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Encyclopedia > Breviary
Breviary of Cologne, 12th or 13th century (Helsinki University Library)
Breviary of Cologne, 12th or 13th century (Helsinki University Library)

A breviary (from Latin brevis, 'short' or 'concise') is a liturgical book containing the public or canonical prayers, hymns, the Psalms, readings, and notations for everyday use, especially for priests, in the Divine Office (i.e., at the canonical hours or Liturgy of the Hours, the Christians' daily prayer). The volume containing the daily hours of prayer was published under this name until the reforms of Paul VI, when it became known as the Liturgy of the Hours. However, these terms are used interchangeably to refer to the Office in all its forms. This entry deals with the Breviary prior to the changes introduced by Pope Paul VI in 1974. Image File history File links Size of this preview: 425 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (792 × 1116 pixel, file size: 999 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Breviary, medieval prayer&song book. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 425 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (792 × 1116 pixel, file size: 999 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Breviary, medieval prayer&song book. ... For other uses, see Cologne (disambiguation). ... University of Helsinki is not to be confused with Helsinki University of Technology. ... For other uses, see Latin (disambiguation). ... A liturgy is the customary public worship of a religious group, according to their particular traditions. ... For other uses, see Book (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Prayer (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Hymn (disambiguation). ... Psalms (from the Greek: Psalmoi) (originally meaning songs sung to a harp, from psallein play on a stringed instrument, Ψαλμοί; Hebrew: Tehilim, תהילים, or praises) is a book of the Hebrew Bible, Tanakh or Old Testament. ... Canonical hours are ancient divisions of time, developed by the Christian Church, serving as increments between the prescribed prayers of the daily round. ... The Liturgy of the Hours is usually recited in full in monastic communities. ... This article cites very few or no references or sources. ...


Origin of name

This word breviary (Lat. Breviarium), signifies in its primary acceptation an abridgment, or a compendium. It is often employed in this sense by Christian authors, e.g. Breviarium fidei, Breviarium in psalmos, Breviarium canonum, Breviarium regularum. In liturgical language Breviary has a special meaning, indicating a book furnishing the regulations for the celebration of Mass or the canonical Office, and may be met with under the titles Breviarium Ecclesiastici Ordinis, or Breviarium Ecclesiæ Rominsæ (Romanæ). In the ninth century Alcuin uses the word to designate an office abridged or simplified for the use of the laity. Prudentius of Troyes, about the same period, composed a Breviarium Psalterii (v. inf. V. HISTORY). In an ancient inventory occurs Breviarium Antiphonarii, meaning "Extracts from the Antiphonary". In the "Vita Aldrici" occurs "sicut in plenariis et breviariis Ecclesiæ ejusdem continentur". Again, in the inventories in the catalogues, such notes as these may be met with: "Sunt et duo cursinarii et tres benedictionales Libri; ex his unus habet obsequium mortuorum et unus Breviarius", or, "Præter Breviarium quoddam quod usque ad festivitatem S. Joannis Baptistæ retinebunt", etc. Monte Cassino about A.D. 1100 obtained a book titled "Incipit Breviarium sive Ordo Officiorum per totam anni decursionem". Prudentius[1] (born in Spain; died at Troyes, France, on 6 April 861) was bishop of Troyes, and a celebrated opponent of Hincmar of Reims in the controversy on predestination. ...

From such references, and from others of a like nature, Quesnel gathers that by the word Breviarium was at first designated a book furnishing the rubrics, a sort of Ordo. The title Breviary, as we employ it -- that is, a book containing the entire canonical office -- appears to date from the eleventh century.

St. Gregory VII having, indeed, abridged the order of prayers, and having simplified the Liturgy as performed at the Roman Court, this abridgment received the name of Breviary, which was suitable, since, according to the etymology of the word, it was an abridgment. The name has been extended to books which contain in one volume, or at least in one work, liturgical books of different kinds, such as the Psalter, the Antiphonary, the Responsoriary, the Lectionary, etc. In this connection it may be pointed out that in this sense the word, as it is used nowadays, is illogical; it should be named a Plenarium rather than a Breviarium, since, liturgically speaking, the word Plenarium exactly designates such books as contain several different compilations united under one cover. This is pointed out, however, simply to make still clearer the meaning and origin of the word; and section V will furnish a more detailed explanation of the formation of the Breviary. Pope Gregory VII (c. ...


