Sunday, 10 May 2009

The Fourth Sunday after Easter

Today is the Fourth Sunday after Easter, it is of semi-double rite.

The readings at Mass contain references to both the approaching Ascension and the coming of the Holy Ghost. The epistle from St. James has the beautiful text:
"Every good gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change nor shadow of alteration."
These sublime words being instantly recognised by those familiar with Byzantine liturgy with those found in the prayer said by the junior priest before the tribune at the end of the liturgy of St. Chrysostom. In the Gospel of St. John the LORD tells the Apostles that he must leave and go "to Him that sent me" and that without His leaving there can be no sending of the Holy Ghost upon the world.

The Office began with first Vespers sung yesterday afternoon. Commemorations were made of the preceding Office of St. Gregory Nazianzen, St. Antoninus and SS. Gordian and Epimachus. At Compline the Dominical preces were not sung because of the occuring double feast.

Mattins has the usual three nocturns. In the first nocturn the lessons from the beginning of the Epistle of St James are read (again, in fact, as they were used nine days ago for the feast of SS. Philip and James). In the second nocturn the lessons are from the Treatise of St. Cyprian on the boon of patience and in the third nocturn a homily of St. Augustine, the beginning of the 94th treatise on St. John's Gospel. The Te Deum is sung after the ninth lesson.

At Lauds commemorations of St. Antoninus and SS Gordian and Epimachus are sung. At Prime the Dominical preces are omitted because of the occurring double feast. The Paschaltide Doxology is sung in all hymns of Iambic metre in either Tone 8 or Tone 1 (Tone 8 is the tone for the Lauds hymn Aurora caelum purpurat).

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung, the second collect that of St. Antoninus, the third of SS Gordian and Epimachus. The Credo is sung, the preface is that of Paschaltide.

Vespers are of the Sunday and a commemoration of St. Antoninus is sung. At Compline, because of the occuring double feast, the Dominical preces are omitted.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' a familiar pattern is seen. At first Vespers there are no commemorations. St. Antoninus and SS Gordian and Epimachus simply get ignored. Mattins is stripped down to one nocturn of three lessons, no commemorations are made at Lauds. Mass has only one collect. Vespers has no commemorations and the hymns at the Little Hours are sung to the per annum tone and Doxology.

Art: Jerome Nadal

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