Traditional Latin Mass at the Main Altar of Catholic Cathedral Church in Moscow
This year the Jubilee celebration of the Society of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus took place with a High Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Holy Virgin Mary in Moscow.
The Extraordinary Form Mass has been offered regularly in the Chapel of the Cathedral Church in Moscow since 2008, but today’s event is special, as it is the first time since in many decades since the Traditional Latin Mass was celebrated at the Cathedral’s main altar.
The Celebrant was Father Thomas Huber from Augsburg, Germany. The Moscow community invited him to offer the solemn Mass in commemoration of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus on June 27th. The responsibilities for organizing the Liturgy were led by his brother, Mr. Gregor Huber, the Chairman of the Management Board of the Society of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in Moscow.
The Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Most Sacred Hear of Jesus in honor of the love embodied by the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who sacrificed Himself for us on the cross. Only His sacrificial love could redeem mankind. In gratitude for divine blessings and abundance of graces received from the loving Heart of Jesus, the believers wanted to celebrate the Mass in an especially solemn manner at the main altar of the Cathedral. The hymns corresponding to the Mass were performed by the Gregorian chant choir of the Moscow Cathedral The Mass also featured festive clerical vestments, beautiful liturgical items, solemn incense burning, high altar candles and magnificent candlesticks. We all know that the celebration should be made internally, within the soul: through the prayer for absolution, contrition of the heart and special devotion to the Sacred Heard of Jesus, the believers wanted to devote themselves to Christ.
There are many differences between the Traditional Latin Mass and the New Mass of 1969. The Traditional Mass starts with the prayers at the foot of the altar steps, and prayers for the confession of sins, which represent the abbreviated liturgy of repentance in preparation for Holy Communion. During the entire Liturgy, the priest is facing the cross--in the direction of the liturgical East. The priest and the believers are praying in unison to God, Who bestows the blessings. Latin is used as the liturgical language. The devotion and the sermon are then repeated in the Russian (vernacular) language. The silence during the Roman Canon is especially impressive. The prayers during the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ are recited by the priest in a whisper, as the Church wishes to appear humble before Christ, present in His Sacrifice.
All the above-mentioned emphasize the sacrificial nature of the Mass. The Mass is the bloodless representation of the Sacrifice of Christ on the cross on Calvary, and simultaneously, the Sacrifice of the Church. This is especially apparent in the old Latin ritual. The Holy Mass is finalized with the reading of the prologue of the Gospel of John. The words of St. John the Evangelist represent the short essence of the Mass, and of our Faith. By these words of the Evangelist, the Church celebrates the Divine Secrets.
The Moscow Catholics devoted to the Traditional Latin Mass hope to witness this sublime event again next year on the day of its solemn celebration. Indeed, it is impossible to give “too much” honor and gratitude to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The Society of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus thanks Natalya Gilova and Olga Hrul for the photographs provided.