Offices used by the Anglican Patriarchate are as found in the
Anglo-Roman Breviary, published under the authority of the
offices, with their standard times of recitation, are as follows:
Lauds - Anytime after Compline of the preceding day and before Prime
of the same day.
Sunrise, 6am, or upon rising
Terce - 9 am
Sext - Noon
None - 3pm
Sunset or 6pm
9pm or before bed
propers for each office vary by day of the week and liturgical day
and are consistent with the Ordo Kalendar.
on Praying the Offices in the Anglo-Roman Breviary 2021
The general rubrics may be found in the front of the breviary. These
notes are designed to provide further explanation, as well as to give
general historical context and various optional uses. The offices may
be said or sung either in public or in private. The various postures
given assume a traditional public liturgy. They are often modified as
necessary in private recitations.
The great offices, or the major offices, are Matins, Lauds, and
Vespers. Matins and Lauds are traditionally joined together and
essentially comprise one office, though they may be separated as
appropriate, particularly in private recitations. The little hours,
or the minor offices, are the remaining five. Matins and Lauds are
traditionally said in the morning - particularly in the early
morning. Before they were joined together, Matins was typically said
at midnight, and Lauds at around three in the morning. The offices
from Prime through Compline, then, mark the waking hours throughout
the day and used to be used as a means of telling time. The offices
need not be said at exactly the time specified, but it is good to be
in at least the same general region of the day. Whenever they are
recited, they should go in order.
Clerics, as well as religious brothers and sisters, typically sit in
choir and sing or recite the offices. There is a cantor, who intones
the antiphons and begins the Psalms, a lector who reads or sings the
lessons, and an officiant, often referred to as the
"foremost," who begins the offices, sings the collects,
leads the versicles and responses, and leads the preces.
The standard vesture for clerics and religious brothers and sisters,
particularly in public offices, is choir dress. Clerics wear the
zucchetto. At Solemn Matins, Lauds, and Vespers, the officiating
cleric or religious brother wears an alb, rope cincture, and cope in
the colour of the day, along with a biretta and zucchetto. Those
directly assisting the officiant vest similarly. The biretta as usual
is only worn while processing by the foremost. All others carry it
while processing and wear it only while sitting. (A greater prelate,
however, who is officiating, but not acting as the foremost, still
wears the biretta while processing. A Cardinal always wears it in procession.)
A bishop or other entitled to the cappa magna wears it at solemn
Matins, with the hood over the head, and solemnly vests into the cope
in the usual manner during the Psalms of Lauds. Similarly, a Bishop
or other entitled to the cappa magna at solemn vespers wears it to
begin the office, but changes during the Psalms into the cope. A
bishop in cappa magna therefore does not wear a biretta. Stoles are
not worn during the offices except by foremost if a priest, and then
only during solemn Matins, Lauds, and Vespers when wearing the cope.
on the Sunday Offices
The Sunday offices are said of the Sunday unless the feast appointed
for Sunday is the first or second class. This applies even if there
is a feast of double or greater double rank that would be appointed
in place of a specific regular semi-double Sunday.
Some Sundays have first or second class rank, but are specified in
the liturgical calendar to be said as if they were a semi-double in
the offices. This is denoted in the calendar as, for example,
"s2, sd., p." for a Sunday of the Second Class, with
liturgical colour of purple, that is to be said as if it were a
semi-double. That means that the preces will still be said, despite
the rank of the Sunday, and the antiphons are not doubled. (And this
occurs on certain feasts as well.)
Since the Sunday goes from Matins to Compline, all offices through
Compline on Saturday are simply of whatever feast or feria is
appointed for that Saturday.
At Vespers on Sunday, it is typically of the Sunday. If there is a
feast to commemorate occurring on that Sunday, it is generally
commemorated. However, since feasts of saints go from Vespers to
Vespers and thus span two days, there is the possibility of a I
Vespers on Sunday for a feast on the following Monday. If there is no
appointed commemoration for II Vespers of a feast on Sunday, then the
I Vespers of the Monday feast is commemorated. Since that can only be
two commemorations, however, if there is both a II Vespers and a I
Vespers to commemorate on Sunday, then the usual rules of concurrence
given in the breviary will determine which one is commemorated.