Mary Stuart's personal breviary, which she took with her to the scaffold, is preserved in the Russian National Library of St. Petersburg.
Mary Stuart's personal breviary, which she took with her to the scaffold, is preserved in the Russian National Library of St. Petersburg.

The canonical hours of the Breviary owe their remote origin to the Old Covenant when God commanded the Aaronic priests to offer morning and evening sacrifices. Other inspiration may have come from David's words in the Psalms "Seven times a day I praise you" (Ps. 119:164), as well as, "the just man meditates on the law day and night" (Ps. 1:2). Image File history File links Stuartbreviary. ... Image File history File links Stuartbreviary. ... Mary, Queen of Scots redirects here. ... Visit of Alexander I to the library in 1812. ... Saint Petersburg (Russian: Санкт-Петербу́рг, English transliteration: Sankt-Peterburg), colloquially known as Питер (transliterated Piter), formerly known as Leningrad (Ленингра́д, 1924–1991) and...

In the early days of Christian worship, when Jewish custom was followed, the Bible furnished all that was thought necessary, containing as it did the books from which the lessons were read and the psalms that were recited. The first step in the evolution of the Breviary was the separation of the Psalter into a choir-book. At first the president of the local church (bishop) or the leader of the choir chose a particular psalm as he thought appropriate. From about the 4th century certain psalms began to be grouped together, a process that was furthered by the monastic practice of daily reciting the 150 psalms. This took so much time that the monks began to spread it over a week, dividing each day into hours, and allotting to each hour its portion of the Psalter. St Benedict in the 6th century drew up such an arrangement, probably, though not certainly, on the basis of an older Roman division which, though not so skilful, is the one in general use. Gradually there were added to these psalter choir-books additions in the form of antiphons, responses, collects or short prayers, for the use of those not skilful at improvisation and metrical compositions. Jean Beleth, a 12th-century liturgical author, gives the following list of books necessary for the right conduct of the canonical office:—the Antiphonarium, the Old and New Testaments, the Passionarius (liber) and the Legendarius (dealing respectively with martyrs and saints), the Homiliarius (homilies on the Gospels), the Sermologus (collection of sermons) and the works of the Fathers, besides, of course, the Psalterium and the Collectarium. To overcome the inconvenience of using such a library the Breviary came into existence and use. Already in the 8th century Prudentius, bishop of Troyes, had in a Breviarium Psalterii made an abridgment of the Psalter for the laity, giving a few psalms for each day, and Alcuin had rendered a similar service by including a prayer for each day and some other prayers, but no lessons or homilies. The Breviary rightly so called, however, only dates from the 11th century; the earliest MS. containing the whole canonical office is of the year 1099 and is in the Mazarin library. Gregory VII. (pope 1073-1085), too, simplified the liturgy as performed at the Roman court, and gave his abridgment the name of Breviary, which thus came to denote a work which from another point of view might be called a Plenary, involving as it did the collection of several works into one. There are several extant specimens of 12th-century Breviaries, all Benedictine, but under Innocent III. (pope 1198-1216) their use was extended, especially by the newly founded and active Franciscan order. These preaching friars, with the authorization of Gregory IX., adopted (with some modifications, e.g. the substitution of the "Gallican" for the "Roman" version of the Psalter) the Breviary hitherto used exclusively by the Roman court, and with it gradually swept out of Europe all the earlier partial books (Legendaries, Responsories), &c., and to some extent the local Breviaries, like that of Sarum. Finally, Nicholas III. (pope 1277-1280) adopted this version both for the curia and for the basilicas of Rome, and thus made its position secure. The Benedictines and Dominicans have Breviaries of their own. The only other types that merit notice are:—

  1. the Mozarabic Breviary, once in use throughout all Spain, but now confined to a single foundation at Toledo; it is remarkable for the number and length of its hymns, and for the fact that the majority of its collects are addressed to God the Son;
  2. the Ambrosian, now confined to Milan, where it owes its retention to the attachment of the clergy and people to their traditionary rites, which they derive from St Ambrose.

