On the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica this year, I was very fortunate to be in retreat at Abdij Sint Benedictusberg, Vaals and was therefore able to pray the entire Divine Office for the day. Reflecting on these texts, prayers, and hymns was an excellent reminder of some of the fundamental Biblical concepts and attitudes towards buildings. As it happened, I was also already working on a (still-forthcoming) post on the importance of the concept of locus iste in Christianity, a phrase repeated throughout the day.
And so, as a sort of preemptive appendix to that post and as the first in a series of posts intended as references for all those working in this area, I thought it would be helpful to collect the prayers of the day. I have long intended to do a survey of scriptural references to architectural themes, but this is a daunting undertaking. Examining these prayers, however, I came to realize that this approach is a good start to this task. The chosen prayers and readings provide a subset of scriptures to consider, selected by centuries of the church at prayer.
So while these prayers are specifically Roman Catholic—and their direct source more specifically Benedictine—their basis in scripture should be of great interest to all Christians. Even the sermon excerpted in the early morning readings comes from the turn of the 6th century and is therefore relatively universal and outside many of our later schism-inducing disputes.
The first half of this post contains my explanatory notes (and on commentary aside). The second half contains the prayers and readings themselves and you can skip directly there or use the index below if you prefer.
Notes & Commentary
Notes on the Divine Office
The Divine Office is the general Christian practice of the regular recitation of prayers at regular intervals throughout the day. It orders time for worship in the same way sacred architecture orders space for worship, so the two are fundamentally linked.
The Divine Office forms the basis of Christian prayer: its archetype and various forms have developed into the full diversity of Christian prayer; its continued practice ensures that the church is always at the work of prayer; and its internal variations give context to the various holy days (holidays) throughout the year. One such feast day celebrated by the Roman Catholic Church is the Feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of St John Lateran, observed on 09 November. Though St Peter Basilica in the Vatican gets most of the attention, the Lateran Basilica is actually the Cathedral of Rome, the place where the Pope's cathedra resides.
For the purpose of study and reference, I have stripped out the temporal component of these texts and presented them categorically. The intent here is not to reproduce the sequential experience of the cycle of prayers as there are other resources for that. If you are interested in the topics of these pages, praying through the office for this day in real time is highly recommended as a separate activity.
The Divine Office takes many forms in different denominations and in different historical moments. The majority of the texts in this post are taken from a transcription I made of the books used at the Abbey in Vaals, which appears to be based on the earlier rubrics (they seem to be most like the rubrics of 1960) as the monks retain the full ancient practice of a cycle of seven offices.
In the few cases where there have been modifications, I include the prayers from the current Divine Office of the Latin Rite, the Liturgia Horarum (Liturgy of the Hours), last revised in 1985. Universalis is an excellent resource for the current form of the Latin Rite Liturgy of the Hours, including a very useful mobile app.
I also recommend the three-volume Divine Hours by Philis Tickle as an ecumenical/inter-denominational iteration of this practice which can be very easily used by anyone. It is a perfect way to learn through the use of a simplified but not reductive prayer book. This practice is the heritage of the whole church. It suits and orders the shared human experience of time and should be recovered as widely as possible.
The vast majority of the Liturgy of the Hours derives directly from scripture. Recitation of the psalms is its dominant feature, along with other readings from the Bible. Three scriptures contribute the bulk of the antiphons and readings for the Lateran Basilica feast day. They are three of the most important architectural passages in the Bible. When reading the Bible, "architectural" can mean anything from primitive place-making or -marking, to buildings and construction proper, to urbanism. A considerable portion of relevant readings use buildings or cities as images of other things. It is important to remember that any treatment of architecture in the Bible is not primarily about architecture, especially as conceived by contemporary practitioners.
Before continuing with the readings below, I recommend reviewing the following three passages in context to help place the excerpts and paraphrases from the liturgy.
Genesis 28.10-22 - While by no means the first mention of architectural activity in Genesis, the account of Jacob's dream and the subsequent erection of a stone (altar) is the earliest fully developed human act of liturgical or sacred place-making.
II Chronicles 6 - Architects' attempts at biblical exegesis tend to get bogged down in the descriptions of the metrics and materials of the tabernacle and the temple. In my mind this is another unfortunate example of confusing externalities for the more important ontological realities. That is not to say that the externalities of the temple are meaningless, only that the emphasis is misplaced and the applications among the more shallow forms of symbolism. The second text referenced by the prayers of this day comes from II Chronicles 6 and gives the account of the dedication (rather than the construction) of Solomon's Temple. It contains an account of the liturgical and spiritual intent of the building, and thus it summarizes the attitude of Israel to the edifice.
Revelation 21 - The first two readings give a pre-liturgical and liturgical perspective on the importance of sacred places. The third gives a post-liturgical or eschatological perspective. I call it post-liturgical in the sense that when everything is always worship ("worship in spirit and truth," John 4.21-24), the ordered worship bound by limited time and space ceases to have meaning. And the reference in this text to a lack of a temple (due to the lack of a need for a temple) is itself a confirmation of this.
Note that for some readings I have included additional context omitted from the office for reference purposes. These passages are enclosed in square brackets.
