Friday, 30 January 2009

Practicalities: Prime - A dissection

Returning to the series of 'dissections' of the Hours begun before Advent the Hour of Prime will now be considered. Prime is more complex at first sight that either Lauds or Vespers and the Little Hours of Terce, Sext and None. We will give several examples over the next few days.

Prime for today's semi-double feast of St. Martina:

(Aperi, Domine;)

Pater noster, Ave Maria & Credo (said inaudibly);

Deus in adjutorium.., Domine, ad adjuvandum..., Gloria Patri..., Sicut erat..., Alleluia (or Laus tibi... in Septuagesima and Lent);

The hymn at Prime is (always) Jam lucis orto sidere.

After the hymn the fragment of the first antiphon, Ne discedas a me, from the ferial pslater (Feria sexta ad Primam) is sung as far as the asterisk. Then the Psalm fragment 21(i) is sung Deus, Deus meus. At the end of the psalm fragment the Doxology is sung and but the antiphon is NOT repeated here. Instead the next psalm fragment 21(ii) is intoned Circumdederunt... then its Doxology and then the third psalm fragment 21(iii) Qui timetis then its Doxology and then the antiphon Ne discdedas a me is sung in full, ending with ..non est qui adjuvet.

After the singing of the antiphon the chapter, Regi saeculorum is sung, the choir responding Deo gratias, followed by the short responsory Christe, Fili Dei vivi... then the versicle Exsurge, Christe.. and its response Et libera nos..

Then as today is a semi-double the Domincal preces are sung. Kyrie... Christe... Kyrie... Pater noster (secretly until) Et ne nos inducas in tentationem, then Credo in Deum (secretly until) Carnis resurrectionem and a series of versicles and responses ending with Redde mihi laetitiam salutaris tui and Et spiritu principali confirma me.

Adjutorium nostrum.. is then sung followed by its response Qui fecit... The Hebdomodary then says Confiteor Deo and the choir responds with Misereatur. The Choir then says Confiteor Deo and the Hebdomadarius responds with Misereatur and Indulgentiam. A further short series of versicles and responsories follow, beginning with Dignare, Domine... followed by the collect Domine, Deus omnipotens... Then after a greeting Benedicamus Domino is sung followed by Deo gratias.

Then, in the full Office (although often omitted in private) the Martyrology is read. In the Martyrology the following day's office is always announced (with the exception of anticipated Vigils). Taking today as an example: Pridie Kalendas Februarii. Luna quarta. Then the entries for the day beginning with St. John Bosco. At the end of the list of entries Et alibi aliorum plurimorum sanctorum Martyrum et Confessorum, atque sanctarum Virginum with the Choir responding Deo gratias.

The versicle Pretiosa.. and its response, Mors Sanctorum ejus, is followed (without the usual Oremus) by the collect Sancta Maria... Deus in adjutorium and its response is then sung three times. A Doxology is then sung followed by Kyrie...Christe..., Kyrie.. a secret Pater noster and further short series of versicles and responses a second Doxlogy and the collect Dirigere et sanctificare... The cantor then asks a blessing Jube, domne benedicere, the Hebdomodary responds with Dies et actus... and the cantor reads the short lesson Domine, Deus meus..(for a Virgin Martyr) ending with Tu autem, Domine, miserere nobis and Deo gratias.

Concluding the Hour of Prime Adjutorium nostrum... and its response then Benedicite and its response Deus and the blessing Dominus nos benedicat... Amen. Then if no other hour follows (which in practice is hardly going to happen) a final secret Pater noster.

St. Martina Virgin & Martyr

The feast of St. Martina is of semi-double rite.

The Office hymns are proper to the feast. As first Vespers were not sung, due to a higher ranking feast having second Vespers, the hymn Martinae celebri is joined to the hymn Non illam at Mattins. Where the feast is celebrated of higher rank the hymns are separated. Mattins has three nocturns and nine lessons.

At Lauds the hymn is again proper, Tu natale. The Suffrage of the Saints is sung. At Prime the Dominical preces are sung, the short lesson is Domine, Deus from the Common.

