Thursday, 21 May 2009

The Ascension of the LORD

The feast of the Ascension of the LORD is a double of the first class with a privileged octave of the third order.

The Office began with first Vespers yesterday afternoon. The antiphons were proper. Four pluvialistae in pariti assist the Hebdomadarius at Vespers and Lauds. At Mattins the invitatory is proper: Alleluia, Christum Dominum ascendentem in caelum, Venite adoremus, alleluia. The hymn Aeterne Rex altissime is sung. In the first nocturn the lessons are taken from the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles, in the second nocturn they are from a sermon of St. Leo and in the third nocturn a homily from St. Gregory. At Lauds the antiphons are those sung at Vespers and the hymn is Salutis humane Sator.

At the Hours Sunday psalms are sung, Prime is as on feasts (Pss. 53, 118(i) & 118(ii). At Prime the verse Qui scandis super sidera is sung in the short responsory today and until the Vigil of Pentecost. Hymns (with the exception of Salutis humane Sator) have the Ascension Doxology and are sung in tone 4.

At Mass the Gloria is sung. After the Gospel the Paschal Candle is exinguished. The Credo is sung and the preface and communicantes are proper to the feast. After Mass the Paschal Candle is removed from the sanctuary, it makes a brief re-appearance on the Vigil of Pentecost.

Second Vespers are the same as first except for the versicle and response and antiphon on the Magnificat.

In 'the liturgical books of 1962' the antiphons at the Little Hours are doubled and the Ascension Doxology is sung at the hymn of Mattins only. The hymns at the Little Hours are sung to the general feastal tone. The feast's octave was stripped from it in 1956.

The icon is by the great Russian iconographer Andrei Rublev and featured on Wikipedia.

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