Notes on Translation
For the purpose of study, I have made my own translation of the prayers from Latin. So I want to be very clear about its intent and limitations. These translations are not intended for liturgical use, nor are they particularly poetic. The intent was to be literal and favor cognates, especially with regards to architectural and spatial terminology. I also retained word order more than would generally be acceptable to retain the antiphonal form of the responsorial components. For example, Bene fundáta est * domus Dómini supra firmam petram I rendered as "Well established is * the house of the Lord, on a firm faithful rock" rather than the more correct English "The house of the Lord is well established..." so that the incipit (the first phrase which functions as a title, a reference for chants, and is often sung separately by the cantor) remains the same. While this may be more awkward to read, retaining the general order of phrases is useful for study and not insignificant to the experience of a sequential form such as chant.
The other major reason for doing a unique translation for this study is for the specificity of architectural vocabulary. The difficulties with architectural terms is that they can be defined by form or by use; even these can have a range of different forms and uses by time or culture that can be in conflict, especially when dealing with ancient terms whose meanings have changed over time. "Basilica" is a good example of a term that has a specific formal meaning (as an aisled linear spatial model with apse(s)), an implied liturgical use (based on that form), a technical ecclesial use (as an honorific), and a historical/archeological use (as the roman civic building) and its attendent form. Additionally, in many cases these terms are not used consistently, as in the case of "cathedral" which in addition to the ecclesial meaning (the location of a bishop's cathedra) is also used to mean the principal church of a diocese or more generally a large or significant church, especially one in the form of a basilica. To address some of these issues, I have included a brief lexicon of the latin terms used in the prayers with a range of definitions.
One specific example of the need for a translation with greater attention to the architectural vocabulary merits particular attention because it also pertains to the editorial perspective of this site and significant faults within the profession. It is also the one choice that could be potentially controversial. The phrase in question comes from the fourth line of the hymn for matins:
4 Tunsiónibus, pressúris expolíti lápides suis coaptántur locis per manum artíficis; disponúntur permansúri sacris ædifíciis.
There are a number of English translations available, but this one (via Universalis) is representative. All of the English translations I found rendered the fourth line in the same way:
4. Shaped with blow and biting sculpture Polished well those stones elect, In their places now compacted By the heavenly Architect, Who therewith hath willed for ever That his palace should be decked.
Obviously meter and rhyme are the guiding considerations here. But for the consideration of the spiritual significance of architecture, the translation is unacceptable. First, there is nothing in the source text to suggest "heavenly." Second, manum (hand) is missing from the translation and this is a very important distinction when considering the nature of human creation. Although arguably architects should work with their hands, the use of "architect" instead of other creators/makers in fact signifies greater distance from the activity and the artifact. Third, although "architect" is a passable rendering of artifex because it combines multiple aspects of its definition, it is inappropriate to the context of manum and tunsiónibus, pressúris, coaptántur. Moreover, the word is artifex not architectus.
Further complications arise from the changing nature (reduction) of architecture as a profession and very specific additional meanings of the phrase "Heavenly Architect" or "Great Architect of the Universe."
The role and the place of the architect in society has changed over time and has become increasingly problematic, particularly as it has grown in specialization away from the manual crafts of building toward an idealized genius. As seen above, the concept of the "heavenly Architect" pre-dates the enlightenment. However, this image is of an architect in a medieval or earlier sense, one more accurately called master-builder or master craftsman in current terminology. Further, this image could as easily represent the idea of God "measuring the heavens" (cf. Isaiah 40.12) as drawing them into existence.
I use the term master-craftsman despite its historicism to recall this more holistic model of building practice:
4 By tension and oppression polished, stones are fit together in their places by the master-craftsman's hand, arranged permanently into a sacred building.
The name of "Great Architect of the Universe" came to its greatest prominence during the enlightenment and thus conforms to the model of specialized architecture. Thomas Jefferson epitomizes this concept of the practice which is rationalized to the point of absurdity where Monticello could be called agrarian. "Architect" became a term and concept for the divine preferred within Deism, which at best is overly reductive through its exclusive dependency on human reason. Its parallel with the "watchmaker" image further emphasizes the detached nature of the architect, which is neither true of God nor of the healthy practice of building. For the same reasons it also finds pride of place in Freemasonry as well. Deism in turn shaped the development of Unitarianism and constitutes the formative subtext of Frank Llyod Wright's spirituality.
The artifex here is not a detached worker following instructions with out ownership, nor is it an idealized detached genius designer. Modeling God's creative work on our own may be a step to comprehending the incomprehensible, but any name we give to God based on our human professions will, of course, be an insufficient approximation. Architectus is a demotion from Creator Spiritus.
Thus naming God the Architect takes on a particularly humanist cast. It calls to mind certain self-serving practitioners with self-determined spiritualities (Wright, of course, and Kahn...) who would recognize the Divine only in their own terms and think architects generally and themselves particularly as the best bringers of truth. By its nature, architecture seeks to order the world and therefore has a perilously short way to fall into hubris.
A Lexicon of Architectural Terms
Like the bulk of the content on this site, this is a preliminary effort intended to assist further study and not a completed scholarly work. Another long term project of mine is a lexicon of church architecture terms specifically structured to address definitions from form and use as and their development, use, and misuse.
