Question about liturgy of the hours


Tonight we were praying vespers at my church. I noticed that after the Magnificat, we didn't say the antiphon again. When I asked why, our deacon who was leading us said that it didn't need to be said because we were proclaiming a passage from the Gospel. When my friend taught me to do liturgy of the hours, we said the antiphon before and after the Magnificat also the Gloria. So I want to know, which is the right way?


Well, I can’t be sure about Reverend Deacon’s reasoning, but the Ordinary of the Liturgy of the Hours has this rubric after the Benedictus and Magnificat:

The antiphon is repeated as usual.


I, too, have been taught to recite the antiphon before and after the Magnificat.

I’ll ask my spiritual director if there is reason/justification for doing otherwise when I see him tomorrow for our monthly SD appointment. He is the one teaching me to pray the LOTH, and he himself has been praying it for at least forty years.


[quote="porthos11, post:2, topic:324903"]
Well, I can't be sure about Reverend Deacon's reasoning, but the Ordinary of the Liturgy of the Hours has this rubric after the Benedictus and Magnificat:

The antiphon is repeated as usual.


See that's how I was taught.


Oddly, the French LOTH that I use doesn’t have this rubric.

For the psalmody:

  1. At the beginning of each psalm its own antiphon is always to be recited, as noted in nos. 113-120. At the end of the psalm the practice of concluding with the Glory to the Father and As it was in the beginning is retained. This is the fitting conclusion endorsed by tradition and it gives to Old Testament prayer a note of praise and a Christological and Trinitarian sense. The antiphon may be repeated at the end of the psalm.

(my bold)

I’m not completely certain if this applies to the Gospel canticles as well. My reference for how to recite the LOTH is the Benedictine monks of the abbey I’m affiliated with (although they have some extra rubrics particular to the Rule of St. Benedict, such as the Kyrie and silent Our Father before the collects of the minor hours and Compline, and prayers for the dead and absent brothers after each Office). The general rule they follow is that when an Office is recited (in their case chanted recto-tono),they don’t repeat the antiphon. If it is a sung office (i.e. Lauds and Vespers, and in Latin), then the antiphon is repeated. Since they always sing Lauds and Vespers I can’t say what the rule would be for a recited Gospel canticle. For Compline, in the monastic tradition the office is said without antiphons, including the Canticle of Simeon.

My own opinion is that in recitation, the antiphon need not be repeated, but in a chanted Office, it needs to be repeated for musical consistency; the end of the psalm tone is designed so that it is easy to pick up the antiphon on the right note.

Interestingly, pre-Vatican II it was customary to chant only the first part of the antiphon (up to what would be the * in later antiphonaries) before the psalm or canticle, and then the entire antiphon, after the psalm. Sometime during the reforms under the pontificate of Pius XII, this was changed so that the entire antiphon was chanted before and after the psalmody (and the cantor instead intones the antiphon up to the *, the choir following with the rest). The 1934 Monastic Antiphonary that I have, has the arrangement of singing only the opening of the antiphon before the psalm and the whole antiphon after. The current 2005 Monastic antiphonary has the full antiphon before the psalm, with the * to indicate the part intoned by the cantor).

So in today’s chanting of the psalms in a choir setting, in Latin, the cantor intones up to the star, the choir then picks up the rest of the antiphon, the choir alternates verses throughout the psalmody, and after the doxology the entire choir sings the entire antiphon.


I’m aware of the antiphon recitation being optional for the Psalmody, on the basis of which one could reasonably assume that the rubric I cited is probably less mandatory.

That said, it doesn’t feel “right” to me. I just have this need to repeat the antiphon.

What I don’t get is Reverend Deacon’s reasoning. It would make more sense to simply say, “it’s optional” not “because it’s a Gospel passage”.


As if anyone I know says LOTH in Latin! When in our group prayer, I keep wanting to say the main prayers in Latin but I have to stop myself. Unless I'm alone, then I let Latin loose!


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