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Technical Information

[Databases]    [Programs]    [Special characters]    [Exceptions]

This part of the help manual is written explicitly for encouraging anyone interested in the topic to write his/her own system, using whatever he/she wants from these ideas. It is also meant to provide a general overview of how Divinum Officium and Sancta Missa are internally structured. Following the provisions of the MIT License, and in accordance with the wishes of the late Laszlo Kiss, the only restriction is that we at The Divinum Officium Project have no legal responsibility for any errata, and the ideas cannot be copyrighted, limiting our rights or the access of others to the same ideas.



The databases are files, which contain the text of the Breviary. For easier understanding and handling, they are organized into folders. All files use UTF-8 encoding. If adding files, please be aware of this, as it can and will effect the appearance of text.

The top level folders are folders for the languages (Latin, English, French, etc.). The basic rule is that if a file is missing for a specific (modern) language, the program automatically selects the language text from the English. (Exception: Hyphenated language folders (e.g., Polski-Newer) first select the un-hyphenated folder of that language first.

Each language folder contains the same set of subfolders, which represents the parts of the printed breviary volumes: Psalterium, Tempora, Sancti, Commune. For technical reasons, there are separate folders for the psalms and for the Martyrologium. The Latin folder "psalms" contains unaccented psalms, while "psalms1" contains the accented psalms, and "PiusXII" contains the Pius XII psalter. Folders marked "M" are used to display the Monastic version of the Office. Whenever separate files in the "M"-folders are unnecssary, the script defaults to that same folder without "M".

The style and punctuation used within the text is that of the 1962 liturgical books (i.e. natalicio is preferred to natalitio, abicere to abjicere, etc.), with the exception that one space is used between sentences, and no space is placed before a colon or other punctuation. In accordance with the principles sent to the typographers of the 1960 editiones typicae, the letter J in the 1960 rubrics is transformed to the letter I. (Sacrae Congregatio Rituum, "Ordinationes ad librorum liturgicorum editores", 26.VI.1960) The code is capable of automatically making certain typographical and rubrical changes to account for these and other variations in the 1960 rubrics.

The files itself usually are converted into hash elements, e.g. [Ant Matutinum], [Capitulum Nona], etc.

The key is enclosed within square brackets [ ... ] which is a separate line followed by the body of the element. For instance, [Ant 2] refers to the Benedictus antiphon at Lauds, while [Lectio93] normally refers to the 9th (hagiographical) reading of a commemorated saint (pre-1960), which became the 3rd reading at Matins on 3rd class feasts under 1960 rubrics.

In all cases, the hash and key are on one line (followed by any conditional rubrics within parentheses), and the text is placed on the subsequent line after a single carriage return.

These elements are read and composed by the code.

The folder and files can be viewed within the GitHub repository, which shows the files in the following folders in the directory ~/, ~/horas/ and, subsequently, ~/horas/Latin/ (or any modern language):
  • Tabulae contains the transfer tables and is found in the top-level folder ~/ only.
    File data.txt provides map information for officium versions used in files in below directories:
    • Kalendaria sanctoral kalendar files.
      Lines starting with * or #- signs are comments. Other lines are devided in multiple parts by the = char. Within the second section, multiple offices can be assigned to a single day, the latter ones by way of commemoration. These are divided by the ~ char.
      Please note that everything after the second = is for information only and not used by the code itself.

      Meaning is explained in example from file 1888.txt :
      01-11=01-11~01-11cc=Sexta die infra Octavam Epiphaniae=2=S. Hygini Papæ et Martyris=1=
      On January 11, there is the office contained in file 01-11 (the 6th day of the octave of the Epiphany) with a commemoration of S. Hyginus Pope and Martyr contained in the seperate file 01-11cc.
    • Tempora perpetually-transfers of the Tempora (Divino Afflatu is used as base).
    • Transfer transfers based on Easter date.
      Lines starts with '#-' signs are comments. Other lines are divided in three parts: before '=' char, between '=' and ';;', and after ';;'.
      Meaning is shown in examples from files a.txt and 402.txt respectively:
      01-11=01-10~01-11cc;;1570 1888 1906
      01-12=01-11;;1570 1888 1906

