Friday, 12 October 2012

Liturgy Part-Time 2.2: The development of the liturgical year and the Daily Office

Candles light up the chapter and choir stalls in Lichfield Cathedral ... this eveningwe look at the development of the Liturgical Year and the Daily Office (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

EM8824: Liturgy, Worship and Spirituality

12 October 2012

Liturgy Part-Time 2.2:
The development of the Liturgical Year and the Daily Office.


1, The Liturgical Year
2, The Daily Office (Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer)
3, The Collects and the Lectionary

The beach at Donabate bathed in sunshine … the church calendar, like other calendars, is marked by times and seasons (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

(1) The Liturgical Year:

We all function on a secular calendar, beginning on 1 January and ending on 31 December. But we all work with other calendars too. Examples include:

● The Tax year once began and ended on 25 March.
● The Academic year (is it divided into terms or semesters?).
● The football season.
● There is a political year (the opening of parliament).
● A court year (the law year began a few weeks ago).
● A social year, or family year, marks special events, with anniversaries, birthdays. We remember births, marriages and deaths in our own many families, and many regularly take holidays at the same time.
● The working year: the shipyard holiday had an impact on life throughout East Belfast until some years ago.

So, the Church Calendar is both important for the life of the Church so that we remember the main events in the story of salvation, so that we do not forget others, and so that we do not forget to prepare for some of these events, marked by days and seasons.

The sources for the Church Calendar

There are two specific calendars for the Church, both working in tandem: the Temporale and the Sanctorale.

The Temporale outlines the Christian Year, from Advent Sunday to the Sunday before Advent. The Sanctorale follows the secular year. This lists the saints’ days, and other key days that fall on the same date each year.

An outline of the Church Calendar:

[handout: Harold Miller, The Desire of our Soul (Dublin: Columba, 1984), p. 16.]

For the Temporale, see the Book of Common Prayer (2004), pp 18-19.

All Sundays celebrate the death and resurrection of Christ. On no Sunday should that celebration of the death and resurrection of Christ be overshadowed by any other commemoration. Everything we do in Church on Sunday is done in the light of our Easter faith.

The principal Holy Days are:

● Christmas Day (25 December)
● Easter Day
● The Day of Pentecost

Of these, which are the most important?

1, Easter, which has 40 days of preparation, Lent, and is followed by a continuing Easter focus in the 50 days of Easter until Pentecost

2, Christmas, which also has season of preparation, the four weeks of Advent, followed by the 12 days of Christmas up to Epiphany.

3, Pentecost is the climax of the story of the Risen Christ as the Spirit is poured out on the Church, which is a continuing Pentecost.

Seven other principal days are marked in the Church of Ireland Calendar:

1, Epiphany (6 January)
2, The Presentation of Christ (2 February)
3, Maundy Thursday
4, Good Friday (most traditions say it is inappropriate to celebrate Holy Communion on this day).
5, Ascension Day (Thursday 40 days after Easter Day).
6, Trinity Sunday.
7, All Saints’ Day (1 November).

The Seasons

In a natural year, we have the four seasons of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. There are five seasons in the Church year, named in The Book of Common Prayer (p. 19):

1, Advent,
2, Christmas,
3, Epiphany
4, Lent
5, Easter.

Note how we name them:

● the Sundays of Advent, and the Sundays of Christmas;
● the Sundays after the Epiphany, the Sundays after Trinity;
● the Sundays before Lent, the Sundays before Advent;
● the Sundays in Lent; and the Days in Holy Week.

Then, we have separately Ordinary time, which varies in length – depending on how early or late Easter is, and on when Advent begins.

These seasons explore particular theological themes. They provide us with opportunities to recall, to relive, and to learn afresh from particular parts of the Christian story, the story of salvation, as they are read and reflected on.

These seasons set a special mood for us collectively as the Church.

Apart from the seasons we also have days of special observance (The Book of Common Prayer (2004), p. 20), including Ash Wednesday, the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week, and Easter Eve.

The Festivals are not all saints’ days. They include some commemorations of Gospel events, such as events in the life of the Virgin Mary:

1, The birth of Mary (8 September),
2, the Annunciation (25 March)
3, the Visitation (31 May),
4, but not her death (15 August), although this is observed in other parts of the Anglican Communion.

Some events in the life of Christ that are not commemorated in the course of the seasons include:

● His naming or circumcision (1 January)
● His Baptism (Sunday after Epiphany)
● His Transfiguration (6 August)
● His kingship (The Sunday before Advent).

The Saints’ Days [The Sanctorale] are also important reminders of the continuity of the story of salvation. The saints (see pp 20-21) include Saint Michael and All Angels, Mary and Joseph, the Holy Innocents, John the Baptist, Mary Magdalene, the Apostles and Evangelists, and the three patron saints of Ireland.

Normally we think of the saints’ days as the days on which they died, but we do not commemorate Mary on that day, nor is this the case with Michael and the Angels. And we remember two saints on other days too: Paul (conversion, 25 January) and John the Baptist (birthday, 24 June).

On pp 22-23, we have the commemoration of saints and other important figures in our story as the Church. The red letter days are to be observed, but the others follow local custom.

Rules for Festivals

When one of these days falls on a Sunday, in Holy Week or in Easter Week, it is transferred, even though there may be cultural difficulties in maintaining this rule: Saint Patrick’s Day recently fell in Holy Week – how many observed it on the previous Saturday? Or in that year Saint Joseph (19 March) on 1 April?

There is no celebration of a festival in Easter Week either (so, e.g., the Annunciation on 25 March recently was moved to 31 March).


These days are usually remembered in their own part of the country (e.g., Saint Laurence O’Toole in Dublin), or Saint Canioce in Kilkenny yesterday (11 October).

Some of the other days in the Church year include:

● Rogation days (asking God for …) are marked as days asking for God’s blessing on fruits of the earth and human labour.
● Ember Days are days set aside for prayers for ordination and ministry. They include the Wednesday, Friday and Saturday after the 1st Sunday in Lent, the Day of Pentecost, 14 September and 13 December.

These days are quarterly, so that four times a year we have these prayers before the whole church.

Days of Special Observance:

● Ash Wednesday (see p. 338).
● Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week, Easter Eve.

Days of discipline and self-denial:

● Lent.
● Fridays.

Dates of Easter and other variables:

These are given up to 2030 in The Book of Common Prayer.

Other dates:

What do we do about other days in the Church year?

When is Harvest celebrated?

What about other dates such as 12 July, Watch Night services, Covenant services, Harvest services, Remembrance Sunday, National Days, &c.?


We always need to remind ourselves that we are incarnational.

A note on Liturgical Colours:

Since fabrics – banners, stoles, vestments &c – have some colour or other, the historic Church has used colour to set the theme of worship. Colour choices were more diverse in the past, for dyes were expensive and it was not as easy as it is today to get fabric in any colour.

In modern times, a consensus has developed about the colours in the western Church: green, purple, white, and red, with gold or ivory as alternatives to white. Some traditions sometimes use blue. Black, for the most part, is no longer used. The Orthodox Churches use colours differently.

Green: Green is the default colour. Green is the colour of vegetation, the colour of life. Green is the colour for the Season of Epiphany and the Season after Pentecost. These two seasons are also called ‘Ordinary Time’ because the Sundays have no names, just ordinal numbers.

Purple: In antiquity, purple dye was very expensive, so purple came to signify wealth, power, and royalty. Therefore purple is the colour for the seasons of Advent and Lent, which celebrate the coming of the King. Since as Christians we prepare for our King through reflection and repentance, purple has also become a penitential colour.

White: Angels announced Christ’s birth (Luke 2: 8-15) and his Resurrection (Luke 24:1-8). The New Testament consistently uses white to describe angels and the risen Lord (see Matthew 17: 2 and 28: 3, Mark 9: 3 and 16: 5, John 20: 12, Acts 1: 10, and throughout Revelation). In the early Church, people were given white robes as they emerged from the waters of baptism. And so, white is the colour for the seasons of Easter and Christmas. White is often the colour for funerals, as the colour of the Resurrection, usually for weddings, regardless of the season, and for secular holidays observed in the Church.

Red: Red is the colour of blood and martyrdom, and so the colour for commemorating the death of a martyr. It is also an alternative colour for the last week of Lent, Holy Week, and also the colour for the Day of Pentecost and for ordinations and installations as the colour of fire and of the Holy Spirit (see Acts 2: 3).

Gold: Gold or ivory are alternatives to white, and are designated especially for Christmas Day and Easter Day.

Blue: Blue is an alternative to purple during Advent. Some churches use blue during Advent to avoid the penitential connotation of purple.

Black: Black is the colour of clericals (cassocks are clericals, not vestments). Before modern dyes were invented, all dress clothes were black – look at 19th century formal photographs. Historically, black implied formality. Because we no longer wear black so often, it survives as a formal colour only at the most solemn occasions, such as funerals. For some people today, black immediately connotes a funeral. Black is sometimes, but rarely, the colour for funeral services, Good Friday, and All Souls’ Day (2 November).

