Transcribed by William Stuart French, Jr
Dedicated to Eunice P. Smith Roberts
This article is reprinted here with the kind permission of Kevin Knight, who has undertaken a project to transcribe an online version of the 1907 Catholic Encyclopedia.
While this article is taken from a volume written well before the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council, it is still relevant from an historical perspective, allowing us to study the evolution of the season we call Eastertide.
The season now begins on Easter Sunday and lasts seven weeks, ending with Second Vespers (Evening Prayer II) of Pentecost.
I. LITURGICAL ASPECT
The fifty days from Easter Sunday to Pentecost are called by the older liturgists "Quinquagesima paschalis" or "Quin. lætitiæ".
The octave of Easter which closed after Saturday has its own peculiar Office, since this octave is part and complement of the Easter Solemnity.
Paschal Tide in the liturgical books commences with the First Vespers of Low Sunday and ends
before the First Vespers of Trinity Sunday.
On Easter Sunday the Armenian Church keeps the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed and on Saturday of Easter Week the Decollation of Saint John.
The Greek Church on Friday of Easter Week celebrates the feast of Our Lady, the Living Fountain (shrine at Constantinople).
The Sundays from Easter to Ascension Day, besides being called the First, Second (etc.) Sunday
after Easter, have their own peculiar titles.
Paschal Tide is a season of joy.
The colour for the Office de tempore is white; the Te Deum and Gloria are recited every day even in the ferial Office.
On Sundays the "Asperges" is replaced by the "Vidi aquam" which recalls the solemn baptism of Easter eve.
There is no feast day from Easter until Ascension.
The Armenians during this period do away even with the abstinence on Fridays.
Prayers are said standing, not kneeling. Instead of the "Angelus," the "Regina cæli" is recited.
From Easter to Ascension many churches, about the tenth century, said only one Nocturn at
Matins; even some particular churches in the city of Rome adopted this custom from the Teutons
(Bäumer, Gesch. des Breviers, 312).
Gregory VII limited this privilege to the week of Easter and of Pentecost.
Some dioceses in Germany however, retained it far into the nineteenth century for 40 days after Easter.
In every Nocturn the three psalms are said under one antiphon.
The Alleluia appears as an independent antiphon; an Alleluia is also added to all the antiphons,
responsories, and versicles, except to the versicles of the preces at Prime and Compline.
Instead of the "suffragia sanctorum" in the semidouble and ferial Offices a commemoration of the Holy Cross is used.
The iambic hymns have a special Easter doxology.
The feasts of the holy Apostles and martyrs have their own commune from Easter to Pentecost.
At Mass the Alleluia is added to the Introit, Offertory and Communion; in place of the Gradual two Alleluias are sung followed by two verses, each with an Alleluia; there is also a special Preface for Paschal Time.
- The first is the "Dominica in albis", or Low Sunday.
In the Dioceses of Portugal and Brazil (also in the province of St. Louis, MO) on the Monday after Low Sunday is celebrated the feast of the Joys or Exultation of Mary at the Resurrection of her Son (double of the second class).
The Russians, on Tuesday of this week, go in procession to the cemeteries and place Easter eggs on the graves [Maltzew, Fasten-und Blumen-Triodion (Berlin 1899), 791].
- In the Latin Church the second Sunday is called from its Gospel the Sunday of the Good Shepherd and from the Introit "Misericordias Domini"; in many dioceses (Seville, Capuchins) it is called the feast of Our Lady Mother of the Good Shepherd (d.2nd cl.); at Jerusalem and in the churches of the Franciscans it is called the feast of the Holy Sepulchre of Christ; in the Greek Church it is called ion myrophoron (Sunday of the women who brought ointments to the sepulchre of Christ); the Armenians celebrate on this Sunday the dedication of the first Christian church on Mount Sion.
- The third Sunday is called from the Introit "Jubilate" and the Latin Church has assigned to it the feast of the Patronage of Saint Joseph (d. 2nd cl.); the Greeks call it the Sunday of the Paralytic, from its Gospel.
The Oriental Churches on Wednesday after the third Sunday celebrate with a very solemn Office and an octave the Mesopentekoste, the completion of the first half of Paschal Tide; it is the feast of the manifestation of the Messiah, the victory of Christ and the Church over Judaism
[Zeitschrift für katholische Theologie (1895), 169-177]; the Slav nations in this day have a solemn procession and benediction of their rivers (Nilles, Kal. II, 361).
- The fourth Sunday is called "Cantate"; by the Orientals it is called Sunday of the Samaritan Woman.
