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I. LITURGICAL ASPECT
The fifty days from Easter Sunday to Pentecost are called by the older liturgists "Quinquagesima paschalis" or "Quin. laetitiae". The octave of Easter which closer after Saturday has its own peculiar Office. Since this octave is part and complement of the Easter Solemnity. Paschal Tide in the liturgical books commences with the First Vespers of Low Sunday and ends before the First Vespers of Trinity Sunday. On Easter Sunday the Armenian Church keeps the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed and on Saturday of Easter Week the Decollation of St. John. The Greek Church on Friday of Easter Week celebrates the feast of Our Lady, the Living Fountain (shrine at Constantinople).
The Sundays from Easter to Ascension Day, besides being called the First, Second (etc.) Sunday after Easter, have their own peculiar titles.
Paschal Tide is a season of joy. The colour for the Office de tempore is white; the Te Deum and Gloria are recited every day even in the ferial Office. On Sundays the "Asperges" is replaced by the "Vidi Aquam" which recalls the solemn baptism of Easter eve. There is no feast day from Easter until Ascension. The Armenians during this period do away even with the abstinence on Fridays. Prayers are said standing, not kneeling. Instead of the "Angelus" the "Regina Caeli" is recited. From Easter to Ascension many churches, about the tenth century, said only one Nocturn at Matins; even some particular churches in the city of Rome adopted this custom from the Teutons (Bäumer, "Gesch. des Breviers", 312). Gregory VII limited this privilege to the week of Easter and of Pentecost. Some dioceses in Germany however, retained it far into the nineteenth century for 40 days after Easter. In every Nocturn the three psalms are said under one antiphon. The Alleluia appears as an independent antiphon; an Alleluia is also added to all the antiphons, responsories, and versicles, except to the versicles of the preces at Prime and Compline. Instead of the "suffragia sanctorum" in the semidouble and ferial Offices a commemoration of the Holy Cross is used. The iambic hymns have a special Easter doxology. The feasts of the holy Apostles and martyrs have their own commune from Easter to Pentecost. At Mass the Alleluia is added to the Introit, Offertory and Communion; in place of the Gradual two Alleluias are sung followed by two verses, each with an Alleluia; there is also a special Preface for Paschal Time.
Paschal Tide is the period during which every member of the faithful who has attained the year of discretion is bound by the positive law of the Church to receive Holy Communion (Easter duty). During the early Middle Ages from the time of the Synod of Agde (508), it was customary to receive Holy Communion at least three times a year — Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost. A positive precept was issued by the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) and confirmed by the Council of Trent (Sess. XIII, can. ix). According to these decrees the faithful of either sex, after coming to the age of discretion, must receive at least at Easter the Sacrament of the Eucharist (unless by the advice of the parish priest they abstain for a while). Otherwise during life they are to be prevented from entering the church and when dead are to be denied Christian burial. The paschal precept is to be fulfilled in one's parish church. Although the precept of the Fourth Lateran to confess to the parish priest fell into disuse and permission was given to confess anywhere, the precept of receiving Easter Communion in the parish church is still in force where there are canonically-erected parishes. The term Paschal Tide was usually interpreted to mean the two weeks between Palm and Low Sundays (Synod of Avignon, 1337); by St. Antonine of Florence it was restricted to Easter Sunday, Monday and Tuesday by Angelo da Chiavasso it was defined as the period from Maundy Thursday to Low Sunday. Eugene IV, 8 July, 1440, authoritatively interpreted it to mean the two weeks between Palm and Low Sundays [G. Allmang, "Kölner Pastoralblatt" (Nov., 1910) 327 sq.]. In later centuries the time has been variously extended: at Naples from Palm Sunday to Ascension; at Palermo from Ash Wednesday to Low Sunday. In Germany, at an early date, the second Sunday after Easter terminated Paschal Tide, for which reason it was called "Predigerkirchweih", because the hard Easter labour was over, or "Buch Sunday", the obstinate sinners putting off the fulfillment of the precept to the last day. In the United States upon petition of the Fathers of the First Provincial Council of Baltimore Paschal Tide was extended by Pius VIII to the period from the first Sunday in Lent to Trinity Sunday (II Plen. Coun. Balt., n. 257); in England it lasts from Ash Wednesday until Low Sunday; in Ireland from Ash Wednesday until the octave of SS. Peter and Paul, 6 July (O'Kane "Rubrics of the Roman Ritual", n. 737; Slater, "Moral Theology" 578, 599); in Canada the duration of the Paschal Tide is the same as in the United States.
Kirchenlex., s.v.. Oesterliche Zeit; NILLES, Kal. man., II, 337 sqq.; TONDINI, Calendrier liturgique de la nation arnénienne (Rome, 1906); BAUMSTARK, Festbrevier und Kirchenjahr der syrischen Jakobiten (Paderborn, 1910).