www.CommonPrayer.org - Information on Sundays Before Advent
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Sundays Before Advent
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The Table of "Psalms and Lessons for the Christian Year" which lists the readings to be used at Morning & Evening Prayer utilizes a calendar which is not quite the same as that used for the determining the Propers (Collect, Epistle & Gospel) to be read at Holy Communion. The difference centers around the variation in the number of Sundays after Epiphany and Sundays after Trinity, which results from the date for Easter not being the same every year.

Because Easter can fall anywhere within a span of five weeks (March 22nd through April 25th) the number of Sundays after Epiphany varies from 1 to 5, and similarly the number of Sundays after Trinity varies from 22 to 27. The list of Collects, Epistles and Gospels handles this by including Propers for 6 Sundays after Epiphany, and 25 Sundays after Trinity. Note that there are only 24 "numbered" sets of Sunday Propers after Trinity; the 25th set is that for Sunday Next Before Advent. Since there can be up to 27 Sundays after Trinity, this leaves a potential "gap" of two weeks.

The Prayer Book solves this problem by directing that in years where there are 26 Sundays after Trinity, the Propers for the 6th Sunday after Epiphany are used for the "extra" (25th) Sunday. When there are 27 Sundays, the Propers for the Fifth Sunday after Epiphany are used for the 25th Sunday, and the Sixth Sunday after Epiphany for the 26th Sunday. The Sunday Next Before Advent always retains its position as the "last" Sunday after Trinity, and immediately preceeding the First Sunday in Advent. (ref. BCP pp.224) This is made possible by the fact that as the number of Sundays after Trinity increases, the number of Sundays after Epiphany decreases, leaving "unused" sets of propers.

For Morning and Evening Prayer, this variance in the church year is handled differently. There are enough sets of Psalms and Lessons to make it unnecessary to "borrow" from the period after Epiphany. As with the Propers, the Psalms/Lessons for the weeks after Epiphany are used as needed during those weeks. For the weeks after Trinity, a different method is utilized. There are sets of Psalms/Lessons for 24 numbered weeks after Trinity, and 3 weeks before Advent. This provides for a full 27 weeks after Trinity - the maximum possible. The Psalms/Lessons for the weeks after Trinity after are used "forward" until three weeks before Advent, at which point the Psalms/Lessons for the 3 weeks before Advent are used.

Table illustrating usage of Sundays after Trinity/Sundays before Advent

Easter Day - March 23 (27 Sundays after Trinity)
Calendar Day
November 2
November 9
November 16
November 23
November 30
Psalms/Lessons
24th Sunday After Trinity
Third Sunday Before Advent
Second Sunday Before Advent
Sunday Next Before Advent
First Sunday in Advent
Propers
24th Sunday After Trinity
Fifth Sunday After Epiphany
Sixth Sunday After Epiphany
Sunday Next Before Advent
First Sunday in Advent


Easter Day - March 28 (26 Sundays after Trinity)
Calendar Day
October 30
November 6
November 13
November 20
November 27
Psalms/Lessons
23rd Sunday After Trinity
Third Sunday Before Advent
Second Sunday Before Advent
Sunday Next Before Advent
First Sunday in Advent
Propers
23rd Sunday After Trinity
24th Sunday After Trinity
Sixth Sunday After Epiphany
Sunday Next Before Advent
First Sunday in Advent


Easter Day - April 14 (24 Sundays after Trinity)
Calendar Day
November 3
November 10
November 17
November 24
December 1
Psalms/Lessons
21st Sunday After Trinity
Third Sunday Before Advent
Second Sunday Before Advent
Sunday Next Before Advent
First Sunday in Advent
Propers
21st Sunday After Trinity
22nd Sunday After Trinity
23rd Sunday After Epiphany
Sunday Next Before Advent
First Sunday in Advent


There is an alternate method arrangement of the Psalms/Lessons which is used in some places. The Psalms/Lessons for the weeks after Trinity are used until they run out, at which point the Psalms/Lessons for the weeks before Advent are used, working backwards from the Sunday Next before Advent to the Third Sunday before Advent, as needed. This means that in some years no "Sundays Before Advent" are used; in other years, some/all of the "Sundays before Advent" are used. This website does not display the Psalms/Lessons in this method; the arrangement illustrated in the table above is used.


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