Various uses venerate God’s saints under different ranks; this is based partly on the Gospel; partly on the City; partly on general custom; partly on the country or place
Gather ye together his saints to him, who set his covenant before sacrifices. God’s saints are gathered together with the God of Abraham, and their names are in the book of life. Knowledge of their names and passions are collected in the Church’s Martyrology, but we are unable to venerate each one of them in the sacrifice of divine praise. Yet out of their number a certain few should be gathered and noted in a public register, that we may duly venerate them when their days occur. We call this public register a Calendar. Gather therefore for our God his saints in the Church’s calendar, who set Christ’s covenant before the sacrifices of their own praise, and we are by every means obliged to render this praise to him.
But as we gather such saints into this Calendar, those saints of God are to be chosen whom we are obliged to venerate by the Holy Gospel or the Roman office of St. Gregory, as well as those whom the general custom of the Church venerates and worships. These ones are to be written into everyone’s use and we have included them in the calendar placed at the beginning, though among the Romans Saints Bartholomew, Ambrose, Chrysogonus, Pope Martin, Eustachius, Linus, Chrysanthus and Daria, the Seven Sleepers, and several others are assigned to different days than they have among us. On this point the Apostolic See commands “let local custom be observed,” Extra, De observation ieiuniorum, Consilium and De verborum significatione, Quaesivit. Furthermore, every use should include in its proper calendar those saints who are especially venerated in their land or place. And in order to avoid errors in the redaction of a church’s calendar on these and other matters, the custom is to rely on the cathedral church. The statues of Cologne and Liège order as much. And saints whom we do not venerate in the office should not be noted in the calendar. Otherwise the calendars become complex and simple priests are furnished an excuse for omitting the ferial office. Moreover, none should be allowed to institute new saints by writing them in, giving them their own office in contravention of the aforementioned authorities. Having gathered and inscribed, therefore, those of God’s saints whom we are bound to venerate, let us see about their offices.
It is clear that we must not and cannot venerate all the saints equally, nor is it the general custom. Therefore some saints are classed as a simple commemoration, others as three lesson feasts, and others as nine. Those who must have nine lessons are:
First, the saints’ feasts celebrated by the clergy and people based on Roman or diocesan authority, and classed as double feasts must be observed with nine lessons. Further, let those saints’ days which episcopal statutes order be observed with nine lessons be so kept. Feasts of our Lord and his Mother, the Invention of the Holy Cross, the twelve apostles, the Nativity of John the Baptist, of St. Laurence, Michael, and the Dedication of a church are celebrated by the clergy and people based on apostolic authority; likewise general custom celebrates a church’s patron, the Conversation of Paul, the Chair and Chains of Peter, the feasts of Martin and Nicholas, Mary Magdalene and Catherine. In the statues of Cologne, moreover, the clergy and people are enjoined to celebrate Agnes, George, Pantaleon, the Decollation of John, the Exaltation of the Cross, Gereon, the twelve thousand virgins, Severinus, Cunibert, and Cecilia. The statues of Liège enjoin the celebration of Servatius, Lambert, Dionysius, and Hubert. And thus let each add the feasts important to their place.
Likewise, according to the constitution of Pope Boniface VIII, the Church celebrates, “the principal feasts of the twelve apostles, the four evangelists, and the four doctors as double feasts.” Further, by general custom the Apostle Barnabas, Pope Clement, Benedict, Dionysius, Agatha, Agnes, Cecilia, and the Division of the Apostles are kept as feasts of nine lessons. According to the statues of Cologne, Fabian and Sebastian, Giles, Lambert, Dionysius, Maurice, and Remigius; and according to the statutes of Liège, Dominic, Francis, Leonard, and the eleven thousand virgins have nine lessons in their places and dioceses. And similarly in other dioceses the bishop and his clergy must determine which feasts they should observe with nine lessons. For just as bishops determine the feasts to be celebrated by their people (as stated in De consecratione, distinction 3 chapter Pronunciandum; Extra, De feriis, chapter Capellanus), so they must also determine the festivities for their clergy.
If a diocese has not determined the feasts, great discretion must be exercised so that the general and reasonable observance of the whole diocese is taken into account, hewing to the principle of moderation, that we should not admit too many feasts of nine lessons. For we find that the statues of the aforementioned dioceses assign nine lessons to only a few of their bishops even though they possess the bodies of many saints and have many local saints—such as the bodies of Saints Maurice and Ewald, and the local saints Eliphius, Heribert, and many others in Cologne; and Theodard, Remacius, Mono, Oda, and several others in Liège, for that church had over thirty canonized bishops. But the same bishops were moderate in instituting nine-lesson feasts. And according to Saint Bernard in his epistle to the canons of Lyons, festivities are not to be multiplied because “such a frequency of joys belongs to our fatherland, not to our exile, and the numerosity of feasts befits citizens, not exiles.”
The Carthusians, Cistercians, Preachers, and others have few particular or special festivities. The special feasts of the Carthusians are Anthony, Vincent, Barnabas, Bernard, Maurice, Dionysius, the eleven thousand virgins, Catherine, Thomas of Canterbury, and—on account of their Order—the two Hughs and the feast of Relics. If it be objected that the use of the Friars Minor keeps everything with nine lessons, we respond that, although the Romans have more festivities than other nations because of the great number of local saints, nevertheless the said Friars abusively go far beyond the ancient Roman use with respect to their nine-lesson feasts, and that their abuse is not to be followed, but rather altogether abominated, as, with God’s grace, I shall further explain in good time when my books arrived from the City, and say below in Proposition 22.
