Sunday, 15 January 2017

Second Sunday after the Epiphany


The second Sunday after the Epiphany is of semi-double rite and its liturgical colour is green. The Gospel pericopes at Mattins and Mass are from St. John's account of the Marriage Feast at Cana.

At Vespers yesterday afternoon the antiphons and psalms of Saturday were sung. The Office hymn was Jam sol recedit igneus. The antiphon on the Magnificat was Suscepit Deus. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations were sung of the preceding Office of St. Hiliary, of St. Paul the Hermit and of St. Maurus. The Suffrage was omitted as were the Dominical preces at Compline.

At Mattins the invitatory is Adoremus Dominum and this will be sung until Septuagesima. The Office hymn is Primo die and this is sung at Sunday Mattins until the first Sunday in Lent. In the first nocturn the lessons are the Incipit of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians. In the second nocturn a sermon of St. Chrysostom provides the lessons and, in the third nocturn, the homily is from St. Augustine. At Lauds the Office hymn is Aeterne and that too is sung at Sunday Lauds until the first Sunday of Lent. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations are sung of St. Paul and of St. Maurus. The Suffrage of the Saints is omitted. At Prime both Quicumque iand the Dominical preces. are omitted.

At Mass the Gloria is sung, the second collect is of St. Paul, the third collect is of St. Maurus. The Creed is sung and the preface is of the Blessed Trinity.

At Vespers the antiphons and psalms of Sunday are sung. The Office hymn is Lucis creator. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations are sung of the following feast of St. Marcellus and of St. Paul. The Suffrage is omitted as are the Dominical preces at Compline due to the occurring double feasts.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' there are no commemorations at Vespers. Mattins is reduced to a single nocturn of three lessons. There are no commemorations at Lauds. At Mass there is a single collect. At Vespers there are no commemorations.

Art: Jerome Nadal

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Sunday within the Octave of the Epiphany - The Holy Family

The feast of the Holy Family is of greater-double rite and its liturgical colour is white. The feast was granted by Leo XIII in 1893 in response to numerous petitions from Ordinaries and placed on the third Sunday after the Epiphany. Following the reforms of 1911-13 - which aimed to remove the celebration of feasts assigned to Sundays - Benedict XV assigned it to the Sunday within the Octave of the Epiphany and extended the feast to the Universal Kalendar. Although of only greater-double rite it is classed as a feast of the LORD and so takes precedence over the semi-double Sunday within the Octave of the Epiphany.

At Vespers yesterday afternoon the antiphons Jacob autem etc were sung with psalms 109, 112, 121, 126 & 147. The Office hymn was O lux beata caelitum sung with a Doxology proper to the feast: Jesu, tuis obediens etc. After the collect of the feast commemorations were sung of the day within the Octave of the Epiphany (the antiphon on the Magnificat was proper to the 7th January, Videntes stellam Magi etc) and of the Sunday within the Octave of the Epiphany. The Dominical psalms were sung at Compline and the Dominical preces were omitted.

At Mattins the invitatory is proper to the feast, Christum Dei Filium etc and the Office hymn is Sacra jam splendent. In the first nocturn the antiphons Cum inducerent etc are sung with psalms 8, 18 & 23 and the lessons are from St. Paul's Epistle to the Colossians. In the second nocturn the antiphons Consurgens Joseph etc are sung with psalms 44, 45 & 86 and the lessons are taken from a brief of Leo XIII. In the third nocturn the antiphons Ibant parentes Jesu etc are sung with psalms 95, 96 & 97. The homily is from St. Bernard on St. Luke's Gospel. The Te Deum is sung. At Lauds the antiphons Post triduum etc are sung with the Dominical psalms. The Office hymn is O gente felix hospita. After the collect of the feast commemorations are sung of the Sunday within the Octave of the Epiphany and of the Octave of the Epiphany (with the antiphon on the Tria sunt munera etc proper to the 8th of January).

At Prime and the Hours the antiphons from Lauds are sung in the usual order. The hymns of the Hours have the Doxology proper to the feast. At Prime (Pss. 53, 118i & 118ii) the versicle Qui Mariae et Joseph subditus fuisti is sung in the short responsory and the lectio brevis is Semetipsum exinanivit.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of the Sunday within the Octave of the Epiphany and the third collect is of the Octave of the Epiphany. The Creed is sung, the preface and communicantes are of the Epiphany.

