Sunday, 22 May 2016

May 9th - St. Gregory the Theologian - Third Sunday after Pascha


The feast of St. Gregory the Theologian, St. Gregory Nazianzen as he appears in the later editions, is of double rite. The third Sunday after Pascha is commemorated at Vespers, Mattins, Lauds and Mass. St. Gregory the Theologian (St. Gregory Nazianzen) was a fourth century Archbishop of Constantinople and made a significant impact on the development of Trinitarian theology. Along with St. Gregory of Nyssa and St. Basil the Great he is one of the Cappodocian Fathers. He died in either 389 or 390AD. The liturgical colour of the feast is white.

Vespers yesterday afternoon were second Vespers of the feast of the Apparition of St. Michael the Archangel. The antiphons Stetit Angelus etc were sung, doubled, with Psalms 109, 110, 111, 112 @ 137. The Office hymn was Tibi Christe splendor patris. After the collect of the feast commemorations were sung of the St. Gregory the Theologian and of the Sunday. At Compline the Dominical preces were omitted because of the occurring double feasts.

At Mattins the invitatory is Regem Confessorum Dominum, Venite adoremus and the hymn Iste Confessor. In the first nocturn Pss. 1, 2 & 3 are sung under the antiphon Beatus vir etc. The lessons in the first nocturn are the Incipit of the Epistle of St. James. These are the same as those found in modern editions of the Breviary. The responsories are from the Common. In the second nocturn Pss. 4, 5 & 8 are sung under the antiphon Invocantem exaudivit etc. The historical lessons in the second nocturn are the same as those found in the modern editions. In the third nocturn Pss. 14, 20 & 23 are sung under the antiphon Domine iste sanctus etc. Lessons seven and eight are a homily of St. Augustine on St. Matthew's Gospel. These are longer than those found in the modern editions. The ninth lesson is entirely absent from the modern books. However, today the eighth and ninth lessons of the feast are read together to form an extended eighth lesson of the day and the ninth lesson is formed of the three lessons of the homily of the Sunday. This is from St. Augustine and the text is the same as in the later editions. The Te Deum is sung.

At Lauds the Dominical psalms (Pss. 92, 99, 62-66, Benedicite & 148-49-150) are sung with the antiphons Ecce sacerdos magnus etc from the Common. The Office hymn is Jesu Redemptor omnium. A commemoration of the Sunday is sung after the collect of the feast.

At the Hours the hymns are sung with the Paschal Doxology. The antiphons Ecce sacerdos magnus etc are sung with the festal psalms in the usual order. At Prime (Pss. 53, 118i & 118ii) both Quicumque and the Dominical preces are omitted.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of the Sunday. The Creed is sung, the preface is of Paschaltide and the last Gospel is of the Sunday.

Vespers are of feast. The antiphons Ecce sacerdos magnus etc are, again, sung doubled with Pss. 109, 110, 111, 112 & 113. The Office hymn is Iste Confessor. After the collect of the feast commemorations are sung of the Sunday and of the following feast of SS Gordian and Epimachus. At Compline (Pss. 4, 30 vv 1-6, 90 & 133) the Dominical preces are omitted due to the double feasts.

Icon: A fresco of St. Gregory from Wikipedia.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

May 6th - St. John before the Latin Gate


The feast of St. John before the Latin Gate is of double rite and its liturgical colour is red. The feast appears in the Gregorian Sacramentaries on May 6th and and is the dedication festival of the fifth century church in Rome named after the feast.

At Vespers yesterday afternoon the antiphons Sancti tui etc were sung with psalms 109, 110, 111, 112 & 116. The Office hymn was Tristes erant Apostoli. The Paschal Commemoration of the Cross was omitted. At Compline Te lucis was sung with the Doxology of Paschaltide and the Dominical preces were omitted due to the double feast.

