Rogation Days

Rogation Days (Lat. rogare, to beseech) are the three days immediately before the festival of Ascension. About the middle of the 5th century, Mamertus, bishop of Vienna, upon the prospect of some particular calamities that threatened his diocese, appointed that extraordinary prayers and supplications should be offered up with fasting to God for averting those impending evils upon the above mentioned days; from which supplications (called by the Greeks litanies, by the Latins rogations) these days have ever since been called Rogation days. The calamity referred to was a terrible fire which raged in the city of Vienne, Dauphiny, and which suddenly went out in answer to the prayers of the bishop. The same result followed his supplications on the occurrence of a second great fire. Such is the assumed miracle (Thompson, Philos. of Magic, 2, 291). At the time of the Reformation these days were continued for the purpose of retaining the perambulation (q.v.) of the circuits of parishes. In the Church of England it has been thought fit to continue the observance of these days as private fasts. There is no office, or order of prayer, or even a single collect, appointed for the Rogation days in the Prayer book; but there is a homily appointed for Rogation week, which is divided into four parts, the first three to be used on the three Rogation days, and the fourth on the day when the parish make their procession. The days were called in Anglo-Saxon gang daegas; the old form of the name, "gang days," still lingering in the north of England. There was considerable opposition to the observance of rogations during the fifty days between Easter and Pentecost--a time which was one continued festival in the early Church. The Eastern Church does not keep Rogationtide, and even drops the fasts of Wednesday and Friday during the fifty days. See Bingham, Christian Antiq. 21, 2, 8; Blunt, Dict. of Theol. s.v.; Eden, Theol. Dict. s.v.; Hook, Church Dict. s.v.

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