Saturday, January 06, 2018

The sung Gospel at Epiphany Matins: Factum Est Autem ("Now it came to pass")

This is a very interesting and unique chant:   the singing of the Gospel at Epiphany Matins, after the ninth responsory, almost at the end of the Office.  As far as I can tell, the video below comes from this recording by Stirps Iesse and Enrico de Capitani, although the YouTube page doesn't say.

The instruction introducing this part of the Office reads this way:
While this final Responsory with its Verse and with its Gloria Patri. is being sung, the Deacon proceeds together with the Subdeacon and the Thurifer and the Candle Bearer and the Acolyte bearing the Cross, in the same way as on the night of the Nativity of the Lord, all clothed in solemn vestments for incensing the Altar, and having received a blessing from the Officiant they process through the middle of the Quire to the Pulpit for the singing of the Gospel : let it be begun this way.

This is the sung Gospel reading, taken from the genealogy in the Gospel of Luke.
Dominus vobiscum.
R/.  Et cum spiritu tuo.
Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam
R/.  Gloria tibi, Domine.
Factum est autem, cum baptizaretur omnis populus, et Jesu baptizato et orante, apertum est cælum: et descendit Spiritus Sanctus corporali specie sicut columba in ipsum: et vox de cælo facta est: Tu es Filius meus dilectus, in te complacui mihi.

Et ipse Jesus erat incipiens quasi annorum triginta, ut putabatur, filius Joseph, qui fuit Heli, qui fuit Mathat, qui fuit Levi, qui fuit Melchi, qui fuit Janne, qui fuit Joseph, qui fuit Mathathiæ, qui fuit Amos, qui fuit Nahum, qui fuit Hesli, qui fuit Nagge, qui fuit Mahath, qui fuit Mathathiæ, qui fuit Semei, qui fuit Joseph, qui fuit Juda, qui fuit Joanna, qui fuit Resa, qui fuit Zorobabel, qui fuit Salathiel, qui fuit Neri, qui fuit Melchi, qui fuit Addi, qui fuit Cosan, qui fuit Elmadan, qui fuit Her, qui fuit Jesu, qui fuit Eliezer, qui fuit Jorim, qui fuit Mathat, qui fuit Levi, qui fuit Simeon, qui fuit Juda, qui fuit Joseph, qui fuit Jona, qui fuit Eliakim, qui fuit Melea, qui fuit Menna, qui fuit Mathatha, qui fuit Nathan, qui fuit David, qui fuit Jesse, qui fuit Obed, qui fuit Booz, qui fuit Salmon, qui fuit Naasson, qui fuit Aminadab, qui fuit Aram, qui fuit Esron, qui fuit Phares, qui fuit Judæ, qui fuit Jacob, qui fuit Isaac, qui fuit Abrahæ, qui fuit Thare, qui fuit Nachor, qui fuit Sarug, qui fuit Ragau, qui fuit Phaleg, qui fuit Heber, qui fuit Sale, qui fuit Cainan, qui fuit Arphaxad, qui fuit Sem, qui fuit Noë, qui fuit Lamech, qui fuit Mathusale, qui fuit Henoch, qui fuit Jared, qui fuit Malaleel, qui fuit Cainan, qui fuit Henos, qui fuit Seth, qui fuit Adam, qui fuit Dei.  Jesus autem plenus Spiritu Sancto regressus est a Jordane.

The Lord be with you.
R/.  And with your spirit.
The continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Luke.
R/.  Glory to you, Lord.

Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” 

Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda, the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Sala, the son of Nahshon, the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Arni, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan, the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.
And here is the last instruction for Mattins  on this day:
At the end of the Gospel, let the Priest in his stall in a Silken Cope in a loud voice
immediately begin the Psalm Te Deum.

 While the Psalm is being sung let the Priest cense the Altar.

You can see the chant score in this PDF file on its page 554; it's much too long to post here!  (The melody on the video above does not match exactly with the score there.  Will try to find out why it doesn't.)  That document contains the Epiphany Offices, in Latin, from the Sarum Breviary, courtesy of Dr. William Renwick, et al., of Canada's McMaster University.  (Here's the English translation of that same document.)   They have also provided an mp3 file of the chant, as well as a page with links to other chants for the Feast of the Epiphany.

And there is this, the 60th footnote in the Latin PDF file above:
The “Qui fuit” section cycles through nine small phrases. Each third phrase comes to rest on the finalis. In AS:88-89. bar lines group the 'Qui fuit N.' phrases in threes. This is followed in the edition. 1519 groups the phrases in threes but with an irregular grouping of two near the beginning (Matathie, Amos) and with a group of four at the end (Enos, Seth, Adam, Dei). In the following note numbers in parentheses refer to lines of the music.

This entire sequence of events appears to be unique to the Sarum Breviary; it does not at any rate appear in the 1570 Roman Breviary at, or in the "pre-Trident monastic" version of the Office (although a portion of Matthew's Gospel is read after the Te Deum is sung in the pre-Trident monastic).   I will have to check some of the others, and will edit this post accordingly whatever I find.

It seems clear to me that the singing of this Gospel is a pointer to how important a day Epiphany was and is.   It is one of the oldest feasts on the calendar; early on it was a celebration of all the manifestations of Christ's divinity prior to the start of his earthly ministry.   It has celebrated, among other events, the visitation of the Magi, Christ's baptism in the Jordan (as here), and the wedding at Cana.  In fact, the Feast Nativity itself was celebrated as one of these events, before Christmas was fixed on December 25.

The singing of Luke's genealogy - a rather odd passage with the ultimate effect of proclaiming Christ's divinity through his human lineage! - is perfect for this most mystical of feasts.

Here's an image that illustrates the threefold celebration of the Epiphany in earlier times; I am not sure where it came from originally, but it has been posted at many sites. 

Left to right:  the wedding at Cana; the visitation of the Magi; the baptism in the Jordan.


Georges Staelens said...

The image seems to be from Saint Andrew's Abbey of Seven-Churches near Bruges (but maybe in precedes the transfert of the abbey from St Andrew to Seven-Churches).

What I had found interesting was the BCP setting of the Gospel readings for Epiphany: Jesus' baptism on the eve, as well as for the matins of the feast, then the Magi at Mass, and finally the Cana wedding at the second evensong. Now you are lightening me with the origin of the choice (Sarum).

As in the BCP setting, the Gospel reading of Epiphany matins comes after the Te Deum and just before the Benedictus, what could be done in practice is the following: one the Gospel is read at matins, immediately could follow the blessing of the waters, and then, while the sprinkling of the people takes place, the antiphon Hodie cælesti sponso with the Benedictus could be sung.

bls said...

It wasn't just Sarum; the 3-fold understanding of Epiphany was common in the West.

You can see it in the (Roman) Antiphon upon Magnificat for Vespers of Epiphany:

"Tribus miráculis * ornatum diem sanctum cólimus: hódie stella Magos duxit ad præsépium: hódie vinum ex aqua factum est ad núptias: hódie in Jordáne a Joánne Christus baptizári vóluit, ut salváret nos, allelúja."


"This day we keep a holiday in honour of three wonders, * this day a star led the wise men to the manger; this day at the marriage, water was made wine; this day was Christ, for our salvation, pleased to be baptized of John in Jordan. Alleluia."

bls said...

(That's from the Trident Breviary.)


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