Monday, 1 August 2011

Lammas Day - St. Peter's Chains

The first day of August is traditionally known as Lammas Day when bread made from the newly harvested wheat was blessed in church. The custom almost certainly had pagan origins. Lammas Day itself developed as a Quarter Day along with Candlemass, Whitsun and Martinmass (11 November) and retained significance as a date for the collection of rents and taxes until Georgian times. As a previous commenter pointed out Lammas Day remains a black-letter day in the Book of Common Prayer.

The feast of St. Peter's Chains is of greater double rite and its liturgical colour is white. The feast is the dedication feast of the Basilica of St. Peter ad vincula in Rome.

At Mattins the invitatory is Regem Apostolorum Dominum, Venite adoremus and the Office hymn Quodcumque in orbe nexibus revinxeris. The antiphons and psalms for the three nocturns come from the Common of Apostles. In the first nocturn the lessons come from the Acts of the Apostles and contain the account of the Angel visiting St. Peter in gaol and the chains that held him falling from his hands. In the second nocturn the lessons tell of Eudoxia, daughter of the Emperor Theodosius, receiving part of the chains in Rome from her mother Eudocia and seeing them re-united with links that had been prserved there. In the third nocturn the homily on St. Matthew's Gospel is taken from St. Augustine's twenty-ninth sermon on the saints. The ninth lesson is for the Holy Machabees.

At Lauds the antiphons Herodes Rex etc are sung with the Dominical psalms. After the collect of the feast commemorations are sung of St. Paul the Apostle and the Holy Machabees.

At Prime the festal psalms are sung and the lectio brevis is Et Petrus ad se reversus dixit.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of St. Paul, the third collect of the Holy Machabees. The Creed is sung and the preface if of the Apostles.

At Vespers the antiphons Herodes Rex etc are sung with psalms 109, 112, 115, 125 & 138. After the collect of the feast commemorations are sung of St. Paul, the following feast of St. Alphonsus and St. Stephen.

In the ancient use 'liturgical books of 1962' the feast of St. Peter's Chains, only dating to the eighth century, has been abolished. (The 1948 Memoria #133 discussed a possibility of the dedications of several minor basilicas being joined.) Today becomes a commemoration of the Holy Machabees in a IV class liturgical day. Occurring scripture is from the Monday after the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost and not from the Monday of the first week of August. Ferial Vespers are celebrated without a commemoration of St. Alphonsus.


Anonymous said...

In Ballycastle,Co.Antrim, Northern Ireland, they still have The Ould Lammas Fair,and there is an old song taking its name and subject from this event.

Peter said...

What is a black-letter day?

Rubricarius said...

Not a red letter day. The initial letter (and sometimes the whole entry) of greater feasts in MSS were usually red, lesser feast were just black.

In (modern recensions of) the BCP Calendar red letter days appear in italics other feasts in normal characters.