Compline (/ˈkɒmplɪn/ KOM-plin), also known as Complin, Night Prayer, or the Prayers at the End of the Day, is the final church service (or office) of the day in the Christian tradition of canonical hours. The English word compline is derived from the Latin completorium, as Compline is the completion of the working day. The word was first used in this sense about the beginning of the 6th century by St. Benedict in his Rule (Regula Benedicti; hereafter, RB), in Chapters 16, 17, 18, and 42, and he even uses the verb complere to signify Compline: "Omnes ergo in unum positi compleant" ("All having assembled in one place, let them say Compline"); "et exeuntes a completorio" ("and, after going out from Compline")... (RB, Chap. 42).

Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran, and certain other Christian denominations with liturgical traditions prescribe Compline services. Compline tends to be a contemplative Office that emphasizes spiritual peace. In many monasteries it is the custom to begin the "Great Silence" after Compline, during which the whole community, including guests, observes silence throughout the night until the morning service the next day.

Historical development

This section incorporates information from the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1917. References to psalms follow the numbering system of the Septuagint, as said in the Latin of the Vulgate.

The origin of Compline has given rise to considerable discussion among liturgists. In the past, general opinion ascribed the origin of this Hour to St. Benedict, in the beginning of the 6th century. But Jules Pargoire and A. Vandepitte trace its source to St. Basil. Vandepitte states that it was not in Cæsarea in 375, but in his retreat in Pontus (358-362), that Basil established Compline, which Hour did not exist prior to his time, that is, until shortly after the middle of the 4th century. Dom Plaine also traced the source of Compline back to the 4th century, finding mention of it in a passage in Eusebius and in another in St. Ambrose, and also in John Cassian.These texts bear witness to the private custom of saying a prayer before retiring to rest. If this was not the canonical Hour of Compline, it was certainly a preliminary step towards it. The same writers reject the opinion of Paulin Ladeuze and Dom Besse who believe that Compline had a place in the Rule of St. Pachomius, which would mean that it originated still earlier in the 4th century.[1]

It might be possible to reconcile these different sentiments by stating that if it be an established fact that St. Basil instituted and organized the Hour of Compline for the East, as St. Benedict did for the West, there existed as early as the days of St. Cyprian and Clement of Alexandria the custom of reciting a prayer before sleep, in which practice we find the most remote origin of our Compline.[1]

Compline in the Roman Rite

Pre-Vatican II

It is generally thought that the Benedictine form of Compline is the earliest western order, although some scholars, such as Dom Plaine, have maintained that the Hour of Compline as found in the Roman Breviary at his time, antedated the Benedictine Office. These debates apart, Benedict's arrangement probably invested the Hour of Compline with the liturgical character and arrangement which were preserved in the Benedictine Order, and largely adopted by the Roman Church. The original form of the Benedictine Office, lacking even an antiphon for the psalms, is much simpler than its Roman counterpart, resembling more closely the Minor Hours of the day.[1]

Saint Benedict first gave the Office the basic structure by which it has come to be celebrated in the West: three psalms (4, 90, and 133) (Vulgate numbering) said without antiphons, the hymn, the lesson, the versicle Kyrie eleison, the benediction, and the dismissal (RB, Chaps. 17 and 18).

The Roman Office of Compline came to be richer and more complex than the simple Benedictine psalmody. A fourth psalm was added, "In te Domine speravi" (Psalm 30 in Vulgate). And perhaps at a fairly late date was added the solemn introduction of a benediction with a reading (based perhaps on the spiritual reading which, in the Rule of St. Benedict, precedes Compline: RB, Chap. 42), and the confession and absolution of faults. This is absent from parallel forms, such as that of Sarum.

The distinctive character and greater solemnity of the Roman form of Compline comes from the response, In manus tuas, Domine ("Into Thy hands, O Lord")..., with the evangelical canticle Nunc Dimittis and its anthem, which is particularly characteristic.[2]

The Hour of Compline, such as it appeared in the Roman Breviary prior to the Second Vatican Council, may be divided into several parts, viz. the beginning or introduction, the psalmody, with its usual accompaniment of antiphons, the hymn, the capitulum, the response, the evangelical canticle, the prayer, and the benediction.

