In addition to the Eucharist, the Church offers services (known as The Daily Office) consisting of the singing of Psalms and hymns, the reading of Scripture and prayer. While the monastic office is considered to be the ideal form of daily prayer, it is seldom kept outside of monastic establishments where the community regularly sings all seven day offices as well as the night office. In the 16th century, the English Church simplified the monastic office for use in parish churches and for family and private use. This work was not original, but a condensation of the primary elements of the ancient Office. Western Rite congregations of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese may make use of this structure for Matins and Vespers, while restoring important didactic content from the monastic use (e.g. the office hymns and antiphons).
The Office should be sung as common prayer, with the participants listening to one another, singing together, and no one voice standing out from the rest. The chants are best sung at the tempo and rhythm one would use in speaking the texts corporately; the Officiant and cantors should set the pace. It is customary for the Officiant alone to sing the first phrase of the Canticles, Creed and Lord’s Prayer. According to ancient custom, the Psalms may be sung in unison, responsorially (the cantor beginning and alternating verses with the people), or antiphonally (two groups of participants alternating verses).
The Ordo available from the Western Rite Vicariate provides the official daily calendar and lectionary.
The Lessons for Saturday Vespers, Sunday Matins and Major Feast Days can be found at Daily Office Lessons.
The St. Ambrose Hymnal (SAH) provides the office hymns and Marian anthems. Get information about ordering the hymnal.
The Antiphoner provides collects and antiphons; the collects may also be found in The Orthodox Missal.
All documents below are .pdf files and require Adobe Reader.
The English Office Noted can be purchased at Lulu Publishing.