Till the council of Trent every bishop had full power to regulate the Breviary of his own diocese; and this was acted upon almost everywhere. Each monastic community, also, had one of its own. Pius V. (pope 1566-1572), however, while sanctioning those which could show at least 200 years of existence, made the Roman obligatory in all other places. But the influence of the court of Rome has gradually gone much beyond this, and has superseded almost all the local "uses." The Roman has thus become nearly universal, with the allowance only of additional offices for saints specially venerated in each particular diocese. The Roman Breviary has undergone several revisions: The most remarkable of these is that by Francis Quignonez, cardinal of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme (1536), which, though not accepted by Rome (It was approved by Clement VII. and Paul III., and permitted as a substitute for the unrevised Breviary, until Pius V. in 1568 excluded it as too short and too modern, and issued a reformed edition (Breviarium Pianum, Pian Breviary) of the old Breviary), formed the model for the still more thorough reform made in 1549 by the Church of England, whose daily morning and evening services are but a condensation and simplification of the Breviary offices. Some parts of the prefaces at the beginning of the English Prayer-Book are free translations of those of Quignonez. The Pian Breviary was again altered by Sixtus V. in 1588, who introduced the revised Vulgate text; by Clement VIII. in 1602 (through Baronius and Bellarmine), especially as concerns the rubrics; and by Urban VIII. (1623-1644), a purist who unfortunately tampered with the text of the hymns, injuring both their literary charm and their historic worth.

In the 17th and 18th centuries a movement of revision took place in France, and succeeded in modifying about half the Breviaries of that country. Historically, this proceeded from the labours of Jean de Launoy (1603-1678), "le dénicheur des saints," and Louis Sébastien le Nain de Tillemont, who had shown the falsity of numerous lives of the saints; while theologically it was produced by the Port Royal school, which led men to dwell more on communion with God as contrasted with the invocation of the saints. This was mainly carried out by the adoption of a rule that all antiphons and responses should be in the exact words of Scripture, which, of course, cut out the whole class of appeals to created beings. The services were at the same time simplified and shortened, and the use of the whole Psalter every week (which had become a mere theory in the Roman Breviary, owing to its frequent supersession by saints' day services) was made a reality. These reformed French Breviaries—e.g. the Paris Breviary of 1680 by Archbishop François de Harlay (1625-1695) and that of 1736 by Archbishop Charles Gaspard Guillaume de Vintimille (1655-1746)—show a deep knowledge of Holy Scripture, and much careful adaptation of different texts; but during the pontificate of Pius IX. a strong Ultramontane movement arose against them. This was inaugurated by Montalembert, but its literary advocates were chiefly Dom Gueranger, a learned Benedictine monk, abbot of Solesmes, and Louis François Veuillot (1813-1883) of the Univers; and it succeeded in suppressing them everywhere, the last diocese to surrender being Orleans in 1875. The Jansenist and Gallican influence was also strongly felt in Italy and in Germany, where Breviaries based on the French models were published at Cologne, Münster, Mainz and other towns. Meanwhile, under the direction of Benedict XIV. (pope 1740-1758), a special congregation collected many materials for an official revision, but nothing was published. Subsequent changes have been very few and minute. In 1902, under Leo XIII., a commission under the presidency of Monsignor Louis Duchesne was appointed to consider the Breviary, the Missal, the Pontifical and the Ritual. Jean de Launoy (Joannes Launoius) (1603-1678) was a French historian. ... Louis-Sébastien Le Nain de Tillemont (b. ...

