On Ordos!

I gather there are a few people searching around for an Ordo to use with the Office, and some confusion about which Ordo is what. So I thought I'd just try and summarise the key differences between the various Ordos I know of, or have been told about, as a bit of an aid to those searching.

This is also a chance for those who are using the Ordo I produce each week to let me know what additional details they would like me to include (no guarantees on delivery though!).

What is an Ordo?

An Ordo is essentially a calendar for use in conjunction with the Mass and/or Office that tells you which feasts are celebrated on a particular date so that you can ensure you use the appropriate texts for the day. At a minimum, it simply lists the feast of the day and tells you the level of it (as in the summary in the sidebar to the right on this blog page). But it often provides a few more details of the particulars of the day (see for example the more detailed weekly notes on this site).

An Ordo is pretty essential - some feast days (such as Easter) change their date every year, and everything else flows from that. And there are inevitably clashes between possible feasts on particular dates, so you need to know what the rules determine should be celebrated on a particular date, and an Ordo should do that.

Some Ordos are extremely detailed - but this is the exception not the norm! In general, unless you live in a monastery where someone else is working it all out for you, you will need to become sufficiently familiar with the structure of the Office to be able to work out that if it is a third class feast, the things that change are....

The choices

The most commonly referred to Ordos are as follows:

  • the Novus Ordo calendar used by the Catholic Church post 1970 - you can find a version of it here. This is the calendar most people will see used at Mass, and works well with the Liturgy of the Hours. It talks about feasts being solemnities or memorials. It is pretty hard to use it, however, in conjunction with one of the traditional forms of the Office (see below);
  • the 1962 Roman Calendar, which you can find here, used for the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, and fits easily with the Roman Breviary. It talks about feasts being Class I, II or III, memorials or commemorations;
  • the 1962-3 Benedictine Calendar, which is what I am providing on this site, is very similar to the 1962 Roman Calendar, differing only in terms of a few saints' feasts in the main. It can readily be used (or adapted) by anyone attending the EF mass, and using any of the traditional forms of the Benedictine Office (ie 1962 or earlier);
  • a pre-1962 Benedictine or Roman calendar, used I gather in the Anglican Breviary and older forms of the Breviary - if your calendar talks about 'doubles' or 'duplexes' and such like terms then it is using one of these calendar variants. If your breviary uses this terminology it is actually pretty easy to superimpose the 1962 calendar onto it (it means dropping a few octaves and other changes though);
  • Anglican or Anglican Use Ordos - Anglican Ordos will not include all feasts used in the Catholic Church, and may include some additional saints' feasts. Anglican Use ordos will presumably be something of a hybrid;
  • the Western Rite Orthodox Ordo - uses the Orthodox calendar which dates Easter differently to the Western Church;
  • Ordos for other religious orders such as the Dominicans, Carmelites, etc. These may come in either Novus Ordo, 1962 or pre-1962 forms.

Note also that most individual Benedictine monasteries (such as Le Barroux) produce their own Ordos for internal use, and by their Oblates, which are likely to differ in some respects from the Universal calendar.

Choosing and Ordo to use

Most people will instinctively want to use the Ordo that goes with whichever form of the Office they have purchased in the interests of simplicity. Fair enough, especially when you are just starting off and struggling to learn the Office.

My own view though is that as far as possible you should work up to using the calendar that aligns most closely with the Mass you attend (particularly if you are a daily mass goer), but admitting of variants to reflect a particular spirituality, such as Benedictine or Dominican, to which you may be attached. So if you attend an EF Mass, by all means use the variants provided by the Benedictine Ordo, it will fit well enough.

The reason is simple: the Office takes the Mass as its starting point, and expands out from it. So on a Sunday, for example, the Gospel at Mass will often provide the antiphon for the Benedictus and Magnificat. At Matins, the Patristic readings will relate to that Gospel. And so forth.

Using the Mass as your starting point of course is harder than it sounds if you want to use one of the traditional forms of the Office, whether Roman, Monastic or some other in conjunction with the OF Mass. Essentially, if you attend a Novus Ordo Mass, you might be able to line up saints' feast days, but the normal passage of liturgical seasons is harder to make work (though technically possible if your Latin is good enough, at least in relation to the Benedictine Office - you need to purchase the new Antiphonale Monasticum from the Monastery of Solesmes).

