Commemoration: 1549 Book of Common Prayer

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Thursday June 9, 2022 All Day
Annually on June 9

The First Book of Common Prayer


Image Source: wikipedia

        The official language of public worship in England was changed from Latin to English during the reign of King Edward VI (successor to Henry VIII). Now commemorated "on the first convenient day following Pentecost," the very first Book of Common Prayer was first used on Pentecost Sunday, 9 June 1549.

        Although the 1549 Book of Common Prayer (BCP) was the work of a commission, it was primarily the fruitful work of Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

THOMAS CRANMER (1489-1556), Image Source: Luminarium: Anthology of English Literature

        The 1549 Book of Common Prayer "was based primarily upon the Latin worship tradition of the Use of Sarum (similar to, but not identical with, the Roman rite used by most Roman Catholics between 1600 and 1950), with some elements taken from the Greek liturgies of the Eastern Church, from ancient Gallican (French) rites, from the new Lutheran order of service, and from the Latin rite of Cologne," (Society of Archbishop Justus).

        "The older usage had grown haphazardly through the centuries, and had added so many complications that it was difficult to follow (the priest often needed to juggle up to a dozen books to get through a single service). The new order pruned and simplified so that only one book other than the Bible was necessary, and so that even the laity could follow the service and participate without difficulty. Moreover, the quality of the English was outstanding," (Society of Archbishop Justus).

        "All Christians who worship in English, from Roman Catholics to Southern Baptists and beyond, are in some measure influenced by it, and all to whom it is important that the people of God understand the worship of the Church and take an active part therein have cause to be grateful for the Book of Common Prayer," (Society of Archbishop Justus).

PRAYER (traditional language):

Almighty and everliving God, whose servant Thomas Cranmer, with Others, did restore the language of the people in the prayers of thy Church: Make us always thankful for this heritage; and help us so to pray in the Spirit and with the understanding, that we may worthily magnify thy holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Source: Society of Archbishop Justus,

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