The Ceremonies of Good Friday in the Papal Chapel and St. Peter's as Described in 1839

The following is an excerpt taken from C.M. Baggs work, "The Ceremonies of Holy Week at the Vatican and St. John Lateran's Described" which was published in Rome in 1839. Those interested in this work can find it online. This particular excerpt describes the ceremonies of the Sistine chapel  and St. Peter's Basilica which traditionally took place on this day,

On Good Friday the Pope used formerly to go with the Cardinals and the other members of the court to the Oratory of S. Lorenzo called Sancta Sanctorum in the Lateran palace, where they venerated and kissed the relics of SS. Peter and Paul, as well as two crosses preserved there. One of these was then carried by a Cardinal Priest, and the Host consecrated on the preceding day Avas borne by another Cardinal of the same order; tlm Pope, the Cardinals and all the others were bare-footed and walked in procession reciting psalms to S. John Lateran's, and thence to S. Croce, where the station was held and the ceremonies of the day performed. 
These take place at present in the Sistine chapel in which the yellow colour to the candles and torches, the nakedness of the Pope's throne and of the seats of the Cardinals and others, denote the desolation of the church at the sufferings and death of her Divine founder. The Cardinals do not wear their ring's; their dress is of purple, which is their mourning colour, and the maces as well as the soldier's arms arc reversed. The Cardinal Great Penitentiary with the sacred Ministers are habited in black. There is no thurifer and there are no lights; for the death of the Son of God is going to be commemorated; and while he was hanging upon the cross and when he died, there was darkness over the whole earth. The Pope is habited in a red mantum; he does not wear his ring nor give his blessing: but if he be present at this part of the service,

His Holiness kneeling with the Cardinal Penitentiary at his left hand offers up prayers for a short time before the altar. This, which was stripped on the preceding day, is now covered with a linen cloth by two Cerimonieri (The corporal, which was anciently much longer than at present, was spread in this manner at all Masses before the offertory). The Pope then goes to his seat and the Cardinal Celebrant accompanied by the ministers to the altar, and thence to his faldstool or seat. An appropriate passage from the prophecy of Osee is sung by one of the choir, and the precept from Exodus concerning the killing of the paschal-lamb, a type of Christ, by the subdeacon. The Pope and Cardinal Celebrant also read both these lessons, after each of which a tract is sung by the choir; and between them a prayer by the celebrant. After the prophecies, which are a powerful confirmation of the truth of our holy religion, the account of the sufferings and death of Jesus Christ, penned by an eye-witness S. John, the disciple of love, is recited. It is read in a low voice by the Cardinal Celebrant and sung with the same impressive chant as on Palm Sunday by three cantors wearing the alb, a black maniple and stole: they used formerly to recite it bare-footed. At those words, "And bowing down his head he gave up the ghost" all kneel to adore their Redeemer...
The latter part is chanted, but without the usual ceremonies, by the deacon, after he has taken off his folded chasuble and put on the large band or [broad] stole. A short sermon is then preached by a conventual friar, who afterwards according to custom publishes the indulgence or remission of temporal punishment, granted by the Pope to those who have confessed and sincerely repented of their sins...

The Cardinal Celebrant commences the beautiful, charitable, and ancient prayers of this day "with the words, Let us pray, dearly beloved, for the holy church of God etc. The deacon then kneeling says (according to the ancient custom mentioned by S. Cesarius of Aries in his 30th homily, and by S. Basil in his book on the Holy-Ghost c. XXVH) Let us bend our knees, and the subdeacon answers. Stand up, as it was customary to pray standing... Prayers follow for the Pope, for all the clergy, and holy people of God (formerly for the Emperor also) and catechumens who are to receive baptism on the day following. Having prayed for all members of the church, we then pray for heretics and schismatics... When these prayers are ended the officiating Cardinal takes off his chasuble, and going to the epistle side of the altar receives from the deacon the crucifix covered with a black veil. Then turning towards the people, and uncovering the upper part of the crucifix, he sings, Behold the wood of the cross, on which hangs the salvation of the world; in singing which words he is joined by two tenor-voices from the choir. The choir answers, Come, let us adore. The Pope and all others kneel, except the Cardinal Celebrant, who advances nearer to the middle of the altar, and uncovering the right arm of the crucifix, repeats the same words in a higher tone, and again in a still higher tone before the middle of the altar, where he uncovers the whole cross. The choir answers as before, and all kneel each time the words are repeated. Tho Cardinal then places the crucifix on a rich cushion lying on the steps of the altar.

