Wednesday, 3 August 2011

The Finding of the Body of St. Stephen

The feast of the Finding of the Body of St. Stephen Protomartyr is of semi-double rite and its liturgical colour is red.

At Mattins the lessons in the first nocturn are from the Acts of the Apostles. In the second nocturn the third and fourth lessons relate the finding of the St. Stephen's body and the fifth is from St. Augustine's City of God detailing the restoration of her sight to a blind woman who laid flowers on St. Stephen's relics. In the third nocturn the homily on St. Matthew's Gospel is from St. Jerome. At Lauds the antiphons Lapidaverunt Stephanum etc are sung with the Dominical psalms, the chapter and collect are proper. After the collect of the feast the Suffrage of the Saints is sung.

At the Little Hours the antiphons and psalms are of Wednesday but the lectio brevis at Prime is proper, Positis autem genibus. The Dominical preces are sung at Prime.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Mass texts are the same as those used on December 26th except 'finding' is substituted for 'birth' in the collect. The second collect is A cunctis nos, the third collect chosen by the Dean or Rector. There is no Creed and the Common Preface is sung.

Vespers are of the following feast of St. Dominic with a commemoration of the feast of the Finding of the Body of St. Stephen.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the feast of the Finding of the Body of St. Stephen has been ripped out of the Calendar. The Office of the day is a 'IV class' feria with no mention of St. Stephen. A 1962 mess of the feast may be celebrated from the Pro aliquibus locis section of the messal.


Andre said...

Are the proper Antiphons and Sunday psalms for certain hours a relic from the antiquity of the feast, yet it still being a semi-double?

Rubricarius said...

Yes, in part. The feast entered local Calendars generally by the first millenium. Semi-doubles were originally rather important feasts second to the great double feasts of Pascha, Pentecost etc.

Prior to 1911-13 the antiphon Lapidaverunt etc would have been used at the Horae Minores too (and with the antiphons from the Common at Mattins).