Monday, December 30, 2019

A Litany of Subdeacon Saints

Ordination of a Roman subdeacon
As promised in my article “A Litany for Sacristans and Those Receiving Minor Orders,” published on October 7, 2019, today I publish a similar litany for those men about to receive the major order of subdiaconate, in accord with the theological and liturgical tradition of the Roman Catholic Church as maintained in certain institutes and communities (e.g., the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter; the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest; the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer or Transalpine Redemptorists; the Carmelite Monks of Wyoming; the Benedictine monks of Norcia).

The litany has been compiled from the last edition of the traditional Roman Martyrology (hardcover; paperback without front and back matter). Those who wish to incorporate this liturgical book into their daily prayer may find instructions here. As before, I have adopted the general format of the Litany of the Saints. After the litany are the corresponding entries from the Martyrology, with the dates.

Subdeacon fulfilling one of his liturgical roles
This litany is intended for private recitation by those who are either already subdeacons or who may soon be promoted to this office. What could be better than to call upon the intercession of the glorious martyrs and confessors of the Faith who, in their own lifetimes, died with the subdiaconal dignity and are forever remembered by Holy Mother Church in that manner? (There is one saint included who became a bishop, but since he is mentioned as subdeacon who was designated by heaven as the next bishop, it seemed appropriate to include him. Naturally, some other men listed in the Martyrology might have been subdeacons, too, but here we are relying on whether they are expressly identified as such.)

A Litany for Subdeacons and Those Receiving the Order of Subdiaconate
(For private recitation)
Lord, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us. 
Christ, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us. Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us. Christ, graciously hear us. 
God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us. 
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, pray for us.
Holy Mother of God, pray for us.
Holy Virgin of virgins, pray for us.

St Baldomer, devoted servant of God and worker of miracles, pray for us.
St Andeolus, beaten with thorns and cut asunder with a sword, pray for us.
St Leo, faithful companion of the priest St Caius, pray for us.
St Januarius, companion of SS. Felicissimus and Agapitus, pray for us.
St Magnus, great in the eyes of the Lord, pray for us.
St Vincent, conqueror over the fear of death, pray for us.
St Stephen, faithful imitator of the Protomartyr, pray for us.
St Servus, tortured, nailed, burnt, and smitten, pray for us.
St Rusticus, witness to Catholic truth against Arian heresy, pray for us.
St Evortius, elevated from subdeaconhood to the episcopacy, pray for us.
St Martyrius, slain by heretics, pray for us.
St. Quadragesimus, who raised a dead man to life, pray for us.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord. 
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord. 
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us. 

Let us pray. Grant, we beseech Thee, O almighty God, that the intercession of holy Mary, Mother of God, and of all the holy apostles, martyrs, confessors, and virgins, and of all Thine elect, may everywhere gladden us, that, while we commemorate their merits, we may experience their protection. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son, who livest and reignest with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God for ever and ever. Amen.

Parallels between East & West: a Greek subdiaconal ordination
Source of the Litany: Entries from the Martyrology
– At Lyons, St Baldomer, a subdeacon, devoted servant of God, whose tomb is glorified with many miracles. (February 27/28)

– In France, in the Vivarais, blessed Andeolus, Subdeacon, whom with others St Polycarp sent from the East into France to preach the Word of God. He was beaten with thorny rods under the Emperor Severus, and at last suffered martyrdom, his head being cut crosswise into four parts with a wooden sword. (May 1)

– The holy martyrs Caius, Priest, and Leo, Subdeacon. (June 30)

– Likewise, at Rome, SS. Felicissimus and Agapitus, Martyrs, Deacons of the same blessed Sixtus, Januarius, Magnus, Vincent and Stephen, subdeacons, who were all beheaded together with him and buried in the cemetery of Praetextatus. There suffered also with them blessed Quartus, as St Cyprian relates. (August 6)

– At Carthage in Africa, the holy martyrs Liberatus (Abbot), Boniface (Deacon), Servus and Rusticus (Subdeacons), Rogatus and Septimus (monks) and Maximus, a boy; in the Vandal persecution under King Hunneric they were assailed by various unheard-of tortures for confessing the Catholic faith and defending the non-repetition of baptism. Last of all they were fastened with nails to pieces of wood wherewith they were to be burnt; but although the fire was kindled again and again, yet by the power of God it was each time extinguished, and by command of the king they were smitten with oars and their brains dashed out, so that they were slain, and thus, being crowned by the Lord, they fulfilled the splendid course of their battle. (August 17)

– At Orleans in France, the death of St Evortius, Bishop, who was at first a subdeacon of the Roman Church, and then by the divine grace was designated Bishop of Orleans by means of a dove. (September 7)

– At Constantinople, the passion of SS. Martyrius (Subdeacon) and Marcian (a chanter), who were slain by heretics under the Emperor Constantius. (October 25)

– Likewise, St. Quadragesimus, a Subdeacon, who raised a dead man to life. (October 26)

One of the duties of the Eastern subdeacon

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