Mass of the Sword
Mass of the Sword (Messa della Spada) derives from the Anglican
Patriarchate's heritage as Custodians of the Apostolic See of St.
Mark at Aquileia. The mass may take place at a solemn mass celebrated
by or presided over by the Archfather on 3 August, the Feast of the
Invention of St. Stephen. For the purpose of celebrating the Mass of
the Sword, the feast may be transferred, or else it may be celebrated
as a separate votive mass. It is, however, preferable that it be
celebrated on the 3rd of August, as that day has significance
regarding both the spiritual and temporal authority of the
Patriarchate symbolized by this mass.
The Archfather may celebrate or not. If he does not celebrate, then
he presides as usual from the throne, vested in the Grand Choral
Habit and Patriarchal crown. The usual Patriarchal ritual of this See
that takes place after the vesting in the dalmatic takes place at
this mass even if the Archfather does not celebrate. It is done
before the primary procession.
The Deacon of the Mass vests in red dalmatic as usual, but wears the
morion helmet with red plumage. The Deacon carries the sword, a
one-hand or hand-and-a-half sword of Crusader-era design, in the
right hand leaning flat against the right shoulder, and cradles the
Book of Gospels in his left hand and arm.
of the Mass:
Upon arrival at the altar, the altar party reverences the altar,
except for the Deacon, who does not bow or genuflect when holding the
sword and/or Book of Gospels. Thereafter, the Deacon goes to the
front of the altar on the pavement and salutes the altar.
method of saluting with the sword is as follows:
The sword, beginning from its position of rest against the right
shoulder, is raised straight up and forward, with the blade flat
(parallel to the floor), until the right arm is straight and at
approximately a 45-degree angle.
The sword is then returned to its position of rest.
The Deacon turns to the left approximately 45-degrees and repeats
the salute as in 1 and 2.
The Deacon turns 90-degree to the right, i.e., approximately
45-degree to the right from his original front-facing position, and
repeats the salute again as in 1 and 2.
saluted the altar, the Deacon, without bowing or genuflecting,
places the Book of Gospels on the altar.
to the center of the altar on the predella, the Deacon salutes the
Archfather, who then blesses him with the sign of the Cross.
Deacon goes to the pavement and salutes the clergy in choir.
Thereafter, he retires to the credence and gives up the sword and
helmet, and then returns to the altar party.
Prayers at the Foot of the Altar are said, and mass continues as
usual until the Gospel.
At the Gospel, the Deacon recites his prayers as usual and receives
the blessing from the Archfather as usual. He then takes the sword
and helmet and goes to the pavement before the altar, saluting the
altar as before. He then takes the Book of Gospels cradled in the
left hand/arm as before, and the Gospel procession forms otherwise as
usual. When the procession reaches the place where the Gospel will be
sung, the Deacon gives the sword to a server, and then gives the Book
of Gospels to the Sub-Deacon. The Deacon then sings the salutation
and announces the Gospel as usual. Taking the thurible from the
thurifer, he censes the Book of Gospels, thereafter returning the
thurible to the thurifer. Then he takes the sword again, and holding
it in its usual position of rest, with his left hand on his breast,
he sings the Gospel. Having completed the Gospel, the Sub-Deacon
takes the Book of Gospels in the usual manner to the Archfather, the
Deacon and the rest of the Gospel party following as described in the
Ceremonial. The Book of Gospels is then returned. That all being
completed, the Deacon returns to the sedilia and gives up the sword
and then the helmet.
At the Offertory, while the Archfather is still at the throne, the
Deacon takes the helmet and sword again and goes to the center of the
altar on the pavement and salutes the altar. He then goes to the
throne and salutes the Patriarch, who blesses him with the Sign of
the Cross. He then goes to salute the clergy in choir - and if the
choir be split, then he salutes first those on the Gospel side and
then those on the Epistle side. Then he goes to the chancel rail and
salutes the people. That being completed, he goes to the credence
table and gives up the helmet and sword. The Sacred Ministers and
others then go to the altar for the offertory as usual.
of the Sword to the Archfather
after the Mass:
After the Last Gospel, the Archfather takes the Patriarchal Crown.
The Archfather sitting at the throne, the Deacon takes the helmet and
sword, which he places on a large red cushion, or else simply carries
it flat, holding the handle in the left hand and supporting the blade
flat in the right hand. He then goes to the pavement in front of the
altar. He raises the sword up towards the altar once. He then goes to
the throne. The Archfather rises, retaining the Patriarchal crown,
and takes the sword. The Deacon retires to his own right and faces
the Archfather. Having accepted the sword, the Archfather gives the
salute in the usual manner, facing straight out from the throne,
whichever way the throne is oriented. He then hands the sword back to
the Deacon. The Deacon takes the Book of Gospels, and the procession
from the sanctuary forms as usual. And note that if the Apostolic
Blessing with Plenary Indulgence is to be given, it takes place
before the Presentation of the Sword.
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