Sunday, 1 May 2016

April 18th - Dominica Resurrectionis - Pascha


The Sunday of the Resurrection is the Queen of Feasts and the most important of all liturgical celebrations. The Sunday is of double rite.

During the evening of Holy Saturday Compline is sung, at the normal time. On Holy Saturday the Office of Compline has some interesting variations. Compline begins with the usual Jube, domne, blessing, short lesson and confession. Converte nos, Deus, salutaris noster and its response are sung followed by Deus in adjutorium etc with Alleluia for the first time since Septuagesima. The psalms are sung, without an antiphon, to the usual Tone 8. The hymn, chapter and responsory are omitted and Vespere autem sabbati sung as a fragment antiphon to the Nunc dimittis. After the Canticle the antiphon is sung in full. After the usual collect, Visita quaesumus, the antiphon Regina Caeli is sung with its versicle and collect.

The church is decorated for the greatest of feasts. Before Mattins the images that have been veiled from Passiontide (or from the beginning of Lent where Array was used) are removed. Six candlesticks are on the altar. Mattins begin with the solemn tone for Deus in adjutorium etc. The invitatory is Surrexit Dominus vere Alleluia and psalm 94 is sung to a lovely tone 6 setting. Mattins consists of a single nocturn of three psalms. There is no Office Hymn throughout the Octave (c.f. Monastic praxis). The first antiphon is Ego sum qui sum etc and sung with psalm 1. The second antiphon, Postulavi Patrem meum etc, is sung with psalm 2. The third antiphon, Ego dormivi etc, is sung with psalm 3. A versicle and its response are sung followed by the absolution Exaudi etc. The first lesson has the Gospel fragment Mark 16: 1-7 and is followed by a homily of St. Gregory the Great. The two responsories Angelus Domini descendit and Cum transisset sabbatum are famous and intimately connected with the Quem quaeritis ceremonies and indeed the development of Western drama (vide the excellent book: Hardison, O.B., 'Christian Rite and Christian Drama in the Middle Ages', The John Hopkins Press, Baltimore, 1965). The second lesson, Notandum vero nobis est is sung followed by the second responsory. The lessons are identical to those found in the later editions. During the second responsory the cantors and the celebrant don copes the principal one pre-intones the Te Deum. Six pluvialistae assist the Hebdomadarius where possible. The Te Deum is then sung and, where it is the custom the bells ring throughout.

Lauds follow immediately and have a series of beautiful antiphons: Angelus autem Domini, Et ecce terraemotus, Erat autem, Prae timore autem ejus and Respondens autem Angelus all taking up the theme of the Angels, earthquake and empty tomb. Psalms 92, 99, 62-66, Benedicite & 148-149-150 are sung with these antiphons. The chapter, hymn, versicle and response are replaced by the Haec dies. After Haec dies the antiphon Et valde mane is sung and then the Benedictus sung to a solemn tone 8. During the Benedictus the altar, the choir and people are censed in the normal manner. The antiphon is repeated and the collect of Easter, Deus, qui hodierna die sung. Benedicamus Domino, Alleluia, Alleluia and its response are followed by the solemn Regina Caeli, its versicle and collect.

At Prime and the Hours the usual festal psalms are sung but without antiphons. Haec dies replaces the chapter, responsories etc. At Prime the Martyrology is read again, having not been read for the days of the Triduum. Before the announcement of the following day and moon "Hac die quam fecit Dominus, Solemnitas solemnitatum, et Pascha nostrum Resurrectio Salvatoris nostri Jesu Christi secundum carnem" is sung to the tone of the Passion.

Mass is sung after Terce. Vidi aquam replaces the Asperges during Paschaltide. At Mass the Gloria is sung, the Creed is sung, the preface, communicantes and Hanc igitur are proper. Ite, missa est with a double Alleluia is the dismissal.

At Vespers the anitphons Angelus autem Domini etc are sung with psalms 109, 110, 111, 112 and 113. Again Haec dies replaces the chapter and hymn. The antiphon on the Magnificat is Et respicientes etc. At Compline the usual psalms are sung with a triple Alleluia after them. The the Nunc dimittis is sung followed by Haec dies and the collect Visita quaesumus.

