Book of Common Prayer

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Acronyms, Wikipedia.

Book of Common Prayer

Book of Common Prayer, title given to the service book used in the Church of England and in other churches of the Anglican Communion. The first complete English Book of Common Prayer was produced, mainly by Thomas Cranmer, in 1549 under Edward VI. Essentially it was a selection and translation from the breviary and the missal, with some additions from other sources. It was made compulsory by the Act of Uniformity (1549). Revision, undertaken by Cranmer, resulted in the Prayer Book of 1552, which showed the influence of foreign reformers then resident in England, for it made possible a wide diversity of views regarding the Eucharist, all justified by this official service book. The prayer book was in use only about eight months before Queen Mary's repeal legislation restored Roman Catholicism in England. In 1559, under Elizabeth I, the Prayer Book of 1552 was restored in a slightly altered version. From 1645 to 1660, under the Commonwealth and Protectorate, the prayer book was suppressed. In a new revision after the Restoration, it was again declared the only legal service book for use in England by an Act of Uniformity (1662). Alterations in the 1662 revision were largely those making for liturgical improvement. In 1927 a revised form was submitted to Parliament, whose approval was (and is) still required, and passed by the House of Lords but rejected by the Commons; it was resubmitted (with certain modifications) in 1928 and again rejected. Nonetheless, the revised prayer book was quite widely adopted in the Church of England with episcopal approval. This situation was finally legalized by the Prayer Book Measure, passed by Parliament in 1965. In addition to authorizing revisions already in use, the act approved the experimental use of new forms of worship drawn up by a liturgical commission; the Alternative Service Book (ASB) was adopted in 1980 and authorized for use alongside the Book of Common Prayer until the end of 2000. Revision of ASB is underway 01/01and under the general title Common Worship some revisions have already been authorized and published. In 1789, when the first General Convention of the Episcopal Church in the United States met, a revised version of the Book of Common Prayer was adopted; it embodied such changes as were required by the new conditions. In the U.S. Episcopal Church, as in other churches of the Anglican Communion over which the British Parliament has no control, there has been greater freedom in liturgical revision; the last U.S. revision of the Book of Common Prayer was in 1979.


See histories of the prayer book by J. H. Blunt (1868) and F. E. Brightman (2d ed. 1921, repr. 1970); J. W. Suter and G. J. Cleaveland, The American Book of Common Prayer (1949); M. H. Shepherd, The Oxford American Prayer Book Commentary (1950); G. Cuming, A History of Anglican Liturgy (1969, repr. 1980); B. Cummings, ed., The Book of Common Prayer (2011); D. Swift, Shakespeare's Common Prayers (2012); A. Jacobs, The Book of Common Prayer (2013).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
When it was published in 1928, The Book of Common Prayer was a milestone.
Indeed, he admits that many of them were members (some active) of other protestant denominations that had never held a Book of Common Prayer in their hands, but were keen to resist the specter of a "despotic papacy" undermining the "liberties" of the nation, and responded to the call to vote down medieval relapses by means of the anachronistic liturgical authority of parliament of which they were members.
Three introductory chapters deal with the origins of the bibliography, the origins of Book of Common Prayer itself, and the bibliographic method that Griffiths has followed.
A RARE 'sealed' copy of the Book of Common Prayer - complete with drawing of Charles II - will be on public display at Durham Cathedral this weekend.
The Book of Common Prayer: The Texts of1549, 1559, and 1662.
The term came into wider use in 1549 when the first Book of Common Prayer included a calendar with holy days marked in red ink.
Cummings, Brian, ed., The Book of Common Prayer: The Texts of 1549, 1559, and 1662, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2011; hardback; pp.
The Book of Common Prayer. Then, soon after World War II the Church looked to modernise its worship and introduced, in turn, series one, two and three.
NATIONAL HEROES'' (UGANDA) 1549: The Church of England adopted The Book of Common Prayer compiled by Thomas Cranmer.
In contrast to England, where services were required to follow the Book of Common Prayer faithfully, the Church of Scotland allowed and encouraged ministers to vary and extemporize within a loose framework.
The Prayer Book Society promotes the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, which is the basis of the Anglican faith around the world.