Tuesday, January 01, 2013

January 1: The Feast of the Circumcision

From Hymn Melodies for the Whole Year from the Sarum Service-Books:
On the Feast of the Circumcision, & on vacant days between Christmas & Epiphany:
EvensongA solis ortus cardine ... ... ... 27
MattinsChriste, Redemptor omnium, De ... ... 26
Lauds: A solis ortus cardine ... ... ... 27

Follow along with the Offices for this feast at Breviary Offices, from Lauds to Compline Inclusive (Society of St. Margaret, Boston) (published in 1885). You can get all the Psalms, the collect, Chapter, antiphons, etc., for each of the offices of the day at that link, although no music is provided; also check the iFrame look-in at the bottom of this post.

About the day and the Feast of the Circumcision (January 1st, the Octave of Christmas Day):
The Circumcision of Jesus is an event from the life of Jesus of Nazareth according to the Gospel of Luke, which states in verse 2:21 that Jesus was circumcised eight days after his birth (traditionally January 1). This is in keeping with the Halakhah, Jewish law which holds that males should be circumcised eight days after birth during a Brit milah ceremony, at which they are also given their name. The circumcision of Christ became a very common subject in Christian art from the 10th century onwards, one of numerous events in the Life of Christ to be frequently depicted by artists. It was initially seen only as a scene in larger cycles, but by the Renaissance might be treated as an individual subject for a painting, or form the main subject in an altarpiece.

The event is celebrated as the Feast of the Circumcision in the Eastern Orthodox Church on January 1 in whichever calendar (Old or New) is used, and is also celebrated on the same day by many Anglicans. It is celebrated by Roman Catholics as the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, in recent years on January 3 as an Optional Memorial, though it was for long celebrated on January 1, as some other churches still do.
As you can see, Circumcision is very similar to the Office for Christmas Day.  Many churches celebrate this day today as "The Holy Name" - but the Sarum office had a separate day for that:  "The Feast of the Most Sweet Name of Jesus," listed in Hymn melodies under "The Proper of Saints" and celebrated on August 7.

Here's the score to Hymn 27, listed above as the hymn for Lauds & Evensong (as it is, too, on Christmas Day): A solis ortus cardine:




LLPB calls this "From East to West, from shore to shore" (mp3). Here are the words, from Oremus Hymnal (Words: Caelius Sedulius (fifth century); trans. John Ellerton, 1889):
From east to west, from shore to shore,
let every heart awake and sing
the holy child whom Mary bore,
the Christ, the everlasting King.

Behold, the world's Creator wears
the form and fashion of a slave;
our very flesh our Maker shares,
his fallen creature, man, to save.

For this how wondrously he wrought!
A maiden, in her lowly place,
became, in ways beyond all thought,
the chosen vessel of his grace.

She bowed her to the angel's word
declaring what the Father willed,
and suddenly the promised Lord
that pure and hallowed temple filled.

He shrank not from the oxen's stall,
he lay within the manger-bed,
and he, whose bounty feedeth all,
at Mary's breast himself was fed.

And while the angels in the sky
sang praise above the silent field,
to shepherds poor the Lord Most High,
the one great Shepherd, was revealed.

All glory for this blessed morn
to God the Father ever be;
all praise to thee, O Virgin-born,
all praise, O Holy Ghost, to thee.

Here it is in Latin, sung by monks from Solesmes (says the YouTube blurb):



Here's more about this hymn and its author from an earlier post here on this blog:
Here's a really lovely version of A solis ortus cardine, the Lauds hymn for Christmastide. The hymn has 7 verses, each beginning with a different letter of the alphabet (in sequence).



The text comes from a 23-verse alphabetic poem, Paean Alphabeticus de Christo, written by Caelius Sedulius (died c. 450); the poem is the story of Christ's life, birth to resurrection. The first seven verses - the ones in this video - make up the Christmastide Lauds hymn; verses 8, 9, 11 and 13 of the poem are used for Hostis Herodes impie, the Epiphany Vespers hymn.

Here's the Latin text of the entire poem.   Below is the section used for this hymn, with an English translation by John Ellerton below the Latin.
A solis ortus cardine
Adusque terre limitem
Christum canamus principem
Natum Maria virgine.

Beatus auctor seculi
Servile corpus induit,
Ut carne carnem liberans
Non perderet, quos condidit.

Caste parentis viscera
Celestis intrat gratia,
Venter puelle baiulat
Secreta, que non noverat.

Domus pudici pectoris
Templum repente fit Dei,
Intacta nesciens virum
Verbo creavit filium

Enixa est puerpera,
Quem Gabriel predixerat ,
Quem matris alvo gestiens
Clausus Johannes senserat.

Feno iacere pertulit,
Presepe non abhorruit
Parvoque lacte pastus est,
Per quem nec ales esurit.

Gaudet chorus celestium,
Et angeli canunt Deum,
Palamque fit pastoribus
Pastor creator omnium.


From east to west, from shore to shore,
let every heart awake and sing
the holy child whom Mary bore,
the Christ, the everlasting King.

Behold, the world's Creator wears
the form and fashion of a slave;
our very flesh our Maker shares,
his fallen creature, man, to save.

For this how wondrously he wrought!
A maiden, in her lowly place,
became, in ways beyond all thought,
the chosen vessel of his grace.

She bowed her to the angel's word
declaring what the Father willed,
and suddenly the promised Lord
that pure and hallowed temple filled.

He shrank not from the oxen's stall,
he lay within the manger-bed,
and he, whose bounty feedeth all,
at Mary's breast himself was fed.

