The oldest description of the Roman liturgy can be found in texts which were published in the middle of the twentieth century under the title 'Ordines romani' (ed. by M. Andrieu). These early medieval writings provide data on the course of the ceremonies (rubrics), and sometimes they also give incipits of the liturgical texts. The oldest description of the funeral ceremony in the Roman liturgy is contained in a manuscript from the 7th or 8th century, which was published under the title 'Ordo Romanus XLIX'. Here we can find rites for the time of dying (viaticum, the Passion), for the procession to the church (the singing of Psalms), and for the service in the church (vigil, readings). Because of the fragmentary character of the text, the ceremony in the cemetery is lacking. The rites, which are characterized by ancient Christian simplicity, accompany the human being in the last phase of his or her life journey: from the process of dying to the grave. Since Christian faith understands this situation as a transition from death to life, the ceremonies have a character of transitional rituals (rites de passages). The study is a commentary on the short text of 'Ordo XLIX', just from this perspective.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.