Ordinals, Roman

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In Latin, Ordines Romani (singular: Ordo Romanus ). Medieval service books that described the customary (consuetudines ) ordering (Ordines, ordinarium ), or sequence of liturgical ceremonies.

Purpose. In the ancient Church, each minister performed only his part of the function. In fact, for each minister there was usually a special book containing only those texts pertaining to his role (see liturgical books of roman rite). To coordinate the activities of the various ministers and to ensure a smoothly organized service, someone comparable to a master of ceremonies was required. He had his own book, the ordinal. The first ordinals were very likely succinct personal notes of such a master, compiled by himself or the sacristan for local use. Written ordinals and their wide distribution filled a historical need; namely, that which arose when a local liturgy moved outside its own confines or when strangers replaced a native minister. There are also special official rubrical collections: the Ordo (see ordo, roman), designating the liturgical texts to be used for each day of the year, and the ceremonial of bishops (Caeremoniale Episcoporum, ) containing all the rubrics concerning episcopal functions.

History. The emergence of Carolingian Europe from chaos is in large part due to a program of borrowings from Rome (in organization and institutions, in culture and religion) which was in progress under Charlemagne. Having borrowed sacramentaries, lectionaries, graduals, etc., he needed also Roman ordinals. Members of monastic scriptoria copied prodigious numbers of MSS. Pure Roman manuscripts quickly acquired local elements, unintentional misreadings by copyists, or deliberate modifications by liturgical editors. Not only were collections of pure and altered ordinals amassed as reference works for libraries, but other collections, meant to supply actual norms for the living liturgy, were kept up to date and continuously developed. Still other ordinals were joined to didactic material for the theological training of the clerics. Key monastic centers throughout the Continent and the islands assured the survival of the ordinals.

Editions. Many had edited ordinals, for instance, Morin, Martène, Hittorp, Tommasi, De Rossi, Duchesne, and especially Mabillon, but none had worked on them critically until Michel andrieu. Andrieu offers a highly scientific edition, and in texts that he has in common with other scholars, Andrieu must have preference. His lifetime work made available the pure Roman ordinals and their Gallican offspring. Andrieu culled 50 such ordinals from the manuscript libraries of Europe; by tedious line-by-line comparisons of myriad manuscripts, he retraced the genealogy of varied copies to their family homes, carefully dated them, and in the process revealed the slow evolution of the rites of Rome with the admixture of Gallican modifications that was to end in the 10th-century Romano-German pontifical. The liturgy embodied in this new ordinal entered Rome with Otto I (912973), spread anew from the Lateran, and ultimately dominated the Western world.

In volume 1 Andrieu lists individually the titles of ordinals and under each gives reference to available editions and the known manuscripts in which they are found. Following this is a description of each manuscript consulted. A third section gives a history, and a valuable index ends the 631-page volume. Volume 2, after an introduction, takes up the text of the first 13 ordinals, each preceded by a chapter on the manuscript traditions, date and place of origin, and brilliant essays commenting on the text. A critical text with copious notes closes Andrieu's plan of work. Volume 3 covers ordinals 1434; volume 4 ordinals 3549; volume 5, the famed ordinal 50, covers Hittorp's Ordo Romanus Antiquus. This last tome is the work of Andrieu, but his untimely death left to A. van Roey and A. H. Thomas the task of preparing it for the press. In general ordinals 110 deal with the Mass; 1219, the office; 2033, principal functions of the liturgical year; 3440, ordinations in their ember day setting;

4144, dedication of churches and honors paid to relics; 4548, the crowning of the emperor; 49, obsequies; and 50 deals with the liturgy of the whole liturgical year in 55 chapters. Along with these 50 ordinals, Andrieu points out the original Roman practice.

Bibliography: m. andrieu, Les ordines romani du haut moyen âge (Louvain 1951). l. larson-miller, Medieval liturgy : a book of essays (New York 1997). e. palazzo, A history of liturgical books from the beginning to the thirteenth century (Collegeville, Minn. 1998).

[r. t. callahan/eds.]