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Crisis, Liturgy, and Communal Identity: The Celebration of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite in Toledo, Spain as a Case Study

Aquinas Institute of Theology, St. Louis, MO 63108, USA
Religions 2022, 13(3), 216;
Received: 22 January 2022 / Revised: 15 February 2022 / Accepted: 22 February 2022 / Published: 3 March 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sacramental and Liturgical Theology of Healing and Crisis Rites)


The Hispano-Mozarabic Rite is a helpful case study for liturgists interested in the construction of community identity across time and in light of various types of crises. From the 6th century to today, a number of internal and external crises—political and ecclesial—have shaped the Rite and have threatened its continued existence. From the Arab invasions in 711 CE, the Rite has been key to the preservation of the Mozarab community, the group of Christians who remained in Muslim-ruled Spain and continued to celebrate the Rite. The Rite is key to their self-understanding and preservation. At the same time, the Rite has been coopted throughout its history for burgeoning Spanish nationalist visions. It has also challenged the centralized ecclesiology of the Roman Catholic Church. In order to shed light on the relationship between crisis and communal identity in this tradition, this article will begin with a historical study of the Rite. The second half of this article will look at the modern celebration of the Rite in Toledo through the use of participant observation. This will reveal the way several communities (the Mozarabs and Spaniards) have used the Rite to navigate various crises throughout history.

1. Introduction

Walking into the Mozarabic Chapel (Capilla Mozárabe) in the Cathedral of Toledo, Spain (Catedral Primada Santa María de Toledo), one is immediately confronted by the mural (Figure 1) depicting the Spanish conquest of Oran in 1509 (Dolphin 2008, pp. 259–73). This mural, commissioned by Cardinal Cisneros in the 16th century, links the celebration of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite1 in the Mozarabic Chapel—which he endowed for the celebration of the Rite—with bourgeoning visions of the emergence of the Spanish nation state in the same period.
Cardinal Cisneros and Pedro Navarro led the battle of Oran, and the mural depicts Cardinal Cisneros in a favorable light, disembarking and blessing the conquered city of Oran (Collado 2009). The battle and the mural were products of a nationalist vision of a greater reconquista.2 In depicting the conquest of the city of Oran, the mural hearkens back to Alfonso VI’s recapture of Toledo in 1085 from the Moors and identifies Cardinal Cisneros’ role in the battle of Oran with that of Alfonso VI in recapturing Toledo. This was part of a broader artistic program of “reconquest” in the cathedral. In this particular mural, Cisneros was intentionally alluding to the history of the reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula by Alfonso VI and Ferdinand and Isabel, and he was modeling his own history on theirs (Dolphin 2008, pp. 272–73). Moreover, given the connection made between the founding of the Mozarabic Chapel and the taking of Oran in the account of Eugenio de Robles published in 1604, Susan Boynton argues that “the visual evocation of Oran in the Mozarabic Chapel could have reflected a preexistent alignment of the conquest of Oran with Cisneros’s intention to restore the liturgy practiced by the earliest Christians of Hispania before 711” (Boynton 2015, p. 8).
As we will see, the recapture of Toledo in 1085 was central to the preservation of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite and the Mozarab community,3 which still celebrates the Rite today. The recapture of Toledo is also a key part of Spanish history and nationalist visions. By establishing a connection with Alfonso VI, Cisneros was attempting to connect his own work in preserving the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite (see (Gómez-Ruiz 2007, pp. 33–35), and see also Section 2.4) with the history of Alfonso VI, who allowed the Mozarabs to continue celebrating their Rite despite papal approbation in the 11th century.4 Thus, Cardinal Cisneros is seen as the one who ensured the Rite’s survival in the 16th century, just as Alfonso VI had in the 11th. Furthermore, the inherent double focus of the mural on (1) the preservation of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite for the Mozarabs and (2) the construction of Spanish nationalist visions provides a window into the complex community identities that have been cultivated around and sustained by the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite.
The Hispano-Mozarabic Rite is intimately linked in its history to the Mozarab community, which had a significant role in shaping and preserving it. For the Mozarabs, this Rite is key to their identity and is preserved for their use. As one Mozarab has said, “the defense and survival of Mozarabism depends basically on [the Mozarabs]; as long as there are faithful there will be worship and parishes; if one day there are not faithful it will be the end of the Hispano-Mozarabic rite.”5 The centrality of the liturgy to Mozarab identity is clear in the constitutions of the Ilustre Hermandad de Caballeros y Damas Mozárabes (henceforth Hermandad),6 the central organization that determines Mozarab membership and which is charged with preserving and furthering the community’s interests. However, as can be seen with the mural in the Mozarabic Chapel, throughout history, this Rite has also been tied to and appropriated for Spanish nationalist visions. Additionally, the Rite has historically been connected to disputes about local liturgical practices and the dominance of the Roman Rite and papal authority. Today, the Roman Rite is the dominant liturgy in Spain and even the city of Toledo, the historic political, social, and ecclesial center of Spain.7 From a study of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite, we can learn a number of things about the way liturgy shapes communal identity and key principles of synodality that touch on localization and centralization in the Roman communion and within each diocese. Thus, a study of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite leads to broader questions. What should be viewed as the normative site of Christian worship?8 While this question is of secondary concern for this article, the analysis of the relationship between the celebration of the Rite in the Mozarabic Chapel and Mozarabic parishes will reveal insights about the relationship between the cathedral of a diocese and its parishes.
Part of the importance of this Rite is the way that it has facilitated communal and social identity—perhaps more than any other Western liturgical tradition—amid a number of crisis points in the history of Spanish society, Church, and State. The notion that liturgy and communal identity are closely related is not new in liturgical studies. Kimberly Belcher, in particular, has called attention to the role of the liturgy in creating, sustaining, and developing a community’s identity. In two related articles rooted in her ethnographic work of the Syro-Malabar community in Chicago, USA (Belcher 2010, 2015), Belcher has shown that ritual facilitates communal identity, especially during crisis points and periods of change in a community’s history. Her work is also part of a larger trend towards incorporating ritual and ethnographic methods into liturgical studies.9
The crisis points Belcher identifies in her studies can be the result of clear and isolated threats to the community’s existence, or can be the result of a prolonged series of “micro-aggressions” against a community that results in their marginalization. As we will see, both types of crises can be clearly seen in the history of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite. Examples of the former are: (1) the need for a unified Visigothic Rite in the 6th century as a result of political and ecclesial crises; (2) the struggle to maintain the Rite in light of the Arab invasions after 711 C.E.; and (3) papal attempts at suppressing the Rite in the 11th century. Examples of the latter are: (4) the near loss of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite by the end of the 15th century due to a lack of clergy, reliable liturgical books, and poor finances; and (5) the marginal status of the Rite in Spain today.10
The crises outlined above have shaped the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite vis-à-vis (a) the Mozarab community, (b) Spanish nationalist visions, and (c) the dominance of the Roman Rite and the centralization of ecclesial authority in Rome. In looking at the relationship between the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite and the Mozarab community, it will become clear that the Rite has primarily been shaped by the crises that have affected the Mozarabic community. Moreover, anything that has threatened the existence of the Rite—such as centralizing tendencies from Rome—has also threated the existence of the Mozarab community. Despite the fact that the relationship between the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite and the Mozarab community is central and primary to both the Rite and the community, Spanish nationalist visions have also shaped the Rite. In fact, historical tensions between the cultivation and preservation of this Rite for both the Mozarab community and Spanish nationalist visions have often created two distinct interpretations of the Rite: (1) the celebration of the Rite as by and for the Mozarabs in the Mozarabic parishes; and (2) the nationalist vision of the Rite as articulated by and centered around the Mozarabic Chapel, which seeks to use the Rite as a tool for Spanish nationalism. These two interpretations of the Rite do not always align. This leads to questions about where the “center” of the Rite is today. Is it in the Mozarabic Chapel or in the Mozarabic parishes? Furthermore, while the Rite functions at the center of Spanish nationalist narratives, its celebration is confined today ordinarily to a handful of parishes and the Mozarabic Chapel in the city of Toledo. In other words: What does it mean for the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite to be central to a nationalist vision and a particular community (the Mozarabs), while being on the margins in the historic center of Spain and the Mozarab community—Toledo?
Thus, this article will begin by looking at the way crisis has shaped the history of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite and its relationship to communal identity. We will then turn to the modern celebration of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite in Toledo in order to see how this Rite functions today. In particular, the goal is to find the “center” of the Rite and also to explore what it means to be on the margins within one’s center. The modern celebration of the Rite in Toledo will then be assessed through my own participant observation of communities celebrating the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite. This will allow us to conclude with some tentative observations about the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite and the way it has fostered communal identity in light of crisis across time.

