vespers (vĕsˈpərz) [key] [Lat., = evening], in the Christian Church, principal evening office. In the Roman rite, vespers have consisted since the 6th cent. of a few prayers, five psalms, a lesson, the Magnificat, and an antiphon. The Anglican evening prayer, often called vespers, is made up largely of the Roman vespers and compline (the final evening office).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.