Gregorianische Messen




Der Kirchenväteraltar aus der Augustinerchorherrenstiftskirche Neustift bei Brixen zeigt die vier wichtigsten Lehrer der westlichen Kirche mit ihren den Legenden entnommenen Attributen: Hieronymus mit dem Löwen, dem er einen Dorn aus der Pfote zog; Augustinus mit dem Kind, das ihn von der Unmöglichkeit überzeugte, das Geheimnis der Dreifaltigkeit zu ergründen; Papst Gregor der Große mit Kaiser Trajan, den er durch ein Gebet aus dem Fegefeuer erlöste; Ambrosius mit einem Kind, das seine Wahl zum Bischof gefordert haben soll. Zugehörig sind vier Szenen der Augustinuslegende, die einst die Rückseiten der Flügel bildeten.


Schwere Krankheit habe Gregor auf sich genommen, um Kaiser Trajan aus dem Fegefeuer zu lösen. Dessen Stimme hatte Gregor demnach vernommen, als er über das Trajansforum zur Peterskirche ging und über diesen gerechten Heiden weinen musste: Trajan hatte von einem Kriegszug Abstand genommen, um einer hilflosen armen Witwe für ihren unschuldig getöteten Sohn zum Recht zu verhelfen.

Noch heute werden einige von Gregors Predigten im Brevier der katholischen Kirche gelesen. Bei der Kalenderreform von 1969 verlegte man den katholischen Gedenktag vom Todestag, der in der Fastenzeit liegt, auf den Jahrestag seiner Weihe zum Bischof von Rom. Nach dem Vorbild Gregors werden bis heute "Gregorianische Messen" für Verstorbene gelesen, das sind 30 tägliche Messen hintereinander.





The Grégorian Trental



Definition of the Trental.

One gives the Gregorian Trental name to thirty traditional Masses (so-called of saint Pie V) celebrated during thirty days and without interruption for the deliverance of deceased.

Everybody knows that the maternal compassion of the holy real Church for the holy souls of the Purgatory, not only made him institute for them the service of funeral ceremony and the anniversary service, but made again faithful propose services of the 3rd, 7th, and 30th days, because of the particular graces that she attaches of it.

Why in particular this service of the 30th day ? Probably for the mysterious reasons that give the liturgical authors, but also to remind us the memory of our dear deceased and to exhort us to pray for them without relentlessly.

This 30th day necessarily calls the others that precede it, and from then on we are in right to see the true origin there already, although non formal, of the Trental.

But the Trental, as us defined him, and as he is today in use in the holy Church, go back up to the half of the VIème century. One would have to the institution of it to holy Grégory the Great, one of glories of the Benedictin Order, and one of the greatest Pope that God gave to his Church.

Origin of this devotion.

Holy Grégory brings back himself in his Dialogues (I. IV, c.xl), that a monk of his monastery, named Justus, practised medicine, with the permission of his upper ; he had benefitted some to receive, in hiding place of his abbot, three gold ecus. It was a serious mistake against the religious poverty and monastic ; but touched of remonstrances of his brother Copiosus, to that he had confessed his mistake, humiliated by the beneficial pain of the excommunication, that had been pronounced against him, he died in true feelings to repent. However holy Grégoire wanting to inspire to all brothers a just horror of the property crime in a religious, didn't raise for it the excommunication ; he was buried therefore aside, in the place where one put down litters, and the three ecus were thrown in the pit, while the religious repeated the speech of holy Peter apostle to Simon the Magicien : pereat pecunia killed tecum, that your money perished with you. But some time after, the holy abbot feeling touched of compassion, made call the saving Pretiosus, and says him with sadness : " Il has there a long time that our defunct brother is tortured in flames of the Purgatory ; we must, by charity, to endeavor us to deliver of it to him. Go therefore, and from today offer for him the holy Sacrifice of the Mass during thirty days ; don't let some pass none without the host of propitiation is immolated for his relief ".

The economics immediately got in to owe to obey, but occupied to one thousand others cares, he didn't wonder, either that the abbot, to count days. One night, the deceased appeared to his brother Copiosus :—" Eh ! what, it is you ! how do you find yourselves here to this hour ? —Until now, I was very bread, answered tea apparition, but now, I am well, because today same I am admitted in tea society of holy ".

One counted days that had gone by since one had begun to offer for him the holy Sacrifice, and one recognized that this day was precisely the thirtieth.

Historic of the Trental.