You should also be aware that whatever Ordo you use, there are local feasts that you will need to add to it - feasts particular to your country, diocese and parish.

My Ordo notes

This site is primarily dedicated to the Benedictine Use. If you are using any of the breviaries or diurnals that are based around the monastic form of the Office (modelled on the provisions set out in the Rule of St Benedict), you should be able to use the Ordo and notes I provide here.

I normally provide page references to the Farnborough edition of the Monastic Diurnal, but if there is sufficient demand, I would be happy to either provide references to the 1962 Monastic Breviary as well. From some of the queries I'm receiving, I think I perhaps need to provide a few more details of the texts to be used in any case, and it may be that this would assist those using other editions of the Diurnal (such as the Lancelot Andrews Press version). I'd certainly be happy to add in Ordo notes for Matins if that would be of assistance to anyone (presumably references to the English of the Office would be preferred?). So let me know what information would be useful - no guarantees, but I'll see what I can do!

Further reading

To learn a bit more about Ordos and the issues associated with them, take a look at my series on learning the Office in the sidebar - parts II, III and XII are relevant.


filip said...

You can also use ordo used in Fontgombault. Have you seen it?

Terra said...

Filip: No - is it available online? How much does it differ from Le Barroux's?

filip said...

You can ask them for the booklet. They will send it to you. I'm sure.

CG said...

Those using the Lancelot Andrewes Press edition of the Monastic Diurnal (or the OUP one of which it is a reprint) will find Chris Tessone's Ordo at http://chris.tessone.net/docs/ordo2009.html an excellent fit.
It has the same Octaves and saints' days, and uses the older terminology of doubles, semidoubles etc. with commemorations and memorials (including optional ones).

Terra said...

Presumably intended to be used by sedevacentists and non-catholics given that it uses pre-1962 (in fact I think the Pius X) rubrics?

CG said...

As a non-Catholic using that Diurnal it has the close match that I want to be able to say the Office smoothly. I hadn't realised that the Farnborough Diurnal differed so much. They are often mentioned on oblate blogs and elsewhere as equivalents, except that Farnborough has parallel Latin as well as English.

Terra said...

Actually, terminology apart, they aren't really that different. I mostly use the Antiphonale Monasticum for the day hours, and that uses the older terminology, but with the 1962 rubrics. There are differences of course (such as no Octave of CC!) but it doesn't actually change the prayers themselves in the main.

Still, if you aren't catholic, no need to use 1962 rubrics! Good to know that some are keeping those octaves etc alive in fact...

Séamas Choilm Chille said...

The Lancelot Andrewes Press edition is intended for Anglicans, I believe. It is entirely in English, so I don't think sedevacantists would like it.

What is nice is they also public a "Monastic Breviary Matins" to go with the Diurnal. I wish St. Michael's Abbey did as well.

I normally provide page references to the Farnborough edition of the Monastic Diurnal, but if there is sufficient demand, I would be happy to either provide references to the 1962 Monastic Breviary as well.

That would be great. Don't different editions of the breviary have different layouts, though? Mine is the two volume 1962-63 edition by Marietti.

Still waiting for my Diurnal. Rather impatiently, too, I might add, though it's only been a week so I am being unreasonable.

I'd certainly be happy to add in Ordo notes for Matins if that would be of assistance to anyone (presumably references to the English of the Office would be preferred?)

That would be great as well, though I'm not sure what you mean by "references to the English of the Office"?

Pax Christi vobiscum,

Séamas Choilm Chille said...

BTW, do you have a blog post talking about the different terminologies you refer to? I've always wondered about those doubles and semi-doubles and such.

BTW again, is there a Nocturnale for the Monastic office? St. Michael's Abbey sells the Antiphonal Monasticum, but the Nocturnale Romanum...

Beannacht Dé oraibh,

Terra said...

Seamas - On the Breviary, I perhaps naively have assumed that there is only one edition using the 1963 rubrics. I have a couple of copies that look different book binding wise, but seem the same inside. So let me know if the page numbers given for this week work or not, and whether the level of detail is sufficient.

