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>> Recently, I've been working with the three volumes of English Benedictine
>> calendars edited by Francis Wormald for the Henry Bradshaw Society.  In
>>only two of the pre-1100 calendars are the feast days of saints graded as
>>either "in capis" or "in albis,"
>
>
>Dear James,
>For the liturgically challenged among us, perhaps you could briefly
>outline what these signify?  Many thanks.
>Jim Bugslag


Jim-

The most concise description of the grading of feast days in English
monastic calendars that I have found is in J. B. L. Tolhurst, _The Monastic
Breviary of Hyde Abbey, Winchester_ volume VI "Introduction to the English
Monastic Breviaries" (London:  HBS, 1942) 146-8.  Tolhurst  lists eight
grades of feast day.

Feasts graded as "in capis" are of the second rank and include, among
others, Epiphany, Circumcision, All Saints, and the commemoration of saints
of local importance.  "On these feasts the whole convent was usually vested
in copes at least at high Mass; hence the term 'in capis'."

Feasts graded as "in albis" are of the third rank and include, among others,
the feasts of the Apostles and Evangelists not included in grades one or two
and saints days (Vincent, Lawrence, etc.) that are "universally" of high
grade.   On these feasts "the convent was generally vested in albs at high
Mass; so the term 'in albis'."

Unfortunately, Tolhurst's focus is on the Late Middle Ages when the use of
this terminology was apparently common.  He does not specify when feasts,
especially saint's days, began to be graded as either "in capis" or "in
albis" on monastic calendars.  Hence my initial query.

I hope this is helpful.

James MacGregor