The Christmas Martyrology
At the old morning office of Prime on this day the Martyrology reading would be the solemn announcement of Christ’s birth. This is the description given by Pius Parsch:
In some European monasteries the chanter, vested in alb and violet cope, steps into the middle of the choir, accompanied by ministers with candles and censer. He incenses the Martyrology on the violet-covered lectern, and after announcing the date begins to sing. All stand with heads uncovered, as at the Gospel. At the phrase, ‘in Bethlehem,’ all kneel; and at the words, ‘the birth of our Lord,’ all prostrate for the first adoration of the Son of God become Man. The passage begins with the fixation of the date according to the ancient computation.
Here Dom Mark Kirby, the prior of Silverstream Priory in County Meath, chants the Martyrology:
The text in English:
In the year from the creation of the world, when in the beginning God created Heaven and Earth, five thousand one hundred and ninety-nine;Original found here. Edited a little; mostly punctuation .
from the flood, two thousand, nine hundred and fifty-seven;
from the birth of Abraham, two thousand and fifteen;
from Moses and the coming of the Israelites out of Egypt, one thousand, five hundred and ten;
from the annointing of King David, one thousand and thirty-two;
in the sixty-fifth week, according to the prophecy of Daniel;
in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad;
in the year seven hundred and fifty-two from the founding of the city of Rome;
in the forty-second year of the empire of Octavian Augustus, when the whole earth was at peace;
in the sixth age of the world:
Jesus Christ, eternal God, and Son of the eternal Father, desirous to sanctify the world by His most merciful coming, havng been conceived of the Holy Ghost, and nine months having elapsed since his conception, is born in Bethlehem of Juda, having become man of the Virgin Mary. Alleluia. Thanks be to God.
The Latin original is reprinted here.
There is a newer aggiornamentoized version available, so they tell me. One presumes that "1,599 years from the creation of the world" caused palpitations in the breast of Archbishop Gradgrind and Msgr Bounderby who instigated a revision forthwith.
(One wonders idly what the purpose of a new, improved, lemon-flavoured Martyrology might be. Since the martyrology is to be read at the office of Prime and the office of Prime has been determined to be surplus to requirements what does one do with one's brand-new copy of the Roman Martyrology?)