This celebration of the extraordinary form of the Roman rite illustrates the late medieval practice of proclaiming the scriptures from without the sanctuary in the nave during an era after the ambos were dismantled (beginning in the 1400s) rather than by returning to the use of the ambo according to the fullness of the early Roman liturgy.


The gospel procession begins at: 46:28

In the fullness of the early Roman liturgy the ambo was located in the midst of the nave. The deacon stood on the same side of the church as the mid-day sun and stood facing across the church, as it were with the rays of the mid-day sun shining across the church. On the opposite side of the ambo the lector proclaimed the epistle while facing toward the apse of the church. This was the arrangement of early Roman basilicas with apses facing toward the sunset. In the Carolingian era churches were more commonly built with their apses facing toward the sunrise, but the place of proclamation of the gospel remained on the same side of the church as the mid-day sun and the deacon continued to face across the church, with the rays of the mid-day sun shining across the church, to proclaim the gospel. As this arrangement became standardised, the proclamation of the gospel became fixed on this the right hand side of church regardless of which way the church faced.

In the 1100s the proclamation of the scriptures was transferred to the altar. When they did this they preserved marginally the direction that the deacon faced for the proclamation of the gospel. To do this, both ministers switched sides of the church. Now the deacon stood on the left side of the altar so that the book of the gospels could be placed at an angle and the deacon could marginally face across the church. In preserving the direction the deacon faced, the proclamation of the gospel had to switch from the right to the left side of church. The lesser reading, the epistle, by default took the right side of the altar, again the opposite side of church as previously done, but the lector continued to face toward the apse.

After the readings had moved to the altar, and thus switched sides of church, this arrangement was then adapted to the solemn liturgy in the video, not by returning to the old ambo arrangement, but by transferring the readings as done at the altar to the nave on their respective new sides of the church. The gospel side of the altar was transferred to the left side of the nave and the epistle side of the altar was transferred to the right side of the nave. In the video both readings are proclaimed once again outside the sanctuary and in the nave, but now on the opposite sides of church as was previously done in the fullness of the early Roman liturgy celebrated with an ambo in the nave. In the video the deacon once again faces with the rays of the mid-day sun shining across the church, so called ad barbaros, and the lector proclaims the epistle facing toward the apse.

The same thing happened right after Vatican II when the readings were proclaimed facing the people, the gospel on the same side of church as the deacon in this video and the epistle on the other side side as in the video. The video represents an awkward adolescence, neither the fullness of the early Roman liturgy, but a liturgy already in transition to the current form.

The video represents an awkward adolescence, neither the fullness of the early Roman liturgy, but a liturgy already in transition to the current form.

Source of the video: http://www.restore-dc-catholicism.blogspot.it/2018/04/todays-solemn-pontifical-high-mass-at.html.