All of these terms are the various types of sacred spaces.For this initial survey I have omitted words for the various building parts, furnishings, materials, etc. The one exception is titulus (in Hebrew matstsebah) because of its close association to Jacob's dream and proclamation which is the source of the phrase locus iste. Arguably monoliths define (without enclosing) sacred space which does not itself have a name and therefore merits inclusion.
The content of this lexicon is based on use in different translations of scripture and comparing word choice in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin Vulgate. I have included specific uses of these terms from the prayers, definitions of the Latin terms, and references to their use in scripture including concordance references.
Portæ nitent margarítis / ádytis paténtibus, / et virtúte meritórum / illuc introdúcitur / omnis qui ob Christi nomen / hic in mundo prémitur. Her gates shine with pearls / her inner sanctums are open / and by merit of their virtue / in that place are introduced / all who in Christ's name / in this world are oppressed.
1. Holy of Holies, innermost part of a shrine. (Numbered definitions taken from wiktionary.)
Adytum is also an English word and comes from Greek, literally "place not to be entered."
See sanctuarium below.
Adoráte Dóminum * in aula sancta euis. Adore the Lord * in his sacred forecourt.
1. court, forecourt of a house. 2. royal court. 3. (poetic) power of a prince.
The Hebrew word bayith (Strongs #1004) has many different translations depending on context and usually translated simply has domus (house). But when specifically in reference to royalty, the Vulgate uses aula (courts).
Aula has the form-meaning of a formal exterior courtyard and the use-meaning of royal public ceremony. When translated as court in English, the further association with a royal retinue
Concupíscit et défecit ánima mea * in átria Dómini. My soul longs and fails * for the atria of the Lord. [cf. Psalm 84.2]
"He said to me, 'Your son Solomon is the one who shall build My house (domum) and My courts (atria); for I have chosen him to be a son to Me, and I will be a father to him.'" [1 Chronicles 28.6 | NAS]
1. a welcoming room in a Roman villa; reception hall. 2. a hall, court in a temple
The Vulgate uses atria for the Hebrew chatser (Strongs #2691). Compared to aula, atria seems to have a more literal spatial meaning without the governing/judicial sense.
O quam metuéndus est * locus iste. Vere non est hic áliud nisi domus Dei, et porta cæli.How to be feared is + this place: * In truth this is none other, if not the house of God and the portal of heaven. [cf. Genesis 28.7]
Domus mea + domus oratiónis vocábitur, dicit Dóminus. My house + shall be called a house of prayer, says the Lord [cf. Isaiah 56.7]
1. a house, a home syn. 2. (poetic) any building or abode. 3. one's native place, one's country or home (confer patria) 4. a household, a family, a race
The Vulgate uses domus for the general meaning of the Hebrew bayith (Strongs #1004). This is the root for domestic and thereby has its own contentions in the discourse around church architecture theory. But the word seems to have a more formal/hereditary/clan connotations that our current constricted concept of immediate family.
Mérito tamen sollemnitátem matris Ecclésiæ christiáni pópuli fidéliter colunt, per quam se spiritáliter renátos esse cognóscunt. Christians rightly commemorate this feast of the church, their mother, for they know that through her they were reborn in the spirit. [A Sermon of St Caesarius of Arles, Bishop | Sermo 229]
Quóties ad ecclésiam venímus, qualem illam inveníre vólumus, tales et ánimas nostras præparáre debémus. Whenever we come to church, we must prepare our hearts to be as beautiful as we expect this church to be. [A Sermon of St Caesarius of Arles, Bishop | Sermo 229]
Ecclesiacomes from the Greek for "gathering" which was used by the early church for both the church as a body and the church as a building. As in modern English use of the word "church," in some cases both are meant in intentional ambiguity. The majority of New Testament uses refer to the church as assembly. In the reading for this day, St Ceasarius, a Bishop from the turn of the 6th, clearly uses ecclesia for both meanings.
Introíbo * in domum tuam Dómine, et adorábo ad templum sanctum tuum. I will enter * into your house, O Lord, and address adoration toward your sacred temple. [Psalm 5.7]
"I saw no temple in it; its temple is the Lord God Almighty, its temple is the Lamb." [Revelation 21.22 | Knox]
1. a temple, shrine, sacred place. 2. an open area, especially for augury
In the Vulgate, templum replaces the Hebrew heykal (Strongs #1964) and the Greek naos (Strongs #3485). Both are generally terms for sacred places, and both are used for the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. Additionally, both are used when referring to the metaphorical heavenly temple. Note that for Ezekiel 47, the Vulgate mixes domus and templi: domus when describing the building and templi when referring to the space of the altar (sanctuary).
In the sermon used for the nightwatch readings, St Ceasarius of Arles uses templum in addition to ecclesia and basilicam to refer to the church whose anniversary is the subject of his sermon. In the New Testament, templum is used most consistently in the sense of St Paul's "The temple of God is holy, and you are that temple."