At Mattins the invitatory is Regem Apostolorum Dominum, Venite adoremus. The Office hymn is again Tristes erant Apostoli and in the first nocturn the antiphon Stabunt justi is sung with psalms 18, 33 & 44 from the Common of Apostles. The lessons for the first nocturn are the Incipit of the first Epistle of St. John, Quod fuit, found on Sunday within the Octave of the Ascension, which are sung with the responsories from the Common. The lessons are the same as those found in post-Clementine editions of the Breviary. In the second nocturn the antiphon Ecce quomodo etc is sung with psalms 46, 60 & 63. In the second nocturn the lessons are taken from the writings of St. Jerome against Jovinian, in the fifth lesson St. Jerome relates Tertullian's account of St. John's 'martyrdom'. Again, these lessons are the same as those found in the post-Clementine editions. In the third nocturn the antiphon Lux perpetua etc is sung with psalms 74, 96 & 98. The homily on St. Matthew's Gospel is again from St. Jerome. The lessons are identical to those found in the later editions. The Te Deum is sung.

At Lauds the antiphons Sancti tui etc are sung with psalms 92, 99, 62-66, Benedicite and 148-149-150. The Office hymn is Claro Paschale gaudio. The Paschal Commemoration of the Cross is omitted.

At the Hours the Paschaltide Doxology is sung at the conclusion of the Office hymns. The antiphons Sancti tui etc are sung at the Hours. At Prime the festal psalms are sung (Pss. 53, 118i & 118ii), the short lesson is Scimus quoniam. The Dominical preces are omitted.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Mass Protexisti is sung. The Gloria is sung, the Creed is sung and the preface is that of the Apostles.

At Vespers the antiphons Sancti tui etc are sung with psalms 109, 112, 115, 125 & 138. The Office hymn is again Tristes erant Apostoli. The Paschal Commemoration of the Cross is omitted as are the Dominical preces at Compline.

Monday, 16 May 2016

May 3rd - Invention of the Holy Cross


The Invention of the Holy Cross is a double feast and its liturgical colour is red. The feast celebrates the discovery of the Holy Cross by the Empress Helena.

The Office of the feast began with first Vespers yesterday, the Office is proper. The antiphons Helena, Constantini mater etc (which are absent from the modern editions) were sung with Pss. 109, 110, 111, 112 & 116. The chapter was Fratres: Hoc enim senite in vobis etc and the Office hymn Vexilla regis. Commemorations were sung of the preceding Office of St. Athanasius, of the Sunday and of SS Alexander and Companions. At Compline the Dominical preces were omitted due to the occurring double feasts and being within an Octave.

At Mattins the invitatory is Christum Regem crucifixum, Venite adoremus, alleluia. In the first nocturn the antiphon Inventae Crucis etc is sung, with Pss 1, 2 and 3. The first lesson is from St. Paul to the Galatians with the poignant words: 'Christ have redeemed us from the curse law, being made a curse for us: for it is written: Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Christ Jesus; that we may receive the promise of the Spirit by faith.' The second lesson is from the Epistle to the Philippians with the passage so familiar from the Triduum. The third lesson from the Epistle to the Colossians but, unlike in modern editions, is taken from the first chapter Videte ne quis ... in semetipso. In the second nocturn the antiphon Felix ille triumphus etc is sung with Pss. 4, 5 and 8. The lessons relate the work of St. Helena in fourth century Jerusalem finding three crosses buried in a cistern. Not knowing which cross the LORD had died on each was placed on a woman with a sickness by Macarius, Bishop of Jerusalem. When touched by the True Cross the sick woman was instantly restored to health. The lessons are the same as in modern editions. In the third nocturn Pss. 95, 96 and 97 are sung under the antiphon Adoramus te Christe etc, the lessons are from a homily of St. Augustine on the Gospel of St. John. The seventh lesson included the first sentence from the eighth lesson found in modern editions. The eighth begins Respondit Jesus and is several sentences longer. The ninth lesson is of SS Alexander and Companions.

At Lauds the antiphons Helena, Constantini mater etc are sung with the Dominical psalms (92, 99, 62-66, Benedicite & 148-149-150). The antiphon on the Benedictus is Helena sancta dixit ad Judam etc (again not found in the modern editions). After the collect of the feast a commemoration is sung of SS Alexander and Companions.