2. Crisis Points in the History of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite

2.1. The Need to Forge a Single “Visigothic” Rite

Concrete evidence for the liturgical tradition known today as the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite begins with conciliar legislation in the 4th century (adapted from Chase 2020a; 2020b, pp. 16–21; 2021, pp. 47–48). The 4th and 5th centuries witnessed the development of several regional traditions on the Iberian Peninsula (Knoebel 2008, p. 19). However, in the 6th and 7th centuries, these regional traditions underwent a process of liturgical standardization. This period—known as the Visigothic period—saw a proliferation of liturgical texts and an arduous process of liturgical standardization, leading to the creation of the “Visigothic” Rite (Knoebel 2008, p. 21).
Liturgical historians have often noted the way in which doctrinal controversies and other ecclesial crises motivated liturgical standardization and homogenization across Christian liturgical traditions in the 4th–6th centuries (Bouley 1981; Bradshaw 2002, chp. 10). However, one of the central factors that appears to have motivated liturgical standardization in 6th-century Visigothic Spain was the desire to forge a common Visigothic identity (see Chase 2020a; Maloy 2020, pp. 1–14, chp. 3). The secular and ecclesial leaders of the Visigothic Kingdom at the end of the 6th century and the beginning of the 7th embarked on an ambitious program to create a socially, politically, and religiously unified people.11 Regionalism, elite-infighting, and multiple ecclesial and religious identities (Arian vs. Catholic; Christian vs. Jewish) had produced a fractured and unstable kingdom. In order to bring the kingdom together, the Visigothic kings worked tirelessly alongside other secular and ecclesial leaders to forge a common Spanish identity on the peninsula. Foundational to this common identity was the establishment of a common religious one, beginning in the reign of King Leovigild (568–586). The next century saw a close relationship between secular and ecclesial leaders as Church and State worked together to form a United Kingdom.12
Liturgy, and baptism in particular, was a key part of the Visigoths’ program of assimilation and unification:13 “Baptism, as the liturgical ritual completing entry into the church, was a vital boundary at which entry to or exclusion from the community could be signified and enforced” (Wood 2006, p. 9). Baptism had also played an important role in disputes between the Arian and Catholic churches on the Iberian Peninsula during the 5th and early 6th centuries, where it was a key point of distinction between these communities (Wood 2006, p. 3). The codification of the rites of initiation in Spain in this period sought to forge a common identity on the peninsula.
In fact, the general standardization of the Spanish liturgical tradition—and really the creation for the first time of a more-or-less unified Visigothic Rite, the early form of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite14—should be seen part of the Visigoths’ larger program to forge a common identity in a period marked by secular and religious upheaval. In other words, the Church and her liturgy were used as tools to construct communal identity in a period of instability and crisis. This early reliance on the liturgy in times of secular and ecclesial crisis in Spain, I believe, set the stage for the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite’s role as a marker of communal identity for the Mozarabs and the northern Christian kingdoms after the Arab invasions of the 8th century. It would also set the stage for the Rite’s use in nationalist visions of Spain which emerged in the reconquista and which continue into the modern period.

2.2. The Arab Invasions

As the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite reached its zenith in the 7th century, the Visigothic Kingdom reached its furthest extent (adapted from Chase 2020b, pp. 16–21; 2021, pp. 47–48). At that time, the kingdom extended from the west coast of the Iberian Peninsula to around Avignon in modern-day France. But this expansive kingdom would not last long. A series of Arab invasions beginning in 711 C.E. resulted in the Arab conquest of the southern part of the Iberian Peninsula.15 When speaking of the continuance of this Rite after the Arab invasions, we have to speak of its preservation in three distinct regions: Muslim-ruled Spain (Al-Andalus); the northern Christian kingdoms; and Septimania. The Christians who remained in Al-Andalus came to be known as the Mozarabs. At the same time, a number of smaller Christian kingdoms remained in the north, and it was these kingdoms that would later begin the reconquista (Collins 1995, chp. 7). The self-understanding of these kingdoms vis-à-vis the Visigothic Kingdom was complex. It appears that at first these kingdoms did not see themselves as inheritors of the legacy of the Visigoths. However, increasingly in the 9th century, they began to extol Visigoth culture and advanced a narrative of historic continuity with the Visigothic Kingdom. This was, according to Jocelyn N. Hillgarth, more legend, or myth, than reality (see Hillgarth 2009, chp. 3; Linehan 1993, chp. 3; Walker 1998, pp. 27–28; Maloy 2020, pp. 17–18). Nevertheless, the Visigothic/Hispano-Mozarabic Rite continued to be celebrated in both the northern Christian kingdoms and in Al-Andalus.16 However, in Septimania—the south-western part of modern France on the Mediterranean coast, once controlled by the Visigoths—a mixed Hispano-Mozarabic, Gallican, and later Roman liturgical tradition would emerge already in the 8th century. That tradition, known as the Catalonian-Narbonne Rite, developed as the Franks reconquered the area from the Moors and mandated the use of the Roman Rite (Chase 2021, p. 39).
While the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite in the Visigothic period had been a key marker of Visigoth identity and a way to try to construct a unified kingdom, it would come to play different roles in fostering communal identity after the Arab invasions for the Mozarabs in Al-Andalus and within the northern Christian kingdoms. For the Mozarabs, the Rite became a key point of distinction between their community and the Arabs. The Mozarabs had to pay a tax, known as a jizya, in order to worship as Christians. The Hispano-Mozarabic Rite continued to be celebrated despite this tax, and was a key way that the liturgy constructed and preserved communal identity for the Christians who remained. Ramón Gonzálvez notes that “[t]he Mozarabs, already distinguished by language, culture, and dress, seized upon their liturgy as a symbol of the values of the old Hispanic and Visigothic tradition and as a distinguishing mark of their social and religious community”.17
Outside of Al-Andalus, in the northern Christian kingdoms of León, Castile, and Navarre, the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite also continued to be celebrated. For the northern Christian kingdoms, the Rite functioned as a communal myth that articulated a nationalist vision of Spain that was rooted in an imagined continuity between the Visigothic Kingdom and the later northern Christian kingdoms. As a result, a number of monastic and ecclesial centers in the northern Christian kingdoms preserved Hispano-Mozarabic liturgical books. Jordi Pinell has shown that a renewal of the Rite also took place in those centers in the 10th century.18 This renewal was perhaps connected to the narrative being put forward in the northern Christian kingdoms at this time that extolled the Visigoths and argued for historic continuity with the Visigothic Kingdom.
The continued celebration of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite in Al-Andalus, even in light of the jizya, is an example of the important role the liturgy played in constructing the communal identity of the Mozarabs. Similar sentiments appear to have been felt by those using the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite in the northern Christian kingdoms as well. As we will see below, there was intense resistance to the Rite’s suppression in the northern Christian kingdoms in the 11th century.19 What we see, then, is that in this period, the liturgy again functioned as a way to maintain communal identity in light of a variety of crises. For the Mozarabs, this crisis centered around the preservation of their community and their communal identity vis-à-vis a now Muslim-ruled society. For the northern Christian kingdoms, it was about the cultivation of a Visigothic myth on which the kingdoms could be retrospectively founded, and which could eventually support the reconquering of the peninsula.

2.3. The Attempted Suppression of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite and the Reconquista

Despite the renewal of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite in the northern Christian kingdoms in the 10th century, the Rite was officially suppressed in the 11th century. In this period, the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite became caught in larger trends in the Western church, which sought to construct a common Western Catholic identity organized under the papacy and using the Roman Rite (Chase 2021). While the previous crises in the Visigoth period and during the Arab invasions were by and large State crises, this period ushered in new ecclesial crises between the local Spanish Church and the Roman Church.
The papal pretext for the suppression of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite was rooted in false claims that the Spanish Church followed the principles of Adoptionism. Already in the 8th century, this claim had been raised by some, especially the Carolingians.20 To fend off these charges, Spanish bishops used the liturgy as an important tool to defend their orthodoxy. To this end, Pope John X sent a legate to Spain in the 10th century to discern the authenticity and orthodoxy of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite’s liturgical books. Over a century later, the Codex Aemilianensis “report[s] that four manuscripts containing service books of the Mozarabic liturgy were taken by three Navarrese bishops to Pope Alexander II (1061–1073) who, having examined them, together with the abbot of Monte Cassino, accepted their perfect orthodoxy and sanctioned their continued employment” (Collins 2002, p. 5). These books were produced in the northern Christian kingdoms by supporters of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite, a further indication of its importance as a symbol of communal identity in the northern Christian kingdoms (Collins 2002, p. 5).
Despite these attempts at preserving the liturgy, Pope Gregory VII (r. 1073–1085) ordered the suppression of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite and the introduction of the Roman Rite in the northern Christian kingdoms. In response to this, Alfonso VI, king of León and Castile, wrote in a letter to Hugh of Cluny in 1077 that the newly introduced Roman Rite was extremely unpopular there: “But with regard to the Roman Rite, which we have accepted on your command, you should understand that our land is very desolate.”21 This was by no means the only evidence that points to popular resistance against the Roman Rite’s introduction (for more, see Moreno 2012, pp. 157–58; Maloy 2020, pp. 14–18). In fact, a number of popular stories emerged in this period about two trials undertaken in conjunction with the suppression. Both are recounted in the 12th-century Chronica Najarense and expanded in Rodrigo Jiménez de Rada’s Historia de Rebus Hispanie (Moreno 2012, p. 158): “In the first tale, a Champion for the Spanish rite vanquished his pro-Roman rite opponent in a trial by duel at Burgos…In the second story, the Spanish rite escaped a trial by fire by miraculously leaping from the flames, only to rejoin the burning Roman liturgy when Alfonso VI kicked the tome back into the pyre” (Moreno 2012, pp. 158–59).22 These stories provide a clear window into tensions between the Hispano-Mozarabic and Roman Rites at this time, and the ardent desire of some to maintain the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite.23
Boynton notes that these stories would become central to the Hispano-Mozarabic narrative from the 16th century onward. They were enshrined in Alvar Gómez de Castro’s 16th-century accounts of Cardinal Cisneros’ liturgical reforms (see below), as well as the preface and two engravings in the Missa Gothica—a Mozarabic-influenced missal published for Mexico in 1770 by Archbishop of Mexico (and then Toledo) Francisco Antonio Lorenzana (1770). Nevertheless, King Alfonso VI at the Council of Burgos in 1080 mandated the introduction of the Roman Rite and the suppression of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite (Gonzálvez 1985; Gómez-Ruiz 2007, pp. 29–30). The Mozarabs in Al-Andalus appear to have ignored these actions (Gonzálvez 1985, pp. 164–65).24
Despite attempts at preserving the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite, the Roman Rite was imposed on the rest of the peninsula as it was reconquered by the northern Christian kingdoms in the reconquista.25 Even in the city of Toledo, the stronghold of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite, the Roman Rite dominated after its reconquest in 1085. The Hispano-Mozarabic Rite, or at least the Mozarabic parishes, may not have even existed in the city proper by 1085, and the new cathedral in Toledo dedicated in 1086 adopted the Roman Rite, as did a number of parishes.26
However, King Alfonso VI issued a fuero for the Mozarabs in 1101, which resulted in their continued celebration of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite. He issued the document in thanks for the Mozarabs’ efforts in helping him in the reconquista. The intent of Alfonso VI’s fuero is not totally clear. It does not explicitly give permission for the continued celebration of the Rite; however, this was either how the Mozarabs understood it or how they chose to interpret it.27 Thus, the Mozarab community would cite the fuero as justification for their continued celebration of the Rite. In this way, it further solidified their communal identity by providing a mandate for the continued celebration of their unique liturgy. The end result was that the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite became further mired in a complex web of relations that it still finds itself in today: (1) part of an imagined history of the legacy of the Visigoths and the future of Christian Spain as interpreted by some in the northern Christian kingdoms; (2) as a communal identity marker for the Mozarabs that had first distinguished them from the Arabs, but now from other Spaniards and Catholics; and (3) as a mark of distinction between the Spanish and Roman Churches.

