Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Carmelite Rite

Many of the religious orders which were founded in the Middle Ages had their own unique customs and rituals. The Carmelites were no exception, and the "Carmelite rite" or "Rite of the Holy Sepulchre" was used in monasteries of the ancient observance until 1972. The Carmelites were founded in the Holy Land and so their rite contained some elements of the eastern liturgies. It also had a great deal of emphasis on the Resurrection of Christ and on the Blessed Virgin. As one article explains:
The rite in use among the Carmelites since about the middle of the twelfth century is known by the name of the Rite of the Holy Sepulchre, the Carmelite Rule, which was written about the year 1210, ordering the hermits of Mount Carmel to follow the approved custom of the Church, which in this instance meant the Patriarchal Church of Jerusalem: "Hi qui litteras noverunt et legere psalmos, per singulas horas eos dicant qui ex institutione sanctorum patrum et ecelesi approbata consuetudine ad horas singulas sunt deputati." This Rite of the Holy Sepulchre belonged to the Gallican family of the Roman Rite; it appears to have descended directly from the Parisian Rite, but to have undergone some modifications pointing to other sources. For, in the Sanctorale we find influences of Angers, in the proses traces of meridional sources, while the lessons and prayers on Holy Saturday are purely Roman. The fact is that most of the clerics who accompanied the Crusaders were of French nationality; some even belonged to the Chapter of Paris, as is proved by documentary evidence. Local influence, too, played an important part. The Temple itself, the Holy Sepulchre, the vicinity of the Mount of Olives, of Bethany, of Bethlehem, gave rise to magnificent ceremonies, connecting the principal events of the ecclesiastical year with the very localities where the various episodes of the work of Redemption has taken place.
The Carmelite rite is still used by a few religious communities.

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