Patristic Lectionary Archive
A Two Year Patristic Lectionary for the Divine Office
Edited by Stephen Mark Holmes
University of Edinburgh School of Divinity
For Pluscarden Abbey, Scotland
The History of the Patristic Lectionary
A ‘patristic lectionary’ is a series of readings from the fathers (in Latin patres) of the Church. Scripture has always been read in the Church in the context of tradition. With the development of the Divine Office (services of prayer celebrated at different times of each day) the daily cycle of Scripture reading came to be accompanied by commentaries from the fathers of the Church, as St Benedict wrote in the middle of the sixth century, ‘Let the inspired books of both the Old and the New Testaments be read at Vigils, as also commentaries on them by the most eminent orthodox and catholic fathers’ (Rule of Benedict, IX). The main surviving early Latin collections of readings from the fathers, or patristic lectionaries, are those of Alan of Farfa and Paul the Deacon from the eighth century. These formed the basis of the patristic lectionary used in the Roman Breviary and many other Latin Breviaries. Over time the readings from the fathers were cut back in length with no thought to their meaning. Attempts were made to improve the patristic lectionary by Cardinal Quiñonez in the sixteenth century, the monks of Cluny in the seventeenth century and Archbishop Vintimille of Paris in the eighteenth, but the inadequate patristic lectionary of the Breviarium Romanum (1568) and Breviarium Monasticum (1612) continued in use until the Second Vatican Council (1962-65).
Scripture texts are taken from The Revised Standard Version: Old Testament Section, 1952; New Testament, Second Edition, 1971; Deuterocanonical Books, 1957 Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
Prepared for ebook formats by Fr Richard Healey
An edition that includes the Psalms for the Office of Readings embedded with the scripture and patristics texts is planned.