Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Dominican Breviary: Smaller but Longer!

While going for a walk into town, having some coffee and chocolates over the newspaper, and then doing the circuit of the Gorge, and going to the gym, I was idly thinking about whether it would be more convenient to take my 1962 Dominican Breviary with me on my impending trip to Melbourne, rather than my bulky F.S.S.P. reprint of the 1962 Roman Breviary.

However, upon reflection, I realize that, though the Breviarium S.O.P. is a nice small volume in comparison with my Breviarium Romanum, the Office given in the former is actually slightly longer than that in the latter!

How so?

Well, these items are either special to the Dominican Rite Office, or are longer than their Roman equivalents:
  • The last, that is, the 3rd (or 9th) Responsory of Matins, immediately before the Te Deum, which is absent from the Roman (since the Te Deum is considered to take its place)*;
  • The so-called versus sacerdotalis immediately before the opening Deus in adjutorium of Lauds*;
  • When the ferial Office is said outside of Christmastide and Paschaltide, at Lauds, Terce, Sext, None, and Vespers, the preces are read - a triple Kyrie, and the Pater noster (said secretly until the last versicle and response) - which in the 1962 Roman Office were only said rarely at Lauds and Vespers, albeit with about twenty added versicles;
  • At Pretiosa, the reading (either from the Gospel of the day, or from the start of St John's Gospel, or from the Rule of St Augustine) is somewhat longer than the Roman lectio brevis, and it is followed by a curious combination of a short  versicle in commemoration of the dead, followed by Psalm 116 (Laudate Dominum omnes gentes) with doxology, versicles Ostende nobis and Dominus vobiscum, then the collect Actiones nostras (with the short ending), plus - if the anniversary of the death of a Master of the Order, or a general anniversary occur - Psalm 129, the De Profundis, with versicles and Collect;
  • At Prime, after the versicle Exsurge, the proper Dominican short Confiteor and longer Misereatur;
  • At first Vespers of a feast, or of a Sunday when a new series of historia (Matins responsories) is to begin, after the capitulum a long responsory follows*;
  • At Compline, after Our Lady's Salve Regina, versicle and collect, likewise the O lumen Ecclesiæ with versicle and collect are next included in honour of Holy Father Dominic, the Apostolic Patriarch of his Order.
Whereas these items are missing from the Office of the Friars Preachers, or exist only in a shorter form therein:
  • The Dominican Breviary lacks the so-called Absolution(s) inserted in the Roman Office after the Lord's Prayer between the Psalms of Matins and the Blessing before the first Lesson of (each, or the only) Nocturn*;
  • The Lessons at Matins are slightly shorter than the Roman, though it would take too long to quantify this;
  • On feasts at Vespers, and even sometimes at Lauds, all the psalms are said under only one antiphon (which only happens in the Roman Office at Eastertide);
  • At Pretiosa (the capitular or chapter Office, which the Dominicans could read after either Lauds or Prime), the Gloria Patri before the prayer Dirigere is absent (though it occurs further along, see above), that prayer is shorter, and there is no Benedicite nor Dominus nos benedicat...æternam;
  • At Compline, the shorter Dominican Confiteor and longer Misereatur are read - but there is no Indulgentiam, nor even its Dominican equivalent the Absolutionem.
(* These marked points were quite common in mediæval versions of the Office throughout Europe.)

In conclusion, weighing up the pros and cons, it would seem that, contrary to what one would imagine, the daily Office according to the Dominican Rite is slightly lengthier than the equivalent according to the Roman!

(The Dominican tradition is instead to sing the Office with quite some dispatch, unlike the more drawn-out Benedictines, let alone those deep- and slow-chanting Carthusians.  St Dominic, in order to encourage the brethren, used to run from one side of the choir to the other, crying Fortiter, fratres, fortiter.)

I think I will take with me my Breviarium Romanum after all...


Anonymous said...

"my bulky F.S.S.P. reprint of the 1962 Roman Breviary." we had the same Breviary all along; I never knew!

Interesting about the Dominican Breviary being longer...! What is "Pretiosa"? My memory's bad today.

Have you heard about the new reprint from Nova & Vetera. Very exciting, but of course I cannot afford it.

Joshua said...

The reprint does sound good, and I may wish to buy it - but I only really want Vol. II, since my FSSP Vol. I is fine, just a bit large that's all.

Pretiosa is the Dominican name for the second half of Prime, the part beginning with V/. Pretiosa in conspectu Domini mors sanctorum ejus. It's sometimes called the Chapter Office (officium capituli) because in monasteries, etc., it was read in the chapter room - in the Monastic Breviary, the short reading for this second half of Prime is taken from the Rule of St Benedict, and apparently the Abbot would often give a talk about it as well.

Anonymous said...

Just a wee question: Where might a person get hold of a traditional Dominican breviary (Latin/English)? :-D

Joshua said...

I was given mine - a two volume set of the Dominican Breviary of 1962 - by a Dominican. I suspect they are extremely rare! You could try some online booksellers, but if any are available they will be expensive indeed.

That said, I bought the Dominican Diurnal of 1956 (a beautiful pocket-sized volume, just 25 by 85 by 125 mm) for, I think, €20 at the bookshop at the headquarters of the Dominican Order at Santa Sabina in Rome - apparently they have never sold out their stock...

If (like me) you prefer to follow the rules applying to the older rites as of 1962, as Benedict XVI decreed, then some little knowledge of the minutiæ of Dominican rubrical alterations would be needed; otherwise, I would suggest buying one from the shop; which is a good reason to visit Rome, as if one were needed (or have a friend there buy it for you).

A final warning: the lay brother in charge at the bookshop at Santa Sabina is famously rude (Dominicans here in Australia confirmed my low estimation of his customer service skills), so don't expect a pleasant shopping experience!

Anonymous said...

Thank you! :-)

I'm not going to Rome anytime soon, but one never knows what might be arranged. Is the diurnal of which you speak a Latin/English one or does it only have Latin?

Joshua said...

Latin only.