Ember Weeks

Ember Weeks The weeks in which the ember days fall. These are certain days set apart in the Roman and Anglican churches for imploring God's blessing upon the ordinations which are appointed to be held in the church on the Sundays next following these weeks. The ember days are the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after the first Sunday-in Lent; after Whit-Sunday; after the 14th of September; and after the 13th of December. These days were settled by the Council of Placentia, A.D. 1095. The name is derived by some from a German word signifying "abstinence;" by others it is supposed to signify "ashes;" the most probable derivation, however, is from a Saxon word (ymbren or embren) signifying "a circuit or course," because these fast-days return at certain periods (Eden, s.v.). The ember weeks in the Roman Church are called the quatuor tempora, the fast so called being observed at the beginnings of the four seasons. In the French Church it is called the fast of quatre-temps. It is observed at the same dates, nearly, as in the English Church. It was first distinctly fixed in the Church year by Gregory VII. — Thomassin, Traite des Jeunes, part 1, chapter 21; Bingham, Orig. Eccl. book 21, chapter 2; Eden, Churchman's Dictionary, s.v.; Palmer, Orig. Liturg. 1:305; Procter, On Common Prayer, page 261.

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