1 observed above, that it was formerly customary for the Pope and all others to walk bare-footed in the procession of this day, as royal personages have done; for instance, S. Louis of France, S. Elisabeth of Hungary, and others. Some memorial of this practice is preserved in the present custom of taking off the shoes of the principal persons who revere and kiss the cross on this day. The Pope's shoes arc taken off by an Ajutante di Camera. His cope by acolytes Votenti di Segnatura and afterwards his mitre by an assistant Cardinal deacon. His Holiness then makes three profound genuflections before the crucifix, gradually approaching nearer to it, and then kisses it in token of his love for Him, who died upon it for our salvation.

He also empties a purse, containing an offering of 100 scudi d'oro, into a silver basin near the crucifix. When the Pope is about to make the first genuflection, the choir begins to sing the improperia, the sentiments of which, and the chant composed by Palestrina, are admirably adapted to the sorrowful ceremony... At the end of each improperium or reproach, the Trisagion is sung by one choir in Greek, and in Latin by another, "Holy God! Holy strong one! Holy immortal, have mercy on us." The Pope then returns to his throne; he resumes his previous vestments and reads the improperii from the Missal held as usual by an assistant bishop kneeling. The Cardinal celebrant and all the other members of the sacred college, after their shoes have been taken off, assisted by the Ceremonieri, revere and kiss the crucifix in the same manner as the Pope has done; and each of them leaves an offering of one scudo d'oro according to an ancient custom. When they return to their places, their shoes arc put on by their respective camerieri who afterwards leave the chapel. The patriarchs and bishops assistant and non-assistant without shoes and all the other prelates and others wearing their shoes, adore and kiss the cross in like manner, observing the same order as in going to receive palms on the preceding Sunday; and they also make their offerings before the cross. When the sacred college has finished the adoration, the choir having ended the improperii sings the anthem Crucem tuam, and the psalm Deus misereatur nostri, the hymn Pange lingua gloriosi lauream certaminis etc. and the chant concludes, when the consistorial advocates go up to kiss the cross. Towards the end of this beautiful ceremony the candles are lighted, the deacon spreads out the corporal as usual, placing the purificator near it. He then respectfully takes the cross, and places it on the altar amid the candlesticks.

A procession, arranged like that of the preceding day, now goes to the Pauline chapel. Assisted as usual by the first Cardinal priest, the Pope kneels and incenses the Blessed Sacrament three times. M. Sagrista places the consecrated host in the chalice, which he covers with a veil, and delivers to the Cardinal celebrant, who presents it to the Pope; His Holiness covers it with the end of the [humeral] veil placed over his shoulders and the procession returns to the Sistine chapel. In the mean time the choir sings the hymn, Vexilla Regis prodeunt. When the Pope arrives at the altar, he delivers the Blessed Sacrament to the Cardinal Celebrant, who places it on the altar. His Holiness then incenses it and returns to his throne. 

The Mass of the Presanctified, as it is called, is then celebrated... The Cardinal Celebrant places the Blessed Sacrament on the paten and thence on the corporal. In the meantime the deacon puts wine into the chalice, and the subdeacon water, which however are neither blessed or consecrated on this day. The cardinal then places the chalice on the altar, and the deacon covers it wth the palla or pall (a small square piece of linen, which serves to prevent flies etc. from falling into it). The Cardinal incenses the offerings and the altar, washes his hands, and recites the Orate Fratres and Our Father. All then kneel to adore the Blessed Sacrament, which he raises upon the paten. He divides it as usual, but without saying any prayer, into three parts, putting one of them into the chalice. Striking his breast, and acknowledging; his own unworthiness, he receives communion, taking the sacred host, and afterwards the consecrated particle with the wine in the chalice. He then receives the ablution, washes his hands, and returns to the sacristy with the sacred ministers.

Anciently on fasting days nothing vas allowed to be eaten till sunset; and Vespers used therefore to be said before dinner: now that this one meal allowed on such days may be eaten as early as noon, the ancient practice of saying Vespers before dinner is still preserved. Vespers are therefore sung immediately after the Mass of the Presanctified: they consist of the Our Father and Hail Mary said in secret, of five psalms with their anthems, and the Magnificat with its anthem. At the verse "Christ became obedient unto death", all kneel down to adore Him. and the Miserere and the usual prayer are recited, but without the solemnity of Tenebrae.

In the afternoon at Tenebrae, the office, being that of Holy Saturday anticipated as usual, refers to the repose of the body of our blessed Lord in the tomb. When it is finished, the Pope wearing his stole, and the Cardinals having taken off their cappae, go to S. Peter's, accompanied by the Pope's Anticamera segreta, the guards and others, to venerate the relics of the Cross, the Lance, and the Volto Santo, which are shown by the Canons from the gallery above the statue of S. Veronica. The Pope meantime, and the Cardinals and others arranged on each side of him, remain kneeling.

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