Friday, June 27, 2008

San Zanipolo

This day I'm sick at home, after getting through the last few days of work feeling worse and worse...

To distract from coughing, it seems an idea to mention a bit about the two saints of yesterday, John and Paul - who give their joint name, strangely changed, to a church in Venice: "San Zanipolo"!

The Breviary Lesson(s) tell the tale of their martyrdom under Julian the Apostate: apparently the exact details of their suffering for Christ are uncertain, but their cultus in Rome dates from the 4th Century, and of course one splendid feature of this is their mention in the very Canon of the Mass, whereby at every altar they have been remembered for the past 1600 years, just before that other famous pair, SS Cosmas and Damian.

(Guéranger adds a nice though apocryphal detail: precisely a year to the day after compassing the deaths of John and Paul, the wicked Julian perished in misery, having been soundly trounced by the Persians; his last words being, "Thou hast conquered, O Galilean".)

An enjoyable if embroidered version of their history is given in the incomparable Golden Legend.

Their Office in the '62 Breviary, besides the proper Lesson (condensed from Lessons iv-vi of earlier editions), features also two proper responsories (equivalent to R/. iv and R/. v in earlier editions), proper psalm antiphons used for both Lauds and Vespers (5 in total) and proper Magnificat and Benedictus antiphons (earlier editions including one for 1st Vespers), and of course a proper Collect. The best I can do is refer the reader to all these on another website.

Their Mass, also, is at least partially proper; the Collect, Epistle, Offertory and Postcommunion are special to this Mass. However, the Introit, Gradual and Alleluia are shared by other proper Masses - the latter two being used for feasts of holy brothers. Similarly, the Gospel and Communion come from the Common Masses of Martyrs, while the Secret is a modified form of one of those for Martyr-Bishops.

It interests me how many of the Masses of the very ancient saints of the Roman Calendar are composed in this manner out of parts, some shared with other Masses, some proper.

Apparently the Leonine Sacramentary had a proper Preface for these saints, but I don't have this to hand at present!

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