2.4. The Reforms of Cardinal Cisneros and Their Legacy

The Hispano-Mozarabic Rite had arguably functioned to solidify a communal identity among the Mozarabs and was a key part of the Visigothic origin myth advanced among the northern Christian kingdoms.28 However, from nearly as soon as the retaking of the city of Toledo in 1085 up to the end of the 15th century, the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite was in decline. The Rite was also confined, more or less, to the city of Toledo. A series of attempts at renewing the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite began in the 13th century under Archbishop Gonzalo Pérez Gudiel—“This initiative included the education of clerics to perform the rite, and the production of new liturgical books” (Boynton 2015, p. 5). The lack of trained clergy and suitable liturgical books appears to have contributed to the Rite’s decline. Lynette Bosch argues that limited promotions also led to a dearth of clerics who could celebrate the Rite, and that funds destined for the Mozarabic parishes were also being withheld. Intermarriage between Roman Rite and Hispano-Mozarabic Catholics also contributed to the latter’s decline (Bosch 2010, pp. 60–62). At the same time, the Roman Rite came to be used at times in all 6 Mozarabic parishes named by Gudiel in 1285, with four of those parishes eventually using the Roman Rite exclusively (Gómez-Ruiz 2007, pp. 39–40). As a result, Boynton notes that “[b]y the fifteenth century the Mozarabic community seems to have been greatly diminished and its group identity was constituted primarily by the celebration of its distinctive rite, which was increasingly rare” (Boynton 2015, pp. 5–6).
By all accounts, it is clear that by the end of the 15th and the beginning of the 16th centuries, the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite was on the verge of extinction and was in need of reform and renewal. Boynton notes that a series of attempts were made in the 15th century across Spain to preserve the Rite but that it was the vision of Cardinal Cisneros that would preserve the Rite, though in a neo-Mozarabic form (Boynton 2015, p. 6). Thanks to him, the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite would again come to play a key role in a burgeoning Spanish nationalist vision.
In order to preserve the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite, Cisneros produced new liturgical books at the beginning of the 16th century and founded the Mozarabic Chapel.29 But more importantly, according to Boynton,
Cisneros’s patronage had far broader implications than the survival of the rite in Toledo. Over the course of the early modern period, the memory of the medieval rite was gradually transformed, through revision, publication, practice, and historical discourse, from the local observance of a medieval community into an early modern symbol of the Spanish nation…In this way the celebration of the neo-Mozarabic rite fostered an imagined community in which the Mozarabs represented the preeminence of Christianity in Iberia.30
This nationalist impulse, as Boynton notes, can be seen in the way Cisneros decorated the Mozarabic Chapel. There, Cisneros “commissioned a program of decoration…that included a depiction of the Spanish conquest of Oran…Oran was part of a new crusade to north Africa encouraged by the Catholic monarchs as an extension of the idea of Christian reconquest” (Boynton 2015, p. 7). As noted at the start of this article, the mural linked this newer understanding of Christian reconquest embodied in the taking of Oran in 1509 with the earlier retaking of the city of Toledo in 1085. Cisneros signaled through this mural that the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite was not being preserved solely on account of the Mozarab community, but also for a particular nationalist vision.
Despite Cisneros’ vision, the state of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite vis-à-vis the Mozarab community and the latter’s relationship to the rest of Spain from the 16th century onward, proved complicated. Sometimes the Mozarab community was extoled, sometimes vilified.31 Boynton argues that
[b]y establishing his cathedral as the effective center of the Mozarabic rite, Cisneros effectively reversed the exclusion of the rite from Toledo’s principal church that had occurred so many centuries earlier with the introduction of the Roman rite in 1086. Over the course of the sixteenth century, however, the Mozarabs’ standing changed, as the requirement of purity of blood (limpieza de sangre) and increasing suspicion of converts brought the ancestry of Spanish Christians under closer scrutiny. In the context of heightened anxiety about religious identity, the Mozarabs of Toledo were perceived as tainted by assimilation of Arab customs that had given the community its common name.
In his reforms, Cisneros made the Mozarabic Chapel the center of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite, though apparently some priests of the Mozarabic parishes were also consulted in the reform (Boynton 2015, p. 10). Nevertheless, in making the Mozarabic Chapel the center of the Rite, he reestablished to some degree its centrality in the city of Toledo.
At the same time, Cisneros’ actions made the Mozarabic Chapel celebration normative and thus subordinated the Mozarabic parishes to the Mozarabic Chapel celebration. This also subordinated the celebration of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite by the Mozarabs to Cisneros’ nationalist vision of the Rite. Suspicions about the Mozarab community in Spain likely furthered this subordination:
Ironically, then, even as contemporary Toledean Mozarabs were resented for their tax exemptions and viewed as potentially suspect because of their earlier cohabitation with Muslims, the Mozarabic liturgy…was extolled as an authentic relic of the earliest peninsular Christianity…By the eighteenth century the Mozarabic liturgy was hardly practiced at all but seems to have been considered something of a national treasure.
The result was an increasing disconnect in the Spanish imagination between the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite and the Mozarab community. The Hispano-Mozarabic Rite as key to Spanish nationalism—undoubtedly connected to the Visigothic myth first advanced in the 9th century—was now the center of the Rite to Spaniards. This was furthered by the continued decline of the celebration of the Rite outside of the Mozarabic Chapel.
By the end of this period, the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite had functionally become a museum piece relegated to a chapel in the cathedral and the imagination of burgeoning Spanish nationalists. However, this nationalist use of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite would continue through the work of 18th-century scholars such as Andrés Marcos Burriel.32 As Boynton notes:
Cisneros had created an enduring myth of ritual coherence and antiquity by reaffirming Toledan Mozarabic identity through a reinvention of a medieval liturgy. By the eighteenth century the neo-Mozarabic rite had acquired a symbolic association with the Spanish nation; commentaries on the rite published in this period refer to the luminaries who had attended mass in Toledo’s Mozarabic Chapel.
In the face of the Mozarab community’s near disintegration, the liturgy nevertheless remained a key tool by which the community was preserved. But the liturgy primarily served the interests of emerging Spanish nationalism. This was also clearly part of the intention of Lorenzana’s Missa Gothica (Gómez-Ruiz 2007, pp. 36–37, see also above). This placed the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite in an odd position: at the center of a developing Spanish nationalist vision, but still at the margins of social and ecclesial reality. The latter despite Cisneros’s attempts to give it some ecclesial centrality by founding a chapel in the cathedral of Toledo to celebrate the liturgy in perpetuity. It also removed the Rite from its true center—the Mozarab community. It was a form of nationalist appropriation of that community’s liturgical tradition.
This history of crises and communal identity has shaped the history of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite and its relationship to the Mozarabs and Spanish imagination. It also reveals and helps define the complex relationship between the Spanish Church and the Catholic Church and papal authority more broadly. This provides the historical background through which the modern celebration of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite must be understood and interpreted.

3. Modern Celebration: An Ethnographic Perspective

How does the modern celebration of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite relate to its unique history? As we will see, the modern celebration continues to connect to both Spanish nationalism and the Mozarab community, and also touches on the complex dynamics between the local Spanish church and the larger Roman Catholic Church of which the Spanish Church is a part. It also sets the stage for discussions about where the “center” of the Rite is today.
The modern history of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite is wrapped up with the liturgical renewal of the early 20th century in Catholic and Protestant circles (for a summary, see Ruff 2007, chp. 11). This renewal in Hispano-Mozarabic circles was delayed in the 1930s as a result of the death of all of the Mozarabic chaplains during the Second Spanish Republic (Ferrer Gresneche 2018, p. 251). While the liturgy was celebrated again in 1940, it was not until the 1950s that there was a groundswell of support by the Mozarab community and its pastors for the reform of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite (Gómez-Ruiz 2007, pp. 37–38). It was also in this period that the nationalist impulse seen earlier in the history of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite, and which was part of 18th-century scholarship on Hispano-Mozarabic Rite manuscripts (Boynton 2011), began to reassert itself in the celebration of the Rite. There was also a good deal of scholarly work being conducted on the Rite.
From 1962 onward, there were requests by bishops and prelates outside of Toledo to celebrate the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite in their jurisdictions. In conjunction with these requests, and motivated by the call for liturgical reform in Sacrosanctum Concilium, Cardinal Marcelo González Martín (Archbishop of Toledo), established a commission to reform the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite in 1982.33 The commission was tasked with the creation of new liturgical books. This led to a new missal (Missale Hispano-Mozarabicum) and lectionary (Liber Commicus) (Conferencia Episcopal Espanola 1991a, 1991b). Raúl Gómez-Ruiz notes that in doing this, González Martín was not just motivated by the spirit of liturgical reform in this period, but was also “motivated by the desire to assert Spanish nationalism. Even so, Mozarabs asserted themselves to ensure that they would not be excluded” (Gómez-Ruiz 2007, p. 44).
The reformed Rite is celebrated today in a number of locations throughout Spain on a regular basis, as well as on festive occasions using the reformed liturgical books. The renewal of the Rite outside of Toledo led to the establishment in 2019 of the “Congregation for the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite.”34 However, the stronghold of the Rite today is still the city of Toledo, where the Rite is celebrated daily in the Mozarabic Chapel and on Sundays in some surrounding parishes.35
Given that the liturgy is primarily a performed event, it is important that we take into account the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite’s lived celebration today.36 The realization that the liturgy is more than the text contained in liturgical books is part of what has motivated the turn to ethnography in liturgical studies (see (Belcher 2010, 2015) and note 9). Although I primarily do historical work on this tradition, I decided to turn to ethnography to study the modern celebration of the Rite in order to assess how the complex communal identities established in the history of the Rite may or may not continue to this day. I was inspired to do this by the work of Gómez-Ruiz, who combined a historical and ethnographic approach in his study of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite and the Mozarab community (Gómez-Ruiz 2007).
The ethnography for this study was conducted in four trips from 2014 to 2017.37 In my visits, I went to the Mozarabic Chapel, the Mozarabic parish of Santa Eulalia y San Marcos, the Mozarabic parish of Santas Justa y Rufina, and tried to go to the Mozarabic church of San Lucas. The Mozarabic Chapel celebrates the Mozarabic liturgy daily, the parish of Santa Eulalia y San Marcos celebrates it every Sunday (the only parish in Toledo to do so), the Mozarabic parish of Santa Eulalia y San Marcos celebrates both the Roman and Hispano-Mozarabic Rites on alternating Sundays, and the Mozarabic church of San Lucas celebrates the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite two Sundays each month.