At Mass the Gloria is sung, the second collect is of the BVM, Deus, qui salutis, the third for the Church, Ecclesiae. Vespers are of the following feast of St. John Bosco with a commemoration of St. Martina.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the feast reduced to third class, two nocturns are excised. At Lauds the Suffrage of the Saints is omitted, the Domincal preces are not sung at Prime and the short lesson is of the season. At Mass there is just one collect. Vespers are of the feast without a commemoration of the following office.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Congratulations Patriarch Kyrill


Congratulations to HH Patriarch Kyrill of Moscow and All Russia who was elected to the Patriarchate this evening.

Of the various Eastern Churches the Russian Orthodox Church appears to have the most interest in liturgical matters. Of course the Russian Church learnt the bitter consequences of artificial liturgical reform in the seventeenth century. Patriarch Nikon basically decided that the Russian service books had been corrupted as they were at variance with the contemporary Greek ones. In reality the Russian books were more traditional and the Greek ones had been revised. Nikon imposed the Greek books and was met with fierce resistance. There are strong parallels with reform of the Roman liturgy in the twentieth century except the Russian resistance was more dramatic with people even being martyred in defence of the old books. Some of the differences between the books have been explored by Paul Meyendorff in 'Russia, Ritual and Reform'. Overall the relationship between the pre-Nikonian books and the revised ones has a strong reflection in the differences between the Sarum missal and the Roman ones of 1474 and 1570.

Thankfully, with the unification of the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Church Outside of Russia, some 'Old Believer' parishes and a bishop coexist in harmony with users of the 'modern' books and indeed even some Western Rite parishes using the Sarum liturgy all under the omphorion of Patriarch Kyrill.

Patriarch Kyrill is, I understand on good authority, a fan of English Real Ale.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Second Sunday after the Epiphany


The Second Sunday after the Epiphany is of semi-double rite. The Gospel fragment at Mattins and the Gospel at Mass are St. John's account of the Marriage Feast at Cana.

Yesterday afternoon first Vespers of the Sunday were sung. The antiphon on the Magnificat for the Sundays after Epiphany is the same, Suscepit Deus. Commemorations were made of the preceding Office of St. Anthony then the occurring feast of St. Peter's Chair at Rome and, as always happens when St. Peter is commemorated, a commemoration of St. Paul follows and finally a commemoration of St. Prisca. As a double feast was commemorated Dominical preces are not sung at Compline.

At Mattins the invitatory is Adoremus Dominum and this is sung until Septuagesima. The hymn is Primo die and that is sung until the first Sunday in Lent. Mattins has, as usual, three nocturns and nine lessons. At Lauds commemorations are made of St. Peter, St. Paul and St. Prisca. At Prime the Dominical preces are not sung because of the occurring double feast.

At Mass the Gloria is sung, the second collect is for St. Peter's Chair, the third St. Paul and the fourth St. Prisca. The Credo is sung and the preface is that of Sundays. The last Gospel is the Gospel from the feast of St. Peter's Chair.

In Vespers a commemoration of the following Office of S Marius and his companions, St. Peter, St. Paul and St. Canute the King.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' there are no commemorations at either Vespers. Mattins is reduced by two-thirds to one nocturn of three lessons. St. Prisca is not commemorated at all and the feast of St. Peter's Chair at Rome has been abolished entirely.

Art: Jerome Nadal

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

St. Hilary of Poitiers

With the Octave Day of the Epiphany the Christmas and Epiphany period of the Liturgical Year effectively comes to an end. Certainly the Feast of the Purification is a 'satellite' feast of Christmas and the seasonal collect of the BVM, Deus, qui salutis, and final antiphon Alma Redemptoris echo the Christmas season but apart from that the liturgy returns to a 'green' norm.

From today the Suffrage of the Saints is resumed on all days of semi-double rank and below along with the Dominical preces at Prime and Compline. At Prime the versicle Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris is resumed in the responsory.

The Feast of St. Hilary of Poitiers is celebrated today of double rite. At Mattins in the first nocturn the responsories from Monday are sung (belonging as they do to the Incipit of the Corinthians), in the third nocturn the ninth lesson is of St. Felix the Priest. At Lauds a commemoration is also made of St. Felix.

