Thursday, 26 December 2013
St. Stephen the Protomartyr
Today is the feast of St. Stephen the Protomartyr. The feast is a Double of the Second Class with a simple Octave. The liturgical colour of the day is red. Many saints, originally more than now, were celebrated around the Nativity of the LORD. These were described as the 'comites Christi' . e.g. St. James the Lesser and King David. In 'modern' calendars we are left with St. Stephen, St. John the Evangelist, and the Holy Innocents although St. David the King is in the Kalendar as a greater double on the 29th December in the Patriarchate of Jerusalem.
At second Vepsers of the Nativity yesterday afternoon a commemoration was sung of St. Stephen. At Mattins the invitatory is proper, Christum natum, qui beatum hodie coronavit Stephanum. The Office hymn is Deus, tuorum militum sung with the Doxology of the Nativity. In the first nocturn the antiphons In lege Domini etc are sung with psalms 1, 2 & 3 all from the Common of a Martyr. The lessons are from the Acts of the Apostles with responsories proper to the feast. In the second nocturn the antiphons Filii hominum etc are sung with psalms 4, 5 & 8 and the lessons are from a sermon of St. Fulgentius on St. Stephen's martyrdom. In the third nocturn the antiphons Justus Dominus etc are sung with psalms 10, 14 & 20. The homily is from St. Jerome on St. Matthew's Gospel. The Te Deum is sung. At Lauds the proper antiphons, Lapidaverunt Stephanum etc., are sung with psalms 92, 99, 62, Benedicite & 148. The Office hymn is Invicte Martyr unicum sung with the Doxology of the Incarnation. After the collect of the feast a commemoration is sung of the Octave of the Nativity.
At Prime the antiphon Lapidaverunt Stephanum is sung with the festal psalms (53, 118i & 118ii). The short responsory has the versicle of the Incarnation and the lectio brevis is Positis autem. At the other Little Hours the psalms of Lauds are used in the usual order. The hymns of the Little Hours have the tone and Doxology of the Incarnation.
Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung and the second collect is of the Nativity. The Credo are sung. The preface and communicantes are of the Nativity.
At Vespers the antiphons and psalms are from Second Vespers of the Nativity but from the chapter they are of St. Stephen. The Office hymn is Deus, tuorum militum, sung with the Doxology and melody of the Incarnation. After the collect of the feast commemorations are sung of the following feast of St. John the Evangelist and of the Octave of the Nativity of the LORD.
Following the 'liturgical books of 1962' there is no commemoration of St. Stephen in Second Vespers of the Nativity. At Mattins and Lauds the hymns are sung without the Doxology of the Incarnation. At Prime and the Hours the hymns are sung without the Doxology of the Incarnation and the antiphons and psalms of Thursday are sung, not the proper antiphons and festal psalms. The lectio brevis is Ipsi peribunt. At Vespers there is no commemoration of St. John.