on Wednesdays and Fridays. Duringthe fourth century we see the development of particular feasts and seasons. Egeria mentions Lent, Easter, Pentecost and Epiphany, and indicates that her community in Spain was well aware of these feasts and seasons.

Lent and Holy Week In the second century we know that Easter was observed by some communities on the Sunday nearest Nisan 14, and at least by some in Asia Minor on Nisan 14 itself, giving rise to the Quartodeciman dispute. By the third century it seems that most churches were observing it on the Sunday nearest Nisan 14, though there is evidence that some communities adopted 25 March as the date. In the fourth century we witness the further development of a pre-Easter season period of fasting, evidence of which is already found in the second century in the controversy with Victor of Rome. Perhaps a number of factors coalesced to form Lent. The Syrian tradition apparently kept two vigils on the two nights before Pascha, thus extending the 'Easter' event over three days; some see here the beginning of the Triduum - Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Since Easter was a time for baptism, apparently a three-weekperiod of instruction and fasting for the baptismal candidates developed near it. Evidence has been adduced for Alexandria having a forty-day fast period following on from Epiphany, commemorating the temptations in the wilderness.16 At Jerusalem, with the building of churches on historical sites, the events there - witnessed by the countless pilgrims who wished to emulate them - commemorated the events from Palm Sunday and Maundy Thursday through to the resurrection of Easter Sunday. Egeria noted that on Palm Sunday the bishop and the people descended from the Mount of Olives, carrying palms and singing antiphons, moving down the hill to the Church of the Anastasis. These factors seem to have resulted in the season of Lent that combined fasting, instruction of catechumens and the development of the Triduum. Egeria attests to an eight-week Lent in Jerusalem, though elsewhere in the East it was seven weeks, depending on whether the Saturdays and Sundays were counted. In the West Gregory the Great moved the beginning of Lent to a Wednesday. By excluding Sundays but adding Good Friday and Holy Saturday, he preserved the number forty.

Pentecost and Ascension

The observance of Pentecost and Pascha was evidently the Christian transformation of their Jewish counterparts, both rooted in the resurrection and

16 Thomas J. Talley, The origins of the liturgical year.

0 0

Post a comment