N A RECENT ARTICLE, I mentioned that Latin has undergone many changes through the centuries. Looking at Medieval Latin, it’s not always easy to know what constitutes a true “error.” See, for example, Fr. Fortescue on the vocative of “Agnus” (The Mass: A Study of the Roman Liturgy, 1912, p. 388).
Speaking of scribal errors, the following is a passage by Dr. Peter Wagner (1865-1931), a celebrated scholar of Gregorian chant, member of Pope Pius X’s Commission to create the Editio Vaticana, and founder of the Gregorian Academy in Fribourg (the city where we took the Solemn Mass photographs for the Campion Missal):
Manuscripts of non-Roman origin but of the Roman Liturgy confirm the use of Greek chant in the Latin Church. Not infrequently we find the Greek Gloria and Credo (usually written in Latin character); I refer to Cod. S. Gall. 381, 382; the MS. 9449 of the National Library at Paris etc. Also at S. Blasien in the Black Forest the Gloria was sung both in Latin and Greek. A troper of Montauriol even has the Greek Sanctus and Agnus Dei provided with neums. The above mentioned Paris MS. (it belongs to the 11th century) has a number of chants in the Greek language for the Mass of Pentecost, in addition to which the Codex 1235 nouv. acquis. of the same Library, of the 12th century, indicates for the Circumcision the Alleluia verse Dies sanctificatus in Greek. The scribes seldom knew Greek, and so these renderings of Greek texts in Latin characters teem with mistakes of every kind. In the Paris MS. 9449 the Introit Spiritus Domini, which is provided with rich tropes, is followed by the subjoined text (fol. 49): “Natis thos o theos ke dios corpis this tesan ey extri autu kepye thosan oy me sontes autu a proposo tu autu. Gratias agamus alme Trinitatis semper. Pneupma tu kyrriu. Doxa patri ke yo ke ayo pneumati. Ke nim Kea im ke ystus oco nathon oeo non amen. Pneuma tu kyrriu eplyros empti oygumenu alleluja. Keu thu tbo tho sin craton panta tin nosin akyiphonis alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.” [source]
The reader might appreciate “seeing with his own eyes” what Dr. Wagner is talking about. To see the Gloria, Pater Noster, and Credo from Cod. S. Gall. 381, click on the upper right image. To see the Gloria and Pater Noster from Cod. S. Gall. 382 (also mentioned by Dr. Wagner above), click here:
Y THE WAY, most people realize the church in Rome originally prayed in Greek (sometime before 350AD). Later on, this Greek liturgy seems to have been translated into Latin. The 1962 Missal contains Greek for Good Friday and, of course, the Kyrie Eleison toward the beginning of Mass. However, the Kyrie Eleison was added to the Western Rite centuries later (perhaps 700AD?) — it is not a remnant from the original Greek Mass, as far as we can tell. The Greek prayers on Good Friday, however, seem to be a vestige of the original Greek liturgy, which is pretty cool.