Sunday 8 January 2012

December 26th - St. Stephen the Protomartyr

The feast of St. Stephen the Protomartyr is a double feast with an Octave. The liturgical colour of the day is red. Many saints, originally more than now, were celebrated around the Nativity of the LORD. These were described as the 'comites Christi' . e.g. St. James the Lesser and King David. In 'modern' calendars we are left with St. Stephen, St. John the Evangelist, and the Holy Innocents. Yesterday St. Stephen was commemorated at Second Vespers of the Nativity.

At Mattins the invitatory is proper, Christum natum, qui beatum hodie coronavit Stephanum. The Office hymn is Deus, tuorum militum sung with the Doxology of the Nativity. In the first nocturn the antiphons In lege Domini etc are sung with psalms 1, 2 & 3 all from the Common of a Martyr. The lessons are from the Acts of the Apostles with responsories proper to the feast. The first lesson consists of the text of both the first and second lessons in the post-Clementine editions. The second lesson has the entire text of the third lesson and continues Audivimus enim eum (...) tamquam faciem angeli, i.e. with the inclusion of vv. 14-16 of chapter 6. The third lesson, entirely absent from the later editions is from chapter 7 vv. 1-8. In the second nocturn the antiphons Filii hominum etc are sung with psalms 4, 5 & 8 and the lessons are from a sermon of St. Fulgentius on St. Stephen's martyrdom. The lessons are longer than those found in the later editions. In the third nocturn the antiphons Justus Dominus etc are sung with psalms 10, 14 & 20. The homily is from St. Jerome on St. Matthew's Gospel. The seventh and eighth lessons are marginally longer than those found in the later books. The Te Deum is sung.

At Lauds the proper antiphons, Lapidaverunt Stephanum etc., is sung with the Sunday psalms (Pss. 92, 99, 62-66, Benedicite & 148-149-150). The Office hymn is Martyr Dei, qui unicum sung with the Doxology of the Incarnation. After the collect of the feast a commemoration is sung of the Octave of the Nativity.

At Prime the antiphon Lapidaverunt Stephanum is sung with the festal psalms (53, 118i & 118ii). The short responsory has the versicle of the Incarnation and the lectio brevis is Positis autem. At the other Little Hours the psalms of Lauds are used in the usual order. The hymns of the Little Hours have the tone and Doxology of the Incarnation.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung and the second collect is of the Nativity. The Credo are sung. The preface and communicantes are of the Nativity.

Vespers are Second Vespers of the Nativity, but from the chapter they are of St. Stephen. The chapter is proper, the hymn Deus tuorum militum. After the collect of the feast commemorations are sung of with a commemoration of St. John the Evangelist and the Octave of the Nativity of the LORD.

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