Regularis Concordia

BL: Cotton Faustina B III
BL: Cotton Tiberius A III

(Instructions for Easter observance)


on dæge þam halgum easter tide seofon preostlice tida fram

In die sancto Paschae septem canonicae horae a

munecum on cyricean godes æfter þeaƿe preosta for

monachis in aecclesia Dei more canonicorum, propter

ealdorscype þæs eadigan gregorius papan setles þæs apostolican

autoritatem beati Gregorii papae sedis apostolicae

þa hesylf on þam antefne dihtnode to ƿyrþienne synd

quam ipse antiphonario dictauit, celebrandae sunt.

þære sylfan on timan nihte ær þam þe dægred sanga becnu beon gestyrude

Eiusdem tempore noctis antequam matutinorum signa moueantur

niman þa cyricƿerdes þa rode & settan on stoƿe hyre gedafenlicre

sumant editui crucem & ponant in loco sibi congruo.

on fruman to nocterne fram abbude oððe sumum mæssepreoste

In primis ad nocturnam, ab abbate seu quolibet sacerdote

þænne byþ asteald lof godes on cyrcean cƿeþe

dum initur laus Dei, in ecclesia dicat 'Domine labia mea


aperies' semel tantum; postea 'Deus in adiutorium meum

þam sealme

intende' cum gloria. Psalmo autem 'Domine quid multiplicati

forlætenum ongynne þænne ðry

sunt' dimisso, cantor incipiat inuitatorium, tunc tres

antefnas mid þrim sealmas þam geendudum fers

antiphonae cum tribus psalmis. Quibus finitis, uersus

gebyrigende si gecƿeden syþþan sƿa fela rædinga mid repsum

conueniens dicatur, deinde tot lectiones cum responsoriis

to þam on riht belimpendum þonne seo þridde byþ gerædd ræding

ad hoc rite pertinentibus. Dum tertia recitatur lectio,

feoƿer gebroþru scrydan hi þære an mid alban gescrydd

iiiior fratres induant se quorum unus alba indutus

sƿylce elleshƿæt to donne inn ga & diglice þæs byrgenes

ac si ad aliud agendum ingrediatur atque latenter sepulchri

stoƿe togange & þam mid handa healdende palmam gedefe sitte & þænne

locum adeat ibique manu tenens palmam quietus sedeat. Dumque

se þridda byþ gesungen reps þa oþre ðry æfterfylian ealle

tertium percelebratur responsorium, residui tres succedant omnes

ƿitudlice mid kappum gescrydde storcillan mid recelse on handum

quidem cappis induti, turribula cum incensu manibus

berende & fot mælum & gelicnysse secendra sum þincg

gestantes, ac pedetemptim ad similitudinem quaerentium quid

cuman to foran stoƿe þæs byrgenes synd gedone soþlice þas

ueniant ante locum sepulchri. Aguntur enim haec

to geefenlæcincge þæs engles sittendes on byrgene & þæra ƿifa

ad imitationem angeli sedentis in monumento atque mulierum

mid ƿyrtgemangum cumendra þæt hi smyredon lichaman þæs hælendes

cum aromatibus uenientium ut ungerent corpus ihesu.

þænne earnustlice se sittende þry sƿylce ƿorigende & sum þinc

Cum ergo ille residens tres uelut erraneos ac aliquid

secende gesihþ him togenealæcean ongynne he mid medumre stefne

quaerentes uiderit sibi approximare, incipiat mediocri uoce

ƿerudlice singan þam gesungenum oþ ende

dulcisone cantare 'Quem queritis.' Quo decantato fine tenus,

andsƿarian þa ðry anum muþe þam

respondeant hi tres uno ore 'Ihesum Nazarenum.' Quibus


ille 'Non est hic, surrexit sicut predixerat. Ite nuntiate quia

þare hæse stefne ƿendan

surrexit a mortuis.' Cuius iussionis uoce vertant

hi þa ðry to chore cƿeþende

se illi tres ad chorum dicentes 'Alleluia. Resurrexit

gecƿedenum þysum eftsona se sittenda sƿlce

dominus.' Dicto hoc rursus ille residens uelut

ongenclypiende hi cƿeþe antefn

reuocans illos dicat antiphonam 'Uenite & uidete locum.'

