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Vespers

This subject will be treated under the following headings:


I. Vespers in the sixth century;
II. The origin of Vespers;
III. The Office of Vespers in the Middle Ages: Variations;
IV. The latest changes;
V. Symbolism: the Hymns;
VI. Importance.

I. Vespers in the Sixth Century

In the sixth century the Office of Vespers in the Latin Church was almost the same as it has been throughout the Middle Ages and up to the present day. In a document of unquestionable authority of that period the Office is described as follows: The evening hour, or vespertina synaxis , is composed of four psalms, a capitulum, a response, a hymn, a versicle, a canticle from the Gospel, litany ( Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison ), Pater with the ordinary finale, oratio , or prayer, and dismissal (Regula Sancti Benedicti, xvii). The psalms recited are taken from the series of psalms from Pss. cix to cxlvii (with the exception of the groups cxvii to cxxvii and cxxxiii to cxlii); Pss. cxxxviii, cxliii, cxliv are each divided into two portions, whilst the Pss. cxv and cxvi are united to form one. This disposition is almost the same as that of the "Ordo Romanus", except that the number of psalms recited is five instead of four. They are taken, however, from the series cix to cxlvii. Here, too, we find the capitulum, versicle, and canticle of the " Magnificat ". The hymn is a more recent introduction in the Roman Vespers; the finale (litanies, Pater, versicles, prayers ) seems all to have existed from this epoch as in the Benedictine cursus . Like the other hours, therefore, Vespers is divided into two parts; the psalmody, or singing of the psalms, forming the first part, and the capitulum and formulæ the second. Vesper time varied according to the season between the tenth hour (4 p. m.) and the twelfth (6 p. m.). As a matter of fact it was no longer the evening hour, but the sunset hour, so that it was celebrated before the day had departed and consequently before there was any necessity for artificial light (Regula S. Benedicti, xli). This is a point to be noted, as it was an innovation. Before this epoch this evening synaxis was celebrated with all the torches alight. The reason of this is that St. Benedict introduced in the cursus , another hour--that of Compline --which was prescribed to be celebrated in the evening, and which might be considered as a kind of doubling of the Office of Lucernarium .

II. Origin of Vespers: Period anterior to the Sixth Century

The Rule of St. Benedict was written about 530-43 and represents the Office of Vespers drawn up in the manner shown above. Much earlier than this we find an evening Office corresponding to both that of Vespers and that of Compline. Its name varies. In St. Benedict we find the name vespera which has prevailed, whence the French word vêpres and the English vespers . Cassian calls it Vespertina synaxis , or Vespertina solemnitas (P. L., XLIX, 88-9). The name, however, by which it was most widely known during that period was Lucernalis or Lucernaria hora (l. c., 126). This name is characteristic. It was so called because at this hour a number of candles were lighted, not only to give light, but also for symbolical purposes. The "Peregrinatio", which gives the liturgical order as practised at Jerusalem and the date of which is probably the fourth century, calls it Lichnicon . This is the Latin transcription of the Greek word lychnikon , which corresponds to the word Lucernarium (cf. AMBROSIAN LITURGY AND RITE). The author tells us that this Office took place at the tenth hour (four o'clock in the evening); it is really the Office des lumières , i.e. of the lights ; it was celebrated in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre ; all the lamps and torches of the church were lighted, making, as the author says, "an infinite light". The Lucernal psalms were sung, after which followed the recitation of the supplication and commemorations or litanies, then the prayers, and finally the blessing and dismissal. In the " Antiphonary of Bangor", an Irish document of the sixth century, Vespers are called hora duodecima , which corresponds to six o'clock in the evening, or hora incensi , or again ad cereum benedicendum . All these names are interesting to note. The hora incensi recalls the custom of burning incense at this hour, while at the same time the candles were lighted. The term ad cereum benedicendum presents a still greater interest because it reminds us that the ceremony of the lights at Vespers was symbolic and very solemn. In Prudentius (fourth century) we find a hymn entitled "Ad incensum lucernæ" which, according to some critics, would appear to have been composed for the hour of the Lucernarium (Arevalo, "Prudenti carmina", I, 124, ed. 1788; cf. also Cabrol, "Les églises de Jérusalem, la discipline et la liturgie au IVe siècle", 47). Others see in this an allusion to the ceremony of the paschal candle. However, the Lucernarium may have had, at that time, some analogy with the ceremony of Holy Saturday, and the hymn could thus be adapted to one or the other. In the "Old Gallican Sacramentary" (Thomasi, "Opera", VI, 395) we find for Holy Saturday an oratio ad duodecima , designed to celebrate the light as well as the Resurrection, which would seem thus to favour our hypothesis. St. Basil also speaks of a hymn being sung at the moment when the torches were lighted, doubtless the famous hymn --"Lumen hilare" (cf. Cabrol, l. c., 47-8).

