Nine Lections

Nine Lections is the name of a liturgical service in the Romish and Anglican churches. Three lections are said on each of the three nocturns: the first three taken from Holy Scripture; the second from the acts of a saint; the third from homilies of the fathers. Justin Martyr alludes to the commentaries of apostles and writings of prophets, the third Council of Carthage to the passions of martyrs on their anniversaries, the Council of Laodicea to the lections, and St. Jerome to the works of St. Ephrem, as being read in the sacred assemblies. The nine had reference to the orders of angels, with whom the Church joined in adoration, and, as a tripled three, bore allusion to the Holy Trinity. But from the time of Cassian there were twelve lessons, until Gregory VII reduced them to nine, with eighteen psalms, on Sundays, except Easter and Pentecost; on festivals, nine psalms and nine lessons; on ferials, twelve psalms and three lessons; in Easter-week and .Whltsun-week, three psalms and three lessons, according to ancient use. Among these days were included the Epiphany, the Circumcision, Conversion of St. Paul, Purification, St. Matthias, the Annunciation, St. Philip ',and St. James, St. Barnabas, St. Peter, All Saints', St. Andrew, and sixty-eight other commemorations of saints and holy days, such as the Exaltation of the Cross and the Name of Jesus. See Walcott, Sacred Archaeology, p. 400; Palmer, Orig. Lit. vol. i, bk. 1, p. 10, Bingham, Christian Antiquities, xiv, 3, § 2.

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