Sunday, 30 May 2010

Trinity Sunday

Today is the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity. It is also the first Sunday after Pentecost. The feast is now a Double of the First Class having been raised to that rank in the reforms of 1911-13. Before that it was a Double of the Second Class and before that a double. Its origins appear to be as a local feast that originated in Liege in the tenth century and its celebration spreading in northern France and England. The Franciscan John Peckham revised the texts in the thirteenth century. In many local rites (and in the Dominican rite) Sundays were counted after Trinity rather than Pentecost.

The feast began yesterday with first Vespers on Saturday marking the beginning of the Summer (Aestiva) volume of the Breviarium Romanum. The Office is proper with the antiphons Gloria tibi Trinitas etc sung with Pss. 101, 110, 111, 112 and 116. The chapter, O altitudo, and hymn, Jam sol recedit, will be used at Vespers on Saturdays for all the Sundays after Pentecost. The antiphon on the Magnificat, Gratias tibi, Deus etc, and the collect are proper. A commemoration was sung of the first Sunday after Pentecost. After Vespers the antiphon Salve Regina is sung for the first time this year.

At Mattins there are three nocturns. The invitatory is proper, Deum verum, unum in Trinitate, et Trinitatm in Unitate, Venite adoremus. The antiphons and responsories are proper. In the first nocturn the lessons are taken from the sixth chapter of the Prophet Isaiah. In the second nocturn they are taken from the Book of Bishop Fulgentius on faith and in the third nocturn from a homily of St. Gregory Nazianzen The ninth lesson is of the first Sunday after Pentecost. At Lauds a commemoration of the Sunday is sung.

At Prime the festal psalms are sung (53, 118i & 118ii). The Creed of St. Athanasius, Quicumque, is sung after the last stanza of Ps. 118. Prior to Pius X Quicumque was sung on all Sundays throughout the year when the Office was Dominical. In many Uses, e.g. Sarum, it was sung on many more days in the year too.

Mass is sung after Terce. Before Mass at the sprinkling of lustral water the antiphon Asperges me returns. The Mass is proper, Benedicta sit. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of the Sunday, the Credo is sung, the preface that of the Most Holy Trinity (used for all Sundays not having a proper preface after 1759), and the last Gospel of the Sunday.

In second Vespers a commemoration of the following feast of St. Angela Mericiae and of the first Sunday after Pentecost is sung.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' there is no commemoration of the first Sunday after Pentecost at Vespers, Mattins or Lauds. The eighth lesson is split into two to make a ninth lesson for the feast. At Prime Quicumque is sung only on this Sunday in the 1962 rite. At Mass there is no commemoration of the Sunday, and no proper last Gospel.

Art: Rublev's Icon from Wikipedia. The Icon depicts the Hospitality of Abraham and which has been interpreted as representing the Trinity.


Peter said...

"Prior to Pius X Quicumque was sung on all Sundays throughout the year when the Office was Dominical."

But surely that was fairly rare, just as in the Pius X rubrics it is fairly rare to have a Sunday without the commemoration of a double feast.

Rubricarius said...


Yes, but going back through the centuries it is significant that Quicumque would have been sung on most Sundays in the year in the Tridentine rite. With the artificial inflation of double feasts in the eighteenth century, and later, this was rather obscured.

John Meyers said...

[This is going to sound like I've got an axe to grind, but I don't. I'm just trying to understand.]

The Queenship of Mary was added in 1954, but you don't include it here. What do you consider the cut-off date for accepting additions/modifications to the calendar? This is of course referring to the ordo that you publish.

On a related note, is there a readily accessible source that shows the calendar changes (and when they were made) between Divino Afflatu and the Holy Week changes in 1955? (E.g., the addition of Pope St. Pius X.)


Rubricarius said...


For the Ordo we use the calendar found in the Editio quinta post typicam of the Missale Romanum that was published in 1939.

That date, to me at least, seems a sensible one to take considering the reformist agenda that followed. However, I believe the question is ultimately more complex.

In terms of the second part of your comment the short answer is 'No'. I really would like to make a detailed analysis of the changes between 1911 and 1958. I confess to being weak on the not inconsiderable changes to the rubrics between 1920 and 1924 which suggests I should do something to remedy that.

Anonymous said...

The BVM Queenship feast was added on 11 October, 1954, and wasn't actually celebrated until 1955. Further, fascicles with the actual Office/Mass are often dated quite a bit after May of 1955, and so many locales might not have actually celebrated the feast with proper texts until 1956.

Most places were already celebrating the BVM Mediatrix on 31 May, with an Office dating to the 1920s that is, I think, superior in composition to the Queenship Office.

- Dr. Lee Fratantuono

John Meyers said...

Thanks for the quick response.

I guess my example of Pope Saint Pius X would not be covered in the ordo since falls well after the 1939 data.

It would appear that you have yet another reason to be going through the online archives of the AAS. But I doubt that you really need much in the way of excuses.


Rubricarius said...

The publication of Office of the 'Queenship' feast in 1954 also anticipated the changes of Cum nostra published in March the following year. The rubrics for the new feast indicate that the ferial psalter is used for the Horae Minorae.

Rubricarius said...


No, I don't have an excuse but alas procrastination is of my strongest vices.

I was given a Roman Ordo for 1920 by a good friend which belonged to his father. I was surprised to see Fidelium in second place on simple feasts that fell at the start of the month. There were quite a few differences over the next four years.

Anonymous said...

The last three feasts added to the Calendar before the "1962 books" were the Queenship (1954), Joseph Opifex (1955), and Lawrence of Brindisi (1959). The Queenship Office was not published until 1955 (not even in time for 31 May, I believe); Joseph late in 1956 (again, not in time for 1 May), and Lawrence late in 1959 (which means he was celebrated once with 9 lessons, in 1960, presuming 21 July was not a Sunday that year).

Because of the dates of publication, all three Offices reflect the Cum nostra rubrics.

Rubricarius said...


As Dr. Fratantuono observes the 'Queenship' feast was published in 1954.