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- This article refers to the Liturgy of the Hours as a specific manifestation of the public prayer of the Catholic Church. For its application in other communions, see canonical hours.
The Liturgy of the Hours or Divine Office is the official set of daily prayers prescribed by the Catholic Church to be recited at the canonical hours by the clergy, religious orders, and laity. The Liturgy of the Hours consists primarily of psalms supplemented by hymns and readings. Together with the Mass, it constitutes the official public prayer life of the Church. Upon ordination to any of the Holy Orders, the daily recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours becomes a canonical obligation. The Liturgy of the Hours also forms the basis of prayer within Christian monasticism.
The Liturgy of the Hours, along with the Eucharist, has formed part of the Catholic Church's public worship from the earliest times. Christians of both Eastern and Western traditions (including the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Anglican churches) celebrate the Liturgy of the Hours under various names. Within Roman Catholicism, the Liturgy of the Hours is contained within the Roman Breviary. In Greek the corresponding services are found in the Ὡρολόγιον (Horologion), meaning Book of Hours. Within Anglicanism, the Liturgy of the Hours is contained within the book of Daily Prayer of Common Worship and Book of Common Prayer. Other names for the Liturgy of the Hours within the Latin Rite include the Divine Office, the Diurnal and Nocturnal Office, Ecclesiastical Office, Cursus ecclesiasticus, or simply cursus.
The early Christians continued the Jewish practice of reciting prayers at certain hours of the day or night. In the Psalms we find expressions like "in the morning I offer you my prayer"; "At midnight I will rise and thank you" ; "Evening, morning and at noon I will cry and lament"; "Seven times a day I praise you". The Apostles observed the Jewish custom of praying at the third, sixth and ninth hour and at midnight (Acts 10:3, 9; 16:25; etc.). The Christian prayer of that time consisted of almost the same elements as the Jewish: recital or chanting of psalms, reading of the Old Testament, to which were soon added readings of the Gospels, Acts, and epistles, and canticles such as the Gloria in Excelsis Deo. Other elements were added later in the course of the centuries.
Prior to the Second Vatican Council
By the end of the fifth century, the Liturgy of the Hours was composed of a Vigil or Night Service and seven day offices, of which Prime and Compline seem to be the last to appear, since the fourth-century Apostolic Constitutions VIII, iv, 34 does not mention them in the exhortation: "Offer up your prayers in the morning, at the third hour, the sixth, the ninth, the evening, and at cock-crowing".
These eight hours were known by the following names:
- Matins (during the night), sometimes referred to as Vigils or Nocturns, or in monastic usage the Night Office; it is now called the Office of Readings
- Lauds or Dawn Prayer (at Dawn)
- Prime or Early Morning Prayer (First Hour = 6 a.m.)
- Terce or Mid-Morning Prayer (Third Hour = 9 a.m.)
- Sext or Midday Prayer (Sixth Hour = 12 noon)
- None or Mid-Afternoon Prayer (Ninth Hour = 3 p.m.)
- Vespers or Evening Prayer ("at the lighting of the lamps")
- Compline or Night Prayer (before retiring)
Saint Benedict of Nursia (c. 480 – 543) is credited with having given this organization to the Liturgy of the Hours. However, his scheme was taken from that described by John Cassian, in his two major spiritual works, the Institutes and the Conferences, in which he described the monastic practices of the Desert Fathers of Egypt.
In the Catholic Church priests are required by canon law to pray the entire Liturgy of the Hours each day while deacons are required to pray the morning and evening hours. The practice among religious communities varies according to their rules and constitutions. The Second Vatican Council also exhorted the Christian laity to take up the practice, and as a result, many lay people have begun reciting portions of the Liturgy of the Hours.
Prime was suppressed by the Second Vatican Council, reducing the number of canonical hours to seven (cf. Psalm 118(119) v. 164). (Seven times a day do I praise Thee, because of Thy righteous judgments.)
Current usage focuses on three major hours and from two to four minor hours:
- The Officium lectionis or Office of Readings (formerly Matins), major hour
- Lauds or Morning prayer, major hour
- Daytime prayer, which can be one or all of:
- Vespers or Evening Prayer, major hour
- Compline or Night Prayer
All hours, including the minor hours start with the verse Ps 69(70) v. 2 (whereas as did all offices before the Council except Matins and Compline) "God come to my assistance, Lord make haste to help me", followed by the doxology. The verse is omitted if the hour begins with the Invitatory (Lauds or Office of Reading). The Invitatory is the introduction to the first hour said on the current day, whether it be the Office of Readings or Morning Prayer. The opening is followed by a hymn. The hymn is followed by psalmody. The psalmody is followed by a scripture reading. The reading is called a chapter (capitula) if it is short, or a lesson (lectio) if it is long. The reading is followed by a versicle. The hour is closed by an oration followed by a concluding versicle. Other components are included depending on the exact type of hour being celebrated.