Saturday, 30 April 2016

April 17th - Et fiat Lux


'In principio creavit Deus caelum et terram. Terram autem inanis et vacua, et tenebrae erant super faciem abyssi: et Spiritus Dei ferebatur super aquas, Dixitque Deus: Fiat lux. Et facta est lux.'

'Erat lux vera, quae illuminat omnem hominem venientem in hunc mundum.'

Sunday, 24 April 2016

April 11th - Dominica in Palmis - Palm Sunday


Palm Sunday is a privileged semi-double Sunday. It is the sixth and last Sunday in Lent and the beginning of Great or Holy Week. The liturgical colour is violet. The magnificent ceremonies for the solemn blessing of the Palms, which follows a similar structure to the Blessing of the Waters at Epiphany, make it, arguably, the finest jewel in the crown of the liturgical year. The double feast of St. Leo is transferred.

At Vespers yesterday morning the antiphons and psalms of Saturday (Pss. 143, 144, 145, 146 & 147) were sung. The chapter, Hoc enim in sentite vobis, was proper to the Sunday. The Office hymn was Vexilla regis. The Suffrages were not sung, as it is Passiontide. At Compline the Dominical preces were sung.

At Mattins, as last week and daily until the Triduum, the invitatory is Hodie, si vocem Domini audieritis, Nolite obdurare corda vestra from Ps. 94 and a special rubric indicates the omission of that verse in the psalm. The hymn is Pange, lingua. The antiphons given in the Psalter for Sundays are used. As usual Mattins has three nocturns and nine lessons. In the first nocturn psalms 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 & 14 are sung. The lessons in the first nocturn are from the book of Jeremiah. These are the same, as are their responsories, as those found in the post-Clement editions of the Breviary. In the second nocturn psalms 15, 16 and 17 are sung and the lessons are from a sermon on the Passion by St. Leo. The fifth lesson begins with the words Qui ut humanum genus and incorportates what is now the sixth lesson from Fefellit ergo illum.. until famulatae sunt Redemptori. The sixth lesson, Quod ergo...justitiae esse propositum is not found in the 'modern' Breviary. In the third nocturn psalms 18, 19 & 20 are sung and the lessons are a homily of St. Ambrose, their arrangement is slightly different to that found in the modern books. The Te Deum is omitted as on other Lenten Sundays and a ninth responsory, Circumderunt me viri mendaces..., sung in its place.

At Lauds the antiphons are proper to Palm Sunday, Dominus Deusetc, and sung with Pss. 50, 117, 62-66, Benedicite, 148-149-150. The hymn is Lustra sex. The versicle after the hymn Eripe me, chapter, antiphon on the Benedictus and collect are proper to the Sunday.

At Prime the order of psalmody is Pss. 53, 92, 118(i), 118(ii) and Quicumque. The Dominical preces are sung. At all the Hours the antiphons and chapters are proper.

The Asperges, the magnificent Blessing and Procession of Palms and Mass takes place after Terce. The ministers wear violet folded chasubles. After the Asperges the celebrant and ministers proceed to the Epistle corner and begin the solemn blessing of Palms whilst the choir sing the antiphon Hosanna fili David, O Rex Israel etc. The rubrics give a direction that the Palms to be blessed at the Epistle side.  The blessing begins with the celebrant reading the antiphon Hosanna Filio David followed by a collect Deus, quim diligere and then the reading of an Epistle and Gospel. The normal ceremonies of High Mass are followed. The subdeacon removes his folded chasuble to sing the Epistle taken from the Book of Exodus. Following the Epistle two texts are given, Collegerunt pontifices and In monte Oliveti (the latter will appear again as a responsory during the Triduum) to be sung as a 'gradual', both may be sung.  Following the Gospel the deacon resumes his folded chasuble and the collect Auge fidem is sung followed by a preface, Sanctus and four further collects Deus, qui dispersa, Deus, qui miro, Deus, qui per olivae and Benedic quaesumus. The presence of a preface is indicative of the solemn blessing (c.f. the great blessing of waters at Epiphany). The collect Deus, qui miro is a didactic masterpiece. Readers will note the strong correlation between the text of the collect and of the second lesson of Mattins for the Saturday before Palm Sunday from St. Augustine:
O God, who, by the wonderful order of Thy disposition, hast been pleased to manifest the dispensation of our salvation even from things insensible: grant, we beseech Thee, that the devout hearts of Thy faithful may understand to their benefit what is mystically signified by the fact that on this day the multitude, taught by a heavenly illumination, went forth to meet their Redeemer, and strewed branches of palms and olive at His feet. The branches of palms, therefore, represent His triumphs over the prince of death; and the branches of olive proclaim, in a manner, the coming of a spiritual unction. For that pious multitude understood that these things were then prefigured; that our Redeemer, compassionating human miseries, was about to fight with the prince of death for the life of the whole world, and, by dying, to triumph. For which cause they dutifully ministered such things as signified in Him the triumphs of victory and the richness of mercy. And we also, with full faith, retaining this as done and signified, humbly beseech Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God, through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, that in Him and through Him, whose members Thou hast been pleased to make us, we may become victorious over the empire of death, and may deserve to be partakers of His glorious Resurrection.