3.1. Shut Doors and the Prioritization of the Roman Rite

My first experience of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite was a bit of a false start, and in many ways would be a foretaste of things to come. On my visit in 2014, I approached the cathedral and informed the cathedral porter that I was there for mass. At that time of day, the cathedral is only open to mass-goers. To make sure I had the time of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite mass correct, I asked one of the cathedral guards to confirm the time when the mass would be taking place. In his response, he gave me the mass times for the Roman Rite.
Once inside, I walked to the Mozarabic Chapel (Figure 2) where the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite is celebrated and saw around a dozen people waiting by the closed door to the chapel. As I would soon learn, the chapel is only open when there is a liturgy occurring. As the mass time approached, someone from the cathedral came up to us and told us that since it was the Solemnity of Christ the King in the Roman Rite, the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite would not be celebrated that day in the chapel. Mass would only be taking place that Sunday in the Roman Rite at the high altar of the cathedral.
This experience, however, has not been an isolated one. The prioritization of the feasts of the Roman Rite over and against those of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite also resonates, in part, with my experience at the parish church of Santas Justa y Rufina in June 2017. The church alternates each Sunday in its celebration of the Roman and Hispano-Mozarabic Rites. As mass started, the priest came out wearing white, which was strange since it was IX Domingo de Cotidiano, the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite’s equivalent to Ordinary Time in the Roman Rite. Furthermore, the homily was focused primarily on Trinity Sunday, the feast that Sunday in the Roman Rite. Trinity Sunday, however, does not have a corresponding celebration in the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite. The priest was mixing the Roman and Hispano-Mozarabic Rites to create a hybrid Romano–Hispano-Mozarabic celebration that Sunday. Clearly the Roman Rite was influencing and dominating the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite, which is perhaps understandable given that the parish celebrates both Rites.
The experience of finding the door to the Mozarabic Chapel inexplicably closed is also similar to my experience in June 2017 when I tried to attend mass at the church of San Lucas, one of the Mozarabic churches. I knew that mass was only offered at San Lucas at 12:30 p.m. on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of the month. I planned my trip accordingly and arrived at the doors of the church 10 minutes to 12:30 p.m. There were three other people sitting outside the church waiting for it to open. By 12:30 p.m., there were 12 people waiting. As the time for the mass came and went, it became clear that mass was not going to happen. I would later find out through the Twitter feed of Santa Justa y Rufina (@mozarabeStJust) that the night before the bishop had held a liturgy there with the members of the Hermandad. This seemed to be the reason why mass was not being celebrated there that day.

3.2. The Mozarabic Chapel in the Cathedral of Toledo

My first Sunday experience of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite in the Mozarabic Chapel occurred in October 2016. Across all of my visits to the Mozarabic Chapel, the liturgy has been remarkably the same. Lauds proceeded mass and began at 9:45 a.m. No one other than the Mozarabic chaplains had the texts for Lauds, and so those who had gathered before the 10:00 a.m. mass remained seated with rather bewildered looks on their faces, a sign that they were outsiders. This provided a good opportunity to look around at the space. The chapel was quite small and there was a clear assignment of spaces. The canons of the chapel sat behind the people’s pews and on the other side of an iron grate. There were raised platforms for the altar, ambo, and presider’s chair. The altar was against the wall, which was a change from when I visited the Mozarabic Chapel in 2014. I noticed for the first time the large mural depicting the Spanish conquest of Oran in 1509. There was no kneeling during the liturgy, which is interesting given the presence of kneelers. I also noticed for the first time the presence of a paschal candle and the classic Toledan Mudéjar-style of arches on the ambo. I looked more closely at the area behind the iron grate as well and realized that there was an organ in the choir area. In all my visits, I have never heard the organ played.
Towards the end of Lauds, some of the canons went into the sacristy to get ready for mass. Promptly at 10:00 a.m., there was a short, rather informal, procession from the sacristy to the altar and presider’s chair. This was in contrast to the next Sunday, when the priest made a point before the liturgy started to find out how many people would be communing so that he could place the correct number of hosts in the paten. At this point, four canons were left in choir, two priests were vested for mass, and ten people were sitting in the pews. The following Sunday, there were 17 people and one gentleman had been in attendance the Sunday before. He appears to be a regular to the chapel, and also—as I would discover—the Mozarabic parish of Santa Eulalia y San Marcos. There were also six canons, three of whom concelebrated the mass.
The liturgy followed exactly the form set out in the ordo and in Latin. During the Liturgy of the Word, the presider spoke Spanish for the readings, responses, and homily. None of the readings were read by the faithful. There were bound books that contained the Spanish translations of the Latin missal and lectionary for the priest. After the Liturgy of the Word, the language spoken switched back to Latin. The liturgy of the Eucharist then began. After the altar had been prepared by one of the canons, the canon who prepared the altar left and did not return. I would later find out that this was because he was the pastor at Santa Eulalia y San Marcos.
Unlike this Sunday, the following Sunday the priest made it very clear at the end of his homily that everyone needed to pick up one of the booklets containing the ordo of mass before the Eucharistic liturgy began. He refused to begin the next part of the liturgy until they had all picked up booklets. The next part of the liturgy is the start of the Liturgy of the Eucharist. This section of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite is significantly different from the Roman Rite, and so likely the priest wanted everyone to have the text in front of them so that they would be able to participate. I think it may have also been a way to incorporate us into the communal celebration, while acknowledging our outsider status. During the Eucharistic prayer, both priests concelebrated. The concelebrating priest extended his hand during the Institution Narrative. Communion was distributed to all in attendance under both species via intinction. Mass ended a little before 11:00 a.m.
Throughout the liturgy, a number of tourists peeked into the chapel, perhaps not realizing that a liturgy was occurring and wishing to see the entire cathedral. At the same time as Lauds and mass were occurring in the Mozarabic Chapel, mass in the Roman Rite was occurring at the high altar. It was possible to hear in the Mozarabic Chapel the organ being played at the high altar of the cathedral, as well as the people singing during the Roman Rite mass. Despite this, it was not until mass was significantly underway that one of the canons decided to shut the door to the Mozarabic Chapel.
When I returned to the Mozarabic Chapel in August 2017, the liturgy was much the same. There were 21 people plus the priest at mass. Of those in attendance, 10 showed up late. They appeared to all be part of the same family. There was also a group of nuns in attendance. The gentleman who I had seen before at the Mozarabic Chapel liturgy was there again, and this time he read the readings and also acted as a server. Before mass, all of those who were going to receive communion were asked to raise their hands as had been done before. The liturgy proceeded much the same way as the other times I have been to the chapel. Similarly, towards the start of the liturgy, the noise from the Roman Rite mass became so loud that the priest shut the door to the Mozarabic Chapel. Interestingly, the Roman Rite mass was not held at the high altar that Sunday, but in the right-hand side of the nave, where they had set up a very large statue of the Virgin Mary. While it appeared that there may have been an important Marian celebration occurring, this did not seem to affect the celebration of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite in the Mozarabic Chapel as the Solemnity of Christ the King had on my first visit in 2014.
The Mozarabic Chapel liturgy still fulfills a political or public function, in keeping with Cisneros’ vision. Given the political or public function of the celebration of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite in the Mozarabic Chapel, it is worth noting Catherine Bell’s work on ritual and power (Bell 1990) and her treatment of “political rites” (Bell 2009, pp. 128–35). Bell defines “political rites” as “those ceremonial practices that specifically construct, display and promote the power of political institutions (such as king, state, the village elders) or the political interests of distinct constituencies and subgroups” (Bell 2009, p. 128). These rituals both “depict a group of people as a coherent and ordered community” and “establish[es] their iconicity with the perceived values and order of the cosmos” (Bell 2009, p. 129).
As has been shown in the first part of this article, the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite has historically functioned as a political rite. This began with the Visigoths, was continued among the Mozarabs and the northern Christian kingdoms, and was further codified by Cisneros’ reforms. Relating this to the modern Hispano-Mozarabic Rite, the Mozarabic Chapel celebration seems to be focused on political projection. The Mozarabic Chapel functions as a focal point for the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite to outsiders. As we will see, however, the Mozarabic parish celebrations of the Rite seem focused on the communal identity of insiders within the Mozarab community. However, the relationship between the Mozarabic Chapel and Mozarabic parishes cannot be distilled down just to this distinction. While the Mozarabic Chapel functions as a sort of political, public, and authoritative foci for the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite, the parishes function as the ecclesiological center of the Rite for the Mozarabs. At the same time, the Mozarabic Chapel and Mozarabic parishes are tightly bound, since the priests of the Mozarabic parishes are Mozarabic chaplains of the Mozarabic Chapel (Gómez-Ruiz 2007, p. 4). This was made clear to me in my visit in October 2016, when I saw the canon who left the Mozarabic Chapel during mass preside later that day at the parish of Santa Eulalia y San Marcos. It is to the Mozarabic parish celebrations of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite that we now turn.

