Sunday, 28 November 2010

The First Sunday of Advent

The beautiful liturgical season of Advent begins with Vespers on the Saturday before Advent Sunday. The first Sunday of Advent is a semi-double of the first class. The liturgy of Advent is perhaps the most exquisite of the entire liturgical year with 'layers' of meaning for both the First and Second Comings of the LORD. There is a weave of expectant joy and penance to be found in the liturgical texts. The first Sunday of Advent is a semi-double Sunday of the first class. The eschatalogical theme of last Sunday's Gospel continue with St. Luke's Gospel today and the Coming of the Divine Judge. During Advent bishops exchange their violet choir cassock for a black one with mozzeta or mattelletum with violet linings. Cardinals of the Court of Rome wear their 'winter' violet merino apparel (in contrast to their summer mourning dress of violet watered-silk) in place of their watered-silk scarlet.

Vespers yesterday marked the beginning of the Pars Hiemalis, or Winter Volume, of the Breviary. The antiphons In illa die etc are sung with the psalms of Saturday. The Office hymn is Creator alme siderum. After the collect of the Sunday the usual Suffrage is omitted during Advent. (An occurring or concurrent feast would be commemorated.) From this Vespers the Marian Antiphon sung is Alma Redemptoris Mater. At Compline the Dominical preces are sung.

At Mattins the invitatory is Regem venturum and this is sung in the Dominical and ferial Offices of Advent until the third Sunday. The hymn is Verbum supernum and the antiphons Veniet ecce Rex etc are sung. In the first nocturn the lessons are the Incipit of the prophet Isaiah. In the second nocturn the lessons are taken from the writing of St. Leo on the fast of the tenth month, the theme of which is preparing for the Coming and, in the third nocturn the homily is from St. Gregory continuing the theme with his commentary on St. Luke's Gospel about the end times. A ninth responsory is sung and the Te Deum omitted in the Office of Advent. At Lauds the antiphons sung at Vespers are again sung, with the Dominical psalms. The hymn is En clara vox. As noted above, the Suffrage is omitted.

At Prime the first antiphon from Lauds is used with the usual Dominical psalms (117, 118(i), 118(ii)). In the short responsory the versicle Qui venturus es in mundum replaces Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris for all of Advent except when an occuring feast has a proper versicle. The Dominical preces are sung. At the other Hours the other antiphons of Lauds are sung in the usual order.

Mass is sung after Terce. During Advent the deacon and sub-deacaon do not wear the dalmatic and tunicle but violet folded chasubles, an ancient feature of the Roman liturgy. Some previous musings about these wondrous vestments and their use may be found here. The Gloria in not sung, the second collect is of the Blessed Virgin in Advent, Deus, qui de beate, the third collect Ecclesiae. The Creed is sung, the preface that of the Blessed Trinity and, as the Gloria was not sung, the dismissal is Benedicamus Domino.

The above photograph is taken from Orbis Catholicus showing a fine traditional celebration at the Pantheon in Rome a couple of years ago. The photograph below, from a Polish site, Fidelitas, shows the FSSP using folded chasubles recently (note also four pluvialistae).

At Vespers the antiphons In illa die etc are sung with the Dominical psalms. After the collect of the Sunday a commemoration is sung of St. Saturninus. At Compline the Dominical preces are sung.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' so much has been excised from the Breviary that there are only two volumes not four. Advent Sunday marks the beginning of the Pars Prior, which runs until first Vespers of Trinity Sunday. There are no preces at Compline. Mattins is cut down to just one nocturn of three lessons. At Prime there are no preces. At Mass the deacon wears the dalmatic, and the sub-deacon the tunicle. Folded chasubles, so ancient and so quintessentially Roman, have been tossed aside. There is only one collect and the dismissal is Ite, missa est. Grim!

Art: Jerome Nadal


Adulio said...

I believe your second photo shows the erudite Abbé Quoëx, as the main celebrant. Possibly one of the last clergyman who could really be called a liturgist.

Rubricarius said...


Thank you for that - I cannot read a word of Polish so just saw the photo.

Abbe Quoex (sorry for lack of accents) used to take the Ordo - R.I.P.