From a reader…
The Christmas Proclamation (from the Martyrology). I know it is sung prior to Midnight Mass in the OF. Does it fit in the Traditional Mass, or is it relegated to the hour of Prime?
We are talking here about the Kalendas, the solemn announcement of the birth of the Savior. It was sung at Prime. Since Prime isn’t being sung in many places, and since we need to have these good customs in far greater use, I say go ahead and sing it before Midnight Mass in the Usus Antiquior.
In the proclamation, the birth of Christ follows a list of important events, set points in history, which therefore puts the birth of Christ into the context of the history of salvation, beginning with the Creation of the world and culminating in the Nativity.
Remember that in the ancient world there was no standard calendar. So, one way to pinpoint events was to say what else was going on at the time according to other reckonings of time. The overlap of the dates would then give you the desired result, like a chronological Venn Diagram. The overlapping of the dates of the events cited in the Proclamation results in an accurate dating of the Nativity, that is 3/2 BC. There is good scholarship that reinforces 3/2 BC and cleans up a dating error for the year of Herod’s death.
I wrote about it at some length last year and made a recording for those who had to practice it. HERE I found a good Gregorian notation for the 2018 Kalendas (for the 2019 dates) at the site of Cappella Gregoriana Sanctæ Cæciliæ olim Xicatunensis.
Here is a fast recording for this year.