- The fifth Sunday, "Vocem jucunditatis" in the Orient, Sunday of the Man Born Blind.
In the Latin Church follow the Rogation Days (qv.); in the Greek Church on Tuesday is kept the apodosis or conclusion of the feast of Easter.
The Greeks sing the Canons of Easter up to this Tuesday in the same manner as during Easter
Week, whilst in the Latin Church the specific Easter Office terminates on Saturday following the
Thursday is the feast of the Ascension.
The Friday of this week, in Germany, is called Witterfreitag; the fields are blessed against frost and thunderstorms.
- Sunday within the octave of Ascension is called "Exaudi" from the Introit; in some dioceses it is called Feast of Our Lady, Queen of the Apostles (double major) or of the Cenacle (Charleston and Savannah, first class); in Rome it was called Sunday of the Roses ("Pascha rosarum" or "rosatum"), since in the Pantheon rose-leaves were thrown from the rotunda into the church; in the Greek and Russian Churches it is the feast of the 318 Fathers of the first Nicene Council; the Armenians call it the "second feast of the flowers", a repetition of Palm Sunday.
By older liturgists the week before Pentecost is called "Hebdomada expectationis", week of the expectation of the Holy Ghost.
On the Vigil of Pentecost the baptismal water is blessed in the Latin Church; in the Oriental Churches it this Saturday is the psychosabbaton (All Soul's Day); on this day the Greeks bless wheat cakes and have processions to the cemeteries.
II. IN CANON LAW
Paschal Tide is the period during which every member of the faithful who has attained the year of discretion is bound by the positive law of the Church to receive Holy Communion (Easter duty).
During the early Middle Ages from the time of the Synod of Agde (508), it was customary to
receive Holy Communion at least three times a year -- Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost.
A positive precept was issued by the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) and confirmed by the Council of Trent (Sess. XIII, can. ix).
According to these decrees the faithful of either sex, after coming to the age of discretion, must receive at least at Easter the Sacrament of the Eucharist (unless by the advice of the parish priest they abstain for a while).
Otherwise during life they are to be prevented from entering the church and when dead are to be denied Christian burial.
The paschal precept is to be fulfilled in one's parish church.
Although the precept of the Fourth Lateran to confess to the parish priest fell into disuse
and permission was given to confess anywhere, the precept of receiving Easter Communion in the
parish church is still in force where there are canonically-erected parishes.
The term Paschal Tide was usually interpreted to mean the two weeks between Palm and Low Sundays (Synod of Avignon, 1337); by Saint Antonine of Florence it was restricted to Easter Sunday, Monday and Tuesday by Angelo da Chiavasso it was defined as the period from Maundy Thursday to Low Sunday.
Eugene IV, 8 July, 1440, authoritatively interpreted it to mean the two weeks between Palm and Low Sundays [G. Allmang, Kölner Pastoralblatt (Nov 1910) 327 sq].
In later centuries the time has been variously extended: at Naples from Palm Sunday to Ascension; at Palermo from Ash Wednesday to Low Sunday.
In Germany, at an early date, the second Sunday after Easter terminated Paschal Tide, for which reason it was called Predigerkirchweih, because the hard Easter labour was over, or "Buch Sunday", the obstinate sinners putting off the fulfillment of the precept to the last day.
In the United States upon petition of the Fathers of the First Provincial Council of Baltimore Paschal Tide was extended by Pius VIII to the period from the first Sunday in Lent to Trinity Sunday (II Plen. Coun. Balt., n.257); in England it lasts from Ash Wednesday until Low Sunday; in Ireland from Ash Wednesday until the octave of SS. Peter and Paul, 6 July (O'Kane "Rubrics of the Roman Ritual" n.737; Slater, "Moral Theology" 578, 599); in Canada the duration of the Paschal Tide is the same as in the United States.
Kirchenlex., s.v.. Oesterliche Zeit; NILLES, Kal.
man., II, 337 sqq.; TONDINI, Calendrier
liturgique de la nation arnénienne (Rome, 1906);
BAUMSTARK, Festbrevier und Kirchenjahr
der syrischen Jakobiten (Paderborn, 1910).
Transcribed by William Stuart French, Jr
Dedicated to Eunice P. Smith Roberts
The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XI
Copyright © 1911 by Robert Appleton Company
Online Edition Copyright © 1999 by Kevin Knight
Nihil Obstat, February 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor
Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York
Reprinted by permission of copyright owner.
See New Advent Catholic Website
See also CNP Liturgical Planning for Eastertide, Year B