Sunday, 26 December 2010

St. Stephen the Protomartyr

Today is the feast of St. Stephen the Protomartyr, the feast is a Double of the Second Class with a simple Octave. The feast takes the place of the Sunday completely. The liturgical colour of the day is red. Many saints, originally more than now, were celebrated after the Nativity of the LORD. These were described as the 'comites Christi' . e.g. St. James the Lesser and King David. In 'modern' calendars we are left with St. Stephen, St. John the Evangelist, and the Holy Innocents.

Yesterday St. Stephen's Day was commemorated at Second Vespers of the Nativity. (Special rules apply to Vespers for the Octave of the Nativity). The Office is proper and Mattins has three nocturns of nine lessons. The Nativity of the LORD is commemorated at Lauds, Mass and Vespers. Hymns of Iambic metre have the special tone and Doxology in honour of the Incarnation.

At Mass, sung after Terce, the Gloria, the second collect is of the Nativity. The Credo are sung. The preface and communicantes are of the Nativity.

Vespers are Second Vespers of the Nativity, but from the chapter they are of St. Stephen with a commemoration of St. John the Evangelist and the Octave of the Nativity of the LORD.

Following the 'liturgical books of 1962' the Sunday within the Octave of the Nativity is celebrated, the liturgical colour is white. At Vespers yesterday there were no commemorations. Mattins is cut down to three lessons. St. Stephen is commemorated at Lauds and Low Mass. There is no commemoration of the Octave. The Doxology in honour of the Incarnation is omitted at the hymns of the Little Hours. At Prime the Dominical psalms are sung. At Vespers there is no commemoration of the Nativity or of St. John.

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