Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Entry into Jerusalem

Pseudo- Monvaerni
L'Entrée du Christ à Jérusalem / The Entry of Christ into Jerusalem
End of 15th century
Enamel paint on panel
H. : 18,50 cm. ; L. : 21,50 cm.
Musée du Louvre

"The Carolingian liturgy was dominated by Holy Week.

It thus echoed the character of Egeria’s account so many centuries before, which had given prominence to the observance of ‘Great Week’.

The Carolingians fashioned Holy Week as it has subsequently been observed in Catholic tradition.

In some ways they were simply reflecting the universal practice of the church: Easter continued, in spite of the growing unfamiliarity of adult baptism, to be the major baptismal occasion, as it had been since the early centuries. Perhaps for the first time, Rome was an important liturgical influence. It was the specific policy of Pepin and Charlemagne to unify their dominions on the basis of the acceptance of Roman customs.

However, the Holy Week programme as a whole was not a pure imitation of Rome.

Its first day was marked by the procession on Palm Sunday, which first appears in a fully developed form in the West in the Institutes, composed shortly after 800, which describe the rituals followed at Saint-Riquier or Centula, in Picardy near the modern Abbeville. This was an abbey founded in the seventh century, which under Abbot Angilbert came to be closely associated with the imperial family. He undoubtedly developed the relics and liturgy there, but it may well be that some of the ceremonies in the Institutes predated his time.

This may include the Palm Sunday procession.

Whenever this arrived in the Carolingian lands, it almost certainly did not travel through Rome. There is ample evidence for the Palm Sunday procession from this time onwards.

In about 820, Amalarius noted that ‘in memory of this event we are accustomed to carry branches before our churches and to shout “Jerusalem”’ , and Carolingian liturgists composed processional hymns and antiphons, the most famous of them Theodulph’s hymn known to English worshippers as ‘All glory, laud, and honour’:

Gloria, laus et honor tibi sit, rex Christe, redemptor,
cui puerile decus prompsit hosanna pium

The full version of Theodulph’s hymn refers clearly to the stages of the Palm Sunday procession at Angers. The inclusion of the procession in the Romano-German Pontifical suggests that it was in general use by the 960s at the latest."

Colin Morris, The sepulchre of Christ and the medieval West: from the beginning to 1600 (OUP: 2005) pages 108-109

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