Reading the West Frankish Coronation Liturgy, no. 5: The Ratold Ordo

Here begins the seeking or election of the bishops and clerics as well as the people to consecrate or bless a king.

132. The admonition of the bishops or clerics or people to the king, to be said in this way, and read out by one bishop before everyone.
“We seek that you should grant to us that you will conserve for each of us and the churches committed to us canonical privilege and due law and justice, and provide defence, as a king ought rightly to provide in his realm for each bishop and the church committed to him.”

133. The king’s response.
“I promise and grant to you that I will conserve for each of you and the churches committed to you canonical privilege and due law and justice, and provide defence, as far as I am able, with the Lord’s help, as a king ought rightly to provide in his realm for each bishop and the church committed to him.”

134. Then two bishops should call on the people in the church, seeking their will. And if they are in agreement, let them give thanks to God Almighty and sing a Te Deum. And let the two bishops take him in their hands, and bring him before the altar; and he should prostrate himself until the end of the Te Deum.

135. Invocation over the king.
“We call upon thee, O holy lord God Eternal the Father Almighty, that thou shouldst make this thy servant N., whom by the providence of divine dispensation thou hast conceded from the beginnings of creation until the present day should grow rejoicing into the flower of youth, enriched with the gift of thy piety, full of the grace of truth, from day to day, before God and Man, always to improve, that he might rejoicing take up the throne of the highest government by the largess of supernal grace, and, defended by the wall of thy mercy from any enemy adversity, merit to happily rule the people committed to him with the peace of propitiation and the virtue of victory. Through the Lord.”

136. Another prayer.
“O God, Who takes care of the people by thy virtue and rules them with love, give to this man, thy servant, the spirit of wisdom, with the guidance of instruction, so that he, wholeheartedly devoted to thee, might always remaing worthy in guiding the realm; and so that during his reign the security of the church might be steered with thy defence, and Christian devotion might endure in tranquillity, so that, enduring in good works, he might by thy lead come to the eternal Kingdom. Per.”

137. Another.
“May there arise in his days equity and justice for all, help for friends, hindrance for enemies, solace for the humble, correction for the proud, instruction for the rich, piety for the poor, peacemaking for the pilgrims, peace and security for those at home in the fatherland, governing all moderately, in accordance with their measure; may he sedulously know himself, that, watered by thy compunction, he might provide an example to the whole people pleasing to thee; and walking the path of truth with the flock subdued to him, may he abundantly acquire worthy riches, and accept, conceded by thee, everything for the salvation not only of the body, but also of the soul. And thus, may he be seen always to find the thought and inner counsel of thee, settling the government of the whole people with peace and wisdom. And by thy aid may he live long in this life, and come through good times to the height of venerable old age, and having made a good end in this fragile world, liberated from the chains of all his sins by the largess of thy piety, may the perpetual prize of infinite prosperity and eternal commerce with the angels follow. Per.”

138. The king’s consecration.
“O eternal God Almighty, creator and governor of Heaven and Earth, maker and manager of angels and men, king of kings and lord of lords, thou Who caused thy servant Abraham to triumph over his foes, gave many-fold victories unto Moses and Joshua, who were set above thy people; and elevated thy humble child David to the peak of the realm, and freed him from the mouth of the lion and the claw of the beast and Goliath, and from the wicked sword of Saul, and all his enemies, and enriched Solomon with the ineffable gift of wisdom and peace, hear our humble prayers we beseech thee, and upon this man, your servant N., whom we elect as king of all Albion, that is of the Franks, with suppliant devotion, multiply the gifts of thy blessings upon him, and cover him always and everywhere with the hand of thy power, so that he, firm in the faithfulness of the aforesaid Abraham, trusting in the mildness of Moses, defended with the fortitude of Joshua, exalted with the humility of David, ornamented with the wisdom of Solomon, might please thee in everything, and walk ever on the path of justice with uninterrupted steps, and so nourish and teach, defend and instruct the Church of all Albion and the people joined to it, and powerfully and regally administer the government of thy virtue for it against all enemies visible and invisible; and may he powerfully and royally administer the rule of thy virtue, that the royal throne might not forsake the sceptres of the Franks, but may he restore their souls to the concord of true faith and peace by thy grant, that he, supported by the due subjection of the people, might be glorified with worthy love, and, by thy mercy alone merit to stabilise and govern the height of paternal glory for a long life; and, defended by the helmet of thy protection and constantly protected by an unconquerable shield and girded with celestial arms, faithful and happily gain the triumph of a desirable victory, and inflict the terror of his power upon the unfaithful, and joyfully carry back peace for those soldiering for thee. Adorn him with the virtues with which thou adornest thine aforesaid faithful and the blessing of many-fold honour, and place him sublimely in control of the realm, and anoint him with the oil of the Holy Spirit’s grace.”

