Saying the Office of the Dead

The Anglican Catholic Church’s yearly Ordo Calendar suggests the Requiem Mass on the first free day of the Month. In the Simple Kalendar of the Anglican Breviary there will be much opportunity for such occasions. It is fitting that on the first free day, in addition to the Requiem Mass, the Office of the Dead also be offered for the departed – especially the “poor souls in purgatory.”

Three ways

The Office of the Dead can be said in three different ways. Since the reforms of St. Pius X in the Roman Breviary (of which the Anglican Breviary is an adaptation to conform to the BCP) there is a complete office given for use to commemorate the dead. Previously there was only Vespers, Matins, and Lauds for the Dead to be added to the Office of the Day. Though a change from previous tradition it seems to me a change well within the scope of “organic growth” of the liturgy.

The Office of the Dead 1

To use the Office of the Dead as provided since St. Pius X one simply replaces the Office of the Day with the Office of the Dead. Keep in mind that this Office starts with Vespers and ends with None.

The Office of the Dead 2

Another way to include the Office of the Dead is to add Vespers, Matins, and Lauds of the Dead to the Office of the Day. In this case Vespers of the Day is said first and is immediately followed by the Vespers of the Dead. Matins and Lauds of the Dead immediately follow the Lauds of the Day.

The Office of the Dead 3

As you may have noticed, in the Office of the Dead the office of Matins can be divided over the weekdays so that one Nocturn is said every day. This is always in addition to the Office of the Day. This way of saying the Office of the Dead can be combined with 1 or 2 above and would be a wonderful offering to be made for our beloved departed. I would not recommend that versions 3 be used as the only way to say this Office since in this version the Venite & Invitatory would never be used at all.

Fr. Gregory Wassen

4 thoughts on “Saying the Office of the Dead

  1. Father Gregory, thank you so much. Many of us have been looking for something like this.

    With Option 1, when during the cycle from a experts through the next day’s None is the Office of the Dead to be said? H1 through H8 (upper left) refers to Vespers, followed on H8 for Matins. What about the remaining 6 Offices?

    With Option 2, does one repeat Matins for ‘Matins and Lauds of the Dead immediately follow Lauds of the Day’?

    Is there a version of Office of the Dead that can be a complely ‘Stand Alone’ commemorative Office said in honor, for example, of recently departed parent, friend, or as a commemoration when having heard of a specially important death one wishes to remember? This seems to be implied in the General Rubrics on p. H 1. But only text for Vespers and Matins are given. Is there a hint in the Rubric 2. “Third Day’s Mind, Week’s Mind, and Year’s Mind?” Is there a place where One can obtain a set of instructions or Rubrics… Or as it were…an ‘Ordinary’ for saying the Office of the Dead?

    1. Hello Christopher,

      I thought about how to answer your questions. I think I will write a post so that the good things you have brought up do not get lost in the comments. I think they deserve a wider readership. Please bear with me.

      1. Father Gregory: I apologize that the ‘OPTION 1’ Comment was truncated…The sentence should be” “With Option 1, when in the cycle of the Office from Vespers on day one through None the following day should the Office of the Dead be recited?”

        Your offer write a post to answer my questions is really very nice. Thankyou.

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