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Antecedents of the Book of Common Prayer
Drell's Descants ^ | 11/06/2005 | The Rev. Alice C. Linsley

Posted on 11/08/2005 7:52:18 PM PST by sionnsar

The Eucharistic liturgy of the American Books of Common Prayer of 1789, 1892 and 1928 draws upon several antecedents: the medieval Sarum Rite, the work of Thomas Cranmer in the 16th century, and the Scottish Rite of the 18th century. We will examine each of these in a three-part series on the historic Book of Common Prayer. Each antecedent represents a distinct historical context from which we can learn lessons to guide us today.

Part I: The Sarum Rite

Al Kimel, an Episcopal priest who has converted to Roman Catholicism, recently posed this question: “What’s so catholic about Anglicans?”

Anglicans are catholic in part because we are the people of Sarum. The “Sarum Rite” refers to the body of liturgical ritual, text, and hymnody used at Salisbury Cathedral in the Middle Ages. It was an authorized formulary that differed from the Roman Rite of the time in the observation of local feasts, English devotional poetry and English melodies. One of the glories of the Sarum repertory is Salve regina celorum, sung at the Compline of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The melody of the antiphon is distinctively English and includes five stanzas of devotional poetry.

Sarum in the Tudor and Elizabethan periods supplied a catholic theological and devotional focus during a time of great upheaval. To perform the liturgy of the Sarum Rite is to explore the roots of the Anglican liturgy and such exploration makes it clear that Anglicans are catholic.

Sarum Rite was influential in the development of the Book of Common Prayer (1549 - 1662), but not so in the development of ECUSA’s 1979 prayer book. The 1979 book represents a significant break with the catholicism of the true Book of Common Prayer. Instead, it takes as its pattern the Post-Vatican II Mass.

In the 10th century Christianity flowered in England, especially around the cities of Canterbury, York, and Salisbury. There appears to have been a great turning of hearts to Christ and a cleansing of the church. Numerous factors contributed to this revival. The expansion of the Turkish Empire caused Christians to realize the danger of taking their faith for granted. Greek monks fleeing the Turkish invasion came to Italy and France, bringing their ancient liturgies. These were studied in the monasteries and influenced local Roman liturgies. Of particular importance in this regard was the Monastery at Bec in Normandy whose prior was Lanfranc. In 1066 William of Normandy conquered England, bringing the reformer Lanfranc, who became Archbishop of Canterbury. William recognized the Pope’s spiritual authority, but ordered that he could exercise papal authority in England only with the king’s permission. In an Anglo Saxon Chronicle from 1086, William the Conqueror is described as follows:

“King William…was a man of great wisdom and power…Though stern beyond measure to those who opposed his will, he was kind to those good men who loved God. On the very spot where God granted him the conquest of England he caused a great abbey to be built; and settled monks in it and richly endowed it. During his reign was built the great cathedral at Canterbury, and many others throughout England.”

King William also brought from Normandy Saint Osmund and appointed him Bishop of Sarum (or Salisbury) in 1078. Osmund compiled Roman liturgical books and incorporated both Norman and Anglo Saxon traditions. The Sarum Service Books came to be widely used in England and were an important influence on the development of The Booke of Common Prayer (1549) and subsequent English Prayer Books.

Here are some portions of the Sarum Rite that Episcopalians will recognize:

It is truly meet and just, right and availing to salvation, that we should always and in all places give thanks to Thee, O Holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God…

Which oblation do Thou, O almighty God, vouchsafe in all respects to bless, approve, ratify, make reasonable, and accept, we beseech Thee: that it may be made for us the Body and Blood of Thy dearly beloved Son, our Lord and God Jesus Christ…

Wherefore also, O Lord, we Thy servants, as also Thy holy people, calling to mind the blessed Passion of the same Christ Thy Son, our Lord God, His Resurrection from the dead and glorious Ascension into heaven, offer unto Thy most excellent Majesty, of Thy gifts bestowed upon us…

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant
Part II: Thomas Cranmer’s Contribution

After the death of Henry VIII change within the English Church proceeded more quickly. In January 1548 candles at Candlemas, ashes on Ash Wednesday and palms on Palm Sunday were long longer allowed. In 1550, by order of the Council of Regents, tables replaced altars to prevent priests from offering the sacrifice of the Mass. Conservative bishops who abhorred this were imprisoned and replaced by more radical bishops. The forces of change pointed to a reformed liturgy. As Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer was responsible for the preparation of this liturgy. In consultation with other bishops, he produced The Booke of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments, and other Rites and Ceremonies of the Churche, after the use of the Churche of England. The first Act of Uniformity required all Anglicans to worship according to this Book.

The original Book of Common Prayer lasted only three years. The more Protestant elements of the Church thought it didn’t go far enough to remove the sacrifice at the altar, and the clergy of Oxfordshire refused to use it. The 1552 Prayer Book, Cranmer’s revision, was enforced by a second and even stricter Act of Uniformity.

