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History and spirituality of the book of common prayer

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Matrimony.
  3. Marriage Ceremony in the 1928 and 1979 Editions.
  4. Declaration of Consent in History.

The Book of Common Prayer is the universal title given to a number of prayer books in the Church of England and used all throughout the Anglican Communion. The very first volume, that came out in 1549, in the reign of Edward VI, was the creation and the result of the English Reformation which ensued with the breakup with Rome. Basically, the prayer books, not like the books of prayers, have in them the expressions and the terminology of ordered and well-thought out services of worship. What was produced in 1549 was the very first prayer book to include the forms of service for daily and Sunday worship in English and done in a single volume. It contained the morning prayer, evening prayer, the Litany and the Holy Communion. Likewise, the volume contained the other occasional services in full detail -- the orders for confirmation, baptism, marriage, prayers for the sick and the funeral service. Also, it established in full the Epistle and Gospel readings for the Sunday Communion Service and specified the Old Testament and New Testament readings for everyday prayers in tabular format (Careless 26).The 1549 book was swiftly followed by a further more reformed revision in 1552 under the same editorial hand, that of Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury. Essentially, it never came into full use because, on the death of Edward VI, Mary his half-sister, revitalized Catholic worship. On Mary's death, a vaguely customized version of the 1552 volume was published in 1559. In the turbulent events that ensued leading to and including the English Civil War, the last major revision was published in 1662.

[...] There is no indication as to this very significant and extremely important element of the marriage rite be omitted, after all, the Book of Common Prayer is supposedly a guide to all the religious service that must be conducted inside the Catholic Church. Surprisingly, it is not included in the older edition of the BCP. In like manner, the question that is supposed to be addressed to the congregation or to the assembly who are witnessing the ceremony is likewise omitted. [...]

[...] Yes, maybe the makers of the Books of Common Prayer know about this, however, those who instigated the 1928 BCP did not, for if they did, they wouldn't have omitted that significant element of a marriage the declaration of consent. Declaration of Consent in History Under Roman civil law, consent to marriage was the crucial requirement for validity, and the various rituals of betrothal, dowry, and procession of the bridal party to the groom's house, and the wedding feast served to make a public display of this consent. [...]

[...] The Book of Common Prayer appears in many variants in churches inside and outside of the Anglican Communion in over 50 different countries and in over 150 different languages (Careless 23). Matrimony The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage is one of the most joyful of the pastoral offices celebrated in our parish churches. It is an occasion when we celebrate the covenant of marriage for those in our congregations called to this vocation and is also a time when we welcome to our Church many outside our community who may be visiting an Episcopal Church for the first time. [...]

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