The most significant changes came with the revision of the Breviary by Pius X. in 1910. Pius X. modified the traditional psalm scheme so that, while all 150 psalms were used in the course of the week, these were said without repetition. Those assigned to the Sunday Office underwent the least revision, although noticeably fewer psalms are recited at Matins, and both Lauds and Compline are slightly shorter due to psalms (or in the case of Compline the first few verses of a psalm) being removed. Pius X. was probably influenced by earlier attempts to eliminate repetition in the psalter, most notably the liturgy of the Benedictine congregation of St. Maur. However, since Cardinal Quignonez's attempt to reform the Breviary employed this principal - albeit with no regard to the traditional scheme - such notions had floated around in the western Church, and can particularly be seen in the Paris Breviary.

John XXIII. also revised the Breviary in 1960, introducing changes drawn up by his predecessor Pius XII. The most notable alteration is the shortening of the patristic reading at the end of the third nocturn, whenever three nocturns are said. The new psalter sponsored by Pius XII., which translated the psalms directly from the Latin was also an option for use in the Office, and most Breviary's published in the 1960s use this psalter.

Before the rise of the mendicant orders (wandering friars) in the thirteenth century, the daily services were usually contained in a number of large volumes. The first occurrence of a single manuscript of the daily office was written by the Benedictine order at Monte Cassino in Italy in 1099. By a strange twist, the Benedictines were not a mendicant order, but a stable, monastery-based order, and single-volume breviaries are rare from this early period. The mendicant orders are religious orders which depend directly on begging, or the charity of the people for their livelihood. ... A friar is a member of a religious mendicant order of men. ... Canonical hours are ancient divisions of time, developed by the Christian Church, serving as increments between the prescribed prayers of the daily round. ... For the college, see Benedictine College. ... The restored Abbey. ... For the college, see Benedictine College. ... The mendicant orders are religious orders which depend directly on begging, or the charity of the people for their livelihood. ... Monastery of St. ...

The arrangement of the Psalms in the Rule of St. Benedict had a profound impact upon the breviaries used by secular and monastic clergy alike, up until 1911 when Pope St. Pius X introduced his reform of the Roman Breviary. In many places, every diocese, order or ecclesiastical province maintained its own edition of the breviary. Psalms (from the Greek: Psalmoi) (originally meaning songs sung to a harp, from psallein play on a stringed instrument, Ψαλμοί; Hebrew: Tehilim, תהילים, or praises) is a book of the Hebrew Bible, Tanakh or Old Testament. ... St Benedict of Nursia The Rule of St Benedict by Benedict of Nursia (fl. ... Pope Pius X (1903-1914), pictured in 1904, wearing the 1834 Triple Tiara of Pope Gregory XVI Saint Pius X, né Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto, (2 June 1835 - 20 August 1914) was Pope from 1903 to 1914, succeeding Pope Leo XIII. He was the first pope since the Counter-Reformation Pope...

However, mendicant friars travelled around a lot and needed a shortened, or abbreviated, daily office contained in one portable book, and single-volume breviaries flourished from the thirteenth century onwards.

These abbreviated volumes soon became very popular and eventually supplanted the Roman Catholic Church's Curia office, previously said by non-monastic clergy. Catholic Church redirects here. ... A Curia in early Roman times was a subdivision of the people, i. ... Clergy is the generic term used to describe the formal religious leadership within a given religion. ...

Before the advent of printing, breviaries were written by hand and were often richly decorated with initials and miniature illustrations telling stories in the lives of Christ or the saints, or stories from the Bible. For other uses, see Print. ... This page is about the title, office or what is known in Christian theology as the Divine Person. ... For other uses, see Saint (disambiguation). ... This Gutenberg Bible is displayed by the United States Library. ...

Later printed breviaries usually have woodcut illustrations, interesting in their own right but the poor relation of the beautifully illuminated breviaries. Four horsemen of the Apocalypse by Albrecht Dürer Ukiyo-e woodcut, Ishiyama Moon by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1889) Woodcut is a relief printing artistic technique in printmaking in which an image is carved into the surface of a block of wood, with the printing parts remaining level with the surface... In the strictest definition of illuminated manuscript, only manuscripts decorated with gold or silver, like this miniature of Christ in Majesty from the Aberdeen Bestiary (folio 4v), would be considered illuminated. ...

