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.

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