“Mozarabic” is really a term historians use for Christians who lived in Spain under Muslim or Arab rule. It literally means “among the Arabs.” The people never would have called themselves “Mozarabs.”
The Mozarabic Rite (sometimes called the Visigothic, Hispanic or Andalusian Rite) had its beginnings in the seventh century with the invasion of the Arabs from the south and the southern Spanish Christians being cut off from the rest of Europe. It was a complete rite tradition, that is, they developed liturgies and prayers for the church year independently of Rome–most probably because of their isolation under Arab rule. Mozarabic liturgy and prayer are similar to the Mass and prayers of the Roman rite, only the prayers (collects) seem to be a bit freer in form and a bit more substantial in meaning than the prayers from the Gregorian or Gelasian sacramentaries. There is a connection between the Mozarabic Christians and the Eastern Rite Christians (Greek/Eastern Orthodox). Some scholars also see some traces of the worship of early Celtic Christians in the Mozarabic Rite (2000 Years of Prayer, ed. Michael Counsell, p. 84).
Why So Much Mozarabic?
Since the Mozarabic Rite developed its own rites and prayers for each Sunday and the liturgies of the hours each day there are a lot of prayers from the Mozarabic tradition out there. Since A Collection of Prayers is about meaning in prayers and gathering prayers that are rich in meaning, the Mozarabic Rite has become a favorite source. The chief source for Mozarabic prayers is the book Mozarabic Collects based on the translation and arrangement from the Ancient Liturgy of the Spanish Church by the Rev. Charles R. Hale. When I found the book last year, I got the electronic text from the pdf, and began reworking the English text to preserve and emphasize meaning. The result was The New Mozarabic Collects: A Revision and Refreshing of ‘Mozarabic Collects’ by Charles R. Hale
There are other prayers that I find from time to time that are ascribed to the the following sources:
- Mozarabic Rite or Mozarabic Liturgy (this would include everything related to the worship of Mozarabic Christians.)
- Mozarabic Sacramentary (A Sacramentary is a book that would be on the altar containing all liturgy and prayers needed to conduct a service. The Mozarabic Collects would be from the Sacramentary)
- Mozarabic Breviary (A Breviary is a small book of prayers, or a book containing shortnened Matins and Vespers devotions, along with daily readings, based on the Church Year.)
- Mozarabic Psalter (A psalter is a book with the text of the psalms, along with antiphons and prayers said or chanted during liturgies of the hours.)
Gregorian chant seems to be very even and measured. Mozarabic chant shows the middle-eastern influence with twists and turns. In many ways it resembles chants from the Maronite / Syriac Christian tradition and Islamic chants. Here’s a selection of Mozarabic chants on YouTube:
Our collection of Mozarabic prayers can be read here: https://acollectionofprayers.wordpress.com/tag/mozarabic/