The word breviary can also refer to an abridged version of any text, a brief account or a summary of some subject.

The beauty and value of many of the Latin Breviaries were brought to the notice of English churchmen by one of the numbers of the Oxford Tracts for the Times, since which time they have been much more studied, both for their own sake and for the light they throw upon the English Prayer-Book.

From a bibliographical point of view some of the early printed Breviaries are among the rarest of literary curiosities, being merely local. The copies were not spread far, and were soon worn out by the daily use made of them. Doubtless many editions have perished without leaving a trace of their existence, while others are known by unique copies. In Scotland the only one which has survived the convulsions of the 16th century is that of Aberdeen, a Scottish form of the Sarum Office (The Sarum Rite was much favoured in Scotland as a kind of protest against the jurisdiction claimed by the church of York), revised by William Elphinstone (bishop 1483-1514), and printed at Edinburgh by Walter Chapman and Andrew Myllar in 1509-1510. Four copies have been preserved of it, of which only one is complete; but it was reprinted in facsimile in 1854 for the Bannatyne Club by the munificence of the duke of Buccleuch. It is particularly valuable for the trustworthy notices of the early history of Scotland which are embedded in the lives of the national saints. Though enjoined by royal mandate in 1501 for general use within the realm of Scotland, it was probably never widely adopted. The new Scottish Proprium sanctioned for the Roman Catholic province of St Andrews in 1903 contains many of the old Aberdeen collects and antiphons.

The Sarum or Salisbury Breviary itself was very widely used. The first edition was printed at Venice in 1483 by Raynald de Novimagio in folio; the latest at Paris, 1556, 1557. While modern Breviaries are nearly always printed in four volumes, one for each season of the year, the editions of the Sarum never exceeded two parts.

Contents of the Roman Breviary

At the beginning stands the usual introductory matter, such as the tables for determining the date of Easter, the calendar, and the general rubrics. The Breviary itself is divided into four seasonal parts—winter, spring, summer, autumn—and comprises under each part:

  1. the Psalter;
  2. Proprium de Tempore (the special office of the season);
  3. Proprium Sanctorum (special offices of saints);
  4. Commune Sanctorum (general offices for saints);
  5. Extra Services.

These parts are often published separately.

The Psalter

This psalm book is the very backbone of the Breviary, the groundwork of the Catholic prayer-book; out of it have grown the antiphons, responsories and versicles. In the Breviary the psalms are arranged according to a disposition dating from the 8th century, as follows. Psalms i.-cviii., with some omissions, are recited at Matins, twelve each day from Monday to Saturday, and eighteen on Sunday. The omissions are said at Lauds, Prime and Compline. Psalms cix.-cxlvii. (except cxvii., cxviii. and cxlii.) are said at Vespers, five each day. Psalms cxlviii.-cl. are always used at Lauds, and give that hour its name. The text of this Psalter is that commonly known as the Gallican. The name is misleading, for it is simply the second revision (A.D. 392) made by Jerome of the old Itala version originally used in Rome. Jerome's first revision of the Itala (A.D. 383), known as the Roman, is still used at St Peter's in Rome, but the "Gallican," thanks especially to St Gregory of Tours, who introduced it into Gaul in the 6th century, has ousted it everywhere else. The Antiphonary of Bangor proves that Ireland accepted the Gallican version in the 7th century, and the English Church did so in the 10th.

The Proprium de Tempore

This contains the office of the seasons of the Christian year (Advent to Trinity), a conception that only gradually grew up. There is here given the whole service for every Sunday and week-day, the proper antiphons, responsories, hymns, and especially the course of daily Scripture-reading, averaging about twenty verses a day, and (roughly) arranged thus: for Advent, Isaiah; Epiphany to Septuagesima, Pauline Epistles; Lent, patristic homilies (Genesis on Sundays); Passion-tide, Jeremiah; Easter to Whitsun, Acts, Catholic epistles and Apocalypse; Whitsun to August, Samuel and Kings; August to Advent, Wisdom books, Maccabees, Prophets. The extracts are often scrappy and torn out of their context.

