Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Within the Octave of the Epiphany

With the great Octave of the Epiphany, an Octave of even higher ranking than even that of the Nativity, the three-fold theme of the feast is reinforced to the world by the witness of the celebration Liturgy.

The days within the Octave are of semi-double rite. The antiphons etc are as on the feast only they are not doubled. Before the Sunday in the Octave the lessons in the first nocturn the lessons continue to be read from Romans, following the Sunday they are from Corinthians. Since 1921 the feast of the Holy Family has been permanently transferred to the Sunday within the Octave of the Epiphany. The Octave and Sunday are commemorated in the Office and at Mass but there is no ninth lesson of the Sunday nor a proper last Gospel.

Each day within the Octave has proper lessons for the second and third nocturns at Mattins and proper antiphons for both the Benedictus and Magnificat. The lessons proper to the displaced Sunday, the Incipit from Corinthians, were transferred to Monday. A 'resumed' Mass of the Sunday - with both Gloria and Creed - was also celebrated on Monday. At Mass the Gloria is sung, the second collect is of the BVM, Deus qui salutis, the third collect is Ecclesiae. When a feast occurrs, e.g. St. Hyginus on the 11th the second collect of the season is omitted. The Creed is sung each day and the preface and communicantes are proper to the Epiphany.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' this great feast has been stripped of its Vigil and Octave. In their place are fourth class ferial days of 'Epiphanytide'. On the Saturday the ferial day was outranked by the Saturday Office of the BVM. On Sunday there was no commemoration of the Octave or of the Sunday. These ferial days have the antiphons and psalm divisi from the Psalter and all the second and third nocturn lessons from the Octave have of course gone. The days retain their proper antiphons at the NT Canticles. The Doxology of the Epiphany vanishes from the hymns of the Horae Minores.

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