Anglican Evensong in St. Peter’s Basilica


As reported by Dcn. Greg Kandra, St. Peter’s Basilica will be hosting an Anglican Evensong on March 13th. Quoting the press release from the Anglican Centre in Rome, Kandra writes:

Permission for this unique occasion was granted by Cardinal Angelo Comastri, Archpriest of St Peter’s Basilica, during a recent meeting with Archbishop David Moxon, the Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome.

Archbishop Moxon will preside at the 3.00pm service, while the preacher will be Archbishop Arthur Roche, the Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments at the Vatican. The music will be sung by the Choir of Merton College, Oxford.

The press release continues stating:

This date has been chosen as the nearest available day to the historic feast day of St Gregory the Great, who has become an unofficial patron of relations between the two churches. St Gregory was the Pope who sent St Augustine to England in 595 to evangelize the Anglo-Saxons and who became the first Archbishop of Canterbury.

For more information on this ecumenical service, please read the press release from the Anglican Centre.


  1. Anglican Chant is one of the blessings upon the universal church from the English Reformation. Pope Benedict XVI encountered a whole new world of chant, in the vernacular, when he attended Evensong at Westminster Abbey. The work of Tallis and Byrd among others deserves to be recognized as the common heritage of the English speaking Christian community, crossing over denominational boundaries. Tallis and Byrd were, let us not forget, both recusant Catholics, and composed music for both Latin and English translations of the psalms and other liturgical texts.

  2. I think many English speaking Catholics would have the same experience Pope Benedict had if they heard Gibbons, Byrd, Tallis and many other more contemporary composers in the LOTH. Maybe,a patristic reading in place of or in addition to a sermon with Benediction can be added

  3. I must be in a minority here then, because Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral in the UK almost always uses one of the classic Anglican choral settings of the Manificat at evening prayer – ranging from Byrd to Tippett.
    Very fine it is too.
    BBC Radio 3 broadcasts Choral Evensong/Vespers every Wednesday from a different cathedral or Oxbridge College. Catholic cathedrals with a choral establishment have their turn. The broadcasts have a devoted following. They may be available on Youtube.

  4. A liturgist was asked how one can differentiate between an Anglican and a Catholic liturgy, and his answer was: When it is beautiful, it is Anglican 🙂
    All I know about the English Evensong tradition is that I actually do not know any liturgy that is more beautiful. Although for me a Mass with Gregorian Chant or a Greek, a Russian, or a Romanian Divine Liturgy can reach the same level of beauty in their particular aesthetic style.

    1. @Liborius Lumma:
      Westminster Cathedral has a very good choir. They also have a choir school. Some years ago the organists swapped roles, the organist from the Cathedral moved to the Abbey, and was replaced at the Cathedral by his counterpart from the Abbey.
      On a historical note, Sir Edward Elgar, even after his works gained public recognition, occasionally played the organ at St George’s Roman Catholic Church, Worcester.

  5. It wasn’t Evensong but midday choral prayer at Canterbury Cathedral in May 1989. Sung by the Eastern Kentucky University choir. Ended with Stephen Foster’s “My Old Kentucky Home”. Sung plaintively, and the acoustic accentuated its plaintiveness indelibly.

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