3.3. Parish Church of Santa Eulalia y San Marcos

The first time I planned to visit Santa Eulalia y San Marcos was in October 2016. I “googled” the parish and realized it was more difficult to find than I had anticipated. The city of Toledo has many small and winding streets, so it can be easy for visitors to get lost. As a result, that Saturday I sought out the church in order to make sure I knew where I was going, but I could not find it. So, I went to the city’s information center to ask for assistance. I told them I was looking for the parish of Santa Eulalia y San Marcos and asked for directions. They did not appear to know about the church and so they had to look up the parish online and call a number to verify the mass time and location. I then went to search for the parish again.
It took me over an hour to find the parish, and several people I asked, including the people at the information desk at the Museo de los Concilios Visigodos, ironically, did not know what I was talking about. I finally found a doorway (Figure 3) next to a parking lot on the lower level of the Plaza Santa Eulalia that had two small plaques, one which read “Parroquia Muzarabe de Sta. Eulalia” and another that read “Parroquia Muzarabe de Sn. Marcos.” This was what I had been looking for! The parish of Sta. Eulalia y San Marcos does not look like a church from the outside. The door into the church looks like a normal doorway off of a parking lot into a building. On Monday, I also sought out the parish of Sts. Justa y Rufina, one of the other historic Mozarabic parishes in Toledo. That church was also difficult to find and was off a very narrow street (Figure 4).
After attending the Mozarabic Chapel mass that Sunday, I headed directly over to the parish of Sta. Eulalia y San Marcos, getting there about 40 min before mass was scheduled to start. When I arrived, several women were there measuring the worship space and taking pictures. This parish is an example of Toledan mudéjar architecture (Figure 5 and Figure 6), but it was very austere in its decoration.38 I noticed that there were not any musical instruments in the space, except for an electronic keyboard in one of the side chapels that also contained a statue depicting the martyrdom of Santa Eulalia. In a room off the chapel, which I would later learn was the sacristy, I could hear voices. It appeared that it was the Sunday school hour, since there were a number of children gathered around. By the time mass started, there were about 40–50 people there. About half of the people were young adults, and one-quarter were children. A gentleman was showing off the community’s newly published Latin/Spanish missalette (2015)39 to a group of about ten people. These people appeared to be visitors, but not outsiders. While they were not frequent attendees, they had a clear connection to the community.
When I went back the following Sunday, there were about 40 people at mass and it did not appear as though there were any visitors, other than myself. Most of the 40 people were the same people who had attended mass last week, suggesting a rather stable parish community. Apparently not realizing I had come the previous Sunday, this Sunday an older lady talked to me before mass. She asked me if I was there for mass, and her demeanor became much more friendly when she realized I was. She asked if I had the missalette and she showed me the Sunday that we were on. I had a similar experience when I visited Santas Justa y Rufina in June 2017. It seems that the Mozarab community appreciates it when you come to celebrate mass with them.
The liturgy was very casual and communal. This was a close community judging by the chatting before and after the liturgy, and the hugs and gestures of familiarity. Before the liturgy, someone had moved some of the pews from the left side aisle to right in front of the ambo. This is where most of the children sat. The second Sunday I visited, the children again sat in pews that had been moved close to the ambo. Most of the adults sat in the first five rows of pews, not leaving much physical distance between the people and the priest, who was sitting in a chair perpendicular to and on the right-hand side of the first row of pews (when I visited Santas Justa y Rufina, the 11 people in the assembly also sat together in the first two pews). There was one altar server and he was vested in an alb. Interestingly, when the priest processed from the sacristy with the altar server, another little boy joined in the procession as well. The priest’s procession was quite simple, and the priest who celebrated the mass was the priest I had seen leaving the Mozarabic Chapel after the offertory earlier that morning.
As mass began, the service followed exactly the ordo set out in the missal. Throughout the liturgy, the priestly prayers and the people’s responses frequently shifted from Latin to Spanish, something that was a bit disorienting. Luckily, the missalette had both languages. The Liturgy of the Word was performed in Spanish with the non-Gospel readings read by members of the community solicited in the middle of the liturgy. During the homily, there was a clear dialogue going on between the priest and the people. This also happened the following Sunday. The priest would mention people directly, some would raise their hands and ask questions, and he would also call on people to say something. At one point in the liturgy, a few people peeked into the church. After they left, a member of the congregation shut the church’s doors.
During the offertory, I seemed to be the only person who did not give anything, something that drew the ire of the little girl carrying the collection bag. The sign of peace was also quite fervent and was accompanied by a chant performed by the priest. This was one of the most elaborate of all the liturgical chants that were sung during the liturgy.40 The Eucharistic prayer was said facing ad orientem41 and communion was given under both species via intinction. As in the Mozarabic Chapel, I noticed that there was no kneeling.
When I went back in August 2017, I noticed immediately that the space had changed. The chair had been moved to the left side and the ambo was directly in front of the altar. The offertory table was by the tabernacle, taking the place of the font and paschal candle, which had now been moved to the back right-hand corner of the church near the door. The statue of St. Eulalia had been moved to over the offertory table and a new statue had been put in its place. The plaque containing the creed and the crucifix which had been behind the altar had been moved to the righthand side of the entrance door. A new altar was now placed closer to the wall of the apse, rather than down by the columns close to the nave where the old altar had been located. There was also a new and wider ambo. Two candles rather than six were on either side of the cross on the altar.
Twelve people came to mass, plus the priest. This smaller number was likely because August is the traditional summer vacation month in Spain. Unlike the previous two times I had visited, the priest gave the homily from the chair and several people went in and out during the liturgy, but no one shut the door. Two men read the readings and one helped as server during the liturgy. The people were older, and clearly knew one another. It was clearly a tightknit community, much like my earlier visits. Before mass, I had also been asked several times if I was there for mass. It was clear that they were not used to having visitors in their parish.
As with my description of the cathedral liturgy. I think a few brief comments are in order before turning to my larger analysis of the modern celebrations I have experienced. First, it appears that most visitors, except those who have some sort of knowledge of or association with the Mozarab community, attend the Mozarabic Chapel celebration of the liturgy rather than the parish ones. This seems supported by my experience of the Mozarabic Chapel liturgies, as well as the experience I have had and seen of visitors who have attended the parish liturgies. It is also supported, to some degree, by the excitement I have perceived from parishioners when I visited a Mozarabic parish for mass.
At the same time, the community in the parishes is not only tightknit, but also seems a bit guarded. This can be seen in the cases where parishioners approached me to ask if I was coming for mass. My experience at the church of San Lucas also affirms this. It was clear that everyone waiting for mass that day had some knowledge of the Mozarab community. That no one realized mass would not happen there that day suggests that we were all outsiders. On the whole, however, the Mozarabic Chapel does appear to be the primary space outsiders gather to celebrate the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite, while the Mozarabic parishes are for insiders.
With regard to the parish celebrations that I attended, the intimacy of the space and the physical proximity of the priest to the congregation struck me as important factors in the celebration of the liturgy. They flattened hierarchical distinctions. It was also striking to me how difficult it was to find the parish of Sta. Eulalia y San Marcos and the parish of Sts. Justa y Rufina. It appears that this is not an uncommon occurrence. One Mozarab in an interview with Gómez-Ruiz noted that “[s]ome people in Toledo don’t even know anything about us or that we even exist. Some think we are the Moors. We are not the Moors, we are the Old Christians” (Gómez-Ruiz 2007, p. 1). This was confirmed by the confusion I received when asking about the parish of Sta. Eulalia y San Marcos at the city’s information desk and the information desk of the Museo de los Concilios Visigodos. This all ties back to the complex nexus of relationships the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite sustains and how difficult this makes it to uncover the “center” of the Rite today.

4. Analysis of the Modern Celebration

The history and modern celebration of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite reveal a complex set of communal identities that are fostered by the Rite. On the one hand, they show the way that the Rite has supported the identity of the Mozarab community. On the other hand, they reveal how the Rite has frequently been coopted for nationalist visions. There is also a historic tension between the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite and the more dominant Roman Rite. This touches on the complex relationship in the Roman Catholic Church between local churches and the broader Catholic Church. In order to shed further light on these complex relationships, this analysis will look at the way the modern celebration of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite constructs and sustains the communal identity of the Mozarabs. We will then look at the relationship between the Mozarabic Chapel and Mozarabic parish liturgies in order to discuss the “center” of the Rite. Finally, we will look at the relationship between the Hispano-Mozarabic and Roman Rites in the city of Toledo. This will reveal that even at its center, Toledo, the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite remains on the margins.

