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The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia


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The name given to the third Sunday before Lent. The explanation of this name for this Sunday has been given as follows: "There being exactly fifty days between the Sunday next before Lent and Easter Day inclusive, that Sunday is termed Quinquagesima, i.e., the fiftieth; and the two Sundays immediately preceding are called from the next round numbers, Sexagesima, i.e., sixtieth, and Septuagesima, i.e., the seventieth." The reason for thus numbering these Sundays has been beautifully set forth in "Thoughts on the Services" as follows: "The Church now (Septuagesima Sunday) enters the penumbra of her Lenten Eclipse, and all her services are shadowed with the sombre hue of her approaching Season of humiliation. . . .We have turned our back upon dear old Christmas and the group of holy days that hand in hand seemed fairly to dance around it; and setting our faces towards the more sober, but still more glorious, light of Easter we begin to number the days of preparation, which if duly observed will fit us to keep the Paschal as the Apostle commands, 'not with the old leaven. . .but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.'" (See PRE-LENTEN SEASON.)

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Bibliography Information
Miller, William James. Entry for 'Septuagesima'. The American Church Dictionary and Cyclopedia. 1901.

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