Author Topic: Book of Common Prayer - Best and most beautiful quotes from an Orthodox POV  (Read 698 times)

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Offline Alpha60

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The BCP has in my opinion, together with the Authorized Version (KJV) and the Coverdale Psalter, been a great blessing for Orthodoxy, insofar as it nearly led to Orthodox-Anglican unification, did preserve liturgical worship in Protestantism more successfully than in any other denomination, and did create the basis from which many people converted to Orthodoxy, Eastern or Western, it is something I think we should celebrate, and in this thread I propose to quote the best parts of the various editions of the BCP, from 1549 until the present, that express doctrine compatible with Orthodoxy, or that are particularly beautiful.  And of course, the BCP quotes the Byzantine Orthodox liturgy, and successive editions of it have quoted us more and more (for example, the Prayer of the Second Antiphon from the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, and more recently, the introduction of Phos Hilarion as the opening canticle for Evening Prayer).

 I will not quote the ugly or incompatible parts, such as the Black Rubric, the 39 Articles, the inane preface on “why some ceremonies are retained while others be abolished” et cetera, or more recent banalities such as the 1979 book’s gender-neutral Ordinal.

I would encourage other members to join me in this, and it might be edifying to compare this with the major Western Rite Orthodox service books in use with ROCOR, Antioch, the OCA and other churches.

Offline Alpha60

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To begin with, I shall quote is a beautiful Collect added for the 6th Sunday after Epiphany, which in the Western Rite is rarely used, because normally there are only five before Septuagesima.  This was not in the original Cranmerian books; Archbishop Cranmer and/or whoever was working under him to produce the BCP, no proper was given for this particular day due probably to a perceived lack of need.

The 1662 book rectified thus omission, with a beautiful Collect which calls to mind the teachings of St. Athanasius on Theosis:

Quote
“O God, whose blessed Son was manifested that he might destroy the works of the devil, and make us the sons of God, and heirs of eternal life: Grant us, we beseech thee, that, having this hope, we may purify ourselves, even as he is pure; that, when he shall appear again with power and great glory, we may be made like unto him in his eternal and glorious kingdom.”

The author was John Cosin, a 17th century bishop in the emerging High Church faction alongside the laudable Bishop Laud.  John Cosin as an added benedit was also a liturgical scholar par excellence, and sought to make the BCP more compatible with ancient liturgical traditions, through changes to the rubric and other refinements in the 1662 edition.  I see him as enabling Anglo-Catholicism, which in turn was in my view a great blessing for the Orthodox as it conditioned people who would otherwise be stuck in the Zwinglian Protestantism of Cranmerian Anglicanism to look for Catholic (Orthodox) tradition and to be inclined to move towards greater Catholicity in the form of reconciliation with or membership in the Orthodox Church, when the diaspora in the 19th century facilitated this.

Here is the Wikipedia biography on this man:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Cosin

Offline WPM

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Western Rite here. (Sometimes Eastern)

Offline Justinian of Narnia

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BCP 1662 Twelfth Sunday after Trinity Collect:

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who art always more ready to hear than we are to pray, and art wont to give more than either we desire, or deserve; Pour down upon us the abundance of thy mercy; forgiving us those things whereof our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things which we are not worthy to ask, but through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord. Amen.
"Stand at the brink of the abyss of despair, and when you see that you cannot bear it anymore, draw back a little and have a cup of tea" ~Elder Sophrony of Essex

Offline Alpha60

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BCP 1662 Twelfth Sunday after Trinity Collect:

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who art always more ready to hear than we are to pray, and art wont to give more than either we desire, or deserve; Pour down upon us the abundance of thy mercy; forgiving us those things whereof our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things which we are not worthy to ask, but through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord. Amen.

That’s lovely also.

Offline platypus

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I like the general confession from Matins and Evensong; it's one of my favorite prayers. If anyone knows the origin, I'd be keen to learn.

Quote from: 1928 BCP
Almighty and most merciful Father; We have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against thy holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare thou those, O God, who confess their faults. Restore thou those who are penitent; According to thy promises declared unto mankind in Christ Jesus our Lord. And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake; That we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life, To the glory of thy holy Name. Amen.

It's so complete.
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Offline Alpha60

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I like the general confession from Matins and Evensong; it's one of my favorite prayers. If anyone knows the origin, I'd be keen to learn.

Quote from: 1928 BCP
Almighty and most merciful Father; We have erred, and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against thy holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us. But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare thou those, O God, who confess their faults. Restore thou those who are penitent; According to thy promises declared unto mankind in Christ Jesus our Lord. And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake; That we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life, To the glory of thy holy Name. Amen.

It's so complete.

This was actually next on what I planned on quoting.