This Prayer Book reveals more of Cranmer’s reformed theology, influenced by the German reformers. Henry VIII had sent Cranmer as an envoy to the Court of Emperor Charles V in Nurnburg, Germany. While there Cranmer was influenced by the continental reformers and married the niece of Andreas Osiander, a prominent Lutheran pastor. While Cranmer was revising the Book of Common Prayer, he was also translating Justus Jonas’ Lutheran catechism.

We can chart Cranmer’s theological shift by looking at the changes he made in the eucharistic liturgies of 1549 and 1552. Two of these changes are especially instructive. In the 1552 Book, Cranmer relocated the Gloria in excelsis to the post communion section to maintain a penitential note at the beginning of the service. In the 1549 Book, Cranmer kept the Collect for Purity as part of the priest’s private preparation before the service, but in the 1552 Book he moved the Collect for Purity to the entrance where the priest prayed in the hearing of the congregation, a small but significant step toward restoring the liturgy to the people. In addition to bringing the Collect for Purity out of the sacristy, Cranmer balanced the Roman Rite with elements from the Eastern Rites when he elevated the Trisagion to equal liturgical status as the Kyrie. His study of the ancient liturgies, especially the eastern liturgies, made his 1552 Prayer Book more truly “catholic.”

The Prayers of the People in the 1979 Prayer Book retain only one paragraph that can be attributed to Cranmer. It is this: “And we most humbly beseech thee, of thy goodness, O Lord, to comfort and succor all those who, in this transitory life, are in trouble, sorrow, need, sickness, or any other adversity.” The prayer underscores Cranmer’s faith in God’s essential goodness, a theme which appears in Cranmer’s 1544 Great Litany “to be read to the people in every church afore processions.” After each deprecation Cranmer followed with the response: “Good Lord, deliver us.” (See pp. 148-149 in the 1979 Prayer Book.) While the following words are not exactly what appear in the 1549 Book of Common Prayer, we hear Cranmer’s emphasis: “And we most humbly beseech thee, O merciful Father, to hear us and of thy almighty goodness vouchsafe to bless and sanctify…” and “… we earnestly desire thy fatherly goodness mercifully to accept our sacrifice…”

Other contributions of Cranmer include “An Exhortation” to be used before communion (pp. 316-317 in the 1979 Prayer Book) and The Exchange of the Peace, which while eliminated by many reformers, was retained by Cranmer.

When it comes to Baptism, Cranmer continued solidly in the catholic tradition. He believed that the waters of baptism were a spiritual washing of original sin and the means of regeneration.

Cranmer was weighing the great issues of his day and trying to simplify a liturgy that had become overly complex. The number of holy days in the calendar was reduced, and the Communion table was placed in the chancel where communicants could gather around it. The Agnus Dei (“Lamb of God”) was removed to avoid the adoration of the elements. Cranmer expanded the appointed lessons so that the people would become better acquainted with Holy Scripture. Both Latin and English Bibles had been placed in all the churches.

Cranmer’s liturgy emphasized penitence as the proper spiritual posture for worship and attentiveness to the Bible readings and the sermon that followed. His theology stressed the goodness of God. He was a true Anglican: both catholic and reformed, and in many ways he was ahead of his time.

1 posted on 11/08/2005 7:52:18 PM PST by sionnsar
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To: ahadams2; Fractal Trader; Zero Sum; anselmcantuar; Agrarian; coffeecup; Paridel; keilimon; ...
Traditional Anglican ping, continued in memory of its founder Arlin Adams.

FReepmail sionnsar if you want on or off this moderately high-volume ping list (typically 3-9 pings/day).
This list is pinged by sionnsar, Huber and newheart.

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Speak the truth in love. Eph 4:15

2 posted on 11/08/2005 7:52:56 PM PST by sionnsar (†† || (To Libs:) You are failing to celebrate MY diversity! || Iran Azad)
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To: sionnsar
Here are some portions of the Sarum Rite that Episcopalians will recognize:

It is truly meet and just, right and availing to salvation, that we should always and in all places give thanks to Thee, O Holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God…

Which is a slightly different translation of the Preface in the Tridentine Mass

Vere dignum et justum est, aequum et salutare, nos tibi semper, et ubique gratias agere: Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, aeterne Deus. qui cum unigenito Filio tuo, et Spiritu Sancto...

It is indeed fitting and right, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give thanks to You, Lord, Holy Father, almighty and eternal God, who with Your only-begotten Son and the Holy Spirit...

3 posted on 11/09/2005 12:59:44 PM PST by omega4412 (Multiculturalism kills)
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To: omega4412
1928 BCP:

¶ After which the Priest shall proceed, saying,
Lift up your hearts.
Answer. We lift them up unto the Lord.
Priest. Let us give thanks unto our Lord God.
Answer. It is meet and right so to do.

¶ Then shall the Priest turn to the Holy Table, and say,
IT is very meet, right, and our bounden duty, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto thee, O Lord, Holy Father, Almighty, Everlasting God.


4 posted on 11/09/2005 1:12:15 PM PST by sionnsar (†† || (To Libs:) You are failing to celebrate MY diversity! || Iran Azad)
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