Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Burying the Alleluja 2021

I know that our regular readers are familiar with various customs related to the removal of the word “Alleluia” from the liturgy on Septuagesima Sunday. In the Roman liturgical books, this is done in a typically simply 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. It 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; a number of other customs, some formally included in the liturgy and others not, grew up around it as well.
One of the most popular customs was to write the word on a board or piece of parchment, and then afterwards Vespers bury it in the churchyard, so that it could be dug up again on Easter Sunday, and brought back into the church. This custom has been making quite a comeback in recent years, and here we have four examples; if anyone else has photos of this ceremony which they would like to send in, we will be very glad to share them with our readers: photopost@newliturgicalmovement.org. We will also be glad to share photos of any celebrations of today’s feast of Candlemas.

St Anne’s Chapel – Auckland, New Zealand (FSSP)
Vespers of the Saturday before Septuagesima
Switch to black cope, as for a funeral; the priest has the Alleluja in his hands, and the box in which it will be buried. (Since this ceremony is not a formal part of the litury, there is no particular rite prescribed for it, and a fortiori, no required liturgical color, nor indeed is there any requirement to use a liturgical vestment. Below we will see a different color used.)

Holy water...
and incense used as they are during the absolution at the catafalque.

The parishioners take turns covering the box with a shovelful of dirt.
Oratory of St Gregory and Augustine – Richmond Heights, Missouri
Photos courtesy of Kiera Petrick. This church observes the same custom we saw last year at St John Cantius in Chicago, and elsewhere, in which the Alleluja is processed from the main sanctuary to a side altar, and “buried” under the altar cloth.
Chavagnes International College – Chavagnes-en-Palliers, France
Monastère Saint Benoit - Brignoles, France
The place for burying the Alleluja, behind the apse of the community’s new home.

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