Vespers, then, was the most solemn Office of the day and was composed of the psalms called Lucernales ( Psalm 140 is called psalmus lucernalis by the Apostolic Constitutions, VIII, xxxv; cf. II, lix; also Cabrol, l. c.). The "Peregrinatio" does not mention the number of psalms sung at this hour, but Cassian, who, a short time after the "Peregrinatio", describes this Office as it was celebrated by the monks of Egypt, says they recited twelve psalms as at Vigils ( Matins ). Then two lessons were read as at Vigils, one from the Old, and the other from the New, Testament. Each psalm was followed by a short prayer (P. L., XLIX, 83-4, 88-9). For the rest Cassian agrees with the "Peregrinatio". He says the Office was recited towards five or six o'clock and that all the lights were lighted. This evening synaxis is looked upon as a souvenir of the evening sacrifice of the Old Law. The use of incense, candles, and other lights would seem to suggest the Jewish rites which accompanied the evening sacrifice ( Exodus 29:39 ; Numbers 28:4 ; Psalm 140:2 ; Daniel 9:21 ; 1 Chronicles 23:30 ; cf. Haneberg, "Die relig. Alterth. der Bibel", Munich, 1869, p. 362). It may thus be seen that the Lucernarium was, together with Vigils, the most important part of the Offices of the day, being composed of almost the same elements as the latter, at least in certain regions. Its existence in the fourth century is also confirmed by St. Augustine, St. Ambrose, St. Basil, St. Ephraem, and, a little later, by several councils in Gaul and Spain, and by the various monastic rules (see texts in Bäumer-Biron, l. c., 78, 80, 118-27, 188-98, 208, etc.). The " Apostolic Constitutions " (VIII, xxi, 34, 35) describe it in almost the same terms as the "Peregrinatio". Before the fourth century we find allusions to the evening prayer in the earlier Fathers, Clement I of Rome (Clemens Romanus), St. Ignatius, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Origen, the Canons of St. Hippolytus, St. Cyprian (for texts see Bäumer-Biron, l. c., I, 20 sqq., 73-4, 76, 78). Pliny, in his famous letter at the beginning of the second century, speaks of liturgical reunions of the Christians in the morning and in the evening: "coetus antelucani et vespertini" (Ep., x, 97). Vespers is, therefore, together with Vigils, the most ancient Office known in the Church.

III. Office of Vespers in the Middle Ages: Variations

We have already remarked that the institution of the Office of Compline transformed the Lucernarium by taking from it something of its importance and symbolism, the latter at the same time losing its original sense. We have seen that St. Benedict calls it only Vespera , the name which has prevailed over that of Lucernarium (cf. Ducange, "Glossarium med. et inf. lat.", s.v. Vesperae ). The Gallican Liturgy, the Mozarabic Liturgy, and, to a certain extent, the Milanese, have preserved the Lucernarium (cf. Bäumer-Biron, l. c., 358). The Greek Church retains the "Lumen hilare" and some other traces of the ancient Lucernarium in the Offices of Vespers and Compline (cf. Smith, "Dict. Christ. Antiq.", s.v. Office, Divine ). In the Rule of St. Columbanus , dated about 590, Vespers still has twelve psalms, amongst which are Pss. cxii and cxiii, the Gradual psalms, Pss. cxix sqq. (cf. Gougaud, "Les chrétientés celtiques", 309; "Dict. d'arch. chrét. et de liturgie", s.v. Celtique , 3015). The " Antiphonary of Bangor", a document of Irish origin, gives for Vespers Ps. cxii and also the "Gloria in excelsis". For modifications since the twelfth century, cf. Bäumer-Biron, l. c., II, 54 sqq.

