Postcommunion

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Postcommunion (Latin: Postcommunio) is the text said or sung on a reciting tone following the Communion of the Mass.

In chant, a reciting tone can refer to either a repeated musical pitch or to the entire melodic formula for which that pitch is a structural note. In Gregorian chant, the first is also called tenor, dominant or tuba, while the second includes psalm tones as well as simpler formulae for other readings and for prayers.

The Communion is a refrain sung with psalm recitation during the distribution of the Eucharist in the Divine Liturgy or Mass. As chant it was connected with the ritual act of Christian communion.

Contents

Form

Every Postcommunion (and secret) corresponds to a collect. These are the three fundamental prayers of any given Proper Mass. The Postcommunion is said or chanted exactly like the Collect. First comes that of the Mass celebrated; then, if other Masses are commemorated, their Postcommunions follow in the same order and with the same final conclusion as the collects. [1]

The Secret is a prayer said in a low voice by the priest or bishop during religious services.

The collect is a short general prayer of a particular structure used in Christian liturgy.

After the Communion, when the celebrant has arranged the chalice, he goes to the epistle side and reads the Communion antiphon. He then comes to the middle and says or sings "Dominus Vobiscum" ("The Lord be with you"; in the early Middle Ages he did not turn to the people this time), goes back to the Epistle side, and says or sings one or more Postcommunions, exactly as the collects. [1]

Middle Ages Period of European history from the 5th to the 15th century

In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. The Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, and the modern period. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early, High, and Late Middle Ages.

Epistle The letters in the New Testament from Apostles to Christians are usually referred to as epistles

An epistle is a writing directed or sent to a person or group of people, usually an elegant and formal didactic letter. The epistle genre of letter-writing was common in ancient Egypt as part of the scribal-school writing curriculum. The letters in the New Testament from Apostles to Christians are usually referred to as epistles. Those traditionally attributed to Paul are known as Pauline epistles and the others as catholic epistles.

At ferial Masses in Lent the Oratio super populum follows the last Postcommunion. The celebrant sings Oremus; the deacon turning towards the people chants: Humiliate capita vestra Deo, on do with the cadence la, do, si, si, do for the last five syllables. Meanwhile, everyone, including the celebrant, bows the head. The deacon turns towards the altar and the celebrant chants the prayer appointed in the Mass. At low Mass the celebrant himself says the same text and does not turn towards the people. The deacon's exclamation apparently was introduced when this prayer became a speciality of Lent (Durandus mentions it). [1]

Lent Christian observance

Lent is a solemn religious observance in the Christian liturgical calendar that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends approximately six weeks later on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter Sunday. The purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer for Easter through prayer, doing penance, mortifying the flesh, repentance of sins, almsgiving, and denial of ego. This event is observed in the Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, Lutheran, Methodist, Moravian, Oriental Orthodox, Reformed, and Roman Catholic Churches. Some Anabaptist and evangelical churches also observe the Lenten season.

Oremus is the invitation to pray, said before short prayers in the Roman Catholic Mass and the Lutheran Divine Service, as well as other Western liturgies.

Deacon ministry in the Christian Church

A deacon is a member of the diaconate, an office in Christian churches that is generally associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions. Major Christian churches, such as the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Anglican church, view the diaconate as part of the clerical state.

History

The prayer after communion was mentioned in the first century Didache document.

<i>Didache</i> early Christian treatise

The Didache, also known as The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, is a brief anonymous early Christian treatise written in Koine Greek, dated by most modern scholars to the first century. The first line of this treatise is "The teaching of the Lord to the Gentiles by the twelve apostles". The text, parts of which constitute the oldest extant written catechism, has three main sections dealing with Christian ethics, rituals such as baptism and Eucharist, and Church organization. The opening chapters describe the virtuous Way of Life and the wicked Way of Death. The Lord's Prayer is included in full. Baptism is by immersion, or by affusion if immersion is not practical. Fasting is ordered for Wednesdays and Fridays. Two primitive Eucharistic prayers are given. Church organization was at an early stage of development. Itinerant apostles and prophets are important, serving as "chief priests" and possibly celebrating the Eucharist. Meanwhile, local bishops and deacons also have authority and seem to be taking the place of the itinerant ministry.