      • On January 11th, in all years with Dominical letter 'A' and under the Tridentine rubrics only, the office is of the 5th day of the octave (transferred from Jan. 10) but still with the commemoration of S. Hyginus.
      • On January 12th, in the same years and under the same rubrics, the office is of the 6th day of the octave (transferred from Jan. 11) but without the aforementioned commemoration.
      03-20=03-19;;1888 1960 DA M Newcal

      • In every year where Easter Sunday is on April 2nd, on the day March 20th there is Solemnity of St. Joseph (March 19th) for versions (1888, 1960 etc.; used short versions names from mentioned above file data.txt). For 1570, a different database file is used while in 1906, St. Joseph outranked the Sunday (temporarily) and does not get transferred.
      dirge1=01-23 02-03 02-20;;1570
      lists days where Officium Defunctorum is read after Vespera and Laudes. (dirge1 is for January and February, dirge2 for remaining months).
      marks days where major hymns should be altered according rule XX.3. (1 means merge hymns in Matutinum, 2 - shift hymns)
    • Stransfer as above but for transfers of Matutinums readings.

  • The Ordinarium folder is the collection of the scripts structuring the canonical hours. It is found directly in the folder ~/horas/. Each hour is represented by one file with the exception of Matins where a second file for the sole use on Epiphany day is to be found there. These files are not converted into hash.
    A line starting with # organizes the content (skeleton) and is expanded by the program file. For lines starting with $ and & see [Special characters].

  • Psalterium folder holds the information usually printed in the Ordinarium and Psalterium sections of the Breviarium Romanum. Prayers.txt contains the common prayers. The rest contains the Benedictions, Doxologies, specific forms of the Invitatory, seasonal parts for Matins (Matutinum special), Lauds & Vespers (Major special); Minor hours (Minor special); antiphons and psalm sets (Psalmi Major|Matutinum|Minor), Marian antiphons, and special seasonal parts for Prime (Prima special).

  • Psalms folder holds the 150 psalms, and the canticles for

    • 210-216 = Laudes 1;
    • 220-226 = Laudes 2;
    • 231-234 = New Testament canticles and the Quicumque

    The verses are numbered by chapter:verse numbers, and anything in parentheses is printed in small red font.

  • The Tempora folder holds the offices from the Proprium de Tempore. Each office has exactly one file, and each is a hash collection. The naming convention is:
    Season name w-d
    where w is the week of the season, and d is the day of week. (Example: Pent04-2 represents Tuesday of the 4th week after Pentecost. Similarly, 085-0 represents Sunday of the 5th week of August.)

  • Sancti is the same collection of offices as found in the Proprium Sanctorum. The naming convention is:
    where mm is the month, nn is the day. (Example: 07-26 represents July 26, Feast of St. Anne.) For practical reasons, unlike in the Missale Romanum or Breviarium Romanum, the Christmastide offices are split and the "Sanctoral parts" only are placed within the Sancti folder. Files are marked with certain letters for their usage within certain rubrical structures:

    • t = 1570 rubrics;
    • o = 1888 / 1906 rubrics;
    • r = 1960 rubrics;
    • da = Divino Afflatu rubrics;
    • n = 1960 rubrics with new calendar additions;
    • p = Paschaltide;
    • q (appended as suffix to one of the previous) = file to be used during Lent;
    • t (appended as suffix to one of the previous) = file to be used when an office is to be transferred.
    • cc = Simplex feasts perpetually impeded (hence only commemorated, and adressed accordingly in the Kalendarium and Transfer files; see below)

    Each feast is assigned a number for ranking purposes, which can be augmented by a decimal to slightly increase or decrease the rank. To ensure consistency across the database, ranking information is solely extracted from the Latin language files (with the exception of translations of an offices name); everything after the first ;; mark in the [Rank] hash of other languages is ignored. To accomodated the various rubrical structures and their slightly different rules for Occurrence, Concurrence, and Commemorations, apart from very few exceptions, the following ranks are used:

