Benedictine LOTH


Hi all,

I will be staying in a Benedictine monastery next week. I have tried to research it but can’t find out:

a) do all Benedictines use a special Benedictine LOTH, or do some use the standard version?

b) are there any differences other than the number of psalms at each hour?

c) Anything else I should know about Benedictine liturgy?

For the record, I know that this monastery prays Vespsers and Compline in Latin and the other hours in English. I know what the horarium is. I usually pray the LOTH alone or with Dominicans so that’s my idea of ‘normal’ :smiley:

Thanks for any help.


Are there different forms of the LOTH? I’m confused on this myself. I have consulted three different sources (iBreviary,, and and gotten three different texts for the same office on the same day. Very confusing.


There is only one official form of the LOTH in general use. The difference between the versions you mention are to do with translation. Some online versions don’t have the use of copyrighted material so make their own translation of the same texts. In addition, there are various national, diocesan and religious calendars which may confuse the matter by celebrating saints who don’t appear in the general calendar.

What I was asking about is the Benedictines having an entirely different LOTH, not a variety of translation.


I seem to think there are two versions of the monastic Office in use: the traditional (pre-conciliar) one, and a newer version. One of our members at CAF (OraLabora) is somewhat of an expert on the subject. He’s posted about this before, and I’m sure he’ll be able to provide any detail you might need.


There are 4 “official” post-Conciliar breviaries for the Benedictines. The first, schema A is the traditional Benedictine schema from the Rule of St Benedict, with one exception, the psalms of Prime are redistributed in one of two ways, at vigils or the minor hours.

Schema B is a one week cycle devised by Dom Notker Fueglister in the 60s. It’s the most popular schema as it follows the Rule which provides for alternate schemas as long as all psalms are prayed in a week. There is no repetition so the psalmody is about 100 fewer psalms than A.

C and D are two-week cycles.

Benedictines with external apostolates may use the LOTH.

That said many abbeys have their own “house” schemas. It sounds like you may be heading to Douai Abbey near Reading. I spent a weekend there last month. They do have their own schema: Matins and the mid-day prayer are on a 4-week cycle similar but not identical to the LotH. It’s chanted in English. Matins combines the Office of Readings and Lauds. Vespers is on a one week cycle in Latin Gregorian chant. It follows the 1934 monastic antiphonary. Compline uses psalms 4, 90 and 133 daily.

Collects will be the same as the LOTH in all cases but the Benedictine calendar is different.

Douai Abbey does publish its schema on its website, but if that’s where you’re going, don’t worry you’ll be provided with the sheet music and booklets to follow along.


Ora Labora :clapping::clapping:


I can confirm that Ora Labora is correct.

Five different Benedictine Monastaries are likely to have five different versions.

I have asked about getting the version from the local monastery and one of the oblates jokingly told me, “We’ll give it to you once we figure out what it is.” :smiley:



It’s been joked that once a novice has figured it out, he’s ready for solemn profession :slight_smile:


Thank you!

Actually, it’s Buckfast not Douai, but they are open to the public all year round so I’m hoping they’re equipped for newbies too!


You mean the hard liquor Monastery? :eek:

I’ll be staying at a monastery here in Massachusetts the second half of the first week of July, so thank you for asking the question!


Here’s a good site for a summary of the breviaries in use during the 20th century:

It doesn’t of course have the individual variations you’ll find in many abbeys, but it gives you a good idea at least of the “official” Benedictine schemas.

Benedictine Schema A BTW, is probably the oldest breviary in continuous use as the basic psalm arrangement dates back to the time of St. Benedict circa 500 A.D.

The 20th century has seen quite a few new breviaries starting with the pre-Vatican II Roman Breviary that dates back to 1910, then the LOTH and various new Benedictine schemas from the mid-60s onwards.


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