Thursday 7 July 2011

June 24th - The Nativity of St. John the Baptist

The great feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist is a double feast with Octave. The liturgical colour for the feast and Octave is white. The celebration of the feast on June 24th is ancient and is mentioned by the Council of Agde in 506 and in the Martyrologium Hieronymianum.

The feast began with First Vespers yesterday. The antiphons, Ipse praeibit etc, were sung with psalms 109, 110, 111, 112 & 116. The Office hymn was Ut queant laxis resonare fibris. The hymn famously rises through a scale in its verses: Ut (Doh), Resonare, Mira, Famuli, Solve, Labii.

At Mattins the invitatory is proper Regem Praecursoris Dominum, Venite adoremus. The Office hymn is Antra deserti teneris sub annis. The antiphons and responsories are proper for all three nocturns. In the first nocturn (Pss. 1, 2 & 3) the lessons are taken from the Incipit of the Prophet Jeremiah. These are identical to those found in the modern editions. In the second nocturn (Pss. 4, 5 & 8) the lessons are taken from a sermon by St. Augustine on the saints. The first lesson is slightly shorter than that found in the modern books with the omitted text beginning the second lesson. In the third nocturn (Pss. 14, 20 & 23) the homily is from the writings of St. Ambrose on the first chapter of St. Luke's Gospel. These are the same as in modern editions.

At Lauds the antiphons Elisabeth Zachariae etc are sung with the Sunday psalms (Pss. 92, 99, 62-66, Benedicite & 148-149-150). The rest of Lauds is proper to the feast with the Office hymn O nimis felix.

At the Hours the antiphons of Lauds are sung with the Sunday psalms. At Prime (Pss. 53, 118i & 118ii) the lectio brevis is Reges videbunt.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Mass is proper, De ventre. The Gloria is sung, there is only one collect. The Creed is not sung, the common preface is sung.

At Second Vespers the antiphons sung at Lauds are sung again with the psalms from Vespers for the Common of Apostles. The hymn Ut queant laxis is again sung, the rest of the Office is proper to the feast.

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