By way of liturgical variety, the service of initium noctis may also be studied in the Celtic Liturgy, such as it is read in the Antiphonary of Bangor, its plan being set forth by Warren and by Bishop (see Bibliography, below).

Current usage

In the breviary of 1974 Roman Catholic Liturgy of the Hours, Compline is divided as follows: introduction, an optional examination of conscience or penitential rite, a hymn, psalmody with accompanying antiphons, scriptural reading, the responsory, the Canticle of Simeon, concluding prayer, and benediction. The final antiphon to the Blessed Virgin Mary (Salve Regina, etc.) is an essential part of the Office.[3] Summorum Pontificum does allow Compline to be recited according to the older form.

Armenian Liturgy: Hours of Peace and Rest

There are two offices in the Armenian daily worship which are recited between Vespers and sleep: the Peace Hour and the Rest Hour. These are two distinct services of communal worship. It is the usage in some localities to combine these two services, with abbreviations, into a single service.

The Peace Hour

The Peace Hour (Armenian: Խաղաղական Ժամ khaghaghakan zham) is the office associated with compline in other Christian liturgies.

In the Armenian Book of Hours, or Zhamagirk`, it is stated that the Peace Hour commemorates the Spirit of God, but also the Word of God, “when he was laid in the tomb and descended into Hades, and brought peace to the spirits.”

Outline of the Peace Hour

If the Song of Steps is recited: Blessed is our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. Our Father... Amen.; Psalm 34:1-7: I have blessed the Lord at all times (awrhnets`its` zTēr)...; Glory to the Father (Always with Now and always... Amen.; And again in peace let us pray to the Lord...; Blessing and glory to the Father... Amen.; Song of Steps: Psalm 120:1-3: In my distress I cried (I neghout`ean imoum)...; Glory to the Father....

If the Song of Steps is not said: Blessed is our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. Our father... Amen; Psalm 88:1-2 God of my salvation (Astouats p`kkout`ean imoy)...; Glory to the Father...; And again in peace let us pray to the Lord...; Blessing and glory to the Father...Amen.; Peace with all.

In either case the service continues here: Psalms 4, 6, 13, 16, 43, 70, 86:16-17; Glory to the Father...; Song: Vouchsafe unto us (Shnorhea mez)...; Glory to the Father....; Acclamation: At the approach of darkness (I merdzenal erekoyis)...; Proclamation: And again in peace… Let us give thanks to the Lord (Gohats`arouk` zTearnē)...; Prayer: Beneficent Lord (Tēr Barerar)...; Psalm 27 The Lord is my light (Tēr loys im)...; Glory to the Father...; Song: Look down with love (Nayats` sirov)...; Acclamation: Lord, do not turn your face (Tēr mi dartzouts`aner)...; Proclamation: And again in peace… Let us beseech almighty God (Aghach`ests`ouk` zamenakal)...; Prayer: Bestowing with grace (Shnorhatou bareats`)....

On non-fasting days the service ends here with: Blessed is our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. Our father... Amen.

On fasting days continue here: Psalm 119; Glory to the Father...; Hymn: We entreat you (I k`ez hayts`emk`)....

During the Great Fast: Evening Chant (varies); Acclamation: To the spirits at rest (Hogvovn hangouts`elots`)...; Proclamation: And again in peace… For the repose of the souls (Vasn hangouts`eal)...; Lord, have mercy (thrice); Prayer: Christ, Son of God (K`ristos Ordi Astoutsoy)...; Blessed is our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. Our father... Amen.”

The Rest Hour

The Rest Hour (Armenian: Հանգստեան Ժամ hangstean zham) is celebrated after the Peace Hour, and is the last of the offices of the day. It may be considered communal worship before sleep. It bears some resemblance in content to Compline in the Roman Rite.

In the Armenian Book of Hours it is stated in many manuscripts that the Rest Hour commemorates God the Father, “that he protect us through the protecting arm of the Onlybegotten in the darkness of night.”

