Thursday, May 28, 2020

Taking Leave

Holy Week occupies a place of supreme importance in the Christian life, even if it is but seven days of 365 in one year. Similarly, the first week of May, also a victim of the machinators and pseudo- reformers of the mid-20th century. Amidst Good Friday and Joe the Communist day the more prevalent losses to the kalendar felt throughout the year are less apparent until days like today.

Octaves are a Latin observance, but the idea behind them is common to some Eastern Churches, too. In my Byzantine parish we were blessed to resume Vespers yesterday, a complicated affair that involved pooling the texts of the after-feast of the Ascension, the after-feast of the Fathers of the Nicene Council, of Saint Nicetas, and plain Wednesday.

Much like the old Roman rite, the Byzantine Horologion observes the great feasts for more than just the day of the feast itself. Again, like the Roman rite, the texts are usually only proper on the greatest of the great of feasts, like Pascha. For our recent liturgical service, we were often repeating the texts and chants of the feast itself, much as the Roman Mass and Office do for the Ascension and unlike the octave of Pentecost.

Great feasts of the Byzantine rite last a full week in the case of Candlemas, the Dormition, and the Transfiguration. They count the entirety of Paschaltide, from the Sunday of the Resurrection until the vigil of the Ascension, as one long observance of the feast. Some are shorter, lasting only four days in the case of Our Lady's Presentation.

The Ascension is unusually a day longer than most, its "leave taking" falling on the second Friday after the feast. This puts the Byzantine practice in accord with the pre-Pian Roman liturgy, which observed the Ascension as a feast for an octave, but repeated the Office on the open Friday after the Ascension (provided no feast of nine lessons fell on that day) and Saturday morning, changing the texts and colors at None for the Pentecost vigil.

All the more reason to "take leave" of the 1962 books for the entirety of the year.

No comments:

Post a Comment