Let this be, then, the great and foremost principle, which you must follow with decency and according to order, namely that your places receive local festivals of nine lessons only sparingly and on the weightiest authority. For we keep one festival of our Lord Jesus Christ, namely Sunday, followed by six ferias; that the feast days of his servants and private days should be in this proportion of one to six is a mystery we find in the Gospel. For every apostle our Lord put in a higher rank, he put six disciples in a lower, and when he chose the twelve apostles, he picked out six times as many disciples. For six times twelve makes seventy-two, which is the number of Christ’s disciples. “For his actions themselves are precepts: what he does without saying anything shows us what we must do,” according to a homily of St. Gregory. So just as there are few Sundays and many ferias, few apostles and many disciples, so festivals should be few and ferias or saints’ days of three lessons many. And let the ultimate goal be to sing the entire psalter, which is the primary purpose of the Office, as shown above. If you count and order things well, there will not be as many festivals in the year as there are Sundays, since “the servant” should not be “above the master, nor the disciple above his master.” Be assured that it pleases God’s saints more in the end when the psalter, sacred Scripture, the Office of the Dead, the seven Penitential psalms, the fifteen Gradual psalms, and the like are kept in their right order, and there are few. For God’s saints do not seek undue praise, preferring that our “service [to them] be reasonable.” Now that we have seen which saints ought to be venerated with nine readings, let us see which are to be venerated with three readings or a commemoration.
Note especially that all the saints we have given a Mass for in the prefixed calendar have a proper mass in the Gregorian office and everywhere else, and every use venerates them with three lessons unless they coincide with a major festival, in which case they have a commemoration [in the Office] and should have a separate Mass. These saints especially, therefore, should be venerated with at least three readings on their days. For that reason our calendar lists them with three lessons and a Mass; several of them also have a proper history.
Apart from these, the various uses differ over which saints they venerate with three readings, such as, among the Carthusians, Polycarp, Blaise, Peter Martyr, Cyriacus and Julitta, Leo, Margaret, Christina, Nazarius and companions, Germanus, Eusebius, Lucy and Euphemia, Thecla, Faith, Crispin and Crispinian, Eustace and companions, Brice, Columban, Linus, Vitalis and Agricola, Silas the Apostle, Saturninus, and Eulalia. Further, they keep Fabian and Sebastian, the Invention of the Holy Cross, the Invention of St. Stephen, Dominic, Remigius, and Francis with three lessons, though others keep them with nine.
Others they keep with a commemoration, either because they coincide with a major feast or fall within major octaves, as Sylvester, Paul the First Hermit, Hilary, Alexander, and others, and the rest noted as commemorations. On days free of festivals or major octaves they keep any occurring saints of three lessons or the ferial office. Some, such as the Preachers and their imitators, have saints of a lower class on such days, which they keep with only a commemoration in the temporal office. Such is the third way of commemorating a saint, if he be of lesser importance.
Behold, I give examples from the use of the Teutonic Knights of Prussia, who beyond the saints who have proper masses noted in the Calendar above, keep the following with three lessons: Anthony, Timothy, Chrysogonus, Blaise, Vitus and Modestus, Paulinus of Nola, Pantaleon and others, Germanus, the Octave of St. Laurence, Bernard, Giles, Lambert, and Remigius; and the following with nine: Maurice and companions, Cosmas and Damian; and with a commemoration in the ferial office: Maurus, Emerentiana, Polycarp, Vedastus and Amandus, Scholastica, Albinus, Perpetua and Felicity, Pudentiana and Petronilla, Nicomedes, Medard, Quiricus and Julitta, Christina, Donatus, Romanus, Eusebius, Rufus, Euphemia, Leodegar, Faith, Martha, Crispin and Crispinian, Narcissus, Quentin, Leonard, Pope Martin, Brice, Agricola and Vitalis, Bishop Saturninus, Eligius, Barbara, Sabbas, the Octave of Andrew, Damasus, and Lazarus. And since their name is Hospitalers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Jerusalem, they keep the following bishops of Jerusalem: Simeon and Alexander with three readings; and Matthias, Zacharias, and Mark with a commemoration.
Now let us recall the reasons we venerate the saints. Saints are venerated with nine lessons either because they are celebrated by the clergy and people, or because they are classed as duplex feasts, or because they are so designated by episcopal statute or an equivalent authority. They are kept with three lessons either because they have a proper mass office in the Roman office, or because they have been raised to this level of honor in a particular use. They pass with only a commemoration either because they coincide with a greater festival, or fall within major octaves; at least, those are the two general conditions, though the low rank of the saint in a particular use is another cause. Many keep this rule, including the Liègois during Paschaltide for saints who do not have a Mass.
Consider, my lords and brothers, how reasonably and almost identically the Carthusian brethren stationed in the desert and the Teutonic lords equipped for battle keep this “salutary worship” in their orders, namely, with regard to their saints, observing few of them as festivals or three lesson feasts on account of the temporal office of our High God; both of them, however, say a nocturn on all feasts of three lessons, in accord with Proposition 10. The majority of secular churches abandon the temporal office on ordinary days when a saint occurs. The Cistercians, on the contrary, similarly to other uses, keep but a rare few festivals of twelve lessons. All other saints they keep with a simple commemoration. In this matter, the Carthusians are exemplary.
 Psalm 49:5.
 Philippians 4:3.
 CJC, Decr. Greg. III, 16.2—Frdbrg II, 630
 CJC, Decr. Greg. V, 10.14—Frdbg. II, 915. Cf. Prop. 19.
 CJC, Sexti Decr. III. 22 – Frdbg. II, 1059.
 CJC, Decr. III, 3.1 – Frdbg. I, 1353; Decor. Greg. II, 9.4 — Frdbg. II, 272.
 Saint Bernard, Epistula CLXXIV (PL 182:334 ff.)
 Gregory, Homilia XVII in Evangelia, Luke 10:1–9 – ML 76:1159.
 Cf. Romans 12:1