Year B Gospel Canticle Antiphons for the Daily Office

I had a post in the works that got into discussions of the Anglican Missal and Breviary* and such that got long and windy and such so I’ll just keep this brief and cut to the chase…

Of course, I like the Anglican Missal and Breviary but there’s one obvious problem with using them as direct supplements to the ’79 BCP: our current use is grounded in a three-year Eucharistic lectionary. These venerable resources are grounded in a one-year lectionary.

One of the key elements of continuity between the Mass and Office in Western liturgy was the use of bits and pieces of the Gospel and Epistle for the nearby feasts in successive days of the Office and chief among these is the Gospel Canticle Antiphon which was typically taken from the Gospel lection. I have two different cycles of Gospel Canticle Antiphons in the St. Bede’s Breviary, but this is a post to alert you to another…

Friend-of-the-blog Charlie Heeley has put up a set for use with Year B of the Revised Common lectionary that also includes some appropriate Chapter passages for use with Noon Prayer as well. It’s a compact, six-page (printed front & back) booklet that puts these texts right at your fingers. It’s in a Google Doc that can be found here.

Let me know what you think!

5 thoughts on “Year B Gospel Canticle Antiphons for the Daily Office

  1. Mother Miriam, CSM

    If you are interested in Antiphons on Magnificat for Years ABC of the 1979 BCP, the Community of St. Mary has published plainchant antiphons that can be bought for $30. The Monastic Diurnal Noted Revised is the Daily Office Music for the full year and all offices except Matins.

  2. Tarik

    Like Mother Miriam, my working definition of “antiphon” is a text to be sung, so it is very helpful, if we are going to gather antiphons, to have their melodies provided. Even without spending $30, the collection of antiphons for every Sunday in Ordinary Time, and every day in special seasons, can be had perfectly keyed to the RCL and 1979 BCP in the material put together by Ormonde Plater: (I love the Monastic Diurnal Noted, but I’ve gravitated to printouts from this.)

    My dream is that the Episcopal Church would would want to encourage more people to chant the office and sing these antiphons by laying out such material in a well-designed book — you could add the Daily Office & lectionary from the BCP, and something like Steve Gallagher’s Venitare, and that would be quite the Episcopalian breviary!

  3. George

    Dear Derek, there are three things. First, as you note, the Magnificat antiphon was typically taken from the Gospel lection of the Mass. Generally, you are right, at least for the Roman uses. However, in non-Roman uses, the antiphons are, fortunately, more theological than just a raw piece of scripture. Compare, for instance, the antiphons (or psalms and Magnificat), in the Roman use (raw pièces of scripture) and the Western non-Roman uses. In parish-use books, you have often for evensong a Gospel reading which is different from the one of the Mass. So there is no meaning that the Magnificat be related to what was read a couple of hours earlier at Mass, while just after the Magnificat itself will follow another piece of Gospel which is unrelated thereto. Here in Saint-Servais (where we use the English BCP in French), we sing every Sunday evening after the Pentecost the same antiphons: which are «Crucifixus surrexit de sepulchro» with the Benedictus, and «Crucifixus surrexit a mortuis» with the Magnificat of the second evensong, and «Vespere autem sabbati» with the Magnificat of the first evensong. Not only would such a choice agree with all the lectionaries whatsoever, but this choice stresses the resurrection as the key event of the Sunday.

    This brings me to my second remark. As all the Eastern and Oriental rites, the Western should also stress Christ’s resurrection. The liturgical treasure of the West is huge enough (some antiphons are shared in common with the Byzantine rite, by the way). You want antiphons for Sundays? Welcome the Resurrection.

    Thirdly, the three-year cycle is, in the sight of many people, some anglicans included, an error. Creating new antiphons to accomodate an error may be easier than fighting for a grassroot alternative.

    Have a happy new year!

  4. Derek Olsen Post author

    Mother Miriam–is there a link for ordering copies of the Monastic Diurnal Noted? I have a reprint of the 1932 edition, but not this one…

    Tarik–sadly, “The Episcopal Church” doesn’t have structures in place to do the kind of thing you’re talking about for the Office. We downsized our staff member for liturgy several years ago, and the SCLM doesn’t do this kind of thing. Church Publishing might, but I doubt the margins on it would be attractive for them.

    George–when I use the phrase “Western liturgy” I do typically use it as a shorthand for the liturgical linkages and connections in the materials from Northern Europe/England between the 8th and 10th centuries which are my times and places of specialization. You’re quite right that a lot falls outside of that scope, however, I do find it an essential time for the gelling of what would become the mainstream of the Roman Catholic/Sarum/Anglican materials–and the time and place that Archbishop Cranmer seems to look back to with longing in the preface to the 1549 prayer book. I confess I haven’t done much with Eastern liturgies, partly because I feel that–despite a couple of decades of study–there is so much more to learn about my own tradition that I would like to master before going further afield. The three-year lectionary may be an error but at the present time it is a pretty consistent one across the churches of the West and particularly those here in America. While I too have my beefs with it, it’s what we’re working with for the foreseeable future.

  5. Mother Miriam, CSM

    Well, CSM East is probably the best kept secret in the Anglican Communion, and our website needs a lot of work. We privately published the MDRN and haven’t yet gotten a ISBN code for it so that we can sell it on Amazon. Now the most efficient way to get a copy is to email me the order using the contact form at and then use the donate button in the site to make a payment. I neglected to say that the shipping is not included in the $30 cost of the two volumes so you might want to order and then pay when the package arrives with the postage attached.

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