The Book of Common Prayer
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    The Book of Common Prayer
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OF translations of the Prayer Book into the three principal southern Romance languages the first was the Spanish, next came the Italian, and the latest the Portuguese. Taking them up chronologically, we must first consider the Spanish versions.

John Williams (1582-1650), archbishop of York, came of an ancient Welsh family. He became a prebendary of Hereford in 1612. In 1620 he was made dean of Westminster. In political matters he was most sagacious, for in this field, as well as in religious and ecclesiastical matters, he kept aloof from extreme parties. A reward for his shrewd and sagacious political advices came to him in 1621, when, after Lord Bacon’s fall, he was made Lord-Keeper. A t the same time he was consecrated bishop of Lincoln. In the House of Lords of the Long Parliament his place was marked out in advance as the leader of the party, aiming at a compromise between the admirers of the Book of Common Prayer, as it stood then, and the extreme Puritans, who desired to get rid of it altogether. He was made, in 1641, chairman of a committee to consider innovations concerning religion. In December of the same year he was elated to the archbishopric of York.

Williams was attached to the Church of England, even though he seemed to waver at the opening of the Long Parliament. At hi:s own cost he had, in former years, procured a translation of the Liturgy of the Church of England into French[1] and into Spanish. To accomplish the latter object he even studied the Spanish language; and within ten weeks he was able not only to read works in that language, but to converse with the Spanish ambassador. He was anxious to let the Spaniards see the character of English worship, and Heylyn, Laud, pp. 104 and 374, says;

“This was very seasonably done; for till that time the Spaniards had been made to believe by their priests and Jesuits that when the English had cast off the Pope they had cast off all religion also”[2].

The title of the first Spanish translation of the Liturgy procured through the efforts of Williams, reads:

Previous Chapter

[1] See above, Chap. VI, p. 61.

[2]. Lathbury, History of the Book of Common Prayer, Oxford, 1858, p. 188.

Griffiths 162:1

* Liturgia Inglesa. | O | Libro del Rezado publico, de la admi- | nistracion de los Sacramentos, y otros Ritos | y ceremonias de la Yglesia de | Ingalaterra.| 2 crosses Augustæ Trinobantum.| MDC, IXIIV.

Long lines. Without pagination. Page, 4⅜ x 6⅜; paper, 5½ x 7½ inches. Sig.: (Preliminary matter) a — d, E, F in fours, last page blank; (Text) A — Z, Aa — Qq in fours, last page blank. Numerous wood-cut letters. “Reportorio por 28 años” (sig. Er) begins with the year 1615. The Prayer Book is followed, without special title-page, by Los Psalmos de | Dauid. | Sig A — Y, in fours, last folio blank. Prince Charles, afterwards King Charles I, and Frederick, the elector Palatine, and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of King James, are prayed for in the Litany. Augustæ Trinobantum is one of the Latin names for London. There is no printer’s name on the title-page, nor a colophon at the end of the volume.

The translator called himself T.C., which some have interpreted as Tomas Carrascón, while others explain it as Texeda, Canonicus. If the date of publication were clearly =1612, as is assumed by the British Museum authorities, it would, in default of other witnesses to the contrary, point to Carrascon as the translator. Against Carrascon, however, speaks decidely the fact that the Reportorio begins with 1615, which, again, may indicate that IXIIV is a possible misprint for XVII, or even XVIII. It was in 1617 that a match between Charles, then Prince of Wales, and the Infanta of Spain, Princess Maria, was formally proposed. It was dropped in 1618. The Spanish nobleman, Luis de Usoz i Rio (1805-1865) editor of Carrascon, segunda vez impreso . . . (1847), preface, p. ii, states:

"Le protejió el Rey Jacobo de Inglaterra, el cual le nombró canónigo de la Catedrál de Hereford, y Vicario de Blakmer. De órden del mismo Rey tradujo al español la Liturjia inglesa”[3].


