08 January 2012

Looking ahead...

...a friend noted that this year, the 25th of March falls on the Fifth Sunday in Lent.  Which has priority?

I'd draw attention to the rubric found on page 960 of Lutheran Service Book:  Altar Book:

It is appropriate to observe this feast day in all its fullness during Lent.  However, according to historical precedent, when the Annunciation falls during Holy Week or on Easter Day (or also on the Fifth Sunday in Lent in the one-year series), it should not be observed at those times but may be transferred to a weekday following the Second Sunday of Easter.  

Thus, acceding to our rite, it would be appropriate for those of you who follow the Three-Year lectionary to observe the Feast of the Annunciation on March 25 and simply omit the fifth Sunday in Lent.  However, since those parishes that follow the One-Year lectionary enter into Passion-tide on the fifth Sunday in Lent, it is NOT appropriate for Annunciation to replace the observance of Judica.  Thus, just as there is a difference between the lectionaries on the observance of Transfiguration, so there is also a difference this year on the priority of Annunciation.  Three-year folks may (and really ought*) to celebrate it; one year folks will have to wait till after Judica to celebrate it.

*See the footnote on p. xi of Lutheran Service Book:

The observances listed in boldface are principal feasts of Christ and are normally observed when they occur on a Sunday.  


Terry Maher said...

Scratching my head on this one (not the first time with LSB). The traditional practice when the "one-year" lectionary was just the lectionary (with vatiations here and there) was to move it to 26 March if it fell on a Sunday before Holy Week or Easter Week, and in years where 26 March falls on a Sunday in either week and therefore so will 26 March, then transfer it to the Monday after the Octave of Easter (ie the Monday after Quasimodo).

The Eastern Church doesn't move the Annunciation for nuttin, and celebrates it right along with whatever it falls on.

I'd be about to say once again the "one year" shows itself to be not quite the "historic". Yet, in the one yaer calendar on the synod's website, Judica is shown as also the Annunciation this year, as it should be.

Judas H calendrical Priest, what a stir this would all be if the Annunciation were also New Years as it once was!

Chris said...


Slight correction for the Eastern Rite. Whenever Annunciation (which is a second class feast) falls on a Sunday during Lent, the hymns of the Resurrection are sung alongside those of Annunciation. The only time it is moved is if it should ever occur during Bright Week.

Fr. Weedon,

Being not as much of an expert on WEstern Liturgics as I am Eastern, I would think that there would be some sort of combination of both the fifth Sunday and the Annunciation. Annunciation's place in Lent is particularly appropriate and should not be discarded during the bright sadness.

Also, what historical precedent. Whenever the LCMS mentions "historical precedent" it seems that they only mean within the last 50-75 years. That's hardly historical. What do the Magdeburg hymn books say about such a coincidence of feasts? There you would have much more "historical precedent."

William Weedon said...

Terry and Chris,

Lutheran practice on this was somewhat varied. In Saxony, for example, even to the time of Bach, Annunication would actually BUMP Palm Sunday if it fell, say, on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, or Easter (see Stiller, p. 56). The Magdeburg Book contains the data for the services, but has nothing to say about WHEN it would be observed if it fell on Judica. Herl notes that if it fell during Holy Week, it was moved to another date - and the general nature of his note suggests strongly that the church orders were not uniform in WHEN it was to be moved - what they were rather insistent on is that it IS a major feast that ought be observed, even if it needs to be moved due to when it falls in a given year. What is of interest as well is that Lossius notes that this is also the day our Lord was crucified for us - a long remembrance of that ancient Jewish thought about the conception and death date of a great prophet coinciding!

William Weedon said...


It occurs to me that you are correct and that I read the rubric in the wrong manner. It is not saying that the one-year folks would transfer to after easter. It is saying that it ought not bump Judica; and thus if it falls that day, may be observed following it, but not during Holy Week or the Easter Octave. Thanks for clarifying that.

William Weedon said...

P.S. I fixed the original post to reflect that.

Terry Maher said...

Well thanks, Chris! I did not know that. If I recall, there are special liturgies for when the Annunciation falls on something else in Lent, even Good Friday. But I didn't know about the Bright Week thing, anything I'd read -- well to be more accurate, recall reading -- was about Lenten observance.

Chris said...

Terry and fr. Weedon,

Sorry, I was not entirely correct. With regards to the Eastern Practice of Annunciation, it is still correct that if Annunciation coincides with a Sunday, that both the Resurrectional hymns and the hymns of the feast are combined. However, Annunciation is never transferred, not even in bright week. I don't want to get into all the rules as to what office is where and when per the Typikon. The feast is never transferred!

Christopher Esget said...

That rubric could be written better; I understood it to mean that, if it falls on Judica, it needs to be observed after Quasimodo Geniti. That's what I've published, so I think I may stick with it, although perhaps it would be nice to turn the Wednesday after Judica into an Annunciation mass...

George said...

Being a three year guy, I'll celebrate the Downfall of Sauron. March 25th is the day the One Ring went into the fire.

Also, I'll celebrate the Annunciation of Our Lord. Whether or not we get those bulletin insert propers from CPH. We'll print 'em out from Service Builder if we have to. :)