Annunciation 2018

I have only just been asking myself the question about the entry of the Annunciation in Dr William Renwick’s Sarum calendar for 2018. The Annunciation (March 25th) clashes with Palm Sunday and is scheduled to be displaced to Monday of Holy Week. The Warren translation of the Sarum missal indicates:

If this feast shall occur on any Sunday in Lent it shall always be transferred to the next day ; if it shall fall on any other day than a Sunday in Passion-tide, it shall be solemnly celebrated on that day. But if it occur on Maundy Thursday, or on either of the two days following, or in Easter week, it shall be transferred to the first vacant weekday after the octave of Easter on which it can be conveniently celebrated.

The Roman rite does not allow the Annunciation to be celebrated during Holy Week (a part of Passiontide), so it is displaced to after the Easter Octave. Sarum allows the Annunciation on Monday, Tuesday or Spy Wednesday of Holy Week but not during the Triduum. So, Dr Renwick has not made a mistake as I had suspected. Otherwise I would have had to take up the matter with him by private e-mail. None of us is infallible! But, he is not wrong.

Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week (after Palm Sunday) give us the Passions from the Synoptic Gospels. The Passion is not read on Holy Monday, but we are all the same brought into the intensity of human wickedness and the suffering of Christ. A feast, even of Our Lady, seems displaced. I am inclined to take the liberty of transferring the Annunciation to April 9th, which is the Monday following Low Sunday.

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8 Responses to Annunciation 2018

  1. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    Thank you for this! I was just looking at my seven-language diary (printed in Bergamo) and wondering why all it had on 25 March was “Rameaux” – I see now that it has “Annonciation” on 9 April! (I’m still not sure how it works as a whole – almost every day has a Saint’s or other Feast/Holy Day only noted in French (today was “Carême” – which I believe corresponds with the matter of Fr. Hunwicke’s explanatory post yesterday, “INCIPIT PARS VERNA BREVIARII”).) But, what do (various) Anglican’s do with respect to when the Annunciation is celebrated?

  2. John U K says:

    I think this could mean
    1) If the 25th is a Sunday in Passiontide, it is not celebrated that day.
    2) if the 25th is the Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday of Holy Week it is celebrated that day.
    If 1) occurs, I presume it could be trasferred to the first free day in Low Week.

    What I do not understand, is if the Sundays in Passiontide are counted as Sundays in Lent (and the 25th thus transferred to the Monday) why it was necessary to single them out for an extra mention?
    I will try and dig out the original Latin.

    Found it – now it makes a lttle more sense 🙂 .
    Si hoc festum in aliqua Dominica xl.evenerit, semper differatur in crastinum. Cum vero infra Passionem extra Dominicam contigerit, ila solemniter celebretur. Si autem in die Coenæ vel in duobus diebus sequentibus sive in hebdomada Paschæ evenerit, in proxima ubi convenientius celebrari, celebretur.
    Et hoc eodem modo de coeteris festis duplicibus, tempore prædicta contingentibus: et semper infra xl. quando fit servitium de aliquo sancta novena lectionum, Missa de festa post Teriam dicitur, Missa vero de jejunio post Nonam; utraque ad principale altare et fiat prostratio post
    Sanctus, et dicuntur feriales preces more solito ad Missam de jejunio, licet duplex festum fuerit.

    Now, my Latin is exceeding rusty, but having a go, I would essay:
    If this feast fall on some Sunday in Lent, let it always be carried over to the morrow.
    When however it occurs within Passiontide, let it be solemnly celebrated. If however it falls on the day of the Supper, on [one of] the two days following or in Paschal week, let it be separated on the next free day.
    And this same pattern for other double feasts falling in the time aforesaid: and always within Lent when there be a service of some saint of nine lessons, the Mass of the feast to be celebrated after Terce, the Mass of the fast after None, and both at the high altar, and let there be a prostration after the </i<Sanctus
    , and the ferial prayers be said in the usual fashion at that Mass of the fast, though it be a double feast.

    It would appear that the problem of concurrence on these days was ‘solved’ at Sarum by having two Solemn Masses, one of the feast and one of the fast.
    Which is all very well for the præclara cathedral church of Salisbury, but what happened at Much Binding in the Marsh?

  3. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    It also occurs to me to wonder what the Julian Calendar Orthodox do this year: am I counting correctly in finding that Julian 25 March is Holy Saturday (= Gregorian 7 April)?

    This question somehow nudges me further into wondering about the celebration of the Annunciation when Good Friday or Easter fell upon 25 March, given the accumulated Late-Antique and Mediaeval associations of that date – e.g., Frederick Holweck in his 1907 Catholic Encyclopedia article writes, “All Christian antiquity (against all astronomical possibility) recognized the 25th of March as the actual day of Our Lord’s death. The opinion that the Incarnation also took place on that date is found in the pseudo-Cyprianic work ‘De Pascha Computus’, c. 240. It argues that the coming of Our Lord and His death must have coincided with the creation and fall of Adam. And since the world was created in spring, the Saviour was also conceived and died shortly after the equinox of spring. Similar fanciful calculations are found in the early and later Middle Ages, and to them, no doubt, the dates of the feast of the Annunciation and of Christmas owe their origin. Consequently the ancient martyrologies assign to the 25th of March the creation of Adam and the crucifixion of Our Lord; also, the fall of Lucifer, the passing of Israel through the Red Sea and the immolation of Isaac. (Thurston, Christmas and the Christian Calendar, Amer. Eccl. Rev., XIX, 568.)”

