Wednesday, 9 November 2011

The Dedication of the Lateran Basilica

The feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica is a Double of the Second Class and the liturgical colour for the feast is white. On November 9th, 324, St. Sylvester of Rome consecrated the basilica under the title St. Saviour. This is believed to be the first public consecration of a church. The feast's title in the Breviary and Missal retains this ancient dedication: In Dedicatione Archbasilicae Ssmi Salvatoris. The texts for the Office come from the Common of the Dedication of a Church except some of the Mattins lessons.

At Mattins the invitatory is Domum Dei decet sanctitudo, Sponsum ejus Christum adoremus in ea and the Office hymn Caelestis urbs Jerusalem. In the first nocturn the antiphons Tollite portas etc are sung with psalms 23, 45 & 47. The lessons are proper to the feast and are taken from the book of the Apocalypse of St. John with the responsories from the Common. In the second nocturn the antiphons Non est hic aliud etc are sung with psalms 83, 86 & 87, the lessons are again proper to the feast. In the third nocturn the antiphons Qui habitat etc are sung with psalms 90, 95 & 98. The homily is from St. Ambrose on St. Luke's Gospel. The ninth lesson is an historical lesson to commemorate St. Theodore. The Te Deum is sung.

At Lauds the antiphons Domum tuam, Domine etc are sung with the Sunday psalms (92, 99, 62, Benedicite & 148. The chapter is Vidi civitatem sanctam etc and the Office hymn Alto ex Olympi vertice - the once beautiful Angularis fundamentum so well known from John Mason Neale's translation, Christ is made the sure Foundation - mutilated in the seventeenth century with the 'makeover' of the Office hymns. The great and good Dr. Adrian Fortescue wrote some words of wisdom about those changes to the hymns:
"Whatever good the Renaissance may have done in other ways, there can be no question that it was finally disastrous to Christian hymns. There came the time when no one could conceive anything but the classical metres and classical language. So they wrote frigid imitation of classical lyrics. It is the time when people thought it effective to call heaven Olympus, to apply pagan language to God and his saints. There is nothing to be done with this stuff but to glance at it, shudder, and pass on."
After the collect of the feast a commemoration is sung of St. Theodore.

At Prime the antiphon Domum tuam Domine is sung with the festal psalms (53, 118i, 118ii), the Dominical preces are omitted and the lectio brevis is Et absterget Deus. The antiphons from Lauds are sung at the other Hours with the Dominical psalms in the usual manner.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Mass formulary from the Common Terribilis est locus iste. The Gloria is sung, in said Masses the second collect is of St. Theodore, and the Creed is sung.

At Vespers the antiphons Domum tuam, Domine etc are sung with psalms 109, 110, 111, 112 & 147. The Office hymn is Caelestis urbs Jerusalem. The versicle and response, and the antiphon on the Magnificat are proper to second Vespers. After the collect of the feast a commemoration is sung of the following Office of St. Andrew Avellino. At Compline the Sunday psalms are sung.

In the ancient 'liturgical books of 1962', as was noted yesterday, the feast loses first Vespers. At Mattins there is no ninth lesson of St. Theodore. At the Hours the ferial antiphons and psalms are sung, at Prime the lectio brevis is of the Season. At Vespers there is no commemoration of the following Office.

Photo: Wikipedia


Paleo-Con said...

Have any of the ancient Breviary hymns been preserved that perhaps one day, in better times, they might be restored to their former usage?

Rubricarius said...


The Breviarium Monasticum retains the original form of the hymns.

Paleo-Con said...

That is wonderful news; thank heaven for the OSB!

Rubricarius said...


I know very little of the rites of the Religious Orders but I think most, if not all, kept the older form of the hymns. Certainly the Monastic Breviary and Antiphonale are the most accessible sources.