Ecce tabernáculum Dei cum homínibus, et habitábit cum eis. Behold the tent of God with humanity, and he dwells with them. [cf. Revelatiom n 2.3]
Confitére Dómino in bono ópere / et bénedic regem sæculórum, * ut íterum tabernáculum tuum ædificétur in te cum gáudio. Give thanks to the Lord with good work / and bless the ruler forever, * so that they may build your tent with joy in you. [Tobit 13.10]
1. A tent. 2. A tabernacle.
The Latin word derives from taberna (“hut, cabin”) which in turn gives us the English tavern. The Vulgate has tabernaculum for the Hebrew mishkan (Strongs #4908) which has the meaning of a tent as a form and a dwelling as a use. Given the meaning of a nomadic textile dwelling, the connotation is more domestic and informal than domus even though this is opposite to contemporary usage and connection of tabernacle to The Tabernacle. The Vulgate also uses this word for the Greek skene (Strongs #4633) which is used in Hebrews to reference the tabernacle in Exodus. Skene has the additional meaning of theatrical scene or stage.
Dómine si convérsus fúerit pópulus tuus / et oráverit ad sanctuárium tuum * Exáudi preces in excélso sólio glóriæ tuæ. O Lord, if your people turn to repent / and pray toward your sanctuary * Hear their prayer from the elevated throne of your glory.
1. a shrine, sanctuary
Sanctuarium is the Latin equivalent in the Vulgate for the Hebrew noun qodesh (Strongs #6944) and the Greek hagios (Strongs #40) as in Hebrews 9.3.
In the Exodus Tabernacle [cf. Esodus 26], the outer sanctuary or "Holy Place" is called the sanctuarium (Hebrew qodesh) and the inner sanctuary or "Holy of Holies" or "Most Holy Place" which houses the ark is called sancta sanctorum (Hebrew qodesh haqqodasim, Greek agia agion).
Eréxit Iacob * lápidem in títulum, fundens óleum désuper. Jacob erected * a stone as a standing-stone, and poured oil over it. [cf. Genesis 28.18]
1. title. 2. placard, tablet. 3. inscription. 4. epitaph
For Genesis 28, the Vulgate gives titulus for the Hebrew matstsebah (Strongs #4676) despite the fact that nothing in the text explicitly suggests an inscription. Jacob is said to give the place a name ("Bethel"). Matstsebah has be variously translated into English as pillar, obelisk, stump, boundary marker, standing-stone, title, marker, monument, or sign. The nature of its construction—that Jacob turned a horizontal stone on its end—is clear from the scripture. This is a very common ancient monument variously called a menhir, standing stone, orthostat, megalith, monolith, etc depending on context and period. The practice in early Hebrew and surrounding cultures merits further study. It is also important to note that these words place it closer to a boundary/location marker than an altar, though the pouring out of oil has some similarities to sacrificial rites.
While on the subject of stones, on further distinction of note arose during the translation activity, that between petra and lapis.The clear contextual difference is that petra refers to a rock as found while lapis refers to a stone as worked, whether a carved stone or precious gem. In the commentary to these readings which will form a subsequent article, we will explore the very significant notion of sacred places which are found versus those which are created. (Hint: the scriptural examples are predominantly the former.) From this we can project the these three terms for stones roughly to van der Laan's three form-worlds: petra is the stone in its form in nature, lapis is the natural stone given meaning through cultural form, and titulus (at least as used here) is the stone elevated to the liturgical form-world.
Prayers, Antiphons, and Readings
O God, who from living and chosen stones an eternal dwelling prepares for your majesty + multiply in you Church the spirit of grace you have bestowed * so that your faithful people may perpetually increase & cultivate the celestial edifice Jerusalem.
For in your benevolence you are pleased to dwell in this house of prayer in order to perfect us as the temple of the Holy Spirit, supported by the perpetual help of your grace and resplendent with the glory of a life acceptable to you.
Year by year you sanctify the Church, the Bride of Christ, foreshadowed in visible buildings, so that, rejoicing as the mother of countless children, she may be given her place in your heavenly glory.
Abolish * your heads, city gates, and be lifted up, eternal portals.
Adore the Lord * in his sacred forecourt.
Be built up like living stones * into a spiritual house, a holy priesthood. [Cf. 1 Peter 2.5]
Blessed are those who dwell * in your house, O Lord, and praise you for ever and ever.
Blessed be * the glory of the Lord from his holy place, alleluia.
Erected and built * Moses an altar to the Lord God.
He will be to me * the Lord God: and this stone (lapis) there will be called the house of God.
How to be feared is + this place: * In truth this is none other, if not the house of God and the portal of heaven.
I will enter * into your house, O Lord, and address adoration toward your sacred temple. [Psalm 5.7]
Jacob erected * a stone as a standing-stone, and poured oil over it.
Jacob saw in his sleep a ladder, its highest part reaching to the heavens / and angles of God descending, and he affirmed: * In truth, this place is holy, alleluia.
Made sacred * by the Lord is his tent (tabernaculum). This is the house of God since this is where his name is invoked, as it is written: "and there my name shall be, says the Lord."
My house * shall be called a house of prayer.
Of stones precious + all your walls * and towers, O Jerusalem, shall be built bejeweled.
The Lord * is in his sacred temple: the Lord's throne is in heaven.
The temple of the Lord * is sacred, as is the structural craft of God, as is the built edifice of God.
This is none other * if not the house of God and the portal of heaven.
This is the house of the Lord * firmly built: well established on a firm faithful rock
Well established is * the house of the Lord, on a firm faithful rock
Who dwells * in the assistance of the Most High, in the protection of the God of heaven shall remain.
Your house, O Lord * is rightly adorned with sanctity, for the length of days.