Outline of the Rest Hour: Blessed is our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. Our Father... Amen.; Psalm 43:3-5: Lord, send your light and your truth (Arak`ea Tēr)...; Glory to the Father...; And again in peace let us pray to the Lord...; Blessing and glory to the Father... Amen.; Psalms 119:41-56, 119:113-120, 119:169-176, 91, 123, 54, Daniel 3:29-34, Luke 2:29-32, Psalms 142:7, 86:16-17, 138:7-8, Luke 1:46-55; Glory to the Father...; Acclamation: My soul into your hands (Andzn im I tzers k`o)...; Proclamation: And again in peace…Let us beseech almighty God (Aghach`ests`ouk` zamenakaln)...; Prayer: Lord our God (Tēr Astouats mer)....

Ending: Psalm 4; Pre-gospel sequence; Gospel: John 12:24ff; Glory to you, our God; Proclamation: By the holy Cross (Sourb khach`ivs…)...; Prayer: Protect us (Pahpannea zmez)...; Blessed is our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. Our Father...Amen.

Ending during Fasts: Acclamation: We fall down before you (Ankanimk` araji k`o)...; Meditation Twelve of St. Gregory of Narek; Meditation 94 of St. Gregory of Narek; Meditation 41 of St. Gregory of Narek; Prayer: In faith I confess (Havatov khostovanim)... by St. Nerses the Graceful; Acclamation: Through your holy spotless and virgin mother (Vasn srbouhvoy)...; Proclamation: Holy Birthgiver of God (Sourb zAstouatsatsinn), ,; Prayer: Accept, Lord (Unkal, Tēr)...; Blessed is our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. Our Father...Amen.

Compline in Byzantine usage

Compline in the Eastern Orthodox and Greek-Catholic Churches (Greek (τὸ) Ἀπόδειπνον [apóðipnon], Slavonic Povecheriye: literally the "after-supper" [prayer]) takes two distinct forms: Small Compline and Great Compline. The two versions are quite different in length.

At Compline (whether Small or Great) a Canon to the Theotokos in the Tone of the Week will normally be read (these Canons will be found in the Octoechos). Services to saints in the Menaion that for various reasons cannot be celebrated on the day assigned to them, may be chanted on the nearest convenient day at Compline. In such cases, the Canon for the Saint would be read together with the Canon to the Theotokos, followed by the Stichera to the saint from Vespers. There are also particular days (such as certain Forefeasts, Afterfeasts, and days during the Pentecostarion) that have special Canons for Compline composed for them.

The Office always ends with a mutual asking of forgiveness. In some traditions, most notably among the Russians, Evening Prayers (i.e., Prayers Before Sleep) will be read near the end of Compline. It is an ancient custom, practiced on the Holy Mountain and in other monasteries, for everyone present at the end of Compline to venerate the relics and icons in the church, and receive the priest's blessing.

Small Compline

Small Compline is served on most nights of the year (i.e., those nights on which Great Compline is not served). On the eves of Sundays and feasts with All-Night Vigil, Compline may be either read privately or suppressed altogether. Among the Greeks, who do not normally hold an All-Night Vigil on Saturday evenings, Compline is said as normal.

The service is composed of three Psalms (50, 69, 142), the Small Doxology, the Nicene Creed, the Canon followed by Axion Estin,[4] the Trisagion, Troparia for the day, Kyrie eleison (40 times), the Prayer of the Hours, the Supplicatory Prayer of Paul the Monk, and the Prayer to Jesus Christ of Antiochus the Monk.[5] Then the mutual forgiveness and final blessing by the priest. After this, there is a Litany and the veneration of Icons and relics.

Great Compline

Great Compline is a penitential office which is served on the following occasions:

Unlike Small Compline, Great Compline has portions of the service which are chanted by the Choir[9] and during Lent the Prayer of St. Ephraim is said with prostrations. During the First Week of Great Lent, the Great Canon of Saint Andrew of Crete is divided into four portions and read on Monday through Thursday nights.

Due to the penitential nature of Great Compline, it is not uncommon for the priest to hear Confession during the service.

Great Compline is composed of three sections, each beginning with the call to prayer, "O come, let us worship...":

First Part

Psalms[10] 4, 6, and 12; Glory..., etc.; Psalms 24, 30, 90; then the hymn "God is With Us" and troparia, the Creed, the hymn "O Most holy Lady Theotokos", the Trisagion and Troparia of the Day, Kyrie eleison (40 times), "More honorable than the cherubim..." and the Prayer of St. Basil the Great.

