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Dominican liturgy: books for the Divine Office

800 years of Dominican books

Much more research needs to be done on the manuscripts surviving from the period between 1250 and 1270 to elucidate the development of the standardised Dominican liturgical books. Unlike the Franciscans, whose liturgical books are almost identical to the Roman rite, those of the Dominicans differ much from that rite in their textual content and ritual actions. There is much controversy over the sources used to formulate the Dominican liturgy and these probably will never be determined due to lack of surviving evidence. The liturgical texts composed in the thirteenth century continued in use with minor additions at various dates until the mid sixteenth century when revised texts of the Missal and Breviary were introduced in 1551 at Salamanca and in 1595 following the Council of Trent. The post-Trent books change some texts of the Dominican use to conform with the Missal and Breviary of the Roman rite, but most of their liturgy retained its distinctive features and continued until the changes in the 1960s after the Second Vatican Council which resulted in the situation of its voluntary surrender. The motu proprio, Summorum pontificum of Pope Benedict XVI on the continued use of liturgy prior to The Vatican II reforms, published in 2007, has recently led to the approval of occasional restoration of the Dominican use in some places.

Image reproduced by kind permission of the Syndics of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.