the eighth century); their retention here, it is thought, was inspired by the idea that the Church should pray for all classes of men on the day that Christ died for all.
He then takes off his shoes and approaches the Cross (genuflecting three times on the way) and kisses it. During this ceremony the choir sings what are called Improperia, the Trisagion (in Greek as well as Latin), if time permits the hymn Crux fidelis ...(Oh, Cross, our hope...).
The deacon and subdeacon also divest themselves of their shoes (the deacon and subdeacon may take off their shoes, if that be the custom of the place, S. The Improperia are a series of reproaches supposed to be addressed by Christ to the Jews. Duchesne (249) detects, he thinks, a Gallican ring in them; while Martene (III, 136) has found some of them alternating with the Trisagion in ninth century Gallican documents.Duchesne (172) is of opinion that the Oremus now said in every Mass before the Offertory, which is not a prayer, remains to show where this old series of prayers was once said in all Masses.The dramatic unveiling and adoration of the Cross, which was introduced into the Latin Liturgy in the seventh or eighth century, had its origin in the Church of Jerusalem.in the Gallican Church, it will suffice to remark that, for 400 years past, it has been anticipated by five or six hours, but retains those peculiar features of mourning which mark the evening offices of the preceding and following day, all three being known as the Tenebrae. The first part consists of three lessons from Sacred Scripture (two chants and a prayer being interposed) which are followed by a long series of prayers for various intentions; the second part includes the ceremony of unveiling and adoring the Cross, accompanied by the chanting of the being finished, the celebrant and ministers, clothed in black vestments, come to the altar and prostrate themselves for a short time in prayer.In the meantime, the acolytes spread a single cloth on the denuded altar. When the celebrant and ministers ascend the altar, a lector takes his place on the epistle side, and reads a lesson from Osee 6. Next comes a prayer sung by the celebrant, which is followed by another lesson from Exodus 12, chanted by the subdeacon.Please help support the mission of New Advent and get the full contents of this website as an instant download.