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Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. XI:
The Works of John Cassian.: Chapter VIII. Of the Prayer which follows the Psalm.

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter VIII.

Of the Prayer which follows the Psalm.

That practice too which we have observed in this country—viz., that while one sings to the end of the Psalm, all standing up sing together with a loud voice, “Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost”—we have never heard anywhere throughout the East, but there, while all keep silence when the Psalm is finished, the prayer that follows is offered up by the singer. But with this hymn in honour of the Trinity only the whole Psalmody 695 is usually ended. 696



Antiphona. The word must certainly be used here not in the later sense of “antiphon,” but as descriptive of the whole of the Psalmody of the office. Cf. note on c. i.


In the Eastern offices the Psalter is divided into twenty sections called καθίσματα, each of which is subdivided into three στάσεις, at the close of each of which the Gloria is said, and not, as in the West, after every Psalm. This Western custom which Cassian here notices seems to have originated in Gaul, and thence spread to other churches as, according to Walafrid Strabo, at Rome it was used but rarely after the Psalms in the ninth century. See Walafrid Strabo, c. xxv. ap. Hittorp. 688. The earliest certain indications of the use of the hymn itself are found in the fourth century. See S. Basil De Spiritu Sancto, c. xxix.; Theodoret, Eccl. Hist., II. xxiv., Sozomen, Eccl. Hist., III. xx. The Greek form is Δὁξα πατρὶ καὶ ὑἱῷ καὶ ἁγίῳ πνευμάτι καὶ νῦν καὶ ἀεὶ καὶ ἐις τοὺς ἀιῶνας τῶν ἀιωνῶν, ἀμήν. The additional words in use in the West, “sicut erat in principio,” were first adopted in the sixth century, being ordered by the Council of Vaison, a.d. 529, “after the example of the apostolic see.”

Next: Chapter IX. Of the characteristics of the prayer, the fuller treatment of which is reserved for the Conferences of the Elders.

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