Sunday 15 December 2013

December 2nd - First Sunday of Advent

The proper texts for the season of Advent begin at the chapter of Vespers of the Saturday before Advent Sunday. The first Sunday of Advent is of semi-double rite and its liturgical colour is violet. During Advent bishops exchange their violet choir cassocks for black ones with a mozzeta or mattelletum with violet linings. Cardinals of the Court of Rome wear their 'winter' violet merino apparel (in contrast to their summer mourning dress of violet watered-silk) in place of their watered-silk scarlet.

At Vespers yesterday the antiphons and psalms of Saturday were sung (note the contrast with the post 1911-13 books where the antiphons of Lauds are sung at Vespers on Saturday). The chapter was Fratres, hora est jam nos etc and the Office hymn was Conditor alme siderum. After the collect of the Sunday a commemoration was sung of St. Bibiana. The usual Suffrages were omitted and are omitted in the Office of Advent. From this Vespers the Marian Antiphon sung is Alma Redemptoris Mater. At Compline the Dominical preces were sung.

At Mattins the invitatory is Regem venturum and this is sung in both the Dominical and ferial Offices of Advent until the third Sunday. The Office hymn is Verbum supernum. In the first nocturn the antiphons Veniet ecce Rex etc are sung with Pss. 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 & 14. The lessons in the first nocturn are the Incipit of the prophet Isaiah. The first lesson is longer than that found in modern editions and continues with the first lines of the modern second lesson: Vae genti peccatrici... until ..abalienati sunt retrorsum. The second lesson begins Super quo percutiam... and continues until the end of the modern third lesson, ...Gomorrha similes essemus. The third lesson is absent from the modern books. It begins Audite verbum Domini... and continues until sanguine plenae sunt, i.e. VV. 10 - 15. In the second nocturn the antiphons Gaude et laetare etc are sung with Pss. 15, 16 and 17. The lessons are taken from the writing sof St. Leo on the fast of the tenth month. These are substantially longer than in the modern editions of the Breviary. The fourth lesson comprises the entirety of the modern fourth and fifth lessons. The fifth lesson contains text absent from the modern sixth and the sixth lesson text is completely absent from the modern editions. In the third nocturn the antiphons Gabriel Angelus etc are sung with Pss. 18, 19 and 20. The homily is from St. Gregory's writing on St. Luke's Gospel. Again, these are significantly longer than those in the modern editions with the seventh lesson comprising of all of the modern seventh and eighth lessons. The eighth lesson contains all of the modern ninth and an equal amount of text from the St. Gregory's homily that is absent from the modern editions and the ninth lesson is completely absent from the modern Breviary. A ninth responsory, Ecce dies veniunt, is sung and the Te Deum omitted in the Office of Advent.

At Lauds the antiphons In illa die etc are sung with psalms 92, 99, 62-66, Benedicite and 148-149-150. The Office hymn is Vox clara ecce intonat. After the collect of the Sunday a commemoration is sung of St. Bibiana. As noted above the Suffrages are omitted in Advent.

At Prime the first antiphon from Lauds, In illa die, is sung with the usual Dominical psalms 53, 117, 118(i), 118(ii) and Quicumque. In the short responsory the versicle Qui venturus es in mundum replaces Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris for all of Advent except when an occuring feast has a proper versicle. The Dominical preces are sung. At the other Hours the other antiphons of Lauds are sung in the usual order.

Mass is sung after Terce. During Advent the deacon and sub-deacon do not wear the dalmatic and tunicle but violet folded chasubles, an ancient feature of the Roman liturgy. The Gloria in not sung, the second collect is of St. Bibiana and the third collect of the Blessed Virgin in Advent, Deus, qui de beate. The Creed is sung, the preface is the Common Preface. As the Gloria was not sung, the dismissal is Benedicamus Domino sung by the deacon facing the altar.

At Vespers the antiphons In illa die etc are sung with the Dominical psalms (Pss.109, 110, 111, 112 &113). The Office hymn is Conditor alme siderum. At Compline the Dominical preces are sung. Vespers of the Dead are sung in choir after Vespers of the Sunday. After Mattins and Lauds of Monday, Mattins and Lauds of the Dead are sung.

Art: Jerome Nadal


  1. Was there any particular reason that the proper antiphons from Lauds were not assigned to First Vespers on Saturday but were for Second Vespers on Sunday? It seems that the 1911-1913 revision solved this glaring inconsistency. Still, proper antiphons don't apply to either Vespers for the Sundays of Septuagesima and Lent, though those Sundays have proper antiphons for Lauds and the day Hours.

  2. JohnR,

    I don't think it is an inconsistency but the on Saturday Vespers were really 'a cap Dom'. I think the question is why use them at Vespers on Sunday, c.f. the antiphons at Lauds for the Lenten Sundays.