Second Part

Psalms 50, 101, and the Prayer of Manasses; the Trisagion, and Troparia of Repentance,[11] Kyrie eleison (40 times), "More honorable than the cherubim..." and the Prayer of St. Mardarius.

Third Part

Psalms 69, 142, and the Small Doxology;[12] then the Canon followed by Axion Estin, the Trisagion, the hymn "O Lord of Hosts, be with us...", Kyrie eleison (40 times), the Prayer of the Hours, "More honorable than the cherubim....", the Prayer of St. Ephraim, Trisagion, the Supplicatory Prayer of Paul the Monk, and the Prayer to Jesus Christ of Antiochus the Monk.[5] Then the mutual forgiveness. Instead of the normal final blessing by the priest, all prostrate themselves while the priest reads a special intercessory prayer. Then the litany and the veneration of icons and relics.

Anglican usage

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The start of Compline in the Anglo-Catholic Anglican Service Book (1991)

In the Anglican tradition, Compline was originally merged with Vespers to form Evening Prayer in the Book of Common Prayer. ECUSA's Book of Offices of 1914, the Church of England's proposed Prayer Book of 1928, and the Anglican Church of Canada's Prayer Book of 1959, and also the 2004 version of the Book of Common Prayer for the Church of Ireland[13], restored a form of Compline to Anglican worship. Several contemporary liturgical texts, including the American 1979 Book of Common Prayer, the Anglican Church of Canada's Book of Alternative Services, and the Church of England's Common Worship, provide modern forms of the service. A traditional form is provided in the Anglican Service Book (1991). The Common Worship service consists of the opening sentences, the confession of sins, the psalms and other Bible lessons, the canticle of Simeon, and prayers, including a benediction. There are authorised alternatives for the days of the week and the seasons of the Christian year. As a public service of worship, like Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer, Compline may be led by a layperson.

Lutheran usage

Among Lutherans, Compline has re-emerged as an alternative to Vespers. The Office of Compline is included in the various Lutheran books of worship and prayer books (along with Matins/Morning Prayer and Vespers/Evening Prayer). Quite similar to Anglican use, in some Lutheran Churches Compline may be conducted by a layperson.


  1. ^ a b c "CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Compline".
  2. ^ The Catholic Enclopedia says: "It would be difficult to understand why St. Benedict, whose liturgical taste favoured solemnity in the Office, would have sacrificed these elements—especially the evangelical canticle—if, as Dom Plaine theorizes, his form of the Office were a later development."
  3. ^ General Instruction on the Liturgy of the Hours #92
  4. ^ Certain canons will call for Axion Estin to be replaced by the Irmos of the Ninth Ode.
  5. ^ a b Here follow the Evening Prayers in places where they are said at Compline.
  6. ^ Except for Wednesday of the Fifth Week. The Great Canon of Saint Andrew of Crete will have been read the evening before, and so Small Compline is appointed for that Wednesday night.
  7. ^ Among the Greeks, Small Compline is served on every Friday evening of Great Lent; the Russians, however, serve Great Compline on Fridays, with some modifications (see n. 7, below). On Friday night of the Fifth Week of Great Lent, the Akathist to the Theotokos is solemnly chanted, so Small Compline on that night will be either read privately or suppressed.
  8. ^ In some places, Great Compline will only be served on the first night of each of the Lesser Fasts.
  9. ^ Except on Friday night, when most of these parts are read. There are also fewer prostrations on Friday night.
  10. ^ On Monday through Thursday of the First Week of Great Lent, the service begins with Psalm 69, followed by the appropriate section of the Great Canon (in which case, Psalm 69 will be omitted in the Third Part).
  11. ^ Or, if it is the eve of a Great Feast, the Kontakion of the day.
  12. ^ On Great Feasts, the order of Great Compline ends here, and we continue the All-Night Vigil with the Litia.
  13. ^ "2004 Texts".


