Monday, 1 November 2010

All Saints' Day

The feast of All Saints is a Double of the First Class with an Octave. The universal celebration of this feast developed from the dedication of the Pantheon to St. Mary and the Martyrs. This dedication took place on May 13th 610. In some places, and the in Byzantine East to this day, a celebration of All Saints took place after Trinity Sunday. The celebration of the feast spread and Gregory IV transferred the feast and dedication to November 1st in 835. Louis the Pious spread the celebration throughout his empire and the feast entered the Universal Calendar. Sixtus IV gave the feast an Octave in the fifteenth century. The liturgical colour for the feast, and octave, is white.

At Mattins the invitatory is proper as is the hymn, Placare, Christe, servulis. In the first nocturn the lessons are taken from the book of the Apocalypse. In the second nocturn the lessons are taken from a sermon of the Venerable Bede and, in the third nocturn, the homily on the Gospel is from St. Augustine. At Lauds the antiphons Vidi turbam magnam etc are sung with the Sunday psalms (Pss. 99, 92, 62, Benedicite & 148).

The antiphons sung at Lauds are used at the Hours in the usual way. Prime has the festal psalms (53, 118i, 118ii) and the lectio brevis is proper, Benedictio et claritas, to the feast.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria and Creed are sung.

At second Vespers the psalms are those used for Apostles but the fifth psalm is Ps. 115, Credidi.

After Benedicamus Domino the verse Fidelium is omitted and the choir sits as the festive white is removed and is exchanged for the black of mourning. Vespers of the Dead are then sung. These begin with the antiphon Placebo Domino in regione vivorum. Psalms 114, 119, 120, 129 and 127 are sung. Requiem aeternam etc is sung at the end of each psalm in place of Gloria Patri etc. After the psalms there is a versicle and response but no hymn. After the antiphon on the Magnificat the choir kneels for a Pater noster, some versicles and the collect. Following the 1911-13 reform Compline takes a special form 'Compline of the Dead' with psalms 122, 141 and 142.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' most of the rite, for once, remains as it was. However, at Prime the lectio brevis is of the season. Vespers of All Saints are sung but not Vespers of the Dead as they, rather strangely, get treated as Vespers of All Soul's Day.


The Flying Dutchman said...

I find it interesting that 2nd Vespers of All Saints was immediately followed by Vespers of All Souls.

It seems a great pity that the ancient custom of beginning the liturgical day with Vespers has all but been abandoned. Perhaps it is not too late to do something about this?

For historical reasons, I take a special interest in All Saints, Wardour Castle. This chapel was dedicated to All Saints on 1 November 1776. Since 1 November is permanently impeded by All Saints, I wonder when the feast of the anniversary of the dedication would normally have been celebrated? Would it have been on 3 November in most years and on 2 November when that day fell on a Sunday (with All Souls being transferred to 3 November)? And how would the two overlapping Octaves of All Saints and the Dedication of the Church have been celebrated?

Rubricarius said...

Dear Flying Dutchman,

I would be interested to see the local customary for Wardour. My guess would be that with the consent of competent authority the feast of Dedication was perpetually transferred, which seems to have been the usual practice in such cases. It would be interesting to find out - I will contact a friend who might know.

Vespers of the Dead following Vespers of the day happened quite a few times before the 1911 reform - notably the Sundays of Advent and Lent in addition to All Saint's Day. (Plus where Choral Office of the Dead was celebrated by custom for various deceased benefactors etc).

As Vespers of the Dead was often followed by Mattins and Lauds pro Defunctis one ends up with what is in effect a Vigil service, an analysis of the intrinsic structure of which has strong parallels with the 'All Night Vigil' as currently celebrated in Russian parishes.