Saturday, April 11, 2015

The second Alleluia for the Sunday after Easter: Post dies octo ("After eight days")

Post dies octo is the beautiful 2nd (or "Greater") Alleluia for the Sunday after Easter:

Post dies octo, jánuis clausis, stetit Jesus in médio discipulórum suórum from Corpus Christi Watershed on Vimeo.

The text for this "Greater Alleluia" comes from John 20:26:
Allelúja.   Vs. Post dies octo, jánuis clausis, stetit Jesus in médio discipulórum suórum, et dixit: Pax vobis.  Allelúja.

Alleluia.  Vs. And after eight days, all the doors being shut, Jesus stood in the midst of his disciples and said: “Peace be with you.” Alleluia.

William Byrd (among others) set this text, labeled on this video as "Dominica in Albis, in Octava Paschae - Antiphona ad Magnificat" - i.e., the Antiphon upon Magnificat [at Vespers] for Dominica in Albis in the Easter Octave (that is, today, the Sunday after Easter).   Very pretty indeed!  Not sure who the singers are here, though.

(And sure enough, enter 4/12/2015 and click "Vesperae" at Divinum Officium, and you'll see it listed there as the Mag antiphon, both in Byrd's time and in our own.)

The readings for today, in Year B, are quite beautiful ones; the Gospel reading from John is read in all three years:
Acts 4:32-35

Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.

Psalm 133 Page 787, BCP

Ecce, quam bonum!

Oh, how good and pleasant it is, *
when brethren live together in unity!
It is like fine oil upon the head *
that runs down upon the beard,
Upon the beard of Aaron, *
and runs down upon the collar of his robe.
It is like the dew of Hermon *
that falls upon the hills of Zion.
For there the LORD has ordained the blessing: *
life for evermore.

1 John 1:1-2:2

We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life-- this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us-- we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

John 20:19-31

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."

But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe."

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe." Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe."

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

The Collect for the day is the same one as used on Thursday in Easter week:
Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ's Body may show forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Hatchett's Commentary says, about this collect, that:
This collect, new to this Book, is also appointed for use after the seventh lesson in the Great Vigil of Easter and as the collect of the day on the second Sunday of Easter.  It dates to the Gregorian sacramentary (no. 423).  The translation is a revision of that by William Bright in Ancient Collects (pp. 56-57).  In the Gregorian sacramentary and the Sarum missal it is provided for the Friday of Easter Week.  It might be compared with the collect for the third Sunday after Easter in earlier Prayer Books.  The 1549 version reads:
Almighty God, which showest to all men that be in error the light of thy truth, to the intent that they may return into the way of righteousness; Grant unto all them that be admitted into the fellowship of Christ's religion, that they may eschew those things that be contrary to their profession, and follow all such things as be agreeable to the same; through our Lord Jesus Christ.

That collect was the initial collect for one of the April Masses of the Leonine sacramentary (no. 75), and of the Mass for the second Sunday after the paschal octave in the Gelasian sacramentary (no. 546) and the supplement to the Gregorian (no. 1117).

Here's the full list of chant propers for the Second Sunday in Easter, from; the modern propers are identical to the historical (Tridentine) ones:

Hebdomada secunda paschæ
Introitus: Quasi modo (3m38.5s - 3416 kb) score
Alleluia: In die resurrectionis (2m18.2s - 2162 kb) score
Alleluia: Post dies octo (2m11.9s - 2064 kb) score
Sequentia: Victimæ paschali (1m36.6s - 1510 kb) score
Offertorium: Angelus Domini (2m00.0s - 1876 kb) score
Communio: Mitte manum tuam, et cognosce (45.1s - 708 kb) score
Ite missa est (28.7s - 451 kb) score

Here are Chantblog posts on some of these:

The Eastertide Office hymns are here.

Here's Duccio's beautiful "The Incredulity of st.Thomas," from his "Maesta Altarpiece," created in 1308.

This is from the intro to the "Maesta Altarpiece" entry at Wikipedia:
The Maestà, or Maestà of Duccio is an altarpiece composed of many individual paintings commissioned by the city of Siena in 1308 from the artist Duccio di Buoninsegna.[1] The front panels make up a large enthroned Madonna and Child with saints and angels, and a predella of the Childhood of Christ with prophets. The reverse has the rest of a combined cycle of the Life of the Virgin and the Life of Christ in a total of forty-three small scenes; several panels are now dispersed or lost. The base of the panel has an inscription that reads: "Holy Mother of God, be thou the cause of peace for Siena and life to Duccio because he painted thee thus." [2] Though it took a generation for its effect truly to be felt, Duccio's Maestà set Italian painting on a course leading away from the hieratic representations of Byzantine art towards more direct presentations of reality.

I can't get enough of Duccio these days....

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