Thursday, 1 June 2017

The Divine Office and Gregorian Chant

1) The Divine Office :

All over the world, Benedictine Monks and Trappist Monks rise from their sleep in the middle of the night or towards early morning to chant the Divine Office.

They have been doing this for 900 years or more. The Divine Office is the singing of Psalms by Monks on a daily basis.

The First Office to be sung is known as Vigils. During Vigils, a set of Psalms are chanted by Monks for 30 minutes or so followed by a break which involves listening to some anecdotes written by a Monk during the early years of the Church.

After this another set of Psalms is chanted by the Monks. Vigils chanted on a early Sunday Morning is my favourite office as it involves the singing of the Resurrection Office which is so beautiful which no words can express.

After 2-3 Hours, the next Divine Office chanted is known as Lauds or Matins followed by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Lauds is a Beautiful Divine Office as it is chanted when things are bright in the morning and the Sun's Rays seem to be everywhere.

The next 2 Divine Offices to be chanted by Monks are known as Prime and Terce respectively.

Prime is chanted before Lunch while Terce is chanted after Lunch.

In the evening, when Monks get together after a Hard Day's Work -- Vespers are chanted in the Abbey Church followed by a light supper.

The Final Office of the Day that is chanted is known as Compline. This Divine Office is chanted when everything is silent in and around the Monastery in the night before the Monks retire for the night. It ends with the Hail Holy Queen which is chanted by the Monks in Latin.

2) Gregorian Chant :

Gregorian Chant is the Unique Singing of Hymns and Masses by Benedictine Monks. In Gregorian Chant, Monks sing with one voice without the help of musical instruments.

This has been going on for 500 years or more in Benedictine Abbeys in Europe.

The Benedictine Monastery of the Abbey of Solesmes in France has specialised in the singing of Masses and Hymns in Latin.

My favourite Masses sung by them are -- Mass for the Feast of Christ the King, Mass in Honour of the Immaculate Conception, and Mass for the Annunciation.

The Benedictine Monastery of the Abbey of Saint Michael of Montserrate specializes in the singing of Good Friday Vespers.

Gregorian Chant Music during Holy Week is their speciality.


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