Tuesday, 16 May 2017
May 3rd - The Invention of the Holy Cross
The Invention of the Holy Cross is a double feast and its liturgical colour is red. The feast celebrates the discovery of the Holy Cross by the Empress Helena.
The Office of the feast began with first Vespers yesterday afternoon and is proper. The antiphons Helena, Constantini mater etc (which are absent from the modern editions) were sung with Pss. 109, 110, 111, 112 & 116. The chapter was Fratres: Hoc enim senite in vobis etc and the Office hymn Vexilla regis. Commemorations were sung of the preceding Office of St. Athanasius and of SS Alexander and Companions. At Compline the Dominical preces were omitted due to the occurring double feasts and being within an Octave.
At Mattins the invitatory is Christum Regem crucifixum, Venite adoremus, alleluia. In the first nocturn the antiphons Inventae Crucisetc is sung, with Pss 1, 2 and 3. The first lesson is from St. Paul to the Galatians with the poignant words: 'Christ have redeemed us from the curse law, being made a curse for us: for it is written: Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Christ Jesus; that we may receive the promise of the Spirit by faith.' The second lesson is from the Epistle to the Philippians with the passage so familiar from the Triduum. The third lesson from the Epistle to the Colossians but, unlike in modern editions, is taken from the first chapter Videte ne quis ... in semetipso. In the second nocturn the antiphon Felix ille triumphus etc is sung with Pss. 4, 5 and 8. The lessons relate the work of St. Helena in fourth century Jerusalem finding three crosses buried in a cistern. Not knowing which cross the LORD had died on each was placed on a woman with a sickness by Macarius, Bishop of Jerusalem. When touched by the True Cross the sick woman was instantly restored to health. The lessons are the same as in modern editions. In the third nocturn Pss. 95, 96 and 97 are sung under the antiphon Adoramus te Christe etc, the lessons are from a homily of St. Augustine on the Gospel of St. John. The seventh lesson included the first sentence from the eighth lesson found in modern editions. The eighth begins Respondit Jesus and is several sentences longer. The ninth lesson is of SS Alexander and Companions.
At Lauds the antiphons Helena, Constantini mater etc are sung with the Dominical psalms (92, 99, 62-66, Benedicite & 148-149-150). The antiphon on the Benedictus is Helena sancta dixit ad Judam etc (again not found in the modern editions). After the collect of the feast a commemoration is sung of SS Alexander and Companions.
At the Hours the Paschal Doxology is sung with all the Office hymns, the antiphons of Lauds are sung with the Dominical psalms, at Prime the festal psalms are sung (Pss. 53, 118i & 118ii) and the short lesson is Humiliavit semetipsum. The Dominical preces are omitted.
Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of SS Alexander and Companions. The Creed is sung, the preface of the Cross is sung.
Vespers are second Vespers of the feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross with the antiphons Helena, Constantini mater etc and psalms 109, 110, 111, 112 & 116. After the collect of the feast commemorations are sung of SS Alexander and Companions and of the following Office of St. Monica.