Saturday, 30 January 2010

January 18th - Septuagesima Sunday

Today is Septuagesima Sunday, its rank is a semi-double. Easter falls at the earliest date possible in the Julian scheme and the temporal cycle of both the Julian and Gregorian calendars now coincide. Yesterday, in Tridentine praxis, the Second Sunday after the Epiphany was anticipated (c.f. the Fourth Sunday under the new calendar).

In the Office some elements are the same as for the 'green' Sundays. A notable exception is that after Deus in adjutorium etc Alleluia is replaced by Laus tibi Domine Rex aeterne gloriae. At Mattins the invitatorium is Praeoccupemus as on preceding Sundays and the hymn Primo dierum. In the first nocturn psalms 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 & 14 are sung. The lessons are the Incipit of the Book of Genesis. In the second nocturn psalms 15, 16 & 17 are sung, the lessons are from the Enchiridion of St. Augustine,. In the third nocturn psalms 18, 19 & 20 are sung and the lessons are from a homily of St. Gregory on the Gospel of the labourers in the vineyard. The Te Deum is not sung but in its place a ninth responsory.

At Lauds the antiphons are proper to the Sunday and sung with Pss. 50, 117, 62-66, Benedicite, 148-149-150. The versicle after the hymn Aeterne, chapter, antiphon at the Benedictus and collectare proper to Septuagesima Sunday. The Suffrages of the BVM Santa 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 again changed. Under the antiphon Conventione autem Pss. 53, 92, 118i, 118ii and Quicumque. The Dominical preces are sung. At all the Hours the antiphons and chapters are proper.

In Mass there is no Gloria, the second collect is Deus, qui salutis, the third Ecclesiae or for the pope. A Tract replaces the Alleluia after the Gradual, the Credo is sung and the Common Preface is sung. Following the general rule as the Gloria is not sung Benedicamus Domino is sung as the dismissal. The ministers wear violet dalmatic and tunicle.

At Vespers the antiphons and psalms are those used on Sundays, the chapter is proper as in the antiphon at the Magnificat. The Suffrages of the BVM, the Apostles, the Patron and for Peace are sung. At Compline (Pss. 4, 30 vv 1-6, 90, 133)the Dominical preces are sung.

Art: Jerome Nadal


  1. Why are the usual psalm antiphons used at Matins and especially Vespers, whereas Lauds has proper antiphons and - unusually - the Little Hours have another set of proper antiphons? It is normally the case, is it not, that proper antiphons at Lauds are reused during the Little Hours, and often at Vespers also... at the least, Vespers would have another set of proper antiphons.

  2. Joshua,

    Yes. The honest answer is I don't know but would hazzard a considered view. I suspect the antiphons at Mattins were substantially the same throughout the year as they were easily remembered.

    Certainly the Old Roman Rite, and by that meaning the pre-Franciscan modification of the liturgy of the Papal Court was more elaborate with different collects for different hours etc. My suspicion would be that the variation is a survival from that. But that is an educated guess.