EF Rubrics for Lights at Vigil
  • trentonjconn
    Posts: 539
    At what point in the EF do the lights come on at the vigil, rubrically? Is the practice, in any form of the Vigil, of keeping the church dark during all of the OT readings actually traditional, or one of those things which is pseudo-traditional?
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,945
    Pseudo-trad. My pastor believes that Saint Meinrad’s invented it in the 70s. It’s dramatic for its own sake.

    Mysteriously, no one seems to have asked about electric lights in the period 1900 to 1955. Before the reform, the lamps were lit from the flame taken from the fire during the Exultet, and after it’s a bit ambiguous — since they were, but are no longer, supposed to be snuffed during the Benedictus at Tenebrae of Thursday — so you can start with them lit if you wish. Or they thought that it was obvious to treat them like the existing lamps.
    Thanked by 1trentonjconn
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,371
    In the period from 1900 to 1955 it was customary for the celebration to begin soon after mid-day, to which time nones had migrated. So it is unlikely that anybody would have been thinking about electric lights.
    Thanked by 2tomjaw trentonjconn
  • FSSPmusic
    Posts: 209
    It's made up. Let's hope it was only intended as dramatic effect, not as symbolism that the Old Testament represents darkness and the New Testament light. The third Lumen Christi is the proper time to illuminate the whole church. I wrote an article on this topic last year:
    https://www.ccwatershed.org/2023/04/12/easter-vigil-illumination/
    Thanked by 2trentonjconn tomjaw
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,945
    @a_f_hawkins that’s not right. I am a fan of the original times including anticipation to the usual hour of Terce. But they began _quite_ early sometimes just after sunrise, particularly if they conferred ordinations (the one thing removed in 1957, when they answered a bunch of dubia, which I’d keep from the whole reform), and Easter occurs in March and in April, not months known for good weather or clear skies. So it’s perfectly possible, particularly for the twelve prophecies, to need additional light, hence lighting the lamps — but that doesn’t rule out electric light.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,371
    I am aware that the rules about timing were treated laxly, but the editions of Fortescue and Fortescue/O'Connel that I have checked each have a paragraph stating "The function begins after None"
  • Richard MixRichard Mix
    Posts: 2,767
    The instruction for the congregation to squelch the Light of Christ before the Lessons has always struck me as dubious (this year's Vatican broadcast doesn't show this part, but I recall watching it performed rather sheepishly in the past). This year we sang the first third of Gloria in excelsis in the dark. Then there was a second relighting of the candles before the Affirmation of Faith, followed by yet another blowing out.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,945
    The function begins after None. That's not the dispute. It's just that None was not said at midday during the Triduum in the twentieth century; the functions were in the morning, as they had been since St Pius V made it mandatory, e.g. at Westminster Cathedral, the vigil began at 9 AM. The rubric was that everything had to be in the morning, but how early it began, particularly the vigil, was a matter of local custom, and in some places, this meant a very early vigil, around six.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 3,371
    Ah! I had not realised how deformed things had become. No wonder that PiusXII had set up a Commission of Reform.
  • DL
    Posts: 71
    730am at the Lateran in days of yore.
  • MatthewRoth
    Posts: 1,945
    The solution was not to change things. It was to insist that the hour of Terce be the earliest. He was simply wrong to deform the liturgy.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,704
    Ah! I had not realised how deformed things had become. No wonder that PiusXII had set up a Commission of Reform.


    So now (those following the post 57 books) have the stupidity of Tenebrae occurring in the morning. The stupid made up playing with candles and promises at the Vigil, and half the Office of our greatest Feast abbreviated or forgotten.