Martyrology

I would like to ask some questions about the Roman Martyrology:

Is it a liturgical book or is it more like the Ceremonial of Bishops, not a true liturgical book?

When was the latest edition published?

Does it have any official translations in English?

What is (are) the appendix(es) to the Roman Martyrology? Are they for particular churches or are they editions to the Roman Martyrology so that it isn’t regularly re-published as news saints and beati are added?

Can it still be used liturgically? It used to be read at the end of Prime. If it is still used liturgically, when and how?

It is an official liturgical book.

When was the latest edition published?

2004/2005

Does it have any official translations in English?

Here is what the Assistant to the Executive Director of ICEL told me when I asked him about it 4 months ago:

“The Roman Martyrology has not yet appeared in English. The Latin text was introduced in 2002 and revised in 2004 and ICEL has completed a base translation. In preparing the text there were a number of issues that have been addressed to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. We do not have a time line for issuance of this text at this time.”

Can it still be used liturgically? It used to be read at the end of Prime. If it is still used liturgically, when and how?

Yes, it can still be used liturgically after Morning Prayer, one of the minor hours, or outside the Liturgy of the Hours. Here is a brief translation of the Ordo lectionis Martyrologii intra Liturgiam Horarum.

ORDER FOR READING THE MARTYROLOGY WITHIN THE LITURGY OF THE HOURS

  1. In choir the reading is given according to custom at Morning Prayer, after the concluding prayer of the Hour. The lector always begins from the mention of the following day. The reading is concluded with these words:
    V. Precious in the sight of the Lord.
    R. Is the death of his Saints.

  2. Then can follow one of the short readings set forth below, pp. 41-60, which the lector concludes acclaiming:
    V. The Word of the Lord.
    R. Thanks be to God.

  3. After the reading the priest or the deacon, who leads the celebration, says one of the prayers set forth below, pp. 63-68. A layman, who guides the celebration when an ordained minister is absent, does likewise.

  4. Then the blessing and dismissal are given, according to these formulas:
    V. May the Lord bless us
    and from every evil defend us
    and to eternal life lead us.
    And may the souls of the faithful
    through the mercy of God
    rest in peace.
    R. Amen.
    V. Go in peace.
    R. Thanks be to God.

  5. If, however, this does not seem to be at all fitting, nothing prevents the reading of the Martyrology from being executed at any minor Hour in a similar way.

  6. At a minor Hour the reading is given immediately after the concluding prayer, as set forth above. At the end is added the versicle Precious, and then the acclamation Let us bless the Lord and the response in the customary way or as above, n. 4.

  7. In executing the reading of the eulogies there is announced in the first place, if the case warrants, the moveable celebration, with the employed formulas which are set out below, pp. 35-37.
    Nevertheless on the Day of the Resurrection of the Lord before the eulogies of the following day are read, the memorial of Easter Sunday is prepended.

  8. On Holy Thursday, Friday of the Lord’s Passion, and Holy Saturday, the reading of the Martyrology should be altogether excluded, with the eulogies of the Saints by the same token omitted.

  9. On the vigil of Christmas, after announcing the twenty-fifth day of the month of December, the announcement of the solemn Nativity is sung in a special way, as below, pp. 71-74.

  10. In proclaiming the Martyrology, the indication of the lunar day can be given at will after the announcement of the day, how it is described below, pp. 23-26.

  11. The eulogies of the Saints or of the Blessed as indicated by an asterisk are read only in dioceses or in religious societies to whom the cult of this Saint or Blessed has been granted.

  12. If it happens that a given memorial is transferred or repeated, a mention is added at the end of the corresponding eulogy of the day that was transferred or repeated:
    For acknowledging the day of transference: his memorial, however, (this year) will occur for us on the day . . .
    For acknowledging a repeated day: Of Saint N., whose birthday will be recognized again on the day . . .

And here’s the Latin:
**
Ordo lectionis Martyrologii intra Liturgiam Horarum.**

  1. In choro lectio fit de more ad Laudes matutinas, post orationem conclusivam Horae. Lector absolute incipit a diei insequentis mentione. Lectio concluditur his verbis: V. Pretiosa in conspectu Domini. / R. Mors sanctorum eius.

  2. Deinde sequi potest una ex lectionibus brevibus infra propositis, pp. 41-60, quam lector concludit acclamans: V. Verbum Domini. / R. Deo gratias.

  3. Post lectionem sacerdos vel diaconus, qui celebrationi praeest, unam dicit ex orationibus infra propositis, pp. 63-68. Item facit laicus, qui, absente ministro ordinato, celebrationem moderatur.

  4. Deinde fit benedictio et dimissio, iuxta has formulas: Dominus nos benedicat et ab omni malo defendat et ad vitam perducat aeternam. Et fidelium animae per misericordiam Dei requiescant in pace. R. Amen.
    V. Ite in pace. / R. Deo gratias.

  5. Si autem hoc minime oportere videtur, nihil obstat quominus Martyrologii lectio ad quamlibet Horam minorem simili modo peragatur.

  6. Ad Horam minorem lectio fit statim post orationem conclusivam, ut supra proponitur. In fine versiculus additur Pretiosa, denique acclamatio Benedicamus Domino et responsum modo consueto vel ut supra, n. 4.
    **

Ordo lectionis Martyrologii extra Liturgiam Horarum.**

  1. Adunato coetu sive in choro sive in capitulo sive ad mensam, lector absolute incipit a mentione diei insequentis, singulorum Sanctorum et Beatorum proclamat elogia et lectionem concludit dicens: V. Pretiosa in conspectu Domini. / V. Mors Sanctorum eius.

  2. Deinde sequi potest una ex lectionibus brevibus infra propositis, pp. 41-60, quam lector concludit acclamans: V. Verbum Domini. / R. Deo gratias.

  3. Post lectionem sacerdos vel diaconus, qui celebrationi praeest, unam dicit ex orationibus infra propositis, pp. 63-68. Item facit laicus, qui, absente ministro ordinato, celebrationem moderatur.

  4. Post orationem ritus concluditur benedictione et dimissione, iuxta has formulas: Dominus nos benedicat et ab omni malo defendat et ad vitam perducat aeternam. Et fidelium animae per misericordiam Dei requiescant in pace. R. Amen.
    V. Ite in pace. / R. Deo gratias.

Yes, absolutely. I know of several communities who use it at Prime or in the refrectory during breakfast. You read the entry for the next day. So today, for example is the 19 Sept, so you would read the entry for the 20th. The Holy Father has given permission to use all 1962 editions of ceremonies. The edition you can access online has rubrics, those might be helpful.

I have the latest edition in Latin and it also has Gregorian chant notation.

At our abbey, it is read (in French) in the refectory at supper. There was a monastic edition a few years back, which is what the abbey uses.

Dear Matthew Holford,

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