QUAERITUR: which Marian antiphon after Compline?

From a reader:

Compline ends with a Marian antiphon, as you know.  For the Advent and Christmas seasons, the proper antiphon is the "Alma Redemptoris Mater."  After that, you pick up the "Ave Regina Caelorum" through Lent.  This is true in both the ordinary and extraordinary forms of the office.

Here’s the problem–in the older calendar, Christmas season ends on February 2nd (Candlemas).  In the new calendar, it ends on the Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord.  The latter always comes before the former, usually in mid-January.

What Marian antiphon should be used by someone praying the ordinary form of the office for the period between the Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord and Candlemas?

If it’s the "Alma…" that would seem to contradict the new end of Christmas season.  If it’s the "Ave…" that would seem to be a rupture with tradition.  Which one wins?


The rubric at the end of Compline says:

Deinde dicitur una ex antiphonis Beatae Mariae Virginae … Thereafter there is said one of the antiphons of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

You can freely choose which one you would care to say at the end of the newer form of the office.  In that case you can freely choose to stick to the antiphon traditionally sung according to the older form of the office.

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  1. Father, a piggyback question on this one. When I pray Compline, I frequently will conclude with an Augustinian Marian antiphon in honor of Mary under the title of Mother of Good Counsel, as opposed to one of those included in the Breviary. Is this licit?

  2. Watching and waiting says:

    Also related – what is sung, if Compline is prayed, on the Thursday and Friday nights of the Easter Triduum. Or should Compline be prayed at all on these nights? I have never quite managed to figure it out from the ‘Morning and Evening prayer’ instructions.

  3. Mark M says:

    Watching and Waiting:

    During the Triduum, certainly in the Extraordinary Form, Compline (like other Hours) is ‘bare’, that is, without opening/closing versicles, Antiphons and many other things. That would make me tend to miss out the Antiphon.

    (On the other hand, the Indulgence formerly given to the Sacrosanctæ is now attached to the Marian Antiphon…)

  4. Mike says:

    I have always been taught that in the OF Office one sings the Alma Redemptoris Mater all the way up through Compline on the Feast of the Presentation, after which the Salve Regina is sung until Vespers on Ash Wednesday.

  5. Mike says:

    A correction to my former post: the Ave Regina Caelorum would be said after the Feast of the Presentation and throughout Lent (not at the start of Lent as I said before).

  6. carl says:

    (I’ll presume to answer these myself, being corrected as needed)

    Michael: I suspect this is licit. GILH 92 says, “Finally, one of the antiphons in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary is said. In the Easter season this will be the Regina caeli. In addition to the antiphons given in the Liturgy of the Hours others may be approved by the conference of bishops.” Sounds like another of the anything-goes cases, except in Easter.

    Watching and waiting: Compline is said on these nights. Looking at GILH 208-216, the only days on which Night Prayer are Holy Saturday (if you were at the Vigil Mass) and Christmas Eve (if you were at the vigil Office of Readings). I’ve been using the Ave Regina Caelorum, counting those days as still part of Lent. On Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, the only thing you don’t say is Evening Prayer (if you weren’t at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper or the celebration of the Lord’s passion).

  7. carl says:

    on which Night Prayer is not said*

  8. Mike says:

    Another antiphon that I sometimes use throughout the year is the Sub Tuum. A local Benedictine monastery uses this antiphon during the weekdays of Ordinary Time (Salve Regina on Sundays), and I have adopted this custom in my private recitation of the Office.

  9. John R says:

    A small note of clarification for when the Christmas Season proper ends:

    In BOTH the OF and EF, the Baptism of Our Lord, traditionally January 13 marks the end of the actual liturgical season of Christmas, more specifically the end of the Epiphany Season. The time between January 14 and February 2 is in both cases “Per Annum” – i.e. Green is the liturgical color and all liturgical formulae are essentially the same as that of the Season after Pentecost. It is true that the 20 days between January 13 and February 2 constitute a type of “unofficial” continuation of the Christmas theme and this is evident by certain readings assigned and by the continuation of the “Alma, Redemptoris Mater” antiphon.


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