The Breviary Online
The Breviary is the book that contains the texts of
the Divine Office, the highest form of prayer of the Church after the Mass
itself. It is usually published as a four-volume set, each of which
covers one of the four seasons of the year. Each volume contains the
various parts of the Divine Office, entirely in Latin, and divided up
according to its content. In order to recite the Divine Office
from these volumes, it was necessary to go through a long period of training, usually
accomplished by a young priest during his seminary formation. Extensive
knowledge was required of a very complex set of "rubrics" or instructions,
which were also published in Latin. The average lay
person had always been excluded from this highest form of prayer, not
deliberately, but simply because of his lack of knowledge of Latin and of
This is the 21st century, and all that has now
changed. In 2001, the nascent Guild of St. Peter ad Vincula first published the Breviary online in Latin and
English and according to the usual Breviary format, divided up into its many
component parts. The new website was immediately successful, as the
laity was introduced to the riches of the Divine Office, and was able to
enjoy the many fruits that came from a devout and attentive reading.
Extensive instructions were added to show readers how to find their way
around the Breviary, and thus for the first time in the Church's history,
the average layman was able to access the many benefits of
the Divine Office.
And yet, something was missing. Despite our
efforts to provide comprehensive online instructions, it was still a time-consuming and frustrating
process to find one's way among the many separate elements of the Divine Office. And so in 2009
we started providing the Breviary online in a new easy-to-read format.
Now, it was finally possible to read the daily Divine Office from beginning
to end, with each of the Hours of the Office available on a single page.
This opened up the Breviary to entire populations of faithful, who no longer
needed any knowledge whatsoever of the rubrics, but could simply open
up the relevant webpage and read it from start to finish.
Over the years, we have embellished the Breviary Online by providing
thousands of images illustrating the texts and readings and lives of the
saints. Also included are hundreds of professionally recorded musical renditions of many of the
components of the
Divine Office, some in Latin and some in English. All these additions have
raised the Breviary Online to an aesthetic level unsurpassed in the history of the
Church, and one which cannot fail to uplift the soul and inspire the
reader's thoughts, words and deeds.
The Guild of St Peter ad Vincula looks forward to
providing you, our readers, with an enriching and inspirational supplement
to your prayer life. The chief aim of the Guild's prayers is the
restoration of the true faith and worship to the Church, and we hope that
you will join with us in praying the traditional Divine Office, that more
and more people may see its value and work for its return.
This website seeks to provide you with all the
information you need to get started.