In the event of an excepted feast, i.e., the feast of the first or
second class rank, falling on a Sunday and taking precedence, then
beginning on Sunday, the Sunday is commemorated as usual. The feast,
of course, takes precedence at Vespers on Sunday, which is the
feast's II Vespers, but Compline of a feast of the first or second
class rank is always said of Sunday anyway according to the rubrics.
It can get confusing when discussed in the abstract such as in these
notes, but is usually quite clear when actually consulting the
liturgical calendar for a given day to determine commemorations.
Matins begins with the Triple Prayer, i.e, the Pater, Ave, and
Credo. When that or the Dual Prayer are said before the offices, it
is customary for those in the choir to make a profound reverence
throughout. The traditional way of ensuring uniformity is for
everyone to place their hands on their knees. Upon completing, when
everyone has risen, the officiant begins the office. At the words
"Domine labia mea aperies," it is optional, but traditional
to make the sign of the cross over one's lips with the right thumb.
Then the office continues as given in the breviary.
For the Invitatory, it is chosen according to the type of office as
appointed in the rubrics and the liturgical calendar. The Invitatory
as given for the day of the week is only used during masses of the
season throughout the year. For offices said of saints, regardless of
rank, the correct Invitatory is appointed is used. This is then sung
by the cantor as appointed, and the choir sings Psalm 95 with the
Invitatory woven into it as indicated, all standing. Thereafter,
still standing, the choir sings the appointed hymn according to
season. For excepted feasts, i.e., feasts of the first and second
class, regardless of season or nature of the feast, the hymn
appointed for the given day of the week throughout the year is used.
(For example, a feast on a Wednesday during Lent would use the
Wednesday hymn, not the Lenten hymn.)
Next, the choir sits for the Psalms, which begin a section of the
office called the Nocturn. It is not uncommon, however, for the
cantor to remain standing at least at the beginning if not
throughout, for he must begin the antiphon. Here, the antiphon is
according to season. Note, however, that for a feast of the first or
second class, the Psalms of Sunday are always used regardless of
season. The Psalms are sung as a group, with a single Gloria Patri at
the end (except during offices of the season during Passiontide), and
then the antiphon is sung again.
An additional note on antiphons for all offices:
In all offices, the antiphon is chosen according to season.
Throughout the year, it is according to the day of the week. For a
feast of the first or second class, the Psalms of Sunday are always
used in all offices, but instead the antiphon as provided for feast
of saints of first or second class is instead used. The exception to
this is if the feast in question is of Our Lord, in which case it is
the antiphon of Sunday that is used. During certain seasons, feasts,
or octaves, an antiphon is specified. The antiphon for the season
specified, then, is used, even on feasts. The exception to this is
during Lent. During Lent, a feast is said as if it were not during
Lent, i.e., the non-penitential version of the Psalms are used at
Lauds, the preces are said standing, etc. Therefore, the choice of
antiphon is according to the day of the week or, as previously
explained, the version for first or second class feasts. Yet in other
seasons, for example, Christmastide until the Epiphany, the seasonal
antiphon is used even on feasts (excepting those of first or second
The Nocturn continues with a lesson. The longest lessons of all
offices are found in Matins. Whoever will sing or read the lesson
goes to the officiant, makes a profound reverence, and requests the
blessing as given in the breviary. The officiant gives the blessing
as specified, with the reader/lector making the sign of the cross on
himself. Only a foremost who is a priest or another cleric to whom
the faculty has been given makes the sign of the cross directly over
The lector then sings the lesson, standing, ending it as all lessons
during the offices. The choir then makes the usual response as given
in the breviary. Thus concludes the Nocturn.
The Nocturn is followed by the Te Deum, otherwise known as the
Ambrosian Hymn. This is as always omitted in penitential seasons at
offices of the season. However, it is still sung in penitential
seasons if there is a feast of sufficient rank to take precedence
over the day of the season. The choir stands during the Te Deum.