IV. Latest Changes

The Decree "Divino afflatu" (1 Nov., 1911) involves some important changes in the old Roman Office. New psalms are appointed for each day of the week. These psalms are to be recited with their antiphons, not only at the Office de tempore (Sundays and feriæ) but also on feasts of a lesser rite than doubles of the second class, that is to say, on simples, semidoubles (double minors ), and double majors. On feasts which are doubles of the second class and a fortiori of the first class, as well as on feasts of the Blessed Virgin, the Holy Angels, and Apostles, the psalms are proper to the feast as heretofore. On all feasts, of whatever rite, the second part of Vespers, that is, the capitulum, hymn, antiphon of the " Magnificat ", is taken from the Sanctorale . On semi-doubles and those of a lesser rite the suffrages are now reduced to a single antiphon and orison which is common to all the saints heretofore commemorated, whilst the preces (" Miserere " and versicles) formerly imposed on the greater feriæ are now suppressed.

V. Symbolism: the Hymns

Notwithstanding the changes brought about in the course of time, Vespers still remains the great and important Office of the evening. As already pointed out, it recalls the sacrificium vespertinum of the Old Law. In the same manner as the night is consecrated to God by the Office of the Vigil, so also is the end of the day by Vespers. It terminates, as Matins formerly terminated, and Lauds at present terminates, by a lection, or reading, from the Gospel, or canticum evangelii , which, for Vespers, is always the " Magnificat ". This is one of the characteristic traits of Vespers, one of the liturgical elements which this particular Office has retained in almost all regions and at all times. There are, however, a few exceptions, as in some liturgies the " Magnificat " is sung at Lauds (cf. Cabrol in "Dict. d'arch. et de liturgie", s.v. Cantiques évangéliques ). This place of honour accorded so persistently to the canticle of Mary from such remote antiquity is but one of the many, and of the least striking, proofs of the devotion which has always been paid to the Blessed Virgin in the Church. The psalms used at Vespers have been selected, from time immemorial, from Pss. cix to cxlvii, with the exception of Ps. cxviii, which on account of its unusual length does not square with the others, and is consequently ordinarily divided up into parts and recited at the little hours. Pss. i to cviii are consecrated to Matins and Lauds, whilst the three last psalms, cxlviii to cl, belong invariably to Lauds. The series of hymns consecrated to Vespers in the Roman Breviary also form a class apart and help to give us some hints as to the symbolism of this hour. The hymns are very ancient, dating probably, for the most part, from the sixth century. They have this particular characteristic--they are all devoted to the praise of one of the days of the Creation, according to the day of the week, thus: the first, "Lucis Creator optime", on Sunday, to the creation of light; the second, on Monday, to the separation of the earth and the waters; the third, on Tuesday, to the creation of the plants; the fourth, on Wednesday, to the creation of the sun and moon; the fifth, on Thursday, to the creation of the fish; the sixth, on Friday, to the creation of the beasts of the earth; Saturday is an exception, the hymn on that day being in honour of the Blessed Trinity, because of the Office of Sunday then commencing.

VI. Importance

We can now see the great importance which the Church appears to have attached always to the Office of Vespers. It is the only one which has remained popular (excepting, of course, the Holy Sacrifice which we do not consider here as an Office) among pious Christians up to the present day. Matins and Lauds, on account of the hour at which they are celebrated, have always been more or less inaccessible to the faithful; likewise the little hours, except, perhaps, Terce, which serves as an introduction to the Mass. Vespers, on the contrary, occupies a privileged place towards the end of the day. On Sundays it is the Office most likely to bring the faithful together in church for the second time and thus becomingly completes the Divine Service for that day. This is why, in the majority of Catholic countries, the custom of Sunday Vespers has been for so long a time, and is still, maintained. It is quite conformable to tradition, moreover, to invest this Office with a particular solemnity. The Vesper psalms, as well as the hymns and antiphons, are well calculated to edify the faithful. Lastly, the ancient custom of having a lection or reading from the Old, or from the New, Testament, or from the homilies of the Fathers, might well in certain cases and to a certain extent be re-adopted, or serve as the subject-matter for the sermon which is sometimes delivered at this service.

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An isolated mountain hallowed by association with St. Francis of Assisi, situated in the centre ...

Vernazza, Tommasina

Born at Genoa, 1497; died there, 1587. Her father, Ettore Vernazza, was a patrician, founder of ...

Verne, Jules

Novelist, b. at Nantes, France, 1828; d. at Amiens, 1905. His first literary venture was a ...

Vernier, Pierre

Inventor of the instrument which bears his name, b. at Ornans, Franche-Comte, c. 1580; d. there, ...

Veroli, Diocese of

(VERULANA). Located in the Province of Rome. The city of Veroli (Verulae) is situated on the ...

