22 February 2013, Chair of St Peter at Rome (Missa Cantata, EF)


22 February 2013, Chair of St Peter at Rome (EF Missa Cantata)

Introit: Statuit ei, begin on C (as re)

Gradual: Exaltent eum, begin on B (as re)

Tract: Tu es Petrus, begin on E (as re)

Offertory:Tu es Petrus, begin on F (as fa)

Communion: Tu es Petrus, begin on G (as fa)

Recessional: Ave regina caelorum, begin on F

Mass IV, Credo III

The Introit has two phrases:

1.      Statuit ei Dominus testamentum pacis

2.      (a) et principem fecit eum
(b) ut sit illi sacerdotii dignatas in aeternum

Translation: The Lord made to him a covenant of peace, and made him a prince: that the dignity of priesthood should be to him for ever. (Ps. 131: 1) O Lord, remember David: and all his meekness.

Originally adapted from the text of Ecclesiasticus (aka Sirach) 45:30 for the feast of Pope St Marcellus, this chant was already part of the core repertory in Rome by the mid-eighth century. This so-called ‘Old Roman’ version has been recorded by various groups and can be heard on the net. Our current melody was re-shaped sometime in the ninth century as the fusion of Roman and Franco-German chant into Gregorian developed after the Carolingian reforms. It is literally a textbook example of a Mode 1 chant. When compared to the Introit Da pacem, the first half is almost identical while the second half is very different. A standard Mode 1 intonation is followed by a recitation on a leading to an intermediate cadence on g (Dominus). Testamentum pacis ends with a redundant cadence on d, indicating the rest and tranquility of peace. Then we re-intone over in principem to take us to the high point over illi and sacerdotii, stressing the importance of Peter’s priesthood, and finally come to a true cadence at in aeternum to reflect the eternal nature of Peter’s role.

The Gradual is a straightforward formulaic Mode 5 chant with two phrases in the corpus and two in the verse:

1.      Exaltent eum in ecclesia plebis

2.      et in cathedra seniorum laudent eum

3.      V. Confiteantur Domino misericordiae ejus

4.      et mirabilia ejus filiis hominum.

Translation: Let them exalt him in the assembly of the people and praise him in the seat of the elders. V. Let them praise the Lord for His mercy and his wondrous works for the children of men.

The Tract has two phrases in the corpus and two in each verse:

1.      Tu es Petrus,

2.      et super hanc petram aedificabo Ecclesiam meam

3.      V. Et portae inferi non praevalebunt adversus eam

4.      et tibi dabo claves regni caelorum.

5.      V. Quodcumque ligaveris super terram

6.      erit ligatum et in caelis

7.      V. Et quodcumque solveris super terram

8.      erit solutum et in caelis

The Offertory has four phrases:

1.      Tu es Petrus

2.      et super hanc petram aedificabo Ecclesiam meam.

3.      Et portae inferi non praevalebunt adversus eam

4.      et tibi dabo claves regni caelorum.

This melody is also sung on the feast of All Saints to the text Justorum animae, and, with the same text, in the Mass for several Martyrs; likewise in the Mass for Deliverance in Time of Pestilence to the text Stetit pontifex, and its first half on the feast of St. Peter's Chair at Rome (January 18) to the text Tu es Petrus. In some places it is sung on the feast of St. Vincent de Paul (July 19) to the text Inclinet.

The Communion has one long phrase:

Tu es Petrus, et super hanc petram aedificabo Ecclesiam meam.

The text brings us once more the words of Christ: Tu es Petrus. Today we can thank God for the grace of membership in the Church which he has given to us, as well as for all the graces which He bestowed on St. Peter, His vicar on earth, and on all the sovereign Pontiffs. The melody is very simple. The one major interval is that of a fourth over Petrus; beyond this there are only minor thirds and seconds. The motives over (aedificd)-bo and Eccle-(siam) are antithetical. Would that the entire body of the faithful might be congregated as one unit to sing this hymn; each individual could then realize the more fully how he forms an element in that one, holy, catholic and aspostolic Church of which Christ said: This is My Church.

This same melody is adapted for the feast of the Holy Trinity, already found in the St Gall 339. The phrasing, however, differs somewhat and various minor divisions were introduced. The results, as for much of the chant for that feast, are not altogether satisfactory. In past centuries the Communions of the vigil and the feast were interchanged. The gripping melody of the Communion of the vigil would set off the Mass liturgy of today's feast very effectively.


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