    General RankDuplexSemiduplexSimplexRank
    FestumDies 8vaDominicæDies infra 8vamVigiliæFeriæ
    I. classisDuplex I. cl. (max. sollem.)I. ordinis7.0Excludes all commemorations
    I. classisPentecostes (I. classis)Feria privilegiata6.9
    Duplex I. classisNativitatis (I. classis)6.5
    II. ordinis6.3
    Patronus Eccl.6.2
    II. classis (Trid. pre-1900: "IS. ordinis")Epiphaniæ (Trid.: "IS. ordinis")6.1
    Duplex I. classis (in Adventu & Quadr.)6.0
    II. classisII. classis (1906 & Divino)II. ordinis (Divino)5.6
    Duplex II. classis5.0
    MajusCorpus Christi (Trid.: "IIS. ordinis")per annum (Divino)Epiphaniæ (Divino: II. classis)Feria privilegiata II. ordinis (Monastic juxta Divino)4.9
    III. ordinis4.2This and above always commemorated.
    communis (Divino)4.1
    Duplex majus4.0
    minusFeria III. classis in Quadragesimæ (1960)3.9Exact rank always commemorated.
    communis (Trid.)3.1
    Duplex minus3.0
    Semiduplex2.99Used dynamically at Vespers for Dominicæ majores (Trid.); always commemorated.
    Dominica minor (Trid.)Corpus Christi (Trid.: "IIS. ordinis")Epiphaniæ (Trid.: tamquam Dominica)2.9
    Vigilia in Adventu (ad Missam)2.5Used only for Missa when Office is of the Feria but Mass of the Vigil.
    Immaculatæ Conceptionis (quia in Adventu)2.19
    III. ordinisFeria major2.1Exact rank always commemorated.
    SimplexVigilia communis1.5
    Simplex (Divino)1.3
    S. Maria in Sabbato1.2
    CommemoratioFeria minor1.0

  • Commune is the collection for Commune Sanctorum. The name of the office is under the first key: Name. See below for examples.

  • Martyrologium contains the files named as mm-nn (in the same way as the Sancti folder) for the Martyrologium. Please note that the Martyrology at Prime is anticipated for the subsequent day. In the Latin text, there exist different folders containing the Martyrology corresponding to the different rubrical structures. For instance, the folder ~/Latin/Martyrologium1960 represents the Martyrology as used in the 1960 rubrics, while ~/Latin/Martyrologium1955R will display that from the 1955 rubrics. Please see credits for the sources.



    The programs are written in Perl 5.6 and generate HTML. Environment variables: The following program files are used:
    • Starts the Divinum Officium Desktop program. Composes the main page and also calls upon other scripts.

    • Starts the Divinum Officium Mobile program. Composes the main page and also calls upon other scripts.

      Main Perl Scripts

    • Interprets the special characters and prints out the Officium for the selected hour.

    • Fills up the skeleton chapters with the actual content from the databases.

    • The file selects the current date, and the office for any given date, and provides rules for precedence.

      Auxiliary Perl Scripts

    • Interprets the defaults and setup.

    • Helper set to generate the dialog table, special html parts of the office tables, and also reads/writes cookies.

    • Generates the dialog box to set the parameters for web versions.

    • Generates a popup window if requested by the horas page.

    • Displays the Kalendar and makes it possibile to select a specific date. Uses and script sets.

    • Shows the datebase program and other files for the web versions. Uses

      .txt Files

    • Files (i.e. those found in ~/web/www/horas) is the collection of the internal databases for the web versions, broken down by language.


    Special characters

    All .txt files employ special characters to properly format the Hours. Each of them, with the exception of the ~ tilde sign, has to be set in the beginning of a line.

    • # in the files of the Ordinarium folder represent a chapter label, e.g. Incipit, Psalms, etc. The program interprets and expands or limits primarily these lines. Therefore, they represent the basic structure of the particular Hour.

    • [ name ] in a separate line is the key for a hash element, as mentioned earlier.

    • $ dollar sign as the first character of a line, followed by a name, represent a prayer found in Psalterium/Prayers file. These are the candidates for Popup if psalmi option is called. Some invoke an internal subroutine.

