Office, Divine

views updated May 23 2018

Office, Divine (Lat., Officium Divinum). The daily prayers prescribed in liturgical churches in Christianity.

In the W., the arrangement of the monastic office goes back to St Benedict, who named it the ‘work of God’ (opus Dei): in his Rule the offices comprise the ‘day hours’ (lauds, prime, terce, sext, none, vespers, and compline) and the ‘night office’ (mattins); the whole Psalter was recited each week. In the Middle Ages this office became obligatory for secular clergy as well.

In the E., there is a similar sequence of hours to that of the W., of which the most familiar is Orthros (lauds). The whole office is of great length, and is abbreviated by all except monks in choir.

Divine Office

views updated May 23 2018

Divine Office. The Canonical Hours of the RC Church (Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline: these are daily said by all the clergy and in cath. and monastic churches are daily said or sung). Also Matins and Evensong in the Church of England.