Rose: Rose (a shade of pink) was sometimes used on the Third Sunday in Advent (Gaudete Sunday) to signify joy. The use of rose has a strange origin. Mediaeval Popes customarily gave someone a rose on the Fourth Sunday in Lent (Laetare Sunday). This led the Roman Catholic clergy to wear rose-coloured vestments that Sunday. As this gave some relief to the solemnity of Lent, it became a popular custom.

Originally, Advent was a solemn fast in preparation for Christmas, so the custom was extended to the third Sunday in Advent to liven it up a little too. And so the third candle in the Advent wreath became pink too. Now, Advent is no longer so solemn … and Popes probably no longer give out roses.

(2) The daily office, including Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer

The chapel in Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge ... the daily office dates back to the prayer life of the monasteries (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

In The Book of Common Prayer (pp 78-153), there are two different orders of service, with different titles:

Morning Prayer 1 and Evening Prayer 1: “The Order …”

Morning Prayer 2 and Evening Prayer 2: “An Order …”

Other names for these services include: Mattins or Matins for Morning Prayer; or Evensong for Evening Prayer. These names are used especially for choral or sung services.

Choral Evensong is a particularly beautiful piece of art. It was broadcast every Wednesday evening at 4 p.m. on BBC Radio 3, making it one of the longest-running radio programmes. You can experience it in our cathedrals, including Christ Church Cathedral and Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, and in the Chapel in TCD.

[Relate personal experience of Saint Paul’s Cathedral, London, and Lichfield Cathedral]

Matins and Evensong are ancient titles dating back to the monastic offices, which were used for the two services in the 1549 Book of Common Prayer. The titles were changed by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer (right) in the 1552 Book of Common Prayer.

Essentially these are offices of daily prayer, to be used daily throughout the year, but they were never designed as the principal Sunday service. Their origins are found in the ancient monastic offices used by the monks at different times of the day:

1, Matins,
2, Lauds,
3, Prime,
4, Terce,
5, None,
6, Vespers,
7, Compline.

The monastic idea and ideal was that regular times of prayer lead to a life where prayer is a constant part of our relationship with God. Cranmer brought these monastic offices together, so that there was one simple office for the morning, and one simple office for the evening.

The offices were also planned and structured so people would be instructed by the word of God: the clergy were obliged to say both offices, openly or privately, and to toll the church bell before doing so.

Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer are part of the daily cycle of offices in cathedrals and churches throughout the Anglican Communion (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer 1:

Morning Prayer 1 and Evening Prayer 1: This is the 1662 rite in virtually every respect, with a history the goes back to Cranmer’s original “A …” (1552)

Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer were formerly printed as separate rites. They have now been integrated as one office, with variations for morning and evening use.

They were first integrated in 1984 in the Alternative Prayer Book. In The Book of Common Prayer (2004), after the opening prayers and greetings, if we are not following Morning Prayer, we are invited to turn to page 93 for Evening Prayer.

Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer 2:

Morning Prayer 2 and Evening Prayer 2 have a common beginning. Then after the Confession and Absolution, if we are not following Morning Prayer, we are invited to turn to page 109 for Evening Prayer.

What is common to both services?

There is a common approach to both services or offices. Although called “Prayer,” they are centred upon the reading of Scripture, through the Psalms, the Canticles and the Readings. Even the versicles and responses are taken from Scripture.

The different parts:

There are no section headings in Morning Prayer 1 and Evening Prayer 1, unlike Morning Prayer 2 and Evening Prayer 2. But it is important to know and identify these sections, so that we can understand the movement taking place:

There are four essential ingredients:

1, The Gathering of God’s People
2, Proclaiming and Receiving the Word
3, The Prayers of the People
4, Going out as God’s People.

The Gathering of God’s People


The opening greeting is more obvious in Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer 2, because it is specified: “The Lord be with you …” (Ruth 2: 4).

Sentence of Scripture (pp 78-83 and at the beginning of Morning Prayer 1 and Evening Prayer 1).

The provisions of sentences of Scripture are in three different groupings:

● General, focusing on the nature of worship
● Seasonal, related to particular time.
● Penitential.

By getting to know the difference one can be much more appropriate in making choices. If choosing another sentence, one needs to avoid constantly using a favourite verse, carefully selecting one that sets the tone and theme. On the other hand, there is value in learning a variety of these verses off by heart.

Opening hymn:

Where is this placed: is it used as a processional? Is it announced first?

Morning Prayer 2 and Evening Prayer 2 get this right by placing the hymn after the opening greeting and sentences.

Choosing the hymn sensitively and carefully allows one to set the tone for the service and its theme, so it ought to be related to the readings, prayers and address.


This is not a prayer, and it is not addressed to God. In Morning Prayer 1 and Evening Prayer 1 it opens: “Dearly beloved …” In Morning Prayer 2 and Evening Prayer 2 it opens: “Beloved in Christ …”

It is like setting out an agenda before a meeting: it tells people why we are here and what we’re going to do, it prepares us for the task ahead.


The invitation comes first.

Morning Prayer 1 and Evening Prayer 1: This confession was not in the earlier 1549 Prayer Book, and was introduced by Cranmer in 1552.

The general confession has resonances of Romans 7: 8-25, and of the parable of the Lost Sheep (Luke 15). It was probably written by Cranmer, and based on the confession in the Strasbourg liturgy.

In Morning Prayer 2 and Evening Prayer 2, the confession provides for a time of silence for reflection, personal confession.


In Morning Prayer 1 and Evening Prayer 1 (p. 86), this is a vital step after confession. It is not just a declaration or affirmation of pardon and absolution, but it is assurance to a penitent heart of the power of the Holy Spirit, and the gift of the grace to live holy lives. It is a declaratory ‘prayer,’ pronounced by the priest in the name of God, but directed at the people.

The Lord’s Prayer:

Note the different place for the Lord’s Prayers:

In Morning Prayer 1 and Evening Prayer 1, the Lord’s Prayer follows the absolution. This was the original beginning of the office. But in a service that combined Morning Prayer, the Litany and Holy Communion, the Lord’s Prayer could have been used five times. Now there is provision for using it only twice.

It is an introduction to praise. So, as an introduction to praise, Cranmer added the doxology: “… for thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, ...” At other times, when the Lord’s Prayer is used as an introduction to prayer and penitence, the doxology is omitted.

Proclaiming and Receiving the Word:

Opening Canticles:

There are different canticles for use at Morning Prayer and at Evening Prayer. Most of the Canticles are from Scripture, but some are from the Apocrypha, and others, such as Te Deum, are hymns. They serve as preparation for hearing God’s word, as a response to hearing God’s word, and as a way of using God’s word to praise God.

The word Canticle is a Latin word and simply means a song. Most of the canticles are known to this day by their Latin names, although Morning Prayer 2 and Evening Prayer 2 attempt to give them simple English names: Venite, Psalm 95; Benedictus, Song of Zechariah.

The little red marks are pointed for Anglican chant. Are they distractions?

The canticles can be sung in a variety of ways, with versions in the hymn book, and other alternatives.

Traditionally, we have used different canticles for the two different offices:

Morning Prayer: Venite and Jubilate.

Evening Prayer: Magnificat, Nunc Dimittis, A Song of the Light, Deus Misereatur (Psalm 67) and Ecce Nunc.

The Easter Anthems are used during both Morning Prayer and Evning Prayer.

The canticles set the scene for hearing God’s word.

Look at Venite: [quote from page 87].

A Song of the Light has a new introduction, but this is an old Greek song, dating from the 3rd century, Phos Hilarion: it is not about the rising sun, and is appropriate for lighting the evening lamps when the dark is closing.

There are different versions. See: Hail gladdening Light (Irish Church Hymnal, No 699).

The first reading:

The first reading is placed here in Morning Prayer. This is one of the changes introduced to the traditional language version. In the 1926 edition, the opening canticle was followed by the Psalm(s). Now the Psalm comes after first reading in both versions of Morning Prayer.

This change was introduced because the new lectionary uses the Psalm as a response to the first (normally Old Testament) reading.

Some feel that three readings are too much for a morning service.

The Psalms:

The psalms no longer follow the pattern of day numbers in Morning Prayer 1 and Evening Prayer 1 (c.f. the 1926 version).

Cranmer set a pattern of reading the Psalter through each month. Our Psalmody is a legacy of the monastic offices and tradition. Benedict wanted the psalms read through in a week. So, from an early stage the psalms have been at the heart of daily worship.

Readings after the Psalm:

At Morning Prayer, the second reading and the Gospel reading come after the Psalm. In Evening Prayer, both readings follow the Psalm.

Note how the readings are introduced: Order 2 suggests: “A reading from … chapter … beginning at verse …”

How do you conclude the readings? Which version of Scripture can we use?

The second and third canticles:

At Morning Prayer, the second canticle is Te Deum, Benedicite, Urbs Fortitudinis, Laudate Dominum (Psalm 148), or another canticle from pp 117-135, except the Benedictus. The third canticle is Benedictus, Jubilate, or any New Testament canticle on pp 117-135.

At Evening Prayer, the second canticle is Magnificat, Cantate Domino, or any New Testament Canticle on pp 117-135. And the third canticle is Nunc Dimitis, Deus Misereatur, or any New Testament canticle on pp 117-135.

