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Apareilementum (Servissi):
General Confession Lithurgy from the Lyon Ritual

Archive Notes

The Apareilementum (also given as Apparellamentum) or Servissi (Service) is believed to have been a monthly Cathar rite involving a public and a solemn confession, identical to the earliest form of confession known in the Christian Church. It is found only in the Occitan Cathar Ritual (Lyon Ritual), the most important extant manuscript of Cathar ritual.

There is some uncertainty whether the ceremony was retstricted to the Elect or required of all Credentes. According to the opinion of Jean Duvernoy, the rite was restricted to the Elect.

A reasonable version of the text is given below, followed by the original text from the Cathar Ritual (Lyon Ritual) in Occitan. This translation (of unidentified first source) more closely follows the Occitan than does the version in Walter L. Wakefield and Austin P. Evans, Heresies of the High Middle Ages (2nd ed., New York: Columbia University Press, 1991), p. 484-5.

This version of the text is one of the mysteries of the Gnosis Archive. We transcribed it around 1995 while first putting together this collection, and we never identified a published source. It has now been reproduced widely around the internet without a citation, and so we preserve it here with some further corrections based on the Occitan text. Whatever the source of this version, it is interesting to carefully read the English text and then try to read the Occitan. If you have some familiarity with Romance languages, you will be able to hear the Occitan voice. This was the poetic tongue of the time, it reached across France and Spain to Galicia; it was the language of many Troubadours. Give it a try -- read the two texts, see where the translation differs. Listen to the first voice of the text....

- Lance S. Owens

The Apareilementum: Servissi
General Confession Liturgy

We have come before God and before you and before the ordinances of the Holy Church that we may receive pardon and penance for all our sins in thought, word and deed from our birth until now and we ask of God mercy and of you that you pray for us to the Holy Father of Mercy that He forgive us.

Let us worship God and declare all our sins and numerous offences in the sight of the Father, the Son and the honoured Holy Spirit, of the honoured Holy Gospels and the honoured Holy Apostles, by prayer and faith and by the salvation of all the upright and glorious Christians and blessed ancestors asleep and here present, for their sake we ask you, holy lord, to pardon all our sins.

Benedicte, Parcite Nobis. (Bless and have mercy upon us)
- Amen.

For numerous are the sins by which we daily offend God, night and day, in thought, in word and deed, wittingly and unwittingly, and especially by the desires the evil spirits bring to us in the flesh which clothes us.

Benedicte, Parcite Nobis.
- Amen.

Whereas we are taught by God`s Holy Word as well as by the Holy Apostles and the preaching of our spiritual brothers to reject all fleshly desire and all uncleanness and to do the will of God by doing good we, unworthy servants that we are, not only do not do the will of God as we should, but more often give way to desires of the flesh and the cares of the world, to such an extent that we wound our spirits.

Benedicte, Parcite Nobis.

We go with those who are of the world, mixing with them, talking and eating with them, and sinning in many things so that we wound our brothers and our sisters.

Benedicte, Parcite Nobis.
- Amen.

By our tongues we fall into idle words, vain talk, mockery and malice, detraction of our brothers and sisters whom we are not worthy to judge nor to condemn their faults. Among Christians we are sinners.

Benedicte, Parcite Nobis.
- Amen.

The penance which we received we have not observed as we ought to have done, neither the fasting nor the prayer. We have wasted our days and hours. While we are saying the Holy Prayer our senses are diverted to carnal desires and worldly cares, so that at this moment we hardly know what we can offer to the Father of the Just.

Benedicte, Parcite Nobis.
- Amen.

O Thou Holy and Good Lord, all those things that have befallen us in our senses and in our thought we confess, Holy Lord, and all our many sins we place on the mercy of God and on the Holy Prayer and on the Holy Gospel.

Benedicte, Parcite Nobis.
- Amen.

O Lord, judge and condemn the imperfections of the flesh. Have no pity on the flesh, born of corruption, but show mercy to the spirit which is imprisoned therein. Direct for us the days, hours, and obeisances, as is the custom of good Christians, that we be not judged or condemned with the unjust at the Day of Judgment.

