Traditional Ambrosian Rite - The Occasional Services

The Occasional Services

Of the services in the Ritual and Pontifical there is not much to say. The ceremonies of Baptism differ in their order from those of the Roman Rite. The Ambrosian order is: renunciation; ephphatha; sufflation; unction; exorcism and second sufflation; signing with the Cross; delivery of the salt; introduction into the church; Creed and Lord's Prayer; declaration of faith; Baptism, for which the rubric is: Ter occiput mergit in aqua in crucis formam (and, as Legg points out, the Ambrosians boast that their baptism is always by immersion); litany; anointing with chrism; delivery of white robe and candle; dismissal. A great part of the wording is exactly the same as the Roman.

The order of the Unction of the Sick shows the progress of Roman influence in modern times. The service at present used differs very little except at one point from that given by Magistretti (Mon. Vet., II, 79, 94, 147) from early Manuscripts, and from the form in the undated printed Ritual of the late fifteenth century, but the difference at that point is no less than the introduction of the Roman manner and words of anointing. The old Ambrosian Rite was to anoint the sick person on the breast, the hands, and the feet, with the words: "Ungo te oleo sanctificato, more militis unctus et preparatus ad luctam aerias possis catervas. Operare creatura olei, in nomine+Dei Patris omnipotentis+et Filii+et Spiritus Sancti, ut non lateat spiritus immundus nec in membris nec in medullis nec in ulla compagine membrorum hujus hominis sed operetur in eo virtus Christi Filii Altissimi qui cum æterno Patri... . Amen." Then, "Quidquid peccasti per cogitationem cordis parcat tibi Deus. Amen." The fifteenth-century printed Ritual varies the first anointing. Instead of "Quidquid peccasti", it reads, "Per istam unctionem et cristi sacratissimam passionem si quid peccasti, etc.", the other two being as in the older books. The Ungo te, etc., is repeated with each. A somewhat similar form, but shorter, with the anointing of the five senses and reading Ungimus for Ungo, is given in Harl. Manuscript 2990, an early fifteenth-century North Italian fragment, and in the Venetian printed pre-Tridontine Rituals, a form very like the last (but reading Ungo) with the same anointings as in the Roman Rite, is given as the rite of the Patriarchate of Venice. This form, or something very like it, with the seven anointings is found in the Asti Ritual described by Gastoué. In the modern Ambrosian Ritual the Roman seven anointings and the form, Per istam unctionem, etc., are taken over bodily and the Ungo te has disappeared.

The differences in the Order of Matrimony are very slight, and the other contents of the Ritual call for no special remark. In the ninth-century Pontifical published by Magistretti the consecration of a church includes the solemn entry, the writing of the ABCturium, with the cambutta (that Gaelic word, cam bata, crooked staff, which is commonly used in Gallican books), the blessing and mixture of salt, water, ashes, and wine, the sprinkling and anointing of the church and the altar, the blessing of various utensils, and at the end the deposition of the relics. The order given by Mercati from an eleventh-century Manuscript at Lucca differs from the ninth-century form in that there is a circumambulation and sprinkling, with the signing of the cross on the door, the writing of an alphabet per parietem and the making of three crosses on each wall with chrism, before the entry, and there is no deposition of relics. There are also considerable differences of wording. The ordinations in the ninth-century Manuscript are of the same mixed Roman and Gallican type, but are less developed than those of the modern Roman Pontifical.

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