    And, in his book on The Reckoning of Time, Bede considers different contentions as to which date the world’s First Day fell on, including 25 March, and himself argues for 18 March, making 25 March the Eighth Day. Byrthferth of Ramsey follows him in this, and writes in his Old English handbook of 1101 (as translated by Dr. Eleanor Parker at her Clerk of Oxford blog), “On that day the angels were created; on that day the archangel Gabriel was sent to St Mary; on that day he arose from death; on that day God’s spirit came to mankind. It is holy Sunday; when all days fail, it will endure forever in its festiveness. It is the joy of angels and eternal benefit to all the saints.”

    If the coincidence of the Annunciation with the Passion or Resurrection is recognized as the truest, how was the Annunciation celebrated when that circumstance recurred? Was its observation or celebration always (to whatever degree) deferred?

    • William Tighe says:

      “All Christian antiquity (against all astronomical possibility) recognized the 25th of March as the actual day of Our Lord’s death. The opinion that the Incarnation also took place on that date is found in the pseudo-Cyprianic work ‘De Pascha Computus’.”

      I believe that was true of the Latin-speaking Christian West, but not of the Greek-speaking East. There, perhaps in the Second Century, the date of the Lord’s death was assigned to 14 Artemision, the month in which the Spring Equinox fell, which was deemed to be the equivalent of 14 Nisan in the Jewish “sacred calendar.” Of course, since the Jewish calendar was a lunar calendar and the Greek calendar was a solar one, the two dates seldom, in fact, coincided. Sometime in the late Third Century this Greek calendar was replaced by a Greek version of the Roman calendar, and in that calendar the months began eight or nine days earlier than in the previous one, and so the equivalent of 14 Artemision became 6 Aprilios, which was assumed to be alike the date of the Lord’s conception and of his death. Add nine months to that, and one comes to 6 January, which in the East until the last quarter of the Fourth Century was celebrated as the feast of the Lord’s “manifestation” and included his birth, baptism, and visitation of the magi. In the latter years of that century, Eastern churches adopted the Western 25 December as the feast of his nativity (IIRC, in 386 in Antioch) but retained 6 January as Epiphany/Theophany, which still remains liturgically in the East a feast of greater “rank” than 25 December. Alone of Eastern churches, the Armenian never adopted the Western 25 December feast, so they celebrate Christmas, for the most part, on 6 January, although for the very few Armenians who still use the Julian calendar it falls on 18 January.

      On these matters, the book to consult is The Origins of the Liturgical Year by Thomas J. Talley (first edition, 1986, Pueblo Publishing; second edition, 1991, The Liturgical Press). One might wish to consult my three articles in Touchstone which were based largely on Talley’s book, but also on other sources:

      http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=16-10-012-v

      http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=22-02-009-v

      http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=23-02-026-f

      The second of these three articles is behind a paywall; the first, on Christmas, is a highly abbreviated version of my original essay, the text of which was, alas, lost in a “computer crash,” and it contains a few, relatively minor, errors of fact (e.g., that the Emperor Aurelian was a member of the Roman gens Aurelia whereas in fact he was an Illyrian, the son of a peasant-farmer who probably took his Roman nomen from his landlord, a senator of the clan Aurelia).

      • William Tighe says:

        “If the coincidence of the Annunciation with the Passion or Resurrection is recognized as the truest, how was the Annunciation celebrated when that circumstance recurred? Was its observation or celebration always (to whatever degree) deferred?”

        In the West it is deferred; I do not know offhand whether this was “always” the case. In the churches of the Byzantine liturgical tradition – I cannot recall from memory the practice of other Eastern liturgical traditions or “families,” but I suspect it is the same – it is always celebrated on March 25. I think March 25 was Good Friday in 2006 and 2016 according to the Gregorian Calendar, and, IIRC, in those Byzantine Eastern Catholic churches which follow that calendar Good Friday saw a complicated liturgical pattern which included a celebration of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom as for the Annunciation.

    • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

      Dr Tighe,

      Many thanks! I enjoyed your articles online before ‘the Days of the Paywall’ (that understandable, but not always convenient, construction) and am glad to hear two are still free-to-view (but did not think to check what the state of things was before commenting above).

      The possibility of Good Friday having seen “a complicated liturgical pattern which included a celebration of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom as for the Annunciation” in 2016 had not yet occurred to me – thank you for this, too!

      I have made the acquaintance of an Armenian and will have to inquire further about the Annunciation (I’ve just learned that they do not celebrate the Eucharist during Lent – quite new to me!).

      • William Tighe says:

        (I’ve just learned that they do not celebrate the Eucharist during Lent – quite new to me!)

        Nor do the Byzantines; well, they celebrate it only on Saturdays and Sundays (and on March 25, if it falls on a Lenten weekday). The Copts, by contrast, celebrate on many weekdays during Lent, more than at any other season of the liturgical year.

      • David Llewellyn Dodds says:

        I just visited my first Armenian service, on 3 March, and there are lots of questions I did not attempt, but as far as I understood, there are no Eucharistic celebrations on Sundays ‘in Lent’, either.

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