4.1. The Hispano-Mozarabic Rite Remains Central to the Mozarab Community’s Identity

Throughout the history of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite, it is clear that the Rite has remained central to the Mozarab community’s identity. This remains the case in my research on the Rite today and my own experience of the Rite. In his study of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite, Gómez-Ruiz has argued that the liturgy is the central means by which the Mozarab community maintains its distinctive identity.42 One Mozarab told him “that being Mozarab ‘means to be the descendant of people who maintained their rite; the link is the rite’” (Gómez-Ruiz 2007, p. 8). In the medieval and modern period, official identification as a Mozarab has also been based on membership in a Mozarabic parish (Gómez-Ruiz 2007, p. 7). In fact, the connection to the liturgy is so important that “the 1984 Constitutions of the Hermandad explicitly attest to the importance of the liturgy to its identity, with Article 1 declaring that one of the main purposes of the Hermandad is ‘the conservation of the traditions of the historico-liturgical Mozarab community’” (Gómez-Ruiz 2007, p. 8). The connection between the community and the liturgy is borne out in newer versions of the Constitutions as well.43
The tightknit relationship between the people that attend the Mozarab parishes is also indicative of the Rite’s central role in their communal identity. The communal cohesion at the parish liturgies is clear in the way the community is seated, but also the community’s treatment of visitors and those popping in and out of the liturgy. It is also clear in the relationship between the priest and the community. The close physical proximity between them, as well as the interactive structure of the homilies and the frequent acclamations in the liturgy, point to the centrality of the community within the liturgy.
The importance of the community/assembly is stronger in the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite than in the post-Vatican II reforms of the Roman Rite.44 Since Vatican II, ecclesial documents and theologians have attempted to rebalance the relationship between ordained ministry and the people of God by articulating the primacy of the baptized assembly.45 The importance of the assembly/community is clear in the parish celebrations of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite. Historically and in the modern self-understanding of the Hermandad, the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite is: (a) for a particular community; (b) has been sustained and preserved by that community; and (c) the role of the Hispano-Mozarabic pastors, and even the Archbishop of Toledo, is to serve the needs of the Mozarab community (Gómez-Ruiz 2007, p. 4).
While the continued celebration of this Rite after the reconquista might be attributed to institutional figures such as Alfonso VI or Cardinal Cisneros, it is fundamentally the community’s resilience over and against a number of crises (even ecclesial ones) that has preserved this Rite to the present day.46 The community, rather than the clergy, are charged with preserving the Rite. This was enshrined in the 1999 Constituciones of the Hermandad which said: “In this way there emerged a historico-liturgical community, unique in the West, defined by its common Hispano-Visigothic origin and the personal subscription of its members to the parishes of their traditional rite, for whose splendor and conservation they are responsible and which they maintained by their tithes.”47 The 2009 revision of the Constituciones also notes that the preservation of the liturgy is one of the key purposes of the society (Arts. 5 and 8).48 For this reason, the tithes (diezmos) given to the Mozarabic parishes are particularly important as a way for the community to support the Rite. These were already one of the conditions of Alfonso VI’s fuero and they remain central in the Constituciones (Gómez-Ruiz 2007, pp. 2, 33). This may explain the little girl’s ire at Santa Eulalia y San Marcos when I did not contribute to the collection.
The constructive tension between institutional leaders and the community is clear in the Constituciones (2009) of the Hermandad, which prioritizes the lay members over the clergy. Both, however, work together for the support of the community and its Rite. The physical arrangement of the space also reveals this constructive tension. The faithful gather close to the altar, ambo, and chair of the priest. The priest, while clearly presiding, has a role that mirrors the function of the Mozarabic Chapel—as the focus of political and institutional power. As the institutional focus, he focuses the power inherent in the community itself and gives it an institutional face. But it is very clear that his power is not his own. This is epitomized in the breaking of the “fourth wall” between cleric and lay during the homily, and in the acclamations present in the official texts.49 It was not until seeing the celebration of this liturgy that I realized how important these acclamations were in focusing power and authority back to the assembly. At the same time, the laity do remain dependent on the priest. So while the celebration is subversive of hierarchical distinctions and any attempt to prioritize the minister over the Mozarab community, it is not destructive of the assembly/minister distinction. Rather, it reorders it in a healthy and thoroughly post-conciliar way. In fact, in this way the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite may better embody the ecclesial vision of Vatican II than the reformed Roman Rite.
In the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite, the Mozarab community is primary and the liturgy is key to the preservation of their own communal identity. In this community, memory of its past and the challenges it has faced from social, political, and ecclesial pressures are reflected in the continued right for this community to celebrate the Lord with its own unique liturgical practices. The end result is a close relationship between the Mozarabic community and its liturgy, one which brings the liturgy to the heart of its cultural identity. This was borne out in my experience, especially in the Mozarabic parishes.

4.2. The Different Functions of the Cathedral and Parish Celebrations: Political vs. Mozarab

While it is clear that the modern celebration of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite fosters the communal identity of the Mozarabs, my experience of its celebration in both the Mozarabic Chapel and in the Mozarabic parishes suggests that the Mozarabic Chapel and parish celebrations fulfill different functions, fostering this identity in different ways. The differentiation between the Mozarabic Chapel and parish liturgies also begins to touch on questions about the role of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite in the larger Spanish imagination and where the “center” of the Rite is thought to lie.
The Hispano-Mozarabic Rite represents a form of political storytelling for two related but distinct communities: the Mozarabs and the Spaniards more broadly. I went into my study thinking that the Mozarabic Chapel celebration was still a “museum piece liturgy” celebrated day after day as if it was a historical artifact primarily for Spanish nationalist visions, and that the Mozarabic parish liturgies were living liturgies for the Mozarab community. My experience overturned this dichotomy, and I came to see the key role that the Mozarabic Chapel liturgy plays in projecting the Mozarab community’s identity beyond the community itself. The Mozarabic Chapel is the political or public focus of this Rite; whereas the Mozarabic parishes are the primary location for the celebration of the Rite by the Mozarab community itself. At the same time, the Mozarabic Chapel does continue to support Spanish nationalist visions, though to a lesser extent than in earlier periods. As a result, the Mozarabic Chapel celebration serves as a political rite on two fronts: (1) as the “ritual ambassador” for the Mozarabic parishes to the wider Catholic world—thus depicting their coherence and values, according to Bell, and (2) as a source of national pride and historic treasure.
The Mozarabic Chapel liturgy is the face of the Mozarabic liturgical community to the outside world. As an outsider, the Mozarabic Chapel celebration is the most accessible to attend, although it is not always clear when even that liturgy is going to be celebrated. The parishes are more difficult to find and it is even more difficult to determine when they will be celebrating the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite. The Mozarabic parishes have an insular and insider feel, while the Mozarabic Chapel has the function of being the meeting ground between this community and interested outsiders. Without the Mozarabic parishes, the Mozarabic Chapel celebration would become a museum piece, cut off from a lived celebration; without the Mozarabic Chapel, the parishes would lose their institutional power base and access to resources, such as priests, so crucial to their celebration. As long as both are maintained, the Mozarabic Chapel celebration remains a living liturgy by proxy, and the Mozarabic parish liturgies maintain their access to institutional authority and resources.
But the Mozarabic Chapel liturgy is not just there to support and project the identity of the Mozarabic parishes. A nationalist impulse pervades the Mozarabic Chapel liturgy, an impulse which goes back to its founding. While this nationalist impulse may not be as explicit today, it still remains. This impulse goes beyond the concerns of the Mozarab community itself. The mural of the battle of Oran in the Mozarabic Chapel perfectly depicts this tension. Its overt nationalism, alongside its implicit connection to Mozarabic history, embodies the Mozarabic Chapel’s function as the public face of the Mozarab community and its liturgy, but also as a reminder that this Rite is the historic liturgy of the primatial see of Spain and functions as a nationalist symbol. This was a goal that was contained in the 18th century and even in the modern reforms of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite after Vatican II.
Despite the supposed centrality of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite to the history of Spain, the fact remains that the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite has long been supplanted by the Roman Rite in Spain, and even in the parishes and cathedral of Toledo. As a result, a look at the Mozarabic Chapel and parish celebrations of the Rite also reveals that what is center and what is margin depends on one’s perspective. In her work with marginal communities in Ireland and the United States of America (Garrigan 2017, chp. 5), Siobhán Garrigan has called attention to the relationship between the margins and the center, asking questions like: “[I]s it fair to say that because something constitutes a majority it should therefore be considered ‘centre’?” (Garrigan 2017, p. 151). Or, just because something is considered central, does this mean that it is in fact center? In looking at the use of the Irish language in Ireland, Garrigan argues that it does not:
Irish speakers may be a minority, but the fact that many of the indicators of a socio-political ‘centre’ confirm Irish-speaking as normative suggests that they are not ‘marginal’: the constitution of the nation is written in Irish (with an English translation), road signs are all in Irish (with an English translation), Irish is a non-negotiable required subject in school: every English-speaking Irish child has to learn how to speak, read and write it. However, native Irish speakers have been shown to be ‘not-central’ in a host of ways that those grand gestures may serve to mask.
Liturgical scholars wrestle with the same issues between center and margin.50 Most recently, Daniel Galadza has noted in his study of the liturgy in Jerusalem that what is considered the periphery, and what is considered the center, “depends upon one’s perspective” and can also shift over time (Galadza 2018, p. 3).51 Additionally, “the periphery of one centre can become the centre of yet another periphery” (Galadza 2018, p. 3). As a result, what is the periphery and what is the center change based on time, location, and other contextual factors.52
The same tensions between center and periphery are clear in the celebration of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite today, as well as in the historic crisis points noted above. One can question, as Garrigan notes above, whether the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite in fact functions as center in the Spanish nationalist narrative. Moreover, the Mozarab community is both on the margins and at the center, depending on one’s perspective (Gómez-Ruiz 2007, pp. 4–7). They are at the center of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite, but nearly invisible in its public celebration in the Mozarabic Chapel, the public center of the Rite. Similarly, the Mozarabic Chapel is seen as the public center of the Rite, but it is on the margins of the Mozarabic community, which itself is central to the history and preservation of the Rite. Thus, it is not always clear—despite Cisneros’s vision of the centrality of the Mozarabic Chapel celebration—which location (Mozarabic Chapel or Mozarabic parish) represents the “center” of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite.
For Spanish nationalists and outsiders, the Mozarabic Chapel liturgy clearly functions as center. But for the Mozarabs, the Mozarabic parish celebrations clearly function as center. This is because the Rite is the central marker of communal identity for this ecclesially marginalized community. As a result, the parish celebration must be viewed as the primary center of the Rite, despite the public center of the Rite being the Mozarabic Chapel.53 At the same time, both the Mozarabic Chapel and Mozarabic parish celebrations of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite are on the margins of ecclesial life in Toledo, given the dominance of the Roman Rite there. This is the case despite the fact that Toledo is considered the center of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite, and despite the fact that the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite often functions as the historic liturgy of Spain (more below).
As a result, the celebration of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite also reframes our understanding of where the liturgical center of a diocese lies. Is it in the political and institutional liturgies epitomized by the cathedral celebration, or in parish communities? In many places, the cathedral celebration is given central status as a model for the diocese, even when the bishop is not presiding. This is because the cathedral functions as a symbol of the bishop. Sacrosanctum Concilium arts. 41–42 highlights this tension between a diocese’s cathedral and its parishes. Art. 41 specifically states that:
[A]ll should hold in the greatest esteem the liturgical life of the diocese centered around the bishop, especially in his cathedral church. They must be convinced that the principal manifestation of the church consists in the full, active participation of all God’s holy people in the same liturgical celebrations, especially in the same Eucharist, in one prayer, at one altar, at which the bishop presides, surrounded by his college of priests and by his ministers.
Again, even when the bishop is not presiding, the cathedral remains a central symbol. However, my experience of the Mozarabic Chapel and parish celebrations of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite has revealed that this relationship is much more complex than it at first appears. The analysis above has also uncovered the dependence of the one on the other. It has shown that the center of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite is the Mozarabic parish celebrations, while that is outwardly focused in the Rite’s cathedral presence. The Mozarabic Chapel is a political proclamation of the Mozarab community to outsiders, not the normative symbol of the community to insiders. Like the priest, the Mozarabic Chapel liturgy visibly focuses the identity of the community, directs it onwards, and gives this community an institutional and public presence. This seems to have the function of also allowing the community to continue to be left to itself. This may be supported by the physical hiddenness of the parishes and the desire to close the doors, a practice less desirable in the cathedral. Thus, the Mozarabic Chapel becomes the public space of this community.
For the Church more broadly, this suggests a need to rethink the relationship between cathedral and parish celebrations of the liturgy. While Sacrosanctum Concilium 41 remains theologically correct, at least in the case of the Mozarabs—and likely most of the Catholic faithful—it is not experientially accurate. Coupled with a more robust understanding of the priesthood of all believers developed in the wake of Vatican II, this suggests the need for further theological reflection on the relationship between institutional structures and the People of God that responds to the faithful’s self-understanding of what it means to be Church.