After the Te Duem, the Collect is sung. If the officiant is a cleric
than the salutation Dominus vobiscum is used as usual. The otherwise
the alternative is used as given. During the Collect, the officiant
only uses the orans position, i.e., arms extended, if he is a priest.
As given in the rubrics, the Collect of the Day is sung by the
foremost according to the day in the liturgical calendar. No
commemorations are made.
Here the office should immediately proceed to Lauds. In the event
that it does not, however, then the conclusion of the office follows
as given in the breviary, with the final Pater as usual.
Lauds typically follows immediately after Matins without break. In
that case, since they are treated as a single office, the Dual Prayer
before Lauds is omitted, proceeding immediately to the opening
versicles. If Lauds is said as a completely separate office, however,
then the Dual Prayer is said in the usual manner.
After the Opening Versicles, the choir sits as usual for the Psalms.
The principles for the antiphons are the same as given in Matins, and
the same for all offices. Lauds, along with Vespers, have the
lengthiest Psalter. The cantor and choir sing the Psalms as usual
In the Psalter of Lauds, however, there are two versions. The
regular version, sometimes called Lauds I, is used outside Lent. This
will be seen in the Sunday Psalter as an option. For the other days
of the week, the Psalter as given is used outside Lent. Within the
penitential season of Lent, for the offices of the season, Lauds II
is used. That is, on Sunday, the version given for Lent, beginning
with the Psalm Miserere me, is used. For the other days of the week,
for offices of the season during Lent, the first Psalm given for any
given day is replaced with the first Psalm provided for Sunday during
Lent, i.e., the Miserere me. Then the remainder of the Psalter continues.
And note that for solemn recitations of Lauds, bishops wear the
cappa magna (as well as through Matins before, with the hood up)
until the Psalter in Lauds. During the singing of the Psalms, the
Bishop changes from the cappa magna into the cope and stole in the
colour of the day, taking the mitre, as given in the ceremonial for bishops.
Likewise, all other clerics who are officiating, to include the
lector and cantor, at solemn Lauds may wear a cope, without stole, in
the colour of the day. However, a priest who is officiating wears the
stole with the cope. The biretta is used by all clerics, as is the zucchetto.
Laity who are officiating at solemn Lauds may also wear the cope,
but always without stole, biretta, or zucchetto.
After the Psalter, the lector sings the chapter for the day as
provided. This simply follows the day of the week unless, of course,
it is an "excepted feast," i.e., a feast of the first or
second class. In that case, as in all offices, the chapter of Sunday
is read. And, as given in the rubrics in the breviary, the chapter
ends, as always, with the usual response "But thou, O Lord have
mercy on us." The lector stands during the chapter, but the
choir continues to sit.
The chapter is followed by one of two hymns as provided, sung by the
choir standing. The two hymns are the Benedicite omnia opera Domini
and the Benedictus es Domine. The determination of which will be used
is made by the foremost in the choir or other authority. It is not
tied to the liturgical calendar. Note that in the Benedicite it is
possible to shorten it, as given the rubrics, by omitting either
section 2 or section 3, but not both.
The choir remains standing after the hymn for the preces. The
exception to this is on certain ferial days, specifically those of
Advent and Lent, Ember Days, all unprivileged vigils, and any offices
of the dead - in which case the preces are said kneeling as given in
the rubrics. In Lauds, however, the preces are admitted on feasts of
double rank or higher. Regarding Sundays of higher rank, note that
they are appointed in the liturgical calendar to be said as a
semi-double, and therefore the preces are still said on those days.
The versicles are said by the foremost, and the responses by the
choir as usual. The foremost begins the Pater as given, and then the
rest is said silently by everyone until the foremost audibly finishes
it with the final versicle as given. Then the versicles and responses continue.
