Wednesday 15 February 2017

February 2nd - Purification of the BVM - Candlemass

The Feast of the Purification of the BVM is a double rank feast. The liturgical colour of the day is white but violet is used for the blessing of candles and procession.

At Vespers yesterday the antiphons used on the feast of the Circumcision, O admirabile commercium etc., were sung with the psalms of feasts for the Blessed Virgin (Pss. 109, 112, 121, 126 & 147). The chapter was proper to the feast and the Office hymn Ave, maris stella. The antiphon on the Magnificat was proper to the feast Senex Puerum portabat etc. At Compline the tone of Te lucis was that for feast of the Virgin with the Doxology in honour of the Incarnation Gloria tibi Domineetc. The Dominical preces were omitted.

At Mattins the invitatory is proper, Ecce venit as templum sanctum suum Dominator Dominus: Gaude et laetare, Sion occurrens Deo tuo and the Office hymn is Quem terra. In the first nocturn the antiphons Benedicta tu etc are sung with psalms 8, 18 & 23, from the Common of the BVM. The first lesson is from the book of Exodus, the second and third lessons lessons are from Leviticus. These are the same as in the post-Clement editions of the Breviary. The responsories are proper to feast and particularly beautiful. In the second nocturn the antiphons Specie tua etc are sung with psalms 44, 45 & 86. The lessons come from a sermon of St. Augustine. These are longer than those found in the later books. In the third nocturn the antiphons Gaude Maria Virgo etc are sung with psalms 95, 96 & 97. The Gospel fragment is from St. Luke's Gospel and the homily is from St. Ambrose of Milan. These are the same as in later editions of the Breviary. The Te Deum is sung.

At Lauds the antiphons are proper to the feast, Simeon justus etc. These are sung with psalms 92, 99, 62-66, Benedicite & 148-149-150. The Office hymn is O gloriosa Domina. The antiphon on the Benedictus is again proper to the feast, Cum inducerent etc.

At the Hours the hymns have the melody of the BVM and the Doxology Gloria tibi Domine etc. The antiphons from Lauds, Simeon justus etc., are sung with the festal psalms. At Prime the psalms are Pss. 53, 118i & 118ii and in the short responsory the versicle Qui natus es de Virgine is sung and the lectio brevis is proper to the feast, Et placebit.

After Terce the blessing of candles takes place. The celebrant vests in a violet cope and the ministers in violet folded chasubles. The altar is vested in white but a violet antependium placed over the festal one etc. The organ is silent (as is always the case when folded chasubles are used).

At the Epistle corner the celebrant sings five prayers of blessing in the ferial tone. Incense is then blessed, lustral water sprinkled over the candles whilst the celebrant says Asperges me and then the candles are incensed. At the centre of the altar the celebrant receives a candle from the senior canon present, kissing the candle before taking it. In no canon or senior cleric is present the celebrant kneels before the altar and takes his own candle. Candles are then distributed while the antiphon Lumen ad revelationem is sung interpolated into the canticle Nunc dimittis. Those receiving the candles kiss them, first, then the celebrant's hand. At the conclusion of the distribution the antiphon Exsurge, Domine is sung with a Doxology and the candles lighted. After the distribution the celebrant returns with the ministers to the Epistle corner and chants Oremus. As the feast falls after Septuagesima the deacon chants Flectamus genua and all kneel for a moment. The celebrant sings the collect Exaudi. The procession then takes place. The subdeacon of the Mass takes the processional cross. The procession goes around the church with lighted candles during the singing of three antiphons Adorna thalamum, Responsum accepit Simeon and Obtulerunt. These text are clearly ancient and found, almost verbatim, in the Menaion of the Byzantine rite.

After the Procession the ministers change from violet vestments to white and Mass is celebrated. The Gloria is sung. The Creed is sung and the preface is that of the Nativity, the feast being a 'satellite' of Christmas. Lighted candles are held by all during the chanting of the Gospel, including the celebrant, and from the beginning of the Canon until after the distribution of Communion.

Caeremoniale Episcoporum, 1651, Google Books - note the assistant-deacons in planetis plicatis

At second Vespers the antiphons Simeon justus etc are sung with psalms 109, 112, 121, 126 & 147. The Office hymn is Ave maris stella. The antiphon on the Magnificat is proper, Hodie. After the collect of the feast commemorations are sung of following, transferred, feast of St. Ignatius and of St. Blaise. From Compline the Marian antiphon changes from Alma, Redemptoris to Ave, Regina caelorum etc.

Icon of the Hypapante from St. John's Parish of the Melkite Eparchy in Australia.

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