Tuesday, 10 January 2017
December 28th - The Holy Innocents
The feast of the Holy Innocents is of double rank with Octave. The liturgical colour of the day is violet (unless the feast falls upon a Sunday in which case it is red).
Much of the Office comes from the Common of Several Martyrs. At Mattins the invitatory is Regem Martyrum Dominum, Venite adoremus and the Office hymn Audit tyrannus anxius (sung with the Doxology of the Incarnation). In the first nocturn the antiphons Secus decursus aquarum etc are sung with psalms 1, 2 and 3. The lessons are from the Prophet Jeremiah. The first lesson begins Audite verbum Domini, Cap.1:10 and continues to the end of the fourteenth verse before the text from the lesson found in the modern books begins Haec dicit Dominus: Vox in excelso audita etc,. but ends with the fifteenth verse. The second lesson begins Haec dicit Dominus: Quiescat vox etc (v. 16), the second part of the modern first lesson, and continues with the text found in the modern second lesson with the addition of a final clause from v. 20. The third lesson is sligthly longer than that found in the post-Clementine editions having verses 24 & 25. The responsories are proper to the feast. In the second nocturn the antiphons Dabo Sanctis meis etc are sung with psalms 14, 15 & 23. The lessons are from a sermon of St. Augustine on the Saints. The lessons are longer than those found in the post-Clementine editions. In the third nocturn the antiphons Justi autem etc are sung with psalms 32, 33 & 45. However, the eighth antiphon, Isti sunt, is proper to the feast. The homily on St. Matthew's Gospel is from the writings of St. Jerome. Again these are longer than those found in the post-Clementine editions. The Te Deum is not sung but a ninth responsory in its place, Isti qui amicti sunt.
At Lauds the antiphons Herodes iratus etc are sung with Pss. 92, 99, 62-66, Benedicite and 148-149-150. The Office hymn is Salvete, flores Martyrum (again, sung with the Doxology of the Incarnation). After the collect of the feast commemorations are sung of the Octave of the Nativity, the Octave of St. Stephen and the Octave of St. John.
At Prime and the Hours the antiphons of Lauds are sung. The hymns have their Doxology changed in honour of the Incarnation. At Prime the short lesson is of the feast, Hi empti sunt.
At Mass the deacon and subdeacon wear violet dalmatic and tunicle. The Gloria is not sung, the second collect is of the Octave of the Nativity, the third collect of the Octave of St. Stephen and the fourth collect of the Octave of St. John. The Alleluia and its verse given in the Missal are not sung but in their place the Tract Effuderunt sanguinem Sanctorum. The Credo is sung and the preface and communicantes are of the Octave of the Nativity. A beautiful solemn tone of Benedicamus Domino is sung as the dismissal.
Vespers are of the Nativity, but from the chapter of the Holy Innocents with a commemoration of the following feast of St. Thomas of Canterbury, and of the Octave of the Nativity, the Octave of St. Stephen and the Octave of St. John.