Chapter 2: Divisions of the Anglican Breviary (i)


The Anglican Breviary, like the Roman Breviary, consists of several parts. Unlike the Roman Breviary the Anglican Breviary is just one volume containing all four seasons. The parts of the Anglican Breviary are:

I. COMMON OF THE SEASON

The first part contains the basic structure of the daily Office throughout the year. The Common of the Season further divides into:

Common Forms Where forms are to be found which are shared among different Hours/Offices of the daily cycle. The Common Forms are indicated by the letter A on the pages of the Anglican Breviary.

The Ordinary Where the general structure of each Hour is laid out. To this are (usually) added the variable parts of the Office. Like the Common Forms the pages of The Ordinary are also indicated by the letter “A.”

The Psalter Where the Psalms are distributed over the course of the day and week. Each hourly Office and has have their own, unique, Psalms. This distribution of the Psalms is not ancient but is due to a reform accomplished under Pope Pius X. The ancient (Roman) Distribution was much more uneven and repetitive. The ancient distribution would ideally be followed, but the reformed distribution is much more practicable.  The Psalter is marked by the letter “B” on the pages of the Anglican Breviary.

II. THE PROPER OF THE SEASON

This part contains all the ferial elements for the daily Office, which are structured according to the season. Unlike the Roman Breviary, most of the Sundays of the year are not counted as “Sundays after Pentecost” but in accordance with the Sarum custom as “Sundays after Trinity.” This section is recognized by the letter “C” on the pages of the Anglican Breviary. Also included under the Proper of the Season are certain moveable Feasts or Holy Days which are indicated by the letter “D” on their pages.

III. THE PROPER OF THE SAINTS

This section contains the so-called “Sanctoral Cycle” and is structured around two different Kalendars. The first is the so-called Universal Kalendar and it is the most elaborate as fars as festivals of the saints are concerned. Ferias – or ordinary non-festal days – are rare in the Universal Kalendar. The other Kalendar is the so-called Simple Kalendar which is much more conservative in its celebration of the festivals of the saints. The latter follows the Book of Common Prayer and the Monastic Office in guarding the regular observation of the ferial Office. This section is marked by the letter “E” on its pages. Sometimes feasts will not have all the parts needed for the celebration of them and in that case recourse must be had to the following part:

IV. THE COMMON OF THE SAINTS

The festivals of the saints can be divided into non-privileged (not excepted), privileged (excepted), and partially privileged feasts. These different feasts do not necessarily have all the propers they need to celebrate their Office. In such a case recourse must be had to this Common. The Common of the Saints in the Anglican Breviary consists of the following divisions:

THE SABBATH OFFICE OF OUR LADY

THE OFFICE FOR THE DEAD

SUPPLEMENT OF PROPERS FOR CERTAIN PLACES

APPENDIX CONTAINING:

The Seven Penitential Psalms

The Commendation of a Departing Soul

Grace at Meals

The Itinerary

Preparation for Mass

Thanksgiving after Mass

Prayers for General Use

The Anglican Breviary closes with a number of indices.This final part of the Anglican Breviary is like a vast reservoir to supplement needs where and when they occur in the course of the Divine Office. Before recourse is had to this part of the Anglican Breviary the Propers ought to be consulted first. In a sense the Psalter, Ordinary and Common Forms serve as the Common for the Proper of the Season.

 

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About Father Gregory

I am an Anglican Catholic Priest, currently residing in Orvelte, the Netherlands.
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One Response to Chapter 2: Divisions of the Anglican Breviary (i)

  1. david penn says:

    Wonderful; thank you! I had fallen off in my prayer life and hope to renew – this is a fine help (and hope!).

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