At Mass the Gloria is sung, a commemoration of St. Felix is made, the Credo is sung (Doctors of the Church have the Creed). Vespers are from the chapter of the following feast of St Paul the First Hermit with a commemoration of the preceding Office of St. Hilary and a commemoration of St. Maurus, Abbot. As the feast day of St. Paul is not his die obitus the third verse of the hymn Iste Confessor is changed from Hac die laetus meruit beatas to Hac die laetus meruit supremos. In both the Breviary and Ordo this change is indicated by the letters 'mtv' - mutatur tertius versus.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the familiar pattern of a former three nocturn feast being reduced to a single nocturn of three lessons is repeated. The responsories from the Incipit of the Corinthians are omitted. St. Felix does not get a lesson at Mattins but is commemorated at Lauds. At Prime the lectio brevis is of the season rather than from the Common. At private Mass St. Felix is commemorated, the Creed is neither said nor sung. Vespers are of St. Hilary without commemorations. The hymn Iste Confessor is never changed and has as its third verse Hac die laetus meruit supremos always. The whole concept of concurrence of Office has been lost, largely due to the 1955 abolishment of first Vespers, a practice that reflected the truly ancient idea of the liturgical day beginning at Sunset.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Octave Day of the Epiphany

Today is the Octave Day of the Epiphany, it is of greater double rite. The lessons in the second and third nocturn of mattins, and the Gospel at Mass, are concerned with the baptism of Christ in the Jordan.

At Mattins yesterday the beginning of the first Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians was read that belongs to the Sunday within the Octave but is displaced by the assignment of the Feast of the Holy Family to that Sunday. This epistle is continued today. (Yesterday, also, the Mass of the Sunday was 'resumed' with Gloria, second collect of the Octave, third of the BVM, Credo, preface and communicantes of the Epiphany.) In the Office of the Octave Day everything is said as on the Epiphany itself except in verse Domine, labia me, invitatory and hymn begin mattins as usual. The lessons in the first nocturn are Omnino auditur (of the Tuesday after the Sunday after the Epiphany). In the third nocturn the antiphon Homo natus is sung with the psalm Fundamenta. Festal psalmody is used for mattins and all the Hours. At Lauds, and the Hours, the collect is proper to the day.

At Mass the Gloria is sung and the orations and Gospel are proper to the day. The Credo is sung, the preface and communicantes are of the Epiphany.

Vespers are of the Octave, with the proper collect of the Octave Day. Commemoration is made of the following Offices of St. Hilary of Poitiers and St. Felix.

In the liturgical books of 1962 the Octave Day has been renamed as the Commemoration of the Baptism of the LORD. As a second class feast it does not have first Vespers unless it falls on a Sunday. Whilst festal psalmody is used at mattins and lauds the ferial psalter is used at the Hours. The Doxology of the Epiphany is omitted at the hymns of the Hours. Mass is textually the same as in the Old Rite except the communicantes of the Epiphany are omitted. Vespers are without any commemorations.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Feast of the Holy Family

The Feast of the Holy Family is celebrated on the Sunday within the Octave of the Epiphany. If the Octave Day of the Epiphany falls on a Sunday the Holy Family is anticipated on the preceding Saturday. The feast is of greater double rank. The celebration of the feast is relatively new for the universal Church. Leo XIII in 1893 had assigned it to the 3rd Sunday after the Epiphany. In 1921 Benedict XV assigned its celebration to the Sunday within the Octave of the Epiphany.

The Office is proper. At Mattins, unusually, the ninth lesson of the Sunday is not read. This is because the gospel fragment at Mattins, and the Gospel at Mass, are the same as that for the Sunday within the Octave. At Lauds commemorations are made of the Sunday within the Octave, the Octave and St. Hyginus Pope & Martyr. The antiphons from Lauds are used as usual for the Little Hours. At Prime, as usual on feasts, psalm 53 is sung before the first two divisions of psalm 118, the short lesson is Semetipsum exinanivit. A Doxology in honour of the Holy Family is sung at the hymns of the Little Hours.

At Mass the Gloria is sung, the second collect is of the Sunday within the Octave, the third collect is of the Octave and the fourth of St. Hyginus. The Credo is sung, the preface and communicantes are of the Epiphany.

In second Vespers a commemoration is made of the following day within the Octave and the Sunday within the Octave.


In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the feast is second class and gains a Vespers as it falls (always) on a Sunday. If Sunday is the 'Baptism of the Lord' (basically the Octave Day in the Old Rite) the feast is omitted. Mattins has nine lessons. At Lauds no commemorations are made. At Prime psalm 117 is sung in place of psalm 53 as in the Dominical rather than festal Office. The short lesson is that of 'Epiphanytide'. The hymns at the Little Hours do not have the Doxology of the feast. At Mass the Gloria is sung, there are no commemorations. The Credo is sung, the preface is of the Epiphany but the proper communicantes are not said. Vespers are without any commemorations.

