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Advent history

Saint Perpetuus(Representation of Saint Perpetuus)

The celebration of Advent begins in the fifth century, when the Bishop Perpetuus, in an order, decides that starting with the feast of St. Martin, November 11 until Christmas, one fasts three times per week: this is why Advent is also named Lent of St. Martin. According to historians, this institution does not exceed the limits of the diocese of Tours until the sixth century.

But the Macon council held in 581 adopts the use devoted to Tours, and soon all France observes three days of fasting a week for the Saint Martin until Christmas. It is also decreed that the offices would be during Advent in the same rite during Lent. The most devout worshipers exceed, in some countries, the requirements adopted by the Council of Macon, and fast every day of Advent. Although the homilies of Gregory the Great in the late sixth century show four weeks to the liturgical season of Advent, but without the observance of a fast. However, under Charlemagne in the nineteenth century, writings claim that the quarantine is still widely observed.

In the thirteenth century, the fast of Advent is not commonly practiced; although, according to Durand of Mende, fasting is still generally observed. Just as quoted in the bull of canonization of St. Louis, the zeal with which he observed this fast, it was no longer a custom observed by Christians of great piety. Then it was limited the period from Saint Andrew until Christmas Day; the solemnity of this apostle being more universal in fact that of St. Martin. When Pope Urban V ascended the papal seat in 1362, he simply force people to his court to abstinence but there was no question of fasting. Rome was then customary to observe five weeks of Advent that precedes Christmas. This is particularly discussed in the Sacramentary of St. Gregory. Ambrosiana or Milan Liturgies have six. The Greeks have also no more real consistency; this is an optional fasting that some begins on November 15, while others are beginning December 6 or only a few days before Christmas.

The Catholic Church, for centuries, begins the season of Advent on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. She observed are neither fast nor extraordinary abstinence. Just as it has never imposed as rigorous an obligation, fasting and abstinence as it did for Lent. No canonical penalty was never attached to the offense practices of Advent. The season of Advent has in the Office the same rites that Lent at pretty much, and a spirit of penance and sorrow presides. The liturgical color is purple but it was once black. The wedding is prohibited there until Epiphany; this is explained by the fact that originally Jesus’ birth feast was celebrated on January 6, as the Theophany.

The liturgy of Advent remained unchanged until the Second Vatican Council, in 1963, introduce minor changes to clearly define and differentiate the spirit of periods of Lent and Advent. Finally, Advent has become a waiting period and hope before the advent of Christ.

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