Benedicte, Parcite Nobis.
- Amen.


The Occitan text is found in the critical edition of the Lyon Ritual at Rialto:


[2.1] Nos em vengut denant Deu, e denant vos, e denant l’azordenament de santa Gleisa per recebre servisi, e perdo, e penedensia de tuit li nostri pecat li qual avem fait, ni dig, ni pessatz, ni obratz del nostre naissement entro fin a-/236b/ora; e quirem misericordia a Deu et a vos, que vos preguetz per nos lo Paire sanh de misericordia que nos perdo.

[2.2] Adorem Deu e manifestem tuit li nostre pecat e las nostras moutas greus ofensios az esgardament del Paire e del Fil e de l’onorat Sant Esperit, e dels onoratz sanhs Avangelis, e dels onoratz sanhs Apostols per la Oracio, e per la fe, e per la salvatio de tuit li dreiturers gloriosses crestias, e dels bonauratz durmentz ancesors, e dels fraires enaviro estant, e denant vos, sanh Senhor, que nos perdonetz tot ço en que nos pequem. [2.3] Benedicite, parcite nobis.

[2.4] Quar moutz so les nostres pecatz els quals nos ofendem a minca dia, per nuit e per dia, en paraula, et en obra, e segon cossirer, ab volontat e senes volontat, e plus per la nostra volotat, la qual denant nos aportan les malignes esperitz en las carns que vestem.

[2.5] Benedicite, parcite nobis.

[2.6] Mais aissi cum la santa Paraula de Deu nos essenha, e li sanh a-/236c/postol e li nostri frairi esperital nos o anoncian, que nos degitem tot desirer de la carn, e tota lagesa, e fazam la volontat de Deu el perfeit Ben cumplit.

[2.7] Mais noi serve[n] [n]ualhos no fazem solament la volontat de Deu enaissi cum se covengra, mais sovendeirament azomplem li desirer de la carn en las curas seglars, si c’als nostres esperitz nozem.

Benedicite, parcite nobis.

[2.9] Cum la gent mondana andam, cum lor essems estam, e parlam, e majam, e de moutas causas ofendem, si qu’als nostres fraires et als nostres esperitz nozem.

[2.10] Benedicite, parcite nobis.

[2.11] De las nostras lengas cazem em paraulas ossiossas, en vas parlamentz, en ris, en esquers, e malesas, en retrazement de fraires e de serors dels quals nos no em digne de jujar ni de cumdampnar li ofendement dels fraires e de las seros.

[2.12] Entre·ls crestias estam pecadors.

[2.13] Benedicite, parcite nobis.

[2.14] Lo servisi que receubem, no·l ga[r]dem aissi cum se covengra, lo /236d/ dejuni ni la Oracio; nostres dias traspassem, nostras oras pervericam; nos estant en la santa Oracio, nostre sen se desvia els desirers carnals, en las curas seglars, si que en aquela ora a penas sabem qual causa ufrem al Paire dels justz.

[2.15] Benedicite, parcit[e] nobis.

[2.16] O tu, sant e bo Senhor, totas aquelas causas que a nos endevengro al nostre sen et al nostre cosirer, a tu las manifestam, sanh Senhor, e tota la moutesa dels pecatz pausam en la misericordia de Deu, et en la santa Oracio, et en lo sant Avangeli.

[2.17] Quar moutz so los nostres pecatz.

[2.18] Benedicite, parcite nobis.

[2.19] O Senhor, juja e cumdapna los vises de la carn.

[2.20] No ajas merce de la carn nada de corumptio, mais ajas merce de l’esperit pausat en carcer.

[2.21] E aministra a nos dias, e oras, e venias, e dejunis, e Oracios, e presicatios enaissi cum es costuma de bos crestias, que nos no siam jujat ni cumdampnat al dia /237a/ del judici cum li felo.

[2.22] Benedicite, parcite nobis.


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