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This web site and these programs were developed, managed, and maintained by Laszlo Kiss, as his own work, until his death in 2011. It is now maintained by The Divinum Officium Project (email canon DOT missae AT gmail DOT com). It represents no official order, nor the view or opinion of any group. Laszlo wrote: I tried to follow my sources, but naturally the more I work on this project the more mistakes I make. Such a project can be done only by teamwork. I keep doing this in the hope that a team will pick up the idea, and will use the computers in their entirety to worship God. Since August 2011, The Divinum Officium Project continues Laszlo Kiss's work and keeps his hope alive.

Words of caution:

Those who are obliged to recite the office should do so from canonically approved books (cf. 1983 CIC 276). According to the motu proprio Summorum Pontificium Cura of Pope Benedict XVI (7 July 2007), the 1962 books are accepted as the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. The Project makes every reasonable effort to maintain the Rubrics 1960 version of the website to be substantially harmonious with the 1962 typical edition. The website is seeking ecclesiastical approbation as such.
  • The Project consults written sources for the Divino Afflatu and Trident 1910 and Trident 1570 and Reduced 1955 versions and follows them carefully, as much as possible.
  • The pre Trident monastic version is a projection backward in time.
  • The 1960 Newcalendar version is a hypothetical projection forward using new saints devised by Laszlo Kiss. Opinions vary on whether such a practice would be licit.

Historical versions of the Divine Office

The Divinum Officium was the official prayer of the Roman Catholic Church for at least 1500 years, until 1 November 1970, when it was significantly changed to The Liturgy of the Hours by the Apostolic Constitution of Paul VI Laudis canticum. This programlet, as conceived by Laszlo Kiss, is partially a device enabling one to pray the Office easily, and partially a historical and educational document to visually show the changes in the last few hundred years. These purposes are maintained by The Divinum Officium Project since August 2011, with the intent that the website should be usable, didactic, and historically and theologically accurate. In sum, this Project shows how the daily Divine Office was collected from the same psalms, lections, hymns, versicles and responsories for the different versions:
  • The pre-Tridentine Monastic version is an attempt to illustrate the Benedictine Breviary, as it is described in the Regula of St. Benedict, with the exception that, for lack of resources, only 9 lessons are included for Sundays and Feasts, instead of 12 lessons. See details below.

  • The version ordered after the Council of Trent by Pope St. Pius V, which, except for the ever increasing number of feasts in the Proprium Sanctorum, was virtually unchanged until the 20th Century. This Tridentine version was based essentially on the Roman Rite in use at this time. Therefore, the majority of psalms were prayed in Matins, Lauds, and Vespers. The little hours contained the same Psalm 118 everyday, which was memorized by heart and could be prayed without a book, at the little hours. Sunday Matins contained 18 psalms, and the weekday Matins contained 12 psalms. Lauds and Vespers were considerably longer, due to the length of of the psalm and their suffragia. The Feasts of Saints offered some relief in the number of psalms. Those Matins consisted of 9 psalms only, which broke the rule of the required 150 psalms a week. The number of Festive Offices came to exceed the number of ferial Sunday Offices, when more than two thirds of the days were Festive Offices.

  • The Trident 1570 version uses the original 1570 calendar, the Trident 1910 version uses the permanent calendar from the 1888 Pustet edition Hiemalis volume. The two differ only in the calendars. Missing offices are updated as sources allow. Both the 1570 & 1910 versions use the Clementine psalter, as well as the same rubrics. We are seeking to add the pre-Urban VIII hymnody for the Monastic and 1570 hours, and as an option for the other forms. Please help. See details below.

  • The Divino Afflatu version is named from the Encyclical of St. Pius X, and was the Official version from 1911 to 1960. St. Pius X formulated two main changes:
    • The version uses the ferial psalms for the festive offices except for the 1st and 2nd class feasts, and for a few others which antiphons are used for a feast.
    • Also, psalms are divided into a weekly cycle without significant repetition of the psalms (9 psalms for Matins, 5 each for the major hours, 3 each for the minor hours). The encyclical also shortened significantly the suffragia, and other parts of the office, reducing the time at prayer by about 20%.
    • The Divino Afflatu version uses the permanent calendar from the printed 1943 Pustet edition, Hiemalis volume.

  • The version Reduced 1955 is based on Cum Nostra Hac Aetate decree.

  • The version Rubrics 1960 ordered by the Motu Proprio Rubricarum Instructum 1960 of John XXIII. These changes further shortened the prayer time by an additional 5% and 15% respectively. This version uses the permanent calendar from the 1960 Codex Rubricarum. See details below.

  • The 1960 New Calendar version implements the sanctoral cycle of the 2009 Ordinary Form calendar. It uses the 1960 rubrics, which is now the Extraordinary Form of the office. It is merely an experiment, on the idea that this form should be the living prayer of the Church. See details below.
Laszlo prayed the Divino Afflatu version personally, but the main point of this project was and is to show that the changes published in 1955 and 1960 are not more than the changes which were made in 1911 by Divino Afflatu. In all changes, the reason was to simplify and shorten the Office.

