Breviary Update & A Survey

I’ve been working in fits and starts now for almost a year on new back-end code for the St. Bede’s Breviary. I do believe we’ve turned a corner and are in the final stretch. In fact, I’m hoping to be able to unveil something in time for its patronal feast on May 25th…

In addition to the new code, I’ve been considering some new approaches as well, some suggested readers in the past.

The whole reason I programmed the breviary was because I wanted something that was thoroughly faithful to the prayer book, but also allowed a host of configurations, options, and traditional add-ins. Rite I, Rite II; 8-week psalm cycle, monthly psalm cycle—it could all be accommodated with code manipulation.

I like praying from my Kindle, that’s how I do it every day. However, I know that’s not the standard; many people much prefer to pray from an actual physical book. And, I’ve had any number of people suggest that I do a physical form of the breviary.

The idea of producing a physical form of the breviary is growing on me…

However, that means making choices that I’ve been able to leave up to individuals. What I’m considering is a book where the experience of praying the Office would be just like it is in the computer form: straight text, no clicking, no flipping. The Office in an easy-to-pray format. I would include all the bells and whistles—Marian stuff, hymns, 2 readings at Evening Prayer, etc.—with reminders that people feel free to skip whatever they like.

If I were to do this, it would probably be a book for the year: I.e., “The St. Bede’s Breviary: 2017″ and would contain everything for the four offices for each day of the year.

But there are three things that determine the shape of the Offices in such a way that they cannot be left optional or variable: the language of the Rite (Rite I vs. Rite II), the distribution of the Psalter (8-week vs. monthly), the kalendar (Lesser Feasts & Fasts 2006 [the official Calendar of the Episcopal Church] vs. A Great Cloud of Witnesses [an unofficial supplement available for use] vs. the House Kalendar [my own crazy concoction which is LFF+other stuff])

I simply can’t foresee creating physical formats for all of these choices. That’s simply too much work to do the formatting and editing and all for each of these. So in order to get a general sense of what thoughts are out there, here’s a brief survey on the matter…

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Let me know what you think and we’ll see where it goes from there…

11 thoughts on “Breviary Update & A Survey

  1. Rebecca Deulen

    I loved using my Holy Cross Monastery Monastic Breviary. Sadly the print is now too small for me to read. The capability you built into your mobile version is perfect for me. The options surely meet the needs of various traditions. Should you publish, may it be as great a success.

  2. James C.

    If there seems to be a tie or near tie between Rite I and Rite II language, perhaps it might be beneficial then to put both Rite I and Rite II language?

    Overall, this sounds like a good idea.

    Could it be possible to put it in electronic format to test it out?


  3. Royce, ObJN

    Like many people, I love the feel of a book. But electronic options like the Kindle really add a lot. It’s so great not to have to flip pages (although lately I’ve been using the St. Helena Psalter, so I do have to flip between files!). Another great thing for me is that electronic devices provide their own backlighting, which is less disturbing to spouses or children trying to sleep in the same room.

    I am an Oblate of the Order of Julian of Norwich, though, and there are quite a few of us. There may be some interest in the Order for a book that we purchase annually which used the OJN Kalendar and readings, etc. But honestly, we’d probably want to put the psalter in its own section in the back, so as not to print it twelve times … and then it would make sense just to print the canticles once, at the front … and then then you’re basically where we are now!

  4. Flora Shedd

    I am a Julian Oblate also and having bee a friend of the site for years. I do not pray the Daily Office every day on my iPad, but when I do, St. Bede’s is the one I use.

    Cannot quite picture how a physical book would work with all the individual touches you do now that follow the OJN Ordo. I now use the Contemporary Office Book, of course also the BCP, when I use a physical book.

  5. William P. Young, Jr

    I really prefer your electronic version with all of the “bells and whistles” because it is easy to use. (I switch between St. Bede’s Breviary and Benedictine Daily Prayer where I focus on Lauds and Compline. Having used both, I really prefer a breviary that “keeps its simple” and eliminates the multiple flipping requirements.) If you decide on a printed breviary with all of the “bells and whistles”, are you planning on a two volume breviary, one for Year A and the second for year B? For those of us who travel, the electronic version is great as long as we have internet access which is not available in every instance. (Proposed international security regulations may preclude lap tops and Kindles.) I’d prefer a breviary that is portal without lots of weight and is user friendly. Finally, if you elect a printed breviary ribbons are absolutely necessary.

  6. George

    I use many old books myself, as pre-Vatican I ones (which are automatically “Old-Catholic”); I am working for the Breviary in French, and I hope that this one will be useful to some Christians within 50-60 years, who will discover it and use it.

    This could not be possible with Kindle versions.

    Keep on; your idea is great! You are in the tide of the holy Tradition.

  7. Eric Mellenbruch

    If this project should come to pass, I’d enjoy providing typographic design for it: as a typographer who is also a liturgical musician working in the Episcopal Church, I’d like to see more books like this made, and made well, and I’ve done a good bit of design thinking (aesthetics and structure) about a BCP1979-related Antiphoner/ Noted Breviary that would be relevant to a text-only book as well. Please drop me a line if you’d be interested in talking about such assistance or collaboration. And regardless (realizing that you may well already have a production path clearly in mind), I wish you all the best on this work and any future such endeavors.


    Eric Mellenbruch

  8. Bill MacKaye

    One way to keep size within control might be to issue the printed breviary as a soft-cover booklet like Forward Day by Day of former times. I’m with Eric Mellenbruch ih thinking the esthetic is important. The book/booklet should be beautiful.

  9. Br. Jonathan Wheat, CMJ

    Even though I’m in my late fifties, I’ve fully gone electronic. A book feels clumsy and bulky to me now. Praying the Office is so much simpler on my tablet.
    Thank you for your work!

  10. Corey

    I would really love a print version of the St. Bede Breviary. I enjoy the online version, its a wonderful addition to the Anglican tradition. Everything you need to prayer the office is in one place, I find having switch between multiple books cumbersome. But I value the prayer book offices with various ‘Catholic’ practices restored to the office.

    That being said, I find it difficult, even at my young age, to really warm to a solely electronic medium and a print breviary would be a great blessing indeed!

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