Vèpres et complies du Dimanche


As anyone who has read Umberto Eco’s fabulous medieval whodunnit The name of the rose knows, monks in monasteries pray according to a rigorous schedule. These fixed times give them a structure in their lives, and they make sure that the name of the Lord shall always be celebrated inside the walls of the monastery.

Psalm 118 says “Seven times a day I praise you“, where the same says a bit earlier “At midnight I rise to praise you“. So in his Rule of Benedict, Benedictus of Nursia (480-548) decided the monks following his rule should pray a total of eight times a day, spread during the whole day.

  • Matins: about 2 AM
  • Lauds: at dawn
  • Prime: first hour, usually about 6 AM
  • Terce: third hour, about 9 AM
  • Sext: sixth hour, about noon
  • None: ninth hour, about 3 PM
  • Vespers: “at the light of the lamps”, around 6 PM
  • Compline: bedtime, around 7 PM

Interestingly: the English word noon comes from this, but a shift has taken place between twelve and three. So the works on this record should be sung in the evening of the Sunday.

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