Tuesday, 14 June 2011


The blogger Ex Fide has put up some photos of the magnificent Vigil of Pentecost at St Magnus the Martyr on Saturday. See here. It really was breathtaking.

It is likely enough that only a handful of churches worldwide celebrated the Vigil of Pentecost, still less procured a High Mass. How many of these churches are in communion with Rome?


  1. ...and how many of them were undeniably valid and offered at the "right" time of day and were not an exercise in archaeology but simply the natural expression of their normal spirituality and belief? ;o)

  2. Many churches celebrated the vigil for Pentecost. But you are correct. I suspect most are not in communion with Rome.


  3. I believe that John (Ad Orientem) may be suffering from a misapprehension.

    I thank him for posting the link to a few, most enjoyable, short excerpts of film footage depicting the Vigil service as celebrated by Our Great Lord and Father Kirill, Most Holy Patriarch of Moscow and All the Russias, this year at the Trinity-St-Sergius Lavra. It is always good to watch our Primate officiate at the Divine Services on the Great Feasts of the liturgical year.

    Nevertheless, this is not the “Vigil of Pentecost” to which either Patricius or Canon Jerome has been referring.

    In the Western Rite, the service on the Eve of Pentecost resembles that of Holy Saturday, if the traditional usage—that form generally employed in the West before the mutilations imposed by the Anti-Christ of Rome Pius XII were introduced—be followed.

    The Orthodox Byzantine Rite prescribes a ‘standard’ Vigil service—an aggregation of Great Vespers, Festal Mattins, and the First Hour—to begin on the evening of the Saturday immediately before Whit Sunday. The Roman Rite, on the other hand, had a service that began with six Old Testament prophecies, continued with a solemn blessing of the font in the baptistery, followed with the Great Litany of Saints, and concluded with a celebration of the Eucharistic Liturgy.

    I have been discussing with Rubricarius whether this Western form might represent some ancient ‘Vesperal’ celebration, to what extent it preserves the notion of specified ‘baptismal’ days, and whether it might actually exhibit an older liturgical tradition.

  4. Do some Anglo-Catholics still baptize on Pentecost? Why call it Whitsunday if no baptisms are celebrated?

    The Vatican should permit adult baptism and confirmation on Whitsun Eve for both E&W and Scotland. The full medieval Pentecost Vigil liturgy should also be permitted. The archaeologizers will whine. Still, baptisms and confirmations at the Easter Vigil aren't traditional for northern Europeans.

    sortacatholic (not English, no Whitsunday)

  5. The difference between the Western and Byzantine praxis at Pentecost is interesting.

    Was there ever a Vesperal Liturgy for Pentecost akin to Holy Saturday, the Vigil of Theophany etc? The fact that 'As many who are baptised in Christ' is sung in place of 'Holy God' suggests baptisms must have been associated with Pentecost at one time.

    When did the Byzantine rite develop the afterfeast of Pentecost? Again interesting that in the Byzantine rite this week is fast free yet the Roman rite has the (relatively late) Pentecost Octave with the ancient Ember Days.