The celebrant then puts on incense and blesses it. The Palms are then aspersed with lustral water, the celebrant saying in a low voice Asperges me etc, and then censed. Another collect, Deus, qui Filium is then sung. The celebrant then receives his Palm from the senior canon present. If no other priest is present the celebrant kneels and takes the Palm from the of the altar, kisses it then passes it to the subdeacon who places it again on the mensa. The celebrant then gives Palms to the deacon and subdeacon and other ministers and then the people. The Palm is kissed first and then the celebrant's hand. During the distribution the antiphons Pueri Hebraeorum and Pueri Hebraeorum vestimenta are sung. After the distribution the celebrant and ministers go back to the altar, bow to the Cross and then go to the Epistle corner where the celebrant's hands are washed. Then, at the missal, he sings the collect Omnipotens sempiterne.

Whilst the celebrant's hands are washed after the distribution of Palms the Processional Cross is decorated with the blessed Palms. A Procession is then formed, led by the thurifer, followed by the subdeacon (of the Mass, not this day an additional subdeacon) bearing the Processional Cross. The deacon sings Procedamus in pace and the following antiphons are sung during the Procession Cum appropinquaret, Cum audisset, Ante sex dies, Occurrunt turbae, Cum angelis et pueris and Turba multa.  Ideally, the Procession goes outside and around the church. Often circumstances dictate the Procession must simply go around the aisles of the church. Towards he end of the Procession cantors re-enter the church and the door is closed. The beautiful hymn of Theodolph Gloria, laus, et honor is then sung in alternation between the cantors inside the church and everyone else outside. At the end of the hymn the subdeacon strikes the church door three times with the foot of the Processional Cross and the party re-enters the church to the singing of Ingrediente Domino.

Mass then follows the usual manner. The celebrant removes his cope and dons his chasuble. The preparatory prayers are said but the psalm Judica me is omitted being in Passiontide. The introit is Domine, ne longe etc. There is no Gloria. No commemoration is made of an occuring Office on Palm Sunday so there is only one collect. Psalm 21 is sung in its entirety as a Tract. The major difference from any other Sunday is singing of the Passion according to St. Matthew by three additional deacons of the Passion. The text of the Passion is Matthew 26: 1-75; 27: 1-66. After the singing of the Passion the last part, Altera autem die...lapidem cum custodibus, is sung with the ceremonies of a Gospel by the deacon of the Mass (having removed his folded chasuble etc).  The choir and people hold their Palms during the singing of the Passion. The Creed is sung, the preface is of the Cross and the dismissal is Benedicamus Domino sung by the deacon facing the celebrant and altar.

Vespers are of the Sunday. At Compline the Dominical preces are sung. The additional Offices of the Little Office of the BVM, the Office of the Dead, the Gradual Psalms and the Penitential Psalms and Litany are omitted in Great Week.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

April 4th - Passion Sunday


Passion Sunday is the fifth and penultimate Sunday in Lent. It is a semi-double Sunday and its liturgical colour is violet. After Mass on Saturday morning all images and crosses are veiled in violet, according to the Roman praxis. The veils on the crosses are removed during the Adoration of the Cross on Good Friday morning, those on the images of the saints remain until after the Office of Holy Saturday is ended.