Why are they here?

The major canticles are three from Saint Luke’s Gospel. They look back at and forward to the work of salvation. And they can be used thematically: there are provisions for harvest, for the Christian year (for example, consider the opportunity for an appropriate choice of canticle to mark Saint Luke’s Day earlier this week).

The sermon:

These were essentially daily services, so originally there was no place for a sermon. It was only over the course of history that these became regular Sunday services, and so the need arose to provide an appropriate place for the sermon. This office had normally ended with the grace. Now there was a need for another hymn before and after the sermon.

In other churches, including the Methodists and Presbyterians, the idea continues of the sermon coming at the end of the service. Morning Prayer 1 and Evening Prayer 1 retain this traditional place. But Morning Prayer 2 and Evening Prayer 2 place the sermon within the section of proclaiming and receiving God’s word, and before the Apostles’ Creed, a place that is similar to the place for the sermon in Holy Communion. This is the place where the Word of God is broken open.

The Apostles’ Creed:

The Apostles’ Creed is an integral part of the offices in the Anglican tradition, although, in the daily offices in the institute chapel it may be said at Morning Prayer 2 and omitted in the evening.

The Apostles’ Creed, historically, was not part of the offices of the Church until the Reformation. This creed was not written by the apostles, and its general adoption in the Western Church dates from about 1000 AD, when it was simply used as a baptismal confession of faith.

The Prayers of the People:

These take several different types:

● The Lesser Litany and Kyrie

● The Lord’s Prayer (with or without the doxology? At this place it is without the doxology in Morning Prayer 1/Evening Prayer 1, but with it in Morning Prayer 2/Evening Prayer 2, because this is the only place it is used). There are two versions. The modern version comes from the English Language Liturgical Commission (except for the clause “and lead us not into temptation,” which is used instead of “Save us from the time of trial.”)

● The use of the Versicles and Responses has its roots in the Sarum Breviary. They are taken from Scripture (Psalm 85: 7; 1 Samuel 10: 24; Psalm 20: 9; Psalm 132: 9; Psalm 28: 9).

● The prayers for rulers, the clergy and people, the collect for peace, and the collect for grace then follow. In Morning Prayer 2/Evening Prayer 2, they are optional. They are best used when they are seen as a scaffolding or framework that allows one to build appropriate prayers.

The Collects:

There is a provision for three collects in Morning Prayer 1/Evening Prayer 1, and for at least two in Morning Prayer 2/Evening Prayer 2, beginning with the Collect of the Day.

Note that the phrase “Collect of …” relates to a particular occasion, while the phrase “Collect for …” relates to subject. So it is not the collect of purity, and is certainly not the collect for the conversion of Saint Paul or indeed, as has been heard, for the Circumcision of Christ. And they are the collects at Morning Prayer or Evening Prayer.

It is worth memorising some of these, and to know the value of being able to call on them as extemporary opening and closing prayers.

Occasional prayers:

The occasional prayers are not for use occasionally but for use on particular occasions.

It is important to watch the movement in prayers one writes, who is addressed, and how they are concluded.

Concluding Prayers:

Morning Prayer 1 and Evening Prayer 1 always conclude with the grace. The Prayer of Saint John Chrysostom is seldom used in practice, but its roots are in praying in our dependence on God.

The rubric in Morning Prayer 2 and Evening Prayer for concluding the office is simpler.

Going out as God’s people:

How do you end it? This is a long-standing conundrum. In the 1662 version, it was always with the grace. But then the sermon on Sundays was added on, and other things were then added on to that too: the offertory hymn, the dismissal, the recessional hymn, and the blessing.

Going out needs to be though through too.

Note that there is an abbreviated form of Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer on pp 136-138.

Saint Patrick’s Church, Donabate ... The Book of Common Prayer provides a structure or guidelines for the Service of the Word, rather than a full service (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Service of the Word; Compline; LEO; the Litany.

(a) The Service of the Word:

The Book of Common Prayer provides a structure or guidelines, rather than a full service. The service can be put on one page, although the notes to explain how to use this structure take up three pages.

The influences on writing or the sources for the Service of the Word are:

1, The TEC Book of Common Prayer 1979 (pp 400-401), which provides an outline for an informal Eucharist.

2, The Church of England’s Lent, Holy Week and Easter (1984): Services and Prayers, which gives the bare-bones outline for Holy Communion and an agape meal.

3, The Church of Ireland, A Service of the Word (1993): this pale green booklet was an experimental form authorised by the House of Bishops. It included an outline form of service, material that could be used in different slots, and four outline services. But the built-in danger was that people could and did opt for four worked-out services and did not work them out for themselves.

In addition to those three influences, there was a growing realisation that many parishes and clergy were devising their own services outside the approved parameters of services within the Church of Ireland … helped by advances in the manufacture of photocopiers and then the discovery of the OHP.

The Book of Common Prayer (2004) provides an outline only, and demands a lot of hard work and preparation on the part by the worship leader. It was not intended to be used straight from the book

Should we provide service sheets?

Should we use Power Point?

Should we use an Over-Head Projector.

The Structure:

* A Liturgical Greeting

An invitation to worship

A hymn may be sung

* Penitence may be at this part or in Response

* Acclamation and/or A Song of Praise

Metrical forms of Canticles may be used, or a hymn may be sung

* The Collect

Those parts marked * are considered essential to the structure of the service.

Because the service is so flexible, there is an even greater need for attention to detail.

The Preparation must include the following elements:

Some greeting of the congregation: And this should be liturgical. For example: “The Lord be with you …” But it could be a sign of peace.

Penitence: not necessarily in this place. This could be a perfect response to the Ministry of the Word. But it must be included somewhere. There is a variety of possibilities for the form of penitence, including confession and absolution, penitential kyries, and responsorial penitential prayers. But there is room to be imaginative and original.

Acclamation and/or a Song of Praise. Examples include Sursum Corda, Sanctus and Canticles, including Gloria. If a time of praise is being included, this is the place for it.

Then all are drawn together with the Collect, which is about collecting all our thoughts and intentions. That links the Preparation with the Ministry of the Word.

The Preparation is the starter, the Ministry of the Word is the main course – after all, it is the Service of the Word.

The main elements of the Ministry of the Word section are:

Readings from the Bible.

A Psalm or Scripture Song: this may precede or follow the readings. A Bible responsory may follow a reading.

The Sermon.

Then, a Hymn may be sung.

All this may sound very traditional, but it does not mean all must be done in a traditional sort of way … quite the opposite.

Scripture readings could be presented as drama, with many voices reading, with creative interpretations of Scripture (e.g. The Message). But the Word must come across with real power – and must never be omitted.

The place of the Psalm or Scripture Song – before or after a reading – is less important than its inclusion. But there is a variety of ways of singing or saying this: choruses, worship songs, responsorial psalms, solos, items by a music group, congregational parts …

The Sermon could be presented in different ways:

● Dialogue?
● Interview?
● Movie clip?
● Drama?

After the main course, desert is served. This is the Response.

The Response includes:

* An affirmation of faith: the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, the renewal of baptismal vows, other creeds (e.g. a creed from Iona Community).

* The Prayers, including intercession, thanksgiving and (if not somewhere else) penitence.

A General Collect.

Then the whole section concludes with The Lord’s Prayer in one of its approved forms.

A Hymn may be sung.

Our response might also include our offering.

Then, after desert, there is the coffee:

*A Dismissal Prayer.

A Blessing.

A Salutation.

In organising and preparing, it is worth remembering:

1, There must be a recognisable structure for worship.

2, The emphasis is on the word: reading scripture, reflecting on it through the Psalms.

3, The use of liturgical words (e.g., responses known to the congregation) … it is not a coming together of individual Christians who happen to be in one place, it is ekklesia – the assembly or gathering of those who are called out.

When should we use the Service of the Word?

When the prescribed services of Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer and Holy Communion may not meet the needs of a particular congregation?

Family services?

All-age worship?

Where people are not book-learned?

When there is a need for a more praise-and-prayer approach?

When there is a need for a more reflective, quiet time of worship?

When there is a need a service with a specific focus, or one that is more innovative?

When it is a service aimed at people who are not regular church goers?

Where there might be a large number of non-Anglicans, or non-churchgoers, without the same liturgical tradition?

As the first part of the Holy Communion? If so, Holy Communion would then follow from the Peace.

But there are dangers.

There is the danger of producing service sheets and then losing flexibility.

There is the danger of using it all the time, and then stop realising that it depends on a liturgical tradition that must be recognised and that must live and grow.

There is the danger of not making full use of the resources available, including:

Service of the Word (Church of England).

New Patterns for Worship.

Times and Seasons.

Resources from the Iona Community, Taizé, Corrymeela … other traditions.

But you will need to look at these sensitively. For example, particular Eucharistic prayers in the Church of England are not authorised for use in the Church of Ireland. What about using the prayers for the departed in New Patterns of Worship? And there is the added problem of making multiple copies and compounding your copyright problems.