The Office of Readings consists of:
- opening versicle or invitatory
- a hymn
- one or two long psalms divided into three parts
- a long passage from scripture, usually arranged so that in any one week, all the readings come from the same text
- a long hagiographical passage, such as an account of a saint's martyrdom, or a theological treatise commenting on some aspect of the scriptural reading, or a passage from the documents of the Second Vatican Council
- on nights preceding Sundays and feast days, the office may be expanded to a vigil by inserting three Old Testament canticles and a reading from the gospels
- the hymn Te Deum (on Sundays, solemnities, and feasts, except in Lent)
- the concluding prayer
- a short concluding verse (especially when prayed in groups)
The character of Morning Prayer is that of praise; of Evening Prayer, that of thanksgiving. Both follow a similar format:
- opening versicle or (for morning prayer) the invitatory
- a hymn, composed by the Church
- two psalms, or parts of psalms with a scriptural canticle. At Morning Prayer, this consists of a psalm of praise, a canticle from the Old Testament, followed by another psalm. At Evenning Prayer this consists of two psalms, or one psalm divided into two parts, and a scriptural canticle taken from the New Testament.
- a short passage from scripture
- a responsory, typically a verse of scripture, but sometimes liturgical poetry
- a canticle taken from the Gospel of Luke: the Canticle of Zechariah (Benedictus) for morning prayer, and the Canticle of Mary (Magnificat) for evening prayer
- intercessions, composed by the Church
- the Lord's Prayer
- the concluding prayer, composed by the Church
- a blessing given by the priest or deacon leading Morning or Evening Prayer, or in the absence of clergy and in individual recitation, a short concluding versicle.
The daytime hours follow a simpler format, like a very compact form of the Office of Readings:
- opening versicle
- a hymn
- three short psalms, or, three pieces of longer psalms; in the daytime hours when only one is said it follows a variable psalmody which usually opens with part of the longest psalm, psalm 118/119, when all three are said this psalmody is used at one of the hours, while the other two follow the complementary psalmody which consists of 119/120-121/122 at Terce, 122/123-124/125 at Sext and 125/126-127/128 at None
- a very short passage of scripture, followed by a responsorial verse
- the concluding prayer
- a short concluding verse (V. Benedicamus Domino R. Deo gratias)
Night prayer has the character of preparing the soul for its passage to eternal life:
- opening versicle
- an examination of conscience
- a hymn
- a psalm, or two short psalms; The psalms of Sunday - Psalm 90/91 or 4 & 133/134 - may always be used as an alternative to the psalm(s) appointed on weekdays
- a short reading from scripture
- the responsory In manus tuas, Domine (Into Your Hands, Lord)
- the Canticle of Simeon, Nunc dimittis, from the Gospel of Luke, framed by the antiphon Salva nos (Save us Lord)
- a concluding prayer
- a short blessing (noctem quietam et finem perfectum concedat nobis dominus omnipotens. Amen.)
- Marian antiphon without versicle and concluding prayer; either one of the four traditional seasonal antiphons, or Sub Tuum, or another antiphon approved by the local episcopal conference; the Regina Caeli is always used in Eastertide
An Invitatory precedes the canonical hours of the day beginning with the versicle "Lord, open my lips. And my mouth will proclaim your praise" (Ps 50/51 v.17), and continuing with an antiphon and the Invitatory Psalm, usually Psalm 94/95 .
All psalms and canticles are accompanied by antiphons.
Unless the Invitatory is used, each Hour begins with the versicle "God, come to my assistance. Lord, make haste to help me" (Ps 69/70 v.2), followed by a hymn. Each Hour concludes with a prayer followed by a short versicle and response.
Matins or the Office of Readings is the longest hour. Before Pope St. Pius X's reform, it involved the recitation of 18 psalms on Sundays and 12 on ferial days. Pope Pius X reduced this to 9 psalms or portions of psalms, still arranged in three "nocturns", each set of three psalms followed by three short readings, usually three consecutive sections from the same text. Pope Paul VI's reform reduced the number of psalms or portions of psalms to three, and the readings to two, but lengthened these. On feast days the Te Deum is sung or recited before the concluding prayer.
