Allmusic awarded the album with 3½ stars and its review by Richard S. Ginell states: "Recorded in a heavily reverberant Austrian monastery, the voices sometimes develop in overwhelming waves, and Garbarek rides their crest, his soprano sax soaring in the monastery acoustic, or he underscores the voices almost unobtrusively, echoing the voices, finding ample room to move around the modal harmonies yet applying his sound sparingly." An Amazon customer remarked that Officium is "what Coltrane hears in heaven." 
Brought together by Manfred Eicher, this collaboration has become one of the most successful releases on the ECM label, achieving sales of more than 1.5 million. Following a number of successful concert tours, a second collaborative album, Mnemosyne, was released in 1999. Officium Novum, another sequel album, was released in September 2010.