April 26: SS Cletus and Marcellinus

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In the 1963 monastic breviary, today is a memorial for St Cletus only.

Older breviaries, though, mark it as a semiduplex feast of both Popes SS Cletus and Marcellinus. Divinum Officium supplies the following reading for the saints:
Cletus was a Roman, the son of Emilian, of the Fifth Region of the city, and the street called Noble. He ruled the Church in the time of the Emperors Vespasian and Titus. In accordance with the precept of the Prince of the Apostles He ordained twenty-five Priests for the city. He was the first Pope who made use in his letters of the phrase "Health and Apostolic Benediction." When he had ruled the Church for twelve years, seven months, and two days, and brought it into an excellent state of order, in the reign of the Emperor Domitian, and the second persecution since the time of Nero, he was crowned with martyrdom, and buried on the Vatican mount, hard by the body of blessed Peter.
Marcellinus was a Roman; he ruled the Church from the year 296 to the year 304, during the savage persecution which was ordered by the Emperor Diocletian. He suffered through the false severity of those who blamed him as being too indulgent toward them who had fallen into idolatry, and for this reason also hath been slandered to the effect that he himself burnt incense to idols but this blessed Pope, on account of his confession of the faith, was put to death along with three other Christians, whose names are Claudius, Cyrinus, and Antoninus. At the command of the Emperor their bodies were cast out unburied, and lay so for thirty- six days. At the end of that time St Peter appeared in a dream to Blessed Marcellus, and in obedience to his command the said Marcellus went with certain Priests and Deacons, singing hymns, and carrying lights, and buried these four bodies honourably in the Cemetery of Priscilla upon the Salarian Way. Marcellinus ruled the Church for seven years, eleven months, and twenty-three days. During this time he held two Advent ordinations, and ordained at them four Priests, and five Bishops for divers Sees.

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Feast of St Mark/ANZAC Day



St Mark

Today is the feast of St Mark, the writer of the shortest of the four Gospels, and you can find the readings for the feast at Matins here.  St Mark was, according to the martyrology, the 'disciple and interpreter of the apostle St. Peter'.

The entry for today goes on to say that:
he wrote his gospel at the request of the faithful at Rome, and taking it with him, proceeded to Egypt and founded a church at Alexandria, where he was the first to preach Christ. Afterwards, being arrested for the faith, he was bound, dragged over stones, and endured great afflictions. Finally he was confined to prison, where, being comforted by the visit of an angel, and even by an apparition of our Lord himself, he was called to the heavenly kingdom in the eighth year of the reign of Nero.
The Greater Litanies 

This is also the day on which the Litany of the saints is traditionally sung as part of a procession at Mass.  It can also be said privately after Lauds, and those who are bound to say the office (ie clergy and religious) are required either to participate in a procession or say the Litany privately.

ANZAC Day

In Australia and New Zealand, it is however, ANZAC Day, the anniversary of one of the most horrendous defeats of World War I, at Gallipoli in 2015, but a defeat that bought forth a new sense of nationhood in those countries.  In the older calendar, there is a special indult allowing the Mass of the day to be replaced with a requiem for the souls of those killed in war; in the newer calendar, the day actually has its own propers, and St Mark is transferred to tomorrow.

So if you would, please remember to say a prayer for the repose of  the souls of those who served in war.

St Mellitus (April 24)


A page divided into 12 sections, each section displaying a scene from the bible
St Augustine Gospels

In the English Congregation, today is traditionally the feast of St Mellitus, the first Bishop of London in the Saxon period and the third Archbishop of Canterbury.

St Mellitus was a member of the Gregorian mission sent to England to convert the Anglo-Saxons from their native paganism to Christianity, arriving around 601 AD with a group of clergy sent by St Gregory the Great to augment S Augustine's group.

St Mellitus was the recipient of a letter from Pope Gregory I known as the Epistola ad Mellitum, preserved by St Bede, which suggested the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons be undertaken gradually, integrating pagan rituals and customs. In 610, Mellitus returned to Italy to attend a council of bishops, and returned to England bearing papal letters to some of the missionaries.

St Mellitus was exiled from London by the pagan successors to his patron, King Sæberht of Essex, following the latter's death around 616. King Æthelberht of Kent, Mellitus' other patron, died at about the same time, forcing him to take refuge in Gaul. Mellitus returned to England the following year, after Æthelberht's successor had been converted to Christianity, but he was unable to return to London, whose inhabitants remained pagan. Mellitus was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury in 619. During his tenure, he miraculously saved the cathedral, and much of the town of Canterbury, from a fire. After his death in 624, Mellitus was revered as a saint.

Two books are associated with St Mellitus and may have been bought with him to England: the St Augustine Gospels (pictured above), and a copy of the Rule of St Benedict (MS Oxford Bodleian Hatton 48), though of course the latter claim is disputed by many modern historians, who assign the manuscript a later date.

Traditional Benedictine Office - Ordo for first week after Easter Octave (April 23-29)

This week we move into the season of Eastertide, which has special rubrics - in particular a lot fewer antiphons!

