Table of Contents

  1. First Reading (Matins)
  2. Second Reading (Matins, cont.)
  3. Third reading (Daybreak: Lavabo and Second Morning Offices)
  4. Reading Four (Prime)
  5. Reading Five (Prime and the Chapter Room)
  6. Reading Six (Discipline in the Chapter Room)
  7. Reading Seven (From the Chapter Room to the Cloister, and Terce)
  8. Reading Eight (Terce and Preparation for Mass)
  9. Reading Nine (Mass)
  10. Reading Ten (Mass, cont.)
  11. Reading Eleven (Sext, Refectory)
  12. Reading Twelve (Refectory)
  13. Reading 13a (Refectory-Dormitory)
  14. Reading 14a (None)
  15. Reading 15 (Vespers, Processions)
  16. Reading 16 (Collation and Compline)
  17. Reading 17 (Dormitory)
  18. Reading 18: On Making Rounds
  19. Reading 19: On the Abbot
  20. Reading 20a: On the Prior
  21. Reading 21a: On the Sub-prior
  22. Reading 22a: On the Steward (Provost)
  23. Reading 23a: On the Vestarer
  24. Reading 24: On the Infirmarer
  25. Reading 25: On the Hospitaller
  26. Reading 26: On the Kitchener (and food)
  27. Reading 27: On the Cantor
  28. Reading 28: On the Cellarer
  29. Reading 29: On the Refectorer
  30. Reading 30: On the Almoner
  31. Reading 31: On the Sacristan
  32. Reading 32: On the Grainarer (Granary Keeper)
  33. Reading 33: On the Census-Taker (Argentarius)
  34. On the Procurators
  35. Reading 34: On how it is necessary to be present at the canonical hours
  36. Reading 35: Concerning the Weekly Priest (Hebdomadarius)
  37. Reading 36: On Maundy (Mandatum)
  38. Reading 37: On Welcoming Novices and Making Profession
  39. Reading 38: On the tonsure
  40. Reading 39: On the Porter
  41. Reading 40: On the Pittancer
  42. Reading 41: On Bloodlettings
  43. Reading 42 and last things (Restrictions on the Conversi)
  44. On Permission to Go Outside and Other Things
  45. Reading 43: On Places of Silence and Benediction
  46. Article 3: No Eating in the Dormitory Room
  47. Article 4: Which Women May Permissibly Enter the Cloister
  48. Article 4 (bis): No Lying Down or Eating Outside our Houses
  49. Article 5: Permission for Talking with an Outsider and for Going out of the Choir
  50. Article 6: All Shall Read at the Table
  51. Article 7: The Seal of the Chapter
  52. Article 8: "Not Mine, but Ours"
  53. Lectio 44: On those who are living in dependent parishes
  54. Article 2: Priors and their Socii (associates) in dependant parishes
  55. Article 3: On recalling those who are living in dependant parishes
  56. Article 4: On Prohibited Games
  57. Article 5: That Books for our use should be in dependent parishes
  58. Customary oath on receiving an abbot

Glossary / Notes

2 Here ordo is used in the sense of hierarchy. See Isabelle Cochelin, Revue Mabillon, 1998.

3 The threefold prayer( trina oratio ) involved reciting all or some of the penitential psalms in three groups, each group followed by a prayer. The English Regularis concordia outlines the practice in detail: first the three penitential psalms (6, 31, 37) are sung, then the Lord's Prayer (Pater Noster), followed by a prayer on behalf of oneself. Then Psalms 50 and 101 are sung on behalf of the queen and her associates, again followed by a prayer. Finally, Psalms 129 and 142 are sung on behalf of the deceased faithful, concluding with a third prayer. See the Regularis concordia, pp. 81-82. See also Thomas Symons, A Note on Trina Oratio,, Downside Review 42 (1924), 67-83. The penitential psalms are those numbered 6, 31, 37, 50, 101, 129, and 142 in the Vulgate. On their role in medieval commentary and prayer, see most recently Michael Driscoll, The Seven Penitential Psalms: Their Designation and Usage from the Middle Ages Onwards, Ecclesia Orans 17 (2000), 153-201.

4 Here >ordo is used in the sense of usual process.

5 The night office (Matins, called Nocturns in the Rule) begins with Psalm 50:17 chanted three times: Lord, open my lips and my mouth shall proclaim your praise (Domine, labia mea aperies et os meum adnuntiabit laudem tuam) followed by Psalm 3, then the Invitatory Psalm 94, Come, let us rejoice (Venite exultemus) with an antiphon.]