Professor Eduard Boehmer, in a most searching paper, written immediately upon the appearance of the edition by Don Luis, proved conclusively that Carrascon was neither the author of the book published by Don Luis nor the translator into Spanish of the Book of Common Prayer. On the basis of contemporary documents he showed that Fer[di]nando de Texeda was the author of Carrascon as well as the translator of the English Liturgy. The translation was made at the time of the proposed match between Prince Charles and the Infanta of Spain[4]

[4) Boehmer’s paper is found in the 1847 reprint of Don Luis’ edition as 2° Apendice, pp. 383-91. See also the same great scholar’s Bibliotheca Wiffeniana: Spanish Reformers of two centuries, from 1520; their lives and writings, according. to the late Benjamin Barron Wiffen’s plan, etc. Vol. I, pp. 33, 34; Vol. II, p. 292; Strassburg and London: Triibner, 1874, 1883. Eduard Boehmer (1827-1906), professor of Romance Philology in the University of Strassburg, was not only a thorough-going, unprejudiced theologian, but also a great Romance scholar.

[3] Carrascon was first published in 1633 .. The new edition of 1847 constitutes Vol. I of the series “Reformistas Antiguos Españoles.” It may be said here that George Ticknor, History of Spanish Literature, Boston, 1872, Vol. I, pp. 501, 502, Remark 13, holds different views.

John Hacket (1592-1670), lord bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, states most distinctly in his posthumous biography of Archbishop Williams[5], Vol. I, pp. 126, 127, 209, 210, that the translation was made

"by the Procurement and Cost of the Lord-Keeper [Bishop Williams]; the Translator was John Taxeda, the Author of the Treatise call’d Hispanus Conversus, a good Scholar, once a Dominican, whom his Patron that set him on work secured to our Church with a Benefice, and good Prebend”[6].

[6] Hacket, ibid., p. 209, says: “When the Eyes of all our Kingdom were set upon the Infanta of Spain, he [Williams] took into his House, as it is formerly remembred, a Spaniard by Birth, and a Scholar, John Taxeda, by whose Conversation he grew expert in the Spanish Grammar, in the Castilian Pronunciation, and in the knowledge of those Authors, that in Ten Weeks he could not only understand the most difficult Writers of the Nation, but was able to Entreat with the Ambassadors without an Interpreter . . .. Now, when the Glorious Nuptial Torch was in Election to be lighted from the Neighbour Kingdom of France, he endeavour’d to make himself expert in that quaint and voluble language, . . . And to Evidence that he had a publick Soul in every thing, where he put his Finger, as he had caused a Translation of our Liturgy out of Latin into Spanish, to be finish’d by Taxeda, and printed it at his own Costs; so to go no less in his Preparations for this French Association, he encourag’d a most able Divine, Mr. Delaun, Minister of the French Church in Norwich, to turn that Excellent Liturgy into his Country Language, which was effected, and the accurate Translator greatly both Commended and Rewarded.” Hacket, as shown further on, p. 212 of his book, refers to the betrothal of Prince Charles to the Princess Henrietta Maria of France, December, 1624. He is entirely wrong in connecting the French translation of de Laune with this event. For this translation appeared in 1616, eight years before the betrothal just now referred to. Hacket would have been correct if he had connected it with the proposed match between Charles and Princess Christina of France, which, as early as November, 1613, was in fair way to a happy conclusion, and was not dropped until the very end of the year 1616. That de Laune was “greatly rewarded” is emphatically denied by the translator’s own statement in 1628, quoted above, Chap. VI, p. 61.

As a reward for this translation, which was begun in the house of Williams when the latter was prebendary at Hereford, the translator was made vicar of Blackmere and. prebendary of Hereford. He was also connected with the University of Oxford[7], and was the author of several other books published between 1623 and 1625, all of which are directed against certain tenets of the Church of Rome[8].

The earliest translation into Spanish of the revised English Liturgy of 1662 appeared in 1707. Its title reads:

* La | Liturgia Ynglesa, | o El | Libro de Oracion Commun | y Administracion de los | Sacramentos, | y | Otros Ritos y Ceremonias | de la Yglesia, , segun el Uso de la | Yglesia de Ynglaterra: Juntamente con el | Psalterio ô Psalmos | de David, | apuntados como ellos son para ser Cantados | ô Rezados en yglesias. | Hispanizado por D. Felix Anthony de Alvarado, | Ministro de la Palabra de Dios. | Londres: | Impresso por G. Bowyer . . . 1707.



[5] Scrinia reserata: a memorial of John Williams; London, 1693.

