Abbreviating the Breviary (v)


The Greater Form

Is precisely that as given in the Roman Breviary reformed by Trent. It distributes Psalms 1 to 109 (LXX = 1 to 108) over the Nocturns of Sunday to (and including) Saturday.

Sundays: 4 + 4 + 4 + 3 + 3 = 18 Psalms (in III Nocturns)

Feasts: 3 x 3 = 9 Psalms (in III Nocturns)

Weekdays: 12 Psalms (in I Nocturn)

The Common Form

This forms is characterized by distributing Psalms 1 to 109 over the Nocturns of Sunday to (and including) Saturday in ternios. There are 48 such ternios and the length of Matins depends upon the number of ternios used each day. NOTE: for the sake of simplicity I have here used the LXX Psalm numbering !

Sundays: 3 x 3 = 9 Psalms

The Sunday Psalms will always be: Nocturn I: 1, 2, 3 Nocturn II:  8, 10, 18 Nocturn III: 19, 20, 23.

Feasts: 3 x 3 = 9 Psalms

Weekdays: 12, or 6, or 3 Psalms.

The first Monday with 12 Psalms (or rather portions of Psalms) will use ternios 1, 2, 3 and 4 as in one Nocturn. The rest of the week will use the other ternios until we arrive at Sunday. The Sunday will use the Psalms listed above for Sundays and the second Monday will use ternios 25, 26, 27, and 28. The rest of the week will use the left over ternios until all 48 have been used. In week one ternios 1 through 24 will be used and in the second week ternios 25 through 48. This is a two week cycle to recite all 150 Psalms. Using less than 12 Psalms for weekdays will prolong the time required to recite the entire Psalter.

The Minor Form

Lay communities and Parishes, so Dobszay suggests, could use this form. They would be free to use either 6 or 3 ternios (using 3 or 6 Psalm portions). If the Minor Form is used perhaps a re-distribution of Scripture could also be considered along the lines of Fr. Pius Parsch or the 1922 BCP lectionary.

The Ternios

1. 6, 7a, 7b.    2. 9a, 9b, 9c.   3.  11, 12, 13.   4. 14, 15, 16.

5. 17a, 17b, 17c.   6. 17d, 17e, 17f   7. 21a, 21b, 21c.   8. 22, 24a, 24b.

9. 25, 26a, 26b.   10. 27, 28, 29.   11. 30a, 30b, 30c.   12. 31, 32a, 32b.

13. 33a, 33b, 33c.   14. 34a, 34b, 35.   15. 36a, 36b, 36c.   16. 37a, 37b, 38.

17. 39a, 39b, 40.   18. 41, 43a, 43b.   19. 44a, 44b, 45.   20. 46, 47, 48.

21. 49a, 49b, 49c.   22. 51, 52, 53.   23. 54a, 54b, 55.   24. 56, 57, 58.

25. 59, 60, 61.   26. 63, 65a, 65b.   27. 67a, 67b, 67c.   28. 68a, 68b, 68c.

29. 69, 70a, 70b.   30. 71, 72a, 72b.   31. 73a, 73b, 74.   32. 75, 76a, 76b.

33. 77a, 77b, 77c.   34. 77d, 77e, 77f.   35. 78, 79a, 79b.   36. 80, 81, 82.

37. 83, 84, 85.   38. 86, 87a, 87b.   39. 88a, 88b, 88c.   40. 93, 95, 96.

41. 97, 98, 100.   42. 101a, 101b, 101c.   43. 103a, 103b, 103c.  44. 104a, 104b, 104c.

45. 105a, 105b, 105c.   46. 106a, 106b, 106c.   47. 102a, 102b, 107.   48. 108a, 108b, 108c.

The system of ternios is not perfect, and I am not sure Dobszay would have insisted that his system be adopted without any further refinements. One of the downsides to this system is that some Psalms will need new antiphons, another would be the practical layout of a Breviary to accommodate all three forms of the Office. In any case we have here, I think, a good start for a reform/abbreviation which does indeed retain a positive connection to the classical Roman distribution of the Psalms. In the next post I will lay out Dobszay’s suggestions for Vespers.

Fr. Gregory Wassen

 

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About Father Gregory

I am an Anglican Catholic Priest, currently residing in Orvelte, the Netherlands.
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