Saturday, 21 December 2013

St. Thomas the Apostle - Ember Saturday in Advent

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. This year his feast falls on the Ember Satuday in Advent.

At Vespers yesterday afternoon 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 followed by the collect of the preceding Sunday. (The Office of the Ember Friday in Advent ended with the celebration of Mass after None). 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 ninth lesson is of the Ember Saturday, a homily from St. Gregory on St. Luke's Gospel. 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 Sung of the Ember Saturday, the antiphon on the Benedictus is proper to the 21st December, Nolite timere etc., and the collect is proper to the Ember Saturday.

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

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of the Ember Saturday. The Creed is sung, the preface is of the Apostles and the last Gospel is of the Ember Saturday.

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 fourth Sunday of Advent is commemorated with the Great 'O' Antiphon O Oriens. and the collect of the fourth Sunday. 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 and the short lesson at Prime is of the season rather than of the feast. There is no ninth lesson of the Ember Saturday and no last Gospel of the Ember Saturday at Mass. Vespers are of the following fourth Sunday of Advent without any commemoration of St. Thomas. So this year St. Thomas does not have Vespers at all in the ancient rite of the 1960s.
Art: Wikipedia: a Russian Icon of St. Thomas, 18th century.

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