Wednesday, 6 January 2016

The Epiphany of the LORD

The feast of the Epiphany is a Double of the First Class with a privileged Octave of the Second Order. The liturgical colour of the feast and its Octave is white. The Epiphany was kept in the East from the third century, or earlier, and spread to the West a century later. Originally, it seems, in the East at least, that this 'manifestation' of the LORD was the same celebration as the Nativity and so to this day the Armenians celebrate the single feast of Theophany on January 6th.

The antiquity of the feast can be clearly seen in the structure of the Office of Mattins, unique to this day. The (historically later) Domine labia me, invitatory and hymn are omitted and the Office begins with the first antiphon Afferte Domino. Psalms 28, 45 & 46 are sung. The lessons in the first nocturn are from Isaiah. In the second nocturn the antiphons Omnis terra adoret te etc are sung with psalms 65, 71 & 85 and the lessons are from a sermon on the Epiphany by St. Leo. In the third nocturn the antiphon Venite adoremus eum etc is sung with Ps. 94, Venite , the usual invitatory psalm, in a responsorial manner. Psalms 95 and 96 are also sung in the third nocturn. The homily on St. Matthew's Gospel if from St. Gregory. The Te Deum is sung. At Lauds the antiphons sung at Vespers yesterday, Ante luciferum genitus etc., are sung with the Dominical psalms. The chapter is Surge, illuminare from Isaiah and the Office hymn is O sola magnarum urbium.

At the Little Hours the antiphons from Lauds are sung with the festal psalms. At Prime (Pss. 53, 118i & 118ii), in the short responsory, a versicle Qui apparuisti hodie is sung today and during the Octave, the short lesson is Omnes de Saba. The Doxology Jesu, tibi sit gloria, Qui apparuisti gentibus etc is sung at the hymns of the Little Hours.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Mass, Ecce advenit, is proper. The Gloria is sung and, traditionally after the Gospel the Announcement of Moveable Feasts is sung. The Creed is sung and the preface and communicantes in the Canon are proper to the feast.

At Vespers the antiphons Ante luciferum genitus etc are sung with psalms 109, 110, 11, 112 & 113. The Office hymn is Crudelis Herodes Deum. The antiphon on the Magnificat is Tribus miraculis.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the only textual changes today are the abolition of the Doxology in honour of the Epiphany at the hymns of the Little Hours and the duplication of antiphons at the same. The feast has been stripped of its Vigil and Octave.


Marc said...

A happy and peaceful feast of the Epiphany! and a happy new year!

Do you know-- I read this post at chantblog earlier []-- why (perhaps there is some reason well known to you people with real knowledge!) the responsory Tria sunt munera pretiosa that is found in the pre-Trent monastic office (as it's presented at, anyway) and in the Sarum rite after today's first lesson wasn't used in the Tridentine Missal? The antiphon that begins identically (Tria sunt munera * quae obtulerunt Magi Domino...) seems also not to have been taken up into the Tridentine Missal.

Marc said...

Oh, well, it's the first responsory all through the octave but not on the Octave. A little learning can be a dangerous thing!

Rubricarius said...

Hi Marc,

Sorry I did not have time earlier to respond to your question. The responsory Hodie is the first on the feast, on the Sunday within the Octave (i.e. on Monday when that is resumed after the feast of the Holy Family taking the Sunday and on the Octave Day. On the other days within the Octave Tria sunt is sung.

A little learning is better than none and learning is a life-long process!

A blessed Octave and year to you too.

Marc said...

Thank you for the clarification!

Is there a magisterial history of the Tridentine liturgical reform specifically or is it all in parts in the many authors on the Council in its many aspects?