The Structure of the Daily Office, Part V: Office Hymns

Tom writes this and more.

“Building upon the recatholicization of the Prayer Book Office commenced by the Oxford Movement and the ritualists, and consummating the integration of the Anglican Office into the Roman Rite, the Divine Worship use of the Daily Office provides for proper hymnody as well”

Tom's Digest

See also the first, second, third and fourth parts of this series.

Hymns in the Western Office: A Brief Overview

002522D1V1.jpgThe characteristic feature of the Divine Office, especially in the West, is that the bulk of its material is drawn directly from Scripture: the Psalms that form the core of it, along with various readings, canticles, “little chapters,” antiphons, responsories, and other elements are more often than not direct quotations or very close paraphrases from the Old and New Testaments.

One of the few elements that are exclusively ecclesial compositions are metrical hymns, meant to further flesh out the flavor and theme of each hour.

They were a relatively late addition to the order of the divine office, especially the secular office of the Roman Church, long noted for its liturgical ultra-conservatism. Pierre Batiffol, in his magisterial 1898 History of the Roman Breviary, notes that while hymns…

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