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The Midnight Office of the Byzantine Rite

Discussion in 'One Bread, One Body - Catholic' started by Michie, Dec 2, 2020.

  1. Michie

    Michie Human rights begin in the womb. Supporter

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    Two weeks ago, I wrote about the Byzantine custom of the Inter-Hours, the second Prime, Terce, Sext and None said after the main ones in certain fasting seasons, including the Nativity fast, which began last Sunday on the Gregorian calendar. As a follow-up, I thought I would write about another feature of the Byzantine Office that has no real parallel in the Western liturgies, the service known as the Midnight Office.
    Unlike the Inter-Hours, which emerged relatively late in the history of the rite, and whose presence in the liturgical books is now something of an archaism, the Midnight Office is very ancient indeed, and still said in monasteries. It is attested in the 4th century in the Longer Rule of St Basil the Great (330-79) [1], and included in the regular cursus of Offices in the first complete euchologion [2], a manuscript in the Vatican library known as Barberini Greek ms. 336. I say that it has no parallel in the western Offices because although it is a vigiliary service, it has no readings like those of the western Matins. Even though the Byzantine liturgical day always begins with Vespers, many modern editions of the Horologion, the book that contains the basic structure of the Office and some of the more frequently used variable texts, begin with the Midnight Office, which is celebrated in four different forms.

    Continued below.
    New Liturgical Movement: The Midnight Office of the Byzantine Rite
     
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