Ember Days

Ember Days
The days at the beginning of the seasons ordered by the Church as days of fast and abstinence

Catholic Encyclopedia. . 2006.

Ember Days
    Ember Days
     Catholic_Encyclopedia Ember Days
    Ember days (corruption from Lat. Quatuor Tempora, four times) are the days at the beginning of the seasons ordered by the Church as days of fast and abstinence. They were definitely arranged and prescribed for the entire Church by Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085) for the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after 13 December (S. Lucia), after Ash Wednesday, after Whitsunday, and after 14 September (Exaltation of the Cross). The purpose of their introduction, besides the general one intended by all prayer and fasting, was to thank God for the gifts of nature, to teach men to make use of them in moderation, and to assist the needy. The immediate occasion was the practice of the heathens of Rome. The Romans were originally given to agriculture, and their native gods belonged to the same class. At the beginning of the time for seeding and harvesting religious ceremonies were performed to implore the help of their deities: in June for a bountiful harvest, in September for a rich vintage, and in December for the seeding; hence their feriae sementivae, feriae messis, and feri vindimiales. The Church, when converting heathen nations, has always tried to sanctify any practices which could be utilized for a good purpose. At first the Church in Rome had fasts in June, September, and December; the exact days were not fixed but were announced by the priests. The "Liber Pontificalis" ascribes to Pope Callistus (217-222) a law ordering: the fast, but probably it is older. Leo the Great (440-461) considers it an Apostolic institution. When the fourth season was added cannot be ascertained, but Gelasius (492-496) speaks of all four. This pope also permitted the conferring of priesthood and deaconship on the Saturdays of ember week—these were formerly given only at Easter. Before Gelasius the ember days were known only in Rome, but after his time their observance spread. They were brought into England by St. Augustine; into Gaul and Germany by the Carlovingians. Spain adopted them with the Roman Liturgy in the eleventh century. They were introduced by St. Charles Borromeo into Milan. The Eastern Church does not know them. The present Roman Missal, in the formulary for the Ember days, retains in part the old practice of lessons from Scripture in addition to the ordinary two: for the Wednesdays three, for the Saturdays six, and seven for the Saturday in December. Some of these lessons contain promises of a bountiful harvest for those that serve God.
    FRANCIS MERSHMAN
    Transcribed by Carl H. Horst

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIII. — New York: Robert Appleton Company. . 1910.


Catholic encyclopedia.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ember days — Ember Em ber, a. [OE. ymber, AS. ymbren, ymbryne, prop., running around, circuit; ymbe around + ryne a running, fr. rinnan to run. See {Amb }, and {Run}.] Making a circuit of the year of the seasons; recurring in each quarter of the year; as,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ember days — O.E. Ymbrendaeg, Ymbren, 12 days of the year (divided into four seasonal periods, hence Latin name quatuor tempora) set aside by the Church for fasting and prayers, from O.E. ymbren recurring, corruption of ymbryne a circuit, revolution, course,… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Ember-days — /emˈbər dāz/ plural noun The three Fast days (Wednesday, Friday and Saturday) in each quarter, following the first Sunday in Lent, Whitsunday, Holy Cross Day (14 September), and St Lucia s Day (13 December) ORIGIN: OE ymbryne a circuit, from ymb… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Ember days — In the liturgical calendar of the Western Christian churches, Ember days are four separate sets of three days within the same week mdash;specifically, the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday mdash;roughly equidistant in the circuit of the year, that… …   Wikipedia

  • Ember Days —    The Ember Days are the Wednesday, Friday and Saturday after the First Sunday in Lent; Whitsun Day; the 14th of September and the 13th day of December, and are regarded as the Fasts of the four seasons. The time of their observance was… …   American Church Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Ember days — Four groups of three days in the Church calendar during which fasting was observed, i.e. Wednesday, Friday and Saturday following the first Sunday in Lent, *Pentecost, Holy Cross Day (14 September), St Lucy s Day (13 December). Ember Week was one …   Dictionary of Medieval Terms and Phrases

  • Ember days — n.pl. any of the days traditionally reserved for fasting and prayer in the Christian Church, now associated with ordinations. Etymology: OE ymbren (n.), perh. f. ymbryne period f. ymb about + ryne course * * * Ember days, the four periods of… …   Useful english dictionary

  • ember days —    This term (derived from a Germanic word for ashes ) refers to the four times (in Latin this is called quatuor tempora) in the year when three days (Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday) were set aside for prayer, fasting, and abstinence;the… …   Glossary of theological terms

  • Ember Days — In ecclesiastical law, those days which the ancient fathers called quatuor tempora jejunii are of great antiquity in the church. They are observed on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday next after Quadragesima Sunday, or the first Sunday in Lent,… …   Black's law dictionary

  • Ember days — /ˈɛmbə deɪz/ (say embuh dayz) plural noun 1. any of four groups of three days, associated with harvests and ordination, set aside by some Western churches for prayer, fasting and alms giving and which usually consist of a Wednesday, a Friday and… …   Australian English dictionary

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