And while the angels in the sky
sang praise above the silent field,
to shepherds poor the Lord Most High,
the one great Shepherd, was revealed.

All glory for this blessed morn
to God the Father ever be;
all praise to thee, O Virgin-born,
all praise, O Holy Ghost, to thee.


From the YouTube page, describing the video:
EN: Schola Gregoriana Monostorinensis performing in the Calvary Church from Cluj (RO) HU: a Schola Gregoriana Monostorinensis előadásában, a kolozsmonostori Nagyboldogasszony (Kálvária) templomban
www.hhrf.org/schola
Here's Guillaume Dufay's 15th-century version of the hymn; he uses chant and polyphony in an alternatim style:


Here's the biographical section of the entry for Caelius Sedulius at CCEL:
Sedulius (1), a 5th-cent. poet, of whose life very few details are known. The only trustworthy information is given by his two letters to Macedonius, from which we learn that he devoted his early life, perhaps as a teacher of rhetoric, to heathen literature. Late in life he became converted to Christianity, or, if a Christian before, began to take a serious view of his duties. Thenceforward he devoted his talents to the service of Christ, living as a priest (cf. i. 7–9), in close intercourse with a small body of religious friends (pref.). He gives us a charming account of this group: Macedonius, the father and life of the whole; Ursinus, the reverent priest spending his life in the service of the King of Heaven; Laurence, the wise and gentle, who has spent all his money on the poor; Gallicanus, another priest, not learned, but a model of goodness and loyalty to church rule; Ursicinus, combining the wisdom of age with the brightness of youth; the deaconess Syncletica, of noble birth and nobler life, a worthy temple of God, purified by fasting, prayer, and charity, learned and liberal; and lastly Perpetua, the young pure matron, perpetual in fame and purity as in name. Sedulius, too, longed to devote his talent to God and to strengthen his own spiritual life by exhorting others. He yearned to tell the heathen of the wonders of the Gospel, and wrote the Carmen Paschale to invite then to share the Gospel feast. This was dedicated to Macedonius, and afterwards, at his request, was translated into prose (Opus Paschale). The works shew a character of much humility (cf. i. ad fin.), of tenderness of heart (v. 96), of warm gratitude (Carm. Pasch. pref.), and of keen susceptibility to criticism (Opus Pasch. pref.).

These are the only certain facts. Even his date is uncertain. He refers to St. Jerome as a well-known student, and his work is praised by a decree of pope Gelasius in 495 or 496. Syncletica may have been a sister of Eustathius, who lived early in 5th cent. Hence the date of Sedulius must be c. 450. A mass of information about him is in later writers, but much of it arises from a confusion with Sedulius the Scotchman. The best authenticated account makes him a native of Rome who studied philosophy in Italy, became an antistes (i.e. probably a presbyter) and wrote his book in Achaia. The internal evidence as to these details is very slight: his friends bear Latin names almost entirely; he is in the presence of educated idolaters and takes special pains to argue against sun-worship; but these indications are very vague. His works became popular very soon. They were edited by an editor of Vergil, T. Rufius Asterius (consul a.d. 494)—perhaps in consequence of the importance attached to them by the pope's decree. They are mentioned with praise by Venantius Fortunatus (viii. 1) and Theodulf of Arles; were commented on, perhaps by Remi of Auxerre (9th cent.), and frequently quoted and imitated by the writers of the middle ages. Areval quotes 16 MSS. dating from cents. vii. to xvi.; since then more than 40 editions have been printed, and special prominence was given to him by German writers last century.


As for Christe, Redemptor omnium:  here again is the score to Hymn 26, listed here as the tune for this  Matins hymn  (also used the same way on Christmas Day):




Here's LLPB's mp3 that matches this tune; it's called "Jesus, the Father's Only Son," and is listed as a "Hymn for the first Vespers of the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord."   Here are the words used here (Words: Latin, sixth century; trans. John Mason Neale):
Jesus, the Father's only Son,
whose death for all redemption won;
before the worlds, of God most high
begotten all ineffably.

The Father's light and splendor thou,
their endless hope to thee that bow;
accept the prayers and praise today
that through the world thy servants pay.

Salvation's author, call to mind
how, taking form of humankind,
born of a Virgin undefiled,
thou in a man's flesh becam'st a child.

Thus testifies the present day,
through every year in long array,
that thou, salvation's source alone,
proceedest from the Father's throne.

Whence sky, and stars, and sea's abyss,
and earth, and all that therein is,
shall still, with laud and carol meet,
the Author of thine advent greet.

And we who, by thy precious blood
from sin redeemed, are marked for God,
on this the day that saw thy birth,
sing the new song of ransomed earth:

for that thine advent glory be,
O Jesus, Virgin-born, to thee;
with Father, and with Holy Ghost,
from men and from the heavenly host.

Per Saturday Chorale, here's a lovely piece for this day by Peter Philips (1560/61–1628), O nomen Jesu ("O Name of Jesus"):


O nomen Jesu
In Festo Circumcisionis Domini

O nomen Jesu, nomen dulce, nomen Jesu,
nomen delectabile, nomen Jesu,
nomen confortans!
Quid est enim Jesus nisi Salvator?
Ergo Jesu, propter nomen sanctum tuum,
esto mihi Jesus et salva me. Noë, noë. (Alleluia.)


O nomen Jesu
The Feast of the Circumcision (1 January)

O name of Jesus, sweet name, name of Jesus,
delightful name, name of Jesus,
comforting name!
For what is Jesus except the Saviour?
Therefore Jesus, for your sacred name's sake,
be to me Jesus and save me. Noel, noel. (Alleluia.)

Here's the peek-in to the SSM Breviary:


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