[7] In Alumni Oxonienses, 1500-1714, p. 1,468 (Oxford: Parker, 1892), we read: “Texeda, Ferdinando, B.D., of Salamanca University incorporated 4 August 1523, a Spanish monk, who adopted the Protestant faith; canon of Hereford, 1623.” See also John Stoughton, The Spanish Reformers, their memories and dwelling places; London, 1883; p. 300; and pp. 313-315 on the life and work of Don Luis.

[8] De Monachatu and De Contradictionibus doctrinæ ecclesiæ Romance.


Griffiths 162:2


Without pagination. Page, 3¾ x 7; paper, 4¾ x 7¾ inches. Sig. (Preliminary matter) A and b in eights (long lines); (Text) B — Z, A a — D d in eights, E e 4 leaves (2 columns).

The translator, Don Felix Antonio de Alvarado, was a convert from Romanism, a priest of the Church of England and minister to a congregation of Spanish merchants in London. The translation was apparently made for the use of his congregation. According to Professor Boehmer, it is merely a revised and enlarged edition of Texeda’s version.

A second edition was published in 1715, entitled,

* La | Liturgia Ynglesa, | o | El Libro de la Oracion Comun | Y Administracion de los | Sacramentos, | y Otros Ritos y Ceremonias de la Yglesia, | Segun el Uso de la | Yglesia Anglicana: | Juntamente con el | Psalterio ô Psalmos de David, | Y Tambien el Libro de la Consagracion y Ordenacion | de los Obispos, Presbyteros, y Diaconos. | Hispanizado por D. Felix de Alvarado, | Ministro de la Yglesia Anglicana. | Con las Alteraciones hechas en el Nombre de Nuestro | Muy Augusto Soverano, el Rey Don Jorge: | Su Alteza Real Don Jorge, Principe de Gales, la | Princess a, y Su Posteridad. | Edicion Segunda Corregida y Augmentada. | Londres: Impresso por William Bowyer. . . . Anno Domini. MD CC XV.

Griffiths 162:3


xxxviii, (10), 436, (2) pages. Page, 4⅛ x 7¼; paper, 4½ x 7½ inches. The title-page is faced by a portrait of “George-Lewis, King of Great Britain, France and .Ireland, &c.” Both editions, as well as some dialogues in Spanish and English for acquiring both languages, which Alvarado published in 1719, were placed on the Index Expurgatorius of 1790, pp. 8 and 162. Pp. iii-xv of the 1715 edition contain the translator’s Exhortacion a todos los fieles de la Nacion Española. The Ordinal (pp. 409-436) is published in Latin.

Later reprints of this translation were put out in 1839 by the S.P.C.K., whose Foreign Translation Committee had completed a revision in 1838. This edition was then used in the Spanish Protestant congregations established at Gibraltar by the Rev. Lorenzo Lucena. The book — in long lines — was printed by Richard Clay, London. 15, (1), 455, (I) pages, 12mo.

Griffiths 162:7 (1837 & 1839)


Lucena was in his youth a student of St. Pelagio College in the University of Seville, and, later on, for eight years professor of theology in the same school, and for three years its provisional president. He was created an honorary M.A. of the University of Oxford in 1877. He was ordained deacon in 1830 by the bishop of Cordova, and the following year priest by the suffragan bishop of Seville. From 1842-60 he was honorary canon of Gibraltar cathedral.

He was appointed minister of the Protestant congregation of native Spaniards in Gibraltar by the S.P.C.K., and licensed by the bishop of London in 1837. He assisted in the preparation of the new edition of the Spanish Bible, generally known as that of Cipriano de Valera. He was reader in the Spanish language and literature in the Taylor Institute, Oxford, from 1858 until his death, August 24, 1881.

title page, Spanish BCP from 1923
Griffiths 162:12, printed in 1923
In 1852 another revision of the Spanish translation of the Liturgy, made by Juan Calderon (1791-1854) was published by the S.P.C.K., and printed by Gilbert & Rivington, xxx, 279 pages, 24mo, and again in 1864, printed by G. M. Watts, xxx, 561 pages, 24mo. (Liturgia Anglicana, ó Libro de Oracion Comun, segun el uso de la Iglesia de Inglaterra). The reviser was formerly a Franciscan priest in Spain, who embraced the Reformed faith, and became preacher to a congregation of Spanish refugees in Somers Town, London.

