Sunday, 1 February 2009

Practicalities: Sunday Prime - A dissection (2)

Continuing the dissection of the Office of Prime we will consider today the Office of Prime for the Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany. What will be noticeable is the fixed character of much of Prime.

(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, Alleluia, from the Dominical psalter (Dominica ad Primam) is sung as far as the asterisk. Then Psalm 117, Confitemini Domino.... At the end of the psalm the Doxology is sung but the antiphon is NOT repeated here. Instead the next psalm fragment 118(i) is intoned Beati immaculati in via.. then its Doxology and then the third psalm fragment 118(ii) Retribue servo tuo then its Doxology and then the antiphon Alleluia, confitemini Domino quoniam in saeculum misericordia ejus, alleluia, alleluia is sung in full. The Athanasian Creed is omitted due to the occuring double feast of St. Ignatius of Antioch.

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, again due to the occuring double feast the Dominical preces are omitted and after the short responsory 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). Again taking today as an example: Quarto Nonas Februarii. Luna sexta. Purificatio Beate Mariae Virginis, quae a Graecis Hypapante Domini appellatur. Romae via Salaria etc. etc. 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 Dominus autem Dirigat.....(of the season) 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. On a Sunday Terce would normally follow immediately followed by the blessing of salt and water, Asperges ceremony and Mass.

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