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Several synods had made laws about fasting to be observed during this time, some beginning with the eleventh of November, others the fifteenth, and others as early as the autumnal equinox. In the Greek Church we find no documents for the observance of Advent earlier than the eighth century. In the eighth century we find it observed not as a liturgical celebration, but as a time of fast and abstinence, from 15 November to the Nativity, which, according to Goar, was later reduced to seven days.But a council of the Ruthenians (1720) ordered the fast according to the old rule from the fifteenth of November. Similarly, the Ambrosian and the Mozarabic Riterites have no special liturgy for Advent, but only the fast. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2018 Catholic Online.The Church in her Liturgy takes us in spirit back to the time before the incarnation of the Son of God, as though it were really yet to take place.Cardinal Wiseman says: We are not dryly exhorted to profit by that blessed event, but we are daily made to sigh with the Fathers of old, "Send down the dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just One: let the earth be opened, and bud forth the Redeemer." The Collects on three of the four Sundays of that season begin with the words, "Lord, raise up thy power and come" -- as though we feared our iniquities would prevent His being born.In them, the Church calls on the Divine Wisdom to teach us the way of prudence ; on the Key of David to free us from bondage; on the Rising Sun to illuminate us sitting in darkness and the shadow of death, etc.In the Masses the intention of the Church is shown in the choice of the Epistles and Gospels.Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) states that black was the colour to be used during Advent, but violet had already come into use for this season at the end of the thirteenth century.
With Advent the ecclesiastical year begins in the Western churches.
On every day of Advent the Office and Mass of the Sunday or Feria must be said, or at least a Commemoration must be made of them, no matter what grade of feast occurs.
In the Divine Office the Te Deum , the joyful hymn of praise and thanksgiving, is omitted; in the Mass the Gloria in excelsis is not said. During this time the solemnization of matrimony ( Nuptial Mass and Benediction) cannot take place; which prohibition binds to the feast of Epiphany inclusively.
The subdeacon removes his during the reading of the Epistle, and the deacon exchanges his for another, or for a wider stole, worn over the left shoulder during the time between the singing of the Gospel and the Communion.
An exception is made for the third Sunday ( Gaudete Sunday ), on which the vestments may be rose-coloured, or richer violet ones; the sacred ministers may on this Sunday wear dalmatics, which may also be used on the Vigil of the Nativity, even if it be the fourth Sunday of Advent.