The Proprium Sanctorum

This contains the lessons, psalms and liturgical formularies for saints' festivals, and depends on the days of the secular month. Most of the material here is hagiological biography, occasionally revised as by Leo XIII. in view of archaeological and other discoveries, but still largely uncritical. Covering a great stretch of time and space, they do for the worshipper in the field of church history what the Scripture readings do in that of biblical history. As something like 90% of the days in the year have, during the course of centuries, been allotted to some saint or other, it is easy to see how this section of the Breviary has encroached upon the Proprium de Tempore, and this is the chief problem that confronts any who are concerned for a revision of the Breviary.

The Commune Sanctorum

This comprises psalms, antiphons, lessons, &c., for feasts of various groups or classes (twelve in all); e.g. apostles, martyrs, confessors, virgins, and the Blessed Virgin Mary. These offices are of very ancient date, and many of them were probably in origin proper to individual saints. They contain passages of great literary beauty. The lessons read at the third nocturn are patristic homilies on the Gospels, and together form a rough summary of theological instruction.

Extra Services

Here are found the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Office of the Dead (obligatory on All Souls' Day), and offices peculiar to each diocese.

Elements of the Hours

It has already been indicated, by reference to Matins, Lauds, &c., that not only each day, but each part of the day, has its own office, the day being divided into liturgical "hours." A detailed account of these will be found in the article Canonical Hours. Each of the hours of the office is composed of the same elements, and something must be said now of the nature of these constituent parts, of which mention has here and there been already made. They are: psalms (including canticles), antiphons, responsories, hymns, lessons, little chapters, versicles and collects. Canonical hours are ancient divisions of time, developed by the Christian Church, serving as increments between the prescribed prayers of the daily round. ...


The psalms have already been dealt with, but it may be noted again how the multiplication of saints' festivals, with practically the same special psalms, tends in practice to constant repetition of about one-third of the Psalter, and correspondingly rare recital of the remaining two-thirds, whereas the Proprium de Tempore, could it be adhered to, would provide equal opportunities for every psalm. As in the Greek usage and in the Benedictine, certain canticles like the Song of Moses (Exodus xv.), the Song of Hannah (1 Sam. ii.), the prayer of Habakkuk (iii.), the prayer of Hezekiah (Isaiah xxxviii.) and other similar Old Testament passages, and, from the New Testament, the Magnificat, the Benedictus and the Nunc dimittis, are admitted as psalms.


The antiphons are short liturgical forms, sometimes of biblical, sometimes of patristic origin, used to introduce a psalm. The term originally signified a chant by alternate choirs, but has quite lost this meaning in the Breviary.


The responsories are similar in form to the antiphons, but come at the end of the psalm, being originally the reply of the choir or congregation to the precentor who recited the psalm.


The hymns are short poems going back in part to the days of Prudentius, Synesius, Gregory of Nazianzus and Ambrose (4th and 5th centuries), but mainly the work of medieval authors. Together they make a fine collection, and it is a pity that Urban VIII. in his mistaken humanistic zeal tried to improve them.


The lessons, as has been seen, are drawn variously from the Bible, the Acts of the Saints and the Fathers of the Church. In the primitive church, books afterwards excluded from the canon were often read, e.g. the letters of Clement of Rome and the Shepherd of Hermas. In later days the churches of Africa, having rich memorials of martyrdom, used them to supplement the reading of Scripture. Monastic influence accounts for the practice of adding to the reading of a biblical passage some patristic commentary or exposition. Books of homilies were compiled from the writings of SS. Augustine, Hilary, Athanasius, Isidore, Gregory the Great and others, and formed part of the library of which the Breviary was the ultimate compendium. In the lessons, as in the psalms, the order for special days breaks in upon the normal order of ferial offices and dislocates the scheme for consecutive reading. The lessons are read at Matins (which is subdivided into three nocturns).

