REQUIEM: Reason and Time of Celebration. The mass for the dead or for the repose of the souls of the faithful. The name is derived from the opening words of the introit, Requiem ternam dona eis ("rest eternal grant unto them"). It forms the principal part of the Roman Catholic burial service, since only with the offering of the eucharistic sacrifice of the requiem mass does the act of the Church become an effectual intercession with God for the soul of the faithful. Normally the requiem should be immediately connected with the burial service and precede the interment; and it should, therefore, follow the reception of the body by the Church. In the Greek Church, this is the permanent custom; the Roman Church, on the other hand, permits deviation when local, hygienic, or liturgical reasons make it inadvisable to celebrate the mass for the dead before interment. In this case, it must follow the burial, either on the same day, if possible, in connection with the burial ceremonies, which should then take place early in the morning; or else on one of the two days following. According to the rule, the coffin should be brought into the church and placed before the altar to signify the connection of the eucharistic sacrifice with the dead, and to characterize it as an act performed expressly in his behalf. If the burial has already taken place, a catafalque, draped in black, is substituted for the coffin. The burial service is incomplete without the requiem; the latter, on the other hand, in itself constitutes a full and sufficient act. It is repeated at regular intervals, as on the anniversary of death; in the early Church and in the Greek Church on the third, ninth, and fortieth day after death; and in the Roman Church on the third, seventh, and thirtieth day.
Ritual. The basis of the requiem is the same as that of every other mass, but the special occasion, the mourning, the profound underlying resignation, and the particular purpose of intercession for the repose of the soul of the faithful are clearly emphasized by the character imparted to the ordinary of the mass. Black, being the color of mourning, is appropriate to the requiem. As during the Passion-tide, the hallelujah is omitted after the gradual; in its stead appears the tract and the sequence "Dies iræ," with the exception of the original three opening verses and the addition of the closing one. The sequence originally used on the first Sunday of Advent was incorporated in the office for the dead. Neither the Gloria nor the creed is said or sung, the latter omission being peculiar to the requiem. In the Agnus Dei, dona eis requiem (sempiternam) is substituted for miserere nobis and dona nobis pacem. The closing benediction is not used, since the absolution and the benediction of the dead immediately follow. Instead of the Ite, missa est, the words Requiescant in pace are pronounced. Besides this, as the office concerns only the departed, all commemorations of a festival nature and for the living are omitted, such as the incensing of the faithful and the blessing of the water at the sacrifice. After the close of the mass, the priest, with the ministrants, descends the steps of the altar, approaches the coffin (or the catafalque), and, while it is incensed and aspersed, pronounces the absolution and benediction according to the prescribed ritual. The early Church was content with appropriate interpolations (cf. the form of intercession for the dead in the Apostolic Constitutions, viii. 41), many of which have been preserved in the Roman missal. The Greek Church has no special form for the mass celebrated at the burial, or for that said for the dead; at the prothesis a portion of the oblates is designated by the name of the dead for whom the mass is celebrated, and a short commemoration is incorporated in the prayer. A requiem mass may be either public (or solemn), or private. In the former case it is choral, incense is used, and two or more of the clergy officiate; in the latter case the mass is simply read and a single priest officiates.
Musical Settings. Strictly speaking, even in a choral requiem the music should be kept in the background; the organ should not accompany the responses; and the very character of the requiem forbids the use of other musical instruments. The singing should be confined to a musically embellished enunciation of the words of the liturgy. If given in a dignified and appropriate manner, a choral rendering of a requiem mass is, from a musical point of view, a unity, and a deeply impressive artistic creation. Nevertheless, it is quite comprehensible that a more developed musical art, when once admitted to a share in the liturgy, should turn with special favor to the requiem. Indeed, the "Dies iræ," with its wealth of varying emotions and its imagery, seems almost to challenge creative fancy to a musical reproduction and representation. Accordingly, all periods and styles of modern music have participated in the composition of requiems. It is true that in these efforts musical art has not confined itself to the limits set by the liturgical purpose of the requiem, since in the interest of a fuller rendering all means of expression and all the wealth of orchestral harmony have been employed. The requiem has thus become an independent musical creation, artistically complete in itself and suggesting the oratorio; it no longer has the sacrifice but the "Dies iræ" for its central point; and only the designation of the separate parts suggests its liturgical origin.
H. A. KÖSTLIN.