Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Sunday within the Octave of St. Lawrence - A Definitive Answer!

Following up on the recent post concerning Octaves, the case of St. Lawrence's Octave (and by extension the Octaves of the Nativity of Our Lady and the Comites' feasts after Christmas) has presented the CTO with a more complex issue. It bears clarifying, firstly, the core criteria of the CTO, and these are:
1. The ancient Roman Psalter is not to be altered.
2. The frequency of festal Offices (i.e. Double and Semidouble feasts) needs to be limited, as it was in 1568/1570, so as to allow a fairly regular possibility of praying all or nearly all 150 psalms each week - i.e. the ancient Psalter is preserved not only on paper but in practice.
3. All existing Octaves and Vigils as of 1911 are to remain as they are. No 1955ism's allowed!
4. Liturgical revisions from 1911 through 1960 may, very sparingly, be adopted if they are sensible and do not run counter to a proper liturgical spirit or any of the above. (An example would be the combination of lessons two and three at Mattins from the occurring Scripture to make way for the third lesson from the Proper for a Simple feast based on the 1960 rubric for third class feasts.)
Photo courtesy of Una Voce

That said, in order to satisfy the second criterion while respecting the third criterion, the CTO had initially proposed to adopt St. Pius X's 1911 classification of Octaves, thus adopting the rank of Simple for the particular Octave in question here. However, rather than keeping to the strict rule of what a Simple Octave was post-1911 (i.e. no days infra Octavam, but a Simple feast for the Octave Day itself), we proposed making the Octave Day a Double feast (as they were before 1911) and extending the Simple Office to all days infra Octavam in which the normal course of Ferial Psalter, Preces, and Suffrages would hold. This turns out not to be kosher as some readers here have correctly pointed out that the purpose of an Octave is to celebrate its feast for eight continuous days. It should, therefore, be festal, a break from the Ferial (and possibly Dominical) psalmody, preces, and suffrages, as other higher ranked Octaves are. Therefore, the Simple Octave is not truly an Octave at all.

So, we decided to return to the Tridentine Octave system, that is, forgo the 1911 classification and treat each Octave according to its own particular rules as given in the Breviary, inconsistencies and all. For St. Lawrence's Octave, this means a Semidouble Office for the days infra Octavam and a Double Office for his Octave Day. Furthermore, it means that the minor Sunday per Annum which falls infra Octavam supersedes the Octave with a commemoration of the latter, but with the Preces and Quicumque being integral to said Dominical Office before 1911, another confusion arose since normally those items are omitted during Octaves.

After consulting the Rubricae Generales in our 1854 Breviarium, the answer is spelled out in two sections which we will quote. First, from De Dominicis, Paragraph 2:
In Dominicis vero quae occurrunt infra alias Octavas, totum Officium fit de Dominica, et in Proprio de Tempore , cum commemoratione Octavae, omissis etiam dictis Precibus et Suffragiis, ut supra.
And then from De Octavis, Paragraph 6:
Infra Octavas non fiunt Suffragia consueta de Sanctis, nec dicuntur Preces ad Primam et Completorium, etiam si fiat Officium de Dominica, vel Festo Semiduplici.
And finally from De Symbolo Apostolorum et Symbolo S. Athanasii, Paragraph 2:
Symbolum sancti Dominicis infra alias Octavas, et in Dominica SS. Trinitatis dicitur...
There we have it! On 11 August (and also 18 August), there will be the Dominical Office, whole and entire , but without Suffrages and Preces, but with the Quicumque at Prime.


  1. Clarity! Let there be the Te Deum and the Non Nobis!

  2. Very good! And well done, CTO!
    And, at the risk of seeming obsessive, one more "mark" of St. Lawrence's importance to the traditional Roman Rite: he is the only St. mentioned by name in either the "Praeparatio ad Missam" or "Gratiarum Actio post Missam" in the Missal, namely in the final collect of the thanksgiving (albeit the three holy children are mentioned collectively in the first).
    --Valeas, floreas!
    Fr. Capreolus

  3. Thank you for this. I am pleased with what the answer turned out to be, not that that's what the criteria should be.

    I would assume that the day within the Octave is commemorated at Vespers?