QUAERITUR: antiphons during midday hours in new office

From a seminarian:

I have a small but irksome question about the Divine Office.  In the "new" Breviary, during this time in Advent there is but one antiphon, but three Psalms for the recitation of one of the Midday hours.  Judging from the practice in the 1961 Breviary (or any other solid criteria), could you tell me whether the antiphon is to be repeated (once or more) in between each Psalm or whether it should be said only before (and after) the whole group of Psalms?  Finally, ought the Gloria Patri be said both between different Psalms (in the above case) and between Psalms that have been broken up (as often happens in the Office of Readings or sometimes in the other Hours)?

Thank you for your response and expertise.  With the promise of my prayers,

Thanks for the promise of prayers.  I need them and earnestly request them.

I think I’ll let you kind readers instruct the young fellow! 

What do you want to bet we’ll get different answers? 


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  1. Thom says:

    The “Gloria Patri” should definitely be recited after each psalm. The antiphon could be debated, but I, personally, would repeat it, if I said the daytime hours. However, my suggestion is not based on a prior breviary, but simply my personal practice.

  2. Tyler says:

    Just like Thom, my personal practice is just before the psalms, then at the end of the psalms. I have no reason why, it just seemed like what should be done, I suppose because in between psalms there would be a double recitation of the antiphon

  3. Geo F. says:

    I, being a layman and not bound to recite the office, started the saying the Liturgy of the Hours with compline (I and my brothers, who recite compline with me over the telephone have a “Hybrid” using prayers from both the old and new) and after a year of just compline are starting to recite Morning Prayer on Sunday Morning to learn that hour of the office.

    Here is a great resource for the “old” office:

  4. TerryN says:

    The antiphon is recited at the beiginning and then only repeated after the set of 3 psalms. The Gloria Patri is recited after each psalm.

  5. From the classic Hausmann, Learning the New Breviary (1961), regarding the structure of the hours of Terce, Sext, and None:

    The body is composed of 1) An antiphon, followed by three psalms, each concluded with Gloria Patri, after which the antiphon is repeated. 2) …..

    Similarly, the instruction in the (Benedictine) Monastic Diurnal:

    After the recitation of the Hymn, the entire assigned Antiphon is said. Three Psalms are then recited as the occurring Office requires. Upon the completion of the Psalms the Antiphon is repeated, and then is said the Chapter, the Versicle, as the rest as indicated below. This procedure is to be followed always at Terce, Sext, and None.

    As always has been, is now, and ever will be.

  6. Mark says:

    I agree with TerryN. In the 1961, as I understand it, it daily occurs that, at the little hours, all three psalms are said under a single antiphon which is not repeated until the end of all three. The Gloria Patri is said after each Psalm, or part of a Psalm. That is how I would do it (and have in the past) in the Ordinary Form as well. I do, however, recall that in the GILH (at the beginnig of the Advent volume) there is some room for variation. As I recall, it is technically permitted to recite a broken up palm all together with the Gloria Patri only at the end. I am not sure. It sounds odd, but that is what I remember.

  7. Mark M says:

    The Antiphon is only said prior to the first Psalm and after the third Psalm. The old Breviary makes this clear.

  8. Geoffrey says:

    Let’s go straight to the source. These are some excerpts from the “General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours”:

    113. Even when the liturgy of the hours is recited, not sung, each psalm retains its own antiphon, which is also to be said in private recitation.

    115. When a psalm may be divided because of its length into several sections within one and the same hour, an antiphon is given for each section. This is to provide variety, especially when the hour is sung, and also to help toward a better understanding of the riches of the psalm. Still, it is permissible to say or sing the complete psalm without interruption, using only the first antiphon.

    When I recited Daytime Prayer during Advent, I just say the antiphon before the three psalms, saying the Glory to the Father after each psalm, and then repeat the antiphon after the third psalm. When an antiphon is given for each psalm, I use them appropriately.

    No mention seems to be made in the GILH regarding one antiphon in Advent versus three antiphons in Ordinary Time.

  9. Dave says:

    In vols. I and II of the Liturgy of the Hours only one antiphon is given for the each of the daytime hours in the Proper of Time. However in vols. III and IV for Ordinary Time there are three antiphons given in the Psalter. In the General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours, paragraphs 74ff, and 110ff, it mentions the areas relevant to your question. Unfortunately, as I am sure you have already discovered, these rubrics do not provide a solution to your question.

    If you wanted to have three antiphons and only say one Daytime Prayer you could use the three antiphons given for the three hours and use them all for your one Daytime Prayer, then choose the appropriate reading and response for the time of day. But that may be a bit licentious.

    My tendancy would be to say the three Psalms under one antiphon, since that is all that is given. Additionally, in the Ordinary Time volumes (III-IV) there are antiphons in the complementary psalmody, whereas there are none in the Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter volumes (I-II).

    In the Breviarium Romanum, the three Psalms at the minor hours are said together with the one antiphon before the fist psalm and repeated after the last psalm. It would seem the practice from the old Breviary for the minor hours was carried over into the Liturgy of the Hours for the seasons outside Ordinary Time.

    Echoing the previous comment, the Gloria Patri is always said at the end of every Psalm including each part of ones which have been separated, except where noted otherwise (such as at the end of the Canticle or second Psalm at Sunday Morning Prayer, weeks I and III).

