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On this day, * Simon Peter ascended the gibbet of the cross, alleluia: on this day, he that beareth the keys of the kingdom of heaven passed rejoicing to Christ: on this day, Paul the Apostle, the light of the world, inclining his head, for the name of Christ was crowned with martyrdom, alleluia. (The antiphon at the Magnificat for Second Vespers of Ss Peter and Paul.)
Ss Peter and Paul, with Ss John the Evanglist and Zeno; the left panel of the polyptych of San Zeno by Andrea Mantegna, 1457-60.
Aña Hodie * Simon Petrus ascendit crucis patibulum, alleluia: hodie clavicularius regni gaudens migravit ad Christum: hodie Paulus Apostolus, lumen orbis terrae inclinato capite pro Christi nomine martyrio coronatus est, alleluia.
This antiphon is musically very similar to the antiphon for the Magnificat at 2nd Vespers of Pentecost.
In the Roman Rite, the feast of St Peter and Paul was originally always the first feast of any of the Apostles to occur after Pentecost. The musical similarity between the two antiphons therefore signifies that Peter and his successors lead the Church in the long period from the descent of the Holy Ghost to the end of the world, a period symbolized by the season between Pentecost and Advent. (Since the 11th century, when the feast of St Barnabas was taken into the Roman liturgy from the Byzantine Rite, and kept on its Byzantine date, June 11th, it can occur between Pentecost and Peter and Paul. However, this doesn’t really disturb this ancient arrangement, since Barnabas was not one of the Twelve.)
A polyphonic setting of the Apostles’ Hodie by William Byrd.
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