After St. Pius X's reform, Lauds was reduced to four psalms or portions of psalms and an Old Testament canticle, putting an end to the custom of adding the last three psalms of the Psalter (148-150) at the end of Lauds every day. The number of psalms or portions of psalms is now reduced to two, together with one Old Testament canticle chosen from a wider range than before. After these there is a short reading and response and the singing or recitation of the Benedictus. Vespers has a very similar structure, differing in that Pius X assigned to it five psalms (now reduced to 2 psalms and a New Testament canticle) and the Magnificat took the place of the Benedictus. On some days in Pius X's arrangement, but now always, there follow Preces or intercessions. In the present arrangement, the Lord's Prayer is also recited before the concluding prayer.
Terce, Sext and None have an identical structure, each with three psalms or portions of psalms. These are followed by a short reading from Scripture, once referred to as a "little chapter" (capitulum) , and by a versicle and response. The Lesser Litany (Kyrie and the Lord's Prayer) of Pius X's arrangement have now been omitted.
Prime and Compline also were of similar structure, though different from Terce, Sext and None.
In the monasteries and also in the cathedrals, which were served by monks or canons, celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours became more elaborate requiring not only a Psalter for the psalms, a lectionary for the Scripture readings, other books for hagiographical readings, a collectary for the orations, and also books, such as the antiphonary and the responsoriary, for the various chants. These were usually of large size, to enable several monks to chant together from the same book. Smaller books called breviaries (a word that etymologically refers to a compendium or abridgment) were developed to indicate the format of the daily office and assist in identifying the texts to be chosen. These developed into books that gave in abbreviated form (because they omitted the chants) and in small lettering the whole of the texts and that could be carried when travelling. Pope Innocent III made them official in the Roman Curia, and the itinerant Franciscan friars adopted the Breviarium Curiae and soon spread its use throughout Europe. By the 14th century, these breviaries contained the entire text of the canonical hours. The invention of printing made it possible to produce them in great numbers.
In its final session, the Council of Trent entrusted to the Pope the revision of the breviary. On 9 July 1568 Pope Pius V promulgated an edition, known as the Roman Breviary, with his Apostolic Constitution Quod a nobis, imposing it in the same way in which he imposed his Roman Missal two years later and using language very similar to that in the bull Quo primum with which he promulgated the Missal, regarding, for instance, the perpetual force of its provisions, the obligation to use the promulgated text in all places, and the total prohibition of adding or omitting anything, declaring in fact: "No one whosoever is permitted to alter this letter or heedlessly to venture to go contrary to this notice of Our permission, statute, ordinance, command, precept, grant, indult declaration, will decree and prohibition. Should anyone, however, presume to commit such an act, he should know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul." It is obvious that he did not thereby intend to bind his successors. Pope Clement VIII made changes that he made obligatory on 10 May 1602, 34 years after Pius V's revision. Urban VIII made further changes, including "a profound alteration in the character of some of the hymns. Although some of them without doubt gained in literary style, nevertheless, to the regret of many, they also lost something of their old charm of simplicity and fervour." For the profound revision of the book by Pope Pius X see Reform of the Roman Breviary by Pope Pius X.
Many of the complicated rubrics (or instructions) that had governed recitation of the Liturgy were clarified, and the actual method of praying the office was made simpler. Prime had already been abolished by the Second Vatican Council. Of the three intermediate Hours of Terce, Sext and None, only one was to be of strict obligation. Recitation of the psalms (excluding two imprecatory Psalms and some verses of others) and a much increased number of canticles was spread over four weeks instead of one.
Two typical editions for celebrating the revised Liturgy of the Hours (Liturgia Horarum) according to the Roman Rite have been published by Rome. The current typical edition for the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite is the Liturgia Horarum, editio typica altera, promulgated in 1985 (printed between 1985 and 1987, and reprinted in 2000); this uses the Nova Vulgata Latin Bible for the readings, psalms and canticles rather than the Clementina; it has changed some of the readings and responsories according to the Nova Vulgata; and it provided for the Benedictus and Magnificat on Sundays with three antiphons each that reflect the three-year cycle of Gospel readings. Pope Urban VIII's lamented alterations of the hymns are undone. Verse numberings are added to the Psalms and the longer Scripture readings, while the Psalms are given both the Septuagint numbering and (in parentheses) that of the Masoretic text. And new texts, taken from the Missale Romanum, have been added in the appendix for solemn blessings and the penitential acts.
