Several synods had made laws about fasting to be observed during this time, some beginning with the eleventh of November, others the fifteenth, and others as early as the autumnal equinox. In the Greek Church we find no documents for the observance of Advent earlier than the eighth century. In the eighth century we find it observed not as a liturgical celebration, but as a time of fast and abstinence, from 15 November to the Nativity, which, according to Goar, was later reduced to seven days.
But a council of the Ruthenians (1720) ordered the fast according to the old rule from the fifteenth of November. Similarly, the Ambrosian and the Mozarabic Riterites have no special liturgy for Advent, but only the fast. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online.
It cannot be determined with any degree of certainty when the celebration of Advent was first introduced into the Church.
In the Epistle she exhorts the faithful that, since the Redeemer is nearer, they should cast aside the works of darkness and put on the armour of light; should walk honestly, as in the day, and put on the Lord Jesus Christ ; she shows that the nations are called to praise the name of the Lord; she asks them to rejoice in the nearness of the Lord, so that the price of God, which surpasses all understanding, may keep their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus ; she admonishes them not to pass judgment, for the Lord, when He comes, will manifest the secrets hidden in hearts.
In the Gospels the Church speaks of the Lord coming in glory ; of Him in, and through, Whom the prophecies are being fulfilled; of the Eternal walking in the midst of the Jews ; of the voice in the desert, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord".
According to present  usage, Advent is a period beginning with the Sunday nearest to the feast of St.
Andrew the Apostle (30 November) and embracing four Sundays.
As Lessons for the first Nocturn she prescribes chapters from the prophet Isaias, who speaks in scathing terms of the ingratitude of the house of Israel, the chosen children who had forsaken and forgotten their Father; who tells of the Man of Sorrows stricken for the sins of His people; who describes accurately the passion and death of the coming Saviour and His final glory ; who announces the gathering of the Gentiles to the Holy Hill.
In the second Nocturn the Lessons on three Sundays are taken from the eighth homily of Pope St.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".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.The Church in her Liturgy takes us in spirit back to the time before the incarnation of the Son of God, as though it were really yet to take place.