If the preces are omitted, then the salutation in the usual manner
before the Collect is still said - either the Dominus vobiscum or the
Domine exaudi, according to the grade of the foremost. Then follows
the Collect of the day, which is found in the section for Matins. At
Lauds, there may be a commemoration according to the rules. In the
event of the commemoration specified in the liturgical calendar, that
collect is then sung after the Collect of the day. However, only two
collects are permitted. Therefore, the second Collect of higher rank
or precedence is used. In Lent and Advent, since the feria must be
commemorated, it is the Collect of the feria that is used, with the
commemoration of the Saint specified in the liturgical calendar
omitted. Also, should both the primary collect and the commemoration
be of saints for whom one of the general collects of saints is used,
then it is only said once and not repeated. If the general collect
that makes mention of the name of the saint is used, then the names
of all Saints specified may be included in the single collect.
Here the office is concluded as given in the breviary. As usual, the
Dominus vobiscum is replaced with the Domine exaudi if the foremost
is not a cleric. At the Fidelium animae, all make the sign of the
cross on themselves.
In the event that another office will not follow immediately, then
the choir says, standing, a silent Pater noster. Then the foremost
pronounces the versicle as given, with all making the sign of the
cross on themselves. That is the signal to kneel for the final
antiphon of the Blessed Virgin. The exception to this is during
Paschaltide, during which the choir stands always for the final antiphon.
The antiphon is said in unison by the choir. Then the foremost says
the versicle as given, with all making the sign of the cross on
themselves. At this point, the prayer known as the Sacrosanctae may
be said, kneeling, as an act of reparation for any small mistakes
made during the recitation of the offices. It is entirely optional,
and it may be said after any of the offices.
In the event that another office will immediately follow Lauds,
however, the final Pater and the rest that follows is omitted,
including the Marian antiphon. Instead the next office (Prime) begins
with the Triple Prayer.
Prime, being the office of the first hour, is one of the two offices
that begins with the Triple Prayer. Its opening versicles are as
usual, and they are followed by the hymn as provided in the breviary,
with the choir standing. At the doxology at the end of the hymn, it
is optional according to local custom to bow. For example, for the
hymn in Prime, the Jam lucis, the doxology is the portion beginning
Then follows the Psalter as usual, noting that the antiphons are
The Psalter is followed by the Chapter the usual manner. In Prime,
the Chapter is followed by a Brief Respond, which is said standing.
This is the same throughout the year except for Paschaltide. The
foremost, as usual, begins the versicle. Here as always, the choir
bows for the versicle of the Gloria Patri.
Next follow the Preces, which are always included in this office. As
usual, they are said standing unless the preces were said kneeling at
Lauds, in which case they are said kneeling as well. In other words,
however the Preces were said (or would have been said in the case
that they are omitted) at Lauds defines how they are said in other
offices throughout the day. If they are said standing, then they are
called Dominical Preces. If they are said kneeling, then they are
called Ferial Preces.
Note that the Pater is begun by the foremost and then said silently
as usual, and the same is done for the Credo. The Preces are followed
by the General Confession. The various options based on whether one
is saying this office communally or privately on one's own, as well
as the state of the foremost, are provided in the breviary. The
foremost says the Confiteor, and then the choir responds with the
Misereatur. The choir then says the Confiteor, with the foremost
following with the Misereatur and the Indulgentiam. All make the sign
of the cross as given for the latter. In the event that the foremost
is a priest, then he makes the sign of the cross in the usual manner
over the choir. Otherwise, even if a cleric, he makes the sign of the
cross over himself. The choir remains standing throughout all of the preceding.
Then there are several versicles and responses, followed by the
Collect of the office, which never changes. The concluding versicles
are said, and then follows immediately the Capitular Office.
The Capitular Office begins with a reading by the lector from the
martyrology. In the event that the martyrology is not available,
particularly in private recitations on one's own, then one meditates
on the saints known to be for the day from the liturgical calendar
and continues with the versicle.
When reading the martyrology, note that it is
"anticipated." That is, it is read according to the
following day. So, if it is 3 March, then the martyrology for 4 March
will be read. This provides an early preparation and reminder for
what the next day will be liturgically. This is also for the
following reason: if the following day will be a feast of a saint,
the feast will actually begin with its I Vesper on the current day.
