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The Divine Office comprises only the recitation of certain prayers in the Breviaryand does not include the Mass and other liturgical ceremonies. The Greeks employ "synaxis" and "canon" in this sense.
The expression "officium divinum" is used in the same sense by the Council of Aix-la-Chapellethe IV Lateranand Vienne ; but it is also used to signify any office of the Church.
The usage in France of the expression "saint-office" as synonymous with "office divin" is not correct. We deal here only with the general questions that have not been dwelt on in those articles.
Primitive form of the office The custom of reciting prayers at certain hours of the day or night goes back to the Jewsfrom whom Christians have borrowed it.
In the Psalms we find expressions like: The Apostles observed the Jewish custom of praying at midnight, terce, sext, none Acts The Christian prayer of that time consisted of almost the same elements as the Jewish: At present the elements composing the Divine Office seem more numerous, but they are derived, by gradual changes, from the primitive elements.
As appears from the texts of Acts cited above, the first Christians preserved the custom of going to the Temple at the hour of prayer. But they had also their reunions or synaxes in private houses for the celebration of the Eucharist and for sermons and exhortations. But the Eucharistic synaxis soon entailed other prayers ; the custom of going to the Temple disappeared; and the abuses of the Judaizing party forced the Christians to separate more distinctly from the Jews and their practices and worship.
Thenceforth the Christian liturgy rarely borrowed from Judaism. Development The development of the Divine Office was probably in the following manner: The celebration of the Eucharist was preceded by the recital of the psalms and the reading of the Old and New Testaments.
This was called the Mass of the Catechumens, which has been preserved almost in its original form. Probably this part of the Mass was the first form of the Divine Office, and, in the beginning, the vigils and the Eucharistic Synaxis were one.
When the Eucharistic service was not celebrated, the prayer was limited to the recital or chanting of the psalms and the reading of the Scriptures. The vigils thus separated from the Mass became an independent office.
During the first period the only office celebrated in public was the Eucharistic Synaxis with vigils preceding it, but forming with it one whole.
In this hypothesis the Mass of the Catechumens would be the original kernel of the whole Divine Office. The Eucharistic Synaxis beginning at eventide did not terminate till dawn. The vigils, independently of the Eucharistic service, were divided naturally into three parts; the beginning of the vigils, or the evening Office; the vigils properly so called; and the end of the vigils or the matutinal Office.
For when the vigils were as yet the only Office and were celebrated but rarely, they were continued during the greater part of the night. Thus the Office which we have called the Office of evening or Vespersthat of midnight, and that of the morning, called Matins first and then Laudswere originally but one Office.SilverEssay writing company was established in San Francisco, CA, USA in In 2 years we managed to attract thousands of customers due to our revolutionary approach to writing services.
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