Zacchaeus, he said, make haste and come down; I am to lodge to-day at your house. And he came down with all haste, and gladly made him welcome. [Luke 19.5-6 | Knox Translation]
℣ Your house O Lord is rightly adorned with sanctity. ℟ For the length of days.
℣ My house ℟ shall be called a house of prayer.
℣ This is the house of the Lord, firmly built, alleluia. ℟ It is well established on a firm faithful rock, alleluia.
℟ Your house O Lord * is rightly adorned with sanctity. (twice) ℣ For the length of days * is rightly adorned with sanctity. ℣ Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. * Your house O Lord is rightly adorned with sanctity.
℣ This is the house of the Lord, firmly built, ℟ ell established on a firm faithful rock.
℣ Your house, O Lord * is rightly adorned with sanctity. ℟ For the length of days.
℣ This place is holy, in which the priest prays, alleluia. ℟ For the failings and sins of the people, alleluia.
℣ This is the house of the Lord, firmly built, ℟ well established on a firm faithful rock
℟ This place is holy, * in which the priest prays. (twice) ℣ For the failings and sins of the people. * In which the priest prays. ℣ Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. * This place is holy, in which the priest prays.
℣ Your house, O Lord, is rightly adorned with sanctity. ℟ for the length of days.
Readings at Mass
Readings not translated from Latin are taken from the Knox translations revised to "you" (full text available here). Visit the USCCB site to read the NAB translations used in the Lectionary. And of course compare to your own preferred translation(s).
And last, he took me to the door of the temple (domus) itself, and shewed me where a stream of water flowed eastwards from beneath the threshold of it. Eastward the temple (domus) looked, and eastward these waters flowed, somewhat to the temple's (templi) right, so as to pass by the southern side of the altar… Mark it well, son of man, said he; and with that he brought me out on to the bank again; when I reached it, I found that there were trees growing thick on either hand. This stream, he told me, must flow eastward to the sand-dunes, and so fall into the desert; pass into the Dead Sea and beyond it, cleansing those waters by its passage. Wherever it flows, there shall be teeming life once again; in the Dead Sea itself there will be shoals of fish, once this stream has reached it, this stream that heals all things and makes all things live. … And on either bank of the stream fruit-trees shall grow of every kind; never leaf lost, never fruit cast; month after month they shall yield a fresh crop, watered by that sanctuary stream; fruit for man's eating, and medicinal leaves. [Ezekiel 47.1-2,8-9,12 | Knox Translation]
GOD is our refuge and stronghold; sovereign aid he has brought us in the hour of peril. Not for us to be afraid, though earth should tumble about us, and the hills be carried away into the depths of the sea. See how its waters rage and roar, how the hills tremble before its might! The Lord of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge. But the city of God, enriched with flowing waters, is the chosen sanctuary of the most High, God dwells within her, and she stands unmoved; with break of dawn he will grant her deliverance. Nations may be in turmoil, and thrones totter, earth shrink away before his voice; but the Lord of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge. Come near, and see God's acts, his marvellous acts done on earth; how he puts an end to wars all over the so world, the bow shivered, the lances shattered, the shields burnt to ashes! Wait quietly, and you shall have proof that I am God, claiming empire among the nations, claiming empire over the world. The Lord of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge. [Psalm 45(46) | Knox Translation]
You are a field of God's tilling, a structure of God's design; and we are only his assistants. With what grace God has bestowed on me, I have laid a foundation as a careful architect should; it is left for someone else to build upon it. Only, whoever builds on it must be careful how he builds. The foundation which has been laid is the only one which anybody can lay; I mean Jesus Christ. … Do you not understand that you are God's temple, and that God's Spirit has his dwelling in you? If anybody desecrates the temple of God, God will bring him to ruin. It is a holy thing, this temple of God which is nothing other than yourselves. [1 Corinthians 3.9-11,16-17 | Knox Translation]
"Alleluia, alleluia! I have chosen and consecrated this house, says the Lord, for my name to be there forever. Alleluia!" [Cf. 2 Ch 7.16]
And now the paschal feast which the Jews keep was drawing near, so Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And in the temple there he found the merchants selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the moneychangers sitting at their trade. So he made a kind of whip out of cords, and drove them all, with their sheep and oxen, out of the temple, spilling the bankers' coins and overthrowing their tables, and he said to the pigeon-sellers, Take these away, do not turn my Father's house into a place of barter. And his disciples remembered how it is written, I am consumed with jealousy for the honour of your house. Then the Jews answered him, What sign can you show us as your warrant for doing this? Jesus answered them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again. At which the Jews said, This temple took forty-six years to build, will you raise it up in three days? But the temple he was speaking of was his own body; and when he had risen from the dead his disciples remembered his saying this, and learned to believe in the scriptures, and in the words Jesus had spoken. [John 2.13-22 | Knox Translation]
(Per Universalis) [And so it shall be with the alien born, will they but throw in their lot with the Lord's worshippers, that cherish the love of his name; the Lord's servants that keep the sabbath inviolate, and are true to his covenant.] Free of the mountain that is my sanctuary, welcome guests in the house where men pray to me, not vainly to my altar they shall bring burnt-offering and sacrifice. Claimed my house shall be, for a house of prayer, by all the nations. [Isaiah 56.7 | Knox Translation]