In the ordinary form of the 1962 rite the feast is celebrated on the Sunday after the Nativity, unless that day is January 1st.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Fifth day within the Octave of the Epiphany

Today is the fifth day, Saturday, within the Octave of the Epiphany. The rank of day is semi-double.

The Office is as on the 7th January and on the feast. Mattins has three nocturns and nine lessons. The psalmody at mattins and the hours is festal. At Lauds the antiphon on the Benedictus is proper to the 10th January.

At Mass the Gloria is sung, the second collect Deus, qui salutis, the third for the Church Ecclesiae, or for the pope. The Credo is sung and the preface and communicantes are proper.

Vespers are first Vespers of the following feast of the Holy Family with commemoration of the Octave, the Sunday within the Octave and St. Hyginus Pope & Martyr. A proper Doxology in honour of the feast, Jesu, tibi obediens, is sung at the hymns of all the Hours (except mattins).

In the 'liturigcal books of 1962' the day is fourth class celebration of the BVM on Saturday. Mattins has one nocturn and three lessons. The proper antiphon at the Benedictus is replaced by the Office of the BVM. Psalmody is ferial at mattins and the Hours. Mass is of the BVM on Saturday. Vespers are first Vespers of the feast of the Holy Family without any commemorations. The Doxology in honour of the feast is not sung at the Little Hours.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Within the Octave of the Epiphany

Today is the third day within the Octave of the Epiphany, it is of semi-double rite, as are all days within the Octave except the Octave Day which is greater double.

Yesterday at Mattins the normal structure was resumed with the opening verse Domine, labia, invitatory and hymn. The antiphons and psalmody is as on the feast except in the third nocturn the psalm Fundamenta replaces the special arrangement of psalm 94. (The antiphons, of course, are not doubled on a semi-double day.) Scripture is taken from St. Paul's letter to the Romans. Mattins has nine lessons.

At Lauds the antiphon on the Benedictus is proper for each day. At the Hours the antiphons and psalmody is as on the feast.

At Mass the Gloria is sung, the second collect is of the BVM, Deus, qui salutis, the third for the Church, Ecclesiae, or the pope. The Credo is sung and the preface and communicantes are as on the feast. Vespers are of the Octave with the antiphon on the Magnificat being proper to each day. Compline is festal.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the days after the Epiphany become IV class ferial days of Epiphanytide. Mattins has one nocturn and the psalmody is ferial. At the Hours the hymns do not have the Doxology in honour of the Epiphany and again have ferial psalmody. Despite the ferial psalmody the antiphons are doubled. At Mass the Gloria is sung, the additional collects and Credo are omitted. Vespers has ferial psalmody as does Compline.

Monday, 5 January 2009

The Epiphany of the LORD



The Epiphany, or Theophany in the East, is a Double of the First Class with a privileged Octave of the Second Order.

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. To this day those following the Armenian Rite keep Christmas-Theophany today.

That the feast is ancient is clearly seen in the structure of the Office of Mattins, unique to this day. The (historically later) Domine labia me, invitatory and hymn are ommitted and the Office begins with the first antiphon Afferte Domino. Psalm 94, Venite , is sung in the third nocturn, in a responsorial manner, with the verse Venite, adoremus eum: quia ipse est Dominus, Deus noster. The psalmody is festal. At Prime in the short responsory a versicle Qui apparuisti hodie is sung and for the Octave. At Vespers and Lauds six pluvilistae in pariti assist the Hebdomadarius.

At Mass the Gloria and Credo are sung. The preface and communicantes in the Canon are proper to the feast. According to the rubrics of the Graduale four cantors lead the choir today.

After the Gospel the Moveable Feasts for the year are traditionally announced. The chant is very beautiful. The text is as follows:

Noveritis, fratres carissimi, quod annuente Dei misericordia, sicut de Nativitate DNJC gavisi sumus, ita et de Resurrectione ejusdem Salvatoris Nostri gaudium vobis annuntiamus.

Die octava Februarii, erit Dominica in Septuagesima.

Vigesima quinta Februarii, Dies Cinerum et initium jejunii Sacratissimæ
Quadragesimæ.

Duodecima Aprilis, Sanctum Pascha DNJC cum gaudio celebrabimus.