On references to English, I meant English translation key words to help those using things like the Anglican breviary. On reflection, that is probaby a bit overambitious and complex, and I'll probably stick to Latin.

I'll put up a separate post on the subject of tackling Matins, and helpful books for it, covering your other questions soon!

Terra said...

PS On terminology, I have defined tersm in my 'how to' series as I've gone along. The stuff on doubles etc can be found in the Part XIIA&B. I have started construction a glossary, which you cna find here:http://saintsshallarise.blogspot.com/search/label/glossary.

It is however very incomplete at the monent, and I hope to get back to working on it so as to cover everything I've used in the series next week.

Séamas Choilm Chille said...

Blessed art thou, Brother Terra, by the Lord God Almighty, who is certainly working through you for the good of His unworthy servants, and I thank Him first of all, and you as well.

I took a quick look at your Ordo for Matins tomorrow (Sunday, June 14 Dominica II post Pentecosten)

"At Matins: Readings and responsories for Nocturns I&II for Dom. II Post Pentecost (1963 Monastic Breviary, MB p45), Responsories for Nocturn III for Dom II p47; readings and collect for Nocturn III for Dom. II PP, MB p217-219)."

All is correct, except that the Responsories for Nocturn III are found on page 48 in my breviary (and volume II -- it might be helpful, though not necessary, to specify the volume).

So, assuming you just made a mistake there, all looks well. Even if you didn't make a mistake, the page numbers seem close enough, as long as the rest of them are as well.

With the info in your ordo, I think I can start right away, without waiting for my Diurnal, though I may get some details wrong at first.

Thanks also for pointing me to the terminology post. Hadn't gotten to that one yet.

Happy New American Corpus Christi to all,

Terra said...

Seamas -

Yes, it is an error, well caught (and now fixed)! The volume reference is actually in the paragraph above, in the introductory notes.

I'd advise hastening slowly though, unless you know the Roman Office well, or have carefully read through all my how to posts and translated page numbers across - I still use my Diurnal as a crib for the rubrics. The Diurnal may be sparse in terms of day to day rubrics, but in the Breviary they are practically non-existent!

Séamas Choilm Chille said...

Well, I looked over your writing on doubles, et al, and read some more in the Catholic Encyclopedia.

I understand, more or less, the two (62 and pre-62) systems for categorizing the feasts. But is there any compatibility? For instance, if I run across a semi-double in an old book, what does that translate to in the 1962 system?

Or does it even matter? Can I not use the breviary and an ordo as my guide to putting together the office, and pretty much ignore what the Antiphonale says but for the music?

Commemorations and memorials got me wondering, too. Some of what I read seems to suggest the terms are interchangeable, while I have read other things that seem to suggest a memorial is optional while a commemoration is not.

BTW, Terra... please don't overwork yourself on our account. You are putting a lot of time and effort into giving us this wonderful gift. It is greatly appreciated, and no one is going to be upset if you need to slow down or take a break.

God Bless,

Terra said...

I don't think there are any simple rules as to which level of feast translated into what in the 1962 calendar - some of the decisions look odd and arbitrary to me!

So my advice would be, work from an Ordo in terms of knowing what you have to do. But you can certainly pretty much just use the Antiphonale doing that, without going to the Breviary or Diurnal - with a few minor exceptions, all of the prayers are there, just a matter of where to find and how to deploy them!

As far as the 1962 rubrics go, commemorations and memorials are really interchangeable terms.

And thanks for the thought on pacing myself Seamas -if you follow the site regularly, you will find it does come in fits and starts! Mostly when I'm avoiding other tasks...

Séamas Choilm Chille said...

Well, for me the Antiphonale would probably be just to learn the music.

And if the Lord leads me to found a community, as I have a suspicion He is preparing me to do, a bushel of Antiphonales will come in handy for the choir office, I imagine.

Anonymous said...

Sorry this is so late. Does anyone know of a pre-1955 changes Benedictine Ordo ? I use the superb St Lawrence Press Ordo and adapt, but I would like the really traditional pre-Pius XII version for the Monastic office. Thanks, Alan Robinson