At Vespers the antiphons Post triduum etc are sung with psalms 109, 112, 121, 126 & 147. The Office hymn is O lux beata caelitum. After the collect of the feast commemorations are sung of the following day within the Octave of the Epiphany (the antiphon on the Magnificat being proper to the 8th January, Lux de luce etc), of the Sunday within the Octave and of St. Hyginus. At Compline Te lucis has the Doxology of the feast.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the feast of the Holy Family has been raised to II Class (in order for it to precedence over the Sunday). At Vespers (the feast gains I Vespers as it is a feast of the LORD) there were no commemorations - the Octave, of course, has been abolished. At Compline and the Hours the hymns do not have the Doxology of the feast. At Lauds there are no commemorations. At Prime and the Hours the antiphons and psalmody are of the Sunday, at Prime the lectio brevis is of 'Epiphanytide'. At Mass there is a single collect. At Vespers there are no commemorations.

Friday, 6 January 2017

The Epiphany of the LORD


The feast of the Epiphany is a Double of the First Class with a privileged Octave of the Second Order. The liturgical colour of the feast and its Octave is white. The Epiphany was kept in the East from the third century, or earlier, and spread to the West a century later. Originally, it seems, in the East at least, that this 'manifestation' of the LORD was the same celebration as the Nativity and to this day the Armenians celebrate the single feast of Theophany on January 6th.

The antiquity of the feast can be clearly seen in the structure of the Office of Mattins, unique to this day. The (historically later) Domine labia me, invitatory and hymn are omitted and the Office begins with the first antiphon Afferte Domino. Psalms 28, 45 & 46 are sung. The lessons in the first nocturn are from Isaiah. In the second nocturn the antiphons Omnis terra adoret te etc are sung with psalms 65, 71 & 85 and the lessons are from a sermon on the Epiphany by St. Leo. In the third nocturn the antiphon Venite adoremus eum etc is sung with Ps. 94, Venite , the usual invitatory psalm, in a responsorial manner. Psalms 95 and 96 are also sung in the third nocturn. The homily on St. Matthew's Gospel if from St. Gregory. The Te Deum is sung. At Lauds the antiphons sung at Vespers yesterday, Ante luciferum genitus etc., are sung with the Dominical psalms. The chapter is Surge, illuminare from Isaiah and the Office hymn is O sola magnarum urbium.

At the Little Hours the antiphons from Lauds are sung with the festal psalms. At Prime (Pss. 53, 118i & 118ii), in the short responsory, a versicle Qui apparuisti hodie is sung today and during the Octave, the short lesson is Omnes de Saba. The Doxology Jesu, tibi sit gloria, Qui apparuisti gentibus etc is sung at the hymns of the Little Hours.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Mass, Ecce advenit, is proper. The Gloria is sung and, traditionally after the Gospel the Announcement of Moveable Feasts is sung. The Creed is sung and the preface and communicantes in the Canon are proper to the feast.

At Vespers the antiphons Ante luciferum genitus etc are sung with psalms 109, 110, 11, 112 & 113. The Office hymn is Crudelis Herodes Deum. The antiphon on the Magnificat is Tribus miraculis.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the only textual changes today are the abolition of the Doxology in honour of the Epiphany at the hymns of the Little Hours and the duplication of antiphons at the same. The feast has been stripped of its Vigil and Octave.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Vigil of the Epiphany

The Vigil of the Epiphany is a semi-double of the second class and a privileged Vigil of the second class. The liturgical colour is white.

In the post-1570 Roman rite the Vigil of the Epiphany takes the place of the Office of the Sunday which occurs between the 1st to 5th January and has all the privileges of a Sunday both in concurrence and occurrence. (c.f. rubric in the Breviary at the end of January 1st). Prior to the 1911-13 reform the Octave Days of the comites Christi feasts were celebrated as doubles which meant that the Sunday, under the 1568-1911 rubrics, was moved to the first free day, the 5th, the date of the ancient Vigil. Examining older books one can find two sets of formularies: one for the vacant Sunday with the collect Omnipotens as used today and one for the 'real' Vigil with the collect Corda nostra. These, distinct, celebrations were also found in Sarum practice and its closest surviving modern descendant the Dominican rite. The 1911-13 reform reduced the rank of the comites Christi Octave Days to simples and the 'real' Sunday had the Feast of the Holy Name transferred from the Second Sunday after the Epiphany to the Sunday before the Epiphany or January 2nd. The 1948 Commission for General Liturgical Reform clearly didn't understand this and stated '...La vigilia ha semplicemente la liturgia della domenica dope il Natale...' Memoria sulla riforma liturgica p.47, #3. On p. 49 of the same document the proposal to abolish the Octave can be found.