þas soþlice cƿeþende arise & hebbe upp thæne claþ & geoƿige him

Hec uero dicens surgat & erigat uelum ostendatque eis

þa stoƿe rode abarude ac þæt an þa linƿæda gelede mid þam

locum cruce nudatum sed tantum linteamina posita quibus

seo rod befealden ƿæs þam geseƿenum settan

crux inuoluta erat. Quo uiso, deponant

þa storcillan þa hi bæran on þære sylfan byrgene & niman

turribula quae gestauerant in oedem sepulchro sumantque

þæt lin & aþenian ongea þæne hired & sƿilce ætyƿende

linteum et extendant contra clerum ac, ueluti ostendentes

þæt aras drihten eac he na si þar befealden

quod surrexerit dominus & iam non sit illo inuolutus,

þysne singan antefn

hanc canant antiphonam 'Surrexit dominus de sepulchro'

& ofer lencgan þæt lin þam ƿeofode geendedum antefne yldra

superponantque linteum altari. Finita antiphona, prior

geblissigende for sige cynincges ures þæt ofercumennum deaþe

congaudens pro triumpho regis nostri, quod deuicta morte

he aras ongynne þæne ymen þam ongunnenum samod

surrexit, incipiat ymnum 'Te Deum laudamus.' Quo incepto, una

beoþ gehringde ealle becnu...

pulsantur omnia signa....

  • Record Translation

    (Instructions for Easter observance)


    On the holy day of Easter the seven canonical hours should be celebrated by monks in the Church of God after the custom of the canons, on account of the authority of St Gregory, pope of the apostolic see, as he himself set forth in his antiphonary. At a suitable time on the same night before the bells of matins are rung, the sacristans shall take up the cross and place it in its proper place. First, at nocturns, when the praise of God is begun by the abbot or any priest, he shall say once only 'O Lord, open my lips' in the church; then 'God, come to my aid' with the Gloria. Moreover, since the psalm 'Lord, how they are multiplied (who persecute me)' is omitted, the cantor shall begin the invitatory. Then (follow) three antiphons with three psalms, (and) when these are finished, the proper verse shall be said, (and) then as many lessons, with the responsories, properly belonging here. While the third lesson is being read, four brothers shall vest themselves, one of whom, wearing an alb and as if to do something else, shall enter and go unobtrusively to the location of the sepulchre and shall sit there quietly holding a palm in his hand. And while the third responsory is being said in full, the three remaining shall follow, all indeed vested in copes and carrying in their hands thuribles with incense, and step by step, in the likeness of those seeking something, shall come before the location of the sepulchre. For these things are done in imitation of the angel sitting in the tomb and of the women coming with spices to anoint the body of Jesus. When, therefore, the one sitting shall see the three come near him as if wandering and searching for something, he shall begin to sing sweetly in a moderate voice, 'Whom do you seek?' When this (antiphon) has been sung to the end, the three shall respond with one voice, 'Jesus of Nazareth.' He (shall reply) to them, 'He is not here. He has risen just as he had foretold. Go, announce that he has risen from the dead.' At the sound of this command, those three shall turn themselves to the choir, saying, 'Alleluia! The Lord is risen.' When this has been said, the one sitting, as if calling them back again, shall say the antiphon, 'Come and see the place.' Truly as he says this, he shall rise and lift the veil and show to them the place bare of the cross but only the linen cloths, in which the cross had been wrapped, placed (there). Seeing this, they shall lay down the thuribles which they had carried in the same sepulchre, and they shall take the linen and hold it out facing the clergy, and, as if showing that the Lord has risen and was no longer wrapped in it, they shall sing this antiphon: 'The Lord has risen from the sepulchre.' Then they shall lay the linen on the altar. When the antiphon is finished, the prior, rejoicing for triumph of our king because he rose after death had been overcome, shall begin the hymn 'We praise you, O God.' When this has begun, all the bells shall be struck in unison....