  • Bäumer, Histoire du Bréviaire, tr. Biron, I, 135, 147–149 et passim
  • Batiffol, Histoire du bréviaire romain, 35
  • Besse, Les Moines d'Orient antérieurs au concile de Chalcédoine (Paris, 1900), 333
  • Bishop, "A Service Book of the Seventh Century" in The Church Quarterly Review (January, 1894), XXXVII, 347
  • Butler, "The Text of St. Benedict's Rule", in Downside Review, XVII, 223
  • Bresard, Luc. Monastic Spirituality. Three vols. (Stanbrook Abbey, Worcester: A.I.M., 1996)
  • Cabrol, Le Livre de la Prière antique, 224
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "article name needed". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton., s.v. Complin
  • Ladeuze, Etude sur le cénobitisme pakhomien pendant le IVe siècle et la première moitié du Ve (Louvain, 1898), 288
  • Pargoire, "Prime et complies" in Rev. d'hist. et de littér. relig. (1898), III, 281–288, 456–467
  • Pargoire and Pétridès in Dict. d'arch. et de liturgie, s. v. Apodeipnon, I, 2579–2589
  • Plaine, "La Génèse historique des Heures" in Rev. Anglo-romaine, I, 593
  • —Idem, "De officii seu cursus Romani origine" in Studien u. Mittheilungen (1899), X, 364–397
  • Vandepitte, "Saint Basile et l'origine de complies" in Rev. Augustinienne (1903), II, 258–264
  • Warren, The Antiphonary of Bangor: an Early Irish MS. (a complete facsimile in collotype, with a transcription, London, 1893)
  • —Idem, Liturgy and Ritual of the Keltic Church (Oxford, 1881)

External links

Roman Rite


Eastern Orthodox

Anglican and Protestant

Sung Compline


Acolouthia (Greek: ἀκολουθία, "a following"; Slavonic: posledovanie) in the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches, signifies the arrangement of the Divine Services (Canonical Hours or Divine Office), perhaps because the parts are closely connected and follow in order. In a more restricted sense, the term "acolouth" refers to the fixed portion of the Office (which does not change daily). The portions of the Office that are variable are called the Sequences. While the structure and history of the various forms of the Divine Office in the numerous ancient Christian rites is exceedingly rich, the following article will restrict itself to the practice as it evolved in the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire.

The Office is composed of both musical and rhetorical elements, the first usually given in the musical mode or tone (echos), according to which the liturgical compositions are chanted. There are eight musical modes: four primary and four secondary (plagal). The rhetorical elements are seldom given in a normal speaking voice, but are "read" in a simple recitative.

As the early chanters rarely used texts set to musical notation, they learned by heart the words and music of some standard hymn, and this served as a model for other hymns of the same rhythm or meter. For example, in a Canon, the strophe or stanza of a standard hymn which indicates the melody of a composition is known as an irmos (eirmos, hirmos). An irmos is placed at the beginning of an Ode to introduce the melody to which it should be chanted, and to tie the theme of the Biblical Canticle on which it is based to the hymns of the Ode that follow (see Canon). A katabasia is the irmos that is sung at the end of an Ode by the choir (which descend from their seats (kathismata) and stand on the floor of the church to sing it). The katabasia winds down the Ode and returns it again to the theme of the Biblical Canticle.

Alma Redemptoris Mater

Alma Redemptoris Mater (Ecclesiastical Latin: [ˈalma redɛmpˈtoris ˈmatɛr]; English: Loving Mother of our Saviour) is a Marian hymn, written in Latin hexameter, and one of four seasonal liturgical Marian antiphons sung at the end of the office of Compline (the other three being Ave Regina cælorum, the Regina cœli and the Salve Regina).

Anglican Breviary

The Anglican Breviary is the Anglican edition of the Divine Office translated into English, used especially by Anglicans of Anglo-Catholic churchmanship. It is based on the Roman Breviary as it existed prior to both the Second Vatican Council and the 1955 liturgical reforms of Pope Pius XII.

