Abbreviating the Breviary (iii)

Below I have set forth the suggestions for abbreviating the Little Hours as suggested by Dobszay. I have not changed much at all, in fact, besides the wording I have merely taken him at his word and wrote them in this post.

The Greater Form for Prime

  • Initial Psalm (54, 24, 25, 26, 23, 22) on weekdays.
  • Psalm 118 (only on Sundays)
  • Psalm 119, larger divisions (i-ii).

The Common Form for Prime

  • On Sundays: Psalm 118 divided in four.
  • Monday (and the other weekdays as desirable): Psalm 119, smaller divisions i-v (4 times 8 verses).

The Briefer Form for Prime

  • On Sundays: Psalm 118 divided in four.
  • Weekdays: Psalm 119, one of the the smaller divisions (i-iv).

The Greater Form for Terce, Sext & None

  • Psalm 119, three smaller divisions in each Hour.

The Common Form for Terce, Sext & None

  • Sunday & Saturday: Psalm 120-122; 123-125; 126-128 (as in St. Benedict’s Rule).

The Briefer Form for Terce, Sext & None

  • Three smaller divisions of Psalm 119 or: 120-122; 123-125; 126-128 (as in St. Benedict’s Rule).

If Psalm 119 is regularly taken in the Little Hours, the gradual Psalms ( 120-122; 123-125; 126-128) should remain part of Vespers.

The Greater Form for Compline

  • Psalms 4; 31, 1-6; 91 & 134.

The Common Form for Compline

  • In alternation the following Psalms: 4; 31, 1-6; 91/134.

The Briefer Form for Compline

  • Just Psalm 91.

The next installment will tackle Dobszay’s suggestions for Vespers followed by a post on Matins. Though I must admit that how he envisioned performing his suggestions for Matins are beyond my comprehension and I have not used them. I will provide the actual practice I am following in a separate post.

Gregory +


About Father Gregory

I am an Anglican Catholic Priest, currently residing in Orvelte, the Netherlands.
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3 Responses to Abbreviating the Breviary (iii)

  1. Philip says:

    Another possibility for shortening the office, albeit only a little bit, is to incorporate some of the changes made in the 1950s and 60s Roman breviary, or the LoTH.

    These would include:
    1. Omit the double/triple prayers
    2. Omit the Marian Antiphon at Lauds
    3. When joining two hours, omit the collect and closing versicles of the first, and the opening versicles of the second (this is a LotH-inspired change but is based in some sense on the Matins-Lauds combination)
    4. Omit the preces at all the minor hours and Prime, and only say the Lauds and Vespers preces on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Ember Saturdays

    With the exception of #4, these simply reduce the repetition without actually removing anything completely from the Office (except for the Hail Mary).

    • Father Gregory says:

      Absolutely! And those don’t really affect the Office too much in itself. Though I would not necessarily oppose all duplication. The Preces at Prime are not identical to the Preces at Lauds & Vespers and I would not want them to be entirely lost. Many f the suggestions you have made I have used profitably for a number of years now. Well with a little twist. I take the Prayers before the Office & Triple Prayer before Matins and I take the Marian Antiphon plus Sacrosanctae & Dual Prayer after Compline intead of at each Hour.

      Thank you for posting!

      Gregory +

      • Philip says:

        Actually what I’ve been doing lately is sort of a hybrid office that uses the Book of Common Prayer’s morning and evening prayer but tries to incorporate the propers from the AB. I haven’t been able to make it entirely satisfactory but it sort of works.

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