The Office of the Passion - 139 

The Office of the Passion

Devotional Offices dedicated to the Passion or to the Blessed Virgin have their roots in the Liber Precum (Book of Prayers) of the monastic tradition. Until the thirteenth century such Offices were recited in connection with the Liturgy of the Hours. At the time of Francis, however, these more devotional offices became increasingly independent and were seen as private prayers. Although it is difficult to date its composition, Francis’s Office of the Passion seems to have been composed at different times, a theory confirmed by his use of both the Gallican and Roman Psalters.


These are the psalms which our most holy Father Francis composed in reverence, memory and praise of the Passion of the Lord. They should be said during each of the hours of the day and the one hour of the night. They begin with Compline of Holy Thursday, for on that night our Lord Jesus Christ was betrayed and taken captive. Note that Saint Francis used to recite this office in this way:

  • At the beginning he used to say the prayer that the Lord and Master taught us: OUR FATHER MOST HOLY, etc., with the Praises, that is, HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, etc., as they are written above.
  • At the end of the Praises with the prayer, he used to begin this antiphon: HOLY MARY.
  • First he used to say the Psalms of Saint Mary; afterward he used to recite the other psalms which he had chosen, and at the end of the psalms he had recited, he said the psalms of the Passion.a
  • At the end of the psalm he used to recite the antiphon: HOLY VIRGIN MARY.
  • At the end of the antiphon the Office was finished.




Officium passionis domini, Fontes Franciscani, p. 144

Officium Passionis Domini


Incipiunt psalmi, quos ordinavit beatissimus pater noster Franciscus ad reverentiam et memoriam et laudem passionis Domini. Qui dicendi sunt per quaslibet horas diei et noctis unum. Et incipiunt a completorio feriae sextae Parasceve, eo quod in illa nocte traditus fuit et captus Dominus noster Jesus Christus. Et nota, quod sic dicebat istud officium beatus Franciscus:

  • Primo dicebat orationem, quam nos docuit Dominus et Magister: "Sanctissime pater noster" etc. cum laudibus, scilicet: "Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus" sicut superius continetur.
  • Finitis laudibus cum oratione incipiebat hanc antiphonam, scilicet: "Sancta Maria".
  • Psalmos dicebat primo de sancta Maria; postea dicebat alios psalmos quos elegerat, et in fine omnium psalmorum, quos dicebat, dicebat psalmos passionis.
  • Finito psalmo dicebat hanc antiphonam, scilicet: "Sancta Maria virgo".
  • Finita antiphona expletum erat officium.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 139