The Communion act finishes the essential Eucharistic service, and early Masses, as described by Justin Martyr, did not have anything afterward. However, prayers were later added. The earliest complete liturgy extant, that of the "Apostolic Constitutions", contains two such prayers, a thanksgiving and a blessing. [1]

Eucharist Christian rite

The Eucharist is a Christian rite that is considered a sacrament in most churches, and as an ordinance in others. According to the New Testament, the rite was instituted by Jesus Christ during the Last Supper; giving his disciples bread and wine during the Passover meal, Jesus commanded his followers to "do this in memory of me" while referring to the bread as "my body" and the cup of wine as "the new covenant in my blood". Through the Eucharistic celebration Christians remember both Christ's sacrifice of himself on the cross and his commission of the apostles at the Last Supper.

Justin Martyr 2nd century Christian apologist and martyr

Justin Martyr was an early Christian apologist, and is regarded as the foremost interpreter of the theory of the Logos in the 2nd century. He was martyred, alongside some of his students, and is considered a saint by the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Oriental Orthodox Churches.

The Apostolic Constitutions or Constitutions of the Holy Apostles is a Christian collection of eight treatises which belongs to the Church Orders, a genre of early Christian literature, that offered authoritative "apostolic" prescriptions on moral conduct, liturgy and Church organization. The work can be dated from 375 to 380 AD. The provenance is usually regarded as Syria, probably Antioch. The author is unknown, even if since James Ussher it was considered to be the same author of the letters of Pseudo-Ignatius, perhaps the 4th-century Eunomian bishop Julian of Cilicia.

A significant resemblance between the Roman Rite and that of the "Apostolic Constitutions" is that at Rome, too, there were formerly at every Mass two prayers of the same nature. In the "Leonine Sacramentary" they have no title; but their character is obvious. The Gelasian Sacramentary calls the first postcommunio, the second ad populum. [1]

In both sacramentaries these two prayers form part of the normal Mass said throughout the year, though not every Mass has both; the prayers "ad populum" in the latter book are comparatively rare. They also begin to change their character. The formerly constant terms tuere, protege, etc. are rarer; many are ordinary collects with no pronounced idea of prayers for blessing and protection. [1]

In the "Gregorian Sacramentary" the second prayer, now called Super populum, occurs almost only from Septuagesima to Easter; the first, Ad complendum, continues throughout the year, but both have lost much of their original character. The Ad complendum prayer (which became the post-communion) has become a collect formed on the model of the collect at the beginning of Mass, though generally it keeps some allusion to the Communion just received. That is still the state of these prayers after the Communion. [1]

The second, Oratio super populum, is said only in ferial Masses in Lent. This restriction apparently results from the shortening of the Mass (which explains many omissions and abbreviations) and the tendency of Lent to keep longer forms, such as more than two lessons. Medieval commentators [2] [1] explain this mystically; Honorius thinks the prayer to be a substitute for the Eastern blessed bread ( antidoron ). [1]

The Oratio super populum is now always the prayer at vespers on the same day. It has been suggested that its use at Mass in Lent may be a remnant of a custom, now kept only on Holy Saturday, of singing vespers at the end of Mass. The first prayer, called Ad complendum in the "Gregorian Sacramentary", became the modern Postcommunion, now its official name. Its name was uncertain through the Middle Ages. Durandus [3] [1] calls it merely Oratio novissima, using the name Postcommunio for the Communion antiphon. [1]

The first "Roman Ordo" calls the prayer Oratio ad complendum (xxi); Rupert of Deutz calls it Ad complendum. [4] [1] But others give it the modern name, [5] [1] and so do many medieval missals (e.g. the Sarum). The Postcommunion has lost much of its original character as a thanksgiving prayer and has absorbed the idea of the old Oratio ad populum. It is now always a petition, though the note of thanksgiving is often included (e.g. in the Mass Statuit, for a confessor pontiff). It has been affected by the Collect on which it is modelled, though there is generally an allusion to the Communion. [1]

In contemporary Catholic usage, the postcommunion corresponds to the Prayer after Communion and is sung or recited audibly throughout by the celebrant.

See also

Notes

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Wikisource-logo.svg  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Postcommunion"  . Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton.
  2. Amalarius, "De divinis officiis", III, xxvii; Durandus, "Rationale", VI, xxviii; Honorius of Autun, "Gemma animæ", lix.
  3. Durandus, "Rationale", IV, lvii.
  4. De divinis officiis, II, xix.
  5. Which it had already in the "Gelasian Sacramentary"; Sicardus, "Mitrale", III, viii.

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