350 years of the Book of Common Prayer

Events are scheduled across England this year to mark the 350th anniversary of the 1662 edition of the Book  of Common Prayer, reports Religion News Service. One flagship event was this past Wednesday evening, when St. Paul’s Cathedral in London celebrated the anniversary with a service of evensong taken from the 1662 work. Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams was among those in attendance.

The 1662 revision of the prayer book still stands as the official doctrinal standard of the Church of England and most other churches in the Anglican Communion, though most churches in the communion regularly use most recently revised texts.



  1. I have my great grandfather’s 1662 BCP (printed in 1847) complete with prayers for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Lovely book, still in excellent condition, with a well balanced rite for Matins and Evensong. The rubrics are simple and easy to follow.

    With the addition of a reading from the Church Fathers and an incensation at the Benedictus and Magnificat, you have a perfectly workable and beautiful office for use in Catholic churches, either as a stand alone office, or as a prelude to Mass. It’s beautiful whether you use the Cranmerian English or more contemporary language.

  2. I have, found in thrift shop, 1929 edition of the BCP, very good condition, and not for sale! I can only second what Dunstan, above has said, and I would only note, that the English, is especially beautiful when chanted, even recto tono. While the monarch is not prayed for, the President is.


  3. Interesting that DH thinks the prayer book offices of morning and evening prayer are suitable for use in Catholic churches. Anglicans have been using them, with and without incense, for a very long time and have always thought of them as Catholic. Now, of course, they are really quite (Roman) Catholic: they appear in the Book of Divine Worship, which is the ‘prayer book’ of Anglican Use Catholics of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter. Great numbers of us never questioned that, but for an embarassing line here and there, the entire BCP was Catholic – with incense or not.

    The 1929 BCP that EL has is the American edition of the BCP, the one that preceded the current 1979 BCP in this country. Hence the president, rather than the monarch, is prayed for (though many of us pray for the monarch, too). While it warms my heart that EL wouldn’t part with his 1929 book, it isn’t really hard to come by. Some Episcopal churches use it yet, rather than the 1979 book. Nor is the use of the venerable 1662 book in some churches on some occasions unheard of.

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