This second Latin typical edition has not yet been translated into English. The earlier edition has appeared in two English translations, one under the title "Liturgy of the Hours", the other as "The Divine Office'".
Obligation of recitation
Priests, and deacons aspiring to the Priesthood, are obliged to celebrate the Liturgy of the Hours daily according to the approved liturgical books that apply to them; permanent deacons are to do so to the extent laid down by the Episcopal Conference; members of institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life are bound according to the norm of their constitutions.
The constitutions of some institutes of consecrated life, in particular many congregations of Benedictine monks and nuns, but also others, oblige them to follow an arrangement of the Psalter whereby all the psalms are recited in the course of a single week, partly through an extension of the Office of Readings, and by maintaining the Hour of Prime.
Judaism and the Early Church
As is noted above, the canonical hours stemmed from Jewish prayer. In the Old Testament, God commanded the Israelite priests to offer sacrifices of animals in the morning and evening ( ). Eventually, these sacrifices soon moved from the Tabernacle to the Temple built by Solomon in Jerusalem. During the Babylonian Exile, when the Temple was no longer in use, the first synagogues were established, and the services (at fixed hours of the day) of Torah readings, psalms, and hymns began to evolve. This "sacrifice of praise" began to be substituted for the sacrifices of animals.
After the people returned to Judea, the prayer services were incorporated into Temple worship as well. As time passed, the Jews began to be scattered across the Greco-Roman world in what is known as the Diaspora. By the time of the Roman Empire, the Jews (and eventually early Christians) began to follow the Roman system of conducting the business day in scheduling their times for prayer. In Roman cities, the bell in the forum rang the beginning of the business day at about six o'clock in the morning (Prime, the "first hour"), noted the day's progress by striking again at about nine o'clock in the morning (Terce, the "third hour"), tolled for the lunch break at noon (Sext, the "sixth hour"), called the people back to work again at about three o'clock in the afternoon (None, the "ninth hour"), and rang the close of the business day at about six o'clock in the evening (the time for evening prayer).
The first miracle attributed to the Apostles, the healing of the crippled man on the temple steps, occurred because Peter and John went to the Temple to pray ( ). Also, one of the defining moments of the early Church, the decision to include Gentiles among the community of believers, arose from a vision Peter had while praying at noontime ( ).
As Christianity began to separate from Judaism, the practice of praying at fixed times continued. The early church was known to pray the Psalms ( ), which has remained a part of the canonical hours and all Christian prayer since. By 60 AD, the Didache, the oldest known liturgical manual for Christians, recommended disciples to pray the Lord's Prayer three times a day; this practice found its way into the canonical hours as well. Pliny the Younger (63 - ca. 113), who was not a Christian himself, mentions not only fixed times of prayer by believers, but also specific services—other than the Eucharist—assigned to those times: “they met on a stated day before it was light, and addressed a form of prayer to Christ, as to a divinity ... after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble, to eat in common a harmless meal. .”
By the second and third centuries, such Church Fathers as Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Tertullian wrote of the practice of Morning and Evening Prayer, and of the prayers at terce, sext, and none. The prayers could be prayed individually or in groups. By the third century, the Desert Fathers (the earliest monks), began to live out St. Paul's command to "pray without ceasing" ( ) by having one group of monks pray one fixed-hour prayer while having another group pray the next prayer.
As the format of unbroken fixed-hour prayer developed in the Christian monastic communities in the East and West, longer prayers soon grew, but the cycle of prayer became the norm in daily life in monasteries. By the fourth century, the characteristics of the canonical hours more or less took their present shape. For secular (non-monastic) clergymen and lay people, the fixed-hour prayers were by necessity much shorter. In many churches and basilicas staffed by monks, the form of the fixed-hour prayers was a hybrid of secular and monastic practice.
In the East, the development of the Divine Services shifted from the area around Jerusalem to Constantinople. In particular, St. Theodore the Studite (ca. 758 - ca. 826) combined a number of influences from the Byzantine court ritual with monastic practices common in Asia Minor, and added thereto a number of hymns composed by himself and his brother Joseph (see Typicon for further details).
In the West, St. Benedict in his famous Rule modeled his guidelines for the prayers on the customs of the basilicas of Rome. It was he who expounded the concept in Christian prayer of the inseparability of the spiritual life from the physical life. St. Benedict was known to have said "Orare est laborare, laborare est orare" ("To pray is to work, to work is to pray"). Thus, the fixed-hour prayers came to be known as the "Divine Office" (office coming from the Latin word for work). The Benedictines began to call the prayers the Opus Dei or "Work of God."