I also love the Prayer of Humble Access.  If you want to quote that that would be lovely.

I intend to post some quotes from some lesser known editions and derivatives of the BCP which are particularly beautiful, including some quotes from Devotional Liturgies, a 19th century service book composed by the high church minister of a Congregational parish in London located in the former custom’s house, the King’s Weigh House, Rev. John Hunter, and some quotes from the traditional language services of the 1979 American BCP and the 1990s traditional language adaptation, the Anglican Service Book (expressly allowed under ECUSA rubrics), and some quotes of Compline, Prime and other beautiful services from the 1928 Deposited Book, which was to replace the 1662 BCP in England but which was blocked in Parliament by an evil alliance of low church Anglicans and non-Anglicans (a majority of Anglican MPs and Lords voted for it).  I shall also quote Compline from the American and Canadian BCPs for comparison, and post some quotes from the Scottish BCP.

So if, before I do that, you chaps feel inclined to post your favorite less obscure quotes, that might be good.  I love the Prayer of Humble Access, the various Collects which attach to Morning and Evening Prayer, the Prayer of St. Chrysostom, and the collects proper to certain feasts, particularly in the 1928 American BCP.

I might also quote from St. Andrew’s Service Book, which is used by the Antiochian Western Rite and is a direct derivative of the BCP.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2019, 08:51:15 PM by Alpha60 »

Offline JTLoganville

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The Collect for All Saints' (quoting from memory)

Almighty and Everlasting God, who hast knit together Thine elect into one communion of saints, the mystical Body of Christ our Lord:   Grant us grace to follow Thy blessed Saints in lives of faith and commitment, and to know the inexpressible joys Thou hast prepared for those who love Thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord....

Offline WPM

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I am properly saying the venerable prayers to the Western Orthodox Mass.

Offline Justinian of Narnia

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BCP 1662 St. Michael and All Angels Collect:

Everlasting God, who hast ordained and constituted the services of Angels and men in a wonderful order; Mercifully grant, that, as thy holy Angels alway do thee service in heaven; so by thy appointment they may succour and defend us on earth, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
"Stand at the brink of the abyss of despair, and when you see that you cannot bear it anymore, draw back a little and have a cup of tea" ~Elder Sophrony of Essex

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Re: Book of Common Prayer - Best and most beautiful quotes from an Orthodox POV
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2019, 12:37:48 PM »
BCP 1662 Good Friday Collect:

A L M I G H T Y God, we beseech thee graciously to behold this thy family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ was contented to be betrayed, and given up into the hands of wicked men, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
"Stand at the brink of the abyss of despair, and when you see that you cannot bear it anymore, draw back a little and have a cup of tea" ~Elder Sophrony of Essex

Offline Alpha60

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Re: Book of Common Prayer - Best and most beautiful quotes from an Orthodox POV
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2019, 10:38:26 PM »
BCP 1662 Good Friday Collect:

A L M I G H T Y God, we beseech thee graciously to behold this thy family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ was contented to be betrayed, and given up into the hands of wicked men, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

BCP 1662 Good Friday Collect:

A L M I G H T Y God, we beseech thee graciously to behold this thy family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ was contented to be betrayed, and given up into the hands of wicked men, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

Very nice.

Offline HaydenTE

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Re: Book of Common Prayer - Best and most beautiful quotes from an Orthodox POV
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2019, 01:51:47 AM »
Some favorites of mine,

Quote
Almighty God, unto whom all hearts be open, all desires know, and from whom no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love thee, and worthily magnify thy holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Quote
...holy Matrimony; which is an honourable estate, instituted of God in the time of man's innocency, signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church; which holy estate Christ adorned and beautified with his presence, and first miracle that he wrought, in Cana of Galilee; and is commended of Saint Paul to be honourable among all men: and therefore is not by any to be enterprised, nor taken in hand, unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly, to satisfy men's carnal lusts and appetites, like brute beasts that have no understanding; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God; duly considering the causes for which Matrimony was ordained.

Quote
Man that is born of a woman hath but a short time to live, and is full of misery. He cometh up, and is cut down, like a flower; he fleeth as it were a shadow, and never continueth in one stay.
In the midst of life we are in death: of whom may we seek for succour, but of thee, O Lord, who for our sins art justly displeased?
Yet, O Lord God most holy, O Lord God most mighty, O holy and most merciful Saviour, deliver us not into the bitter pains of eternal death.
Thou knowest, Lord, the secrets of our hearts; but spare us, Lord most holy, O God most mighty, O holy and merciful Saviour, thou most worthy Judge eternal, suffer us not, at our last our, for any pains of death, to fall from thee.

