Monday, 21 December 2009

St. Thomas the Apostle

Today is the feast of St. Thomas the Apostle, the feast has a rank of Double of the Second Class. According to tradition St. Thomas preached the Gospel in Asia and the Indian sub-continent. He is believed to have founded, inter alia, the St. Thomas Christians on the West coast of India, one of several groups using the East-Syrian family of liturgies.

The liturgy of the day is festal and began with first Vespers of the feast yesterday on the fourth Sunday of Advent. Four pluvialistae in pariti assist the Hebdomadarius at Vespers and Lauds. At Mattins there are the usual nine lessons. At Lauds the antiphon on the Benedictus is proper Quia vidisti me, Thoma, credidisti: beati, qui non viderunt, et crediderunt, alleluia referring to the incident recorded in the Gospel of St. John about St. Thomas' doubt in the Risen LORD. A commemoration is then made of the Advent feria, the antiphon on the Benedictus is proper too for the feria Nolite timere.

Festal hymn tones and psalmody are used at the Horae Minorae. At Mass, which is sung after Terce the Gloria and Creed are both sung and there is a commemoration of the Advent feria, the preface is that of the Apostles. At second Vespers there is a commemoration of the Advent feria with the 'O' antiphon O Oriens.

According to the 'liturgical books of 1962' St. Thomas' feast suffers the usual 'cuts' for a second class feast. There is no first Vespers, the ferial psalter is used at the Little Hours, the short lesson at Prime is of the season rather than of the feast.

Art: Wikipedia: a Russian Icon of St. Thomas, 18th century.

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