Tuesday, 6 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

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.


Anonymous said...

Some may have noticed that the text of Psalm 94 at Matins is not exactly the same as the Invitatory Psalm that is usually recited. To my knowledge, the older Latin version of the Psalm has been retained (i.e. the Vetus Latina, known by Church fathers such as St. Augustine). In the Roman rite, it is only on this day that we have a psalm in the older Latin version (with the exception of the Breviarium Vaticanum, which continued to use the older version of the psalms until the 1960's) Perhaps you could give some more details to the readers of this blog, since I would imagine that many are unaware of this historical difference? I believe that the introduction of the Pian paslater in 1946 made this historical difference rather obsolete...
Fr. Durham

Rubricarius said...

Comparison of the text of the various editions of the Latin Psalter is not my specialism.

This article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latin_Psalters) on Wikipedia explains some of the history but, unfortunately, does not give much in the way of textual comparisons.