Little chapters

The little chapters are very short lessons read at the other "hours."


The versicles are short responsories used after the little chapters in the minor hours. They appear after the hymns in Lauds and Vespers.


The collects come at the close of the office and are short prayers summing up the supplications of the congregation. They arise out of a primitive practice on the part of the bishop (local president), examples of which are found in the Didachē (Teaching of the Apostles) and in the letters of Clement of Rome and Cyprian. With the crystallization of church order improvisation in prayer largely gave place to set forms, and collections of prayers were made which later developed into Sacramentaries and Orationals. The collects of the Breviary are largely drawn from the Gelasian and other Sacramentaries, and they are used to sum up the dominant idea of the festival in connection with which they happen to be used.


Before 1910 the difficulty of harmonizing the Proprium de Tempore and the Proprium Sanctorum, to which reference has been made, was only partly met in the thirty-seven chapters of general rubrics. Additional help was given by a kind of Catholic Churchman's Almanack, called the Ordo Recitandi Divini Officii, published in different countries and dioceses, and giving, under every day, minute directions for proper reading. In 1960 John XXIII simplified the rubrics governing the Breviary in order to make it easier to use.

Every clerk in orders and every member of a religious order must publicly join in or privately read aloud (i.e. using the lips as well as the eyes—it takes about two hours in this way) the whole of the Breviary services allotted for each day. In large churches where they were celebrated the services were usually grouped; e.g. Matins and Lauds (about 7.30 A.M.); Prime, Terce (High Mass), Sext, and None (about 10 A.M.); Vespers and Compline (4 P.M.); and from four to eight hours (depending on the amount of music and the number of high masses) are thus spent in choir. Lay use of the Breviary has varied throughout the Church's history. In some periods laymen did not use the Breviary as a manual of devotion to any great extent. The late Medieval period saw the recitation of certain hours of the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin, which was based on the Breviary in form and content, becoming popular among those who could read, and Bishop Challoner did much to popularise the hours of Sunday Vespers and Compline (albeit in English translation) in his 'Garden of the Soul' in the eighteenth century. The Liturgical Movement in the twentieth century saw renewed interest in the Offices of the Breviary and several popular editions were produced containing the vernacular as well as the Latin.

The complete pre-Pius X. Roman Breviary was translated into English (by the marquess of Bute in 1879; new ed. with a trans, of the Martyrology, 1908), French and German. Bute's version is noteworthy for its inclusion of the skilful renderings of the ancient hymns by J.H. Newman, J.M. Neale and others. Several editions of the Pius X. Breviary were produced during the twentieth century, including a notable edition prepared with the assistance of the Sisters of Stanbrook Abbey in the 1950s. Two editions in English and Latin were produced in the mid-sixties, which conformed to the rubrics of 1960, published by Liturgical Press and Benziger in America. These used the Pius XII. psalter. Baronius Press is currently preparing a revised edition of the Liturgical Press edition for publication which uses the older Gallican psalter of St. Jerome. Baronius Press is a traditional Catholic book publisher with headquarters in London, England. ...

Under Pope Benedict XVI's motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, Roman Catholic priests are again permitted to use the 1962 edition of the Roman Breviary, promulgated by John XXIII to satisfy their obligation to recite the Divine Office every day. Pope Benedict XVI (Latin: ; born April 16, 1927 as Joseph Alois Ratzinger in Marktl am Inn, Bavaria, Germany) is the 265th reigning pope, the head of the Roman Catholic Church and sovereign of Vatican City. ... A motu proprio is a papal rescript in which the clause motu proprio (Latin, of his own motion) is used, signifying that the provisions of the rescript were decided by the Pope personally and not by a cardinal or other advisors. ... Papal Arms of Pope Benedict XVI. Summorum Pontificum (English: ) is the Apostolic Letter motu proprio data of Pope Benedict XVI, which formulates the canonical rules to be respected in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church for the celebration of Mass according to the Missal promulgated by John XXIII in... The Blessed John XXIII wearing a Papal Tiara Angelo Roncalli was born in Sotto il Monte (province of Bergamo), Italy on November 25, 1881. ... The Liturgy of the Hours is usually recited in full in monastic communities. ...