“Opportunitatem temporis” means literally the appropriateness of the time, referring to how much time they have - on some days due to the crunch of a big feast there would just not be enough time to sing the psalms in the manner described here as ideal. Protractis vocibus means that, to whatever extent possible, they should sing in full voice, not rushing through the psalms or chanting them so quickly that it sounds more like speech than song. This would be a common problem in the Divine Office. The phrase “secundum possibilitatem canentium excelsis,” means that the psalms should be sung at as high a pitch as possible (Singers are aware that pitch lowers as you go along; since there was no fixed, predetermined pitch the cantor would begin the first psalm where it fit his voice, and the choir was supposed to maintain that pitch throughout).

per distinctiones clausarum modicum respirantibus refers to pauses between grammatical phrases (distinctiones clausarum) and also to the musical pauses at the ends of psalm verses; the cadence sung at the end of each verse is a distinctio as well.)

First reading (Matins)

When the time of Matins has arrived, the sacristan shall rise and, coming into the dormitory, he shall kindle the lamps and make it (the room) light, and he shall strike for some time the bell, which is in the dormitory, if the prior or the sub-prior has not struck it. Afterwards, returning to the church, he shall rouse the clerics, so they may sound Matins. Upon hearing the sound of the bell, the brothers shall rise from their beds and make themselves ready. And made ready the juniors shall all stand before the steps of the dormitory, up to the time when, as by order of the prior, they shall march out of the aforementioned place with one of them carrying a lantern. And so, as one flock, they shall, two by two (i.e. two per file), come to the church in orderly manner. And passing by the altar of the blessed Mary Magdalene, they shall bow with their hoods thrown back, as they should always do; similarly upon entering the choir they shall bow in direction of the main altar. Then they shall go one by one to the places assigned to them in accordance with the Ordo.2 Next, facing the altar they shall say silently and intently the four prayers, which are called the Triple prayer. 3 And the person who holds the convent, shall strike his stall three times in three distinct intervals. At the sound of which the brothers shall bow; next, having taken their seats, they shall say slowly and in a lowered voice without pitch, fifteen psalms according to the usual order 4 , with the usual prayers and making three stops. Finishing these, they shall say the Lord's Prayer . And after the person who is in charge has given a sound in response from his stall, the weekly priest, arming his forehead with the sign of the cross, shall begin with Domine, labia mea ; the rest, arming themselves likewise with the same [sign of the cross], shall answer with Et os meum and so on. 5 Then they shall finish Matins in accordance with church custom, in which, depending on the appropriateness of the time and solemnity of the occasion, the melody of the psalms shall be sung to the end in a drawn-out voice and high, to the ability of the singers, taking breath in moderation at the end of phrases. 6

Lectio prima.

Cum tempus matutinarum aduenerit, sacrista surgat, ueniens in dormitorium, lampades accendat et clarescere faciat, et nolam quae est in dormitorio, si prior uel supprior non pulsauerint, aliquandiu pulset. Post rediens in ecclesiam, clericos excitet, ut matutinas sonent. Audito sonitu nolae, fratres de lectis surgant et seipsos praeparent. Et praeparati iuniores ante gradus dormitorii omnes sistant, donec a praedicto loco uno eorum laternam ad iussum prioris portante egrediantur. Et sic uno grege facto, bini et bini ordinate ad ecclesiam ueniant. Et transeuntes ante altare beatae Mariae Magdalenae, ablatis caputiis, inclinent, sicut semper debent facere ; similiter in introitu chori uersus maius altare inclinent. Tunc eant singuli ad loca sibi secundum ordinem deputata. Deinde uersi ad altare quatuor orationes quae trina oratio dicitur, silenter et intente dicant. Ille autem qui conuentum tenet, per tria interualla inter se distantia, ter percutiat stallum suum. Ad cuius sonitum omnes fratres inclinent ; deinde, occupatis sedibus, ex ordine quindecim psalmos tractim sine tono summissa uoce dicant, per tria interualla cum assuetis orationibus. Quibus finitis, dominicam orationem dicant. Postquam autem ille qui praeest, de stallo sonitum reddiderit, hebdomadarius, frontem suam signo crucis armans, Domine, labia mea incipiat ; alii, similiter eodem se armantes, Et os meum et cetera respondeant. Tunc matutinarum officium secundum morem ecclesiae persoluent, in quo psalmorum melodia secundum opportunitatem temporis et solemnitatem, protractis uocibus, et secundum possibilitatem canentium excelsis, et per distinctiones clausarum modicum respirantibus, decantetur.


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