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(rĕk`wēəm, rē`–, rā`–) [Lat.,=rest], proper MassMass,
religious service of the Roman Catholic Church, which has as its central act the performance of the sacrament of the Eucharist. It is based on the ancient Latin liturgy of the city of Rome, now used in most, but not all, Roman Catholic churches. The term Mass [Lat.
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 for the souls of the dead, performed on All Souls' DayAll Souls' Day,
Nov. 2 (exceptionally, Nov. 3), feast of the Roman Catholic Church on which the church on earth prays for the souls of the faithful departed still suffering in purgatory. The proper office is of the dead, and the Mass is a requiem.
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 and at funerals. The reformation of Roman Catholic liturgy following the Second Vatican Council (see Vatican Council, SecondVatican Council, Second,
popularly called Vatican II,
1962–65, the 21st ecumenical council (see council, ecumenical) of the Roman Catholic Church, convened by Pope John XXIII and continued under Paul VI.
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) has modified the traditional requiem, and it is now called the Funeral Mass, Mass for the Dead, or Mass of Christian Burial. Black vestments are no longer required, white or purple may be worn, and flowers are permitted. The hymnody, while still solemn in tone, is often joyful and reflects hope in the resurrection and the service is conducted in the vernacular. Its peculiarities include omission of the Gloria, the creed, and the blessing of the people. The famous sequence, the Dies iraeDies irae
[Lat.,=day of wrath], hymn of the Roman Catholic Church. A part of the Requiem Mass, it is a powerful description of the Judgment and a prayer to Jesus for mercy. Suggested in part by Zeph. 1.14–16, it was probably written by Thomas of Celano.
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, is now optional. The opening words of the introit, "Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them," echo through all the prayers for the dead. The traditional Gregorian musical setting of the requiem is quite beautiful; other requiem music has been written (e.g., by Mozart and Verdi), but it is not often heard in churches.



(in Russian, panikhida,) a church funeral service. In Eastern Orthodoxy, it is conducted over the deceased before burial; on the third, ninth, 20th, and 40th day after death; on anniversaries of the death; and on the birthday and saint’s day of the deceased. Besides individual requiems for each deceased, the church conducts general or universal requiems on certain days.

Secular requiems comparable to church requiems have become widespread. They include a memorial service and procession, with an honor guard at the bier.



a funeral mass in memory of the deceased and for the repose of their souls. The requiem mass is distinguished from the ordinary Catholic mass by the omission of certain sections (the Gloria and the Credo), for which other sections are substituted (the Requiem in the beginning, followed by the Dies irae, Tuba mirum, and Lacrimosa, for example).

Requiems by 15th- and 16th-century composers were cyclic, polyphonic, a cappella choral works based on Gregorian chant melodies. In the 17th and 18th centuries the requiem became a major work for choir, soloists, and orchestra and, for the most part, lost its connection with Gregorian chant. Composers combined homophonic and harmonic with polyphonic expressive means. The most outstanding requiems acquired nonreligious significance and were, as a rule, performed in concert halls. Mozart’s Requiem (1791), which was completed by his pupil F. Süssmayr, achieved world fame.

During the 19th century, requiems were composed by L. Cherubini, F. Liszt, A. Bruckner, and A. Dvořák. The most outstanding 19th-century requiems were written by Berlioz (1837) and Verdi (1874). Brahms’ A German Requiem (1868), which has a German text, is of special significance.

Requiems have also been written by contemporary composers, including B. Britten, whose War Requiem combines a liturgical Latin text with poems by W. Owen. Soviet composers do not use liturgical texts in requiems (for example, D. B. Kaba-levskii’s Requiem for V. I. Lenin [the Symphony No. 3, 1933] and his Requiem in memory of the victims of fascism [1963]).


Schnerich, A. Messe und Requiem seit Haydn und Mozart. Vienna-Leipzig, 1909.



religious mass (music or spoken) for the dead. [Christianity: Payton, 568]
See: Death


1. RC Church a Mass celebrated for the dead
2. a musical setting of this Mass
3. any piece of music composed or performed as a memorial to a dead person or persons
References in periodicals archive ?
Its structure is brilliant, interspersing the traditional text of the Latin Mass for the Dead with settings of poems by the Great War poet Wilfred Owen, the whole 80-minute composition operating on three levels: children's chorus way aloft singing as angels; full chorus and orchestra with majestic soprano soloist delivering the "Missa Pro Defunctis" ranged where we would normally expect to find them; and a chamber orchestra, perched closest to the audience, accompanying tenor and baritone soloists for the Owen settings.
The text interspersed the Latin Mass for the Dead, Missa pro Defunctis, with the commentary provided by nine poems from Wilfred Owen, MC, the greatest of the World War I poets, who had spent seven years of his childhood in Birkenhead.
In the best traditions of moneychangers in temples everywhere, the Vatican is exploiting the new currency to hike the suggested donation for a mass for the dead.
In the 1605 publication of his second Mass for the Dead, Tomas Luis de Victoria dedicated the work to the memory of his former patron, the Dowager Empress Maria of Austria, who died in February 1603.
Certainly following in the footsteps of Faure's ineffable 'Requiem', Durufle's is less a Mass for the Dead than a balm for the living left behind.
A series of mostly downcast, sometimes sombre madrigals followed by two pieces involving string orchestra,one in memoriam to the Piper Alpha disaster, the other featuring texts from the Russian Orthodox mass for the dead.
At St Patrick's Catholic Cathedral in Belfast the Bishop of Down and Connor, Dr Patrick Walsh, held a special mass for the dead and their families.
It is difficult to imagine Berlioz subscribing unquestioningly to the sentiments of the Latin Mass for the Dead (why did he feel the need to aggrandise the title of what was still only his Opus 5 to Grande messe des morts?
The immediacy of Wilfred Owen's Great War poetry, set by the composer to interperse the ancient texts of the Latin Mass for the Dead, reminds us that "half the seed of Europe" was slain, "one by one", and it was by no means far-fetched to imagine the older members of the National Youth Orchestra of Britain placing themselves in such a position, whether as slaughtered trench-fodder or as their grieving loved ones back home.
In the event, however, Dvorak abandoned the idea, and turned instead to the more dramatic possibilities of the Requiem, the Latin Mass for the Dead, beginning its composition on New Year's Day 1889 and completing it nearly two years later.
We end with a return to the topical Remembrance theme and another great treatment of the Latin Mass for the Dead, this time interspersed by settings of the Great War poetry of Wilfred Owen.