    • & sign calls an internal subroutine. If the subroutine name starts with capital letter that is listed only in all mode, if it starts with small letter, psalmi option will expand it.

    • @ sign cross-references back to a hash element in another (or the same) file. For instance, @Sancti/12-25:Capitulum Laudes will refer to the Lauds capitulum on Christmas Day. @:Ant 1 will refer to the 1st Vespers Magnificat antiphon within the same file.

    • ! An exclamation point (at the beginning of a line) will print the line with red font.

    • v. prints the following first letter in large red font.

    • r. prints the following first letter as regular red font.

    • R. V. * Ant. Benedictio These starting words are printed in regular red font.

    • double end of line represents a cell end, the printout will set a border separator.

    • _ underscore in itself in a line represents an empty line without a border separator.

    • ~ tilde at the end of the line represents contraction of a line of text.

    • ( text ) in psalm folder will print the enclosed text in small red font.

    • Digits or digits:digits at the beginning of the line in psalms and readings are interpreted as verse numbers, and are printed in red.

    • Common Offices (Cn) refer to the Commune Sanctorum:

      C1 : Common of ApostleC1a : Common of Evangelists   C1v : Vigil of Apostle
      C2 : Common of One MartyrC3 : Common of Several Martyrs
      C4 : Common of Confessor, Bishop or Pope (with variations)C4a : Common for a Bishop-Doctor of the Church
      C5 : Common of Confessor not BishopC5a : Common for Doctor of the Church (not a bishop)
      C6 : Common of One VirginC6a : Common of Several Virgins
      C7 : Common of a Holy Woman MartyrC7a : Common of Holy Women
      C8 : Common of the Dedication of a ChurchC9 : Office of the Dead
      C10 : Office of the Blessed Virgin for SaturdayC11 : Common for the Blessed Virgin Mary
      C12 : Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary
      other : reference to Proper officep added to the name : Eastertime Office



      Many of the files in Tempora or Sancti folders have an entry: Rule. There are the exceptions from those rules built into the Ordinarium and the Psalterium and represented by the files in those folders. A usual [Rule] item looks like:
      ex C4;
      Psalmi Dominica
      Antiphones horas
      9 lectiones
      Each rule is a separate line and exact spelling is required, except for capitalization.

      • ex filename : everything that is not in the Proprium is taken from the named file from the Commune (Cn) or from the file in the Tempora folder (e.g. Pasc0-0 for the Easter octave)

      • vide filename : like above, but only the Matins lections and the Lauds & Vespers antiphons, versum, & oratio are taken from the named file.

      • Psalmi Dominica : The Sunday psalm set is used, except if the psalm is explicitly indicated as being proper in the Proprium file.

      • Antiphonas horas : Laudes antiphons are used for the minor hours:

        • 1 = Prima
        • 2 = Tertia
        • 3 = Sexta
        • 5 = Nona

      • 9 lectiones : Matins with 9 lections.

      • omit group list : Skip the named item.

      • limit group list : Special (hard coded) rules for the named items.

      • Psalm5 Vespera=nn : The last psalm in Vespers is the named one.

      • Capitulum Versum 2 [hour spec] : Capitulum is substituted with the [Versum 2] item from the Propria. This occurs at all hours other than Compline if hour spec is omitted, at Lauds and Vespers if hour spec is ad Laudes et Vesperas, and at Lauds only if hour spec is ad Laudes tantum.

      • Una antiphona : Major hours are prayed under one antiphon.

      • Minores sine antiphona : Minor hours are prayed without an antiphon.

      • 1 nocturn : Matins of one nocturn only.

      • Rubrica 1570 aut Rubrica 1888 aut Rubrica Tridentina aut Rubrica Divino aut Rubrica 1960 (etc.) : Specifies usage of an element solely in one or more of these rubrical usages. The syntax used by the code is to place these conditionals in parentheses (e.g. [Lectio1](rubrica 1960), etc.)

      [Programs]    [Databases]    [Special characters]    [Exceptions]


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