139. Here he is anointed with oil.
“Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anointed Solomon king in Zion, and those present rejoiced, and said ‘May the king live forever!’”

140. “With this hast thou anointed priests, kings, prophets and martyrs, who conquered kingdoms through faith and did works of justice and received promises. Let its most holy unction flow upon his head, and descend within him, and enter into his innermost heart; let him be by thy grace made worthy by the promises which the victorious kings received, and may he happily reign in the present age and reach their company in the Kingdom of Heaven, through our lord Jesus Christ, thy son, who was anointed with the oil of joy before his fellows and vanquished the powers of the air with the virtue of the Cross, who destroyed Hell and overcame the Devil’s kingdom, and rose victorious to Heaven, in whose hand all victory, glory, and power consist, and who lives and reigns with thee, God in the unity of the same Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen.”

141. Another
“O God, the fortitude of the elect and the height of the humble, Who wished at the beginning to chastise the crimes of the world through the outpouring of the Flood, and Who demonstrated through a dove carrying an olive branch the restoration of peace to the Earth, and anointed thy servant Aaron priest through the unction of oil, and later through the infusion of this might made priests, kings and prophets to rule the people of Israel, and predicted that the face of the Church would be exalted in oil through the prophetic voice of thy servant David; thus we beseech thee, Father Almighty, that through the oil of this creation, thou might deign to sanctify by thy benediction this thy servant, and that thou might make him to give the people committed to him the peace of simplicity like unto the dove, and diligently imitate the example of Aaron in the service of God, and always pursue the heights of kingship in the counsels of knowledge and the equity of justice, and by thy help have a face of joy prepared through this unction of oil for the whole people. Per.”

142. Another
“May God, the son of God, Jesus Christ our Lord, who was anointed by the Father with the oil of exaltation before his partakers, through the present infusion of consecration which we anoint, pour out upon they head the blessing of the paraclete Spirit and cause it to penetrate thy innermost heart, so that thou might merit through this visible and tangible gift to take up invisible gifts, and by pursuing just government in this worldly kingdom to reign eternally with Him, Who alone is without sin, king of kings, and lives and is glorified with God the Father, God in the unity of the Holy Spirit, forever. Amen.”

143. Here the ring is given.
“Take this ring, that is, a sign of holy faith, the solidity of the realm, an augmentation of power, through which thou might know to fend off enemies through triumphal power, destroy heresies, unite thy subjects, and be joined to the ongoing catholic faith. Per.”

144. Prayer after giving the ring.
“O God, Whose is all power and dignity, give to thy servant effect for the spirit of his dignity, in which, by thy gift, may he remain, and always fear thee and struggle constantly to please thee. Through our lord Jesus Christ thy son.”

145. Here the archbishop girdles him with the sword.
“Take this sword, given to thee with the blessing of God, with which, through the virtue of the Holy Spirit, thou might resist and drive out all thine enemies and every adversary of the holy Church of God, and defend the realm committed to thee, and protect the camps of God, through the aid of the invincible victor our lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with the Father in the unity of the same Holy Spirit, for ever and ever.”

