chapter  19
28 Pages

Introducing the Gloria in Excelsis *

WithThomas Forrest Kelly

In the great era of troping, from the tenth to the twelfth centuries, the Gloria in excelsis accumulated a repertory of embellishments rivaled in size only by those attached to the Introit and the Kyrie. But the Gloria in excelsis seems a less likely place for liturgical embellishment. A Gloria trope, like many Introit tropes, is a phrase-by-phrase interpolated commentary and amplification of a liturgical text. The Liber pontificalis records that Pope Symmachus ordered the Gloria in excelsis to be said on Sundays and on the feasts of martyrs. If the sacerdos chants illuminate the special prerogative enjoyed by bishops in intoning the Gloria in excelsis, the other side of this liturgical coin reveals a second group of Gloria introductions related at its origin to the special case of Easter. Christus surrexit a mortuis introduces the Gloria only in two Aquitanian manuscripts for Easter, but it is frequently found elsewhere as a trope to the Sequential.