The First Book of Common Prayer, 1549 | For All the Saints

The first Book of Common Prayer came into use on the Day of Pentecost, June 9, 1549, in the second year of the reign of King Edward the Sixth. From it have descended all subsequent editions and revisions of the Prayer Book according to the use of the several Churches of the Anglican Communion.

Source: The First Book of Common Prayer, 1549 | For All the Saints

A “high holy day” indeed, for us Anglicans! The use of The Book of Common Prayer, and more broadly the Common Prayer tradition of which it is the centerpiece, is the hallmark of the particular Anglican expression of Christianity. Nor for nothing is the BCP often referred to as “Thomas Cranmer’s immortal bequest”! Read on for more…

The Book of Common Prayer 1928, which is the Prayer Book of my (and our, if you are a member or friend of St. Bede’s Anglican Mission) ecclesiastical jurisdiction, the United Episcopal Church of North America (UECNA), is the last American Prayer Book to be unquestionably in the direct line of descent from the 1549.

The 1979 Prayer Book, as used by The Episcopal Church (TEC, formerly Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America, or PECUSA), while it has its pluses, is more of a “book of alternative services,” and its theology can get a bit hazy, at times.

I don’t share the dislike, bordering on downright antipathy, of some traditional Anglicans for the ’79, so long as it’s understood for what it is – a book of alternative services – and is not confused with being “the” Book of Common Prayer, and as long as it is interpreted in accordance with the classical Common Prayer tradition: 1549-1662 in the UK, 1789-1928 in the US. With those caveats, it contains useful resources.

But the 1549 is the original! “The” Book of Common Prayer, as it were… although the 1662 has been the standard for three-and-a-half centuries, and remains so, for the Church of England, today. And it is that first Prayer Book – the one that began it all, so to speak – that we celebrate today!

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Solzhenitsyn Saw It 40 Years Ago: The West Is Losing Its Soul. The Cure? Bring Back Christianity

Source: Solzhenitsyn Saw It 40 Years Ago: The West Is Losing Its Soul. The Cure? Bring Back Christianity

“[Vladimir Putin’s] embrace of Russian Orthodoxy has been a reason for the [re-]elevation of Christianity to [the] place of influence it occupied for over a millennium. One of the spiritual and philosophical influences behind Putin has been Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Partly due to Putin’s influence, Solzhenitsyn’s master work The Gulag Archipelago is now required reading in Russian schools.

“Solzhenitsyn openly rejected the secularist and leftist liberal political philosophy dominating the cultures of Europe and America. Russia, he said, had her own unique spiritual and historic heritage, a heritage [that] clashed with the dominant ideology of the West. Though he admired the spirituality of the American heartland, he saw the West in general as drowning in a vortex created by moral degradation, anti-religious sentiment and extreme individualism…

“Solzhenitsyn went on to point out the basic error that led to the decadence of the West; namely, the assumption of the Enlightenment that mankind has no higher force above him, but is autonomous – mankind as the center of everything that exists. In effect, the West, including America, which at its inception believed quite differently, rejected the idea that all ‘individual human rights were granted because man is God’s creature.’ Freedom, he said, is conditional in that it has grave religious responsibilities, an idea that had roots thousands of years old…

“The West, including America, was sliding toward an abyss of its own making. The young were deliberately being taught godlessness and hatred of their own society. The subsequent corrosion of the human heart and hatred was fast becoming the signature of the contemporary free world, which appeared anxious to export to the rest of the world its own philosophy of godlessness and immorality.

“The solution, he concluded, was repentance and return to God:“…If we perish and lose this world, the fault will be ours alone.” Solzhenitsyn’s powerful insights hold much truth. If there is to be a reset between the West and Russia, it must be based on the mutual and ancient Christian roots of both entities.”

Indeed.