Thursday, January 30, 2014

More from the Candlemas Procession (Feburary 2): Adorna thalamum

Adorna thalamum is another of the three antiphons used in the Candlemas Procession, along with Ecce Dominus Noster and Lumen ad Revelationem Gentium.  The antiphon is sung here, I believe, by the Pro Cantione Antiqua; it's beautiful.

CPDL has the Latin words for the antiphon, along with a couple of variants, and an English translation for all three versions:
Adorna thalamum tuum, Sion, et suscipe Regem Christum:
amplectere Mariam, quae est coelestis porta:
[amplectere Messiam gratulare huiusce matri:]
ipsa enim portat Regem gloriae novi luminis.
Subsistit Virgo, adducens manibus Filium ante luciferum genitum:
quem accipiens Simeon in ulnas suas praedicavit populis
Dominum eum esse vitae et mortis et Salvatorem mundi.

Variant 1
Adorna thalamum tuum, Syon, et suscipe regem regum Christum:
amplectere Mariam, quae novo lumine
subsistens Virgo portat regem gloriae.
Hunc accipiens Simeon exclamavit et dixit:
Nunc dimittis servum tuum Domine,
Secundum verbum tuum in pace.

Variant 2
Adorna thalamum tuum, Sion, et suscipe Regem Christum:
Quem virgo concepit Virgo peperit quem genuit adoravit.

Adorn thy bridal chamber, O Sion, and receive Christ the King:
embrace Mary, who is the gate of heaven,
[embrace the Messiah and congratulate this mother}
who herself truly brings the glorious King of new light.
She remains a virgin, though bearing in her hands a Son begotten before the daystar,
whom Simeon, taking him in his arms, proclaimed to the people
to be the Lord of life and death, and Saviour of the world.

Variant 1
Adorn thy bridal chamber, O Sion, and receive Christ the king of kings:
embrace Mary, who remaining virgin, in new light,
carries the king of glory.
Whom Simeon took in his arms, exclaimed, and said:
"Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace,
according to thy word".

Variant 2
Adorn thy bridal chamber, O Sion, and receive Christ the King:
He whom the Virgin conceived and bore, she also worshipped.

Here's the full chant score:

Here's another video of the same chant, sung quite beautifully (and live, I think, in 2012 at the Church of Saint Theresa of Avila in Budapest, Hungary) by the Schola Hungarica. Strangely enough, the schola seems not to be singing the Latin text.   It could be that they are singing in the vernacular (Hungarian?); if anybody knows, could they let me know in the comments?  The video is labeled "Adorna thalamum," and the music is definitely right; occasionally, too, we get a word in its right place ("Miriam," for instance).

This page at the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913 describes the Candlemas Procession, and notes that St. John of Damascus wrote the text for this antiphon, which is "one of the few pieces which, text and music, have been borrowed by the Roman Church from the Greeks. The other antiphons are of Roman origin."

William Byrd set this text, and so did Orlando di Lassus; here's a video of di Lassus', sung at the Church of St. Luke in the Fields, as part of their Candlemas Procession, it appears, from 2013. They are singing the main Latin text above.

Here's another Candlemas liturgy, posted at
Candlemas Procession
From the Book of Occasional Services

This procession is intended for use immediately before the Holy Eucharist on the Feast of the Present of Our Lord in the Temple

When circumstances permit, the congregation gathers at a place apart from the church so that all may go into the church in procession. If necessary, however, the procession takes place within the church. In this case it is suitable that the celebrant begin the rite standing just inside the door of the church.

All are provided with unlighted candles. A server holds the celebrant's candle until the procession begins. The congregation stands facing the celebrant.

The Celebrant greets the people with these words

Thanks be to God.
People Light and peace in Jesus Christ our Lord.
The following canticle is then sung or said, during which the candles are lighted.

A Light to enlighten the nations,
and the glory of your people Israel,
A Light to enlighten the nations,
and the glory of your people Israel.

Lord, you now have set your servant free*
to go in peace as you have promised.
A Light to enlighten the nations,
and the glory of your people Israel.

For these eyes of mine have seen the Savior,*
whom you have prepared for all the world to see.
A Light to enlighten the nations,
and the glory of your people Israel.