Implemented pre-Tridentine Monastic changes:
  • Matins starts with Domine labia and Psalm 3.
    • First Nocturn is always 6 psalms.
    • First Nocturn has 3 lessons with responsories from Scriptures from November to Low Sunday, with one short lesson in summertime.
    • Second Nocturn is always 6 psalms.
    • Except for Sundays and Feasts (Duplex majus, 2nd class, 1st class), the second nocturn has a scriptural capitulum with responsory only, and there is no third nocturn.
    • For Sundays and Feasts (for lack of resources, only 3 * 3 instead of 3 * 4 lessons) there are three nocturns. The third nocturn has Old Testament canticles under one antiphon.
    • There is also a responsory after the last lesson, followed by the Te Deum, the reading of the full passage of Gospel, and the short hymn "Te decet".
  • Lauds starts with Psalm 66.
    • Lauds has 3 psalms, a canticle and psalms 148-149-150 as one unit. Responsory is added to Capitulum.
  • Prime has 4 or 3 psalms (parts). Preces, reading of the Regula and Commemoration of the Dead (which was not part of Prime) is added to the office.
  • Minor Hours have a psalm scheme only for Sunday, Monday and the rest of days. Capitulum is followed only by Verse.
  • Vespers has 4 psalms, Responsory is added to Capitulum.
  • Compline has always the same psalms without antiphons; also without Nunc dimittis.
Implemented Tridentine (pre-Divino Afflatu) changes:
  • Festive Offices for both the Tridentine, and the Divino Afflatu versions are similar, except that in the Tridentine version, Feasts of semiduplex rank and above use the Festive psalms, which is three nocturns each of three psalms for Matins, with a slightly different set for holy men and holy women, with the Sunday psalms from the Psalter for the rest of the hours.
  • Simplex Offices from the proper of the Saints have only one nocturn in the Tridentine version, with the psalms of the Feria.
  • In ferial offices:
    • Sunday Matins contains 18 psalms, weekdays contain 12 psalms with antiphons according to the day of week.
    • Lauds and Vespers have their set of psalms and antiphones according to the day of week;
    • The Laudes II psalms were introduced with the Divino Afflatu version for the seasons of Advent and Lent. In the Tridentine version, each Ferial Office Lauds began with Psalm 50 (Miserere), and only the 2nd and 4th (canticle) change throughout the week.
    • The Little Hours have the same psalm set over the week, but the antiphons change according to the day of week.
      Prime has 4 psalms, except on Saturdays which contained only 3 psalms. For the other days, psalms in positions 1, 3, & 4 are the same for all days of the week, while the 2nd is different.
    • For Preces Feriales, Psalm 129 is added at Lauds, and Psalm 50 is added at Vespers.
    • The Suffragium is expanded with the Commemoratio de Cruce (in the ferial days, this is first), and Commemorations to the Blessed Virgin, to St. Joseph, St. Peter and Paul, de Pace.
Implemented 1955 only changes:
  • First Vespers only for Sundays, 1st and 2nd class feasts.
  • Simplex feasts are commemorated in Lauds and Vespers only, no reading in Matins.
  • Former semiduplex feasts are considered as simplex, with the commemorating lesson in Matins.
  • As the 1955-1960 liturgical books retained intact the Divino Afflatu calendar (including ranking of semiduplex, octaves, etc.), this site does as well, but also for technical reasons.
Implemented 1956-1960 changes:
  • The Pater noster and Ave Maria at the beginning and end of the hours, (also Credo for beginning of Matins and Prime, and end of Compline) is omitted.
  • Preces feriales only in Ember Days (except Pentecost octave) and Wednesdays, Fridays of Advent and Lent.
  • Suffragia and Preces Dominicales are deleted.
  • Athanasium Creed (Quicumque) is prayed only on Trinity Sunday.
  • Marian Antiphons at the end of Lauds are deleted.
  • Vigils only for: Nativity, Pentecost, Ascension, St. John the Baptist, Sts. Peter & Paul, St. Lawrence, Assumption.
  • Octaves only for: Christmas, Easter and Pentecost. (The sanctoral cycle octaves remain on the site's 1955 calendar for technical reasons.)
Implemented 1960 only changes:
  • Antiphons are always doubled.
  • Doxologies for hymns are never changed.
  • Lectio brevis in Prime does not change for saints' feasts, but rather, only for the liturgical season.
  • Psalm 50 in Paschal Triduum prayers is deleted.
  • Ranking of feasts are only 1st to 4th class.
    • 4th class: commemoration only;
    • 3rd class (former semiduplex, duplex and some duplex majus): only 3 lections of Matins;
    • 2nd class (with some former duplex majus): Matins contains normally 9 lections, but for the other hours, antiphons and psalms are typically taken from the weekday;
    • 1st class: unchanged.
  • First week of month (from August to November) always starts in the month, instead of the closest Sunday to the Kalends.
  • Some additional calendar changes are implemented.
1960 New Calendar version changes:
  • Implementing new saints from the 2009 Ordinary Form calendar. Some offices are relocated to different dates. Offices not found in the Extraordinary Form are created from the Common of Saints.
  • Memorial offices are implemented as 3rd class offices according to the 1960 rubrics (1, 2-3 readings from the season, 3rd reading from the saint). Feasts are implemented as 2nd class (semifestive offices), solemnities as 1st class (festive) offices.
  • In Lent, all memorial offices are trumped by the ferial office, in accordance to the 1960 rubrics (there is only a Gospel homily and no Scriptural reading for the season).
  • If two saints are assigned for the same day, the first in the calendar is chosen.
  • Commemoration of a saint would be implemented only for a local Feast or Solemnity during the "O antiphon" (December 17-24) days in Advent.
  • Seasonal feast days moved to Sundays (Ascension etc.) cannot be handled, as there would be no Office left for the feria. Feasts days of saints can, however, be moved through the transfer table (Latin/Psalterium/Trnewcal.txt, Latin/Psalterium/Trnewcalyyyy.txt)
  • Ember days, Rogation days, and the Octave of Pentecost are dropped following the previous trend since 1955; however, the lessons are Gospel homilies for those days.
  • The traditional schema of Sundays (Septuagesima time, 6 Sundays after Epiphany and 24 Sundays after Pentecost) is not changed because any change of this would require to create a new Scriptural reading schema.

Click here for recitation times of the different versions.

laszlo kiss (+2011)

The Divinum Officium Project
canon DOT missae AT gmail DOT com


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