Monday, August 13, 2012

1662 & 1962: Introduction


This is the first & introductory post in a series of articles that endeavours make a plain comparison of the rubrics and prayers of the 1662 edition of the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England with those of the 1962 edition of the Book of Common Prayer of Canada.

The shared history & government of these two lands contributes much to the commonality between the two prayer books; conversely, the distance in epoch contributes much to the differences between the two


In A.D. 1533, the Ecclesiastical Appeals Act 1532 was passed in the Parliament of the Kingdom of England. It declared the Monarch to be the sovereign governor over the national church of the realm, and made any judicial appeals to the Bishop of Rome illegal. In A.D. 1578, Martin Frobisher made his Arctic expedition, and a presbyter called Robert Wolfall was among the passengers. Reaching the shores of Frobisher Bay (now Iqaluit, capital of the Nunavut territory of Canada - north of Quebec on Baffin Island), Wolfall celebrated the first service of Holy Communion according to the Anglican rite, on September 3 of that year.

Throughout the Elizabethan and Jacobean era, clergy were officially appointed to accompany ships. Clergy being thinly spread across the vast exploration fleets, the Book of Common Prayer was mostly brought to the New World by sailors. A directive of 1633, issued by King Charles I, ordered that "On Sundays, Divine Service is to be said by some of the Masters of ships, such prayers as are in the Book of Common Prayer", obliging senior officers to lead services on deck in lieu of a presbyter.

From 1612-1628, the first established clergyman of the Church of England, Erasmus Stourton, was ministering in the wilds of what is now Newfoundland. A long time passed before the predominantly-French land that would be called "Canada" had any Church of England presence. Starting around 1700, societies such as that for the Promoting of Christian Knowledge and for the Propagation of the Gospel began to appear in England, with the express purpose of sending clergy to the New World. Baptism of the native people was a priority, and secondarily ministry to British citizens.

At the beginning of the 18th century, the first permanent parish of the Church of England north of the Thirteen Colonies was started in St. John's, Newfoundland. The original church, a small chapel for the garrison of the fort, had been destroyed in 1696 by French invaders. The citizenry of St. John's rebuilt it and sent a petition to Henry Compton, Bishop of London, for episcopal oversight, which was granted in 1699. Ironically, Newfoundland did not join the Canadian Confederation until 1949.

In 1710, during the war of the Spanish Succession, Port Royal, a French colony, was taken by the British and renamed Annapolis Royal. One John Harrison, a presbyter, stayed with the forces as chaplain. After the end of the war in 1713, England retained the fort and the chaplaincy continued.

In 1749, England began construction of a new fort, Fort St. George, in the French territory of Acadia (now Halifax, Nova Scotia). Acting as an obstacle to French naval warfare in the western Atlantic Ocean, the port was considered important enough to establishment a proper diocese to attend to its spiritual needs. On June 13, 1750, the foundation stone was laid for a cathedral named after the Apostle Paul. It was built on the model of St. Peter's, on Vere Street in London - a remarkable symbol of the unity of the Church of England expanding across the world. St. Paul's remains standing today as an active parish.

Charles Inglis was conscrated bishop of the first diocese of the Church of England outside England in 1787, at St. Paul's. Initially, funding and oversight for the Church of England in Canada came from the Parliament of Great Britain. In 1861 all Anglican churches in the Empire were allowed autonomous government. In 1893, a Solemn Declaration was issued by the first Synod of the Canadian churches, whereby they were declared to be, and desired to continue in, "full communion with the Church of England throughout the world, as an integral portion of the one Body of Christ", "united under the One Divine Head and in the fellowship of the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church".

The first authoritative Book of Common Prayer unique to Canada was printed in 1918. The Church of England in Canada was renamed the Anglican Chuch of Canada in 1955, and undertook a revision of the prayer book in 1959, printing it in 1962. This has been the last edition of any national prayer book to be written entirely in traditional language.



A manuscript of the 1693 edition of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer and the Administration of the Sacraments, and other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church, According to the Use of the Church of England.

Printed by Charles Bill and the Executrix of Thomas Newcomb, deceas'd; Printers to the King and Queens' Most Excellent Majesties, MDCXCIII

Link to the Table of Contents, preserved in .PDF format on Google Books

Checked against the present 1662 edition on the website of the Church of England:


A hard-cover 1990s print of the 1962 edition issued by the Authority of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada 1962
ISBN: 092184672X

Available through the Anglican Book Centre Toronto, and Augsburg Fortress.