See also

Look up breviary, portuary in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Wiktionary (a portmanteau of wiki and dictionary) is a multilingual, Web-based project to create a free content dictionary, available in over 151 languages. ... The Liturgy of the Hours is usually recited in full in monastic communities. ... Canonical hours are ancient divisions of time, developed by the Christian Church, serving as increments between the prescribed prayers of the daily round. ... A illuminated page from the Très Riches Heures showing the day for exchanging gifts from the month of January A book of hours from the late 1470s. ... Please wikify (format) this article as suggested in the Guide to layout and the Manual of Style. ... The Little Office of Our Lady or Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a liturgical devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, in imitation of, and in addition to, the Divine Office in the Roman Catholic Church. ...


  • F. Cabrol, Introduction aux études liturgiques
  • Probst, Kirchenlex. ii., s.v. "Brevier";
  • Bäumer, Geschichte des Breviers (Freiburg, 1895)
  • P. Batiffol, L'Histoire du bréviaire romain (Paris, 1893; Eng. tr.)
  • Baudot, Le Bréviaire romain (1907).
  • A complete bibliography is appended to the article by F. Cabrol in the Catholic Encyclopaedia, vol. ii. (1908).
Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Breviary.

Encyclopædia Britannica, the eleventh edition The Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition (1910–1911) is perhaps the most famous edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica. ... The public domain comprises the body of all creative works and other knowledge—writing, artwork, music, science, inventions, and others—in which no person or organization has any proprietary interest. ... Image File history File links Wikisource-logo. ... The original Wikisource logo. ... Encyclopædia Britannica, the eleventh edition The Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition (1910–1911) is perhaps the most famous edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica. ...

Breviaries according the Curial or Roman use

Breviaries according Pre-Tridentine Usages outside of Rome

  • Breviarium Aberdonense (The Aberdeen Breviary) part 1
  • Breviarium Aberdonense (The Aberdeen Breviary) part 2
  • The Colbertine Breviary
  • The Hereford Breviary
  • Breviarium ad usum insignis ecclesiae Sarum (The Sarum Breviary)
  • Breviarium ad usum insignis Ecclesie Eboracensis (The York Breviary)
  • Breviary offices from lauds to compline inclusive, tr. from the Sarum book supplemented by Gallican and Monastic Uses
  • Breviaries according the the diocesan usages of France including that of Nantes, Orleans, Rheims, etc.
  • Breviarium Parisiense, Pars Verna (The Paris Breviary)
  • Breviarium Gothicum (The Mozarabic Breviary part 1)
  • Breviarium Gothicum (The Mozarabic Breviary part 2)
  • Breviarium Sacrum Ordinum Cartusiensis (The Carthusian Breviary)
  • Breviarium Ambrosianum

Contemporary liturgies of the hours

External links

  • The Colbertine breviary, edited from the copy in the British Museum Cornell University Library Historical Monographs Collection. {Reprinted by} Cornell University Library Digital Collections
Traditional Liturgical Hours of the Catholic Church
Matins Lauds Prime Terce Sext None Vespers Compline

  Results from FactBites:
Breviary (8414 words)
Their historical origin is as follows: During the earliest period, the president of the assembly, usually the bishop, was entrusted with the task of pronouncing, after the psalmody, chants, and litanies, a prayer in the name of all the faithful; he therefore addressed himself directly to God.
The history of these origins of the Breviary is still somewhat obscure; and the efforts at research must continue tentatively till a critical study of these manuscript Breviaries has been made on the lines of such workers as Delisle, Ebner, or Ehrensperger, on the Sacramentaries and Missals.
The commission had adopted wise and reasonable principles: not to invent a new Breviary and a new Liturgy; to stand by tradition; to keep all that was worth keeping, but at the same time to correct the multitude of errors which had crept into the Breviaries and to weigh just demands and complaints.
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