Griffiths 162:8


Griffiths 162:12

An entirely new translation was made by Blanco White for the polygot edition brought out by Bagster in 1821. Blanco White, properly Jose Maria White y Crespo, was born at Seville, Spain, in 1775. His grandfather, an Irish Roman Catholic, had become head of a large mercantile house in that city. Blanco took orders in the Roman Catholic Church in 1800. Escaping to England in 1812, in consequence of the political changes into which especially Spain had been plunged at that time, he soon renounced the Catholic faith and published at different times powerful attacks against the errors of doctrine and practice in that Church. He ultimately became a Unitarian, and died in Liverpool, May 20, 1841. He was by far the greatest and most influential of all Spanish Protestants. This is amply shown in his autobiography, The Life of Joseph Blanco White, written by himself, with portions of his correspondence. Edited by John Hamilton Thom. London: Chapman. 1845. 3 vols.


Griffiths 162:4

Attention may be called in this connection to the Liturgy of the Lusitanian Church and the Spanish Episcopal Church, missions of the Church of England. The following are the titles of their chief liturgical publications:

The Book of Common Prayer, Administration of the Sacraments, and other Divine Offices for the use of the Lusitanian Church. Translated from the Portuguese by the Rev. T. Godfrey P. Pope. London. 1882. xv, 170 pages. 16Mo[9].

Oficios divinos y administracion de los Sacramentos y otras ordenanzas en la Iglesia Espanõla. Madrid: Imprenta de J. Cruzado. 1881. xvi, 350 pages. 16mo.

[9] A Prayer Book issued for the use of the Lusitanian Church, and printed at Oporto in 1884, includes a fresh version of the Psalter.

Griffiths 162:13


This liturgy was authorized, April, 1881, by a General Synod of the Spanish Episcopal Reformed Church, under the presidency of Bishop Riley, of Mexico, through Juan B. Cabrera, bishop elect, and Valentin Baquero, secretary. A revised edition was put out in 1889, entitled: Oficios divinos y administracion de los Sacrament os y otros ritos en la Iglesia Española Reformada. Madrid: Imprenta de J. Cruzado, 1889. (6), 696 pages. 16mo.

The history of these churches is well described in Church Reform in Spain and Portugal. A short history of the Reformed Episcopal Churches in Spain and Portugal from 1868 to the present time. By H[enry] E[dward] Noyes. London: Cassell, 1897. xii, 192 pages. Portraits. Plates. 12mo.

In 1882 appeared “The Divine Offices and other formularies of the Reformed Episcopal Churches in Spain and Portugal.” Translated in a condensed form by R. Stewart Clough and T. Godfrey P. Pope, B.A., respectively. With an introduction by the Most Rev. Lord Plunket, D.D., Bishop of Meath. London: S. W. Partridge & Co., 1882. xlii, 219; xv, 170 pages. 16mo.

The Revised Prayer-Book of the Reformed Spanish Church as authorised by the Synod of that Church, May, 1889.” Translated by R. S. C[lough]. With an introduction by the Most Rev. Lord Plunket, D.D., Archbishop of Dublin. Second edition. Dublin: Alex. Thom & Co., 1894. xxxii, 352 pages. 16mo.

In these liturgies the Mozarabic ritual has been used. They have met “with a glad reception in all the congregations,” contributing to form” a bond of union and sympathy”[10]. The P.B.D. (1912), p. 555, col. 1, however, says:


“These books profess to be Mozarabic, but they are as unlike the Mozarabic rite as possible. They are really the Book of Common Prayer, with an unskilful veneer of Mozarabic details. In doctrine they are in the highest degree opposed to sacramental teaching.”

A note by the general editor of the P.B.D. again opposes this statement just quoted.

