A heavy downpour during Lauds earlier...

That was a lovely accompaniment to the Hour. Am following Holy Mass from Saint-Eugène; Canon Guelfucci is making his homily at the moment (in the recording-- I rose to begin the Night Office at about 0300). It is Dominica in Septuagesima, of course, Septuagesima, the beginning of 'fore-Lent', the three week season that carries us from Epiphanytide to the rigors of the Lenten observance.

The schola at the entrance of the clerics sang (the? a?) Trisagion adapted from Tchaikovsky's Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom op 41 (am alas unfamiliar with the Rite except in the most superficial of ways). A most excellent introduction to the season in any case. I believe M. le Chanoine is finishing. 

Mass completed, am on to Prime. But the expression, couvre-feu, has intrigued me in these last few days. It is 'curfew', which the French seem to be living with-- I haven't been keeping up; at this point am not sure if this is because of the plague nonsense or because of anarchists and other rioters. Although in the first half of the 13th century in France one could 'ring the curfew bell', it's meaning ultimately derives from exactly what, etymologically, it looks like it did: one had to make sure to cover one's cooking etc fires in the night, the time perforce of inattention, to ensure that the house and then the city didn't burn down. 

A fairly rare appearance of Palestrina at Saint-Eugène at Mass earlier: his motet Super flumina Babylonis, at the Communion; more or less the 1:26:00 mark. Quite well sung. Time for Terce and then Vespers from Paris. Palestrina and Tchaikovsky in one morning!

Post Vesperas et Sanctissimi Sacramenti Benedictionem. It has been raining again, eh, but now, after Vespers, it's just damp, damp and soppy. The jays went back home after a brief foray out for peanuts and the squirrels, while they braved some of the rain, are given up for the time being. Am going back to Lancel's Carthage and Adams's Regional Diversification, after I make another glass of tea. 

Took a break and, before making yet another glass of tea (or perhaps I won't do that, since on reflection I feel rather bouyant already), I occupied myself by eliminating tags at Evernote that exist (for whatever reason; more often than not, ahem, because I've typed in e.g. 'Martyrlgo...' and hit 'enter' before realising in my early morning brightness that that wasn't 'Martyrology') although they have no notes associated with them. A through L are cleaned up, in that sense. ('Martyrology' is simply the most frequently repeated error.)  The other great project, making slow progress, is the moving of every last one of my bits of nonsense online away from the Gmail address. Mr Biden is a devout Catholic and I harbor the expectation that one day I shall be free of Google and Amazon.

Blessed Cardinal Schuster in his Liber sacramentorum speculates about the beginnings of the Lenten fast and of Septuagesimatide.

The Eastern usage regarded Saturday and Sunday as festival days, and therefore as exempt from the Lenten fast; so, in order to complete the forty days of Lent, the Greeks anticipated the penitential season by some weeks, and from this Sunday onward abstained from the use of meat. In the following week they abstained also from milk and similar foods, and finally on the Monday of Quinquagesima they commenced the rigid fast in preparation for Easter. Among the Latins the custom varied at different times. By beginning the Lenten cycle with the First Sunday in Lent, there remain indeed, as St Gregory remarks, forty days of preparation for Easter, but of these only thirty-six are devoted to fasting. In order to supply the four missing days, pious persons and ecclesiastics began, in quite early times, to abstain from meat on the Monday after Quinquagesima (in carnis privio or in carne levario = Carnival); but it is not until the time of St Gregory that we find in the antiphonary the liturgical consecration of the caput jejunii on the Wednesday of Quinquagesima. The piety of the more devout, however, was not satisfied by these four supplementary days. The Greeks began earlier, and, living as they did beside them in Rome during the Byzantine period, the Latins could do no less. St Gregory therefore instituted, or at least gave definite form to, a cycle of three weeks’ preparation for Lent, with three solemn stations at the patriarchal Basilicas of St Lawrence, St Paul, and St Peter, as though to begin the Easter fast under the auspices of the three great patrons of the Eternal City. 

The... stational cycle... begins on this day with the station at St Lawrence, which holds the fourth place only among the papal basilicas, the reason for this change being that it was not considered advisable to remove the first Lenten station from the Lateran, where ever since the fourth century the Popes had been in the habit of offering the sacrificium quadragesimalis initii, as the Sacramentary calls it. It would seem that the three Masses of Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima date from the time of St Gregory, since they reflect the terror and grief that filled the minds of the Romans in those years during which war, pestilence, and earthquake threatened the utter destruction of the former mistress of the world.

It is also, in the Traditional Rite, the feasts of the Egyptian, Alexandrian, Coptic Saints Cyrus and John, Martyrs. While there is no commemoration in the missals I have access to the feast remains celebrated in Egypt and the East (and perhaps at Rome) and there are pages devoted to them at the usual places (CE, and Wiki, which is in noticeable part simply Dr Balestri's article at CE expanded). As so often happened, the relics were translated to the Eternal City. I've left out the notes.

... In the time of [Antonio] Bosio [Roma Sotterrenea, 1634] the pictures of the two saints were still visible in this church [Santa Passera in the Via Portuense]. Upon the door of the hypogeum, which still remains, is the following inscription in marble:

Corpora sancta Cyri renitent hic atque Joannis
Quæ quondam Romæ dedit Alexandria magna

At Rome three churches were dedicated to these martyrs, Abbas Cyrus de Militiis, Abbas Cyrus de Valeriis, and Abbas Cyrus ad Elephantum—all of which were transformed afterwards by the vulgar pronunciation into Santa Passera, a corruption of Abbas Cyrus....

I can perhaps vaguely see how 'Abbas Cyrus' becomes 'Santa Passera' in the course of centuries; perhaps not very well. The inscription above the hypogeum door says more or less, 'the holy bodies of Cyrus and John resplendent here were given by great Alexandria to Rome'. Back to the evidence of Republican inscriptions.