It contains the liturgical offices of the hours:

Matins or Midnight Prayer (Midnight)

Lauds or Dawn Prayer (Dawn)

Prime or Early Morning Prayer (6 am)

Terce or Mid-Morning Prayer (9 am)

Sext or Midday Prayer (12 noon)

None or Mid-Afternoon Prayer (3 pm)

Vespers or Evening Prayer (6 pm)

Compline or Night Prayer (9 pm)

Ave Regina Caelorum

Ave Regina caelorum is one of the Marian antiphons said or sung in the Liturgy of the Hours at the close of compline. In the Roman Breviary as revised by Pope Pius V in 1569 it was assigned for this use from compline of 2 February until compline of Wednesday of Holy Week. Since the revision of the Liturgy of the Hours in 1969, the only Marian antiphon for whose use a fixed period is laid down is the Easter season antiphon Regina caeli.Like the other Marian antiphons, the Ave Regina caelorum has been set to polyphonic music by composers such as Leonel Power (d. 1445), Guillaume Du Fay (d. 1474), Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611), and Joseph Haydn (1732-1809).The prayer, whose author is unknown, is found in manuscripts from the twelfth century onward.

Canonical hours

In the practice of Christianity, canonical hours mark the divisions of the day in terms of periods of fixed prayer at regular intervals. A book of hours normally contains a version of, or selection from, such prayers.The practice of daily prayers grew from the Jewish practice of reciting prayers at set times of the day known as zmanim: for example, in the Acts of the Apostles, Saint Peter and John the Evangelist visit the Temple in Jerusalem for the afternoon prayers. Psalm 119:164 states: "Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous laws" (of this, Symeon of Thessalonica writes that "the times of prayer and the services are seven in number, like the number of gifts of the Spirit, since the holy prayers are from the Spirit").This practice is believed to have been passed down through the centuries from the Apostles, with different practices developing in different places. As Christian monasticism spread, the practice of specified hours and liturgical formats began to develop and become standardized. Around the year 484, the Greek-Cappadocian monk Sabbas the Sanctified began the process of recording the liturgical practices around Jerusalem, while the cathedral and parish rites in the Patriarchate of Constantinople evolved in an entirely different manner.In 525, Benedict of Nursia set out one of the earliest schemes for the recitation of the Psalter at the Office.The two major practices were synthesized, commencing in the 8th century, to yield an office of great complexity.The Cluniac Reforms of the 11th century renewed an emphasis on liturgy and the canonical hours in the reformed priories of the Order of Saint Benedict, with Cluny Abbey at their head.In the Catholic Church, canonical hours are also called offices, since they refer to the official set of prayers of the Church, which is known variously as the officium divinum ("divine service" or "divine duty"), and the opus Dei ("work of God"). The current official version of the hours in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church is called the Liturgy of the Hours (Latin: liturgia horarum) in North America or divine office in Ireland and Britain.In Anglicanism, they are often known as the daily or divine office, to distinguish them from the other 'offices' of the Church (holy communion, baptism, etc.).In the Eastern Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholic Churches, the canonical hours may be referred to as the divine services, and the book of hours is called the horologion (Greek: ῾Ωρολόγιον). Despite numerous small differences in practice according to local custom, the overall order is the same among Byzantine Rite monasteries, although parish and cathedral customs vary rather more so by locale. The usage in Oriental Orthodoxy, the Assyrian Church of the East, and the Eastern Catholic counterparts all differ from each other and from other rites.Already well-established by the 9th century in the West, these canonical offices consisted of seven daily prayer events, including lauds, prime, terce, sext, none, vespers, and compline, as well as the night office, sometimes referred to as vigils, consisting of a number of sections called 'nocturnes'. Building on the recitation of psalms and canticles from scripture, the Church has added (and, at times, subtracted) hymns, hagiographical readings, and other prayers.

Compline (composition)

Compline is a septet for flute, clarinet, harp, and string quartet by the American composer Christopher Rouse. The work was commissioned by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center through an award from the Koussevitzky Music Foundation. It was first performed by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center on December 6, 1996 at Alice Tully Hall in the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. The piece is dedicated to the memory of Natalie and Serge Koussevitzky.

Compline (disambiguation)

Compline (from the Latin completorium for "completion") may refer to:

Compline, a liturgy of night prayers, last of the canonical hours, observed by several Christian churches.

"Compline" is poem from the seven-poem series Horae Canonicae by Anglo-American poet W.H. Auden published in The Shield of Achilles (1955)

"Compline" is a short poem from the series "Horae Canonicae" by Scottish poet Donald Davie (1922-1995).

Compline Choir

The Compline Choir is a nationally acclaimed choral group that chants the Office of Compline every Sunday night, 9:30 P.M. Pacific time, at St. Mark's, Seattle in Seattle, Washington, US. The Office of Compline is made up of sacred music including plainsong and polyphonic compositions, and chanted recitations of the Apostles' Creed and the Lord’s Prayer.