(b) Compline:

Compline was added to The Book of Common Prayer in the Church of Ireland in 1933 as an Appendix. By then, it was still not in the offices of the Church of England, although it was in the proposed 1928 revision of The Book of Common Prayer in England.

In 1933, an appendix was added to The Book of Common Prayer of the Church of Ireland, in which Compline was described as the “Second Alternative form of Evening Prayer.” The “First Alternative form of Evening Prayer” was sometimes called the “Irish Vigils” and has not been included in the 2004 book.

However, Compline should not be seen as a new service. Compline was one of the offices of the Church until the Reformation. Name comes from Latin completorium or the completion [of the day]. The Rule of Saint Benedict 42: 8 has the oldest occurrence of the term Completorium.

This office was maintained after the Reformation in a series of private manuals of devotion, beginning with Bishop John Cosin’s Collection of Private Devotions (1627). It was restored to use in the 20th century, first in the US and Canada, in TEC’s Book of Offices (1914) and the Canadian Prayer Book (1918). So, the Church of Ireland was early in the restoration of Compline.

The service has an integral unity of its own, it can be used in small groups and in family groups, and Bishop Harold Miller even suggests “by married couples in bed” [p. 98]. It has become so popular that a proposal by the LAC for the revision of this service in the 1970s was rejected by the General Synod.

It is now well-loved, perhaps because of its beautiful imagery: “Brethren, be sober, be vigilant …” “O Let no evil dreams be near …” or asking God to keep me as the “apple of his eye” to “guard us while sleeping” and to “let thy holy angels dwell” in our homes.

Late Evening Office:

This is a totally new office in the Alternative Prayer Book (1984). It did not receive a trial period of use before its introduction. Yet it too quickly became popular. It was written by Dean Gilbert Mayes of Lismore, and is based on an order in use in Taizé, published in French in 1971 and in English in 1975.

It has a simple structure:

● An opening blessing of God.
● A prayer for the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Trisagion or Sanctus, Holy, Holy, Holy, and the Canticle Ecce Nunc (Psalm 134) or another suitable psalm.
● A New Testament reading.
Nunc Dimittis or a hymn.
● Prayer in short litany form, with responses: [note] Lord have mercy and Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.

The introduction of LEO was innovative in a number of ways, including the rubric allowing open prayer and silent prayer. It is an important departure because of its recognitions. But there is a need when you are using it to make clear as leader whether the congregation is entering a time of open prayer or silent prayer.

It concludes with appropriate prayer (Collect, the Lord’s Prayer) and a Blessing.

LEO does not work well if it is stretched out with too many hymns or with a long sermon in the middle.

(c) The Litany:

A litany is a set of short biddings or petitions followed by fixed responses or a series of fixed responses.

There are two forms of the Litany in The Book of Common Prayer: the form found in the 1926 Book of Common Prayer (with revisions to remove political anachronisms) and the form from the 1984 Alternative Prayer Book. But litanies date right back to the early church. Think of: Kyrie Eleison, Christe Eleison …

The earliest litany in the West was translated from the Greek by Pope Gelasius I (492-496). Later forms included the litany of the saints, which became popular in the 7th century.

The following elements of litany are charted by Paul Bradshaw (Companion to Common Worship, 2001):

● An Introductory Kyrie, followed by invocations of the Holy Trinity, with the response “Lord have mercy upon us.”
● The invocation of the saints.
● The deprecations: supplications for deliverance through recalling various events in Christ’s life, with the response, “deliver us, Lord.”
● The obsecrations – supplications through various events in Christ’s life, with the response, “we beseech you to hear us.”
● Concluding devotions to the Cross and to Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God.

The litany was the very first service translated from Latin into English by Cranmer at the Reformation. It was first published in 1544, with a famous prayer for deliverance from the Bishop of Rome and his “detestable abnormities”; and with the invocations of the saints reduced in number to three in 1544 and then removed in 1549.

The contemporary language Litany is on p. 175 ff, with the main headings and shape preserved in the same order today.

● Section 1: simple invocations to Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the response is “have mercy on us”
● Section 2: supplications for deliverance …

The use of the Litany:

The use of the Litany is suggested on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. At one time it was often used once a month on Sundays with Matins or Evensong. But it seemed lengthy and tedious.

The Book of Common Prayer (2004) recommends its use on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays, particularly in Advent, Lent and Rogation Days. It is good to use when we take things seriously.

The Mystical Supper by Michael Damaskinos … over 100 pages in The Book of Common Prayer are devoted to collects and post-communion prayers

(3a) The Collects:

Over 100 pages in The Book of Common Prayer (2004) (pp 241-337) are given over to the collects and post-communion prayers. They were first published in a small booklet a few years before The Book of Common Prayer was published in 2004.

Many of the collects in The Book of Common Prayer are popular, and well-loved. They are drawn from a wide range of sources, from Cranmer’s collects to modern collects, including some that were written specially for the Alternative Prayer Book (1984).

What is a collect? A collect is a short prayer, focussing our thoughts on a particular day or a particular theme.

The First Collect is a collect of a particular occasion (e.g. The Collect of the First Sunday of Advent).

The Second Collect usually has a particular focus (The Collect for Purity, the Collect for aid against all perils).

When a collect is described by its place in a service it is the collect at the particular service (e.g., the Second Collect at Morning Prayer).

What is the function of a collect? Most of our Collects frame our prayers in strong Biblical ways, sometimes in direct Biblical language. They can often remind us of the paucity of our own prayers.

If used properly, systematically and regularly, the collects provide memorable prayers. Some examples include: “Lighten our darkness, we beseech thee O Lord …”

Or: “O God who art the author of peace and lover of concord …”

Or again: “… read, mark, learn and inwardly digest …” “Prevent us O Lord …”
“Go before us O Lord ...”

What is the structure of a collect?

A collect contains:

1, An address to God
2, A relative or particular clause referring to some attribute of God or to one of his saving acts
3, The petition
4, The reason for which we ask
5, The conclusion

Sometimes, part 2 and/or part 4 are dispensed with, simplifying the structure of a collect. But, whether or not they are omitted, a collect still needs to be well constructed.

An example, at the Collect for Purity at the beginning of the Holy Communion service (p. 201):

1, Almighty God: How we address God is worth attending to; we might simply say “God”, or “Father” or “Lord”. We might be more elaborate, addressing him as “Almighty God”, or “Heavenly Father.”

Normally collects are addressed to first person of the Trinity, but there are exceptions: for example, the collect of the 3rd Sunday of Advent opens: “O Lord Jesus Christ …” Sometimes the injunction precedes the address to God: “Stir up, we beseech thee …”

2, “to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden …” The collect goes on, in this example, to express our dependency on God.

3, “cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit …” This is the petition, the heart of the matter … what we are asking God to do.

4, “that we may perfectly love you and worthily magnify your holy name …” This is the reason for asking God do the things we have mentioned in the petition.

5, “…through Christ our Lord, Amen.” As we saw last week in our discussion of the Trinity and worship, Christian prayer is supposed to be addressed to the Father, in the power of the Spirit, and in name of Christ. Ideally, and generally, it should have a traceable Trinitarian movement.

Where do our collects come from?

At Holy Communion, Collects 1 and 2 are often a reworking of traditional language collects.

Advent 1: dates to 1549.

Advent 2: traditionally we had used the Collect associated with Bible Sunday on Advent 2. What we now use as the traditional-form collect on Advent 2 is a Collect once used on Advent 4, and that comes from the Sarum Missal. But the new collect comes from Celebrating Common Prayer (1992).

Advent 3: the collect was written for the 1662 Book of Common Prayer by John Cosin (1594-1672), Bishop of Durham.

Advent 4: the traditional-language collect for this Sunday was written in 1549, and was originally used on Advent 3. The contemporary language collect reflects a new focus on Virgin Mary in Advent. The collect comes from the Church of England’s Promise of his Glory (1990).

A page at the end of this section in The Book of Common Prayer gives the sources.

How are collects used in the liturgies?

We use collects in every Holy Communion service, in every service of Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer, and in every Service of the Word.

But they are used in different ways.

In Holy Communion 1, Holy Communion 2 and Service of the Word, the collect acts as a kind of hinge between the Gathering or Introductory material and the Proclaiming and Receiving of the Word. We are now focusing down into prayer and the congregation is preparing for the Ministry of the Word.

It often helps for the congregation to be quiet for a moment before the collect. And so, on occasion, the collect may be introduced with a few carefully chosen, short words.

During the Seasons, there is a general thematic connection between the readings and the collects, with the readings and collects chosen to fit the particular Sunday of the year. In Ordinary Time (Green), the collects and readings run on different tracks, and have no necessary connection with each other.

In Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer, the Collect of the Day is used as one of the two or three collects after the Lord’s Prayer and, when they are used, after the Versicles and Responses. The function of the collect here is to begin our prayers, which then widen out to more specific concerns.

In Daily Prayer (Weekdays) [see pp. 136 ff], the Collect of the Day is used in a different way. Instead of leading into the intercessions, it becomes the prayer that rounds off the intercessions before the Lord’s Prayer.