    I hope this helps! I also am a seminarian. I was in a traditionalist seminary for several years and have been in the Novus Ordo now for a couple years.


  10. Dave says:

    With regard to Mark’s post. In the General Instruction, no. 124, in the third paragraph, it does permit the joining of a psalm that has been split. This corrects what I wrote above.

  11. Regarding whether the antiphons for Advent are said before and after each psalm, the rubric on page 13 of Volume I of UK/Ireland translation of the breviary says as follows:

    Note that such proper antiphons replace those given with the psalms in the Psalter for these Hours, and are said only before the first and after the last psalm of each hour.

    One presumes that the American version of the breviary has the same rubric somewhere.

  12. Bill White says:

    Fr Bernard A. Hausmann 1961 book Learning the New Breviary is available as a pdf file at http://www.churchlatin.com/Downloads.aspx

    Cheers –


  13. Livin' next to an OSB says:

    In the logic of the old breviary the minor hours had one antiphon that was recited (or sung) before the first psalm and repeated after the third psalm, but not repeated between psalms. Each psalm had its own gloria patria… At least the breviary used in Norcia, which is my only experience with the more ancient office, the minor hours did not vary much from day to day. All this reflects the history of the Roman breviary. The minor hours had one antiphon to emphasis that they were in fact minor in relationship to the major hours. They were based on a division of three which connected it to the office of Matins, reflecting that these offices come from the monastic tradition (while the major hours were based on a division of five, reflecting that these offices come from the cathedral tradition). The standard order of psalms of the minor hours (which is oddly enough preserved as the “complementary psalms” in the less ancient breviary [a whooping 33 years])comes from the old monastic/hermit tradition of continually praying all 150 psalms each day. So one antiphon repeated beginning and end, seems a more clear continuation of the ancient liturgy.

  14. Michael of Ware says:

    Your question relates to the Liturgy of the Hours, in which case any discussion of the Breviarium Romanum of 1961, or any other time, is irrelevant.
    The rubrics of the LOH are quite clear.
    Whenever the antiphons of the little hours are proper (whether ferial or sanctoral), the antiphon is recited before the first psalm (or portion thereof) and after the third.
    In the LOH the Gloria Patri is recited after every Psalm (or portion thereof)and is never omitted, even in Passiontide through Holy Week.
    God Bless.

  15. GJP says:

    I think I have the same LOTH as the one in question (the 1975 ICEL translation). I have had to more or less figure out things on my own, as there is no “crash course” in how to follow a breviary. This includes things like figuring out where to put the ribbons, etc.

    The daytime hours (midmorning, midday, and midafternoon…or terce, sext, and none if you prefer) are presented in such a way that the 3 psalms given in the psalter could be used for any of the daytime hours. However, there is only one antiphon given for each hour, each day. Also, there is a complimentary psalmody given immediately following the four week psalter, with 3 psalms for each of the 3 daytime hours.

    Here is how I make it work. For midmorning, I use the antiphon given with the first daytime psalm, and then I use 2 of the 3 midmorning psalms from the complimentary psalmody. Then, for midday, I use the antiphon given with the second daytime psalm, and follow that again, with 2 of the 3 midday psalms from the complimentary psalmody. Midafternoon works the same way, using the 3rd daytime psalm from the psalter with 2 from the complimentary psalmody. For variety’s sake, I change up the psalms I use in the complimentary psalmody, so I am not using the same ones every day.

    So for example, today:

    Antiphon: This is the good news…
    Psalm 119 (XIII)
    Psalm 120
    Psalm 121

    Antiphon: The angel Gabriel said…
    Psalm 74 (I)
    Psalm 123
    Psalm 124

    Antiphon: Mary said: my soul…
    Psalm 74 (II)
    Psalm 126
    Psalm 127

    And tomorrow (which is of course, the 17th):
    Antiphon: This is the good news…
    Psalm 119 (XIV)
    Psalm 121
    Psalm 122

    Antiphon: The angel Gabriel said…
    Psalm 70
    Psalm 124
    Psalm 125

    Antiphon: Mary said: my soul
    Psalm 75
    Psalm 127
    Psalm 128

    (And then on Dec. 18, I would use Psalms 122 & 120 for midmorning, 125 & 123 for midday, and 128 & 126 for midafternoon.)

    Ironically, the antiphons used for Tuesday of the 3rd Week of Advent are the same ones used for December 17 in the Proper of Seasons. One of the quirks of the LOTH, I suppose.

  16. On a historical note, in the Interim Breviary published in the UK in 1971 all Minor Hours had the psalms recited under one antiphon said only at the begining and end of the hour, as was the case in the 1961 Office.

    It seems that the decision to give every psalm it’s own antiphon at Terce, Sext, None and Compline in the 1974 Breviary came fairly late in the day, and (thankfully) when the seasonal variations occur the psalms are under one antiphon as in the traditional form. Personally I’d rather they had kept just one antiphon for all Minor Hours.

  17. Penitent says:

    GJP – try Universalis.com if you want to read along. It is out of the UK and a little different from the US LotH. If you really want to learn it, sit in with a Third (lay) order (Carmelites, Dominicans, Franciscans, etc), they will be happy to teach you and active in most areas.

    Elizabeth, ToC

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