The Book of Common Prayer
United States England Scotland Ireland Wales Canada World

    The Book of Common Prayer
of the Church of Ireland (1926)




1. The Prefaces
2. The Order how holy Scripture is appointed to be read
3. The Calendar
4. Tables and Rules for the Feasts and Fasts through the whole year
5. Table of Proper Psalms
6. Table of Lessons
7. General Directions for Publick Worship
8. The Order for Morning Prayer
9. The Order for Evening Prayer
10. The Litany
11. Prayers and Thanksgivings
12. The Psalter, with the Order how it is appointed to be read
13. The Creed (commonly called) of St. Athanasius
1.4. The Order for the Administration of the Holy Communion
15. The Collects, Epistles, and Gospels
JO. A Penitential Service
17. A Form of Thanksgiving for the Blessings of Harvest
18. Forms of Prayer for the Anniversary of the Accession of the Sovereign
19. The Ministration of Publick Baptism of Infants
20. The Ministration of Private Baptism of Children
21. The Order for Publick Reception of Children privately baptized
22. The Ministration of Baptism to such as are of Riper Years
23. A Catechism
24. The Order for Confirmation
25. The Form of Solemnization of Matrimony
26. The Churching of Women
27. The Order for the Visitation of the Sick
28. The Communion of the Sick
29. The Order for the Burial of the Dead.
30. An Order for the Burial of Children who have been baptized
31. The Form and Manner of Making, Ordaining, and Consecrating of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons
32. The Publick Institution of a Minister
33. The Service to be used on the first Sunday on which a Minister officiates in the Church of a Cure
34. The Form of the Consecration of a Church
35. The Form of the Consecration of a Churchyard or other Burial Ground
36. Forms of Prayer to be used at Sea.


37. Alternative Forms of Evening Prayer

38. Articles of Religion
39. A Table of Kindred and Affinity within which none may marry together
40. Preamble and Declaration adopted by the General Convention in the year 1870
41. Constitutions and Canons Ecclesiastical




AT the Session of the General Synod of the Church of Ireland in 1909, the Bishops were requested to take counsel with a committee formed from among the Representative Members of the General Synod, and to report upon the best manner in which, without making any modification in doctrine or in the ritual Canons, the Rubrics and Services of the Church might be adapted to the requirements of the present time.
    During a period of sixteen years, the General Synod considered a large number of proposals which gave promise of enriching the Book of 1878 or of adapting it more fully to the needs of a new day. The Book now put forth by authority is the result of the labour of those years.



