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## Dominical Letter
A device adopted from the Romans by
the old chronologers to aid them in finding the day of the week
corresponding to any given date, and indirectly to facilitate the
adjustment of the "Proprium de Tempore" to the "Proprium
Sanctorum" when constructing the ecclesiastical calendar for
any year. The Church, on account of her complicated system of
movable and immovable feasts ( The Romans were accustomed to divide
the year into
```
Alta Domat Dominus, Gratis Beat Equa
Gerentes
```
`Contemnit Fictos, Augebit Dona Fideli.`
Now, as a moment=92s reflection shows, if 1 January is a Sunday, all the days marked by A will also be Sundays; If 1 January is a Saturday, Sunday will fall on 2 January which is a B, and all the other days marked B will be Sundays; if 1 January is a Monday, then Sunday will not come until 7 January, a G, and all the days marked G will be Sundays. This being explained, the Dominical Letter of any year is defined to be that letter of the cycle A, B, C, D, E, F, G, which corresponds to the day upon which the first Sunday (and every subsequent Sunday) falls. It is plain, however, that when a leap year occurs, a complication is introduced. February has then twenty-nine days. Traditionally, the Anglican and civil calendars added this extra day to the end of the month, while the Catholic ecclesiastical calendar counted 24 February twice. But in either case, 1 March is then one day later in the week than 1 February, or, in other words, for the rest of the year the Sundays come a day earlier than they would- in a common year. This is expressed by saying that a leap year has two Dominical Letters, the second being the letter which precedes that with which the year started. For example, 1 January, 1907, was a Tuesday; the first Sunday fell on 6 January, or an F. F was, therefore, the Dominical Letter for 1907. The first of January, 1908, was a Wednesday, the first Sunday fell on 5 January, and E was the Dominical Letter, but as 1908 was a leap year, its Sundays after February came a day sooner than in a normal year and were D=92s. The year 1908, therefore, had a double Dominical Letter, E-D. In 1909, 1 January was a Friday and the Dominical Letter was C. In 1910 and 1911, 1 January fell respectively on Saturday and Sunday and the Dominical Letters are B and A. This, of course, is all very simple, but the advantage of tile device lies, like that of an algebraical expression, in its being a mere symbol adaptable to any year. By constructing a table of letters and days of the year, A always being set against I January, we can at once see the relation between the days of the week and the day of any month, if only we know the Dominical Letter. This may always be found by the following rule of De Morgan=92s, which gives the Dominical Letter for any year, or the second Dominical Letter if it be leap year:
Add 1 to the given year.
Take the quotient found by dividing the given year by 4 (neglecting the remainder).
Take 16 from the centurial figures of the given year if that can be done.
Take the quotient of III divided by 4 (neglecting the remainder).
From the sum of I, II and IV, subtract III.
Find the remainder of V divided by 7: this is the number of the Dominical Letter, supposing A, B, C, D, E, F, G to be equivalent respectively to 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, 0.
For example, to find the Dominical Letter of the year 1913:
Therefore, the Dominical Letter is E.
But the Dominical Letter had another very practical use in the
days before the "Ordo divini officii recitandi" was
printed annually, and when, consequently, a priest had often to
determine the "Ordo" for himself ( The Dominical Letter does not seem to
have been familiar to Bede in his "De Temporum Ratione,"
but in its place he adopts a similar device of seven numbers which
he calls
```
Concurrents 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Concurrent 1 = F
(Dominical Letter)
```
`Concurrent 2 = E`
`Concurrent 3 = D`
`Concurrent 4 = C`
`Concurrent 5 = B`
`Concurrent 6 = A`
`Concurrent 7 = G`
HERBERT THURSTON |

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