Sunday, April 19, 2009


Today is the Octave Day of Easter, sometimes known as Low Sunday (and also known historically as St. Thomas Sunday and Quasimodo Sunday).   Simply, it is the Sunday after Easter Sunday.  quasimodoSince 1970 Low Sunday has been officially known as the Second Sunday of Easter in the Catholic Church. Also, octave refers to an eight-day feast or the eighth day following that feast, sometimes referred to as the "Octave Day".  And among Eastern Christians this day is known as Thomas Sunday.

The name Quasimodo came from the Latin text of the traditional Introit for this day, which begins "Quasi modo geniti infantes..." ("As newborn babes...", from the First Epistle of Peter ( 1 Peter 2:2). Literally, the Latin, quasi modo means "as recently” or "almost like". Which, of course, reminds me of the sad character in Victor Hugo’s,The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Quasimodo (almost like…).

Quasimodo was born with several rather ugly physical deformities.  Among the more obvious was a large wart that covered hi s left eye and a severely hunched back.  He is found abandoned in Notre Dame (on the foundlings' bed, where orphans and unwanted children are left to public charity) on a Quasimodo Sunday, the first Sunday after Easter, by the archdeacon Claude Frollo, who adopts the baby, names him after the day the baby was found, and brings him up to be the bell-ringer of the cathedral.

A small sculpture of Quasimodo can be found on Notre Dame, on the exterior of the north transept along the Rue de CloƮtre Notre Dame.


Note: The photo is of actor Charles Loughton as Quasimodo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

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