Verona

(VERONENSIS.) Diocese in Venetia (Northern Italy ). The city, situated on both branches of ...

Veronica Giuliani, Saint

Born at Mercatello in the Duchy of Urbino, Italy, 1660; died at Citt` di Castello, 9 July, 1727. ...

Veronica, Saint

In several regions of Christendom there is honored under this name a pious matron of ...

Verot, Augustin

Third Bishop of Savannah, first of St. Augustine, b. at Le Puy, France, May, 1804; d. at St. ...

Verrazano, Giovanni da

Navigator, b. about 1485, of good family, at Val di Greve, near Florence ; executed at Puerto ...

Verreau, Hospice-Anthelme

A French-Canadian priest, educator, and historian, b. at l'Islet, P.Q., 6 Sept., 1828, of Germain ...

Verri, Count Pietro

Economist, b. at Milan, Dec., 1728; d. there, 29 June, 1797. After studying at Monza, Rome, and ...

Verrocchio, Andrea del

Born at Florence, 1435; d. at Venice, 1488. He was called Andrea di Michele di Francesco de' ...

Versailles

(VERSALIENSIS). Diocese ; includes the Department of Seine-et-Oise, France. Created in ...

Versions of the Bible

Synopsis GREEK : Septuagint; Aquila; Theodotion; Symmachus; other versions. VERSIONS FROM THE ...

Versions of the Bible, Coptic

DIALECTS The Coptic language is now recognized in four principal dialects, Bohairic (formerly ...

Verstegan, Richard

( Alias ROWLANDS). Publisher and antiquarian, born at London, about 1548; died at Antwerp ...

Vertin, John

Third Bishop of Marquette, U.S.A. b. at Doblice, Diocese of Laibach (Carniolia), Austria, 17 ...

Vertot, Réné-Aubert, Sieur de

French historian, b. at Benetot, Normandy, 25 Nov., 1655; d. in Paris, 15 June, 1735. He was for ...

Veruela

A celebrated Cistercian monastery and church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. It is situated ...

Vesalius, Andreas

(WESALIUS.) The reorganizer of the study of anatomy ; b. at Brussels, 31 Dec., 1514; d. in a ...

Vespasian

(TITUS FLAVIUS VESPASIANUS). Roman Emperor, b. at Reate (now Rieti ), the ancient capital of ...

Vespasiano da Bisticci

( Or FIORENTINO.) Florentine humanist and librarian, b. in 1421; d. in 1498. He was ...

Vespers

This subject will be treated under the following headings: I. Vespers in the sixth century; II. ...

Vespers, Music of

The texts (e.g. antiphons, psalms, hymn ) sung in Vespers vary according to the feast or the ...

Vespers, Sicilian

The traditional name given to the insurrection which broke out at Palermo on Easter Tuesday, 31 ...

Vespucci, Amerigo

A famous Italian navigator, born at Florence, 9 March, 1451; died at Seville, 22 February, 1512. ...

Vessels, Altar

The chalice is the cup in which the wine and water of the Eucharistic Sacrifice is contained. ...

Vestibule (in Architecture)

A hall projecting in front of the façade of a church, found from the fifth century both ...

Vestments

IN WESTERN EUROPE By liturgical vestments are meant the vestments that, according to the rules ...

Veszprém

(VESPRIMIENSIS.) Diocese in Hungary, suffragan of Gran, one of the sees founded about 1009 by ...

Veto, The Royal

(In the appointment of Bishops in Ireland and England.) Although the penal laws enacted ...

Vetter, Conrad

Preacher and polemical writer, b. at Engen in the present Grand Duchy of Baden, 1547; d. at ...

Veuillot, Louis

Journalist and writer, b. at Boynes, Loiret, 11 Oct., 1813; d. in Paris, 7 April, 1883. He was ...

Vexiö, Ancient See of

(WEPIONENSIS.) The Ancient See of Vexiö, in Sweden, comprised the County of Kronoberg ...

Vexilla Regis Prodeunt

This "world-famous hymn, one of the grandest in the treasury of the Latin Church " (Neale), and ...

Vezzosi, Antonio Francesco

Member of the Theatine Congregation and biographical writer, born at Arezzo, Italy, 4 October, ...

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Vi 116

Via Crucis

(Also called Stations of the Cross, Via Crucis, and Via Dolorosa). These names are used to signify ...