Post-Communion Prayers:

The provision of one Post-Communion Prayer for each occasion is relatively new. Previously, there was a very limited selection of Post-Communion Prayers. Then, in 1984, the Alternative Prayer Book provided some Post-Communion Prayers that became very popular. For example, “Father of all, we give you thanks and praise …” This was written by David Frost, who is now at the Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies in Cambridge and who also compiled the Psalter for the Alternative Prayer Book.

Another of these popular Post-Communion Prayers from the Alternative Prayer Book is: “Almighty God, we thank you for feeding us …”

These Post-Communion Prayers show a rich and varied way of addressing God, and they are drawn from the rich range of Biblical language:

● Light eternal,
● God of glory,
● Generous God,
● God of tender care,
● God our Creator,
● God of hope,
● God of our pilgrimage.

The sources for these Post-Communion Prayers are varied too. One comes from the liturgy of Malabar (Trinity 8): “Strengthen for Service, Lord, the hands that holy things have taken …”

The prayer for Maundy Thursday is associated in the Roman Catholic tradition with Corpus Christi, but its use in the Anglican tradition goes back to the Scottish Prayer Book (1929).

The Risen Christ and the Four Evangelists in John Piper’s window in Saint John’s, Lichfield … the Lectionary provides for readings from all four Gospels in different years and seasons (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

(3b) The Lectionary:

[See Harold Miller, Chapter 2 (pp 35-46).]

Why do we use a lectionary? And what are the sources for the Lectionary?

Cranmer was anxious to provide Old Testament and New Testament readings for Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer every day.

The Revised Common Lectionary emphasises the need to have Old Testament, New Testament and Gospel readings available, along with a Psalm. The roots of the RCL are in a rediscovery of the meaning of the Liturgy of the Word both in the Liturgical Movement of the last century and at Vatican II.

The lectionary is based on having three readings and a psalm, over a three-year period. This is the valuing of story-telling rather than a thematic approach. You could compare the impact of the lectionary readings with a soap opera. We can enter at any time, and catch on quickly to what the main characters are doing and how they interact with each other.

Year A: Saint Matthew
Year B: Saint Mark
Year C: Saint Luke

Saint John’s Gospel, then, is used for the high points.

In essence, it is a Eucharistic lectionary.

There are exceptions, so that sometimes there is a thematic approach:

● The Second Sunday before Lent: the creation theme is an alternative.
● The Sunday before Lent: Transfiguration theme.
● The Sunday between 23 and 29 October (two weeks’ time): Bible Sunday theme.
● The Sunday between 20 and 16 November: the Kingship of Christ.

Other exceptions and variations include:

● The first reading during Eastertide is from the Acts of the Apostles.
● The major festivals of Christmas are provided with readings not according to Years A, B and C, but Series I, II and III.

Some questions:

How do you feel about readings from the Apocrypha?

Which versions of the Bible can we – and should we – use (p. 26 gives a gentle hint that we should use the New Revised Standard Version)?

Why are weekday readings not provided?

The Book of Common Prayer (p. 26) allows for occasional diversity from the lectionary during Ordinary Time, but is there a danger or a benefit in allowing variation from set readings?

What are the pitfalls in following the Church of Ireland Directory?

There is not complete ecumenical acceptance of the lectionary, and there are some variations among Roman Catholics, or even between Anglican churches.


Saturday morning, 13 October 2012, Moving on to Practicalities:

The nature and theology of sacraments

3.2: Baptism and Eucharist (1) from the early Church to the Reformers

Canon Patrick Comerford is Lecturer in Anglicanism and Liturgy, the Church of Ireland Theological Institute. This lecture on 12 October 2012 was part of the MTh Module EM8824: Liturgy, Worship and Spirituality with part-time students.

Liturgy Part-Time 2.1, Creation, Trinity and theologies of worship and prayer

Baptism and Eucharist … celebrations of Creation and worship in communion with the Trinity (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

EM8824: Liturgy, Worship and Spirituality

Liturgy Part-Time 2.1: 12 October 2012

This evening:

Liturgy Part-Time 2.1:
Creation, Trinity, and theologies of worship and prayer.

Liturgy Part-Time 2.2: The development of the liturgical year and the daily office.


Outline of course content for part-time MTh residential weekends in Semester 1:

Friday 12 October:

1, Creation, Trinity and theologies of worship and prayer.

2, The development of the liturgical year and the daily office.

Saturday 13 October:

1, The nature and theology of sacraments

2, Baptism and Eucharist (1) from the early Church to the Reformers.

Friday 9 November:

1, Baptism and Eucharist (2) liturgical renewal in the 20th century; the contemporary life and mission of the Church.

2, Rites of passage, e.g., Marriages, Funerals

Saturday 10 November:

1 and 2: Visit to a public place of worship of another faith

Liturgy 2.1: Creation, Trinity, and theologies of worship and prayer.

It is the total gift of oneself to the beloved that is the ideal of love, of human love in this life, and that is only a faint image of the total self-giving which is the Love of God. For ever in the Holy Trinity, the Father gives Himself to the Son and the Son to the Father in a torrent of love which is the Holy Ghost. The whole perfect Being of God passes eternally from one to another and returns in an unending dance of love – the perfect love of the perfect lover for the perfectly beloved, perfectly achieved and perfectly returned for ever. That is the life of God himself in the eternal abyss of his own being. It is love. and it is joy, illimitable joy. Self-sacrifice in this world and the joy of God’s own being are one and the same thing from different worlds.
– Dom Gregory Dix, God’s Way with Man (Dacre Press, 1954), p. 76.

All our liturgical prayer is expressed in the plural, and not in the singular.

All our liturgical prayer is the prayer of the Community of Faith, not merely of the gathered congregation, but the prayer of the whole church:

In Holy Communion 2 (Great Thanksgiving, Prayer 1), the preface states we pray not on our own but with the whole Church, visible and invisible: “And so with all your people, with angels and archangels, and with all the company of heaven …” [The Book of Common Prayer (2004), p. 209].

And that prayer goes on to ask “that we may be made one in your holy Church” [The Book of Common Prayer (2004), p. 211].

Or, in Prayer 2, we pray: “… bring us with all your people into the joy of your eternal kingdom” [The Book of Common Prayer (2004), p. 215].

Similarly, in Prayer 3, we state: “with your whole Church throughout the world we offer you this sacrifice of thanks and praise …” [The Book of Common Prayer (2004), p. 217].

And because our faith is incarnational, those Great Thanksgiving prayers are connected both with the whole groaning creation, and with God as Trinity.

This afternoon, I first want us to consider the Trinitarian foundations and underpinnings of the liturgical worship of Church, and to relate that in an incarnational way to the celebration of God’s creation and the anticipation of the fulfilment of God’s plans for creation.

Then, secondly, after the break, I’d like us to look at the practice of prayer in the Benedictine and Franciscan traditions. Indeed, it would be impossible not to think about Creation and to relate this to Benedictine and Franciscan spirituality and the care for all creation.

In looking at the Creation, the Trinity and theologies of worship and prayer, I shall draw particularly on the Eucharist (the Holy Communion, the Lord’s Prayer). The Book of Common Prayer (2004) speaks of the Eucharist as “the central act of worship of the Church.” [The Book of Common Prayer (2004), p. 75].

“Because this is the case,” Bishop Harold Miller says, “we will find that the Holy Communion Service gives us a window in to all that is most vital in our regular worship.” [Harold Miller, The desire of our soul (Dublin: Columba Press, 2004), p. 115.] But I hope from this that we can move on to interpret what we do as the Church in our other forms of public prayer.

Part 1: Liturgy, prayer and the Trinity:

A modern icon in the style of Andrei Rublev’s icon of the Old Testament Trinity or the Hospitality of Abraham

Bible study (1): Genesis 18: 1-15

The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground. He said, ‘My lord, if I find favour with you, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on – since you have come to your servant.’ So they said, ‘Do as you have said.’ And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, ‘Make ready quickly three measures of choice flour, knead it, and make cakes.’ Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it. Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate.

They said to him, ‘Where is your wife Sarah?’ And he said, ‘There, in the tent.’ Then one said, ‘I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son.’ And Sarah was listening at the tent entrance behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, ‘After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?’ The Lord said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh, and say, “Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?” Is anything too wonderful for the Lord? At the set time I will return to you, in due season, and Sarah shall have a son.’ But Sarah denied, saying, ‘I did not laugh’; for she was afraid. He said, ‘Oh yes, you did laugh.’


Jürgen Moltmann, Gerald O’Collins, and other theologians across the traditions have written about Andrei Rublev’s icon of the Trinity placing the Eucharist at the centre of the life of the Trinity. The three figures in the icon surround a “chalice on the table, which links the scene with the Eucharist, and hence with the saving and revealing story of Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection.” [Jürgen Moltmann, The Trinity and the Kingdom of God (London: SCM, 1981), p. xvi; Gerald O’Collins, The Tripersonal God: Understanding and Interpreting the Trinity (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1999), p. 11.]

The three figures form a sort of mystic circle and they seem to say to us: “May you all be one as we are one.” (cf John 17: 21). The communion of the Holy Trinity is lived out in prayer, above all in the Eucharist.

