Glagolitic Mass, Glagolitic chant
- Geoffrey Chew
The term ‘Glagolitic’ (neo-Lat. glagoliticus, from Croatian glagoljica: ‘the Glagolitic alphabet’; related to Old Church Slavonic glagolŭ, ‘word’) refers to a distinctive alphabet devised for the Slavonic literary language in the 9th century by Constantine (monastic name, Cyril) and Methodius, apostles of the Slavs. By extension it is used to refer to the Catholic (as opposed to Orthodox) Mass translated into Church Slavonic, and to compositions such as the Glagolitic Mass of Leoš Janáček that are settings of such texts, whether written in the original alphabet or transcribed into Latin letters. ‘Glagolitic chant’ or ‘Glagolitic singing’ (glagoljaško pjevanje) refers in a broader sense to a repertory of paraliturgical as well as liturgical Catholic chant in the Slavonic vernacular transmitted orally, principally in Croatia.
In 862 Prince Rostislav requested the Byzantine Emperor to send a Slav-speaking mission to Great Moravia. Accordingly, Cyril and Methodius in 863 established the Catholic liturgy there, and with it a centre for the Catholic faith within the whole of Slavonic Europe. Since that time, in Catholic Slavonic countries, a continuous tradition of the Catholic Slavonic or Glagolitic liturgy has existed side by side with the Latin liturgy of the Western Church, even though subject to some local interruptions. Early sources include fragments of a 10th–11th-century sacramentary at Kiev (...