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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.

Each language folder contains the same set of subfolders, which represents the parts of the printed breviary volumes: Ordinarium, 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.

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):
  • The Ordinarium folder is the collection of the scripts structuring the canonical hours. Each hour is represented by two or more files. These files are not converted into hash. A line starting with # organizes the content. These files are used by program file. If necessary, there are separate files for the 1960 (name ending with 'r') or Tridentine version (name ending with 't') or for Paschal time (name ending with 'p'.)

  • 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 placed within the Sancti folder. Files are marked with certain letters for their usage within certain rubrical structures:

    • r = 1960 rubrics;
    • da = Divino Afflatu rubrics;
    • t = 1570 rubrics;
    • o = 1910 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.

    Each feast is assigned a number for ranking purposes, which can be augmented by a decimal to slightly increase or decrease the rank. Generally, the following enumeration is used:

    • 1 = Simplex;
    • 2 = Semiduplex;
    • 3 = Duplex;
    • 4 = Duplex majus;
    • 5 = Duplex II Classis;
    • 6 = Duplex I Classis

  • 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.

  • Tabulae contains the transfer tables and are found in the ~/Latin folder. The Tr=Transfer files have
    lines, where 'filename' is the name of the office (from the Proprium de Tempore or Proprium Sanctorum) and the mm-nn is the date in the given year to which it is transfered. It is an ongoing project to establish a perpetual calendar calculation algorithm which would take all anomalies into account. Please help.

    • Files beginning with K give the permanent Sanctoral calendar for a given rubrical structure (KM = Monastic, KNC = New calendar, K1954 = Divino Afflatu, etc.)
    • Files beginning with Tr (Tr1570, Tr1960, etc.) and without a year indicated list the perpetually-transferred files in the Tempora directory for a given rubrical structure.
    • Files beginning with Str with a year indicated are the Scripture transfer tables for Matins for that year, and appear in the format Str(rubric)yyyy.txt. For example, Matins Scripture transfers for 2020 in Divino Afflatu rubrics are found in the file StrDA2020.txt.
    • Files beginning with Tr with a year indicated are the transfer tables for that year, and appear in the format Tr(rubric)yyyy.txt Therefore, transfers for the year 2021 under Newcalendar rubrics are found in the file TrNewcal2021.txt.



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 1910 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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