Pater noster [Lord’s Prayer]
- John Boe
The prayer that Christ taught his disciples (Matthew vi.9–13; Luke xi.2–4). Variants of the biblical texts reflect early Aramaic-Syriac and Greek oral traditions as well as liturgical and semi-liturgical accretions. The liturgical Latin text was established within the Roman rite by the early 7th century; Pope Gregory I moved it from its place after the Fraction in the Mass to its present position after the Eucharistic Prayer, as in the Eastern rites. In Gregory’s reform it was recited only by the celebrant. The exordium introducing the prayer and a simple form of the concluding embolism (beginning ‘Libera nos quesumus domine ab omnibus malis’) may also date from Gregory’s time; but similar accretions are found in Eastern and in other Latin rites (see Boe, 1998). The prayer also originally concluded each service of the Divine Office, where it was prayed silently, the officiant raising his voice only at the phrase ‘Et ne nos inducas in temptationem’ so that all might answer ‘Sed libera nos a malo’; but according to the Rule of St Benedict the prayer was to be sung aloud at the end of Lauds and Vespers by the senior monk present....