Eastern Orthodox worship

Eastern Orthodox worship in this article is distinguished from Eastern Orthodox prayer in that 'worship' refers to the activity of the Christian Church as a body offering up prayers to God while 'prayer' refers to the individual devotional traditions of the Orthodox.

The worship of the Orthodox Church is viewed as the Church's fundamental activity because the worship of God is the joining of man to God in prayer and that is the essential function of Christ's Church. The Orthodox view their Church as being the living embodiment of Christ, through the grace of His Holy Spirit, in the people, clergy, monks and all other members of the Church. Thus the Church is viewed as the Body of Christ on earth which is perpetually unified with the Body of Christ in heaven through a common act of worship to God.

This article will deal first with the various characteristics of Orthodox worship, aside from its theological foundations as laid forth above, and will then continue to give the services of worship themselves and their structure.

Evangelical Lutheran Worship

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (ELW) is the current primary liturgical and worship guidebook and hymnal for use in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, replacing its predecessor, the Lutheran Book of Worship (LBW) of 1978, and its supplements, Hymnal Supplement 1991 (published by GIA Publications, a Roman Catholic publishing house) and With One Voice (WOV) (published in 1995 by Augsburg Fortress, the ELCA's publishing house).

Evangelical Lutheran Worship was first published in October 2006. Though not all ELCA and ELCIC congregations immediately adopted the book, demand for it was so great that it sold out its first and second printings and some congregations had to delay its adoption until more were available.

The book includes ten musical settings of the liturgy for the Holy Communion service, three of which were previously published in the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), as well as a Service of the Word. Morning Prayer (Matins), Evening Prayer (Vespers), and Night Prayer (Compline) are all included, as are occasional and pastoral offices such as baptism, marriage, burial, individual confession, and proper services for Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, and the Triduum. Martin Luther's Small Catechism is also printed in the book. A Prayer of the Day or Collect is included for each Sunday of each year of the lectionary cycle. Unlike the abbreviated Psalter included in the LBW, ELW includes the entire Book of Psalms in a version for congregational prayer and singing. Compared to the LBW, the selection of hymns is expanded, including many options from previously published Evangelical Lutheran worship/liturgical books, hymnals and hymnal supplements in America in the last two centuries.

Horae Canonicae

Horae Canonicae is a series of poems by W. H. Auden written between 1949 and 1955. The title is a reference to the canonical hours of the Christian Church, as are the titles of the seven poems constituting the series: "Prime", "Terce", "Sext", "Nones", "Vespers", "Compline", and "Lauds". Each refers to a fixed time of the day for prayer.

The canonical hours create a framework for the dramatization of Auden's religious position, which he described in a letter as "very much the same as Reinhold [Neibuhr]'s, i.e. Augustinian, not Thomist (I would

allow a little more place, perhaps, for the Via Negativa.) Liturgically, I am

Anglo-Catholic..."."Prime" and "Nones" were first published in Auden's collection Nones (1951). Horae Canonicae was published as a unity in Auden's The Shield of Achilles (1955).

Lity in the Eastern Orthodox Church

The Lity or Litiyá (Greek: Λιτή(Liti), from litomai, "a fervent prayer") is a festive religious procession, followed by intercessions, which augments great vespers (or, a few times a year, great compline) in the Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic churches on important feast days (and, at least according to the written rubrics, any time there is an all-night vigil.). Following a lity is another liturgical action, an artoklasia, and either of these terms may be used to describe both liturgical actions collectively.

Nunc dimittis

The Nunc dimittis (); also known as the Song of Simeon or the Canticle of Simeon, is a canticle taken from the second chapter of the Gospel of Luke and known by its Latin name from its incipit, the opening words, of the Vulgate translation of the passage, meaning "Now you dismiss". Since the 4th century it has been used in services of evening worship such as Compline, Vespers, and Evensong.

