ROGATION DAYS (Lat. rogatio, from rogare, to beseech; the equivalent of Gr. XLTaveia, litany), in the Calendar of the Christian Church, the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before Ascension Day, so called because long associated with the chanting of litanies in procession (rogationes). The week in which they occur is sometimes called Rogation Week. In 511 the first Council of Orleans ordered that the three days preceding Ascension Day should be celebrated as rogation days with fasting and rogationes. All work was to be suspended that all might join in the processions. Leo III. (pope 795-816) introduced rogation days, but without the fasting, at Rome. St Augustine had earlier introduced the custom into the English Church, learning it on his way through Gaul. The Council of Clovesho in 747 confirmed Augustine's injunction, and ordered that the rogation days be kept up "according to the way of our fathers." The place-name "Gospel Oak," which occurs in London and elsewhere, is a relic of these rogation processions, the gospel of the day being read at the foot of the finest oak the parish boasted. After the Reformation the processions gradually ceased to be ecclesiastical in England, and are now practically secularized into the perambulation of the parish boundaries on or about Ascension Day.
See also Procession and Litany.
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