(Per Vaals service book) I saw the sacred city, the new Jerusalem + descending out of heaven from God * prepared as a spouse adorned for her husband. [Revelation 21.2]
(Per Universalis) Do you not understand that you are God's temple, and that God's Spirit has his dwelling in you? If anybody desecrates the temple of God, God will bring him to ruin. It is a holy thing, this temple of God which is nothing other than yourselves. [1 Corinthians 3.16-17 | Knox Translation]
(Per Vaals service book) I heard, too, a voice which cried aloud from the throne, Here is God's tabernacle pitched among men; he will dwell with them, and they will be his own people, and he will be among them, their own God. [Revelation 21.3 | Knox Translation]
(Per Universalis) How can the temple of God have any commerce with idols? And you are the temple of the living God; God has told us so; I will live and move among them, and be their God, and they shall be my people. [2 Corinthians 6.16 | Knox Translation]
(Per Vaals service book) He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death, or mourning, or cries of distress, no more sorrow; those old things have passed away. And he who sat on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. [Revelation 21.4-5 | Knox Translation]
(Per Universalis) A little while now, the Lord of hosts says, and I mean to set heaven and earth, sea and dry land rocking; stirred all the nations shall be, hither shall come the prize the whole world treasures, and I will fill this temple with the brightness of my presence, says the Lord of hosts. Silver or gold, what matters it? the Lord of hosts says. Both are mine! Bright this new temple shall be, he tells you, as never the first was; here, he tells you, his blessing shall rest. [Haggai 2.6-7,9 | Knox Translation]
I saw the sacred city, the new Jerusalem + descending out of heaven from God * prepared as a spouse adorned for her husband. [Revelation 21.2 | Knox Translation]
Matins (Nightwatch) Readings and Responses
Then I saw a new heaven, and a new earth. The old heaven, the old earth had vanished, and there was no more sea. And I, John, saw in my vision that holy city which is the new Jerusalem, being sent down by God from heaven, all clothed in readiness, like a bride who has adorned herself to meet her husband. I heard, too, a voice which cried aloud from the throne, Here is God's tabernacle pitched among men; he will dwell with them, and they will be his own people, and he will be among them, their own God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death, or mourning, or cries of distress, no more sorrow; those old things have passed away. [Revelation 21.1-4 | Knox Translation]
℟ At the dedication of the temple + the people sang praise * and out of their mouths resounded sweet sounds.
℣ Founded is + the house of the Lord above the peaks of the mountains / and all tribes and peoples shall approach it. * and out of their mouths resounded sweet sounds.
And now an angel came and spoke to me, one of those seven who bear the seven cups charged with the seven last plagues. Come with me, he said, and I will show you that bride, whose bridegroom is the Lamb. And he carried me off in a trance to a great mountain, high up, and there showed me the holy city Jerusalem, as it came down, sent by God, from heaven, clothed in God's glory. The light that shone over it was bright as any precious stone, as the jasper when it is most like crystal; and a great wall was raised high all round it, with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and the names of the twelve tribes of Israel carved on the lintels; three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south, three on the west. The city wall, too, had twelve foundation stones; and these, too, bore names, those of the Lamb's twelve apostles. [Revelation 21.9-14 | Knox Translation]
℟ Founded is + the house of the Lord above the peaks of the mountains / and exalted above all hills * And all tribes and peoples shall approach it and say: / Glory be to you O Lord.
℣ They will come, moreover they will come with exultation / carrying their handfuls. * And all tribes and peoples shall approach it and say: / Glory be to you O Lord.
The angel who was speaking to me had a rod of gold for a rule, to measure the city, and its gates, and its wall. The city lies foursquare, the same in its length as in its breadth, and when he measured it with his rod, he counted twelve thousand furlongs. Length and breadth and height are everywhere equal. And when he measured its wall, he counted a hundred and forty-four cubits, reckoned by the measure of a man, that is, of an angel. The fashioning of its wall was of jasper, but the city itself was pure gold, that seemed to have the purity of glass. And the foundations of the city wall were worked in every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was a jasper, the second a sapphire, the third a chalcedony, the fourth an emerald; the fifth a sardonyx, the sixth a sardius, the seventh a chrysolite, the eighth a beryl; the ninth a topaz, the tenth a chrysoprase, the eleventh a jacynth, the twelfth an amethyst. [Revelation 21.15-19 | Knox Translation]
℟ Bless and praise + O Lord, this your house which I have erected in your name: / whoever approaches unto this place * Hear their prayer from the elevated throne of your glory.
℣ O Lord, if your people repent / and pray toward your sanctuary * Hear their prayer from the elevated throne of your glory.
[And the twelve gates were twelve single pearls, one pearl for each gate; and the street of the city was of pure gold, that seemed like transparent glass. I saw no temple in it; its temple is the Lord God Almighty, its temple is the Lamb.] Nor had the city any need of sun or moon to show in it; the glory of God shone there, and the Lamb gave it light. The nations will live and move in its radiance; the kings of the earth will bring it their tribute of praise and honour. All day the gates will never be shut (there will be no night there), as the nations flock into it with their honour and their praise. Nothing that is unclean, no source of corruption or deceit can ever hope to find its way in; there is no entrance but for those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life. [Revelation 21.22-27 | Knox Translation]
℟ Terrible is + this place: / this is none other, if not the house of God and the portal of heaven * In truth, the Lord is in this place and I did not comprehend it.