William Conyngham Plunket, fourth Baron Plunket (1828-97), archbishop of Dublin (1884-97), showed early in life that sympathy with struggling Protestant communities which was to be so strongly evinced during his episcopal career in his relation to the reformers in Spain, Portugal and Italy. Upon the death of his uncle, the second Baron Plunket, he moved to Dublin at the time when the active revival of the long-slumbering agitation against the Irish Church establishment occurred. Plunket threw himself with all his vigour into the task of resisting the attack. But he was among the first to recognise that the result of the general election of 1868 sealed the fate of the establishment, and at once turned his attention to the business of obtaining the best possible terms for the Church and its clergy. In the subsequent task of reconstruction he took a foremost part, and was looked upon as the leader of those who sought to procure a radical revision of the Prayer Book in an evangelical direction. In 1876 he was elected bishop of Meath, and eight years later, on the resignation, through failing health, of Archbishop Richard Chenevix Trench (1807-86), he was elated to the archbishopric of the united dioceses of Dublin, Glendalough and Kildare. It was while in this position that Plunket became most widely known beyond the limits of his own Church through his warm and disinterested championship of the cause of the Protestant reformers in Spain and Portugal. He undertook three separate journeys to Spain to satisfy himself of the reality of the reformation, and gave money in its support without stint. In 1894 he determined that the time for conferring consecration upon Señor Cabrera, the leader of the movement in Spain, had come. He left Ireland in the autumn of 1894, accompanied by the bishops of Clogher and of Down, and on September 23rd of that year the ceremony of consecration was performed .

Almost as keen as his interest in the cause of the Spanish reformers was Plunket’s sympathy with the Reformed Church in Italy. In 1886 he became president and chairman of the Italian Reform Association, and was active in his support of Count Enrico de Campello and the leaders of the Reformed Church of Italy[11].

[10] On the work in the Lusitanian Church see also a small tract, .entitled, Important testimony from two American Bishops to the progress of Church reform in Spain and Portugal. Reprinted from [Dublin] Daily Express, of July 3rd, 1894; with Preface by the Most Rev. Lord Plunket, Archbishop of Dublin; Dublin, 1894; 22 pp.; 8vo. The two bishops were the Right Rev. William Stevens Perry, bishop of Iowa, and the Right Rev. William David Walker, bishop of North Dakota. J. E. B. Mayor, Bishop Cabrera; (Cambridge? 1894]; 8vo, and The Spanish Reformed Church; Cammbridge, 1895; 44 pp.; 8vo.

One of Plunket’s chief lieutenants was Thomas Godfrey Pembroke Pope, late scholar (1859) of Trinity College, Dublin, B.A., 1861; Div. Test, 1862; M.A., B.D. and D.D., 1892. He was ordained deacon in 1861, and priest the year following. He became consular chaplain at Lisbon, Portugal, in 1867, and canon of Gibraltar in 1882. He died shortly after 1900. In 1894 he had been unanimously elected bishop of the Lusitanian Church, Catholic, Apostolic and Evangelical. Amidst general regret he refused to accept, for he had the full confidence of all the members of the synod. Canon Pope’s contention was that the native church should have a native-born bishop. The most recent history of the Lusitanian Church is contained in a. correspondence from a Portuguese Catholic, printed in the Guardian, London, March 22, 1912, p. 390. See also “Spanish and Portuguese Church Aid Society,” ibid., June 21, 1912, p. 834; and Diogo Cassels, priest-in-charge of the Church of S. Juan Evangelista, also of the Church of Salvador de Mundo, Villa Nova di Gaya, Portugal, ibid., February 21, 1913, p. 254, and September 5, p. 1102, col. 2.


[11] See, especially, Frederick Douglas How, William Conyngham Plunket, fourth Baron Plunket and sixty-first Archbishop of Dublin: a Memoir. New York: Dutton & Co., 1901 ; 392 pp.; portrait; 8vo.

At the General Convention of the American Church, 1853, a memorial from the Bishop White Prayer Book Society, relative to the publication of an edition of the Book of Common Prayer in the Spanish language was read and printed[12]. Nothing was done for some years. About 1856 the Morning and Evening Services, with the Occasional Prayers were in progress of completion, under the supervision of the Rev. Dr. Francis Lister Hawks (1798-1866) of. New York City. The translation of the whole Prayer Book, however, made very slow progress until 1859, when at a meeting of the New York Bible and Common Prayer . Book Society, September 27, 1859, the committee on translations was authorized to employ the services of the Rev. Arthur John Rich in completing the translation of the Prayer Book into Spanish. In the meantime, the General Convention of 1859 had referred the translation of the Book of Common Prayer into the Spanish and Portuguese languages to a new committee. The Rev. Samuel D. Dennison, a member of that committee, informed the New York Bible and Common Prayer Book Society that he had translations into both languages in his hand, prepared by Mr. Theodore Dwight, and that the committee had authority to print and publish before the next meeting of the Convention[13]. The Spanish translation was published in 1863, entitled: Libro de | Oracion Comun | y administracion de | los Sacramentos, | y otros | Ritos y Ceremonias de la Iglesia | segun el uso de la Iglesia Protestante Episcopal | en los Estados Unidos de America: | Juntamente con el | Salterio ó los Salmos de David. | Nueva York: | Impreso y estereotipado por Estaban Hallet. 1863. xliii, 804 pages. 16mo. Long lines[14].



