quod pro nobis traditum est

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Here is a brief historical sketch of Vespers: What is Vespers?


Past Elder said...

I think it's important to understand that the Divine Office did not just start with the early Church, but represents, as the Divine Service itself does, the Christian fulfillment of the services of the Old Testament.

There were no set times for services until the Second Temple, when Ezra and the 120 Men established them in essentially the form they are still used in the synagogue, and with adaptations in the church.

There is morning, afternoon and evening prayer. These were not new, but simply codified by Ezra, put in correspondence with the three times of sacrifice in Temple, morning (shaharit), afternoon (minha) and evening (arvit or maariv) and trace themselves in Jewish tradition to the times of prayer Scripture records for each of the three great Patriarchs: Abraham in the morning (Gen19:27), Issac at dusk (Gen24:63) and Jacob in the evening (Gen28:10).

So in the pattern we know as Matins, Vespers and Compline, the three major times in the Office, we have the Christian fulfillment of something going back through the history of the Church the new Israel to Israel of Jesus and back through the Second Temple still standing in his day and on to their origin in the prayer times of the Patriarchs recorded in Scripture.

Fr. Timothy D. May, S.S.P. said...

Thank you for providing Old Testament roots and history of the Divine Office. In the section of Reed that I referenced he does not address that history. It is certainly alluded to at the end of the brief summary with the added reference to Psalm 1.