Office of the Dead

The Office of the Dead or Office for the Dead is a prayer cycle of the Canonical Hours in the Catholic Church, Anglican Church and Lutheran Church, said for the repose of the soul of a decedent. It is the proper reading on All Souls' Day (normally November 2) for all souls in Purgatory, and can be a votive office on other days when said for a particular decedent. The work is composed of different psalms, scripture, prayers and other parts, divided into The Office of Readings, Lauds, Daytime Prayer, and Vespers (with Compline taken from the Sunday hour of Compline).

Psalm 134

Psalm 134 is the 134th psalm from the Book of Psalms, generally known in English by its first verse in the King James Version, "Behold, bless ye the LORD, all ye servants of the LORD". The Book of Psalms is part of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament. It is Psalm 133 in the slightly different numbering system of the Greek Septuagint and Latin Vulgate versions of the Bible. Its Latin title is "Ecce nunc benedicite Dominum". It is the last of the fifteen Songs of Ascents (Shir Hama'alot), and one of the three Songs of Ascents consisting of only three verses.The psalm is a regular part of Jewish, Catholic, Anglican and Protestant liturgies. It has been set to music often and paraphrased in hymns. The short psalm is part of the daily Catholic service Compline, for which settings in Latin were composed by composers such as Tomás Luis de Victoria and Orlande de Lassus. It is frequently used in Anglican Evening Prayer, with settings by John Dowland and Benjamin Rogers, among others.

Regina Caeli

Regina caeli (Ecclesiastical Latin: [reˈdʒina ˈtʃeli]; English: Queen of Heaven) is a musical antiphon addressed to the Blessed Virgin Mary that is used in the liturgy of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church during the Easter season, from Easter Sunday until Pentecost. During this season, it is the Marian antiphon that ends Compline (Night Prayer) and it takes the place of the traditional thrice-daily Angelus prayer.

The spelling Regina coeli is sometimes found, but not in the official liturgical books. Formerly, like Pater noster qui es in coelis, this spelling was frequently but not exclusively used in some liturgical and other books.

Salve Regina

The Salve Regina (; Ecclesiastical Latin: [ˈsalve reˈdʒina], meaning "Hail Queen"), also known as the Hail Holy Queen, is a Marian hymn and one of four Marian antiphons sung at different seasons within the Christian liturgical calendar of the Catholic Church. The Salve Regina is traditionally sung at Compline in the time from the Saturday before Trinity Sunday until the Friday before the first Sunday of Advent. The Hail Holy Queen is also the final prayer of the Rosary.

The work was composed during the Middle Ages and originally appeared in Latin, the prevalent language of Western Christianity until modern times. Though traditionally ascribed to the eleventh-century German monk Hermann of Reichenau, it is regarded as anonymous by most musicologists. Traditionally it has been sung in Latin, though many translations exist. These are often used as spoken prayers.

St. Meinrad Archabbey

Saint Meinrad Archabbey is a Roman Catholic monastery in Spencer County, Indiana, USA, was founded by monks from Einsiedeln Abbey in Switzerland on March 21, 1854, and is home to approximately 85 monks. The abbey is named for St. Meinrad, a monk who died in 861. It is one of only two archabbeys in the United States and one of 11 in the world. The abbey is located approximately 15 minutes from Monastery Immaculate Conception in Ferdinand, Indiana. Immaculate Conception is for Benedictine women.

The Benedictine community at Saint Meinrad consists of men who dedicate their lives to prayer and work. They gather in community five times a day—for morning prayer, Mass, noon prayer, evening prayer and compline—to pray for the Church and the world. Guests often join the monks in prayer in the Archabbey Church.

Gregorian chant is sung in the canonical hours of the monastic Office, primarily in antiphons used to sing the Psalms, in the Great Responsories of Matins, and the Short Responsories of the Lesser Hours and Compline. The psalm antiphons of the Office tend to be short and simple, especially compared to the complex Great Responsories.

In addition, the monks spend private time reading spiritual and religious materials. They live under the Rule of St. Benedict, the 6th-century instructions for community living written by St. Benedict.

Sub tuum praesidium

"Beneath Thy Protection" (Greek: Ὑπὸ τὴν σὴν εὐσπλαγχνίαν; Latin: Sub tuum praesidium) is a Christian hymn. It is the oldest preserved extant hymn to the Blessed Virgin Mary as Theotokos. The hymn is well known in many Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox countries, and is often a favourite song used along with Salve Regina.

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