CDW, The New Latin Edition of the Texts for the Chant of the Lord’s Passion, 8 February 1989.

1. Among the liturgical books, which are used for the more solemn celebration of Holy Week, there is the traditional chant book of the Lord’s passion.

For many years since the renewal of the sacred liturgy, other books have been recognized and are customarily used in liturgical assemblies. Now a renewed text of the passion narrative is offered for use.

The particular beauty of this text’s chant, created according to the Latin liturgical tradition, admirably brings out the important place of the passion narrative on Palm Sunday and Good Friday.

In the new edition of this book, the text of the Nova vulgata Bibliorum Sacrorum editio replaces the Latin text of the old Vulgate, in accordance with the norms of the apostolic constitution of the Supreme Pontiff, John Paul II, Scripturarum thesaurus, promulgated April 25, 1979.

Since the change to the text of the new Vulgate required a new edition of the ancient melodies, it seemed opportune to insert, in addition to the traditional one, another tone taken from the authentic sources of Gregorian chant: both are equal in nobility, beauty and formal qualities.

In this way, in accord with art. 114 of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum concilium, the treasure of sacred music is both preserved and further increased.

The present edition may be used in Holy Week celebrations as soon as it is published.

From the Congregation for Divine Worship, February 8, 1989, Ash Wednesday.


1. The passion narrative is sung by three singers: the part of Christ (+), the part of the narrator or chronista (C) and the part of the people or synagogue (S).

The passion is proclaimed by deacons, or if none is present, by priests, or if these are lacking, by lectors; in which case the part of Christ must be reserved for the celebrating priest.

2. For the chanting of the passion, three bare lecterns are set on the floor of the sanctuary.

3. Candles and incense are not used.

4. While the gospel verse is sung, the deacons, carrying the book of the passion at chest height, accompanied by two acolytes or ministers, bowing before the priest, seek a blessing and say in a low voice: “Iube, domne, benedicere.”

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The priest says in a low voice: “Dominus sit in cordibus vestris et in labiis vestris ut digne et competenter annuntietis Evangelium suum: in nomine Patris, et Filii + et Spiritus Sancti.”

The deacons respond: “Amen.”

If the lectors are not deacons, they do not seek a blessing. In a Mass at which a bishop presides, the priests who, in the absence of deacons, sing or read the passion narrative, seek and receive a blessing from the bishop.

5. Afterwards, the deacons together with the acolytes, when they have made a reverence, proceed to the lecterns. The deacon who takes the part of Christ stands in the middle; at his right, the one who takes the narrator’s part; at his left, the one who takes the people’s part.

6. The Lord’s passion is begun immediately: “Dominus vobiscum” is not said, nor the response “Gloria tibi, Domine.” As they begin to sing, the deacons sign neither themselves nor the book.

7. After the death of the Lord is announced, all genuflect in their places and pause for a moment.

8. When the chanting of the passion is finished, the deacon who took the narrator’s part, says: “Verbum Domini,” and all acclaim: “Laus tibi, Christe.”

9. The book of the passion is not kissed by anyone. The deacons, bearing the book, return together with the acolytes to their seats and the lecterns are removed.

CDW, 8 February 1989, Decree and Introductory Notes, Notitiae 25 (1989): 858-859.