At the Hours the Paschal Doxology is sung with all the Office hymns, the antiphons of Lauds are sung with the Dominical psalms, at Prime the festal psalms are sung (Pss. 53, 118i & 118ii) and the short lesson is Humiliavit semetipsum. The Dominical preces are omitted.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of SS Alexander and Companions. The Creed is sung, the preface of the Cross is sung.

Vespers are second Vespers of the feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross with the antiphons Helena, Constantini mater etc and psalms 109, 110, 111, 112 & 116. After the collect of the feast commemorations are sung of SS Alexander and Companions and of the following Office of St. Monica.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

May 2nd - St. Athanasius - Second Sunday after Pascha

The feast of St. Athanasius is of double rite and its liturgical colour, from Mattins to None, is white. The feast takes precedence over the Second Sunday after Pascha which is commemorated in the Office and at Mass.

Vespers yesterday were second Vespers of the feast of SS Philip and James, celebrated in red vestments. The antiphons Domine ostende nobis Patrem etc were sung with Pss. 109, 112, 115, 125 & 138. The Office hymn was Tristes erant Apostoli, sung with the Paschal Doxology. After the collect of the feast a commemoration was sung of St. Athanasius and of the Second Sunday after Pascha. The hymn at Compline, Te lucis, and the hymns of the Hours have the Paschal Doxology, Gloria tibi Domine, Qui surrexisti a mortuis, Cum Patre et almo Spiritu, In sempiterna saecula.

At Mattins the liturgical colour changed to white. The invitatory is Regem Confessorum Dominum, Venite adoremus and the hymn Iste Confessor. In the first nocturn Pss. 1, 2 & 3 are sung under the antiphon Beatus vir etc. The lessons in the first nocturn are the Incipit of the Book of the Apocalypse of St. John. The lessons are followed by the responsories from the Office of a Confessor-Bishop Euge serve bone etc. The lessons are the same as those found in the modern editions. In the second nocturn Pss. 4, 5 & 8 are sung under the antiphon Invocantem etc. The lessons in the second nocturn are historic lessons for St. Athanasius with the responses again taken from the Common. The lessons differ very slightly from those found in the modern editions. In the third nocturn Pss. 14, 20 & 23 are sung under the antiphon Domine etc.the homily is taken , 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 & 14) the lessons are Incipit of the Book of the Apocalypse. The lessons are the same as in 'modern' recensions. In the second nocturn (Pss. 15, 16 & 17) the lessons are taken from the a sermon by St. Augustine. These too are the same as in modern recensions. In the third nocturn (Pss. 18, 19 & 20) the homily is from St. Athanasius's Apology for his flight. The lessons are slightly different to the form found in the modern editions. The responsories are again taken from the Common. The ninth lesson is formed of the three lessons for the homily appointed for the Sunday on St. John's Gospel from St. Gregory, again the text is the same as in the post-Clementine editions. The Te Deum is sung.

At Lauds the Dominical psalms (Pss. 92, 99, 62-66, Benedicite & 148-49-150) are sung with the antiphons Ecce sacerdos magnus etc from the Common. The Office hymn is Jesu Redemptor omnium. A commemoration of the Sunday is sung after the collect of the feast.

At the Hours the hymns are sung with the Paschal Doxology. The festal psalms (at Prime Pss. 53, 118i & 118ii) are sung with the antiphons Ecce sacerdos magnus etc.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of the Sunday. The Creed is sung, the preface is of Paschaltide and the last Gospel is of the Sunday.

Vespers are of first Vespers of the feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross with a colour change to red. The antiphons Helena Constantini mater etc (which are absent from the modern editions) are sung with Pss. 109, 110, 111, 112 & 116. The Office hymn is Vexilla Regis prodeunt, sung with the Paschaltide stroph in the sixth verse. After the collect of the feast commemorations are sung of St. Athanasius, the Sunday and SS Alexander and his Companions. At Compline (Pss. 4, 30 vv 1-6, 90 & 133) the Dominical preces are omitted due to the double feasts.

