Monday, October 22, 2007

Canonical Hours

I am very fond of the Canonical Hours. Wikipedia has a lengthy
description of their development and pursuit in the various
Christian denominations. has a more
succinct description. I edited the entry in Wikipedia under
Anglican usage as follows:

In England, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand,
and other Anglican provinces, the prayer book contains:

  • Morning Prayer, corresponding to Matins and Lauds
  • Noonday, roughly corresponding to Terce, Sext and None
  • Evening Prayer, corresponding to Vespers
  • Compline
The prayer offices have an important place in Anglican history.
In the Protestant Episcopal Church in the U.S.A., now replaced
by The Episcopal Church, Matins and Evensong were the
principal Sunday services. They are in all editions of the Book
of Common Prayer as Morning and Evening Prayer. The services
often included singing the antiphons, psalms, canticles, and
responses. The clergy wore cassock, surplice, and stole, or
sometimes a tippet or academic hood over the surplice. Holy
Eucharist was celebrated once per month, and that day was
often known as Sacrament Sunday.

After Vatican II, the Anglican Communion began a dialogue with
the Vatican on common views, with an eye toward achieving
some sort of rapprochement with Rome. This prompted a move
toward using HE as the principal service, eventally resulting in
the celebrant wearing full Catholic vestments. The clergy then
began to refer to themselves as priests, rather than ministers,
and to call themselves Father rather than Mister.
The Holy
Eucharist liturgy is virtually indistinguishable from the Catholic
Morning Prayer on Sunday in The Episcopal Church is a
rarity, although sometimes it may precede HE. Evensong is
often heard with lay leadership.