4.3. The Hispano-Mozarabic Rite, the Roman Rite, and the Broader Catholic Church

From my historical, liturgical, and ethnographic study, the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite challenges the dominance of the Roman Rite by being a central marker of communal identity for a marginalized community and also for Spanish nationalist visions.54 The tension between the Hispano-Mozarabic and Roman Rites, as well as the Spanish and Roman Churches more broadly, has been a hallmark of the history of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite. Ecclesial leaders and political forces (Arabs, Carolingians, and Christian kings) have attempted to suppress the Rite, yet it continues to be celebrated. The continued celebration of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite shines a spotlight on ongoing tensions between local churches and the universal Church. It also reveals the marginal status of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite, even in its “center”—Toledo.
In the parishes of Toledo, the Roman Rite is by far the most frequently celebrated, and in the cathedral the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite is marginalized to a chapel. While both the parishes and cathedral celebrations remain marginal, the former confined to alleyways and hard-to-find places, the latter to the side chapel in the cathedral, their mere continuance is a prophetic witness to the historic liturgical diversity within the Roman communion (Chase 2021). This despite the fact that the organ of the cathedral and the music of the Roman Rite permeates the Mozarabic Chapel. Among the Mozarabic parishes, San Lucas celebrates the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite exclusively, but does not celebrate it each Sunday. It alternates the celebration of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite with the parish of Santas Justa y Rufina, which celebrates both the Roman and Hispano-Mozarabic Rites. The only church to celebrate the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite each Sunday is the Mozarabic parish of Santa Eulalia y San Marcos. Furthermore, in both the Mozarabic Chapel and (at least) the parish of Santas Justa y Rufina, the celebration of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite gives way at times to solemnities known in the Roman Rite but foreign to the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite. The case of the blending of the Hispano-Mozarabic and Roman Rites in the parish of Santas Justa y Rufina is particularly interesting. This is a modern example of a well-known phenomenon in Western liturgical history, where the Roman Rite supplants and influences the Western Non-Roman Rites, including the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite (Chase 2021).
Even at the center of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite, the city of Toledo, the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite is on the margins. It is displaced in both the cathedral and the parishes by the Roman Rite, and the Roman Rite influences its celebration. At the same time, by continuing to be celebrated in the parishes, but especially in the cathedral, it challenges the centrality of the Roman Rite in the West and calls the Church to be open to various forms of liturgical expression that respond to the needs of each particular community (Chase 2021, pp. 68–71).

5. Conclusions

The Hispano-Mozarabic Rite is a testament to the way crisis points shape liturgical development and communal identity throughout history. These crisis points can be clear and isolated external or internal threats to the community’s existence, or they can be the result of a prolonged series of “micro-aggressions” against a community that results in the marginalization of a particular liturgical tradition and the community that celebrates it. The Hispano-Mozarabic Rite provides a helpful example since the crisis points are so clear in its history. As a living liturgical tradition, it also provides helpful insights into how ongoing crises (mainly its marginalization in the shadow of the Roman Rite) affect the Rite and its community.
The Hispano-Mozarabic Rite can also serve as a helpful case study for liturgical historians and practitioners interested in the construction of community identity across time and in light of various types of crises. The Hispano-Mozarabic Rite has been successful in not only creating and sustaining a social identity but also a religious one. Throughout its history, the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite has challenged native and foreign attempts at its suppression, showing the resiliency of this particular community, and the importance of the liturgy to their own self-understanding (Gómez-Ruiz 2007, pp. 28–30). The historical and current struggle to maintain the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite in light of a myriad of challenges, including ecclesial attempts at suppression, also points to a time when liturgical diversity was the norm in the West, and not the exception (Chase 2021).
Finally, this analysis of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite also shows the complexities of trying to determine where the center of a Rite or community lies. It has shown that the “center” also changes based on the perspective. This has broad-reaching implications for the Church liturgically, ecclesiologically, and socially. In particular, it can refocus our attention on the primacy of the assembly in our liturgical celebrations. In the end, the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite is a rich source for modern liturgists interested in exploring the complexities of communal identity and the way liturgical traditions have been shaped by crisis.


This research was made possible with support from the Graduate Travel and Research Grant from the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, University of Notre Dame.

Institutional Review Board Statement

An exemption from review by the Institutional Review Board was granted to this project by the University of Notre Dame’s Office for Human Research Protections on 16 September 2016.

Informed Consent Statement

Not applicable.

Data Availability Statement

Not applicable.


I would like to thank Todd Whitmore and especially Kimberly Belcher for their helpful comments and advice on this article, as well as the comments of my reviewers. I would also like to thank the Mozarabic parishes for their continued prophetic presence in the Church. I also am grateful to the Nanovic Institute for European Studies at the University of Notre Dame for funding parts of this research. Figure 1 has been licensed from by the author.

Conflicts of Interest

The author declares no conflict of interest.


