Sunday, January 24, 2016

Septuagesima Sunday: Burying the Alleluia

I am sure that many of our readers are familiar with the various customs related to the removal of the Alleluia from the liturgy on Septuagesima Sunday. In the Roman liturgical books, this is done in the simplest possible fashion; at the end of Vespers of the previous Saturday, “Alleluia” is added twice to the end of “Benedicamus Domino” and “Deo gratias”, which are sung in the Paschal tone. The word is then dropped from the liturgy completely until the Easter vigil. In some medieval uses, however, “Alleluia” was added to the end of every antiphon of this Vespers, and a number of customs, some formally included in the liturgy and other not, grew up around it as well.

One of the most popular was to write the word on a large piece of parchment, and then after Vespers bury it in the churchyard, so that it could be dug up again on Easter Sunday. Our friends from the Fraterity of St Joseph the Guardian in La Londe-les-Maures, France, have posted some pictures of their ritual burial of the Alleluia on their Facebook page, which they very kindly agreed to share with us.

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