Rorate Caeli

Another monastery rediscovers its traditional Rite

Vyšší Brod (photo source)
One of the least-known major news stories of 2012 for the "world of Tradition" in the Latin Rite has been the return of the Cistercian monastery of Vyšší Brod in the Czech Republic (see also their more updated Czech website) to the traditional Cistercian Rite (as it existed prior to Vatican II).

Although the monastery's own website seems to show that it still uses the Novus Ordo, we have received confirmation that the monastery now has its daily Conventual Mass (Sunday to Saturday) and its whole Divine Office according to the Traditional Cistercian Rite. We expect that the website will eventually be amended to reflect this change.

Vyšší Brod belongs to the Ordo Cisterciensis (O.Cist) or Cistercians of the Common Observance.

Mass in the Monastery. (Source)

Vyšší Brod is now the third monastery in the Benedictine tradition (after the Trappist monastery of Mariawald and the Benedictine monastery in Norcia) to make the switch, in the years since the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum, from being all "Reformed Rite" to being predominantly or exclusively Traditional Rite.

The following is a video of a Pontifical Mass celebrated in Vyšší Brod by Dom Josef Vollberg OCSO, Abbot of Mariawald, on December 15 of this year. 


  1. James Ignatius McAuley2:40 PM

    The Traditional Cistercian Breviary is very physically demanding, especially if recited according to the traditional hours. The inclusion of Matins (longer than the normal Office of Readings) and Prime require more time for prayer. I am sure, this extra time spent in prayer, if said with devotion, will reap many spiritual benefits. This revival can only bless the Church.

  2. A very interesting post. Who would have thought, even twenty years ago, that we would ever see something like this again?

    That said, it was difficult to figure out from the video what was meant by saying that this ceremony was conducted according to the "Traditional Cistercian Rite."

    It doesn't seem to be the medieval form described by King in Liturgies of the Religious Orders. This was revived in only three of the Order's houses in 1936-40, including Hauterive, where I spent some time and whose abbot had been involved in the revival.

    This rite was austere to the point of grimness — monastery lore had it the Bugnini had visited Hauterive as he was cooking up the Novus Ordo and positively loved it, precisely for this reason. You can see a picture of the bare altar and dalmatic-less deacon in King, who even dedicated the book to one of the Order's enthusiasts for the old rite, Dom Alexis Presse.

    Apart from that, the Order's rite had been extensively Romanized in the 17th century, even though it retained some previous particular usages. I assume that it was some version of this that was celebrated in Vyšší Brod.

    Maybe someone can enlighten us on the rite actually used in the video.

  3. Joseph10:59 PM

    The only thing grim that I see is the future that sedevacantists have in front of them.

  4. And THAT's what they used to say about the old Mass.

    So check back in twenty years, Joseph, and see if we have anything to cheer you up!

  5. Joseph,

    What is the point of such a comment directed at Fr. Cekada? I certainly have no sympathy for sedevacantism, but I don't see how your comment is productive in the least.

  6. GQ Rep12:14 AM

    I saw a few photos of this Trappist Abboton the internet, and if I am not mistaken, he (and probably the Trappists of Mariawald) have re-introduced monastic tonsure again also (the monastic corona). Bravo!!

    In my travels, I have seen in Europe a handful of monasteries which have re-introduced this (Benedictine houses), as well as some new religious Orders of friars (at least 3 in Italy, and 2 in well as half a dozen throughout Latin America, particularly in Brazil). Most of these groups use only the Tridentine Latin Mass...but 1 or 2 use both the Novus Ordo and the TLM and have re-intruduced monastic tonsure.

    There is also a seminary in Italy where the seminarians (who are not monks or friars) are also tonsured....a small circle on the back of the head, like mostly all Italian seminarians, and many priests wore prior to Vatican II.

  7. hebetissimus12:32 AM

    The Czech news page seems to describe these Masses as classical Roman Rite, but perhaps that is alternative nomenclature for the traditional Cistercian Rite?

    I hope that traditional Catholic monasticism flourishes again, for we have great need of it.

  8. Samuel2:05 AM

    Frankly, I was shocked when I found out my brethren in the Roman rite have had so many issues having two liturgies. As a Melkite Catholic, we use two with no problem. Even the use of the vernacular hasn't been an issue. Perhaps it is because I have a different perspective, but I just don't see the big deal having one form over the other.

  9. Anonymous3:15 AM

    Observere says:

    God bless these Monks!

  10. Pulex3:21 AM

    Most likely they use the 'romanized' Cistercian rite that was used by their order in Austro-Hungarian empire and its successor countries until the 2nd Vatican council. Their close historical ties with Heiligenkreuz would suggest that. As to this particular video, although I would not be able to tell the difference, but it could well be pure Roman rite, especially, since the guest celebrant was a Trappist and two of the sacred ministers biretta-wearing secular clergy.

    The Czech website suggests that they use Novus ordo on Sundays and obligatory Feasts, and TLM the rest of the time, but the Christmas Masses 2012, too, were TLM. Unlike the Trappists at Mariawald, Vyssi Brod hosts a parish. So for the sake of the parishioners they had to keep Novus Ordo, too, for a while. Maybe this Christmas will turn out to be a further step towards exclusive use of TLM.

  11. Taylor3:41 AM


    1) The Byzantines retain the iconostasis for mystery. The Romans don't. Latin _is_ our iconostasis, which is why the vernacular is more of an issue for us.

