Saturday, 3 January 2015

December 21st - St. Thomas the Apostle - Ember Saturday in Advent


The feast of St. Thomas the Apostle is of double rite and its liturgical colour is red. According to tradition St. Thomas preached the Gospel in Asia and the Indian sub-continent. He is believed to have founded, inter alia, the St. Thomas Christians on the West coast of India, one of several groups using the East-Syrian family of liturgies. Today is also the Ember Saturday in Advent.

At Vespers yesterday afternoon the antiphons Hoc est praeceptum meum etc were sung with psalms 109, 110, 111, 112 & 116. The Office hymn was Exsultet caelum laudibus. The antiphon on the Magnificat was proper to the feast, Quia vidisti me etc. After the collect of the feast the Advent feria was commemorated with the Great 'O' Antiphon appointed for the 20th December, O clavis David, and the collect of the preceding Sunday. At Compline the preces were omitted.

At Mattins the invitatory is Regem Apostolorum Dominum, Venite adoremus and the Office hymn is Aeterna Christi munera. In the first nocturn the antiphons In omnem terram etc are sung with psalms 18, 33 & 44. The lessons are Sic nos existimet homo from St. Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians. The third lesson is considerably longer than that found in the post-Clementine editions of the Breviary continuing Rogo ergo vos imatores mei (...) et spiritu, i.e, vv. 16-21. In the second nocturn the antiphons Principes populorum etc are sung with psalms 46, 60 & 63. The fourth lesson, proper to the feast, is the same as in modern editions of the Breviary. The fifth and sixth lessons are from a homily of St. Gregory (from the Common) and are longer than those found in the modern editions. In the third nocturn the antiphons Exaltabuntur etc are sung with psalms 74, 96 & 98. The homily on St. John's Gospel is from St. Gregory. These are the same as in the post-Clementine editions of the Breviary. The eighth and ninth lessons appointed for the feast are read together to form the eighth lesson of the day and the ninth lesson is of the Ember Saturday. The three lessons are a homily of St. Ambrose on St. Luke's Gospel. These are longer than those found in the later editions. The Te Deum is sung.

At Lauds the antiphons Hoc est praeceptum meum etc are sung with the Dominical psalms (92, 99, 62-66, Benedicite & 148-149-150). The antiphon on the Benedictus, Quia vidisti me, Thoma, credidisti: beati, qui non viderunt, et crediderunt, alleluia, is proper to the feast and refers to the incident recorded in the Gospel of St. John about St. Thomas' doubt in the Risen LORD. A commemoration is then made of the Ember Saturday, the antiphon on the Benedictus is proper to the 21st day of December Nolite timere, followed by the collect of the Ember Saturday.

The antiphons sung at Lauds are sung in due order at the Horae Minores. At Prime the festal psalms (53, 118i & 118ii) are sung and the lectio brevis is Ibant Apostoli.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of the Ember Saturday. The Creed is sung, the preface is of the Apostles and the last Gospel is of the Ember Saturday.

At Vespers the antiphons Juravit Dominus etc are sung with Pss. 109, 112, 115, 125 & 138. The Office hymn is Exsultet caelum laudibus. After the collect of the feast the fourth Sunday of Advent is commemorated with the Great 'O' antiphon O Oriens and the collect of the Sunday. At Compline the Dominical preces are omitted.

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