Sunday, 24 June 2012

The Nativity of St. John the Baptist

The feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist is a double of the first class with an Octave. The liturgical colour of the feast and Octave is white. The celebration of the feast on June 24th is ancient and was mentioned by the Council of Agde in 506 and is in the Martyrologium Hieronymianum.

At Vespers yesterday afternoon the antiphons, Ipse praeibit etc, proper to the feast, were sung with psalms 109, 110, 111, 112 & 116. The Office hymn was Ut queant laxis resonare fibris. The hymn famously rises through a scale in its verses: Ut (Doh), Resonare, Mira, Famuli, Solve, Labii. After the collect of the feast a commemoration was sung of the fourth Sunday after Pentecost. At Compline the Dominical psalms were sung and the Dominical preces were omitted.

At Mattins the invitatory is proper Regem Praecursoris Dominum, Venite adoremus. The Office hymn is Antra deserti teneris sub annis. The antiphons, psalms and responsories are proper for all three nocturns. In the first nocturn the lessons are taken from the Incipit of the Prophet Jeremiah. In the second nocturn the lessons are from a sermon by St. Augustine on the saints and in the third nocturn the homily is from the writings of St. Ambrose on the first chapter of St. Luke's Gospel. The ninth lesson is of the Sunday. The eighth and ninth lessons of the feast may be read as one and the three lessons of the homily read together as the ninth lesson but it suffices to omit the ninth lesson of the feast and read, in its place, the first lesson of the Sunday homily. The Te Deum is sung. At Lauds the antiphons Elisabeth Zachariae etc are sung with the Sunday psalms. The rest of Lauds is proper to the feast with the Office hymn O nimis felix. After the collect of the feast a commemoration of the Sunday is sung.

At the Hours the antiphons of Lauds are sung with the Sunday psalms. At Prime (Pss. 53, 118i & 118ii) the lectio brevis is Reges videbunt. The Dominical preces are omitted.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Mass is proper, De ventre. The Gloria is sung, after the collect of the feast a commemoration is sung of the Sunday. The Creed is sung as the feast falls on a Sunday and the preface is of the Blessed Trinity. The last Gospel is of the Sunday.

At Second Vespers the antiphons sung at Lauds are sung again with the psalms from Vespers for the Common of Apostles. The hymn Ut queant laxis is again sung, the rest of the Office is proper to the feast. After the collect of the feast commemorations are sung of the following feast of St. William and of the Sunday. At Compline the Dominical preces are omitted.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the feast remains relatively unscathed. At Mattins there is no ninth lesson of the Sunday. The antiphons are, of course, doubled at the Little Hours Prime has the seasonal lectio brevis. At Mass the last Gospel is In principio. At Vespers there is only a commemoration of the Sunday. The Octave has been stripped away.

Icon: A Russian icon of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist from Wikipedia.


Paleo-Con said...

Should there not be a commemoration of the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost in the orations and Last Gospel of the Mass?

Joshua said...

I am intrigued to discover that there is an option provided here! - to read either a shorter or a longer choice of lesson. Whatever would have been done in choir?

On this point, I recall consulting the Roman Octavarium, a lovely book providing optional lessons for use during various Octaves (all of which now sadly abolished). Since, so far as I know, it was only for optional use, would it therefore have been for private recitation only and not for use in choir?

Rubricarius said...


Indeed - thanks for spotting my typo - I really should not have been typing this after midnight but I did get in the last Gospel. Corrected now!

Rubricarius said...


If I were in choir I would ensure the full texts were read and no abbreviations!

The Octavarium was used for Octaves of titles etc, so in those (few) churches with public Office it would have been used.

Romanitas said...

Just fun to note: Rorate-Caeli announced in an article a series on the "1962 Missal" or "Missal of John XXIII." Criticism was so harsh of that edition that the blog administrator, after accusing some posters of sedevacantism, shut down commentary! I can think of some priests in London and Rome who would not be welcomed in the comment box there!

Rubricarius said...


Indeed, I noticed that. Time methinks to have a little series here explaining how the 1962MR differs every single day of the year and in every celebration to the editions that preceded it.

Capreolus said...

Dear Rubricarius,
I hope you do (publish a series on the differences, that is). I was tempted to leave a (constructive) comment at "Ror. Cael." but after the sharp warning by the moderator decided against it. A few of those posting said that the changes made in the 1962 Missal were "minor." I'm not sure what would constitute a major change for them, if the novelties of the 1955 Holy Week are a mere bagatelle. Best,

Romanitas said...

Not to mention the violence against the calendar: loss of all octaves—save three, loss of the two feasts of St Joseph and their replacement with that farcical Joe-the-Communist day, the transfer of the feast of Ss. James and Philip, suppression of Proper Last Gospels and votive prayers, the absence of commemorations unless a major feast falls on a Sunday, and the fascistic obsession with having as many green Sundays as possible.

In all fairness, the calender was quite overgrown by the time St Pius X fiddled, unsuccessfully, with the breviary. I can see why St Pius V trimmed the calendar down so much. I would also posit that the fascination with a great number of Counter-Reformation saints contributed to St Pius X's changes, like having several classes of semi-double Sundays.

Paleo-Con said...

Is there any place one could find an "Octavarium Romanum" today?

Rubricarius said...


Abebooks have a selection of original and (cheaper) facsimile reprints.

Paleo-Con said...

Thank you for the information.