All about Septuagesima

February 20, 2014

Earlier this week was a special day in the Church calendar: Septuagesima. This is one of those days (together with Sexagesima, Quinquagesima, and Elevensesagesima) that has fallen into obscurity since the Second Vatican Council. To be honest, I’m not even sure they are still officially on the Church calendar, nor what their observance would involve.

I was delighted, therefore, to find this helpful little primer at The Low Churchman’s Guide to the Solemn High Mass:

A popular custom associated with this season is the “burying of the Alleluia.” Because “Alleluia” will not be said or sung from Septuagesima until Easter Eve, the preceding Sunday’s worship includes a special “Alleluia Office” – a variant of Solemn Evensong, differing from the normal Sunday office in that an Alleluia is sung between each verse of the Magnificat, a Te Deum with seventeenfold Alleluia is sung instead of the Nunc dimittis, and each word of the Apostle’s Creed is pronounced “Alleluia.”

I’m not entirely confident that our loyal churchman has all the details exactly right, but no doubt he’s doing his best, and I appreciate the help.

Read the whole thing.

6 Responses to “All about Septuagesima”

  1. Janet Says:

    Ha. I was going to write about that tomorrow.


  2. Osbert Parsley Says:

    I am a big fan of the “Gesimas,” which were removed from the calendar at the reform of the church calendar after Vatican II: the idea of a pre-Lenten season was eliminated and the Sundays were absorbed into Ordinary Time. I suppose one could still observe these Sundays while following the new calendar, but their special character is no longer supported by the lectionary.

    Luckily, the “Gesimas” are still celebrated in Latin Mass parishes as well as by traditional Anglicans – they have also been restored in the newly-issued Ordinariate liturgy, which is an encouraging step forward.

  3. We did Septuagesima at the Ordinariate Mass last Sunday. All 8 of us. But I see that we skipped a critical part of the ritual. I am notifying the liturgical authorities.

  4. cburrell Says:

    Perhaps there was no child present to play the part?

  5. Doug Says:

    The Lutheran Church of Sweden still calls these Sundays before Lenten season Septuagesima and Sexagesima. The sunday before Ash Wednesday, “quinquagesima” has the Swedish name fastlagssöndag, or köttsöndag (meat sunday), marking the three “eves” before Ash Wednesday, blue/pork monday, fat tuesday.

  6. cburrell Says:

    Meat Sunday, pork Monday, and fat Tuesday. I like it. I guess that up north the only thing to eat during Lent is cabbage and tree roots, so it makes sense that people would “stock up” before it begins.

    This year we’re planning to host a Shrove Tuesday pancake party. I had the thought to enliven the evening with a butter-eating contest, but so far there hasn’t been much enthusiasm from others.

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