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In litugical language Breviary has a special meaning, indicating a book furnishing the regulations for the celebration of Mass or the canonical Office, and may be met with under the titles Breviarium Ecclesiastici Ordinis , or Breviarium Ecclesiæ Rominsæ (Romanæ). In an ancient inventory occurs Breviarium Antiphonarii , meaning "Extracts from the Antiphonary ". 1100 obtained a book entitled "Incipit Breviarium sive Ordo Officiorum per totam anni decursionem" From such references, and from others of a like nature, Quesnel gathers that by the word Breviarium was at first designated a book furnishing the rubrics, a sort of Ordo.
Breviarium fidei, Breviarium in psalmos, Breviarium canonum, Breviarium regularum.
(a) The Psalter The Psalter is the most ancient and the most venerable portion of the Breviary.
It consists of 150 psalms, divided in a particular way, to be described later.
It is constructed of the following elements: (a) the Psalter ; (b) the Proper of the Season; (c) Proper of the Saints; (d) the Common; (e) certain special Offices.
This subject may be divided, for convenience of treatment, as follows: I. Prudentius of Troyes, about the same period, composed a Breviarium Psalterii (v. Again, in the inventories in the catalogues, such notes as these may be met with: "Sunt et duo cursinarii et tres benedictionales Libri; ex his unus habet obsequium mortuorum et unus Breviarius", or, "Præter Breviarium quoddam quod usque ad festivitatem S. The name has been extended to books which contain in one volume, or at least in one work, liturgical books of different kinds, such as the Psalter, the Antiphonary, the Responsoriary, the Lectionary, etc.
In the ninth century Alcuin uses the word to designate an office abridged or simplified for the use of the laity. In the "Vita Aldrici" occurs "sicut in plenariis et breviariis Ecclesiæ ejusdem continentur". The title Breviary , as we employ it -- that is, a book containing the entire canonical office -- appears to date from the eleventh century. Gregory VII having, indeed, abridged the order of prayers, and having simplified the Liturgy as performed at the Roman Court, this abridgment received the name of Breviary , which was suitable, since, according to the etymology of the word, it was an abridgment.
But the choice was left in the hands of the bishop or president of the choir.
Later, probably from the fourth century, certain psalms began to be grouped together, to respond to the divers requirements of the Liturgy.
Another cause led to these groupings and arrangements of the Psalter.