Tuesday, 3 May 2011

The Invention of the Holy Cross

The feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross is a Double of the Second Class. The feast celebrates the discovery of the Holy Cross by the Empress Helena. The liturgical colour of the feast is red.

At Mattins the invitatory is Christum Regem crucifixum, Venite adoremus, alleluia. In the first nocturn the antiphons Inventae Crucis etc are sung with proper psalms, the first lesson is from St. Paul to the Galatians with the poignant words: 'Christ has redeemed us from the curse law, being made a curse for us: for it is written: Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Christ Jesus; that we may receive the promise of the Spirit by faith.' The second lesson is from the Epistle to the Philippians with the passage so familiar from the Triduum and the third lesson from the Epistle to the Colossians. In the second nocturn the antiphon Felix ille triumphus etc is sung, the lessons relate the work of St. Helena in fourth century Jerusalem finding three crosses buried in a cistern. Not knowing which cross the LORD had died on each was placed on a woman with a sickness by Macarius, Bishop of Jerusalem. When touched by the True Cross the sick woman was instantly restored to health. In the third nocturn the psalms are sung under the antiphon Adoramus te Christe etc, the lessons are from a homily of St. Augustine on the Gospel of St. John. The ninth lesson is of the commemorated feast of SS Alexander, Eventius, Theodulus & Juvenal.

At Lauds the antiphons O magnam pietatis opus etc are sung with the Dominical psalms. A commemoration is sung of SS Alexander etc.

At the Hours the Paschaltide Doxology is sung with all the Office hymns, the antiphons of Lauds are sung with the Dominical psalms, at Prime the festal psalms are sung (Ps. 53, 118i & 118ii), the short lesson is Humiliavit semetipsum.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria and Creed are sung. In private Masses the second collect is of SS Alexander etc. The Creed is sung, the preface of the Cross is sung.

Vespers are second Vespers of the feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross with a commemoration of the following transferred feast of St. Mark and of St. Monica.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross has been abolished as its observance in the West only dated to the seventh century (it appears on May 3rd in Martyrologium Hieronymianum. Today becomes a ferial day with a commemoration of SS Alexander etc at Lauds and low Mass. The Paschaltide Doxology (and tone) is not sung at the Horae Minorae. In sung Masses there is one collect. Vespers are of the ferial day without a commemoration of St. Monica. In contrast even Cranmer's Book of Common Prayer preserved the feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross in the Kalendar.

Art: A ninth century MS illustration of the Invention of the Holy Cross by St. Helena from Wikipedia.


Anonymous said...

Have I missed a meeting ? I thought that tomorrow, Wednesday was the transferred Feast of SS Philip and James and then St Mark was Thursday ???? Alan.

Rubricarius said...


No, you have not missed anything. In England SS Philip and James are tomorrow and St. Mark on Thursday. The post applies to the Universal Kalendar.

Quite a sequence of red feasts - I wonder if any churches had different sets of vestments for such an array of Doubles of the First and Second Class and good Saint John before the Latin Gate on Friday?

Anonymous said...

The Campos apostolic administration has been granted permission to include the Invention as a II Class feast on their proper calendar. Interesting, considering they're the only body in full communion with Rome using the 1962 books as their exclusive rite.


Anonymous said...

St John ante portam Latinam (as Cranmer's p.b. described it)was the feast of the printers in Paris and Comper was asked to design a red High Mass set for Notre-Dame in Paris; supposedly one of his most magnificent works it has now disappeared. Did any rich traddies buy it and don't know to use it on its correct "feast" May 6th ???? It's a pity we can't sing the wonderful (words a & music) English Hymnal hymn for SS Philip & James on its correct day; the hymn uses the words "to welcome the first of May"
Alan Robinson