After the martyrology and its versicle and response, there is a
collect sung by the foremost, which never varies. Then the typical
opening versicles and responses are said as given three times,
followed by a series of other versicles and responses and a Collect,
which also never varies. All of this is said standing (and here as
well as elsewhere in these notes, "said" and
"sung" are used interchangeably, for the offices may be
either said or sung).
Then the choir sits. The lector goes to the foremost as given in
Matins and asks for the blessing, using the formula as provided in
the breviary. And here as usual, if the foremost is a priest or else
a cleric with the faculty, the sign of the cross is made during this
blessing over the lector.
The lector, standing, reads the Brief Lesson, which is always the
same. At this point, all stand for the conclusion, which is given in
the breviary. The two signs of the cross indicated are made by
everyone over themselves in all cases. Then, as usual, follows the
silent Pater Noster, unless another office will follow.
Terce, being the office of the third hour (mid-morning), begins as
usual with the Dual Prayer and opening versicles, followed by a hymn,
sung by all standing. Then follows the Psalter in the usual manner,
with the choir sitting. The antiphons are never doubled. Next the
lector reads the chapter.
The preces are never said in Terce except as provided in the
rubrics. That is, they are said only on the ferial days of Advent and
Lent, Ember Days, all unprivileged vigils, and in the offices of the
dead. Thus if they are said, they are always said kneeling.
At this point the choir stands (unless the preces were said, and
which case they remain kneeling, though the foremost stands as always
here), and the foremost sings the Collect of the day. There are no
commemorations at the little hours.
The office concludes as usual, with the choir standing. Unless
another office will follow, then as usual, the silent Pater is said,
and the choir departs.
Sext, the office of the sixth hour (midday), follows the same basic
format as Terce. Although the content is different, since the
structure is the same, then all that was given above for Terce
None, the office of the ninth hour (mid-afternoon), likewise follows
the same basic format as Terce and Sext.
Vespers, the sunset office, is one of the major hours. Like Lauds,
it may also be said in a solemn fashion, and so what was described in
the general notes for solemn Lauds applies for Vespers.
Vespers begins with the Dual Prayer and the opening versicles as
usual. It immediately proceeds to the Psalter, with antiphon
according to the usual rules. Antiphons are doubled if the office is
of double rank or higher. And as usual, the choir sits during the
Psalms. If the foremost is a bishop, and Vespers is being sung
solemnly, then he changes as previously described from the cappa
magna into the cope during the Psalms.
The Psalter is followed by the Chapter, which is sung by the lector
in the usual manner. The lector stands, while the choir remains seated.
Then the choir stands for the hymn, which is the Phos hilaron.
However, another hymn may be substituted with episcopal permission,
according to the rubrics of the breviary, as appropriate. If that is
done, it will typically be for a public service and may relate to a
particular feast or special occasion. Typically it would not be substituted.
Next comes the great Canticle of Mary that is a highlight of
Vespers, the Magnificat. The choir remains standing. The cantor
intones the antiphon, which is according to season. During all of
Paschaltide, it is always the one given for that season. However,
given the principle that feasts during Lent and Advent are exempted
from the penitential character, the antiphon for that season is not
used, but rather that which is given for the day of the week
throughout the year. Since there is no antiphon specifically provided
for first or second class feasts here, then following the standard
principles of the breviary, the one for Sunday is used.
Also, it is optional according to local use to make the sign of the
cross over oneself at the very beginning, i.e., at "My soul doth
magnify&ldots;". And, as always, the choir bows at the end
during the Gloria Patri, except that it is always omitted during
offices of the season during Passiontide.
Like at Lauds, the preces during Vespers are omitted on feasts of
Double rank or above - except that, of course, during Vespers of
Sundays of higher rank that are appointed in the liturgical calendar
to be said in the offices as semi-doubles, the preces are still said.
And, the standard rules regarding standing or kneeling apply.
Next follows the Collect of the day and, if one is appointed, a
single commemoration as described during Lauds. The Collect is then
followed by the concluding versicles as usual. Then follows, unless
Compline will follow immediately, the silent Pater and the Marion Antiphon.