It also marks the start of the 'summer' timetable in the Office, so that ordinary days only have one short reading each day (which is the same each day during Eastertide) at Matins (you can find the reading and responsory over at my Lectio Divina Blog).


Sunday 23 April – Low Sunday, Class I 

Matins: Invitatory, hymn, antiphons, Gospel, readings and responsories for the Sunday

Lauds: Antiphons, MD 341* ff with festal psalms 

Prime to None: Antiphons etc MD 344* ff

Vespers: II Vespers of Low Sunday – psalms of Sunday under one antiphon; chapter etc from I Vespers; Magnificat antiphon, MD 345*

Monday 24 April  Class IV [EF: St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen, Class III]

Matins: Ordinary of Eastertide: Invitatory, Alleluia...; hymn, Rex sempiterne; one antiphon per Nocturn (alleluia...); versicles, short lesson (Os 6:1-3); chapter (Rom 6:4) with psalms of the day

Lauds to Vespers: Ordinary of Eastertide, MD 346*ff; canticle antiphons for Lauds and Vespers, MD 352*; collect, MD 344*

Tuesday 25 April  The Greater Litanies and St Mark [Australia: ANZAC Day]


Matins: All from the Common of Apostles in Eastertide except for the readings and responsories, of the feast)

Lauds to None: All from the Common of Apostles in Paschaltide, MD (23)ff, except for the collect, MD [113]

Vespers: Common of Apostles in Paschaltide MD (20), except for the versicle and Magnificat antiphon, MD (26) and collect, MD [113]

Wednesday 26 April  St Cletus, memorial [EF: SS Cletus and Marcellinus, Class III]

Ordinary of Eastertide, MD 346*ff; canticle antiphons for Lauds and Vespers, MD 352-3*; collect, MD 344*; for the commemoration at Lauds, MD [113-4]

Thursday 27 April  Class IV; St Peter Canisius, memorial [EF: Class III]


Ordinary of Eastertide, MD 346*ff; canticle antiphons for Lauds and Vespers, MD 353*; collect, MD 344*; for the commemoration at Lauds, MD [114-5]

Friday 28 April – Class IV [EF: St Paul of the Cross]

Ordinary of Eastertide, MD 346*ff; canticle antiphons for Lauds and Vespers, MD 353*; collect, MD 344*

Saturday 29 April – SS Odo, Majolus, Odilo and Hugh, Class III [EF: St Peter of Verona]

Matins: Invitatory, hymn and one reading of the feast; psalms of the day with antiphons of Eastertide; chapter, Eccles 17:7-8

Lauds: Antiphons for the feast with festal psalms, MD [115] ff

Prime: Antiphon 1 of Lauds with psalms of Saturday

Terce to None: Antiphons and texts of the feast, MD [117] ff

I Vespers of Second Sunday after Easter (Good Shepherd Sunday), MD 354* ff

Traditional Benedictine Office - Ordo for Octave of Easter (April 16-22)

For the next week the Office is essentially the same each day, a seven day Sunday....

Sunday 16 April – Easter Sunday, Class I with a Class I Octave

Matins and Lauds are included in the Vigil, so do not need to be said by those who attend it. 

Matins: If said, all of the feast, with twelve readings and responsories

Lauds: If said, Psalm scheme 2 (92, etc), MD 328*

Prime to Vespers: Antiphons of Lauds with proper texts of the feast, MD 328* ff

Compline: Marian Antiphon, Regina Caeli henceforward

Monday 17 April – Monday in the Octave of Easter, Class I

Matins: Invitatory antiphon and hymn of Easter Sunday, antiphon of the day, ferial psalms, three readings

Lauds to Compline: All as for Easter Sunday including psalms, except for Benedictus and Magnificat antiphons and collect, MD 335*

Tuesday 18 April – Tuesday in Octave of Easter, Class I

Matins: Invitatory antiphon and hymn of Easter Sunday, antiphon of the day, ferial psalms, three readings

Lauds to Compline: All as for Easter Sunday including psalms, except for Benedictus and Magnificat antiphons and collect, MD 336*

Wednesday 19 April – Wednesday in the Octave of Easter, Class I

Matins: Invitatory antiphon and hymn of Easter Sunday, antiphon of the day, ferial psalms, three readings

Lauds to Compline: All as for Easter Sunday including psalms, except for the Benedictus and Magnificat antiphons, and collect, MD 336-7*

Thursday 20 April – Thursday in the Octave of Easter, Class I

Matins: Invitatory antiphon and hymn of Easter Sunday, antiphon of the day, ferial psalms, three readings

Lauds to Compline: All as for Easter Sunday including psalms, except for Benedictus and Magnificat antiphons and collect, MD 337*

Friday 21 April – Friday in the Octave of Easter, Class I

Matins: Invitatory antiphon and hymn of Easter Sunday, antiphon of the day, ferial psalms, three readings

Lauds to Compline: All as for Easter Sunday including psalms, except for Benedictus and Magnificat antiphons and collect, MD 337-8*

Saturday 22 April – White Saturday in the Octave of Easter, Class I

Matins: Invitatory antiphon and hymn of Easter Sunday, antiphon of the day, ferial psalms, three readings

Lauds to None: All as for Easter Sunday including psalms, except for Benedictus antiphon and the collect, MD 338*

SEASON OF EASTERTIDE

I Vespers of Low Sunday, MD 339* ff

Traditional Benedictine Office - Ordo for Holy Week (9-15 April)

This week marks the start of Holy Week, and you can find the readings and responsories, as well as notes on where to find the chants for Matins of Palm Sunday here.

