Liturgical Texts Introduction - 313 

that The Legend for Use in the Choir was not used as widely as Julian of Speyer's Office. However, The Divine Office of Saint Francis, as well as the other texts included in it, because of the promotion in Haymo's Ordinal, received widespread use.16

In The Legend for Use in the Choir, Thomas of Celano distributes the story of Francis’s life over nine lessons, following very closely the form and textual development of The Life of Saint Francis.17 In The Divine Office of Saint Francis, however, a new literary genre appears. His "rhymed" or "rhythmic" Office was written with musical notation and was intended to be sung according to the tradition of literary and musical composition of late eleventh and early twelfth century France.18

As these rhymed offices developed in the thirteenth century, they generally celebrated the memory of a saint. Often the whole life of the saint was distributed over the nine lessons (twelve in the monasteries) of Matins. The sung parts of the office (antiphons, responsories, and hymns) were normally drawn from a “life” of the saint, paraphrased and condensed into a poetic form. The text of each antiphon and responsory formed a single stanza of poetry.

As the memory of the saint became transferred from hagiographical texts into the poetic liturgical texts of antiphons and responsories, the use of symbolism and allegory, appropriate for poetic style increased. Because these liturgical texts, formed from the texts of the lives of saints, connected with and introduced a theme already contained with the ancient poetry of the Psalter, new literary expressions about the saint were formed.

Julian of Speyer was educated in this rhythmic tradition and employed it in composing The Divine Office of Saint Francis. He thereby brought the interpretation of Francis to another level. His liturgical text of the Office is intentionally poetic and conditioned by theological, liturgical and biblical interpretations. The images of Francis are framed either to introduce the theme of a psalm or to respond to Scriptural or other readings. Although Julian of Speyer uses The Life of Saint Francis by Thomas of Celano as a source, he adjusts or explicates the significance of Francis according to his own purposes.

The first antiphon of First Vespers (Evening Prayer) places Francis squarely within the context of the Roman Church, while the second traces his papal mentors, Innocent, Honorius and Gregory. He is the “valiant catholic . . . perfectly apostolic” adhering to the “faith of the Roman Church,” docile and respectful to its teachers.19 The other antiphons of First Vespers further this ecclesial vision and view it as the context of his Gospel life and of his relationship to all creatures. Church, Gospel and all of creation are interwoven. Gregory IX takes up this refrain in his hymn, Proles de caelo prodiit, by viewing his life in the context of the Transfiguration and the apostolic initiative to build three tabernacles.

The nine psalms of Matins are individually encased by nine antiphons, which progressively describe Francis’s life, beginning with his youth and concluding with his simple way of Gospel life. These antiphons are placed in a marvelous

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Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 313