℟ Jacob saw in his sleep a ladder, its highest part reaching to the heavens / and angles of God descending and ascending, and he affirmed: * In truth, the Lord is in this place and I did not comprehend it.
℣ Glory to the Gather and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit * In truth, the Lord is in this place and I did not comprehend it.
My fellow Christians, today is the birthday of this church (templi), an occasion for celebration and rejoicing. We, however, ought to be the true and living temple (templum) of God. Nevertheless, Christians rightly commemorate this feast of the church (Ecclesiæ), their mother, for they know that through her they were reborn in the spirit. At our first birth, we were vessels of God’s wrath; reborn, we became vessels of his mercy. Our first birth brought death to us, but our second restored us to life. [A Sermon of St Caesarius of Arles, Bishop | Sermo 229]
℟ If they pray + toward this place * dismiss the sins of your people, O God, and show then the good way, wherein they should walk / and your glory in this place.
℣ You who rule Israel, attend / who leads Joseph like a sheep, who sits over the cherubim: * dismiss the sins of your people, O God, and show then the good way, wherein they should walk / and your glory in this place.
Indeed, before our baptism we were sanctuaries of the devil (fana diáboli); but after our baptism we merited the privilege of being temples of Christ (templa Christi). And if we think more carefully about the meaning of our salvation, we shall realise that we are indeed living and true temples of God. God does not dwell only in things made by human hands, nor in homes of wood and stone, but rather he dwells principally in the soul made according to his own image and fashioned by his own hand. Therefore, the apostle Paul says: The temple of God is holy, and you are that temple. [A Sermon of St Caesarius of Arles, Bishop | Sermo 229]
℟ How to be feared is + this place: * In truth this is none other, if not the house of God and the portal of heaven.
℣ This is the house of the Lord, firmly built / well established on a firm faithful rock * In truth this is none other, if not the house of God and the portal of heaven.
When Christ came, he banished the devil from our hearts, in order to build in them a temple for himself. Let us therefore do what we can with his help, so that our evil deeds will not deface that temple. For whoever does evil, does injury to Christ. As I said earlier, before Christ redeemed us, we were the house of the devil, but afterward, we merited the privilege of being the house of God. God himself in his loving mercy saw fit to make of us his own home. [A Sermon of St Caesarius of Arles, Bishop | Sermo 229]
℟ In the morning Jacob arose + and erected a stone as a standing-stone, and poured oil over it / dedicated a vow to the Lord: * In truth this place is sacred, and I did not comprehend it.
℣ When Jacob had awoken from sleep, he said: * In truth this place is sacred, and I did not comprehend it.
My fellow Christians, do we wish to celebrate joyfully the birth of this temple? Then let us not destroy the living temples of God in ourselves by works of evil. I shall speak clearly, so that all can understand. Whenever we come to church (ad ecclesiam), we must prepare our hearts to be as beautiful as we expect this church to be. Do you wish to find this basilica immaculately clean? Then do not soil your soul with the filth of sins. Do you wish this basilica to be full of light? God too wishes that your soul be not in darkness, but that the light of good works shine in us, so that he who dwells in the heavens will be glorified. Just as you enter this church building (ecclesiam), so God wishes to enter into your soul, for he promised: I shall live in them, I shall walk through their hearts. [A Sermon of St Caesarius of Arles, Bishop | Sermo 229]
℟ How lovely are + your tents (tabernacula), virile God: / my soul longs and fails * for the atria of the Lord. [cf. Psalm 84.2]
℟ Those who dwell in your house, O Lord / for ever and ever praise you * in the atria of the Lord.
℣ Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit * in the atria of the Lord.
You must put aside, then, every trace of ill will and deceitfulness, your affectations, the grudges you bore, and all the slanderous talk; you are children new-born, and all your craving must be for the soul's pure milk, that will nurture you into salvation, once you have tasted, as you have surely tasted, the goodness of the Lord. Draw near to him; he is the living antitype of that stone which men rejected, which God has chosen and prized; you too must be built up on him, stones that live and breathe, into a spiritual fabric; you must be a holy priesthood, to offer up that spiritual sacrifice which God accepts through Jesus Christ. [1 Peter 2.1-5 | Knox Translation]
℟ My house + shall be called a house of prayer, says the Lord: / in it all who desires and asks, receives, and who seeks, discovers * and who knocks will have it opened.
℣ Desire and ask, and you shall receive * and who knocks will have it opened.
So you will find in scripture the words, Behold, I am setting down in Sion a corner-stone, chosen out and precious; those who believe in him will not be disappointed. Prized, then, by you, the believers, he is something other to those who refuse belief; the stone which the builders rejected has become the chief stone at the corner, a stone to trip men's feet, a boulder they stumble against. They stumble over God's word, and refuse it belief; it is their destiny. Not so you; you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a people God means to have for himself; it is yours to proclaim the exploits of the God who has called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. Time was when you were not a people at all, now you are God's people; once you were unpitied, and now his pity is yours. [1 Peter 2.6-10 | Knox Translation]
℟ Of stones + precious all your walls * and towers, O Jerusalem, shall be built bejeweled.