146. Prayer after the sword.
“O God, Who by thy providence governs Heaven and Earth, be thou propitious to our most Christian king, that all fortitude of his enemies might be shattered with the virtue of the spiritual sword, and, for thou fightest for him, completely crushed. Per.”

147. Here he is crowned.
“May the Lord crown thee with a crown of glory and justice, with honour and works of fortitude, that through the office of our blessing, with correct faith and the many-fold fruit of good works, you might reach a crown of the realm everlasting, by the largess of Him Whose realm and empire endures forever and ever.”

148. Prayer after the crown.
“O God of perpetuity, leader of virtues, victor over all enemies, bless this thy servant, bowing his head to thee, and conserve him with good health and prosperous joy, and be ever present when he invokes thy aid, and protect and defend him. Give unto him we beseech thee O Lord the riches of thy grace, fulfil his desire in good things, crown him in mercy and compassion, and may he constantly serve thee as his lord with pious devotion. Through our lord.”

149. Here the sceptre is given.
“Take this sceptre, sign of royal power, to wit, the rightful rod of the realm, the rod of the virtue with which thou mayest rule thee thyself and the holy Church; that is, defend with royal virtue the Christian people committed to thee by God from the unrighteous, correct the corrupt, direct the righteous that they might hold to the right path by thy aid, so that you might go from a worldly kingdom to the Kingdom Eternal, by aid of Him Whose realm and empire endures without end, forever and ever.”

150. Prayer after the sceptre.
“O Lord, fount of all goods, O God, founder of all success, we beseech thee, give it to thy servant N. to bear well the dignity he has taken up, and deign to corroborate him in the honour so furnished; honour him before the other kings of the Earth, enrich him with fruitful blessings, and confirm him in the throne of the realm with firm stability; visit him with offspring, grant him long life. May justice always arise in his days, that he might be glorified with favour and eternal joy in the Kingdom. Through our lord Jesus Christ.”

151. Then the rod is given to him.
“Take the rod of virtue and equity, by which thou might know to delight the pious and terrify the reprobate, to lay out a path for the erring, to reach out a hand to the lapsed; destroy the proud and raise the humble; and may Jesus Christ our Lord open to thee the door, who said of himself, ‘I am the door, if any man enter in, he shall be saved’. And he, who is the key of David and the scepter of the house of Israel, ‘he that openeth and no man shutteth, that shutteth and no man openeth’, may he be to thee a supporter, who ‘brings out the prisoners from the prison, and those sitting in darkness and the shadow of death’, that thou might merit to follow in everything him of whom the prophet David sang, ‘Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever; a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom’. And by imitating him, ‘You have loved righteousness and hated iniquity, wherefore God, your God, has anointed you’, after the example of him who was anointed before the world, ‘with the oil of gladness beyond your companions’, Jesus Christ our lord.”

152. Then this blessing is said.
“May He reach out the hand of His blessing, and pour upon thee the gift of his propitiation, and envelop thee with the happy wall of His watchful protection, by the interceding merits of Saint Mary and the blessed Peter, prince of the apostles, and Saint Gregory, apostle of the angels [sic], and all the saints. Amen. May He forgive thee the evils which thou hast done, and bestow upon thee the grace and mercy for which thou hast humbly besought Him: and may He free thee from all adversity, and from all the plots of enemies visible and invisible. Amen. May He place His good angels always and everywhere to precede, accompany, and follow thee, for thy protection; and may He liberated thee by His power from sin or sword, and from the crisis of all perils. Amen. May He convert thine enemies to the benignity of peace and charity, and make those hateful to thee pleasing and friendly, and may He visit upon those who are obstinate in criticism and hatred of thee a beneficial confusion; may an eternal sanctification flourish upon thee. Amen. May He always make thee victorious and triumphant over enemies visible and invisible, and fill up thy heart with fear and love of His holy name, and make thee to persevere in right faith and good works, and, having granted peace in thy days, lead thee to a kingdom everlasting with the crown of victory. Amen. And may He who has wished to establish thee as king over the people bestow happiness in the present age and a consortship in eternal happiness. Amen.”

