The Origins of the Western Office

James W. Mckinnon

in The Divine Office in the Latin Middle Ages

Published in print August 2000 | ISBN: 9780195124538
Published online May 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780199868421 | DOI:
The Origins of the Western Office

Show Summary Details


This chapter traces the change from private to public prayer hours from the emancipation of the Church under Constantine in 312; the Eastern monastic and cathedral Offices are surveyed and contrasted with the Western Office. Fundamental to the early monastic Office was the primary device adopted by the Egyptian monks of chanting the psalms continuously, in numerical order for extended periods of time. The psalmody of urban monasticism had a profound, indeed overwhelming, influence on the cathedral Office — it transformed the morning and evening Offices, and it filled the intervening hours of the day with additional Offices. The monastic concern with the precise apportionment of the Psalter is a peculiar phase of the broad liturgical movement towards fixity.

Keywords: monasteries; public prayer; monastic Office; cathedral Office; psalmody; Egeria; Jerusalem; Western Office

Chapter.  5828 words. 

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.