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Leo (440-461) on fasting and almsdeeds as a preparation for the advent of the Lord, and on one Sunday (the second) from St.
Jerome's commentary on Isaias 11:1, which text he interprets of the Blessed Virgin Mary as "the rod out of the root of Jesse".
The subdeacon removes his during the reading of the Epistle, and the deacon exchanges his for another, or for a wider stole, worn over the left shoulder during the time between the singing of the Gospel and the Communion.
An exception is made for the third Sunday ( Gaudete Sunday ), on which the vestments may be rose-coloured, or richer violet ones; the sacred ministers may on this Sunday wear dalmatics, which may also be used on the Vigil of the Nativity, even if it be the fourth Sunday of Advent.
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In the hymns of the season we find praise for the coming of Christ, the Creator of the universe, as Redeemer, combined with prayer to the coming judge of the world to protect us from the enemy.
Similar ideas are expressed in the antiphons for the Magnificat on the last seven days before the Vigil of the Nativity.
It cannot be determined with any degree of certainty when the celebration of Advent was first introduced into the Church.
The preparation for the feast of the Nativity of Our Lord was not held before the feast itself existed, and of this we find no evidence before the end of the fourth century, when, according to Duchesne [ Christian Worship (London, 1904), 260], it was celebrated throughout the whole Church, by some on 25 December, by others on 6 January. Caesarius , Bishop of Arles (502-542), in which we find mention of a preparation before the birthday of Christ ; still, to judge from the context, no general law on the matter seems then to have been in existence.