Vicesima prima Maji, erit Ascensio DNJC.

Trigesima prima Maji, Festum Pentecostes.

Undecima Junii, Festum Sacratissimi Corporis Christi.

Vigesima nona Novembris, Dominica prima Adventus DNJC, cui est honor et gloria in sæcula sæculorum. Amen
.


Vespers are of the feast.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the only textual changes 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.

Vigil of the Epiphany

The Vigil of the Epiphany is a semi-double of the second class. It is a also a priviliged Vigil of the second class.

The Vigil of the Epiphany takes the place of the Office of the Sunday which occurs from the 1st to 5th January and has all the privileges of a Sunday both in concurrence and occurence. (Rubric in the Breviary.) At Mattins the Office is as on the Circumcision except the lessons that are proper. Mattins has three nocturns and nine lessons. At Lauds and the Hours the antiphons are those from the Circumcision, the antiphon on the Benedictus and collect are proper and a commemoration is made of St. Telesephorus Pope & Martyr. At the Hours the psalmody is festal.

At Mass the Gloria is sung, the second collect is of St. Telesephorus, the third collect of the BVM, Deus, qui salutis. The Credo is sung and the preface is of the Nativity.

Vespers are first Vespers of the Epiphany. 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.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the Vigil is abolished and the day is another feria of Christmas. Mattins has one nocturn and three lessons. St. Telesphorus is commemorated at Lauds and read Masses. Vespers are the same as the Old Rite.

The Vigil and the Sunday between January 1st snd the Epiphany have become fused in the 1570 missal and its successive editions. The celebration of the Octave Days of the comites Christi feasts as doubles meant that the Sunday, under the 1568-1911 rubrics, was moved until the first free day, the 5th and day of the ancient Vigil. Examining older books one can find two sets of formularies: one for the vacant Sunday with the collect Omnipotens and one for the Vigil with the collect Corda nostra. These, distinct, celebrations were also found in Sarum practice and its closest surviving modern relative the Dominican rite. With the 1911-13 reform reducing the rank of the comites Christi Octave Days 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. My understanding is that a Vigil of the Epiphany has been restored in the 2002 edition of the new Roman Missal.

P.S. Having checked the Memoria produced by the 1948 Commission for General Liturgical Reform I noticed that the commission thought '..La vigilia ha semplicemente la liturgia della domenica dope il Natale..' This rather typifies, in the light of the comment by Francis, the whole probelm with committee-work, inorganic, reform of the liturgy. If a Dominican had been a member of the 1948 Commission perhaps things might have been different for the Vigil of the Epiphany at least!

Sunday, 4 January 2009

The Holy Name of Jesus

Today is the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus and is a Double of the Second Class. It is also the Octave Day of the Holy Innocents. The liturgical colour is white. This feast takes the place of the second 'vacant' Sunday after the Nativity or, when no Sunday falls between the Circumcision and the Epiphany, it is kept on January 2nd.

The Office is proper. Mattins has three nocturns and nine lessons. At Lauds a commemoration of the Octave Day of the Holy Innocents is made.

At the Hours the psalmody is festal and the antiphons from Lauds are used in sequence as usual. At Prime, as normal on feasts, psalm 53 is sung before the first two divisions of psalm 118. The short lesson is proper, Omne quodcumque. Again, as ,since the Nativity, all the Doxologies of the hymns are changed in honour of the Incarnation to Jesu, tibi sit gloria etc.

The Mass is proper, In nomine Jesu, with Gloria, commemoration of the Octave Day of the Holy Innocents in private Masses, Credo and preface of the Nativity.

In second Vespers a commemoration is made of the following day's Office, the Vigil of the Epiphany.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the feast is second class but gains a first Vespers as it falls on a Sunday. Mattins and Lauds are the same as the Old Rite. At the Hours the antiphons are from the Sunday Office, not the feast and there is no Doxology in honour of the Incarnation. At Prime psalm 117 is sung in place of psalm 53 and the short lesson is from the season, Ipsi peribunt. Vespers are of the feast without any commemorations.

In pre-1913 practice the Octave Days of the comites Christi were of double rite and took precedence, like their feasts, over the vacant Sunday. So today would have been celebrated as the Octave Day of the Holy Innocents, in red, with the Te Deum sung at Mattins, and the verse after the Gradual and Alleluia at Mass.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Octave Day of St. John the Apostle and Evangelist



Today is the Octave Day of the feast of St. John the Apostle and Evangelist. It is of simple rite and the liturgical colour is white.