At Mattins the invitatory, hymn, antiphons and psalms are those used for the feast of the Circumcision. In the first nocturn the lessons are from the eighth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans with the responsories from the feast of the Circumcision. In the second nocturn the lessons are from a sermon by St. Augustine and in the third nocturn the homily is from St. Jerome's commentary on the second chapter of St. Matthew's Gospel. The Te Deum is sung. At Lauds and the Hours again the antiphons are those from the Circumcision, O admirabile commercium etc. The Sunday psalms are sung (Pss. 92, 99, 62, Benedicite & 148) The chapter is proper to the Vigil, the hymn A solis ortus cardine as sung for the Nativity and the Circumcision, and the antiphon on the Benedictus is proper, Dum medium silentium as is the collect, Omnipotens. After the collect of the Vigil a commemoration is sung of St. Telesphorus Pope & Martyr.

At the Hours the antiphons of Lauds are sung and the psalmody is festal. At Prime (Pss. 53, 118i, 118ii) the preces are omitted and the lectio brevis is Itaque jam non est servus. The hymns of the Little Hours are sung with the Doxology and melody in honour of the Incarnation.

At Mass, sung after Terce, the Gloria is sung, the second collect is of St. Telesphorus, the third collect of the BVM, Deus, qui salutis. The Creed (added in 1911-13 due to it being a 'Sunday') is sung and the preface is of the Nativity.

Vespers are first Vespers of the great feast of the Epiphany. The antiphons Ante luciferum genitus etc are sung with the psalms from the First Vespers of the Common of Apostles (Pss. 109, 110, 111, 112 & 116). The chapter, Surge, illuminare, Jerusalem is from Isaiah, the Office hymn Crudelis Herodes. For the feast and its octave a Doxology in honour of the LORD's manifestation is sung at all hymns of Iambic metre: Jesu, tibi sit gloria, Qui apparuisti Gentibus, Cum Patre, et almo Spiritu, In sempiterna saecula. The rest of the Office is proper. At Compline Te lucis is sung with the Doxology and tone of the feast.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the Vigil is completely abolished and the day is the IV class ferial Office of Christmastide. Mattins has one nocturn and three lessons. St. Telesphorus is commemorated at Lauds and said Masses but with the collect Gregem tuum from the Pian fiddlings with the Commons in the 1940s. The hymns of the Little Hours are sung without the Doxology of the Incarnation. Vespers are the same as in the former rite. At Compline Te lucis is sung without the proper Doxology.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Circumcision of the LORD and Octave Day of the Nativity

The feast of the Circumcision of the LORD and Octave Day of the Nativity is a Double of the Second Class and its liturgical colour is white.

Anciently, two if not three Masses were celebrated on this day in Rome. There was the Octave Day of the Nativity, a Mass in St. Mary Major in honour of Mary, Mother of God (c.f. today's orations in the Missal and the 1970MR), and the Circumcision (although the latter probably fused with the Octave Day at an early age). The eleventh century Missal of Robert of Jumieges gives two sets of texts: the first for the Octave Day, all specifically referencing both the Circumcision and the Octave Day and, then, for the first Sunday after the Nativity are the set of orations as found in Pius V's Missal for today but with a proper preface.

At first Vespers yesterday afternoon the proper antiphons O admirabile commercium etc were sung with the psalms for feasts of the BVM (Pss.109, 112, 121, 126 & 147). The Office hymn was Jesu, Redemptor omnium (as on the feast of the Nativity). The Doxology, which has been sung since first Vespers of the Nativity ,Jesu, tibi sit gloria etc continues to be sung until the Epiphany. No commemorations were sung.