At Vespers, yesterday morning, the antiphons of Saturday, Benedictus etc., were sung with psalms 143, 144, 145, 146 and 147. The chapter, Fratres: Christus assistens Pontifex, was proper to the Sunday, taken from Hebrews. The Office hymn was Vexilla regis. From this Vespers until Trinity the Suffrages are omitted. At Compline the Dominical preces were sung. The Lesser Doxology was omitted in the short responsory.

At Mattins the invitatory is Hodie, si vocem Domini audieritis, Nolite obdurare corda vestra from Ps. 94 and a special rubric indicates the omission of that verse in the psalm. The Lesser Doxology is omitted from Venite for Passiontide in Offices of the Season. The Office hymn is Pange, lingua. The same invitatory and hymn are sung until Spy Wednesday inclusive. The antiphons given in the Psalter for Sundays are sung. As usual Mattins has three nocturns and nine lessons. In the first nocturn psalms 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 & 14 are sung. The psalms retain the Lesser Doxology (until the Triduum) but the third reponsories of each nocturn lose it for Passiontide. The lessons in the first nocturn are the the Incipit of the book of Jeremiah. These are substantially longer than in the modern editions of the Breviary. The first lesson runs from Verba Hieremiae until verse 10, ... et aedifices, et plantes. The second lesson runs from verse 11, Et factum est verbum Domini to verse 16, ...et adoraverunt opus manuum suarum. The third lesson begins with verse 17, Tu ergo accinge lumbos tuos.., and continues until verse 3 of the second chapter, ... mala venient super eos, dicit Dominus. In the second nocturn psalms 15, 16 and 17 are sung and the lessons are from a sermon by St. Leo. These again are longer than those found in the modern editions. In the third nocturn psalms 18, 19 & 20 are sung and the lessons are a homily of St. Gregory, again slightly longer than in the modern books. The Te Deum is omitted as on other Lenten Sundays and a ninth responsory, Quis dabit capiti meo aquam etc, sung in its place.

At Lauds the antiphons are proper to Passion Sunday, Vide Domine etc, and sung with Pss. 50, 117, 62-66, Benedicite, 148-149-150. The office hymn is Lustra sex. The versicle after the hymn Eripe me, chapter, antiphon on the Benedictus and collect are proper to the Sunday. The Suffrages are not sung in Passiontide.

At Prime and the Hours the antiphons are proper, Ego daemonium etc. At Prime the order of psalmody is Pss. 53, 92, 118(i), 118(ii) and Quicumque, the 'Athanasian' Creed. The Dominical preces are sung. At all the Hours the chapters are proper. The Lesser Doxology is omitted from the short responsory at Prime and at those of the other Horae Minores.

Mass is sung after Terce. The ministers wear folded chasubles. In Mass there is no Gloria, the second collect is Ecclesiae, for the Church. There is no third collect in Passiontide. A Tract replaces the Alleluia after the Gradual, the Credo is sung and the preface of the Cross is sung. Benedicamus Domino is sung as the dismissal by the deacon facing the celebrant and altar.

Vespers are of the Sunday. The antiphons and psalms of Sunday (Pss. 109, 110, 111, 112 & 113) are sung. The chapter, from Hebrews, is as at first Vespers as is the Office hymn Vexilla regis. After the collect of the Sunday the Suffrages are not sung. After Vespers of the Sunday Vespers of the Dead are sung. At Compline the Dominical preces are sung. After Mattins and Lauds of Monday are sung they are followed by Mattins and Lauds of the Dead.

Art: Jerome Nadal

Sunday, 10 April 2016

March 28th - Fourth Sunday in Lent

The fourth Sunday in Lent is of semi-double rite. The liturgical colour of the Sunday is violet (no sign of rose). The Gospel pericopes from St. John describe the multiplication miracle of the five barley loaves and two fishes to feed the Five Thousand.

At Vespers, yesterday morning, the antiphons and psalms (143, 144, 145, 146 & 147) of Saturday were sung, the chapter was proper to the Sunday. The Lenten hymn Audi benigne conditor was sung. After the collect of the Sunday the Suffrages were sung of the BVM Sancta Maria succurre etc, the Apostles Petrus Apostolus etc, of the Patron and lastly for peace Da pacem Domine etc. At Compline the Dominical preces were sung.

