Of the Custom of having Twelve Prayers.
Whereupon the venerable assembly of the Fathers understood that by Divine Providence a general rule had been fixed for the congregations of the brethren through the angels direction, and so decreed that this number should be preserved both in their evening and in their nocturnal services; and when they added to these two lessons, one from the Old and one from the New Testament, they added them simply as extras and of their own appointment, only for those who liked, and who were eager to gain by constant study a mind well stored with Holy Scripture. But on Saturday and Sunday they read them both from the New Testament; viz., one from the Epistles 690 or the Acts of the Apostles, and one from the Gospel. 691 And this also those do whose concern is the reading and the recollection of the Scriptures, from Easter to Whitsuntide. 692
Apostolus, the regular name for the book of the Epistles.207:691
Cf. the note above on c. v.207:692
Totis Quinquagessimœ diebus; i.e., the whole period of fifty days between Easter and Whitsuntide (cf. c. xviii. and the Conferences XXI. viii., xi., xx.). This is the usual meaning of the term Pentecost in early writers, though it is also used more strictly for the actual festival of Whitsunday. Cf. the Twentieth Canon of the Council of Nicæa, and see Canon Brights Notes on the Canons, p. 72, for other instances.