Aug 30, 2005

The Use of the Slavonic Language in the Liturgy


Decree of the Sacred Congregation of Rites
December, 18, 1906
(De usu linguae Slavonicae, Decreta Authentica Congregationis Sacrorum Rituum VI, 4196)

1. Seeing that the Apostolic See has judged it to be fitting now to limit within certain bounds what it before legislated concerning the use of the Glagolitic language in the liturgy, the use of this language ought to be considered and held by everyone to be a local privilege, belonging to certain churches; it should by no means be considered a personal privilege belonging to certain priests. For this reason, those priests who are trained in the use of Old Church Slavonic will not be able to use this language when celebrating Mass in a church which does not have this privilege.
2. Once the index of privileged churches has been compiled and published, it will be allowed to no one for whatever cause or pretext, to introduce the use of Old Church Slavonic into any other church. If any priest, whether secular or regular, does otherwise, or attempts to, he remains ipso facto suspended from the celebration of Mass and the performance of his other priestly duties until he has obtained pardon from the Holy See.
3. In churches which enjoy the privilege, it will be allowed that Mass may be celebrated and office recited according to public and solemn rite, only in Old Church Slavonic. The admixture of any other language whatsoever is excluded (except as is provided for in the eleventh article of this decree).
4. Wherever the people are accustomed to reply to the celebrant or sing parts of the Mass, this also may be done in the privileged churches only in Old Church Slavonic. That this may be done more easily the ordinary may allow for the faithful exclusively the use of a hand missal written in Latin characters, rather than in Slavonic letters.
5. In these aforesaid churches which undoubtedly possess the privilege of the use of the Slavonic language, the ritual, printed in that language, may be used in the administration of sacraments and sacramentals, provided that the ritual is one approved and recognized by the Holy See.
6. The bishops should take care that in their seminaries the studies of both Latin and Old Church Slavonic should be carried on, so that the priests may be ready to serve in either a Latin or Slavonic diocese as necessity may dictate.
7. Unless some other necessity dictates a different course of action, it will be the duty of the bishops, before holy ordination, to designate those clerics who are going to be sent to Latin churches and those who are going to be sent to Slavonic churches; the bishops shall do this after they have looked into the wishes and dispositions of the candidates.
8. If any priest, attached to a church where the Latin language is used, should be assigned to another church, which enjoys the privilege of using Old Church Slavonic, he will be obliged to sing the solemn Mass and the divine office in Slavonic; however, he may celebrate the liturgy privately and fulfill the canonical hours privately in the Latin language.
A priest, however, attached to a church of Old Slavonic, but by chance serving a Latin church, is obliged to celebrate both the solemn and private Mass and also to sing the canonical hours in the Latin language; but he has the faculty of reciting the office privately in Glagolitic.
9. It is likewise permitted for priests, attached to Latin-speaking churches, to celebrate Mass privately in Latin in another church which enjoys the privilege of Old Slavonic. However, priests attached to churches of Old Slavonic may not celebrate in this language even privately in churches where the Latin language is used.
10. In a church of the Latin language, where it is customary to sing at solemn Mass the epistle and gospel in Slavonic after it is sung in Latin, this custom may be preserved. At parish Masses, it is permitted, after the recitation of the gospel, to read it in the vernacular for the instruction of the faithful.
11. In those parishes where the privilege of using Old Slavonic prevails, if one of the faithful so desires, baptism or the other sacraments, including marriage, may be administered according to the Roman Latin ritual, and this may be done publicly. The ritual prayers for the burial of the dead may be in the same language. Priests are severly forbidden to oppose such a desire in any way.
12. In preaching the word of God or in other acts of cult which are not strictly liturgical, the vernacular Slavonic language may be used for the convenience and welfare of the people, but the general decrees of this Sacred Congregation of Rites must be observed.
13. The bishops of those regions where the language in use is a vernacular language should seek to provide for a uniform version of prayers and hymns in which the people participate, so that when they move form one diocese or parish to another there may be no conflict in any of the prayers or hymns.
14. Devotional books in which there is a vernacular edition of liturgical prayers issued for the private use of the faithful, are to be authorized and approved by the bishops.

R. Kevin Seasoltz, The New Liturgy: A Documentation, 1903 to 1965, Herder and Herder, New York, 1966.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

yes. and the first non-latin printed missal was already in 1483.