WHEN this Church of Ireland ceased to be established by law, and thereupon some alteration in our Publick Liturgy became needful, it was earnestly desired by many that occasion should be taken for a new and full review thereof (such as had already more than once been made in former times), and for considering what other changes the lapse of years or exigency of our present times
and circumstances might have rendered expedient. And though we were not unaware of many dangers attending on such an attempt, yet we were the more willing to make it, because we perceived our comfort that all men, on all sides, professed their love and reverence for the Book of Common Prayer in its main substance and chief parts, arid confessed that it contained the true doctrine of Christ, and a pure manner and order of Divine Service, according to the holy Scriptures and the practice of the Primitive Church; and that what was sought by those who desired such a review was not any change of the whole tenor or structure of the Book, but the more clear declaration of what they took to be its true meaning, and the removing of certain expressions here and there, which they judged open to mistake or perversion. And as this Church has already, in its Convention of 1870 received and approved the Book as it then stood and was in use, so we now declare that, in such changes as we have made on this review, we imply no censure upon the former Book, as containing anything contrary to the Scriptures, when it is rightly understood and equitably construed. The true reasons of such changes will, for the most part, appear on a comparison of the two Books; but it has been thought good to add some further explanation why certain things have been altered and others retained.
    As concerning the Holy Communion, some of our brethren were at first earnest that we should remove from the Prayer Book certain expressions, which they thought might seem to lend some pretext for the teaching of doctrine concerning the presence of Christ in that Sacrament repugnant to that set forth in the Articles of Religion, wherein it is expressly declared that the Body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten in the Supper only after an heavenly and spiritual manner, and that the mean whereby it is therein received and eaten is faith; but, upon a full and impartial review, we have not found in the Formularies any just warrant for such teaching, and therefore, in this behalf, we have made no other change than to add to the Catechism one question, with an answer taken out of the Twenty-eighth of the said Articles.
    As for the error of those who have taught that Christ has given Himself or His Body and Blood in this Sacrament, to be reserved, lifted up, carried about, or worshipped, under the veils of Bread and Wine, we have already in the Canons prohibited such acts and gestures as might be grounded on it, or lead thereto; and it is sufficiently implied in the Note at the end of the Communion Office (and we now afresh declare) that the posture of kneeling prescribed to all communicants is not appointed for any purpose of such adoration; but only for a signification of our humble and grateful acknowledgement of the benefits of Christ which are m the Lord's supper given to all worthy receivers, and for the avoiding of such profanation and disorder as might ensue if some such reverent and uniform posture were not enjoined.
    In the Formularies relating to Baptism we have made no substantial change, though some have desired to alter or omit certain expressions touching which diversities of opinion have prevailed among faithful members of our Church. At the same time, we desire fully to recognize the liberty of expounding these Formularies hitherto allowed by the general practice of the Church.
    And as concerning those points whereupon such liberty has been allowed, we hereby further declare that no Minister of this Church is required to hold or teach any doctrine which has not been cleanly determined by the Articles of Religion.
    The Special Absolution in the Office for the Visitation of the Sick has been the cause of offence to many; and as it is a form unknown to the Church in ancient times, and as we saw no adequate reason for its retention, and no ground for asserting that its removal would make any change in the doctrine of the Church, we have deemed it fitting that, in the special cases contemplated in this Office, and in that for the Visitation of Prisoners, absolution should be pronounced to penitents in the form appointed in the Office for the Holy Communion.
    No change has been made in the formula of Ordination of Priests, though desired by some; for, upon a full review of our Formularies, we deem it plain, and here declare that, save in the matter of Ecclesiastical censures, no power or authority is by them ascribed to the Church or to any of its Ministers in respect of forgiveness of sins after Baptism, other than that of declaring and pronouncing, on God's part remission of sins to all that are truly penitent, to the quieting of their conscience, and the removal of all doubt and scruple; nor is it anywhere in our Formularies taught or implied that confession to, and absolution by, a Priest are any conditions of God's pardon; but, on the contrary, it is fully taught that all Christians who sincerely repent, and unfeignedly believe the Gospel, may draw nigh, as worthy Communicants, to the Lord's Table without any such confession or absolution; which comfortable doctrine of God's free forgiveness of sin is also more largely set forth in the Homily of Repentance and in that of the Salvation of Mankind.
    With reference to the Athanasian Creed (commonly so called), we have removed the Rubric directing its use on certain days; but, in so doing, this Church has not withdrawn its witness as expressed in the Articles of Religion, and here again renewed, to the truth of the Articles of the Christian Faith therein contained.
    In revising the Table of Lessons, we have judged it convenient to follow generally the new Table which the Church of England has lately adopted, with these principal exceptions, that whereas in that Table some Lessons are still taken out of the Books called Apocryphal, we have so arranged ours as that all the Lessons shall be taken out of the Canonical Scriptures; and we have included in our Lectionary the whole of the Revelation of St. John.
    And now, if some shall complain that these changes are not enough, and that we should have taken this opportunity of making this Book as perfect in all respects as they think it might be made, or if others shall say that these changes have been unnecessary or excessive, and that what was already excellent has been impaired by doing that which, in their opinion, might well have been left undone, let them, on the one side and the other, consider that men's judgements of perfection are very various, and that what is imperfect, with peace, is often better than what is otherwise more excellent, without it.


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