The term “Rite” should be distinguished from the term “rite.” The Church’s liturgies are made up of a number of “rites”: the sacraments, the funeral rites, rites of blessing, etc. The various ways in which these rites are celebrated form distinct liturgical traditions known as “Rites.” A “Rite” is a coherent and autonomous form of the Christian ritual system in which various “rites” are celebrated. For more, see (Chase 2021, pp. 28–30). With regard to the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite, the Rite has been given a number of names. Scholars studying the Visigothic or pre-Visigothic eras tend to prefer “Old Spanish” or “Old Hispanic.” Those studying the Rite from the 8th century onwards often call it the “Mozarabic,” and the current liturgical books use the term “Hispano-Mozarabic.” In the interests of rooting this liturgical tradition in a living tradition, I will use the term “Hispano-Mozarabic” precisely because this name spans both the Visigothic and Mozarabic periods, while at the same time pointing to the modern community who claims this tradition as their own. The Hispano-Mozarabic Rite is one of the last few ancient Western liturgical Rites in communion with the Catholic Church still preserved today. Before the Council of Trent in the 16th century, there were a number of regional liturgical traditions. However, after the council, almost every local church was required to adopt the Roman Rite. In only a few instances were older local liturgical traditions preserved. For more, see (Chase 2018).
Boynton notes that “the idea of the reconquista has been revised by historians of the Iberian peninsula, who distance themselves from uses of the term that cast what were in fact diverse and sporadic endeavors as a single, coherent movement lasting for centuries.” (Boynton 2015). My use of the term reconquista is not meant to denote a single coherent movement but rather the process of constructing a myth of reconquest from the 9th century onwards. For more, see (O’Callaghan 2013).
The Mozarab community is the successor to the community of Christians who lived in Spain during the Muslim rule of the southern part of the Iberian Peninsula. For more background on this community and the name, see (Gómez-Ruiz 2007, chp. 1).
For a quick summary of this, see (Gómez-Ruiz 2007, pp. 2, 26–33). See also Section 2.3.
Translation from (Gómez-Ruiz 2007, p. 8). Original in (Muñoz Perea 2005, p. 9).
For more information on the importance of the Ilustre Hermandad de Caballeros y Damas mozárabes and the way that it influences and determines Mozarab membership and meaning, see (Gómez-Ruiz 2007, pp. 3–7). It also has a role in the new Congregation for the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite, see (Sierra López 2020). See also the Hermandad’s website: (accessed on 21 Feburary 2022).
See note 34.
This is an ecclesial question about the various ecclesiologies at work in the Church. To use the helpful categories of Avery Dulles, this highlights the tension between “the Church as Institution” and “the Church as mystical communion,” see (Dulles 2002). Elsewhere, I have also tried to talk about “ecclesial succession” in concert with “episcopal succession,” see (Chase 2018).
For standard works, see (Searle 1992; Mitchell 1999, 2009; Grimes 2010). See also the recent work by (Marx 2013; Barnard et al. 2014; Ross 2014; Seah 2021; Johnson 2021).
The prolonged marginalization of the Western Non-Roman Rites—and even Eastern Rites—vis à vis the Roman Rite is a hallmark of liturgical history in the West, see (Chase 2021).
Here, I am following the work of (Phelan 2014).
Visigothic Spain was not the only place where baptism was used to bolster communal identity and kingdom-wide cohesion. Owen Phelan has shown the central role that baptism also played in the formation of the Carolingian Empire, see (Phelan 2014, pp. 49, 262).
Regional variations did still exist, see (Chase 2021, pp. 39, 47–51).
For a good overview, see (Collins 1995, chp. 5; 2000; 2006, chp. 5; Hillgarth 2009).
For a recent and helpful summary, see (Maloy 2020, pp. 15–18, 220–26).
See (Gonzálvez 1985, p. 165). See also (Maloy 2020, pp. 14–18). For a look at other factors besides the liturgy constructing Mozarab identity in this period, see (Hitchcock 2016).
See (Pinell I Pons 1997, p. 190). For a helpful and recent summary, see (Maloy 2020, pp. 17–18, 189–92).
For a helpful overview of the sources, see (Walker 1998, pp. 30–34).
“De Romano autem officio, quod tua iussione accepimus, sciatis nostrum terram admodum desolata esse” (Gambra 1997, vol. II, p. 93).
Slight variations on this story exist, with some stories recounting that the Roman book was the one that leapt from the flames, while the Hispano-Mozarabic book remained in the fire unharmed, see (Bosch 2010, p. 57).
For more on the historiography, see (Rubio Sadia 2006; Deswarte 2007, pp. 533–44).
This also seems confirmed by the manuscript evidence, see (Maloy 2020, pp. 220–26).
For a detailed study of the introduction of the Roman Rite in the various regions of the peninsula, see (Rubio Sadia 2004a, 2004b, 2011a, 2011b, 2011c, 2018a, 2018b).
While it has historically been thought that Alfonso VI’s fuero informally allowed for the continuance of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite “by informal agreement in the six Mozarabic parishes later named by Rodrigo Jiménez de Rada (archbishop of Toledo from 1210 to 1249),” some scholars have recently argued “that the six Mozarabic parishes named by Jiménez de Rada are unlikely to have existed before 1085, proposing instead that they were built to accommodate an influx of Andalusi immigrants fleeing the Almohads in the 1140s” (Maloy 2020, p. 221). This may be borne out by the manuscript evidence; see (Maloy 2020, pp. 220–23, 225). Maloy does note, however, that some evidence may suggest that the Rite was still practiced in Toledo and/or its environs before the 1140s, see (Hornby and Maloy 2013, pp. 304–5; Maloy 2020, p. 225).
For more, see (Hornby and Maloy 2013, p. 304). Possible reasons why the fuero does not directly take up the Rite are given by Gonzálvez, see (Gonzálvez 1985, pp. 174–75).
See (Ruiz 2004; Bosch 2010, pp. 60–64; Boynton 2011, 2015, p. 49). For more on the Mozarab community in this period, see (Dávila y García-Miranda 2003, pp. 95–120).
See (Ruiz 2004; Boynton 2015). The Hispano-Mozarabic Rite even made it to Mexico, where “the archbishop of Mexico (and future archbishop of Toledo) Francisco Antonio Lorenzana (1772–1804), published an edition of the Mozarabic Mass for Saint James (Santiago) in Puebla” (Boynton 2015, p. 7). The missal is discussed above, see (Lorenzana 1770).
See (Boynton 2015, pp. 6–7). Outside of a liturgical context, see (Hillgarth 2009).
Boynton provides a helpful summary, see (Boynton 2011, 2015). For a more detailed treatment, see (Bosch 2010, pp. 60–64). See also (Gómez-Ruiz 2007, chp. 3).
See (Boynton 2011). This is in keeping with J. N. Hillgarth’s study, see (Hillgarth 2009). See also (Ferrer Gresneche 2018, pp. 235–54).
For a history of the modern reform of the Rite, see (Chase 2021, pp. 47–50).
The publication of the new Missale Hispano-Mozarabicum, extended the celebration of the Rite throughout Spain, cf. Decree of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments No. 763/92 of 23 January 1994; Praenotandos of the Missale Hispano-Mozarabicum, nos. 159–160. For more on the recently established “Congregation for the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite,” see (Sierra López 2020). For more on the celebration of this Rite outside of Toledo, see (Fernández Serrano 1978; Sánchez Montealegre 1988, p. 3). In more recent history, and in regard to Madrid, see (Rouco Varela 2001; Ferrer Gresneche 2018). More information at (accessed on 13 August 2021). I also know that the liturgy has been celebrated frequently for centuries in Salamanca. On a recent trip of mine to Spain in 2019, a woman at the diocesan bookstore in Granada enthusiastically told me that the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite is sometimes still celebrated there too.
The parishes in Toledo are: Parroquia Mozárabe de las Santas Justa y Rufina and La Iglesia Mozárabe de San Lucas (accessed on 21 Feburary 2022), as well as the Parroquia Mozárabe de Santa Eulalia (accessed on 21 Feburary 2022).
For a helpful introduction to the performative and ritual reality of the liturgy, see (Bradshaw and Melloh 2007).
In my first trip to Toledo on Sunday 23 November 2014 and Monday 24 November 2014 (last week of Tiempo de Cotidiano), I was only able to experience the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite at the Mozarabic Chapel. In my second trip on 16 and 23 October 2016 (XXVI and XXVII Domingos de Cotidiano), I decided to visit both the Mozarabic Chapel and the Mozarabic parish of Santa Eulalia y San Marcos. On my third trip on 11 June 2017 (IX Domingo de Cotidiano), I attended mass at the Mozarabic parish of Santas Justa y Rufina, and I tried to attend the liturgy at the Mozarabic church of San Lucas. Finally, on my last trip on 13 August 2017 (XVI Domingo de Cotidiano), I went to mass at the Mozarabic Chapel and the Mozarabic parish of Santa Eulalia y San Marcos. I also tried to attend mass at the parish church of Santas Justa y Rufina, because the schedule of masses posted at the cathedral seemed to imply that there would be mass that day, but mass was not offered.
For more on this church and a longer description of it, see (Gómez-Ruiz 2007, pp. 81–84).
The book is titled “Rito Hispano-Mozárabe: Libro dl Coro”.
I am not sure exactly what chant was used for the Antiphonam ad Pacem because I do not have access to the community’s newly published Latin/Spanish missalette (2015)—“Rito Hispano-Mozárabe: Libro dl Coro.” But upon returning from my trip, I looked through the worship booklet for the 900-year anniversary celebration of reconquest of Toledo, which includes a number of chants, see (Cabrera and Silveira 1985). See the chant on p. 40. I am not sure if this was the same chant, but it did seem similar.
This was also my experience at the Mozarabic Chapel and at Santas Justa y Rufina.
Gómez-Ruiz’s whole study is about this, but see in particular (Gómez-Ruiz 2007, pp. 3–4, 7–9).
See notes 47 and 48 below.
For the importance of the assembly in the post-Vatican II reforms, see (Janowiak 2011).
Some helpful introductory studies include (Wood 2000; Wood and Downey 2003; Gaillardetz 2008).
Gómez-Ruiz highlights this throughout his study.
Translation from (Gómez-Ruiz 2007, p. 33).
Constituciones de la Ilustre y Antiquísima Hermandad de Caballeros y Damas Mozárabes de Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza de la Imperial Ciudad de Toledo (Toledo 2009), (accessed on 23 February 2022).
These acclamations are especially pronounced in the Eucharistic prayer, where the faithful say “Amen” after the words over the bread, and then again after the words over the cup.
Discussions in liturgical studies on center and periphery have been shaped by the work of Stefano Parenti, Robert Taft, and Gabriele Winkler (Parenti 1991, 1997, 2010; 2014, pp. 289–304; 2020; Taft 2001, pp. 214–16; Winkler 1982). Parenti has argued that the center and periphery cannot be so easily identified with either innovation or preservation.
Here, Galadza is building on the work of others, but especially Stefano Parenti; see (Parenti 1991, 1997, 2010, 2014, 2020).
For a very helpful summary, see (Galadza 2018, pp. 2–3, 75).
The archbishop of Toledo also frequently presides at the liturgies of the Hermandad; see (Ferrer Gresneche 2018). The Mozarabs also participate in the Lignum Crucis on Good Friday with the rest of the church in Toledo; see (Gómez-Ruiz 2007, chp. 7).
Gómez-Ruiz also points to this in his study; see (Gómez-Ruiz 2007, p. 122).


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Figure 1. Mural depicting the taking of Oran. Photo Credit: Album/Alamy Stock Photo.
Figure 1. Mural depicting the taking of Oran. Photo Credit: Album/Alamy Stock Photo.
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Figure 2. Mozarabic Chapel (not to scale). Photo Credit: Nathan Chase.
Figure 2. Mozarabic Chapel (not to scale). Photo Credit: Nathan Chase.
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Figure 3. Door to Sta. Eulalia y San Marcos. Photo Credit: Nathan Chase.
Figure 3. Door to Sta. Eulalia y San Marcos. Photo Credit: Nathan Chase.
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Figure 4. Door to Sts. Justa y Rufina. Photo Credit: Nathan Chase.
Figure 4. Door to Sts. Justa y Rufina. Photo Credit: Nathan Chase.
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Figure 5. Inside Santa Eulalia y San Marcos. Photo Credit: Nathan Chase.
Figure 5. Inside Santa Eulalia y San Marcos. Photo Credit: Nathan Chase.
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Figure 6. Church of Santa Eulalia y San Marcos (not to scale). Photo Credit: Nathan Chase.
Figure 6. Church of Santa Eulalia y San Marcos (not to scale). Photo Credit: Nathan Chase.
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Chase, N.P. Crisis, Liturgy, and Communal Identity: The Celebration of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite in Toledo, Spain as a Case Study. Religions 2022, 13, 216.

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Chase NP. Crisis, Liturgy, and Communal Identity: The Celebration of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite in Toledo, Spain as a Case Study. Religions. 2022; 13(3):216.

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Chase, Nathan P. 2022. "Crisis, Liturgy, and Communal Identity: The Celebration of the Hispano-Mozarabic Rite in Toledo, Spain as a Case Study" Religions 13, no. 3: 216.

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