Icon: Wikipedia

Sunday, 8 May 2016

April 25th - Dominica in Albis - Low Sunday


Dominica in Albis or Low Sunday is of double rite. The Gospel at Mattins and Mass is the account of the LORD appearing in to His disciples behind the shut doors of the room and the doubting of St. Thomas. The feast of St. Mark the Evangelist is transferred to Tuesday although the Greater Litanies take place today.

At Vespers yesterday afternoon the psalms of Saturday (Pss. 143, 144, 145, 146 & 147) were sung under the single antiphon, Alleluia. Chapters and hymns returned to the Office with this service, the Octave having ended with None. The Paschaltide hymn Ad cenam Agni providi was sung. Its Doxology is sung at all hymns of Iambic metre: Gloria tibi Domine, Qui surrexisti a mortuis, Cum Patre et Sancto Spiritu, In sempiterna saecula. After the collect of the Sunday the Paschal Suffrage was not sung. From this Office of Vespers, the dismissal, Benedicamus Domino, is sung without the double Alleluia that had been sung since Pascha.

At Mattins the invitatory Surrexit Dominus vere Alleluia continues to be sung. The Office hymn is O Rex aeterne Domine. In the first nocturn psalms 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 & 14 are sung under the single antiphon Alleluia, Lapis revolutus etc. The lessons in the first nocturn are from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Colossians; the first begins Igitur si consurrexistis otherwise it and the other two first nocturn lessons are the same as in the post-Clementine editions. In the second nocturn psalms 15, 16 & 17 are sung under the single antiphon Alleluia, quem quaeris mulier etc. The lessons are from a sermon of St. Augustine and are the same as in the modern editions. In the third nocturn psalms 18, 19 & 20 are sung under the single antiphon Alleluia, noli flere Maria etc. The homily is from the writings of St. Gregory on St. John's Gospel and the same same as in modern editions except they are missing the words 'Dixit eis' at the beginning of the ninth lesson. The Te Deum is sung.

At Lauds the Sunday psalms (Pss. 92, 99, 62-66, Benedicite, 148, 149 & 150) are sung under a single antiphon, a nine-fold Alleluia - an ancient feature of the Roman rite that would be destroyed in the 1911-13 reform. The Office hymn is Aurora lucis rutilat.

At Prime the Dominical psalms 53, 118(i), 118(ii) and Quicumque are sung under the antiphon Alleluia. At the other Little Hours Alleluia is also sung as the antiphon, the hymns have the Paschal Doxology.

Mass is sung after Terce. Before Mass the antiphon Vidi aquam is sung during the aspersion. At Mass the Gloria is sung. There is but a single collect. The Creed is sung and the preface is of Paschaltide.

In Cathedral and Collegiate Churches two High Masses are sung.  The first, after Terce, is of the Sunday as above. After None the Paschal Candle is extinguished and the antipendia are changed to violet.  The celebrant, vested in violet cope, assisted by deacon and subdeacon in violet dalmatic and tunicle reverence the altar then kneel and pray for a short while. They rise and the cantors begin the antiphon Exsurge Domine. The Litany of the Saints is then sung, in the full form, and not the shorter form used on Holy Saturday. Each invocation is doubled, i.e. the cantors sing e.g. Pater de caelis, Deus, miserere nobis and this is repeated in its entirety by everyone else. When Sancta Maria, ora pro nobis has been repeated all rise and the Procession sets off.

The Procession goes outside of the Church and may visit other Churches on its route. If the Procession has a long route the Litany, from Sancta Maria etc may be repeated or the Seven Penitential Psalms sung to the tonus in directum. After the concluding prayers the ministers rise and the celebrant changes from a cope to chasuble and all put on their maniples. The Mass Exaudivit is then sung. The second collect is Concede nos, the third collect is Ecclesiae or for the pope. There is no Creed. The preface of Paschaltide is sung to the ferial tone and the dismissal is Benedicamus Domino

At Vespers the Sunday psalms are sung under the single antiphon Alleluia. The Office hymn is Ad cenam Agni providi. After the collect of the Sunday there is a commemoration of the following feast of SS Cletus and Marcellinus. The Paschal Suffrage is omitted. At Compline the Dominical preces are omitted.

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.'