Via Dolorosa

(Also called Stations of the Cross, Via Crucis, and Via Dolorosa). These names are used to signify ...

Viader, José

Born at Gallimes, Catalonia, 27 August, 1765. He received the habit of St. Francis at Barcelona ...

Vianney, Saint Jean-Baptiste-Marie

Curé of Ars, born at Dardilly, near Lyons, France, on 8 May, 1786; died at Ars, 4 ...

Viaticum

Name Among the ancient Greeks the custom prevailed of giving a supper to those setting out on a ...

Viator, Clerics of Saint

St. Viator, lector of the cathedral at Lyons, France, lived in the fourth century and is the ...

Viborg, Ancient See of

(VIBERGAE, VIBERGENSIS.) The ancient See of Viborg, in Denmark, comprised the Province of ...

Vicar

( Latin vicarius , from vice , "instead of") In canon law, the representative of a person ...

Vicar Apostolic

(1) In the early ages of the Church, the popes committed to some residentiary bishops the ...

Vicar Capitular

The administrator of a vacant diocese, elected by a cathedral chapter. On the death of a ...

Vicar of Christ

(Latin Vicarius Christi ). A title of the pope implying his supreme and universal ...

Vicar-General

The highest official of a diocese after the ordinary. He is a cleric legitimately deputed to ...

Vicari, Hermann von

Archbishop of Freiburg in Baden, b. at Aulendorf in Wurtemberg, 13 May, 1773; d. at Freiburg, ...

Vicariate Apostolic (Updated List)

The following is an account of the newly-erected vicariates Apostolic and of those changed so ...

Vice

( Latin vitium , any sort of defect) is here regarded as a habit inclining one to sin. It is ...

Vicelinus, Saint

Bishop of Oldenburg, apostle of Holstein, b. at Hameln about 1086; d. 12 Dec., 1154. Orphaned ...

Vicente, Gil

Portuguese dramatist, b. about 1470; he was living in 1536. He took up the study of law but ...

Vicenza, Diocese of

(VICENTINA). The city is the capital of a province in Venetia (Northern Italy ). The ...

Vich, Diocese of

(Vicensis, Ausonensis). Suffragan of Tarragona, bounded on the north by Gerona, on the east ...

Vico, Francescoe de

Astronomer, b. at Macerata, States of the Church, 19 May, 1805; d. at London, England, 15 Nov., ...

Victimae Paschali Laudes Immolent Christiani

The first stanza of the Easter sequence. Medieval missals placed it on various days within the ...

Victor

Bishop of Tunnunum (Tonnenna, Tunnuna) in Northern Africa and zealous supporter of the Three ...

Victor I, Pope Saint

(189-198 or 199), date of birth unknown. The "Liber Pontificalis" makes him a native of Africa ...

Victor II, Pope

(GEBHARD, COUNT OF CALW, TOLLENSTEIN, AND HIRSCHBERG.) Born about 1018; died at Arezzo, 28 ...

Victor III, Pope Blessed

(DAUFERIUS or DAUFAR). Born in 1026 or 1027 of a non-regnant branch of the Lombard dukes of ...

Victor IV

Two antipopes of this name. I. Cardinal Gregory Conti, elected in opposition to Innocent II ...

Victor of Capua

A sixth-century bishop about whose life nothing is known except what is found in his epitaph ...

Victor Vitensis

An African bishop of the Province of Byzacena (called VITENSIS from his See of Vita), b. ...

Victoria

(VICTORIEN. IN INS. VANCOUVER.) Diocese in southwestern British Columbia, of which province it ...

Victoria Nyanza, Northern

The Mission of Victoria Nyanza, founded in 1878 by the White Fathers of Cardinal Lavigerie, was ...

Victoria Nyanza, Southern

Vicariate apostolic erected from the mission of Nyanza, 13 June, 1894, lies north of the ...

Victorinus, Caius Marius

(Called also VICTORINUS MARIUS, or MARIUS FABIUS VICTORINUS, and frequently referred to as ...

Victorinus, Saint

An ecclesiastical writer who flourished about 270, and who suffered martyrdom probably in 303, ...

Vida, Marco Girolamo

Italian Humanist, b. at Cremona about 1490; d. in 1566. He came to Rome under Julius II ; a ...

Vieira, Antonio

Missionary, diplomat, orator, b. at Lisbon, 6 February, 1608; d. at Bahia, Brazil, 18 July, 1697. ...

