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Book of Common Prayer

1046 of 1157 nominations


Book of Common Prayer

Is this an icon?


Book of Common Prayer

The Book of Common Prayer contains the prayers, liturgy and rites used in the Anglican Church and sets out a format for worship throughout the year. It has gone through many revisions since it was first compiled by Thomas Cranmer in 1549, but in many cases the language is still familiar.

Do you recognise this part of the wedding ceremony, for example? “I X (insert your name here) take thee, X, to my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness, and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part; according to Gods holy ordinance, and thereto I plight thee my troth”?

Although in its various revisions we can trace a history of the English Reformation (the struggle between Protestant and Catholic thought), its influence goes well beyond the religious sphere. Just like the King James Bible, the Book of Common Prayer has had a wide impact on the development of the English language, as well as on culture and society.

Image: Topfoto.co.uk


Your comments

finally separated England from Europe and created English exclusive identity

Leon Menezes

Yes, Trudie Lambert, it does contain the Communion service, including the prayer you mention - arguably the origin of the modern catchphrase "We are not worthy". It also contains: "In Quires and places where they sing ...", "ashes to ashes, dust to dust", "just cause or impediment" (strictly a misquote), "the third time of asking", "to have and to hold". As much as the Church of England is an English icon, so is this, whether you actually believe any of the content or not.
Peter Biddlecombe

'Lighten our darkness, O Lord, and by thy great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night...' Part of a prayer from the Order of Evensong which is one of the loveliest, most meaningful, most English aspects of the Liturgy of the Church of England. I don't think the modern version is iconic at all; it totally lacks the aesthetic taste and feel for the rhythm of the English language that Cranmer clearly grasped so well, nor does it have the quiet confidence and conviction that the Book of Common Prayer exudes. So yes, the Book of Common Prayer is an icon and let us not lose it.
John Rivers-Vaughan

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I nominate the English weather.