    2) The Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms exist side-by-side in a way that the Liturgies of St. John Chryostom and St. Basil the Great don't. Thus it is also more problematic.

  12. Beautiful. I wonder if there is a pre-Vatican II Ambrosian rite?

  13. @Samuel - It is a bit of a similar issue, though it is different. The Divine Liturgies of St. Basil and St. John Chrysostom were not intended (from my understanding) to be replacements of one another, where as the Novus Ordo is, from the Roman standpoint, the same liturgy as the Extraordinary Form.

    Of course, from our Byzantine usage, the liturgies of St. Basil and St. John follow a nearly identical form and structure, and the prayers and rubrics of St. Basil are merely more elaborate (i.e. the Anaphora of St. Basil detailing the whole of salvation history, etc).

    The promulgation of the Novus Ordo was done with the intention that it would replace the Traditional Form in its entirety, not co-exist with it as if they were separate liturgies, in the same way the Tridentine Mass replaced most Roman forms that preceded it.

  14. Luke Togni6:16 PM

    I'm not sure Latin is our iconostasis. We did have rood screens, which were the equivalent. Most have been ripped out, but those are the western equivalent to iconostases. When we speak of preserving mystery we shouldn't have in mind "making things unintelligible" so as to remind us of their transcendence. Instead the various aspects of the liturgy recall for us and mystically represent and re-enact the sacred mysteries we celebrate and participate in, which are, of course, beyond the complete grasp of our mortal minds.

    IIRC, Latin was not adopted in the west for the sake of obscuring the prayers but for its poetic and religious dignity; no doubt it was a kind of inculturation. In our day it does possess a certain 'mysteriousness' because those that understand Latin are few, but among the learned days past it was the intellectual vernacular.

  15. This video is very hard to watch. Whoever put it up really likes to chop things up almost to the point it is unwatchable. Why not just post the whole thing and let us watch and listen.

    Some of the music is just divine and then poof your off to something else.

  16. Andrew9:19 PM

    I've heard that in addition to celebrating the Novus Ordo with reverence, the Benedictine Abbey of St. Louis Abbey (MO) also offers the Tridentine Rite on a regular basis.

  17. Modernists are failing ...Deo gratias!

  18. That is wonderful! May God Bless them! I bet they will have many vocations.

  19. P Moscatelli8:32 AM

    @Knight of Malta

    There is indeed a pre-reform Ambrosian rite, Missal of 1954. It is celebrated only in three locations in the diocese of Milan, and its expansion is somewhat hindered by the fact that Summorum Pontificum is not applicable to us.

    @Luke T

    If the iconostasis indicates the mystery by hiding it to the eyes, would it not be possible to say that in the Latin rites the mystery is indicated by the silence enveloping the sacrifical act?

  20. Veritas2:28 PM

    @ Moscatelli.

    You should check your facts. SP IS of course applicable to the Ambrosian Rite. The PCED made this very clear in a letter from 2009.

    "While it is true that the Motu proprio of the Holy Father does not expressly cite the Ambrosian rite, it doesn’t exclude the other Latin rites; if the will of the Holy Father asserts for the Roman rite, considered superior in dignity, consequently much more for the other Latin rites, including the Ambrosian rite."

  21. P Moscatelli, if I recall correctly, a letter of PCED indicates that SP does, indeed, apply to the Ambrosian Rite as well.

  22. Andrew:

    St. Louis Abbey runs the Oratory of SS. Gregory and Augustine, one of two personal parishes in the Archdiocese of St. Louis dedicated to the TLM. However, the Abbey itself continues to hold its Masses according to the "Ordinary Form".

  23. P Moscatelli10:23 PM

    @Veritas and ytc

    I am aware of that letter, which could possibly be used by the person who posed the question in his specific location and situation, but not elsewhere.
    After 2009, Mgr Pozzo has repeatedly and explicitly excluded (also in an oral reply to a direct question by the undersigned) the applicability of SP to other rites than the Roman rite. In the diocese, this is the also the point of view of the ecclesiastic authorities in charge.
    Until a specific decree from the Archbishop extends the applicability of SP to our rite, we are under indult.

  24. Veritas9:05 AM

    @ Moscatelli.

    I'm afraid you are wrong. There is no need for an indult. Summorum Pontificum is applicable to the Ambrosiane Rite.

    "Obviously, thinking that the Commission would intend to legislate with a private letter is absurd. Its Vice-President, on the contrary, wished to clarify something which is already logically and intrinsically meant in the Papal text, without any need of further proper canonical legislation or authoritative interpretation."

  25. I agree with Samuel. I don't see the problem with having both the NO and the EF, even at the same churches, even by the same priests. I am a layperson aged 48. I just don't see why it such a huge deal, although of course I observe the FACT that it is, and that many people are terribly upset, and that there are all sorts of impediments to priests celebrating the EF or even just TURNING AROUND when celebrating the NO. But I think all the problems are symbolic and that they are related to other, very highly emotional issues, and that there is no inherent problem with celebrating both.

  26. Samuel1:19 AM

    I thought the current pope and his predecessor both have said that the old mass was never intended to be replaced. At least that is what I have been led to believe.

    Also, I do not like the claims that "modernist" are in control of the Church or are even in the Church. Modernism, as I understand, is heresy and a heretic can't be in union with the Church.


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