Breviarium Romanum 1962 edition
This review is of a brand new, totally re-typeset edition of the 1962 Breviarium Romanum published by Nova et Vetera in Germany. A couple of things to mention at the outset- When referring to a "1962" edition of a liturgical book, it simply refers to a year commonly accepted as the last year of minor reforms before the total overhaul of the Breviary, Missal, and Sacraments in the late 1960's and early 1970's. The new rubrics for the Breviary and Missal were promulgated in July of 1960 to be put in force in January of 1961. The other thing I want to mention is this is not a book review in the strict sense. I will be commenting both objectively and subjectively on various material aspects these tomes, not on the content.
Upon handling these tomes, one immediately senses a degree of quality in publishing that is quite rare these days. I felt as though I was handling an original set from early 60's, mysteriously preserved in new condition. But I wasn't. The smell of the leather and fresh ink. The feel of the limp leather covers and smooth ribbons. A bibliophile's dream. Nova et Vetera should be applauded for their accomplishment.
On to the details. The covers are of the highest quality leather which is grained yet still smooth. It has 5 raised bands on the spine and rounded corners. The first endsheets (just inside the covers) are made of a heavy, resin-impregnated stock. The next sheets are of a slightly heavier stock than the rest of the pages, containing some commonly said Breviary prayers. The page corners are rounded as well, with nice gold gilding. The paper is a very thin yet strong cream "bible paper". Thin enough to keep the tomes very slim, yet thick enough that the text bleed through is tolerable. The printing is clear and sharp, in a very easy to read font. The rubrics are in red of course, but this red is quite different than any I have seen in a liturgical book. It is a very deep, dark red, almost burgundy. It is very attractive and sits well the black text on the cream paper. Both tomes lay flat in your hand or on a table, nearly anywhere you open it.
I like the order of sections as well. Proprium de Tempore first, followed by the Ordinarium, then the Psalterium, then the Proprium Sanctorum, and finally the Commune Santorum. This allows one to work from the center of the Breviary and then move to the front and rear sections for the Propers. Not all Breviaries were printed this way in the 60's. My Desclee edition with the Pius XII Psalter has the Ordinarium first, followed by the Proprium de Tempore, then the Psalter and so on. Speaking of the Psalter, this new edition does contain the Vulgate Psalter, not the Psalter of Pius XII, which is sometimes a stumbling block when purchasing a used original edition.
A few extras to mention- Also included with the tomes are two sets (one for each volume of the Breviary) of heavy laminated cards with commonly said prayers on them. Available at extra cost are two small booklets. One is of propers for feasts celebrated in the U.S.A. and the other- Hymni Antiqui, a collection of ancient hymns. The nice covers, for storage or transport, are available for a discounted price when purchasing them with a Breviary set (when ordering directly from the publisher). They are available in smooth or grained leather.
We have posted some pictures below in the image gallery. The publishers website has many more exterior and interior shots on their wonderful website. http://www.breviariumromanum.com/
The Breviary can be purchased from 2 U.S. sources
Preserving Christian Publications
It can also be purchased directly from the publisher at
Some other resources I should mention are-
Learning the New Breviary
(an interpretation of the rubrics and guide to praying the 1962 edition)
Free download here. Buy the printed edition here.
Pocket guide for recitation of the 1962 Breviarium Romanum
Ordo (an indispensable tool for proper recitation of the Divine Office)