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Gallican Rite

Although there was no uniformity of worship in the churches of Merovingian Gaul, there was a basic pattern to the liturgies. Thus it was possible to distinguish a Gallican rite from the Roman Rite. The Gallican forms for the Mass, baptism, and ordination were less austere and more oratorical than the Roman, and had important differences of order and of content. For example, in the baptismal service the confession of faith preceded immersion or affusion, and part of the ceremony was the washing of feet. Also in the Mass the Trisagion (“Holy, Holy, Holy”) was sung in Greek and Latin before the Kyries (“Lord, have mercy”) as well as before and after the Gospel, and a Trinitarian hymn (the Trecanum) was sung during the actual Communion. Various theories have been put forward to explain these differences. The most ancient of these is that the Gallican Rite came from Ephesus through the influence of Irenaeus. A more recent view (e.g., that of Louis Duchesne) is that it came from Milan. The Gallican Rite was formally abolished by Emperor Charlemagne; however, the present Roman Rite shows signs of being influenced by or conflated with that of Gaul.