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Label Latin keywords Short description
Office ordinary Psalterium, ordo, officii, horarum The basic structure of the Divine Office, including the elements of both its daily and weekly cycle.
Office supplements psalmi graduales, paenitentiales, commemoratio*, memoria*, suffrag* Supplementary material to the basic structure of the Divine Office.
Psalter Psalterium, David*, invitatorium, Venite, dominic* An independent genre or a part of the Breviary containing the Book of Psalms (either in its biblical or liturgical order) and all other items to be recited within the weekly cycle of the Divine Office.
blessings before lessons benedictiones, absolutio* Short verses recited by the celebrant over the reader who is about to sing the lessons of Matins and asks for a blessing with the phrase "Iube, domne, benedicere". After receiving the blessing, the congregation answers: "Amen". Before each triple series, a short oration may be found with the title "absolutio".
penitential psalms (septem) psalmi paenitentiales/pentitentiali The seven penitential psalms (Ps 6, 31, 37, 50, 101, 129, 142), also known as the series "Domine, ne in furore", if recited in the context of the Divine Office. They were usually a Lenten supplement to weekday Hours.
commemorations commemoratio*, suffragi*, memori* Prayers that mostly consist of an antiphon, versicle (sometimes omitted) and oration, recited after the final collect of the Office hours. They regularly commemorate either certain devotional intentions or the suppressed feasts of the actual day. Every main hour can be "condensed" into a commemoration with its Gospel-antiphon, versicle and collect.
preces preces, maiores, minores, Kyrie, Ego dixi, Vivet anima mea, In pace in idipsum A series of versicles, beginning with Kyrie and Pater noster and concluding with Domine exaudi, Dominus vobiscum, Oremus and one or more orations. It is usually associated with Lenten weekdays or other penitential, piacular (expiatory), supplicatory rites. A psalm is often included in its last section.
officium capituli martyrologi*, capitul*, regul*, necrologi* Liturgical supplement to the Hour of Prime, usually consisiting of the following: reading of the martyrology, collatio (opening prayers for the daily conference of the community), absolution of the chapter, reading of the Rule (substituted in secular evironments with short lessons), reading of the necrology.
Marian antiphons antiphon*, de beata Virgine, post completorium A special type of commemoration in honour of the Blessed Virgin, sung after the conclusion of the Office Hours or after the entire daily Office had been completed, i.e. the Compline. There were several such items besides the most famous Roman antiphons (Alma Redemptoris Mater, Ave Regina caelorum, Regina caeli, Salve Regina). These had an above-average emotional or lyrical character both in melody and text (often taken or paraphrased from the Canticles of Solomon).
gradual psalms quindecim, grad*, psalmi The fifteen, so-called gradual psalms (119-133), traditionally chanted by Jewish pilgrims while ascending the stairs of the Temple of Jerusalem. In a Christian context, they were recited in three groups for the clergy, the faithful, and the departed. Each group consisted of five psalms, preces, and an oration.
Office Propers ad vesperas, in vesperis, antiphona The variable parts of the Divine Office beyond the weekly cycle of the Psalter and its supplements, i.e. the genres recited by the celebrant (capitulum, oratio), the chants (antiphona, responsorium, hymnus, versiculus), and the lessons (lectio, sermo, evangelium, homelia, vita, legenda). See the analogous definition at Mass Propers.
Genealogy Genealogia, Liber generationis, Initium sancti Evangelii secundum Matthaeum, Factum est autem Solemn reading of the Genealogy of Christ on Christmas Eve (Gospel of Matthew) and on Epiphany (Gospel of Luke) after the ninth responsory at Matins. Their melodies were usually special tones of the Gospel recitation.
Hymnal hymn* A series of hymns for the Divine Office according to the annual cycle but arranged in a separate chapter of the book.
Office of the Dead vigiliae, agenda, mortuorum, defunctorum, animarum A special Proper of the Divine Office for departed souls, also known from its first antiphon as the "Placebo". The Office contained only the first Vespers and Matins (including Lauds), omitting almost all parts that are also absent from the Hours of the Paschal Triduum. It was recited as a regular supplement to the daily Office, besides use on the actual day of burial and All Souls.
Hours of the Virgin horae, parvae, parvum, officium, commemoratio*, histori*, beatae Mariae Virginis, de beata Maria Virgine, de Domina A set of seasonal Offices in honour of the Blessed Virgin, also known as the Little Office since it contained only one nocturn (three psalms) for Matins. It was recited as a regular supplement to the daily Office, however some nuns and especially lay people would often pray it instead of the canonical Hours of the day.
Temporal Offices proprium de tempore, temporale, dominicale, feriale, breviar*, pars, hiemalis, aestivalis, Advent*, Septuagesim*, Pasch* All Office Propers within the liturgical year that are linked either to special seasons of the liturgical year or to specific days of the week. See the definition of Temporal Masses. If interrupted by sections of the Sanctoral, each new beginning of the Temporal is separately indexed.
Sanctoral Offices proprium sanctorum, de sanctis, sanctorale, incipit, sequitur, historia, pars, hiemalis, aestivalis, de sancto, in festo, vigilia sancti Andreae Office Propers within the liturgical calendar which can be linked to specific months and dates of the year, see the definition of Sanctoral Masses.
Commune Offices commune sanctorum, commune apostolorum, vigilia unius apostoli The parts of service books that contain the common part of the Office Propers (see the definition at Commune Masses).
Votive Offices officium, horae, de passione Domini, sanctae Crucis, beati Iacobi, Patris Sapientia Votive Offices were recited ex voto, that is, in fulfillment of a special devotion or intention. Such Offices – not being part of the general calendar and hence different from the one proper for the given day – were optional in principle, even if they were considered obligatory to the petitioners (e.g. a diocese or a religious order) to whom the concession had been made. The Hours of the Virgin and the Office of the Dead are listed separately because in the Middle Ages they were an obligatory appendix to the Canonical Hours. Additional short offices commemorating the passion of Christ or the compassion of Mary (e.g. the series Patris Sapientia) are considered as exceptional cases of votive offices and are listed here.
Dedication Office Dedicatione ecclesiae, templi Office Propers for the dedication of churches and altars or the anniversary of such an event (cf. Dedication Mass).