153. Another blessing.
“Bless, O Lord, this patron [praesul, more usually ‘bishop’] and prince, thou who rules the realms of all kings in this world. Amen. And glorify him with such a blessing that he might hold with Davidic sublimity the sceptre, and sanctify it with the gift of atonements, and be found wealthy. Amen. Give to him by thy breath to rule thy people, as thou caused Solomon to obtain a peaceful kingdom. Amen.”

154. The designation of royal status.
“Stand firm and hold fast henceforth this place, which thou hast held thus far delegated to thee in hereditary right by paternal succession, through the authority of God Almighty and our present gift, to wit, of all the bishops, and the other servants of God; and as much as thou see the clergy to be closer to the sacred altars, by that much more take care to give them greater honour; so that the mediator between God and Man might confirm thee as a mediator between clergy and people in the throne of the realm, and make thee to reign with him in the kingdom eternal, Jesus Christ our lord, king of kings and lord of lords, who is with God the Father and the Holy Spirit.”

155. Proper behaviour for a king newly ordained and taken up to the throne is to command the Christian people subdued to him these three precepts: first, that the Church of God and the whole Christian people should conserve true peace for all time; second, that he should forbid all ranks from rapacity and all iniquity; third, that he should command equity and mercy for all judges, that clement and merciful God might indulge him and them by His mercy. Who with the Father…

156. Then let him be praised by all the clergy and people, and each should say ‘Long live the king, happily and forever’, and three times ‘long live the king’ as above. And after the Gospel reading, let the king offer an offering and wine to the archbishop. And thus let mass be carried out in his order; thence let him take communion from the archbishop of the body and blood of Christ. And thus let them give thanks to God. Let them then proceed to the table.

Anglo-Saxon kingship! (source)

(Skipping the royal ordo in the Romano-German Pontifical, which I was going to do, but found Henry Parkes’ work in time enough to get my foot out of that quicksand…)

Don’t worry, I hadn’t forgotten. Last weekend was taken up with Christmas markets, so I couldn’t post it, but it was already written. Next on our list of ordines is the so-called Ratold Ordo, named as such because it is found in the liturgical book commissioned by Abbot Ratold of Corbie at some point in the 970s or 980s. It’s interesting because it’s based in part on an Anglo-Saxon manuscript; and indeed the coronation ordo is based heavily on the so-called Second English Ordo, from the latter part of the tenth century. My own hypothesis about the date, given that the ordo contains a couple of references to the king being young and ruling in combination with his father suggests that the inspiration was the coronation of Louis V as king in the late 970s, although it’d be unlikely that this ordo was actually used in that ceremony.

Much of the ordo is English, but there are some characteristically Frankish bits, such as the reintroduction of the promissio. With that said, much of the Anglo-Saxon material, such as section 137 (‘May there arise in his days’) almost looks to me like an influence of the Twelve Abuses of the World by Pseudo-Cyprian. This isn’t alien to Frankish tradition, but it’s not what the ordines have previously picked up on; at the very least, there’s more of an emphasis on temporal success: this is the first ordo to talk about the king living for a long time and to include a ‘long live the king!’ formula…

The other thing this is the first ordo to do is to add the word Francorum (‘of the Franks’) to describe the kingdom ruled. In fact, this is the first of our ordines which has specified that the kingdom ruled is the Frankish one, which is interesting in light of the addition made to section 138 (‘O eternal God Almighty’) praying that ‘the royal throne might not forsake the sceptres of the Franks’). If we do want to date this to around 980, this is an interesting time for someone to write this, for it’s at this time that Lothar is engaging in a war with his cousin Otto II where a lot of divisions between West Franks and easterners are being exposed…

One final thing: there’s a lot of King David here. Not sure what it means, but it’s very noticeable…

After the Christmas holidays (next week, you get a special treat, because I translated some conciliar records), it’s the last thing we’ll cover, not an ordo proper, but a note describing the coronation of Philip I.

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