This is the title given to a book containing all the material necessary for performing the Divine Office — prayers, chants, and readings. The readings are usually abbreviated, hence the name. Breviaries first appeared in the 11th century, and contained so much material that they were often divided into summer and winter volumes. For a detailed introduction to the contents of Breviaries see Tolhurst (1942). Breviaries were useful for monks and clerics who were not able to attend the office hours while travelling; under the Rule of Benedict* (chapter 50), they were obliged to recite the offices privately. However, Breviaries seem to have been designed primarily for use within monasteries, as...

If you have a valid subscription to Dictionary of Hymnology, please log in to view this content. If you require a subscription, please click here.

Cite this article