Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Coming Soon: Ancient Roman Office

In the not-so-distant future the Rad Trad will give a very brief, one post overview of the development of the ancient Roman psalter and the Office surrounding it. The ancient psalter survived Pope Nicholas III's imposition of the Franciscan Breviary secundum usum Curiae Romanae, but the rest of the Office was not so lucky. Yet some of the ancient Office continues in the pre-1911 Tenebrae offices, as well as Vespers and Compline of the Triduum, Mattins and Lauds of Pascha and Pentecost, and Mattins of Epiphany. Structural hints also survive in the Officium Defunctorum.
Many readers are aware that St. Pius X re-distributed the psalms in a seemingly unprecedented move with the Apostolic Constitution Divino Afflatu. What some may not know is that the rest of the Office (the translation of the psalms, the antiphons, the use of hymns, the introductory rites etc.) underwent a similar revolution in the high Middle Ages. The more ancient Roman Office had survived in the major basilicas of Rome into the twelfth century. By the early thirteenth Innocent III lamented that the ancient Office and Mass were only used by the Papal Court on feast of St. Peter's Chair in Rome! More on how the transition happened later. Still, at least in some capacity, the ancient Office survives!

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