|The Book of Common Prayer|
The Second Prayer Book of Edward VI
Added the Introductory Sentences, Exhortation, Confession and Absolution to Morning and Evening Prayer.
Many changes were made in the Communion office, including addition of the Decalogue, omission of the Introit, a new prayer of Consecration, rearrangement of parts of the service, etc. The Communion service was also altered to make ambiguous the traditional Catholic doctrine of the real presence of Christ in the elements. A rubric, called "the Black Rubric" (so-called as it was printed in black in 19th century versions) was added only days before final printing, over many objections, and sought to assure that kneeling at the Communion did not in any way imply adoration of the host.
The exorcism, annointing, the chrism, and triple immersion were omitted from the Baptism service.
The use of reserved sacrament was left ambiguous in the Visitation of the Sick.
The Burial service was drastically shortened, omitting Communion, prayers for the dead, and the psalms.
The book was introduced towards the end of 1552, and only preceeded the death of the young and sickly King Edward (pictured at right) by six months. Edward was succeeeded by Queen Mary, who quickly outlawed the Book of Common Prayer and restored the Latin rites of the Roman Catholic Church. So this prayer book never even came into general usage in England. Nevertheless, the 1552 Book of Common Prayer has had lasting impact, as the next revision (1559, on the accession of Elizabeth I) was based very closely on it.
The text used here
is from a reprint, The First and Second Prayer-Books of Edward VI,
published in 1910 as part of Everyman's Library. This book appears in
David Griffiths' Bibliography of the Book of Common Prayer as
1910/10. The text originally appears to be taken from an edition published
by Edward Whitchurche (or Whytchurche) of London, or from a 19th century
reprint thereof. It uses completely the original language and spelling,
which are largely retained here.
For more information about this Prayer Book, we have reproduced the Introduction which appeared in The First and Second Prayer-Books of Edward VI, written by Edgar C. S. Gibson, Bishop of Gloucester.
In any older book, one will typically find a few textual variants among the various printings, and this book is no exception. Four of these printings were compared in The Two Liturgies ... Set forth in the Reign of King Edward VI (Parker Soc., 1844, Griffiths 1844/9). Two of these were printed by Whitchurche, and two by Grafton, but, it was not possible to match them with editions listed by Griffiths. Variants found in more than one printing, other than obvious differences in spelling, typos, etc., are indicated in the text.
In addition to the links below, Holy Communion from the 1552 Book of
Common Prayer is available from Linda Howell's 1662 BCP site. The Communion Service is also available online in
THE CONTENTS OF THIS BOOK.
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