Gallican Rite

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The Gallican Rite is actually a family of Western Rites which comprised the majority use of most of Western European for the greater part of the 1st millenium. The rite first developed in the early centuries as the Syriac-Greek rites of Jerusalem and Antioch were first translated into Latin in various parts of the Roman West.

Various rites within the greater Gallican family claim various specific lineages, such as an origin from the Alexandrine rite of St. Mark for the Churches of Aquilea and Milan, or origins from the Ephesine rite of St. John the Divine for the Churches of Gaul, Iberia, and Brittania. Many Gallican texts survive, but the survival of the rite is mostly in its influence upon the present Roman and Anglican rites (called Gallo-Roman), as a component of the Ambrosian rite of Milan. The last surviving "pure" Gallican rite is the Mozarabic rite of Toledo, Spain which has been limited to a few chapels for the past few centuries. The Gallican rites are more extravagant than the Roman, the music more melismatic, the words richer, more profuse, and dramatic. The surviving Gallican materials also have recognizable concordances with the Eastern and Oriental rites in the form of certain prayers and ceremonial, owing to its shared ancient origin in the original rites of the Holy Land.

In the early 20th century, the Russian emigré community in Paris included a number of clergy who were mindful of evangelization in the West. Among that number were a pair of brothers, Evgraph [later Bishop Jean-Nectaire of Saint-Denis)] and Maxime Kovalevsky. Based upon the "Letters of Saint Germanus" and various Gallican Missals (Stowe, Bobbio, Gothic, Mozarab, Autun) and some borrowing from the Byzantine, a Gallican rite was restored for the Western Rite activity in France. The rite is still in use with L'Eglise Orthodoxe de France as well as the Union Actuelle Orthodoxe Catholique Francaise now in union with the Patriarch of Serbia. The rite has been used by communities under the Church of Russia, the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, the Church of Romania, and the Church of Serbia.


See also