Wednesday, 21 December 2011

St. Thomas the Apostle

The feast of St. Thomas the Apostle is a Double of the Second Class. According to tradition St. Thomas preached the Gospel in Asia and the Indian sub-continent. He is believed to have founded, inter alia, the St. Thomas Christians on the West coast of India, one of several groups using the East-Syrian family of liturgies.

At Vespers yesterday the antiphons Hoc est praeceptum meum etc were sung with psalms 109, 110, 111, 112 & 116. The Office hymn was Exsultet orbis gaudiis. The antiphon on the Magnificat was proper to the feast, Quia vidisti me etc. After the collect of the feast the Advent feria was commemorated with the Great 'O' Antiphon appointed for the 20th December O clavis David and the collect of the preceding Sunday. At Compline the Dominical psalms were sung and the preces were omitted.

At Mattins the invitatory is Regem Apostolorum Dominum, Venite adoremus and the Office hymn is Aeterna Christi munera. In the first nocturn the antiphons In omnem terram etc are sung with psalms 18, 33 & 44. The lessons are Sic nos existimet homo from St. Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians. In the second nocturn the antiphons Principes populorum etc are sung with psalms 46, 60 & 63. The fourth lesson is proper to the feast, the fifth and sixth are taken from the Common. In the third nocturn the antiphons Exaltabuntur etc are sung with psalms 74, 96 & 98. The homily on St. John's Gospel is from St. Gregory. The Te Deum is sung. At Lauds the antiphons Hoc est praeceptum meum etc are sung with the Dominical psalms (92, 99, 62, Benedicite & 148). The antiphon on the Benedictus, Quia vidisti me, Thoma, credidisti: beati, qui non viderunt, et crediderunt, alleluia, is proper to the feast and refers to the incident recorded in the Gospel of St. John about St. Thomas' doubt in the Risen LORD. A commemoration is then made of the Advent feria, the antiphon on the Benedictus is proper too for the feria Nolite timere.

The antiphons sung at Lauds are sung in due order at the Horae Minores. At Prime the festal psalms (53, 118i & 118ii) are sung, the lectio brevis is Ibant Apostoli.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of the Advent feria (the oration from the previous Sunday). The Creed is sung and the preface is of the Apostles.

At second Vespers the antiphons Juravit Dominus etc are sung with psalms 109, 112, 115, 125 & 138. The antiphon on the Magnificat is Quia vidisti me, Thoma etc and the Advent feria is commemorated with the Great 'O' Antiphon O Oriens. At Compline the Dominical psalms are sung and the preces are omitted.

According to the 'liturgical books of 1962' St. Thomas' feast suffers the usual 'cuts' for a second class feast. There is no first Vespers, the ferial psalter is used at the Little Hours, the short lesson at Prime is of the season rather than of the feast.

Art: Wikipedia: a Russian Icon of St. Thomas, 18th century.


Peter said...

Is it customary to sing the ferial Vespers of Advent solemnly (i.e., with coped celebrant and incense at the Magnificat) during the week of the O Antiphons? I thought that according to the Ceremonial of Bishops the ferial Vespers were never celebrated with ceremony, but since one so often sees references to the "solemn celebration" of the O Antiphons, I wonder if this normal rule is suspended.

Rubricarius said...


Not as far as I am aware but I too have wondered about this. I wouldn't mind betting that somewhere there was a praxis as you suggest.