About the Benedictine Responsory Blog

This blog is a database aimed at assisting those praying the Benedictine Office of Matins as set out in the 1962 Breviarium Monasticum.

It is a work in progress, aimed at creating a database of published sources for the translations and chant sources for the responsories (and other chants) used in the Benedictine Office at Matins according to the 1962-3 breviary.

Sources for the Matins responsories

While there are books and websites that provide the readings and other texts for Matins, it is often difficult to locate sources for both the chants and translations of the responsories.

Chant sources

The Liber Responsorialis of 1895 remains the only published source for the chants keyed to the Benedictine Office, but it typically only includes at most one or two of the twelve responsories for each Sunday of the year, and covers only a limited selection of feasts.

A much more recent key source is the Nocturnale Romanum, but it follows the pattern of Roman feasts and eight responsories for feasts rather than the Benedictine twelve.

Another key resource is the Gregofacsimil website, however its versions of the responsories generally follower the Hartker MSS, meaning that the selection and particularly the verses of many of the responsories do not always line up with post-Trent breviaries.

A number of other books and websites do provide useful sources for the responsories, but they are not organised with a view to their liturgical use, nor are they aligned to the 1962 (or earlier) version of the Benedictine office.

Translations

In addition, none of the official books provide English translations to assist those preparing to say the Office; the best source for these remain the Divinum Officium website, but it is arranged for the Roman Office and therefore has significant gaps.

Accordingly, the blog's aim is to provide:
  • English translations of the responsories for study purposes (note that the Latin remains the text designated for liturgical use); and
  • sources for the chant (and other) settings of them.
Additional information on the responsories that may be of use (such as Scriptural or other sources of the texts, and links to the Cantus database listing of relevant manuscripts) may be added as time permits.

How to find the responsories

The easiest way to find a particular responsory, or the responsories needed for a particular Sunday or feast, is to use the label listing in the right hand column.  

All responsories are listed by (Latin) incipit and occasions on which they are used - the responsories for Sundays in August for example, are listed under August; responsories for the Common of a type of saint under the type of saint (eg Apostles, Confessors, etc).

Unless otherwise indicated, the translations generally come from the Divinm Officium website, which in turn come from the (now out of copyright) Maquis of Bute translation of the Roman Breviary.  Where new translations have been provided these should be treated as drafts for comment.

Sources for the chants

The responsories included are indexed by incipit and when they are used according to the 1962-3 breviary.

The key abbreviations used to refer to published versions of the chants are:

. LR: Liber Responsorialis;
. PM: Processionale Monasticum;
.LH: Liber Hymnarius;
. NR: Nocturnale Romanum;
. Grego: Gregofacsimil website.

The responsories included are indexed by incipit and when they are used according to the 1962-3 breviary.

The key abbreviations used to refer to sources are:

. DO: Divinum Officium (DO) website;
. KE: my own translations/adaptations;
. DR: Douay-Rheims Bible;

Key sources for information on manuscript sources, usage etc are:


Work in progress

The task of including entries are available for all liturgical feasts and seasons is still in progress.

Once this is complete, further work can be done on expanding the entries and providing quick guide to each Sunday and feast.

In the meantime, the blog can be used in conjunction with the Lectio Divina Notes Blog, which provides translations of integrated sets of readings and responsories for each Sunday and feast.

 Please do contact me if you wish to assist in this project.

Contributions

I would be particularly keen to hear from anyone who can assist with translations or identify sources for missing chants.

Texts in need of translations can be found under the label notrans; those responsories for which I have been unable to identify a chant source are under the label nochantfound.

In addition the blog post titles are identified as follows:

*Indicates no chant source identified as yet.
**Indicates no English translation available as yet.