Viel, Nicholas

Died 1625, the first victim of apostolic zeal on the shores of the St. Lawrence. After ...

Vienna

Vienna -- the capital of Austria-Hungary, the residence of the emperor, and the seat of a Latin ...

Vienna, University of

Foundation of the University Next to the University of Prague that of Vienna is the oldest ...

Vienne, Council of

Pope Clement V, by the Bull "Regnans in coelis" of 12 Aug., 1308, called a general council to ...

Vierthaler, Franz Michael

A distinguished Austrian pedagogue, b. at Mauerkirchen, Upper Austria, 25 September, 1758; d. ...

Vieta, François

(VIÈTE.) Father of modern algebra, b. at Fontenay-le-Comte (Poitou), 1540; d. in ...

Viger, Denis-Benjamin

French-Canadian statesman and writer, b. at Montreal, 19 Aug., 1774; d. 1861. After studying ...

Viger, Jacques

French-Canadian antiquarian and archaeologist, b. at Montreal, 7 May, 1787; d. 12 Dec., 1858. ...

Vigevano

(VIGLEVANENSIS.) Diocese in Lombardy, Province of Pavia. The city is a great agricultural ...

Vigilius

Bishop of Tapsus, in the African Province of Byzacena. Mentioned in the "Notitia" appended to ...

Vigilius, Pope

Reigned 537-55, date of birth unknown; died at Syracuse, 7 June 555. He belonged to a ...

Vigilius, Saint

Bishop of Trent, martyr, patron of Trent and of Tyrol, b. c. 353; d. 26 June, 405; feast 26 ...

Vignola, Giacomo Barozzi da

A theoretical and practical architect of the Transition Period between the Renaissance and ...

Vigor, Simon

French bishop and controversialist, b. at Evreux, Normandy, about 1515; d. at Carcassonne, 1 ...

Vikings

The Scandinavians who, in the ninth and tenth centuries, first ravaged the coasts of Western ...

Villalpandus, Juan Bautista

Born at Cordova, Spain, in 1552; entered the Society of Jesus in 1575; died on 22 May, 1608. His ...

Villani, Giovanni

Florentine historian, b. about 1276; d. of the plague in 1348. Descended from a wealthy family ...

Villanovanus, Arnaldus

(ARNALDUS OF VILLANUEVA, or VILLENEUVE, or BACHUONE). Celebrated in his day as a physician, ...

Villefranche, Jacques-Melchior

Publicist, b. at Couzon-sur-Saone, 17 Dec., 1829; d. at Bourg, 10 May, 1904. After excellent ...

Villehardouin, Geoffroi de

Maréchal de Champagne, warrior, and first historian in the French language, b. about 1150; ...

Villeneuve-Barcement, Jean-Paul-Alban

Vicomte de, b. at Saint-Auban, Var, 8 Aug., 1784; d. at Paris, 8 June, 1850. After having taken ...

Villermé, Louis-René

French economist, b. at Paris, 10 March, 1782; d. there, 16 Nov., 1863. He was devoted to ...

Villers, Cistercian Abbey of

Situated on the confines of Villers and Tilly, Duchy of Brabant, present Diocese of Namur ...

Vilna

(VILENSIS). Vilna, the capital of Lithuania, is situated at the junction of the Rivers ...

Vincent de Paul, Saint

Born at Pouy, Gascony, France, in 1580, though some authorities have said 1576; died at Paris, ...

Vincent de Paul, Sisters of Charity of Saint

A congregation of women with simple vows, founded in 1633 and devoted to corporal and ...

Vincent de Paul, Sisters of Charity of Saint (New York)

(Motherhouse at Mt. St. Vincent-on Hudson, New York; not to be confused with the Sisters of ...

Vincent de Paul, Society of Saint

An international association of Catholic laymen engaging systematically in personal service of ...

Vincent Ferrer, Saint

Famous Dominican missionary, born at Valencia, 23 January, 1350; died at Vannes, Brittany, 5 ...

Vincent Kadlubek, Blessed

(KADLUBO, KADLUBKO). Bishop of Cracow, chronicler, b. at Karnow, Duchy of Sandomir, Poland, ...

Vincent of Beauvais

Priest and encyclopedist. Little is known of his personal history. The years of his birth and ...

Vincent of Lérins, Saint

Feast on 24 May, an ecclesiastical writer in Southern Gaul in the fifth century. His work is ...