  • Collation Notes
    • die] d⸢i⸣e T
    • Paschae] Paschaeae F
    • celebrandae] celebrandaae F
    • sumant] sumat F
    • ab] T omits
    • aperies] aperies et os meum F
    • conueniens] conuenies F
    • lectiones] lectionis T
    • Dum] um F (initial elaborated capital missing)
    • alba] abba T
    • latenter] latentur F
    • Nazarenum] F omits
    • surrexit] surre‸⸢x⸣it F
    • iussionis] iussimus T
    • nudatum] nudata F
    • inuoluta] inuolata F
    • deponant] deponat F
    • sumantque] sumanque F
    • contra] concra F
    • surrexerit] surrexit F
    • & iam] etiam T
  • Endnote

    The edition of the Regularis Concordia that appears here, including the translation, was prepared by James M. Gibson (with assistance from Abigail Young and Patrick Gregory) for Kent: Diocese of Canterbury, vol 1, REED (Toronto and Buffalo, 2002), 23–7. Gibson describes the editorial approach in an endnote (Kent, vol 3, 263):

    'The Regularis Concordia survives in two Latin manuscripts, one of which has an Anglo-Saxon gloss. Unlike most REED editions of texts surviving in multiple manuscripts, this edition does not adopt a base text to which the other text is collated, since neither of the Latin texts could be preferred for the excerpt included here. The Latin text printed here is therefore based upon a full collation and recension of the two manuscripts. Readings have been chosen for sense rather than according to the manuscript in which they are found; the text presented contains the best readings from both manuscripts. In keeping with REED practice, however, there is no textual emendation. Thus every word of the text can be found in one or both of the manuscripts, although the whole text cannot be found in either one of them. The critical apparatus reports all significant variants, using the orthography and capitalization of the MS in which they occur, but excludes minor variations in orthography, capitalization, and distinction between "et" and "&." The text also departs from the standard REED practice of indicating with italics the expansion of abbreviations. The Anglo-Saxon text is given in full from BL: Cotton Tiberius A.III.'

    The collated manuscripts are BL Cotton Faustina B III, ff 188–9v (F) and BL Cotton Tiberius A III, ff 21–1v (T).

  • Document Description

    Record title: Regularis Concordia
    Repository: BL
    Shelfmark: Cotton Faustina B III
    Repository location: London

    The Regularis Concordia, an agreement designed to regulate monastic life and practice at Benedictine houses throughout England, was drawn up at the council of Winchester sometime between 970 and 973 under the direction of St Æthelwold (904x–84), bishop of Winchester (963–84), and St Dunstan (d. 988), archbishop of Canterbury (959–88). The agreement combined Anglo-Saxon monastic customs with continental liturgical innovations from Fleury, where Æthelwold had studied, and from Ghent, where Dunstan had studied, including detailed performance practice for the Easter liturgical play, the Visitatio Sepulchri, with its famous Quem quaeritis in sepulchro dialogue.

    Although no records exist of specific performances of the Visitatio by the Benedictine monks of St Swithun's Priory at Winchester, it is certain that the Easter liturgy described in the Regularis Concordia would have been followed annually at Æthelwold's own cathedral from the late tenth century until the Dissolution. Other Benedictine houses in Hampshire, such as Hyde Abbey, would also have followed the liturgical practices found in the Regularis Concordia.

    late 10th c.; Latin; parchment; iii + 280 + ii, gathered in 8s; 245m x 170mm, average 25 lines; modern pencil foliation; brown leather binding. The Regularis occupies ff 159–98.

    Record title: Regularis Concordia
    Repository: BL
    Shelfmark: Cotton Tiberius A III
    Repository location: London

    mid-11th c.; Latin and Old English; parchment; ii + 180 + xv; 295mm x 225mm, average 24 glossed lines; modern pencil foliation; use of rustic capitals for some proper names, as GREGORII on f 21; brown leather binding. The Regularis occupies ff 3–27v; ff 177–7v is the final folio of text missing from the Cotton Faustina B III text.

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