Early history[ edit ] 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. Regarding Daniel "Three times daily he was kneeling and offering prayers and thanks to his God" Dan. In the early days of Christian worship the Sacred Scriptures 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.
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Early history[ edit ] 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. Regarding Daniel "Three times daily he was kneeling and offering prayers and thanks to his God" Dan.
In the early days of Christian worship the Sacred Scriptures 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 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 9th 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. Medieval breviaries[ edit ] The Breviary, rightly so called, only dates from the 11th century; the earliest MS.
Gregory VII pope — , 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 — 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. Finally, Nicholas III pope — adopted this version both for the curia and for the basilicas of Rome, and thus made its position secure.
Before the rise of the mendicant orders wandering friars in the 13th 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 The Benedictines were not a mendicant order, but a stable, monastery -based order, and single-volume breviaries are rare from this early period.
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, until when Pope 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.
However, mendicant friars travelled frequently and needed a shortened, or abbreviated, daily office contained in one portable book, and single-volume breviaries flourished from the thirteenth century onwards. Early printed editions[ edit ] Title page of the Aberdeen Breviary 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.
Later printed breviaries usually have woodcut illustrations, interesting in their own right but with poor relation to the beautifully illuminated breviaries. 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 Aberdeen Breviary , 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 diocese of York , revised by William Elphinstone bishop — , and printed at Edinburgh by Walter Chapman and Androw Myllar in — Four copies have been preserved of it, of which only one is complete; but it was reprinted in facsimile in 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 for general use within the realm of Scotland, it was probably never widely adopted.
The new Scottish Proprium sanctioned for the Catholic province of St Andrews in 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 by Raynald de Novimagio in folio; the latest at Paris, , 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. Early modern reforms[ edit ] Until the Council of Trent — and the Catholic Counter-Reformation , 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. Pope Pius V r. But the influence of the Roman rite 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 , 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 excluded it as too short and too modern, and issued a reformed edition of the old Breviary, the Breviarium Pianum or "Pian Breviary" , formed the model for the still more thorough reform made in 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. 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. 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.
These reformed French Breviaries—e. Later modern reforms[ edit ] During the pontificate of Pius IX a strong Ultramontane movement arose against the French Breviaries of and This was inaugurated by Montalembert , but its literary advocates were chiefly Dom Gueranger , a learned Benedictine monk, abbot of Solesmes , and Louis Veuillot — of the Univers; and it succeeded in suppressing them everywhere, the last diocese to surrender being Orleans in Meanwhile, under the direction of Benedict XIV pope — , a special congregation collected much material for an official revision, but nothing was published.
This revision modified the traditional psalm scheme so that, while all 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.
Most breviaries published in the late s and early s used this "Pian Psalter". The most notable alteration is the shortening of most feasts from nine to three lessons at Matins, keeping only the Scripture readings the former lesson i, then lessons ii and iii together , followed by either the first part of the patristic reading lesson vii or, for most feasts, a condensed version of the former second Nocturn, which was formerly used when a feast was reduced in rank and commemorated.
Contents of the Roman Breviary[ edit ] 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: the Psalter; Proprium de Tempore the special office of the season ; Proprium Sanctorum special offices of saints ; Commune Sanctorum general offices for saints ; Extra Services.
Diurnale Romanum (with US feasts insert)
Breviarium Romanum - Diurnale