The Celebrant then says the following prayer:
Let us pray.

God our Father, source of all light, today you revealed to the aged Simeon you light which enlightens the nations. Fill our hearts with the light of faith, that we who bear these candles may walk in the path of goodness, and come to the Light that shines forever, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Procession
Let us go forth in peace.
In the Name of Christ. Amen.
During the procession, all carry lighted candles; and appropriate hymns, psalms, or anthems are sung.

At a suitable place, the procession may halt while the following or some other appropriate Collect is said:
Let us pray.

O God, you have made this day holy by the presentation of your Son in the Temple, and by the purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary: Mercifully grant that we, who delight in her humble readiness to be the birth-giver of the Only-begotten, may rejoice for ever in our adoption as his sisters and brother; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The following antiphon and psalm is appropriate as the procession approaches the Altar
We have waited in silence on your loving-kindness, O Lord, in the midst of your temple. Your praise, like your Name, O God, reaches to the world's end; your right hand is full of justice.

In place of the long antiphon given above, this shorter form may be used with the appointed Psalm
We have waited on your loving kindness, O Lord, in the midst of your temple.

Psalm 48:1-2,10-13
Great is the LORD, and highly to be praised; *
in the city of our God is his holy hill.
Beautiful and lofty, the joy of all the earth, is the hill of Zion, *
the very center of the world and the city of the great King.
Let Mount Zion be glad
and the cities of Judah rejoice, *
because of your judgments.
Make the circuit of Zion;
walk round about her; *
count the number of her towers.
Consider well her bulwarks;
examine her strongholds; *
that you may tell those who come after.
This God is our God for ever and ever; *
he shall be our guide for evermore.

On arrival in the sanctuary, the celebrant goes to the usual place, and the Eucharist begins with the Gloria in excelsis.

After the Collect of the Day, all extinguish their candles.

If desired, the candles of the congregation may be lighted again at the time of the dismissal, and borne by them as they leave the church.

And here's some interesting history about this feast:
Egeria, writing around AD 380, attests to a feast of the Presentation in the Jerusalem Church. It was kept on February 14th. The day was kept by a procession to the Constantinian basilica of the Resurrection, with a homily on Luke 2:22-39. However, the feast had no proper name at this point; it was simply called the 40th day after Epiphany. This shows that the Jerusalem church celebrated Jesus' birth on the Epiphany Feast (as is common in some Eastern Churches today).

In regions where Christ's birth was celebrated on December 25th, the feast began to be celebrated on February 2nd, where it is kept in the West today. In 542, the Emperor Justinian introduced the feast to the entire Eastern Roman empire in thanksgiving for the end to a great pestilence afflicting the city of Constantinople. Perhaps this is when Pope Gregory I brought the feast to Rome. Either way, by the 7th century, it is contained in the Gelasianum Sacramentary. Pope Sergius (687-701) introduced the procession to the Candlemas service. The blessing of candles did not come into common use until the 11th century.

While some scholars have asserted that the Candlemas feast was developed in the Middle Ages to counteract the pagan feasts of Imbolc and Lupercalia, many scholars reject this, based on Medieval documents. While the feast does coincide with these two pagan holidays, the origins of the feast are based in Scriptural chronology. Some superstitions developed about Candlemas, including the belief that if one does not take down Christmas decorations by Candlemas, traces of the holly and berries will bring about the death of the person involved. In past times, Candlemas was seen as the end of the Christmas season.

Candlemas Day was also the day when some cultures predicted weather patterns. Farmers believed that the remainder of winter would be the opposite of whatever the weather was like on Candlemas Day. An old English song goes:

    If Candlemas be fair and bright,
    Come winter, have another flight;
    If Candlemas bring clouds and rain,
    Go winter, and come not again.

Thus if the sun cast a shadow on Candlemas day, more winter was on the way; if there was no shadow, winter was thought to be ending soon. This practice led to the folklore behind "Groundhog's Day," which falls on Candlemas Day.

Today, the feast is still celebrated on February 14th in some Eastern Churches, including the Armenian Church, where the feast is called, "The Coming of the Son of God into the Temple." Most churches celebrate it on February 2nd.

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