At Mattins the invitatory is Christus natus es nobis, Venite adoremus and the Office hymn Jesu, Redemptor omnium. In the first nocturn the antiphons Dominus dixit ad me etc, are sung with psalms 2, 18 & 23. The lessons continue to be read from the Epistle to the Romans. Prior to the 1911-13 reform today chapter 3 and 4 of that letter formed the first nocturn lessons with the first verse 'What advantage then hath the Jew, or what is the profit of circumcision? and all of St. Paul's discourse on circumcision and the Gentiles. After that reform the readings from Romans started a day earlier, on the feast of St. Thomas of Canterbury with the result that the first part of chapter three is omitted and no longer formed the 'appropriated' first lesson for today. In the second nocturn the antiphons Speciosus forma etc are sung with psalms 44, 86 & 95. The lessons are from St. Leo's seventh sermon on the Nativity of the LORD. In the third nocturn the antiphons In principio etc are sung with psalms 96, 97 & 98 and the homily is from the writings of St. Ambrose on St. Luke's Gospel. The Te Deum is sung. At Lauds the same antiphons as at Vespers, O admirabile commercium etc, are sung with the Dominical psalms. The Office hymn is as on the feast of the Nativity, A solis ortus cardine.

At the Hours, as usual, the antiphons from Lauds are used in sequence. The Doxology in honour of the Incarnation is sung with all the hymns. At Prime the antiphon O admirabile commercium is sung with the festal psalms (Pss. 53, 118i & 118ii). In the short responsory the versicle Qui natus es is sung, as it has been from the feast of the Nativity and will be sung until the Vigil of the Epiphany inclusive. The lectio brevis is Ipsi peribunt. The chapters at the Hours of Sext and None are the same as those sung on the feast of the Nativity.

At Mass, sung after Terce, the composite nature of the day is apparent: the introit Puer natus, epistle, gradual, offertory and communion chant are of the Nativity; the orations are of the BVM and the Gospel of the Circumcision. The Gloria and Credo are sung and the preface and communicantes are of the Nativity.

At Second Vespers the antiphons O admirabile commercium are again sung with the same psalms as at first Vespers (Pss. 109, 112, 121, 126 & 147). The versicle and its respond and the antiphon on the Magnificat are proper to Second Vespers of the feast.

In 'the liturgical books of 1962' there are relatively few, textual, differences in the liturgy today. The name Circumcision has been excised and the day is renamed simply Octave Day of the Nativity and raised to first class rank. At the Little Hours the antiphons are doubled and the tone of the hymns is that used on solemn feasts, the Doxology is ordinary.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

The Nativity of the LORD

The feast of the Nativity of the LORD is a Double of the First Class with a privileged Octave of the third order. The liturgical colour of the feast is white.

Mattins is ordinarily sung later in the evening than usual, so that the Mass which immediately follows can begin at midnight. The Caeremoniale Episcoporum gives special instructions, Lib.II, Cap. XIV, for Pontifical Mattins, but may be reasonably applied to other celebrations, for the arrangement of adequate candles to supply light for the service and talks of candelabris ferreis magnis to help provide this. The invitatory is proper, Christus natus est nobis: * Venite adoremus. When intoning the Office hymn, Jesu, Redemptor omnium, the Hebdomadarius turns and bows to the altar. Mattins has three nocturns and the usual nine lessons. In the first nocturn the antiphons Dominus Dixit etc are sung with psalms 2, 18 & 44. The lessons are from Isaiah but, interestingly, are sung without a title. In the second nocturn the antiphons Suscepimus etc are sung with psalms 47, 71 & 84. The lessons in the second nocturn are taken from a homily on the Nativity by St. Leo. In the third nocturn the antiphons Ipse invocabit etc are sung with psalms 88, 95 & 97. The lessons are three Gospel pericopes, two from St. Luke and the third from St. John. After the Te Deum the collect is sung followed by Benedicamus Domino.

Then the first of the three Masses for the Nativity is sung. The Gloria is sung (one theory of its origin in the Mass rite is from the song of the Angels on Christmas night to the shepherds) as is the Creed. The preface and communicantes are of the Nativity. Lauds immediately follow Mass. The antiphons Quem vidistis pastores etc are sung the Dominical psalms. The Office hymn is A solis ortus cardine.

After Communion at the first Mass, when the celebrant is to celebrate one or two of the other Masses the abultions are not taken but the unpurified chalice is placed on the corporal and covered with the purifictor, pall and veil. Albutions are taken after the last Mass so as not to break the fast.