Vincent, Saint

(MALDEGARIUS). Founder and abbot of the monasteries of Hautmont and Soignies, b. of a noble ...

Vincent, Saint

Deacon of Saragossa, and martyr under Diocletian, 304; mentioned in the Roman Martyrology, 22 ...

Vincentians

A congregation of secular priests with religious vows founded by St. Vincent de Paul. The ...

Vincenzo de Vit

Latinist, b. at Mestrina, near Padua, 10 July, 1810; d. at Domo d'Ossola, 17 Aug., 1892. He made ...

Vinci, Leonardo di Ser Piero da

(LEONARDO DI SER PIERO DA VINCI) Florentine painter, sculptor, architect, engineer, and ...

Vindicianus, Saint

Bishop of Cambrai - Arras, b. if tradition is to be believed, perhaps at Beaulaincourt, near ...

Vineam Domini

An Apostolic Constitution issued by Clement XI against the Jansenists on 16 July, 1705. It ...

Violence

Violence ( Latin vis ), an impulse from without tending to force one without any concurrence on ...

Viotti, Giovanni Battista

Founder of the modern school of violinist, b. at Fontanetto, Piedmont, 23 May, 173; d. 3 ...

Viraggio, Jacopo di

( Also DI VIRAGGIO). Archbishop of Genoa and medieval hagiologist, born at Viraggio (now ...

Virgilius, Saint

(VIRGILE). Archbishop of Arles, died c. 610. According to a life written in the eighth ...

Virgin Birth of Christ

The dogma which teaches that the Blessed Mother of Jesus Christ was a virgin before, during, ...

Virgin Mary, Devotion to the

Down to the Council of Nicaea Devotion to Our Blessed Lady in its ultimate analysis must be ...

Virgin Mary, Name of

The Blessed Virgin Mary is the mother of Jesus Christ, the mother of God. The Hebrew ...

Virgin Mary, The

The Blessed Virgin Mary is the mother of Jesus Christ, the mother of God. In general, the ...

Virginia

Surnamed "The Old Dominion", "The Mother of States and of Statesmen", one of the thirteen original ...

Virginity

Morally, virginity signifies the reverence for bodily integrity which is suggested by a virtuous ...

Virtue

The subject will be treated under the following heads: I. Definitions; II. Subjects; III. ...

Virtue, Heroic

The notion of heroicity is derived from hero, originally a warrior, a demigod; hence it connotes a ...

Vischer, Peter

Sculptor and metal founder, b. at Nuremberg about 1460; d. in 1529. His father Hermann, who ...

Visdelou, Claude de

Born at the Château de Bienassis, Pléneuf, Brittany, 122 Aug., 1656; died at ...

Visigoths

One of the two principal branches of the Goths. Until 375 their history is combined with that of ...

Visions

This article will deal not with natural but with supernatural visions, that is, visions due to ...

Visit ad Limina

(Sc. Apostolorum ) The visit ad limina means, technically, the obligation incumbent on ...

Visitation Convent, Georgetown

Located in the District of Columbia , United States of America . This convent was founded by ...

Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

I. THE EVENT Assuming that the Annunciation and the Incarnation took place about the vernal ...

Visitation Order

The nuns of the Visitation of Mary, called also Filles de Sainte-Marie, Visitandines, and ...

Visitation, Canonical

The act of an ecclesiastical superior who in the discharge of his office visits persons or ...

Visitors Apostolic

Officials whom canonists commonly class with papal legates. Visitors differ from other Apostolic ...

Visits to the Blessed Sacrament

By this devotional practice, which is of comparatively modern development, the presence of ...

Vitalian, Pope Saint

(Reigned 657-72). Date of birth unknown; d. 27 January, 672. Nothing is known of Vitalian's ...

Vitalini, Bonifazio

(DE VITALINIS). Jurist, b. at Mantua, Italy, about 1320; d. at Avignon after 1388. After ...

Vitalis and Agricola, Saints

Martyred at Bologna about 304 during Diocletian's persecution. Agricola, who was beloved for ...

Vitalis of Savigny, Saint

Founder of the monastery and Congregation of Savigny (1112), b. at Tierceville near Bayeaux ...

Vitalis, Saint

Martyr. His legend, which is of little historical value, relates that he was martyred by order ...

Vitelleschi, Muzio

Born at Rome 2 Dec., 1563; died there 9 Feb., 1645. He belonged to a distinguished family but ...

