Breviary, a book containing the " canonical hours" or "divine office " which the Roman Catholic clergy and monastics are obliged to recite every day, and which was formerly said by the laity likewise. The name, derived from the Latin bremarium, orevis, is supposed to have been given because the office now in use is an abridgment of one much longer. The origin of the breviary was different in different parts of the church. Thus the diocese of An-tioch is said to have received it from Diodorus or Flavian, that of Constantinople from St. John Chrysostom, and that of Milan from St. Ambrose. Rome obtained it probably from Pope Gelasius I., in 494, and the churches of Spain from St. Leander, bishop of Seville about 620. These office books differed greatly both from one another and from the Roman breviary of the present day. In the course of time they became filled with legends of the saints of very doubtful authenticity, and many reforms were attempted, but without much success until Pope Pius V. and the council of Trent established a uniform office for the whole church. This was subsequently corrected by Clement VIII. and Urban VIII., and is the one now in use.
Before the council of Trent, however, Cardinal Quignon had published in France an expurgated and amended breviary, which, though condemned by the Parisian faculty of theology, was approved by Julius III. and Paul IV., passed through several editions, and for many years was generally used by the French clergy. In the Greek church, the office book is called (order), (dial), or (collection of prayers). Is is very nearly the same in all the monasteries and churches, and is divided into two parts, one containing the morning, the other the evening office. The psalter, is in 20 divisions, called (sittings), because a rest or pause is made after each one. The Armenians and other nations have similar breviaries.