As the Divine Office grew more important in the life of the Church, the rituals became more elaborate. Soon, praying the Office began to require various books, such as a psalter for the psalms, a lectionary to find the assigned Scripture reading for the day, a Bible to proclaim the reading, a hymnal for singing, etc. As parishes grew in the Middle Ages away from cathedrals and basilicas, a more concise way of arranging the hours was needed. So, a sort of list developed called the Breviary, which gave the format of the daily office and the texts to be used. The spread of breviaries eventually reached Rome, where Pope Innocent III extended its use to the Roman Curia. The Franciscans sought a one-volume breviary for its friars to use during travels, so the order adopted the Breviarium Curiae, but substituting the Gallican (French) Psalter for the Roman. The Franciscans gradually spread this breviary throughout Europe. Pope Nicholas III would then adopt the widely-used Franciscan breviary to be the breviary used in Rome. By the 14th century, the breviary contained the entire text of the canonical hours.
Roman Rite since the Council of Trent
Revision by Pope Pius V
The Council of Trent, in its final session on 4 December 1563 entrusted the reform of the breviary to the then pope, Pius IV. On 9 July 1568, Pope (Saint) Pius V, the successor to Pius IV who closed the Council of Trent, promulgated an edition, known as the Roman Breviary, with his Apostolic Constitution Quod a nobis, imposing it in the same way in which, two years later, he imposed his Roman Missal and using language very similar to that in the bull Quo primum with which he promulgated the Missal, regarding; for instance, the perpetual force of its provisions, the obligation to use the promulgated text in all places, and the total prohibition of adding or omitting anything, declaring in fact: "No one whosoever is permitted to alter this letter or heedlessly to venture to go contrary to this notice of Our permission, statute, ordinance, command, precept, grant, indult declaration, will decree and prohibition. Should anyone, however, presume to commit such an act, he should know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul."
Further revision before the Second Vatican Council
Later popes altered the Roman Breviary of Pope Pius V. Pope Clement VIII instituted obligatory changes on 10 May 1602, 34 years after Pius V's revision. Pope Urban VIII made further changes, including "a profound alteration in the character of some of the hymns. Although some of them without doubt gained in literary style, nevertheless, to the regret of many, they also lost something of their old charm of simplicity and fervour." For the profound revision of the book by Pope Pius X see Reform of the Roman Breviary by Pope Pius X.
Pope Pius XII allowed the use of a new translation of the Psalms from the Hebrew and established a special commission to study a general revision, concerning which all the Catholic bishops were consulted in 1955. His successor, Pope John XXIII, implemented these revisions in 1960.
Revision following the Second Vatican Council
Latin typical editions
Following the Second Vatican Council, the Catholic Church's Roman Rite simplified the observance of the canonical hours and sought to make them more accessible to the laity, hoping to restore their character as the prayer of the entire Church.
The Council itself abolished the office of Prime, and envisioned a manner of distributing the psalms over a period of more than 1 week. In the succeeding revision, the character of Matins was changed to an Office of Readings so that it could be used at any time of the day as an office of Scriptural and hagiographical readings. Furthermore, the period over which the entire Psalter is recited has been expanded from one week to four. The Latin hymns of the Roman Office were in many cases restored to the pre-Urban form, albeit several of them were shortened.What was called the Roman Breviary is now published under the name "Liturgy of the Hours" (Liturgia Horarum in Latin) in four volumes, arranged according to the liturgical seasons of the Church year.
- Volume I: Advent & Christmastide
- Volume II: Lent, the Sacred Triduum & Eastertide
- Volume III: Weeks 1 to 17 of the Year
- Volume IV: Weeks 18 to 34 of the Year
The current liturgical books for the celebration of the Hours in Latin are those of the editio typica altera (second typical edition) promulgated in 2000.
Official English translations
Two English translations are in use.
The Divine Office is translated by a commission set up by the Episcopal Conferences of England and Wales, Australia and Ireland. First published in 1974 by Collins, this edition is the official English edition for use in the above countries, as well as many Asian and African dioceses. This title comes complete in three volumes
The Divine Office (non-ICEL)
- Volume I: Advent, Christmastide & Weeks 1-9 of the Year
- Volume II: Lent and Eastertide
- Volume III: Weeks of the Church Year 6-34.
