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When do you omit the Greater Gloria and why?

by ToddPeperkorn ~ February 2nd, 2009

A colleague was asking me recently when to omit the Greater Gloria.  I must be brain dead today, because I can’t seem to put my hands on what exactly the tradition is on this.  Is it omitted the Eve of Septuagesima like the Alleluia, or is it omitted on Ash Wednesday, or is there some other tradition behind it?

Thanks for your insights.


8 Responses to When do you omit the Greater Gloria and why?

  1. Christopher Esget

    I have this problem every year.

    Fortescue, “The Mass,” spends some time discussing the Gloria as being a Bishop’s canticle, i.e., normally withheld from a priest; a priest could only say the Gloria on Easter Day. Apparently around the 11th or 12th century it was granted to priests to say it “On every feast that has a full office, except in Advent and Septuagesima and the feast of the Innocents, both priests and bishops say Gloria in excelsis.” Fortescue adds, “This is still our rule…. The omission of the Gloria in Lent and Advent is natural enough from its joyful character” (p243). What confuses me is that rule about Septuagesima. Does that mean the Sunday, and all the days after until Easter? Does Fortescue mean by Lent the days following Ash Wednesday, or is he, in effect, starting it at Septuagesima?

    I’m going to see what else in my library might be of help.

  2. Christopher Esget

    Piepkorn, “The Conduct of the Service,” has this:
    “The Gloria in Excelsis shall also be used at all services of worship in which the administration of Holy Communion takes place, except that in this case it may be omitted during the Seasons of Advent, Pre-Lent and Lent…. Although normally omitted during Advent, Pre-Lent and Lent, Gloria in Excelsis is to be used on Festivals (St. Andrew’s Day, St. Thomas’ Day, Conversion of St. Paul, Presentation, St. Matthias’ Day, the Annunciation) and on Maundy Thursday.”

    While he allows for some leeway (“may be omitted,” “normally omitted”), it seems that the expectation is for the Gloria to go away on Septuagesima. That’s what I’m going to do. My question then is, what particularly distinguishes Lent from Pre-Lent?

  3. Ryan

    Dr. Luther Reed’s take on this from “The Liturgy” pg. 41:

    “In The Roman Church Septuagesima mark’s the beginning of the priests’ fast. Both the Alleluia and the Gloria in Excelsis are omitted from their Liturgy, and the color is violet, the same as for Lent. Fasting also begins at this time in the Eastern church.

    The Lutheran Church does not recognize an extension of the Lenten fast as such, but regards this brief period as one of transition from the thought of Epiphany to that of Lent. It prescribes green as the proper color. It omits the Alleluias in the Psalm texts of its Introits and Graduals.”

  4. weedon

    I simply follow the LSB rubrics, which dictate in the One-Year series, the replacing of the Alleluia with the Tract from Septuagesima, but the continuation of the Greater Gloria, which is only omitted beginning with Lent itself. In keeping with Reed, the LSB prescribes Green for the season of pre-Lent and uses the Epiphany preface. FWIW.

  5. Christopher Esget

    Don’t the rubrics in LSB within the Divine Service settings likely presume that the 3-Year Lectionary is being used?
    Arguing against that, though, is the prescription of the Epiphany proper preface. I can’t imagine I will use that – I think I’ll use one of the Common prefaces during Pre-Lent.
    I’ve never used the Gloria during Pre-Lent – I’m going to have a hard time emotionally coming to grips with that… 🙂

  6. Christopher Esget

    Another quote to throw in the mix, from “Ceremony and Celebration” (Paul H.D. Lang):

    “The three Sundays of Pre-Lent preceding Ash Wednesday are called Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima. All three Sundays are privileged, that is, if a minor festival falls on them that festival is transferred to the next day. From Vespers on the Eve of Septuagesima through Shrove Tuesday, the Alleluia is omitted, the Gloria in Excelsis is not sung, except on festivals, and the Benedictus replaces the Te Deum Laudamus in Sunday Matins. Flowers may still be used and the organ played as usual.” (p162)

  7. Mark Lovett

    It is now 2010 … modernity reveals to us yet another blessing of using the historic lectionary: we can pick up blog posts a year later and not skip a beat!

    After reading this post in its entirety (it took a while), I must say, I have a new appreciation for the Gesima Sundays. I like the "Twilight" imagery. I still don't know what to exclude (Gloria/Allulias – though it seems everyone agrees that at least the "Alleluias" are omitted), but I do know the color: violet, and I know that my preaching will be influenced by what I have read here.
    I would like some uniformity with the catholic Church, but I am fully accepting of local (geographically, not pick-and-choose-ally) idiosyncrasies .

  8. Mark Lovett

    By "some uniformity" I mean mostly uniform, like the Navy (in which I served, and that is the reason I'm using it as an example). All the sailors wear the same uniform, but each sailor's is a little different because of awards, rank, etc. But the uniform – ie, the liturgy – is cut of the same cloth.

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