How Long Does it Take to Say the Roman Breviary?


I’m finding myself very tempted by the three volume Roman Breviary offered by Baronius Press. Before I take the plunge I’d love some feedback from those who have some experience saying the traditional hours. Could anybody tell me how long (approximately, of course!) it takes to say each of the hours, and what the time expenditure is if one says the whole thing daily? Again, only approximately - I know it varies by day and depending which hour one is saying. Having a rough idea would really help me know if I would realistically fit it into my daily life.

Any other thoughts on the Baronius set would likewise be much appreciated!

Thank you!


I don’t have much experience with praying the traditional breviary, so I won’t comment on how long it takes to pray the offices.

However, what I would recommend (not from experience, but just because it’s what I’ve been recommended) buying a copy of the ‘Monastic Diurnal.” It contains all of the traditional offices save Matins, has Latin-English text, and is inexpensive compared to the Baronius Press three-volume set. The Diurnal is more fitting for laymen’s use.

If you are interested, you can obtain one here:


EDIT: I see the Diurnal has English and Latin. Still, that’s basically the Office for Benedictines and is not as general as the Baronius breviaries.


Thank you for the clarification.


Thank you both. Now looking at the Diurnal as well, though I’d still love a rough estimate on the original question! :slightly_smiling_face:


Do you plan on praying the office in Latin or English?


I plan on praying it in Latin, but I’m easing myself into it by praying the Psalms in English (except for a few Psalms) and everything else in Latin.


I’m probably not the best standard of this, as I only pray two of the hours (and I probably go too fast), but Lauds and Vespers take me around 15 minutes each.


Wow, that is fast!

To the OP:

If you are planning on praying the office in English, here’s what you might expect:

Matins: anywhere from 30 mins to 1 h, depending on the day.

Lauds: 20-30 mins

Prime: 10-20 mins

Terce, Sext and None: 10-15 mins each

Vespers: also 20-30 mins

Compline: ~10 mins

This is pure conjecture on my part. Anyone with more experience praying the traditional office may feel free to make corrections/give their input.


Why not get an idea yourself. It is available online…


Heh heh, yes, I’m not proud of it. :sweat_smile: I really ought to spend more time on them. But in the mornings I’m rushing to leave, in the evenings I’m rushing because I’m tired. It’s something I need to practice.


A book I read written by a priest in 1899 said that the Breviary can’t be recited in under an hour and a quarter. I know the Office changed a bit from then to 1961 but as far as I know it didn’t get longer.


You can find the breviary in English online for free here so you can “try before you buy”


Even if you prayed the Benedictine Office you would still be doing liturgy. I believe that the Benedictine Office and the traditional Roman Office are closer than the the LOTH is to the monastic office. If you chose the Monastic Diurnal you are spoilt with resources for it here.


Not quite. If I’m not mistaken, the Benedictine Office is liturgical for Benedictines, not for non-Benedictines. I don’t have access to it, but I thought Summorum Pontificum made allowances to those in religious orders to recite their versions of the Office as part of their obligations, but that wasn’t extended to those outside the orders.


Thank you all for the input! Ioannes, that rough guide is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you, and don’t worry, I won’t hold you to it - they are estimates, I know. And I’m embarrassed to admit I hadn’t thought about the breviary being available online. That’s an obvious solution I should have thought of!

The Diurnal really is a good second option. I have to admit, somewhat sheepishly, that part of my attraction to the Baronius Breviary is the beauty of the books themselves - I’m a shameless bibliophile, and so the lovely line illustrations, nice paper, gilded edges, along with the sheer weight of the three books all act as I kind of Siren’s call to my willpower (and wallet, alas!). Don’t get me wrong - I would plan to use them, but the beauty has its attractions also. We’ll see…


If you mean the monastic office, that is definitely “traditional”… but often people mean the Breviary of St Pius X when they use the term “traditional office”. That office was in mainstream use for a shorter period than the LOTH now has been.


It has to be exclusively Latin to be liturgical.

A cleric or religious having to follow ecclesiastical law to fulfil his obligations is a separate issue from whether something is liturgical or not. A Roman priest can attend Benedictine Vespers, not say a word, and fulfill his obligation, if I’m not mistaken.

Yes, the Benedictine Office, including the modern schema A, is the most traditional Office still in existence, as its cursus goes all the way back to St. Benedict himself (6th century), which was based somewhat on the Roman Office of his time, which its principal psalmody having been around for awhile.

The “Pian-Johannine” Breviary is anything but traditional, save for the structure of the Hours, which isn’t all that important in the grand scheme of things. Unless if you attend the EF, you may as well pray the Liturgy of the Hours.


I have checked with a Benedictine abbot. As a layman if you pray the liturgy of the hours in any approved form you pray the liturgy of the Church. Clerics and religious need permission from their superiors to pray a particular Office, and invariably it is gladly given, but a layman with no obligation to the Divine Office requires no such permission.


I need to get one I’m going to put that on my list for gifts for confirmation

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit