Introit(i) (from Lat. introitus)
- James W. McKinnon
(from Lat. introitus)
The first of the Proper or variable chants of the Mass. It is sung, as its name suggests, during the entrance of the celebrant and his ministers at the beginning of the Mass.
The 8th-century Ordines romani describe the introit as an antiphon and psalm that was sung by the Schola Cantorum as the pope moved in procession down the centre of the basilica from the secretarium (a room near the entrance where he vested) to a position before the main altar. According to Ordo romanus I, when the pope arrived at the altar he nodded to the singers, who then broke off chanting the psalm to conclude with the Gloria Patri and a final repetition of the antiphon. Outside Rome, in subsequent centuries, the practice of singing a full psalm was replaced by the singing of a single verse, the probable reason being that the celebrant approached the altar from a sacristy in the vicinity of the sanctuary rather than from the secretarium at the church's entrance as at Rome. The verse sung was generally the first available from the relevant psalm, for example, the second verse if the antiphon itself derived its text from the first verse, or the first verse if the antiphon used a later verse or a text from some other source. A frequently encountered peculiarity in the early history of the introit is the ...