The psalms are taken from the 1963 Grail Psalms, while the Scriptural readings and canticles are taken from various versions of the Bible, including the Revised Standard Version, the Jerusalem Bible, the Good News Bible, the New English Bible and Ronald Knox's Translation of the Vulgate.Collins also publishes shorter editions of The Divine Office:
- Daily Prayer - comprising the complete Divine Office, except for the Office of Readings
- Morning & Evening Prayer - comprising the complete Morning, Evening and Night prayers from the Divine Office
- Shorter Morning & Evening Prayer - comprising the Psalter for Morning, Evening and Night prayers and a selection of texts from the liturgical seasons and feasts
Besides these shorter editions of The Divine Office, there used to be A Shorter Prayer During the Day comprising the Psalter for the Middle Hours also published by Collins. The last known reprint year is 1986, but this edition is now out of print.
Liturgy of the Hours (ICEL)
The Liturgy of the Hours is translated by the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL). First published in 1975 by Catholic Book Publishing Company in the USA, this edition is the official English edition for use in the USA, Canada and several other English-speaking dioceses. This title comes complete in four volumes in an arrangement identical to the original Latin typical edition.
The psalm are taken mainly from the 1963 Grail Psalms, while the Scriptural readings and canticles are taken from the New American Bible.
Shorter editions of the Liturgy of the Hours are also available from various publishers: Christian Prayer (Daughters of St Paul and Catholic Book Publishing Company), Shorter Christian Prayer and Daytime Prayer(Catholic Book Publishing Company only). In 2007, Liturgy Training Publications released the new Mundelein Psalter which provided the complete Morning, Evening and Night Prayers from ICEL's translation set to chant tones.
Both these editions are based on the Latin 1971 editio typica.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 "Divine Office" Catholic Encyclopedia
- ↑ Liturgia Horarum is given on the book cover. The title page has Officium Divinum ex Decreto Sacrosancti Oecumenici Concilii Vaticani II Instauratum Auctoritate Pauli PP. VI Promulgatum, Liturgia Horarum iuxta Ritum Romanum, Editio Typica Altera, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, MM, ISBN 88-209-2812-4.
- ↑ Constitutions of the Holy Apostles
- ↑ Chapter XXI
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 In Defense of the Pauline Mass
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Breviary in Catholic Encyclopedia. The article also spoke of "blemishes which disfigure this book."
- ↑ Laudis Canticum
- ↑ canon 1174 §1 of the Code of Canon Law
- ↑ Pliny the Younger, Epistulae, Book X, Letter xcvii.
- ↑ Council of Trent, Decree on Reformation, Chapter XXI
- ↑ Sacrosanctum Concilium Art 91. So that it may really be possible in practice to observe the course of the hours proposed in Art. 89, the psalms are no longer to be distributed throughout one week, but through some longer period of time.
The Liturgy of the Hours in the Roman Catholic Church
- "General Instruction" from the Breviary
- The Divine Office: A Study of the Roman Breviary by the Rev. E.J. Quigley
- EWTN article on the Liturgy of the Hours / Divine Office / Breviary
- 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia
- St. Thomas More House of Prayer, Concerning the Liturgy of the Hours
- Discovering Prayer: How to Pray the Liturgy of the Hours by Seth H. Murray (also available with audio samples)
- Breviary Timeline - A timeline of official 20th century breviaries
- Daily audio Liturgy of the Hours. Invitatory Psalms, Office of Readings, and Morning Prayer by the Divine Office ministry.
Texts of the Liturgical Hours
- Officium Divinum - an online dynamic version of the Breviarium Romanum according to the rubrics of 1961
- Liturgy of the Hours - DivineOffice.org Online Liturgy of the Hours free daily podcast.
- Liturgia Horarum Online An online version of the Liturgy of the Hours.
- Universalis - psalms, prayers and readings for the Office of Readings (Matins), Morning Prayer (Lauds), Evening Prayer (Vespers), Night Prayer (Compline), and Mass. Texts for today and the week ahead. Unofficial translation except for (in many countries) Mass.
- DivineOffice.net - Helps for praying the Divine Office, plus Information on Propers
- The Roman Breviary (1954 edition) (Latin with English translation in an adjoining column)
- Daily Office of the Roman Catholic Church According to the Anglican Use - Online version of the Daily Office from the Book of Divine Worship an ecclesiastically approved variant on the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.
- The Anglican Breviary - Anglican version of the Daily Office
- Liturgia Horarum Online Online Liturgy of the Hours in Latin
- Divinum Officium