At Mattins the invitatory is Non sit vobis and the hymn is Ex more. These are both used throughout the first four weeks of Lent. In the first nocturn psalms 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 & 14 are sung. In the first nocturn the lessons are from the third chapter of the Book of Exdodus and the story of Moses and the Burning Bush. The second lesson includes part of what is now the third lesson in modern editions: Dixitque Moyses ad Deum...immolabis Deo super montem istum. The third lesson begins Ait Moyses ad Deum and continues with the addition of verses 16 through to 19. In the second nocturn psalms 15, 16 & 17 are sung, the lessons are from St. Basil and are longer than in modern editions. In the third nocturn psalms 18, 19 & 20 are sung and the lessons are a homily of St. Augustine, again slightly longer than in the modern books. The Te Deum is omitted and in its place a ninth responsory, Attendite, popule meus etc., is sung.

At Lauds the antiphons, Tunc acceptabis etc., are proper to the Fourth Sunday and sung with Pss. 50, 117, 62-66, Benedicite & 148-149-150. The Office hymn is Jam Christe sol justitiae. The versicle after the hymn Angelis suis, chapter, antiphon at the Benedictus and collect are proper to the Sunday (the versicle and its response being used throughout Lent). The Suffrages of the BVM Sancta Maria succurre etc, the Apostles Gloriosi principes etc, of the Patron and lastly for peace Da pacem Domine etc are sung.

At the 'Little Hours' the antiphons, Acceptit ergo etc., are sung. At Prime the order of psalmody is Pss. 53, 92, 118(i), 118(ii) and Quicumque, the 'Athanasian' Creed. The Dominical preces are sung.

At Mass there is no Gloria, the second collect is A cunctis nos, the third collect is Omnipotens. A Tract replaces the Alleluia after the Gradual, the Credo is sung and the preface of Lent is sung. Benedicamus Domino is sung as the dismissal by the deacon facing the altar. Today the ministers wear violet dalmatic and tunicle rather than folded chasubles.

Vespers are of the Sunday. The antiphons and psalms (109, 110, 111, 112 & 113) of Sunday are sung. The Office hymn is the beautiful Ad preces nostras Deitatis aures. After the collect of the day a commemoration is sung of the following, transferred, feast of the Forty Martyrs, followed by the Suffrages of the BVM Sancta Maria succurre etc, the Apostles Petrus Apostolus etc, of the Patron and lastly for peace Da pacem Domine etc. After Vespers of the Sunday Vespers of the Dead are sung. At Compline the Dominical preces are omitted. After Mattins and Lauds of the Monday of the fourth week are sung Mattins and Laud of the Dead are sung.

Art: Jerome Nadal

Thursday, 7 April 2016

March 25th - The Annunciation


The great feast of the Annunciation is of double rite and its liturgical colour is white.

At Vespers yesterday morning the antiphons, Missus est Gabriel Angelus ad Mariam etc., proper to the feast, were sung, doubled, with the psalms from the Common of the BVM (Pss.109, 112, 121, 126 & 147). The chapter was proper to the feast and the Office hymn was Ave Maris stella. The antiphon on the Magnificat and collect were also proper to the feast. After the collect of the feast a commemoration of the Wednesday in the third week of Lent was sung. At Compline the hymn, Te lucis, was sung with the Doxology in honour of the Incarnation, Gloria tibi Domineetc.

At Mattins the invitatory is Ave Maria gratia plena Dominus tecum. The Office hymn, Quam terra, antiphons and psalms (with the exception of the ninth antiphon, Angelus Domini etc) are from the Common. In the first nocturn the (Pss. 8, 18 & 23) the lessons are from the Prophet Isaiah. These are the same as in the modern editions of the Breviary. The responsories are proper to the feast and are particularly beautiful. In the second nocturn (Pss. 44, 45 & 86) the lessons are taken from the second sermon on the Nativity by St. Leo. Again, these are the same as those found in the post-Clementine books. In the third nocturn (Pss. 95, 96 & 97) the ninth antiphon is Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariae etc. The lessons are from a homily by St. Ambrose's second book on St. Luke' Gospel. These are longer than those found in the post-Clementine books. The ninth lesson is formed of the three lessons appointed for the Thursday in the third week of Lent. These three lessons are significantly longer than those in the post-Clementine books. The Te Deum is sung.