This icon speaks of the Eucharist and the Church as if the mystery of Christ in the broken bread is immersed in the ineffable unity of the three divine Persons, with the Church itself an icon of the Trinity.

The Trinity denotes that “God, who is one and unique in his infinite substance or nature is three really distinct persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” Or as the Athanasian Creed states: “We worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity; neither confounding the Persons: nor dividing the Substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son: and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is all one: the Glory equal, the Majesty co-eternal.” [see The Book of Common Prayer (2004), p. 771.]

The Trinity and the Eucharist in the Fathers of the Church

Saint John’s Gospel in particular provided a great deal of material for the Fathers of the Church to indicate the intimate link between the Eucharist and the Trinity.

For example, Saint Cyprian of Carthage (died 248) teaches that our union with Christ in the Eucharist “unifies affections and wills.”

But, while the unity of the three persons in the Trinity is substantial, our unity with Christ and the Trinity is accidental. So while nothing outside of us can separate us from God’s love, if we turn away from God through sin, we lose this communion with Christ and hence with the Trinity.

Saint Cyril of Jerusalem (ca 315-387) speaks of our union “with Christ through the Eucharist by comparing it to two volumes of melted wax: when brought together, they become one. Hence, in Communion, Christ is in us and we in him.”

His Western contemporary, Saint Hilary of Poitiers (ca 315-367/8), in his De Trinitate, written to counter the Arians, speaks of the Eucharist as the bond of unity between God and us. He begins by citing Christ’s words: “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them” (John 6: 56).

He then summarises this, saying that when we receive the Eucharist, “we are in Christ and Christ is in us,” and by being united to Christ, who is the second person of the Trinity, we are united to the Trinity, including the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Saint Hilary of Poitiers (ca 300-ca 368) says the Eucharist has been understood in light of the mystery of the Trinity from the inception of the early Church, presents the Eucharist as the bond between God and us, and shows how it is possible to have access to the mystery of the Trinity through the living reality of the Eucharist in the life of the Church.

Saint Cyril of Alexandria (died 444) is one of the great patristic teachers on the Eucharist. Quoting John 6: 35 (“I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty”), he links our participation in the Eucharist with receiving the Holy Spirit, and participating in God’s own nature.

Trinity and Eucharist in the writings of the saints

The Basilica of San Domenico, also known as Basilica Cateriniana ... Saint Catherine of Siena says “to be placed within love is foremost to find oneself in the Trinitarian life of God,” and speaks of a unity between the Trinity and the Eucharist when she talks of “the Holy Trinity as food for our souls.”(Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2012)

Later, Saint Catherine of Siena (ca 1347-1380), generally recognised as one of “Doctors of the Church,” says that “to be placed within love is foremost to find oneself in the Trinitarian life of God,” and speaks of a unity between the Trinity and the Eucharist in a short prayer in which she talks of “the Holy Trinity as food for our souls.”

What we can see in the Patristic writings and the writings of the saints is an understanding of the Eucharist as a union with Christ that expands into a union with the Godhead in the Trinity.

Liturgical prayer and the Trinity:

In recent years, theologians in general and liturgists in particular have rediscovered the practical importance of the doctrine of the Trinity for Christian worship and human life.

In 1989, The Forgotten Trinity, a report by an ecumenical theological commission of the British Council of Churches, declared: “A fresh awareness of the doctrine [of the Trinity] and its implications can lead to a renewal of worship and a deeper understanding of what it means to be a person, since the fulfilment of human beings is to be found in relationships in community and not in self-assertive individualism.”

God’s covenant people have always worshipped a God who is named, a God who is self-identifying. That God reveals himself as “the Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Exodus 34: 6).

As Christians, we have confessed the name of God in our worship for centuries, forming our understanding of God in the context of praise. For the early Christians, worship of the Lord God took place “in the name of Christ,” in the lived experience of the life, death and resurrection of Christ, and through the experience of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

And so they could only talk about that God, and talk to that God through Christ and in the Spirit.

There is a Monty Python sketch in The Meaning of Life (1983), in which a sanctimonious chaplain, played by Michael Palin, leads a large assembly in a public school chapel in prayer:

Let us praise God. O Lord,

O Lord , ooh, you are so big,...
... ooh, you are so big, ...

... so absolutely huge.
... so absolutely huge.

Gosh, we’re all really impressed down here, I can tell you.
Gosh, we’re all really impressed down here, I can tell you.

Forgive us, O Lord, for this, our dreadful toadying, and...
And barefaced flattery.

But you are so strong and, well, just so super.


But our worship is not a human activity directed towards a God “out there” – it is our entry into the perichoresis of the Trinity, the dance of the Trinity.

Trinity and Eucharist in the Liturgy

The liturgy as the prayer of the Church is filled with Trinitarian references, right through to the final blessing at the end of the liturgy, so that the Trinity is an integral part of the public prayer. The Eucharistic Prayers are addressed to the Father [see The Book of Common Prayer (2004), pp 186, 188, 209, 212, 216.], and all our Eucharistic prayers end with similar Trinitarian doxologies:

“By whom, and with whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honour and glory be unto thee, O Father Almighty, world without end. Amen.” [Holy Communion 1, The Book of Common Prayer (2004), p. 189.]

“Through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, by whom, and with whom, and in whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honour and glory is yours, Almighty Father, forever and ever.” [Holy Communion 2, Prayer 1, The Book of Common Prayer (2004), p. 211.]

“… through Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom and in whom, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we worship you, Father almighty …” [Holy Communion 2, Prayer 2, The Book of Common Prayer (2004), p. 215.]

The exception is Holy Communion 2, Prayer 3 [Holy Communion 2, Prayer 3, The Book of Common Prayer (2004), pp 216-217], which is phrased throughout in an integrated Trinitarian language.

And so, the Eucharist becomes the action of the entire Trinity and provides a glimpse of what will be experienced in the Beatific Vision. We remember and enter into the one complete and all sufficient sacrifice to the Father, where the Son offers himself, and we remember his saving action, by the power of the Holy Spirit; and so this action cannot be separated from the action of Trinity.

The Trinity in the other prayers of the Church:

The Sacraments are a sign of how we are brought into the life of the Holy Trinity. Our Baptism brings us into the Family of the Trinity, draws us closer into the life of the Trinity.

Baptism is not in the name of Christ, but in the name of the Trinity. Today is the Feast of Saint Philip the Deacon. Philip’s baptising in the name of Jesus Christ in the Samaritan city (Acts 8: 12, 16) was supplemented later by the prayers of Peter and John. Although we are baptised into Christ, we are baptised, in accord with the Great Commission, in the name of the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit [Matthew 28: 19; see The Book of Common Prayer (2004), pp 350, 365.]

Some concluding remarks:

Some prayers I have heard:

I have prayers that could be paraphrased like this:

“Lord Jesus, we come before, grateful for all your saving acts. May our worship this morning be to your praise and glory. And this we ask for the sake of your son, our Saviour, Amen.”

Some things that have been done

In the Kyrie during the prayers of the people [Morning and Evening Prayer [The Book of Common Prayer (2004), p. 112], I have heard people say “Lord have mercy,” heard the response “Christ have mercy,” and then not heard the third refrain: “Lord have mercy.”


We have all heard someone add a Gloria or doxology to the canticle Te Deum. Why do we add the Gloria or doxology at the end of the Psalms at times, or at the end of some Canticles, but not others?

[Discussion; see Harold Miller, The desire of our soul (Dublin: Columba, 2004), p. 68.]

In our prayers, when we fail to think and prepare, we often betray some of the age-old heresies, including Modalism, Monarchianism, Sabellianism and Arianism. But there is no true Christology without a true Trinitarian theology

Part 2: Liturgy, prayer and creation:

Bible study (2): Matthew 3: 13-17

A modern icon of the Baptism of Christ

Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?’ But Jesus answered him, ‘Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfil all righteousness.’ Then he consented. And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved,* with whom I am well pleased.’

13 Τότε παραγίνεται ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἀπὸ τῆς Γαλιλαίας ἐπὶ τὸν Ἰορδάνην πρὸς τὸν Ἰωάννην τοῦ βαπτισθῆναι ὑπ' αὐτοῦ. 14 ὁ δὲ Ἰωάννης διεκώλυεν αὐτὸν λέγων, Ἐγὼ χρείαν ἔχω ὑπὸ σοῦ βαπτισθῆναι, καὶ σὺ ἔρχῃ πρός με; 15 ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτόν, Ἄφες ἄρτι, οὕτως γὰρ πρέπον ἐστὶν ἡμῖν πληρῶσαι πᾶσαν δικαιοσύνην. τότε ἀφίησιν αὐτόν. 16 βαπτισθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εὐθὺς ἀνέβη ἀπὸ τοῦ ὕδατος: καὶ ἰδοὺ ἠνεῴχθησαν [αὐτῷ] οἱ οὐρανοί, καὶ εἶδεν [τὸ] πνεῦμα [τοῦ] θεοῦ καταβαῖνον ὡσεὶ περιστερὰν [καὶ] ἐρχόμενον ἐπ' αὐτόν: 17 καὶ ἰδοὺ φωνὴ ἐκ τῶν οὐρανῶν λέγουσα, Οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός, ἐν ᾧ εὐδόκησα.