Later in the morning Prime is sung. All hymns of Iambic metre have the tone and Doxology in honour of the Incarnation, Jesu tibi sit gloria etc. The first antiphon from Lauds, Quem vidistis pastores, is sung with the festal psalms (53, 118i & 118ii). In the short responsory the versicle Qui natus es de Maria Virgine is sung. The lectio brevis is Ipsi peribunt. Prime is followed by the second Mass, the Missa in aurora. In the second Mass the Gloria is sung, there is a second collect to commemorate St. Anastasia. The Creed is sung and the preface and communicantes are of the Nativity.

After Terce the third Mass is sung. This Mass too has the Gloria and Creed along with the preface and communicantes of the Nativity. As the Gospel pericope for this Mass is In principio the Gospel of the Epiphany, Cum natus esset Jesus, is read as a proper last Gospel.

Second Vespers has yet a third set of proper antiphons for the feast, Tecum principium etc., that are sung with psalms 109, 110, 111, 129 and 131. These antiphons and psalms will be used through the Octave. After the collect of the feast a commemoration is sung of the following feast of St. Stephen. At Compline the Dominical psalms are sung. Te lucis has the Doxology of the Incarnation.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' at Mattins in the third nocturn, and for the Octave, psalm 88, Misericordias Domini is cut from 51 to 36 verses. The verses from Tu vero repulisti et despexisti to the end are omitted. The tone and Doxology in honour of the Nativity are not sung at the hymns of the Little Hours. In the third Mass the last Gospel is omitted and at Vespers no commemoration of St. Stephen is made.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

St. Thomas the Apostle


The feast of St. Thomas the Apostle is a Double of the Second Class. The feast was preceded by a Vigil yesterday. The liturgical colour of the feast is red. According to tradition St. Thomas preached the Gospel in Asia and the Indian sub-continent. He is believed to have founded, inter alia, the St. Thomas Christians on the West coast of India, one of several groups using the East-Syrian family of liturgies.

At Vespers yesterday afternoon the antiphons Hoc est praeceptum meum etc were sung with psalms 109, 110, 111, 112 & 116. The Office hymn was Exsultet orbis gaudiis. The antiphon on the Magnificat was proper to the feast, Quia vidisti me etc. After the collect of the feast the Advent feria was commemorated with the Great 'O' Antiphon appointed for the 20th December O clavis David and the collect of the previous Sunday. At Compline the Dominical psalms were sung and the preces were omitted.

At Mattins the invitatory is Regem Apostolorum Dominum, Venite adoremus and the Office hymn is Aeterna Christi munera. In the first nocturn the antiphons In omnem terram etc are sung with psalms 18, 33 & 44. The lessons are Sic nos existimet homo from St. Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians. In the second nocturn the antiphons Principes populorum etc are sung with psalms 46, 60 & 63. The fourth lesson is proper to the feast, the fifth and sixth are taken from the Common. In the third nocturn the antiphons Exaltabuntur etc are sung with psalms 74, 96 & 98. The homily on St. John's Gospel is from St. Gregory. At Lauds the antiphons Hoc est praeceptum meum etc are sung with the Dominical psalms (92, 99, 62, Benedicite & 148). The Office hymn is Exsultet orbis gaudiis. The antiphon on the Benedictus, Quia vidisti me, Thoma, credidisti: beati, qui non viderunt, et crediderunt, alleluia, is proper to the feast and refers to the incident recorded in the Gospel of St. John about St. Thomas' doubt in the Risen LORD. A commemoration is then sung of the Advent feria, the antiphon on the Benedictus is Nolite timere etc that is proper to the 21st of December.

The antiphons sung at Lauds are sung in due order at the Horae Minores. At Prime the festal psalms (53, 118i & 118ii) are sung and the lectio brevis is Ibant Apostoli.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of the Advent feria. The Creed is sung and the preface is of the Apostles.

At second Vespers the antiphons Juravit Dominus etc are sung with psalms 109, 112, 115, 125 & 138. The antiphon on the Magnificat is Quia vidisti me, Thoma etc and the Advent feria is commemorated with the Great 'O' Antiphon O Oriens proper to the twenty-first day of December and the collect of the preceding Sunday. At Compline the Dominical psalms are sung and the preces are omitted.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' St. Thomas' feast loses its Vigil, first Vespers and the feast begins with Mattins. At the Hours the antiphons and psalms are taken from the ferial Psalter. At Prime the lectio brevis is of the season.

Art: Wikipedia: a Russian Icon of St. Thomas, 18th century.