For notes on the rubrics of Holy Week more generally, follow the link here.

In essence, this is a week when you particularly need to keep your wits about you, since which hours of the Office you should say depends on which of the other Holy Week ceremonies you attend.

In addition, the Benedictine Office is abandoned for the Triduum in favour of the Roman. and with special rubrics for these three days.  The highlight of the week is always, in my view, the celebration of Tenebrae (Matins and Lauds, generally anticipated) each night (or very early morning).


Sunday 9 April – Second Passion Sunday or Palm Sunday, Class I

Matins: Ordinary of Passiontide; twelve readings and responsories of the Sunday

Lauds: Antiphons for the day, MD 255* with psalm scheme 1 (Ps 50, 117, 62); chapter etc for the day

Prime to None: Antiphons and chapter verses, MD 258* ff

Vespers: Psalms and antiphons of Sunday; chapter etc as per I Vespers; Magnificat antiphon, MD 260*

Monday 10 April – Monday in Holy Week, Class I

Matins: Ordinary of Passiontide; three readings of the day

Lauds: Antiphons MD 260-1* with psalms of Monday; chapter, responsory and hymn of Passiontide, MD 240* ff; Benedictus antiphon and collect, MD 261*

Prime: Antiphon 1 of Lauds (MD 260*) with psalms etc of Monday

Terce to None: Antiphons 2, 3 and 5 of Lauds respectively, MD 260-1*; chapter and versicle of Passiontide; collect of Lauds

Vespers: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; Ordinary of Passiontide, MD 244* ff; Magnificat antiphon and collect, MD 261-2*

Tuesday 11 April - Tuesday in Holy Week, Class I

Matins: Ordinary of Passiontide; three readings of the day

Lauds to None: Antiphons MD 262* with psalms of Tuesday; Ordinary of Passiontide; Benedictus antiphon and collect, MD 263*

Vespers: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; chapter, responsory and hymn for the season, MD 244* ff; Magnificat antiphon and collect of the day, MD 263*

Wednesday 12 April – Wednesday in Holy Week, Class I

Matins: Ordinary of Passiontide; three readings of the day

Lauds to None: Antiphons MD 263-4* with psalms of Wednesday; Ordinary of Passiontide, MD 240*; Benedictus antiphon and collect, MD 264*

Vespers: Antiphons and psalms of the psalter; Ordinary of Passiontide, MD 244* ff; Magnificat antiphon and collect, MD 265*

Thursday 13 April - Maundy Thursday, Class I

Note: No introductory prayer or hymns are said, and the Gloria Patri is not said at the end of each psalm. 

Matins: (Tenebrae)  - as for the Roman Office, nine psalms and readings

Lauds: MD 265*ff  [Note: Outside a monastery, normally sung in combination with Matins the night before as Tenebrae]

Prime to None: MD 279* ff

Vespers: MD 296* ff, Magnificat antiphon of Maundy Thursday, MD 308* [Note: Not said by those who attend the evening Mass]

Compline: MD 305* 

Friday 14 – Good Friday, Class I

See MD 309*ff.  Note that:
  • There are no opening prayers
  • The Gloria Patri is not said at the end of each psalm
  • The psalms etc for Prime to None are set out at MD 279* ff
  • ‘Mortem autem crucis’ is added to the antiphon Christus factus est, MD 282* at the end of each hour
Matins: (Tenebrae)  - as for the Roman Office, nine psalms and readings

Lauds: MD 309*ff [Note: Normally sung the night before in combination with Matins as Tenebrae]

Prime to None: MD 279* ff

Vespers: MD 296* ff, Magnificat antiphon of Good Friday, MD 308* [Not said by those who attend the afternoon liturgy]

Compline: MD 305*

Saturday 15 April   – Holy Saturday

See MD 318* ff.  Note that:
  • There are no opening prayers 
  • The Gloria Patri is not said at the end of each psalm
  • The psalms and antiphons to be used are set out at MD 279* ff
  • Propter quod…’ is added to the antiphon Christus factus est, MD 282* at the end of each hour
Matins: (Tenebrae)  - as for the Roman Office, nine psalms and readings

Lauds: MD 318*ff [Note: Normally sung the night before in combination with Matins as Tenebrae]

Prime to None: MD 279* ff

Vespers: MD 296* ff, Magnificat antiphon of Holy Saturday, MD 308*

Compline: MD 305*  [Not said by those who attend the Vigil]