At Lauds the antiphons Missus est etc are sung with psalms 92, 99, 62-66, Benedicite & 148-149-150. The Office hymn is O gloriosa Domina. After the collect of the feast a commemoration of the Lenten feria is sung.

At Prime and the Hours the hymns are sung with the Doxology of the Incarnation. In the short responsory at Prime the verse Qui natus es is sung and the short lesson is proper to the feast, Egredietur virga de radice Jesse etc. The antiphons of Lauds are sung in the normal order at the Little Hours.

Mass is sung after Terce. At Mass the Gloria is sung, the second collect is of the Lenten feria. The Gospel pericope is from St. Luke and the account of the Angel Gabriel's visit to the Virgin. The Creed is sung, the preface is of the BVM, with the clause Et te in Annuntiatione, and the last Gospel is that of the commemorated Thursday in the third week of Lent.

Vespers, even of this great feast, are sung before midday. The antiphons and psalms are those sung as at first Vespers. The antiphon on the Magnificat is proper. After the collect of the feast a commemoration of the feria is sung. At Compline the Dominical preces are omitted.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

March 21st - Third Sunday in Lent


The third Sunday in Lent is of semi-double rite and its liturgical colour is violet. The Gospel pericopes from St. Luke recount the LORD casting out evil from a demoniac. The double feast of St. Benedict is transferred to Monday.

At Vespers, yesterday morning, the antiphons and psalms (143, 144, 145, 146 & 147) of Saturday were sung. The chapter, Fratres: Estote imitatores Dei etc, was proper to the Sunday and the Office hymn was Audi, benigne conditor . After the collect of the Sunday the Suffrages of the BVM Sancta Maria succurre etc, the Apostles Petrus Apostolus etc, of the Patron and lastly for peace Da pacem Domine etc were sung. At Compline the Dominical preces were sung.

At Mattins the invitatory is Non sit vobis and the Office hymn is Ex more. In the first nocturn psalms 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 & 14 are sung. In the first nocturn the lessons are from the Book of Genesis and the story of Joseph. The first lesson includes the first sentence of the second lesson in modern editions: Invidebant...considerabat. The second lesson is longer than in modern editions and includes the text from the modern third lesson Audiens autem...et reddere patri suo. The third lesson begins Confestim igitur and continues until the end of verse 34 rather than verse 28. In the second nocturn psalms 15, 16 & 17 are sung, the lessons are from St. Ambrose on Joseph. In the third nocturn psalms 18, 19 & 20 are sung and the lessons are a homily from the Venerable Bede.

At Lauds the antiphons, Fac benigne etc., are proper to the Sunday and sung with Pss. 50, 117, 62-66, Benedicite, 148-149-150. The Office hymn is Jam Christe sol justitiae. The chapter, antiphon at the Benedictus and collect are proper to the Sunday. After the collect of the Sunday the Suffrages of the BVM Sancta Maria succurre etc, the Apostles Gloriosi principes etc, of the Patron and lastly for peace Da pacem Domine etc are sung.

At Prime the order of psalmody is Pss. 53, 92, 118(i), 118(ii) and Quicumque. The Dominical preces are sung. At all the Hours the antiphons and chapters are proper.

At Mass there is no Gloria, the second collect is A cunctis nos, the third collect is Omnipotens. A Tract replaces the Alleluia after the Gradual, the Credo is sung and the preface of Lent is sung. Benedicamus Domino is sung as the dismissal and the ministers wear violet folded chasubles in place of dalmatic and tunicle.

At Vespers there is a colour change to white. The antiphons Domine, quinque talenta etc. are sung, doubled, with psalms 109, 110, 111, 112 & 116. The chapter is Beatus vir, and the Office hymn is Iste confessor . After the collect of the feast a commemoration is sung of the Sunday. At Compline the Dominical preces are omitted.

Art: Jerome Nadal