℣ The gates of Jerusalem of sapphire and emerald shall be built / and of precious stones all your encircling walls * and towers, O Jerusalem, will be built bejeweled.
Beloved, I call upon you to be like strangers and exiles, to resist those natural appetites which besiege the soul. Your life amidst the Gentiles must be beyond reproach; decried as malefactors, you must let them see, from your honourable behaviour, what you are; they will praise God for you, when his time comes to have mercy on them. For love of the Lord, then, bow to every kind of human authority; to the king, who enjoys the chief power, and to the magistrates who hold his commission to punish criminals and encourage honest men. To silence, by honest living, the ignorant chatter of fools; that is what God expects of you. Free men, but the liberty you enjoy is not to be made a pretext for wrong-doing; it is to be used in God's service. [1 Peter 2.11-16 | Knox Translation]
℟ Blessed are you + in the sacred temple of your glory, which is built (of/by) your name, O Lord.
℣ Bless this house which I have built * To the praise and glory of your name, O Lord.
Give all men their due; to the brethren, your love; to God, your reverence; to the king, due honour. You who are slaves must be submissive to your masters, and show all respect, not only to those who are kind and considerate, but to those who are hard to please. It does a man credit when he bears undeserved ill treatment with the thought of God in his heart. If you do wrong and are punished for it, your patience is nothing to boast of; it is the patience of the innocent sufferer that wins credit in God's sight. Indeed, you are engaged to this by the call of Christ; he suffered for our sakes, and left you his own example; you were to follow in his footsteps. [1 Peter 2.17-21 | Knox Translation]
℟ I saw + the holy city, the new Jerusalem / descending from heaven having been prepared by God * And I head a great voice from the throne saying: / behold the tent (tabernaculum) of God with humanity, and he dwells with them.
℟ And his people they shall be / and God himself with them will be their God. * And I head a great voice from the throne saying:
℣ Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. * Behold the tent (tabernaculum) of God with humanity, and he dwells with them.
Canticle I [Tobit 13.8-22]
Bless the Lord, all his elect, / and all praise his majesty. * establish days of celebration and give him praise. Jerusalem, sacred city, * flogged for the works of your hands. Give thanks to the Lord with good work / and bless the ruler forever, * so that they may build your tent (tabernaculum) with joy in you. And make happy in you all those captive * and beloved in you all those miserable, for ever and ever. Light splendid will flash in all ends of the earth; * many nations will come to you from a great distance, And from the newest part of the earth to the sacred place of your name * with offerings in their hands, holding them for ruler of heaven. From generation to generation they will offer to you in joy, * and the names of the elect will exist for ever and ever. A curse on all those who will speak a harsh word of you. * A curse will be on all those who depose you and demolish your walls, And all those who subvert your towers * and who set fire to your dwellings. And blessed will be all those, * who fear you in eternity. As it was in the beginning, is now, will be forever, to the end of days.
Canticle II [Tobit 13-16a]
Then take pleasure in and rejoice in the children of the just, * for they will be gathered and bless the Lord of eternity. Fortunate are those who love you, * and fortunate those who rejoice in your peace. And blessed are all people * who will grieve with you in all your scourges, For the will rejoice in you * and will see all your joy for eternity. My soul, bless the Lord, the great ruler, / for in the city of Jerusalem will be established * that house for all ages. I will be happy, if my offspring will have survived * to have seen your clarity and acknowledged the ruler of heaven. Glory to the Father and Son * and Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, will be forever * to the end of days.
Canticle III [Tobit 16b-18]
The doors of Jerusalem shall be built of gold, * and its bulwarks of pure gold. The plazas of Jerusalem will be paved with carbuncles * and stones from Ophir. And to the doors of Jerusalem they will declare canticles of great joy * and speak to all her quarters the Alleluia. Blessed by the God of Israel, / and bless those who bless the sacred name * for ever and ever. Glory to the Father and Son * and Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, will be forever * to the end of days. Amen.
Hymn for Matins
City of Jerusalem, blessed called Peaceful Vision, who was constructed in heaven of living stones, is with angels crowned like a bride companion.
Coming fresh from heaven to the wedding chamber prepared, so that undefiled she should be bound to the Lord. Her plazas and walls are of pure gold.
Her gates shine with pearls her inner sanctums (adytis) are open and by merit of their virtue in that place are introduced all who in Christ's name in this world are oppressed.
By tension and oppression polished, stones are fit together in their places by the master-craftsman's hand, arranged permanently into a sacred building.
Glory and honor to God continuously in the highest, to one Father, to the Son and to the Holy Breathing, whose praise and power through eternal ages.
Hymn at Lauds and Vespers
A right foundation stone is Christ who has been sent; who walls from parts together he has fastened and united; who sacred Zion has recieved and in whose belief she persists.
All that God-dedicated and beloved city, a full measure of praise and melodious singing with joy to the Triune God alone with fervor proclaims.
To this temple, the most high God, is persuaded to arrive and in gentle goodness receive prayerful vows; abundant blessing pour into them continually.
Let these deserve to aquire the sought and to possess the obtained with the saints forever: to enter Paradise, transferred into rest.
Glory and honor to God continuously in the highest, to one Father, to the Son and to the Holy Breathing, whose praise and power through eternal ages.