Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Epiphany Announcement

Here is a suitable form for the traditional Epiphany Announcement of the year's Calendar.

Epiphany Announcement, A+D 2011

After the Reading of the Gospel, the Pastor of the parish makes the following announcement.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

the glory of the Lord has shone upon us, and shall ever manifest itself among us until the day of His return. Through the rhythms and changes of time let us call to mind and live the mysteries of salvation.

The center of the whole liturgical year is the Paschal Triduum of the Lord, crucified, buried and risen, which will culminate in the solemn Vigil of Easter, during the holy night that will end with the dawn of the twenty-fourth day of April. Every Sunday, as in a weekly Easter, Christ's holy Church around the world makes present that great and saving deed by which Christ has forever conquered sin and death.

From Easter there comes forth and are reckoned all the days we keep holy: Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten spring, the ninth day of March; the Ascension of the Lord, the second day of June; and Pentecost, the twelfth day of June; the first Sunday of Advent, the twenty-seventh day of November.

Likewise in the feasts of Mary, of the apostles, of all the saints, and in the commemoration of the faithful departed, the pilgrim Church on earth proclaims the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord.

To Christ who was, who is, and who is to come, the Lord of time and history, be endless praise forever and ever!

C: Amen.


  1. How long ago does a custom which interrupts the flow of the Divine Service have to have been introduced in order to be licit under the guidelines of the Augustana?


  2. Ha!

    If Prof. Feuerhahn did it in chapel while wearing a cope, it's in :)


  3. I demand video evidence of this supposed chapel action! Until then, I won't believe that it exists and is only a theoretical delusion!


  4. Double Ha!

    I think I can produce 2 or 3 witnesses of this objective fact :)

    Later on,

  5. Unless I touch the fabric of the cope, or place it upon my own shoulders, I will never believe! =o)

  6. Paul H. D. Lang, Ceremony and Celebration, p. 159, gives a shorter form of this announcement. I cannot give an exact date on which this custom began.

  7. Pr. Brown,

    If it's the Piepkorn cope, I've done both and I still don't believe. But that's just because I'm being ornery.

  8. I can witness to the aforesaid chapel service both in terms of cope and calendar (and incense, too). It was in the year of our Lord 2001.

  9. Ironically, at least when I was vicar at Palo Alto, where Lang served, this was not a custom there. And alas, the book was out of print by the time I hit the Sem, and though I preached from Lang's pulpit, I have not his famous book.

    Still, I want to touch and feel the cope... and if I am correct in my allusion to John, it should show up at my house, even beyond locked doors, within a week.

    Of course, then we'd miss Epiphany. Oh well.

  10. I'm going to kill two birds with one stone and have my sock puppet read this to the kiddos while I nurse a Corona at the altar.

    Limes are ripe this time of year! ;-)

  11. But do Corona's uphold the Bavarian Purity Law of 1516?

  12. Freedom in the Gospel, dear brother. Anything goes!

    And if there are two words we Lutherans do not want to hear, it's "purity" and "law." Besides, Bavaria is the home of that crypto-papist Loehe, and 1516 was the year before Luther started the True Visible Church on Earth(tm).

    But in order that all things might be done in in order, and in good order, I have an ordo question: Do the dancing girls come in before the collect or after the post communion canticle? Let me pull out a Magic-8-ball from my grocery bag... "Ask again later!" I know there is a sermon illustration in there somewhere...

    As with all matters liturgical (or dealing with pop music), I'm going to have to consult with Deacon Gaba...

  13. :sigh: The lack of knowledge here would shock me if it weren't unexpected.

    1. Lutherans don't mind purity when it comes to beer unless those Lutherans think themselves to be pure already. Sheesh!

    2. Your ordo question is off. As the great liturgical scholar, Freddie Mercury, notes, "Send in the girls". Why do you assume there is a time when one shouldn't have the dancing girls. Sheesh!

    3. Besides, Corona is light - which is the wrong liturgical color for the winter (that is a Summer beer). I'd suggest that you have something darker -- preferably a Guiness or some other Porter or Stout (or a Blackened Vodoo, if that is local custom). At least an amber ale - have some modicum of decency! Sheesh!

  14. Pr. Lehmann posed the question: "How long ago does a custom which interrupts the flow of the Divine Service have to have been introduced in order to be licit under the guidelines of the Augustana?"

    This comment may very well have been posted in humor, or partially out of a sense of humor. I do not discount that. I do like to seize such moments, however, to address the actual question, for it is an important subject. So please refrain, dear readers, from simply concluding that I need to "calm down" or get a sense of humor, as has happened more than once. And I don't offer the following as someone who is a historian, or a liturgical expert. If I were either, one supposes I would be somewhere other than greeting people at Benihana.

    The Epiphany proclamation of feasts has its origins in the Church of Alexandria in the early church. I am not sure exactly how early, but my own opinion is that it goes at least as far back as the fifth century.

    There was a need and desire for a clear and authoritative statement on the date of Easter, and the archbishop of Alexandria, with his schools of, essentially, math nerds, was ideally equipped to be the one to issue such a statement. It came to be known as the epistola festalis. The letter was sent out to other churches, and was read in the churches, not in the Mass, please bear in mind, but right after the Mass, on the holy feast of 6 January each year.

    In the sixth century the practice was so popular, and deemed important enough, that it was made normative in the West also (Council of Orleans in 541). This is an interesting, lively, and underappreciated period, by the way. It is at the end of Saint Benedict's life, for example, and just precedes the career of Saint Gregory.

    I really do not think that a custom so solemn that it is chanted in some places, such as Rome, and which from time immemorial was considered vital to the Church, and which is truly all about Christ, and which, as I say, depending on the locality, doesn't even take place until the conclusion of the Mass, can be fairly said to be interrupting the flow of the liturgy.

    But I would also like to try to briefly address the actual question raised, namely, How old does such a custom have to be, in order to be, let us say, agreeabe, to us Confessional traditionalists? For this brings up the whole matter of what I would term the evolution of the liturgy.

    The liturgy does evolve. I know of no one who claims it should remain always exactly as it was in, say, the year 33 Jerusalem, or 325 Nicaea, or 604 Rome, or 1526 Wittenberg, or 1844 Bavaria, or 1941 Missouri. On the other hand, the true evolution of the liturgy has nothing to do with innovation, and nothing to do with those changes which disrupt not only the "flow of the liturgy," but also the true flow of the evolution of liturgical tradition.

    Between these two false notions of liturgy (1. utterly static or repristinated liturgy and 2. innovative worship) there is the rich and lively tradition of the Church's liturgy, a tradition which for millennia has evolved and grown and breathed, and expanded and contracted in ways which are, mostly unnoticable when it actually happens. That is perhaps the best sign of the true organic development of the liturgy. We barely notice it, until maybe later. T.S. Eliot's concept of tradition in his essay "Tradition and the Individual Talent" comes very close to my thoughts on liturgical tradition. The new developments which are true, which are beautiful, which truly and beautifully conform to the tradition, these will survive, and when they do, they are not simply tacked on to the tradition, but end up enriching the whole of the tradition.

    A children's message could never qualify for such a distinction. Nor will many of the hymns currently championed in our modern books. I dare say that we could say the same for just about anything that is actively devised in our age.

  15. Since math nerds are important in the etiology of the Epiphany announcement, I will simply conclude that the licitness of a children's sermon is inversely proportional to the esoteric math skill of the homilist.

  16. Thanks Gaba, I think we all appreciate you as a historian and liturgical expert.


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