The feast began, as a simple, with first Vespers. The antiphons and psalms were ferial, the chapter proper, the hymn from the Common of Apostles and the rest proper.

At Mattins there is one nocturn of three lessons. The invitatory from the Common of Apostle but the antiphons and psalmody are from the Psalter for Saturday. The first and second lessons are from St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, the third lesson proper to the feast. At Lauds the psalmody is ferial but the rest of the Office is as on the feast. At the Little Hours ferial psalmody is used. Hymns of Iambic metre have the Doxology in honour of the Incarnation.

Mass is on the feast with Gloria, second collect Deus, qui salutis of the BVM, third collect Ecclesiae for the Church or for the pope, the Preface is that of the Apostles.

Vespers are first Vespers of the Holy Name of Jesus without any commemorations.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' today is the Saturday Office of the BVM. At the Little Hours the Doxology of the hymns is however not changed in honour of the Incarnation. The Mass is as that of the BVM on Saturday with Gloria and preface of the BVM. Vespers are of the Holy Name as in the Old Rite.

Friday, 2 January 2009

Octave Day of St. Stephen Protomartyr


Today is the Octave Day of St. Stephen the Protomartyr. It is of simple rite. As on the feast the liturgical colour is red.

At Mattins there is one nocturn of three lessons. The invitatory is proper, the hymns at Mattins and Lauds for martyrs, but the antiphons and psalmody are from the Psalter for Friday. The first and second lessons are from St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, the third lesson proper to the feast. At Lauds the psalmody is ferial but the rest of the Office is as on the feast, the collect being proper to the Octave Day. At the Little Hours ferial psalmody is used. Hymns of Iambic metre have the Doxology in honour of the Incarnation.

Mass is as on the feast, Sederunt principes, but the collect is proper for the Octave Day, Omnipotens sempiterne Deus. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of the BVM Deus, qui salutis, the third collect Ecclesiae for the Church or the collect for the pope. The preface of the Nativity is sung but the proper communicantes in the Canon is not said outside of the Octave of the Nativity.

Vespers are of the following Octave Day of St. John the Evangelist.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the novelty of a feria of 'Christmastide' has been created as in the 1970-2002 books. This is made up of parts of the Office from January 1st combined with the ferial psalter. At the Little Hours the Doxology of the hymns is however not changed in honour of the Incarnation. The Mass is as that on January 1st but without the Creed.

Before the 1911-13 reform the octave days of the comites Christi were of double rank. The octaves of St. Thomas (in Englsnd), St. John the Evangelist and the Holy Innocents would have been commemorted in Lauds and Mass. The Mass was the same except the additional collects de tempore were omitted and the Creed was sung due to the commemoration of the octave of St. John.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

The Circumcision of the LORD and Octave Day of the Nativity



Today is the feast of the Circumcision of the LORD and Octave Day of the Nativity. It is a Double of the Second Class.

Anciently two if not three Masses were celebrated 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 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 formularies the first for the Octave Day all specifically referencing both the Circumcision and the Octave Day. Then, for the first Sunday after the Nativity are the set of orations as found in the Pius V Missal for today but with a proper preface. Today's liturgy clearly displays its composite nature.

At yesterday's first Vespers the antiphons were proper and the psalms those for a feast of the BVM. At Mattins there are three nocturns and nine lessons. At both Veespers and Lauds four pluvialistae in pariti assist the Hebdomadarius. The invitatory and hymn are those of the Nativity. In the first nocturn lessons are taken from St. Paul's 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 circumcison and the Gentiles. In the reform the readings from Romans started a day earlier, on the feast of St. Thomas Becket with the result that the first part of chapter three is omitted and no longer formed the 'appropritated' first lesson for today. At Lauds the same antiphons as at Vespers are sung, the hymn if of the Nativity.

At the Hours, as usual, the antiphons from Lauds are used. The Doxology in honour of the Incarnation is sung with all hymns of Iambic metre.

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

Second Vespers use the same antiphons and psalms of the BVM.

In 'the liturgical books of 1962' textually there are only a few differences in the liturgy today. The Circumcision has been renamed Octave Day of the Nativity and raised to first class rank. At the Little Hours the tone of the hymns will be different as the Doxology in honour of the Incarnation is omitted.