This miracle, one understands it, had to encourage faithful to make for their deceased what holy Grégory had made for the monk Justus. He didn't miss there.

Since VIIIème century, the Benedictine monasteries are in possession of the use to make celebrate a trentain for every defunct monk. This use made some be born another less touching. During the 30 days that followed a monk's death immediately and that were dedicated to celebrate the Gregorian Mass, the meal that one continued to serve him to the refectory, as was distributed religiously to poor to all others brothers.

In the beautiful times of the devotion of Cluny, the 30 Gregorian Mass were sung by six priests nominees to this effet ; some particular prayers were recited for the defunct monk after Cross them of the day, and the plain alms that was made to poor was enlarged of a supplement of beans, cheese and egg.

Of the Benedictine monasteries the use to celebrate trentales for deceased passed quickly among the Catholic nations, Italy, France, Spain, England and Germany. Documents let no doubt in this toward.

Efficiency of the Trental.

What her is the efficiency of the Trental ?

To this question we answer first that God who condescended to reveal the deliverance of the monk Justus, is not committed himself to make know us the one of the other souls for which one would celebrate in the continuation of times the Gregorian Mass.

On the other hand, the church didn't define anything in this respect and it won't define anything. His role in the so delicate matters is to note that such or such privilege exists and that one can add foi there; but it doesn't go farther.

It is the conduct that she held opposite the trental. We saw him in his decree of October 28, 1628, giving us distinctly his thought.

In another decree, more recent of March 15, 1884, her her precise again more.

Doubts had risen under the pontificate of Pie IX, on the special efficiency of Mass celebrated to the altar of holy Grégory, and by backlash on the efficiency of the Gregorian Mass.

The general of the Camalduleses, guard of privileges of the church of holy André, to the Cælius mount, referred some to the Holy See. He submitted to the Congregation of indulgences, one justifying memory, where after having defined the privilege of after which the Gregorian Mass, so much those that are celebrated to the altar of holy Grégoire that those that are celebrated during 30 consecutive days, are so efficient that they immediately deliver of pains of the Purgatory the soul for which one makes them celebrate, he put question following :

The confidence of faithfuls in a special efficiency of the Trental, for the deliverance of souls of the Purgatory, is she devout and reasonable ?

The Sacred Congregation, stake thus answered affirmatively in home to explain itself.

From where we have the right to conclude that the Gregorian Mass have the efficiency of which spoke the general of the Camalduleses and that the consulteur of the Sacred Congregation recalled himself by two times. (V. Nouv. Revue Théol. XXI, C. 123.)

However it would be a mistake to believe that the Sacred Congregation of Indulgences wanted to see in these thirty Gregorian Mass an infallible means to deliver of the Purgatory souls for that these Mass are celebrated. It is solely the wisdom of God, his justice, his power and his goodness that depends on the application efficient and immediate of the fruit of these Mass, by the intercession and merits of the holy Pope Grégory the Great. In the course of centuries one noted the custom to make say two trentainses often and more again, for the same soul, the year of the death or each year ; what would be useless if, in the opinion of the church and faithful the thirty Mass celebrated a first time would deliver the soul of the Purgatory infallibly. (Cf. Béringer : Manual of Indulgences 2nd left, 3rd section : local Indulgences, the thirty Gregorian Mass)

Requisite conditions to take advantage of the Gregorian Mass privilege.

The thirty Mass must be celebrated for only one soul of the Purgatory. The particular efficiency of these Mass would not exist anymore if they were offered for the living people.

Mass must be celebrated during thirty days consécutifs ; but he is not required that it is by the same priest, nor on the same autel ; he is not necessary either that they are celebrated in honor of holy Grégory, nor that one makes memory of this Holy there.

Benoît XIV declared that, if in the course of this trental one meets the last three days of the holy week, during which one cannot celebrate some private Mass, it is necessary to continue then while taking account of Mass omitted.

These thirty Mass can be always Mass of requiem, because au courses of these thirty consecutive days are necessarily of Sundays and some other days where het is not permitted to say a Mass of requiem. When this last is permitted, one would satisfy to the obligation of the trentain while saying the Mass of the day, because nor the use introduces by holy Grégory, nor decisions of the Church only make the Mass of requiem an essential condition. He is going without saying, however, that this Mass seems better suitable to the goal, because of the special prayers that it contains for deceased.


P. Bricon, Séez, September 29, 1921.

Censor. Leconte, V. g.