On the Easter Octave

From the Rev. John Mason Neale’s


The Octave of Easter is, with us, Low Sunday, probably from the contrast between the rapturous joy of Easter, and the more ordinary routine to which we now return. At the same time, in every part of the Western Church, it is a Sunday of the first class. In the Latin Church, it is the Dominica in Albis, that is, in Albis depositis, because then the recently baptized laid aside their white robes. But the Germans, translating exactly from the Latin, call it der weisse Sontag, for precisely the reason that it is not white. It is as often called the Sunday Quasimodo, from the introit. In the canton Soleure, in Switzerland, it is Bean Sunday, on account of a certain distribution of beans which then takes place, and by which the translation of some of the Martyrs of the Theban Legion is commemorated. In the East, it is New Sunday, with reference to the Renovation of all things by our Lord’s Resurrection.

Mundi renovatio

Nova parit gaudia :

Refurgente Domino

Conrefurgent omnia.

It is thus named also by the Armenians. The Greeks frequently call it Antipascha, and also S. Thomas Sunday, in commemoration of his conversion on that day.

While in Easter-tide, we must not forget to mention the Annotine Easter. This was a commemoration of the preceding Easter, made on that day in the following year. There is a sequence for this festival, the only one with which we are acquainted, beginning;

Surgit Christus cum trophaeo,

Jam ex Agno factus Leo.

As, however, Annotine Easter fell often in Lent, and sometimes in Passion-tide, it was in most Churches transferred either to the Sunday Quasimodo, or to the fourth Sunday after Easter, or in some cases, to Saturday in the Octave. The origin of its institution seems to have been the natural wish of those baptized at Easter, to celebrate their anniversary of their spiritual illumination.

A French proverb about Easter-tide is:

Entre Paques et la Pentecoute

Le dessert n’ eft que d’une croute.

The Second Sunday after Easter. This, in the Eastern Church, is the Sunday of the Ointment-bearers, from the Gospel. In the Armenian Calendar, it is Green Sunday, because the Spring is now, at latest, bursting forth.

The Third Sunday after Easter. This, for a similar reason to that mentioned above, is, in the East the Sunday of the Paralytic. Why the Armenian Church calls it Beautiful Sunday, we know not.

The Fourth Sunday after Easter is, with the Greeks Mid-Pentecost, from dividing the time between Easter and Whitsunday. Also, from the Gospel, it is the Sunday of the Samaritan.

The fifth is Rogation Sunday, with the three Rogation Days following. In Germany this is Betsontag, with the same meaning: in other languages the Latin term seems almost invariably followed. The Week is in Germany the Betwoche ; in Anglo-Saxon, Gangwuca. The Oriental Church, retaining the old rule of admitting no fast between Easter and Pentecost, has no such season, and therefore no such name. The Gotho-Hispanic Church, wishing to observe the Rogations, and yet unwilling to break the canon, transferred them either to Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in the week of Pentecost, ir else to the Ides or to the Kalends of December. In the East, Rogation Sunday is the Sunday of the Blind Man, from the Gospel.


About Father Gregory

I am an Anglican Catholic Priest, currently residing in Orvelte, the Netherlands.
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