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Friday, November 14, 2008

Nov. 1 (Nov. 14 new style): All Saints Day

By an ancient Celtic custom, today is in the Western rite the feast of All Saints.



To all Western rite Orthodox who keep All Saints today, joyful greetings with the feast. Below are some of the old Roman-rite chants for this festival from the English tradition, taken from "Old Sarum Rite Missal," (c) 1998, St. Hilarion Press, Austin, Texas. What will be seen in the introit chant is the presence of the tropes, a venerable Orthodox tradition of the West which prevailed in one form or another from the dawn of the 9th century to the Reformation, and even afterwards. The tropes are poetic verses interwoven into the chanted psalm texts to instruct the people on the nature of the feast and to glorify God and His Saints in a more expressive way.

Officium Gaudeamus, trope ‘Hodie mundo,’ tone 1
(The officium is the same as the "introit" of the Western Mass-Liturgy. The parts which are tropes, poetic additions to the Roman rite from the 8th century onward, are shown in light blue colour.)

Today across the earth there hath dawned the festive day of all the Saints;
O come ye, come and sing:

Let us all be joyful in the Lord, celebrating a feast day to the honour of All Saints.
Today the multitude of martyrs doth rejoice exceedingly in heaven, and as for us upon the earth, come ye, come and sing:
For their solemnity the Angels are joyful,
For thereupon, this day, we render honour with praises very meet of all the Saints,
And together praise the Son of God.

V. Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous : praise is meet for the upright. (Ps. 32:1)

O as what a glorified star do the Saints radiantly shine! For having spilled their blood, they are found worthy of requital in Thy kingdom.
Let us all be joyful in the Lord, celebrating a feast day to the honour of All Saints,
The heavenly joys give high praise to all of them at once upon this day,
For their solemnity the Angels are joyful,
Chanting unto Christ their odes with sweetly sounding voices,
And together praise the Son of God.

+ Glory be... As it was...

Come ye, forthwith singing sweet sounds with the subtlety of music:
Let us all be joyful in the Lord, celebrating a feast day to the honour of All Saints;
Let the flower of our virtues be in equal harmony with our mouths.
For their solemnity the Angels are joyful—
Eternal companions of the radiance of the Blossoming on high—
And together praise the Son of God.

V. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised : in the city of our God, in His holy mountain, in the well-rooted joy of all the earth. (Ps. 47:1)

We whom the bosom of our mother the Church hath nourished with gracious sweetness, come and sing:
Let us all be joyful in the Lord, celebrating a feast day to the honour of All Saints—
For to them is the highest honour, and the godly vision of the King Who is most high—
For their solemnity the Angels are joyful,
For they see the number of those on high completed as is just,
And together praise the Son of God.

Kyrie-Litany.
Angelic Hymn (Glory be to God in the highest).
Collects.
Epistle.
Graduale.
Alleluya.

Sequence Xpisto inclita

Let our illustrious, white-robed hosts
Sing a melody to Christ,
Giving praise to all His Saints,
By means of these festivities most holy.

First let our voice ring out for Mary,
By whom the gifts of life are given unto us.
Thou who art both Queen and Mother, and art pure,
Absolve our sinful ways by thy prayers unto Thy Son.

May the sacred synaxis of the Angels
And the glorious host of the Archangels
Now wash away our sinnings,
Asking heaven’s lofty joys for us.

Do thou, O prophet, herald, shining lamp,
And thou more than a prophet,
Making our bodies purified,
Do thou place us on the light-bestrewing path.

O chieftain of the Apostles,
And all the multitude thereof,
Strengthen now the peoples’ hearts
In your true teachings, we beseech you.

Stephen, glorious man, shining in thy crown,
And illustrious host of holy martyrs,
Give ye us hale hearts and bodies, make strong your holy spears,
That they may get clear victory over the enemy.

O Martin, thou illustrious one,
And every host of hierarchs,
Mercifully now do ye receive
The prayers which we are making.

O very most exalted Queen of virgins,
Thou art a mother undefiled, and a virgin heavy with Child,
And O thou purity consecrated to the Lord,
Preserve in purity our souls and bodies.

May the reverend supplications of monastics,
And all the mansions of the Saints,
By their prayers poured out fervently,
Guide our times and seasons.

And may they bring us to the true joys,
The high-heavenly joys which are in the heavens,
May they unite the hosts of those redeemed
With Him Who is merciful. Amen.

(c) 1998 St. Hilarion Press

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