The 1662 Book, in the 1693 edition, invites a direct comparison between 1962 and my edition 30 years on. As much changed in Canada in those thirty years as had changed in England in the interval 1662-1693. This may thus be called a case-study in chronological change, as well as textual & theological development.


    BCP: Acronym for "Book of Common Prayer"

    RUBRIC: A short sentence or paragraph instructing the worshiper(s) to take a specific action or continue on to a certain prayer.

    MATTINS: Traditional name for Morning Prayer: descended from the Latin adjective "matutinus", "related to the morning-time"; derived ultimately from the name of the nocturnal monastic service which lasted until the break of dawn.

    EVENSONG: Traditional name for Evening Prayer: derived from from the Old English noun "aefensang", "a song in the evening"; derived from the fact that popular cathedral services were accompanied by a choir making music & "song" after the work day was over.

    AMEN: An ancient Hebrew word denoting positive affirmation, meaning something like "yes", "it is true", or "may it be so".

    DOXOLOGY: A motto, prayer, or declaration which glorifies God and ends with the word Amen. A familiar example is: "Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power be unto him that sitteth upon the throne and unto the Lamb for ever and ever." (Revelation 5:13)

    COLLECT: A formal prayer consisting of four parts: an invocation of God's Name, a description of His qualities, a petition, and glorification of God through a doxology, concluding by asking that the petition be heard through the holy name of Jesus.

Example: "Collect for Purity", the traditional name for the opening prayer of the Communion service:

1. Invocation: "Almighty God,"
2. Description: "unto whom all hearts be open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid:"
3. Petition: "Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love thee, and worthily magnify thy holy Name;"
4. Doxology: "Through Christ our Lord. AMEN."

    PRAYER OF HUMBLE ACCESS: Traditional name for the prayer immediately before the consecration of bread & wine into the Body & Blood of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ: "We do not presume to come to this thy table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness..."

    V. Verse (said by the person leading the service) - often appears as "Priest."
    R. Response (said by others, answering the Verse) - often appears as "People."

    The PRECES: A set of verses & responses which initiate the main body of the Mattins & Evensong services, beginning:

V. "Lord, open thou our lips;"
R. "And our mouth shall show forth thy praise."

    The SUFFRAGES: A specific collection of verses & responses toward the end of Mattins & Evensong, beginning:

V. "O Lord, show thy mercy upon us;"
R. "And grant us thy salvation."


The 1662 edition is the text over which 1962 changes, omissions, and additions are imposed.

Red text is present in 1662 and not present in 1962 (i.e. omissions)
Blue text is not present in 1662 and is present in 1962 (i.e. additions or changes)

Example: The Collect for the Epiphany of our Lord & Saviour Jesus Christ (January 6). The petition of 1662 has been completely revised, and a doxology appended.


"O GOD, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thy only-begotten Son to the Gentiles: Mercifully grant that we, which  know thee now by faith, may after this life have the fruition of thy glorious Godhead, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

1662 compared with 1962:

"O GOD, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thy only-begotten Son to the Gentiles: Mercifully grant that we, which (1962: who) know thee now by faith, may after this life have the fruition of thy glorious Godhead, through Jesus Christ our Lord (1962: may be led onward through this earthly life, until we see the vision of thy heavenly glory; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ, who with thee and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth, one God, world without end). Amen."


"O GOD, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thy only-begotten Son to the Gentiles: Mercifully grant, that we who know thee now by faith, may be led onward through this earthly life, until we see the vision of thy heavenly glory; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ, who with thee and the Holy Ghost liveth and reignth, one God, world without end. Amen."


    The rites of the BCP are dealt with in order according to the progress of the Christian life:

III. The Order for Confirmation
IV. The Order for the Administration of the LORD's SUPPER or HOLY COMMUNION
V. The Order for Morning and Evening Prayer daily to be said throughout the year
VI. The Great Litany or Supplication
VII. The Ministration of HOLY BAPTISM to such as are of Riper Years and able to answer for themselves
VIII. The Form of Solemnization of Matrimony & the Churching of Women
IX. The Visitation & Communion of the Sick
X. The Order for the Burial of the Dead

APPENDIX. The Order how the Psalter is appointed to be read; the Calendar; the Lectionary; Services created by 1962

Here endeth the Introduction.

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