And, of course,

Quote
Here endeth the Lesson.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2019, 01:52:26 AM by HaydenTE »
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Offline FinnJames

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Re: Book of Common Prayer - Best and most beautiful quotes from an Orthodox POV
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2019, 06:57:27 AM »
I bought a small BCP at the Westminster Abbey bookshop many years ago on a tourist visit to London and used it, an Anglican modern English revision, some Mormon and Buddhist texts in teaching a class on "English in religious practice". The authors of the BCP were wise to choose a slightly archaic English even at the time of writing as it gives great dignity to the text. I've always thought the Church of England service for the burial of the dead was very comforting. In particular, I like the part at the graveside, which finds its way into so many films, for its beautiful diction and message of consolation:

Then, while the earth shall be cast upon the Body by some standing by, the Priest shall say,
FORASMUCH as it hath pleased Almighty God of his great mercy to take unto himself the soul of our dear brother here departed, we therefore commit his body to the ground ; earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust ; in sure and certain hope of the Resurrection to eternal life, through our Lord Jesus Christ ; who shall change our vile body, that it may be like unto his glorious body, according to the mighty working, whereby he is able to subdue all things to himself.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2019, 06:58:52 AM by FinnJames »

Offline Justinian of Narnia

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Re: Book of Common Prayer - Best and most beautiful quotes from an Orthodox POV
« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2019, 03:19:21 PM »
BCP 1928 The Presentation of Christ in the Temple [February 2] Collect:

ALMIGHTY and everliving God, we humbly beseech thy
Majesty, that, as thy only-begotten Son was this day
presented in the temple in substance of our flesh, so we
may be presented unto thee with pure and clean hearts, by
the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
"Stand at the brink of the abyss of despair, and when you see that you cannot bear it anymore, draw back a little and have a cup of tea" ~Elder Sophrony of Essex

Offline platypus

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Re: Book of Common Prayer - Best and most beautiful quotes from an Orthodox POV
« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2019, 11:07:17 PM »
Here's one of my favorites, from the compline service in A Book of Offices, published by ECUSA in 1914:

"Before the ending of the day,
Creator of the world, we pray
That with Thy wonted favor, Thou
Wouldst be our guard and keeper now.

From all ill dreams defend our sight,
From fears and terrors of the night;
Withhold from us our ghostly foe,
That spot of sin we may not know.

O Father, that we ask be done,
Through Jesus Christ, Thine only Son;
Who, with the Holy Ghost and Thee,
Doth live and reign eternally."

This one is older than the Rome/England schism, although I'm not sure exactly how old. The Latin version was part of the pre-tridentine Benedictine breviary. I really like the rhyming Anglican translations of so many of the Divine Office prayers. They're pleasing to the ear and much easier to memorize than prose.



BCP 1928 The Presentation of Christ in the Temple [February 2] Collect:

ALMIGHTY and everliving God, we humbly beseech thy
Majesty, that, as thy only-begotten Son was this day
presented in the temple in substance of our flesh, so we
may be presented unto thee with pure and clean hearts, by
the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

I like how it relates the feast to our own lives.
"Eternal truth finds no favorable soil where one encounters at every turn the skeptical, sarcastic query 'what is truth,' where life insurance takes the place of eternal hope." -Hieromonk Antonius

Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity. -Ecclesiastes 12:8

Offline Justinian of Narnia

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Re: Book of Common Prayer - Best and most beautiful quotes from an Orthodox POV
« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2019, 12:41:50 PM »
Here's one of my favorites, from the compline service in A Book of Offices, published by ECUSA in 1914:

"Before the ending of the day,
Creator of the world, we pray
That with Thy wonted favor, Thou
Wouldst be our guard and keeper now.

From all ill dreams defend our sight,
From fears and terrors of the night;
Withhold from us our ghostly foe,
That spot of sin we may not know.

O Father, that we ask be done,
Through Jesus Christ, Thine only Son;
Who, with the Holy Ghost and Thee,
Doth live and reign eternally."

That is a beautiful prayer!
« Last Edit: February 14, 2019, 12:42:17 PM by Justinian of Narnia »
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Offline Justinian of Narnia

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Re: Book of Common Prayer - Best and most beautiful quotes from an Orthodox POV
« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2019, 01:01:37 PM »
BCP 1928 Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany Collect:

O GOD, whose blessed Son was manifested that he might destroy the works of the devil, and make us the sons of God, and heirs of eternal life; Grant us, we beseech thee, that, having this hope, we may purify ourselves, even as he is pure; that, when he shall appear again with power and great glory, we may be made like unto him in his eternal and glorious kingdom; where with thee, O Father, and thee, O Holy Ghost, he liveth and reigneth ever, one God, world without end. Amen.
"Stand at the brink of the abyss of despair, and when you see that you cannot bear it anymore, draw back a little and have a cup of tea" ~Elder Sophrony of Essex