The story of the Baptism of Christ is the first revelation of the Trinity to the creation and is like the story of a new creation. All the elements of the creation story in the Book Genesis are here: we know we are moving from darkness into light; the shape of the earth moves from wilderness to beauty as we are given a description of the landscape; there is a separation of the waters of the new creation as Jesus and John go down in the waters of the Jordan and rise up from them again; and as in Genesis, the Holy Spirit hovers over the waters of this beautiful new creation like a dove.

And then, just as in the Genesis creation story, where God looks down and sees that everything is good, God looks down in this Theophany story and lets us know that everything is good. Or as Saint Mark says: A voice came from heaven saying: “This is my Son, the Beloved, with you I am well pleased.”

God is pleased with the whole of creation, God so loved this creation (cosmos) that Christ has come into it, identified with us in the flesh, and is giving us the gift and the blessings of the Holy Spirit.

Creation and the Mission of the Church

In the Egyptian Liturgy of Saint Mark, we find the following prayer:

“Bless, O Lord, the fruits of the earth, keep them for us free from disease and hurt, and prepare them for our sowing and our harvest… Bless now also, O Lord, the crown of the year through thy goodness for the sake of the poor among thy people, for the sake of the widow and the orphan, for the sake of the wanderer and the newcomer and for the sake of all who trust in thee and call upon thy Holy Name.”

This is the time of the year for Harvest Thanksgiving Services throughout the Church of Ireland. And traditionally, in Anglican worship, we have prayed for the harvest, for seasonable weather, for an abundance of the fruits of the earth, and for protection in the case of natural disasters. The blessings for natural elements – fields, vineyards, first fruits, wheat, etc. – show how the Church recognises the transformation of all aspects of creation through the salvation and glorification of humanity and thus of all creation.

However, we have been slow to explicitly express the reality that our worship takes place within Creation, is offered on behalf of Creation, and looks to the fulfilment of God’s promises for all of Creation.

The four marks of the Church’s mission were first agreed at a meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Nigeria in 1984.

Two meetings later, in Wales in 1990, the ACC declared in a report, Mission, Culture and Human Development: “We now feel that our understanding of the ecological crisis, and indeed of the threats to the unity of all creation, mean that we have to add a fifth affirmation: ‘to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth’.”

It took us as Anglicans until 1990 to articulate responsibility for nature, for the environment, for the life of this planet, and to acknowledge that this is an integral part of the mission, and therefore, the worship of the Church.

Why did it take so long? And why, when we Anglicans were working out our mission statement over quarter of a century ago in 1984 did we just stop at four? Why did it take six more years and two more meetings of the ACC before Anglicans realised we all share the responsibility “to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth”?

Some explanations that have been offered include:

1, A mentality that if Christ is coming again soon, we need not worry about the state of the world or the environment – perhaps we might even can help history along and encourage his return.

2, The Church withdrew from engaging with science after the bruising it received in the debate about creation. As Professor Owen Chadwick, the historian of Victorian Anglicanism, said: “They drew up the drawbridge and boiled the oil.”

3, A negative view of nature and the environment: that the creation is to be prayed about because we fear storms, floods, earthquakes, the sea, the mountains, all seen as hostile.

4, An even deeper problem is the idea that we are created to have dominion over the earth and all of creation. This idea is enhanced by traditional readings of passages such as the creation account in Genesis 1, including: “and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle and over all the wild animals of the earth, an over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth” (verse 26; c.f. verse 28); and of passages such as Psalm 8: 5-8:

You have made them [human beings] a little lower than God,
and crowned them with glory and honour.
You have given us dominion
over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under their feet,
all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

The traditional interpretation is that the rest of creation was made for us, that we are at the top of the pile and that it was all made by God just for us, so we can do what we like with creation.

In Genesis 1, God brings all life into existence, declares it is all good, and puts it in an harmonious ecosystem. We are God’s representatives, made in God’s image, and are called to act in the same way. We are God’s deputies, God’s stewards. The dominion that God seeks is one that protects the defenceless and gives justice to the oppressed. So dominion over creation implies the call to protect it.

Meanwhile, in the last 25 years, as Anglicans, we have started praying in words such as

Awaken in us a sense of wonder for the earth and all that is in it. Teach us to care creatively for its resources [New Zealand Prayer Book, p. 413.]

We remember with gratitude your many gifts to us in creation and the rich heritage of these islands. Help us and people everywhere to share with justice and peace the resources of the earth. [New Zealand Prayer Book, p. 416.]

We thank you for your gifts in creation – for our world, the heavens tell of your glory; for our land, its beauty and its resources, for the rich heritage we enjoy. We pray for those who make decisions about the resources of the earth, that we may use your gifts responsibly; for those who work on the land and sea, in city and in industry, that all may enjoy the fruits of their labours and marvel at your creation; for artists, scientists and visionaries, that through their work we may see creation afresh. [New Zealand Prayer Book, p. 463]

Prayers like this are absent from New Zealand’s 1966 and 1970 revisions, and only begin to appear in the 1984 revision. They begin to appear in The Alternative Prayer Book of the Church of Ireland that year, and were developed in the Book of Common Prayer (2004), as in the weekday intercessions and thanksgivings for Monday, on the theme of “Creation in Christ: Creation and Providence” [Alternative Prayer Book (1984), p. 97; Book of Common Prayer (2004), p. 139.]

So what happened between 1984 and 1990?

These were times when we were becoming increasingly aware of how fragile this world is. A series of major environmental disasters in these decades included the Torrey Canyon spillage (1969) and the leaks at Three Mile Island (1979) and Chernobyl (1986).

In a ground-breaking initiative in 1989, Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios I of Constantinople called for “prayers and supplications to the Maker of all, both as thanksgiving for the great gift of creation and as petition for its protection and salvation.” He invited Christians everywhere to observe 1 September, the Ecclesiastical New Year in the Orthodox tradition, as the annual Day of Prayer for Creation.

It is a fundamental dogma of our faith that the world, the cosmos, was created by God the Father, who is confessed in the Creed to be “maker of heaven and earth and of all things, seen and unseen.”

So our worship conveys this profound understanding of creation. Our liturgical worship is an expression of the faith and the hope that the whole of the universe worships and offers gifts to the Creator.

To return to last Thursday’s theme of liturgical space and place, in Orthodox churches, the very shape of the churches, including the place of icons, mosaics and frescoes within them, are seen as a microcosm of the universe that illustrates the role both of humanity and of the rest of creation in relation to God. But this it is not only an expression of what is on earth today. It is an expression too of what exists in heaven and what is to come – the eschatological promise and redemptive transformation of all creation through the salvation wrought by Christ [see Romans 8: 22-24].

Our prayers and our psalms tell us of the sanctification of all creation. Psalm 103 says: “Bless the Lord, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the Lord, O my soul” (Psalm 103: 22).

Good public worship includes the celebration and the use of all aspects of the human senses: it engages sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch.

At the Eucharist, we offer the fullness of creation and receive it back as the blessing of Grace in the form of the bread and the wine, to share with others, a sign or a sacrament that God’s grace and deliverance is shared not just with us but with all of God’s creation. As humans, we are simply yet gloriously the means for the expression of creation in its fullness and the coming of God’s deliverance for all creation.

The vocation of humanity, as shown in our liturgy, is not to dominate and to exploit nature, but to transfigure and to hallow it. In so many ways – through the cultivation of the earth, through crafts and through the arts, but especially in our liturgy – we give material things a voice and render the creation articulate in its praise of God.

Metropolitan Kallistos Ware lecturing in Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge ... he points out we bring to the altar not sheaves of wheat but loaves of bread, not bunches of grapes but wine poured out; fruit of the earth and work of human hands, this morning (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

It is significant that in the Eucharist, when we offer back to God the first fruits of the earth, we offer them not in their original form, but reshaped by our hands. As Metropolitan Kallistos [Ware] of Diokleia has said, we bring to the altar not sheaves of wheat but loaves of bread, not bunches of grapes but wine poured out – “these gifts of your creation” [The Book of Common Prayer, p. 214]; fruit of the earth and work of human hands.

In our Eucharist, we acknowledge and praise God a Creator: The word Eucharist means “thanksgiving.” Our Eucharistic liturgy is first and foremost about giving thanks for God’s work for us, which begins with creation. To bless is to give thanks. In and through thanksgiving, we acknowledge the true nature of things we receive from God and thus enable them to attain the fullness God intended for them. We bless and sanctify things when we offer them to God in a Eucharistic movement of our whole being.

And as we stand before the cosmos, before the matter given to us by God, this Eucharistic movement becomes all-embracing. We are defined as a “Eucharistic” animal because we are capable of seeing the world as God’s gift, as a sacrament of God’s presence and a means of communion with him. So we are able to offer the world back to God as thanksgiving: “for all things come from you and of your own we give you.” [The Book of Common Prayer (2004), p. 208.] We are able to bless and praise God for the world and his creation:

“Blessed are you Father, the creator and sustainer of all things …” [Holy Communion 2, Prayer 1, The Book of Common Prayer (2004), p. 210].

