Saturday, December 17, 2005

December 17: The O Antiphons

"WHILE we may be sure that the Advent season devel-oped first outside of Rome, to say more than that is not as easy as one might wish. Usener suggested, as have many others, that we see the beginnings of Advent in the fourth canon of a Council of Saragossa in 380. That canon urges the constant presence of the faithful in the church, calling on them not to stay at home or run off to the country or the mountains during a period of twenty-one continuous days, beginning from December 17 and reaching to the Epiphany.

"In spite of many shifts and changes, that date is still the most common for the beginning of the 'Great O' antiphons that have characterized vespers (and perhaps lauds originally) during the latter days of Advent from perhaps as early as the seventh century."--Thomas Talley

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