Thursday, 6 May 2010

St John before the Latin Gate


The feast of St. John before the Latin Gate is of greater-double rite. The feast appears in the Gregorian Sacramentaries on May 6th and and is the dedication festival for the fifth century church in Rome named after the feast. The feast commemorates the 'martyrdom' of St. John the Evangelist as described by Tertullian in the year AD 92. On the orders of Domitian St. John was cast into a cauldron of hot oil yet emerged unscathed and was exiled to the island of Patmos. Because of this 'martyrdom' of St. John the liturgical colour for the feast is red - hopefully that colour will not be matched by the winning party in the United Kingdom's General Election today!

The feast began with first Vespers on Wednesday. The antiphons Sancti tui Domine etc were sung along with the psalms found in the Common of Apostles in Paschaltide. The chapter, Stabunt justi, and the Office hymn, Tristes erant Apostoli, were again from the Common. The antiphon on the Magnificat, In ferventis olei dolium, and collect were proper to the feast. A commemoration was sung of St. Pius V. At Compline Te lucis was sung with the Paschaltide Doxology and the Domincial preces were omitted.

At Mattins the invitatory is Regem Apostolorum Dominum, Venite adoremus. The Office hymn is again Tristes erant Apostoli and in the first nocturn the antiphon Stabunt justi is sung along with the psalms from the Common. The lessons for the first nocturn are the Incipit of the first Epistle of St. John, Quod fuit, found on Sunday within the Octave of the Ascension, which are sung with the responsories from the Common. In the second nocturn the lessons are taken from the writings of St. Jerome against Jovinian, in the fifth lesson St. Jerome relates Tertullian's account of St. John's 'martyrdom' . In the third nocturn the homily on St. Matthew's Gospel is again from St. Jerome. At Lauds the antiphons Sancti tui etc are again sung, this time with the Sunday psalms. The chapter and Office hymn, Paschale mundo gaudium, and the antiphon on the Benedictus, Filiae Jerusalem, are from the Common.

At the Hours the Paschaltide Doxology is sung at the conclusion of the Office hymns. The antiphons Sancti tui etc are sung at the Hours. At Prime the festal psalms are sung (Pss. 53, 118i & 118ii), the short lesson is Scimus quoniam. The Dominical preces are omitted.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Mass Protexisti is sung. The Gloria is sung, there is one collect, the Creed is sung and the preface is that of the Apostles.

In second Vespers a commeration is sung of the following Office of St. Stanislaus.


The church, in Rome, above, of San Giovanni a Porta Latina was dedicated in honour of this feast and used to be a liturgical station on Saturday in Passion Week.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the feast of St. John before the Latin Gate has been abolished despite its appearance in seventh century liturgical texts and a fifth century church being dedicated to the event. Today becomes another fourth class ferial day. Again, as on SS Philip and James day and Holy Cross day even the Book of Common Prayer retained the feast in its Kalendar although it is absent from CW.

2 comments:

Patricius said...

The Book of Common Prayer is more traditional than the New Rite, in both its "forms". Alas, though, so hard to find these days.

Capreolus said...

Dear Rubricarius,
This is one of my favorite feast days, and so I feel moved to add a charming historical note (or so I find it): as shown in the photograph, there is a true cedar of Lebanon in the little piazza before the church; according to tradition, it was planted by Charlemagne during his famous visit to the City. Beautifully, the text of the Alleluia verse at Mass refers to the just man "sicut cedrus Libani."