Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Little Hours of All Souls in the Dominican Rite

Unlike in the Roman Breviary, in the Dominican the Little Hours for All Souls consist of the following: a silent sign of the Cross, then the festal psalms, that is, spread over Prime, Terce, Sext, and None, Psalms 53 and 118, the latter broken up into eleven parts, none with any doxology or Requiem, but with the antiphon Requiem æternam instead.  In contrast, the Roman Breviary, since the time of Pope St Pius X, appoints proper psalms for all these Hours, with no antiphon but the Requiem at the end of each psalm.  It may be seen that the Dominican practice more closely imitates the Office for the Easter Triduum.

At Prime alone, the Confiteor and Misereatur follow; at all the Little Hours, next is recited the versicles A porta inferi and Dominus vobiscum, with the Collect Fidelium and the concluding versicle Requiescant in pace.

At Pretiosa (answering to the second half, the so-called Chapter Office, of Roman Prime, after the Benedicamus Domino, and beginning with the Martyrology if in choir), to the contrary, all is done as on ordinary days, with even the Gloria Patri being used; while the proper Gospel passage appointed is taken from the Requiem Mass.  In the Roman Office, the corresponding part is drastically modified.

Finally, Compline is sung in its Sunday form, with no observation of All Souls whatsoever - whereas the Roman Compline for All Souls is conformed to the pattern of the day's other Hours, with proper psalms, entirely devoted to prayer for the dead.

It may be noted parenthetically that Dominican Matins, Lauds and Vespers for All Souls are utterly the same as their usual form – but for that the nine lessons at Matins are for this day wholly taken from St Augustine, and the final responsory, the fearful Libera me, is augmented with no less than five versicles, in true mediæval style.


Rubricarius said...

The Dominican form appears far more authentic than the modern (i.e. post-1911) form of the Roman Office. The idea of these newly created Hours of the Dead is rather irritating to me at least. I much prefer the traditional praxis for All Souls.

Joshua said...

Yes - while in fact I used the Roman version yester-day, I think the Dominican better liturgically. It does surprise me, however that Compline was not, on the analogy of the Triduum, also stript back in the manner that the Little Hours were.