The Divine Office eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 261 pages of information about The Divine Office.
in the ‘Eleona,’ from whence a procession was made to the summit of the Mount of Olives.  Here, psalms and antiphons were sung, the Gospel was read and the blessing given.  After this, the people descended again into the ‘Eleona,’ where Vespers were sung, and then, with the bishop at their head, proceeded in a solemn procession, with singing, back to the principal church, which was reached towards 8 p.m.  At the city gate the procession was met by torch bearers, who accompanied it to the Martyrium.  Here, as well as in the Anastasias, to which the people proceeded in turn, and in the chapel of the Holy Cross, the usual prayers, hymns and blessings took place, so that the festival did not conclude until midnight.” (Kellner, op. cit., pp. 112-113).  In most churches, the principal services were solemn baptism and processions.  In some places it was customary to scatter roses from the roof of the church, to recall the miracle of Pentecost.  In France, trumpets were blown in church, in memory of the great wind which accompanied the Holy Spirit’s descent.


The first Sunday after Pentecost, for centuries, was not called Trinity Sunday.  Pope Alexander II. (circa 1073) was questioned about a feast in honour of the Holy Trinity and he replied that it was not the Roman custom to set apart any particular day in honour of the Trinity, which was honoured many times daily in the psalmody, by the Gloria Patri.  But an Office and Mass, dating from a hundred years earlier than this Pope’s time, were in use in the Netherlands and afterwards in England, Germany and France; and in 1260 were spread far and wide.  In 1334, Pope John XXII. ordered uniformity and general observance of this feast on the Sunday after Pentecost.  The Office in our Breviaries dates from the time of Pius V. It is beautiful and sublime in matter and in form.  Whether this is a new Office or a blending of some ancient offices, is a matter of dispute.  Baillet, Les Vies des Saints (Tom ix. c. 2, 158) thinks it a new Office.  But Binterim, Die Kirchichle Heortology, Part I., 265, and Baumer-Biron, Histoire du Breviaire, 298, take a different view.  The Roman rite follows the older form of enumeration, second Sunday after Easter and so forth, and not first Sunday after Trinity.  The latter form of enumeration is adopted in the Anglican church service books.


December.  The Feast of the Immaculate Conception. The discussion of the question of this feast lasted for more than a thousand years.  A feast of the Conception was celebrated in the Eastern Church in the early part of the eighth century and was celebrated on the 9th December (Kellner, Heortology, p. 242, et seq.).  The feast was celebrated in England before the Norman Conquest (1066) (Bishop, On the Origins of Feast of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, London, 1904).

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The Divine Office from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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