Compline is the completion of the offices, and it is the one office
that does not begin with either the Triple or Dual Prayer. Instead,
the lector goes to the foremost and requests a blessing in the usual
manner as given in the breviary. The choir sits, and the lector
stands while singing the Lesson, which is always the same. Indeed,
with the exception of some minor changes based on season, and the
Psalms, Compline is always identical.
After the Lesson, all stand, and the foremost continues with the
versicle as given; a silent Pater Noster is said, and then the
General Confession is said as provided in Prime. Afterwards the
opening versicles are said, which differ slightly. At the Converte
nos, all make the sign of the cross over the left breast with the
The choir sits, and the Psalms are sung as usual. The antiphons are
never doubled. Then the choir stands for the hymn, which is always
the Te lucis ante terminum as given in the breviary. This is followed
by the Little Chapter and Brief Respond. The choir sits during the
chapter, while the lector stands. All stand for the Brief Respond. It
is always the same except during Paschaltide, and of course the
Gloria Patri is omitted during Passiontide.
The choir remained standing for the Gospel Canticle. The cantor
intones the antiphon, and then the choir continues with the Nunc Dimittis.
The Preces follow, and they are always included. They are said
standing unless they were appointed to be kneeling at Lauds. Then
follows the Collect, which never varies, recited by the foremost.
Next the office concludes with the versicle given. All make the sign
of the cross over themselves. The one exception is that if the
foremost is a priest or a cleric with the faculty, then he may make
the sign of the cross in the usual manner here over the choir.
The Fidelium animae is not said. Rather, the choir immediately
kneels, except in Paschaltide, and begins with the Marion antiphon
directly without the usual preceding Pater, versicle, and response.
Then the Triple Prayer is said as usual, standing. Note that this is
the final act of the office cycle for the day. Therefore, even if
Matins for the following day will follow immediately, the Triple
Prayer is still said twice - once at the end of Compline and once at
the beginning of Matins.
In the Patriarchate there exists an indult for a public liturgy
known as a vigil office. This is typically something that could be
done for a major feast. Since the feast begins at I Vespers the
preceding day, the Vigil Office begins at that time. The office
simply consists of I Vespers, Compline, Matins, and Lauds beginning
in the evening and then said in continuous sequence, one immediately
following the other.
OFFICE OF THE DEAD
The Divine Office of the Dead is an office unto itself. On days on
which the mass/office of the dead is appointed, and also on days of
ferial or simple rank on which the dead will be commemorated, this
office may be set in place of Vespers that day. Otherwise it must be
said separately from other offices, though it may follow an office immediately.
As given in the rubrics, the Dual Prayer is not said. All stand for
the opening versicle and then sit for the Psalms. The Gloria Patri is
obviously omitted, and there are no antiphons.
The Magnificat then follows, with all standing. All then kneel for
the versicles, responses, and orations that follow.
Then all sit for the First and Second Lessons, except for the
lector, who stands as usual. All rise for the Third Lesson, which is
the Gospel Lesson. However, there is neither an introduction nor a salutation.
Next all stand for the Conclusion. The Conclusion is led by the
foremost. At that point, the office ends, and nothing else is said.
Vesture for the Divine Office of the Dead is choir dress as usual.
However, the cope may be used in the same manner as prescribed for
Lauds and Vespers if the office will be said solemnly. Bishops
arriving in the cappa magna with the hood up over the head will then
change into the cope, stole, and simplex mitre during the beginning
Psalms. The cope is always black, or, if a black cope is not
available, then purple. White is only used in the event of an office
said for a young child under the age of innocence for whom the
requiem rites would be permitted in white.
During the Sacred Triduum, additional offices of Matins and Lauds
are provided in the breviary. These are optional. However, as given
in the general rubrics of the breviary, if the full ritual of
Tenebrae is to be observed, including the extinguishing of candles,
then the full form of those offices must be used. If those offices
are used, then they take the place of the regular Matins and Lauds
for the day. However, if they will not be used, then the regular
offices of Matins and Lauds in the breviary are used.
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