“For he is your eternal Word through whom you have created all things …” [Holy Communion 2, Prayer 1, The Book of Common Prayer (2004), p. 212].

“Merciful Father, we thank you for these gifts of your creation, this bread and this wine …” [Holy Communion 2, Prayer 2, The Book of Common Prayer (2004), p. 214].

“Father, Lord of all creation, we praise you for your goodness and your love.” [Holy Communion 2, Prayer 3, The Book of Common Prayer (2004), p. 216].

And in the shared Post-Communion Prayer:

“May we … who drink this cup bring life to others; we whom the Spirit lights give light to the world.” [Holy Communion 2, Prayer 3, The Book of Common Prayer (2004), p. 220].

These liturgical expressions reflect the vision and understanding of our relationship both with creation and with the Creator. We are the free agents through whom creation is offered to the Creator. The Eucharist is the most sublime expression and experience of creation transformed by God the Holy Spirit through redemption and worship. In the form of bread and wine, material from creation moulded into new form by human hands is offered to God with the acknowledgment that all of creation is God’s and that we are returning to God that which is his.

The primordial relationship of Adam to both God and Creation is restored in the Eucharist, and we have a foretaste of the eschatological state of Creation. But when we look today at our world, we see a very different picture. Humanity’s rebellion, pride and greed have shattered the primordial relationship of Adam. It has ignored the Church’s understanding of our role as priest of creation. By doing so, our world is facing a crisis of death and corruption to a degree never before experienced.

We must attempt to return to the proper relationship with the Creator and creation in order to ensure the survival of the natural world. We are called to bear some of the pain of creation as well as to enjoy and celebrate it. That means to perform Liturgia extra muros, the Liturgy beyond or outside the walls of the church, for the sanctification of the world.

An understanding of Creation in Baptism:

As we have seen in our second Bible study, the baptism of Christ a new creation, or a renewal of creation.

Baptismal water represents the matter of the cosmos, and its blessing at the beginning of the baptismal rite has a cosmic and redemptive significance. God created the world and blessed it and gave it to us as our food and life, as the means of communion with him.

When the water is poured into the font, we recall the waters of creation that cleanse and replenish, nourish and sustain us, all living things and the earth, the waters of freedom in the Red Sea and the Jordan that brought the promise of new life, the waters of Christ’s baptism, the waters of Christ’s death and new life, and our new birth in the Church through the waters of life. [The Book of Common Prayer (2004), p. 363.]


There is an inseparable link between the Triune God we worship as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and the God who is the Creator of all.

This God we worship together and collectively in the public worship, the Liturgy of the Church, and this understanding is foundational for our understanding of liturgy and the prayer life of the Church.

Some resources:

(1) Confession

From Common Worship (Church of England):

We confess our sin, and the sins of our society,
in the misuse of God’s creation.

God our Father, we are sorry
for the times when we have used your gifts carelessly,
and acted ungratefully.
Hear our prayer, and in your mercy:
forgive us and help us.

We enjoy the fruits of the harvest,
but sometimes forget that you have given them to us.
Father, in your mercy:
forgive us and help us.

We belong to a people who are full and satisfied,
but ignore the cry of the hungry.
Father, in your mercy:
forgive us and help us.

We are thoughtless,
and do not care enough for the world you have made.
Father, in your mercy:
forgive us and help us.

We store up goods for ourselves alone,
as if there were no God and no heaven.
Father, in your mercy:
forgive us and help us.

(2) Intercessions:

Let us pray for the Church and for the world.

Grant, Almighty God, that all who confess your Name may be united in your truth, live together in your love, and reveal your glory in the world.


Lord, in your mercy
Hear our prayer.

Guide the people of this land, and of all the nations, in the ways of justice and peace; that we may honour one another and serve the common good.


Lord, in your mercy
Hear our prayer.

Give us all a reverence for the earth as your own creation, that we may use its resources rightly in the service of others and to your honour and glory.


Lord, in your mercy
Hear our prayer.

Bless all whose lives are closely linked with ours, and grant that we may serve Christ in them, and love one another as he loves us.


Lord, in your mercy
Hear our prayer.

Comfort and heal all those who suffer in body, mind, or spirit; give them courage and hope in their troubles, and bring them the joy of your salvation.


Lord, in your mercy
Hear our prayer.

We commend to your mercy all who have died, that your will for them may be fulfilled; and we pray that we may share with all your saints in your eternal kingdom.


Lord, in your mercy
Hear our prayer.

The celebrant adds a concluding collect.

The Book of Common Prayer (TEC) pp 388-389.

(3) Collects:

Almighty God,
you have created the heaven and the earth
and made us in your own image:
Teach us to discern your hand in all your works
and your likeness in all your children;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who with you and the Holy Spirit
reigns supreme over all things, now and for ever.

The Book of Common Prayer (2004) p. 256 (The Second Sunday before Lent).

Almighty God,
you have broken the tyranny of sin
and have sent the Spirit of your Son into our hearts
whereby we call you Father:
Give us grace to dedicate our freedom to your service,
that we and all creation may be brought
to the glorious liberty of the children of God;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Book of Common Prayer (2004) p. 283 (The Third Sunday after Trinity).

See also the collects of Trinity XX, Trinity XXI, the Sunday before Advent.

(4) A creation focused preface:

God of all power, Ruler of the Universe, you are worthy of glory and praise.
Glory to you for ever and ever.

At your command all things came to be: the vast expanse of interstellar space, galaxies, suns, the planets in their courses, and this fragile earth, our island home.
By your will they were created and have their being.

From the primal elements you brought forth the human race, and blessed us with memory, reason, and skill. You made us the rulers of creation. But we turned against you, and betrayed your trust; and we turned against one another.
Have mercy, Lord, for we are sinners in your sight.

Again and again, you called us to return. Through prophets and sages you revealed your righteous Law. And in the fullness of time you sent you only Son, born of a woman, to fulfil your Law, to open for is the way of freedom and peace.
By his blood, he reconciled us.
By his wounds, we are healed.

And therefore we praise you, joining with the heavenly chorus, with prophets, apostles, and martyrs, and with all those in every generation who have looked to you in hope, to proclaim with them your glory, in their unending hymn:

Holy, holy, holy Lord …

The Book of Common Prayer (TEC) pp 370-371.

The Canadian Book of Alternative Services has adapted this prayer, changed “rulers of creation” to “stewards of creation” and inserted a regular refrain “Glory to you for ever and ever.” It has no cue for this refrain, so you either need the text in front of you, or the text must be sung with a musical cue for the sung refrain.

A suggested option is to use a set cue and response such as:

God of all creation
we worship and adore you

(5) Calendar

An autumn rainbow between Lambay Island and Portrane ... the Season of Creation is celebrated in many churches in September and October (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2010)

The Season of Creation calendar has this basic pattern:

● 1 September: Day of Creation (as in Orthodox traditions).
● Four Sundays: four domains of creation, e.g, Forest, Land, Ocean and River Sundays.
● Saint Francis of Assisi Day (4 October).
● Blessing of the Animals.
● Special Sunday – appropriate to the country or community.
● Second Sunday in October (next Sunday) – Final Sunday of the Season

The Season of Creation 2011 (Series A): The Spirit in Creation

● 1 September: Creation Day.
● 4 September: 1st Sunday in Creation, Forest Sunday.
● 11 September: 2nd Sunday in Creation, Land Sunday.
● 18 September: 3rd Sunday in Creation, Wilderness/Outback Sunday.
● 25 September: 4th Sunday in Creation, River Sunday.
● 2 October: Special Sunday, appropriate to the country or community.
● 4 October: Saint Francis of Assisi Day.
● 9 October: Final Sunday of the Season, Blessing of the Animals

The Season of Creation 2012 (Series B): The Word in Creation

● 1 September: Creation Day
● 2 September: 1st Sunday in Creation, Planet Earth Sunday
● 9 September: 2nd Sunday in Creation, Humanity Sunday
● 16 September: 3rd Sunday in Creation, Sky Sunday
● 23 September: 4th Sunday in Creation, Mountain Sunday
● 30 September: 5th Sunday in Creation, Blessing of the Animals
● 4 October: Saint Francis of Assisi Day

In many parts of the world, the churches celebrate “Creation Day” on 1 September, and mark the period from 1 September to 4 October, the Feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi, or the Sunday after 4 October as “Creation Time,” marking the priceless gift of the Creator who made us into his own image and likeness.

This ecumenical celebration dates from the initiative by Patriarch Dimitrios I of Constantinople in 1989, when he invited all Christians to observe 1 September as the annual Day of Prayer for Creation.


Liturgy 3.2:
The development of the liturgical year and the daily office;

Canon Patrick Comerford is Lecturer in Anglicanism and Liturgy, the Church of Ireland Theological Institute. This lecture on 12 October 2012 is part of the MTh module EM8824: Liturgy, Worship and Spirituality with part-time students