How Long Does it Take to Say the Roman Breviary?


Do you mean the three volume breviary or the monastic diurnal? Just curious. I find myself poring over reviews of the breviary almost daily…I think I’m doomed!


the dinurnal it looks nice and inexpensive I don’t have one but I have a LOTH in english its got some super cheesy artwork in it so I hardly use it and I love Latin so I think I might pick one of those up


My friend tells me that the Diurnal is a good way to start praying the office.


First of all the Roman Breviary is not “traditional” by any definition. It is a 1910 innovation that broke with tradition; the older breviary was much closer to the monastic which is traditional, and still existant in post-Conciliar form.

That said, it is about the same length as monastic schéma B (150 psalms per week), which I chant, Latin for Lauds and Vespers, French for the rest.

Matins, 35 minutes weekdays, 45 min Sun. and feasts
Lauds and Vespers 30-35 minutes.
Minor hours 10 min each
Compline 10-15 min.

Matins is a bit shorter on summer weekdays as the Rule of St Benedict allows for shorter readings in summer, which may not apply in the Roman Breviary.


Many thanks, OL. Do you use the Monastic Diurnal?


No, a post-Conciliar monastic breviary that is the same length as the 1962 Roman Breviary, that is 150 psalms per week. It is known as Schéma B and is the most popular in the Benedictine Confederation.

The original 1500 y.o. Benedictine breviary, the one of the monastic diurnal, is now known as schema A.


I see. Definitely time to give the diurnal another look - the fact that it’s a single book instead of three has its attractions!


If you’re still possibly interested in a Diurnale but specifically want the Roman one over the Monastic, this is the one I purchased:

It’s only in Latin, but it’s super cheap, very durable, small, and portable. As mentioned above the Diurnale has all of the Hours except for Matins, and it’s also missing the Martyrology for Prime (which I just look up online).

In terms of how long it takes, that’ll depend on how proficient you are in Latin, how fast you speak, and whether you chant or say the office. For me chanting it takes about twice as long as saying it, and looking over the other answers I say the hours about as fast as @Fauken does. It’s not horribly fast, so don’t feel bad, brother. It’s a steady speaking speed, and as long as you’re doing it consistently and not butchering the language it’s all good. I’m also that guy who says the Rosary in 15-18 minutes. There’s no reason for us to pray incredibly slowly:

Lauds/Vespers: 15 min.
Prime: 10-13 min.
Minor Hours: 7-10 min.
Matins 1 Nocturne: 30 min.
Matins 3 Nocturnes: 45-50 min.


I feel less bad now. :sweat_smile: I mostly say the office, as I’m not good enough to chant it. It also helps that I do pretty much all the readings in English (some I do in Latin because I want to be able have a general idea of what I’m reading when I make the eventual switch to all Latin).


Yes, it is specifically mentioned in the General Instruction: those bound, fulfill their obligation if they attend the Hours in another tradition. Many diocesan priest go on retreat in monasteries, and it would be nonsensical to have them repeat what they just attended in another format.

If by “traditional Roman Office” you mean the pre-1910 version, yes, it is much closer to the Benedictine.

However, the LOTH is a lot closer to the Benedictine than many give it credit for, but spread over 4 weeks, especially when some licit options are selected:

-A large portion of the Office of Readings (vestigial Matins), is from the Benedictine cursus.

-The “traditional” Sunday psalms for the major hours are where you’d expect to find them: 109, 110, 111, 112 at Vespers (112 at 1st Vespers in the LOTH), 62, 92, 117, 148, 149 and 150 at Sunday Lauds,

-Psalms 4, 90 and 133 can licitly be used every day at Compline (and the psalms said on days other than Sundays at Compline are repeated elsewhere so you don’t miss out on them)

-Psalm 66 can be used at the invitatory; on Fridays, if prayed at Lauds, it puts Ps. 66 in front of Ps. 50 which is the daily tradition in the Benedictine Office, so it gets repeated once a week.

-If one says three little hours, the other two are taken from the Gradual Psalms which has traditionally formed the core of the minor hours in the Benedictine tradition.

-The cursus of Vespers from Week IV is entirely from the monastic cursus of Vespers.

-Most of the psalms specified for Lauds in the Benedictine are also at Lauds in the LOTH.

These are just a few off the top of my head. Of course, Benedictines were present on the Coetus IX commission responsible for the LOTH. It was even a Spanish Benedictine who was responsible for the psalm-prayers in some editions, that may people deride. That said, I don’t use them. The French and Latin LOTH I have do not have them. The French monastic psalter I use when praying monastic Schema B does have them. The abbey I’m attached to ignores them and omitted them from their own house books.


It takes me about 30 minutes to say Matins 1Nocturn), 15 each for Lauds and Vespers, 10 for Prime and 5 apiece for Terce, Sext and None. I say these by myself most of the time , spoken ( not chanted).
I typically say Matins and Lauds together.


I may have employed the term in too loose a manner. When I wrote that phrase I simply meant the Divine Office prior to the liturgical reforms of Vatican II.

I have made no personal study or comparison of the offices. My reading over the years has simply given me the impression that the Roman Rite as it was prior to Vatican II was more similar to monastic rites than it is today.


OK that clarifies it a bit.

No, the 1910-1962 Roman Breviary was a major departure from the monastic. The pre-1910 Roman Breviary was somewhat closer, but still much different. For instance, in the monastic, Matins always had two nocturnes on ordinary weekdays, and three on Sundays and feasts. The Roman, only one on ordinary days. Neither Roman versions use the Gradual Psalms at the minor hours. The older Roman uses psalms 4, 30, 90 and 133 at Compline, which is closer to the Monastic (4, 90 and 133); the Pius X breviary is a complete departure from that.

Another similarity between the Monastic and the older Roman is the number of psalms recited: approximately 250 per week; the Pius X breviary of 1910, only 150. Also, psalms 148-150, the typical “laudate” psalms, where broken up; in the Monastic and older Roman, they ended the psalmody at Lauds every day (in fact in ancient times, these three psalms were Lauds, and were the three psalms ending Matins). Monastic Vespers also always had fewer psalms (4 vs. 5 in both Roman schemas).

The only things really “traditional” about the office of Pius X are the fact that the entire psalter is read in a week (if there are no feasts…, which is rare), some similarity between Vespers in both Roman schemas, and the general layout of the Office. Lauds, while having similarities in all cases, are different in the Pius X on account of the Laudate psalms mentioned above. Prime, themid-day hours and Compline are completely different, and Matins is much shorter in the Pius X Office.

You can see the development of the differences here:

Pre-conciliar Monastic:

Post-conciliar Monastic, without Prime (and one optional schema to redistribute its psalms):

Pre-1910 Roman:

Post-1910 Roman:

Liturgy of the Hours (1970):

And lastly for those curious, the monastic schema used at the abbey I’m attached to; I use this schema when I can, and the LOTH when I’m too busy or traveling.

In this latter one, there has been a modification made since: the Sunday and Saturday Invitatory psalms have swapped, 80 on Saturday and 94 (the traditional one) on Sunday.

The Monastic Office can now, ad libitum, follow the same structure of the LOTH for Lauds and Vespers that is, the hymn before the psalmody. My abbey keeps the traditional placement, after the responsory and followed by the ornate versicle. In private recitation, I prefer the hymn at the start but in the choral office, I like the traditional layout. As a compromise at home, I use the traditional on Sundays and the modern on ordinary weekdays and memorials.

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