Vitellius, Lucius

Proclaimed Roman Emperor by the soldiers at Cologne during the civil war of A.D. 69; d. at Rome, ...

Vitensis, Victor

An African bishop of the Province of Byzacena (called VITENSIS from his See of Vita), b. ...

Viterbo and Toscanella

(VITERBIENSIS ET TUSCANENSIS). The city of Viterbo in the Province of Rome stands at the foot ...

Vitoria

(VICTORIENSIS). Diocese ; suffragan of Burgos, in Spain, bounded on the north by the Bay of ...

Vittorino da Feltre

(VITTORINO DE' RAMBALDONI). Humanist educator, b. at Feltre, 1397; d. at Mantua, 1446. He was ...

Vitus, Modestus, and Crescentia, Saints

According to the legend, martyrs under Diocletian ; feast, 15 June. The earliest testimony for ...

Viva, Domenico

Writer, b. at Lecce, 19 Oct., 1648; d. 5 July, 1726. He entered the Society of Jesus 12 May, ...

Vivarini

A family of Italian painters. Alvise Vivarini Born in 1446 or 1447; died in 1502. He was the ...

Vives, Juan Luis

Spanish humanist and philosopher, b. at Valencia, 6 March, 1492; d. at Bruges, 6 May, 1540. ...

Viviers

(VIVARIUM). Diocese ; includes the Department of Ardèche, France. It was suppressed ...

Vivisection

Defined literally the word vivisection signifies the dissection of living creatures; ordinarily it ...

Vizagapatam, Diocese of

Located in the east of India, suffragan to Madras. It is bounded on the north by the River ...

Vizeu

(VISENSIS). Diocese in north central Portugal. The bishopric dates from the sixth century and ...

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Vladimir the Great, Saint

(VLADIMIR or VOLODOMIR). Grand Duke of Kieff and All Russia, grandson of St. Olga, and the ...

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Vocation, Ecclesiastical and Religious

An ecclesiastical or religious vocation is the special gift of those who, in the Church of God, ...

Vogüé, Eugène-Melchior, Vicomte de

Critic, novelist, and historian, born at Nice, 25 February, 1848; died in Paris, 24 February, ...

Vogler, George Joseph

Theorist, composer and organist, b. at Würzburg, 15 June 1749, d. at Darmstadt, 6 May, ...

Volk, Wilhelm

(Pseudonym, LUDWIG CLARUS). Born at Halberstadt 25 Jan., 1804; died at Erfurt 17 March, 1869. ...

Volksverein

(PEOPLE'S UNION) FOR CATHOLIC GERMANY. A large and important organization of German Catholics ...

Volta, Alessandro

Physicist, b. at Como, 18 Feb., 1745; d. there, 5 March, 1827. As his parents were not in ...

Volterra

(VOLTARRANENSIS). Diocese in Tuscany. The city stands on a rocky mountain 1770 feet above the ...

Volterra, Daniele da

(RICCIARELLI). Italian painter, b. at Volterra, 1509; d. in Rome, 1566. Ricciarelli was called ...

Voluntarism

Voluntarism ( Latin voluntas , will) in the modern metaphysical sense is a theory which ...

Voluntary

Wilful, proceeding from the will. It is requisite that the thing be an effect of the will ...

Voluntary Association, Right of

I. LEGAL RIGHT A voluntary association means any group of individuals freely united for the ...

Von Gagern, Max, Freiherr

Born at Weilburg (in Nassau), Germany, 25 March, 1810; died at Vienna, 17 October, 1889. He was ...

Vondel, Joost van Den

Netherland poet and convert, b. at Cologne, 17 Nov., 1587, of parents whose residence was ...

Voragine, Jacopo de

( Also DI VIRAGGIO). Archbishop of Genoa and medieval hagiologist, born at Viraggio (now ...

Votive Mass

( Missa votiva ) A Mass offered for a votum , a special intention. So we frequently find ...

Votive Offerings

The general name given to those things vowed or dedicated to God, or a saint, and in ...

Votive Offices

A votive office is one not entered in the general calendar, but adopted with a view to satisfying ...

Vows

I. GENERAL VIEW A vow is defined as a promise made to God. The promise is binding, and so differs ...

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Vrau, Philibert

"The holy man of Lille ", organizer of numerous Catholic activities; b. at Lille, 19 Nov., ...

Vrie, Theodoric

Historian of the Council of Constance . He describes himself as a brother of the Order of ...

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