Quem Quaeritis

From Regularis Concordia (965-975), a book of rules and advice for the English Benedictine Order by Ethelwold, the Bishop of Winchester, England

When the third lesson of the matins is chanted, let four brethren dress themselves; of whom let one, wearing an alb, enter as if to take part in the service; and let him without being observed approach the place of the sepulcher, where, holding a palm in his hand, let him sit quietly. While the third responsory is being sung, let the remaining three brethren follow, all of them wearing copes and carrying censors filled with incense. Then slowly, in the manner of seeking something, let them move toward the place of the sepulcher.

These things are to be performed in imitation of the Angel seated in the tomb, and of the women coming with spices to anoint the body of Jesus. When therefore the seated angel shall see the three women, as if straying about and looking for something, approach him, let him begin to sing in a dulcet voice of medium pitch:

Whom seek ye in the sepulcher, O followers of Christ?

When he has sung this to the end, let the three respond in unison:

Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified, O celestial one.

To whom that one:

He is not here; he is risen, just as he foretold.
Go, announce that he is risen from the dead.

At the word of this command, let the three turn to the choir, and say:

Alleluia! The Lord is risen today,
The strong lion, the Christ, the Son of God.
Give thanks to God, Sing Alleluia!

This said, let the Angel, again seating himself, as if recalling them, sing the anthem

Come, and see the place where the Lord was lad. Alleluia! Alleluia!

And saying this, let him rise, and let him lift the veil and show them the place bare of the cross, but only the cloths lying there with which the cross was wrapped. Seeing this, let the women set down the censers they carried into the sepulcher, and let them pick up the cloth and spread it out before the eyes of the clergy; and, as if making known that the Lord had risen and was not now wrapped in this linen, let them sing this anthem

The Lord is risen from the sepulcher,
Who for us hung on the cross.

And let them place the cloth upon the altar. The anthem being ended, let the Prior, rejoicing with them at the triumph of our king, in that having conquered death, he arose, begin the hymn:

We Praise thee, O God.

From Medieval and Tudor Drama, ed. John Gassner (1963: New York: Applause Book Publishers, 1987), pg. 37-38.

Medieval Theatre

From Medieval and Tudor Drama, ed. John Gassner (1963: New York: Applause Book Publishers, 1987), pg. 37-38.

E-mail questions and comments to Larry Wild at wildl@wolf.northern.edu.
Last updated: August 14, 2002
© 1995-2002 by Larry Wild, Northern State University, Aberdeen, SD 57401