Sunday 22 May 2022

May 9th - St. Gregory the Theologian

The feast of St. Gregory the Theologian, St. Gregory Nazianzen as he appears in the later editions, is of double rite and its liturgical colour is white. The fourth Sunday after Pascha is commemorated at Vespers, Mattins, Lauds and Mass. St. Gregory the Theologian (St. Gregory Nazianzen) was a fourth century Archbishop of Constantinople and made a significant impact on the development of Trinitarian theology. Along with St. Gregory of Nyssa and St. Basil the Great he is one of the Cappodocian Fathers. He died in either 389 or 390AD.

Vespers yesterday afternoon were second Vespers of the feast of the Apparition of St. Michael the Archangel. The antiphons Stetit Angelus etc were sung, doubled, with Psalms 109, 110, 111, 112 & 137. The Office hymn was Tibi Christe splendor patris. After the collect of the feast commemorations were sung of the St. Gregory the Theologian and of the Sunday. At Compline the Dominical preces were omitted because of the occurring double feasts.

At Mattins the invitatory is Regem Confessorum Dominum, Venite adoremus and the hymn Iste Confessor. In the first nocturn Pss. 1, 2 & 3 are sung under the,doubled, antiphon Beatus vir etc. The lessons in the first nocturn are the Incipit of the Epistle of St. James. These are the same as those found in modern editions of the Breviary. The responsories are from the Common. In the second nocturn Pss. 4, 5 & 8 are sung under the antiphon Invocantem exaudivit etc. The historical lessons in the second nocturn are the same as those found in the modern editions. In the third nocturn Pss. 14, 20 & 23 are sung under the antiphon Domine iste sanctus etc. Lessons seven and eight are a homily of St. Augustine on St. Matthew's Gospel. These are longer than those found in the modern editions. The ninth lesson is entirely absent from the modern books. However, today the eighth and ninth lessons of the feast are read together to form an extended eighth lesson of the day and the ninth lesson is formed of the three lessons of the homily of the Sunday. This is from St. Augustine and the text is the same as in the later editions. The Te Deum is sung.

At Lauds the antiphons Ecce sacerdos magnus etc are sung, doubled with Pss. 92, 99, 62-66, Benedicite & 148-49-150. The Office hymn is Jesu Redemptor omnium. After the collect of the feast a commemoration of the Sunday is sung.

At the Hours the hymns are sung with the Paschal Doxology. The antiphons Ecce sacerdos magnus etc are sung with the festal psalms in the usual order. At Prime (Pss. 53, 118i & 118ii) both Quicumque and the Dominical preces are omitted.

Mass is sung after Terce. The Gloria is sung, the second collect is of the Sunday. The Creed is sung, the preface is of Paschaltide and the last Gospel is of the Sunday.

Vespers are of feast. The antiphons Ecce sacerdos magnus etc are, again, sung doubled with Pss. 109, 110, 111, 112 & 113. The Office hymn is Iste Confessor. After the collect of the feast commemorations are sung of the Sunday and of the following feast of SS Gordian and Epimachus. At Compline (Pss. 4, 30 vv 1-6, 90 & 133) the Dominical preces are omitted due to the double feasts.

Icon: A fresco of St. Gregory from Wikipedia.


  1. Rubricarius,
    If the titular of a church fell on a major feast such as the Ascension or Corpus Christi, and would thus be transferred to the following day, which Vespers would be said: 2nd of the Ascension/Corpus Christi with commemoration of the titular; a capitulo; or first vespers of the titular with a commemoration of the preceding? I'm assuming it's the first but I can't seem to find anything clear. How do you find clarifications for such cases?
    I've also seen on previous posts you sometimes mention a simplex feast being commemorated at Lauds of a major feast, but not on others: how does one work out which ones admit a commemoration and which don't? I could only find a rubric about omitting the commemoration of an occurring simplex at first Vespers of major feasts.
    Finally, why is there a commemoration of Ss Alexander and companions at 2nd Vespers of the Invention of the Holy Cross: I thought such commemorations only occurred at Lauds and 1st Vespers. Yet it's listed in the Editio Princeps.

  2. @Anonymous,
    I would agree in those circumstances first Vespers of the Titular/Patron. The editio princeps lacks tables of occurrence and concurrence as you are aware and one has to use the earliest subsequent editions to understand.

    Whilst it is evidently a later trend to give privileges to certain feasts by limiting commemorations in sung Masses etc I suspect some of the quirks in BR1568 and MR1570 are just that.

  3. Thank you for your reply. I did a bit of research as well: I found the Bute Breviary online, and in one of the rubrics there it states that Feasts of Our Lord outrank others: so would it not be second Vespers of the Ascension/Corpus Christi with commemoration of the Patron? Or was that a later change?

  4. @Unknown,
    I looked in a BR1628. From memory the change was from Leo XIII.