[12] See the Journal of the Proceedings of the General Convention, 1853, pp. 49,135, 136, 317, 318.

[13] See Journal, etc., 1859, pp. 135, 136. Lowndes, A Century of Achievement, Vol. II, p. 655.
Griffiths 162:11
[14] On the 1863 translation see, further, Lowndes, Vol. II, pp. 585, 586, 591, 609, 619, 620, 621, 643, 652 and 655. Annual Report of the New York Bible and Common Prayer Book Society for 1864, as printed in Lowndes, Vol. II, p. 713.

Another edition was printed: Nueva York: | Sociedad de la Biblia y Libro de Oracion Comun, 1865; and, again, in 1886.

The translation of the Prayer Book was well received in South America and the West Indies; but the Mexican brethren, who had formed “the Church of Jesus,” turned to other sources for their service book.

Theodore Dwight, the translator of the American Prayer Book into Spanish and into Portuguese, was born in 1796, and died in 1866. He was a nephew of Timothy Dwight, President of Yale College, New Haven, Conn. Theodore graduated at Yale in 1814. Ill-health prevented his study for the ministry. He engaged in public and philanthropic enterprises, became a director of many religious and educational societies, and was active from 1826 until 1854 in multiplying and perfecting Sunday schools. In his later years he was employed in the New York Custom House. He was familiar with six or eight languages, and at the time of his death he was translating educational and liturgical works into Spanish, for introduction into Spanish-American countries. It was this which undoubtedly induced him to translate the Book of Common Prayer into the Spanish and the Portuguese languages.

also Griffiths 162:11

title page, 1865 US BCP in Spanish
Griffiths 162:11 - US BCP in Spanish, 1865

About the year 1902 the Rev. Arthur Lowndes, D.D., began a new translation of the Prayer Book into Spanish for the use of the outlying possessions of the United States: Porto Rico, the Philippine Islands and Cuba. This translation received the approval of the committee of the General Convention on June 8, 1905. A 1909 print of this translation reads: Libro de Oración Comun y Administración de los Sacrament os y otros Ritos y Ceremonias de la Iglesia. Juntamente con el Salterio ó los Salmos de David. Nueva York: Sociedad de la Biblia y Libro de Oración Común . . . MCMIX. xl, 688 pages. 16mo. Long Lines[15].

According to Lowndes, A Century of Achievement, p. 888 :

“The edition was soon in circulation in 1905. and has proved a powerful aid in the work of the islands of the sea”[16].

Griffiths 162:16 (1905, 1909)

[15] Lowndes, Vol. II, pp. 877, 878, 879, 884, 886-888.

[16] Ibid., p. 888.

This is rather an “uncommon powerful” praise of Lowndes the editor for Lowndes the translator.

The translation, it seems to us, is more of a dictionary translation, and, we are informed, has not proved acceptable among Spanish-speaking’ congregations. That this is also the sense of the members of the General Convention is shown by the fact that in the General Convention . . . held in Cincinnati in the year of Our Lord, 1910, the House of Bishops appointed a committee of four bishops to act with the aid of competent translators, and make all necessary corrections in the present Spanish Prayer Book, and proceed to complete the translation and adaptation of the Prayer Book and submit the result to the House of Bishops for approval[17].

This seems not to have resulted in any new translation; none is listed by Griffiths.

[17] Journal of Proceedings of General Convention, 1910, p. 69. See also Journal, etc., 1904, pp. 63 and 127; 1907, p. 165.


Henry Chauncey Riley was born in Santiago, Chili, December 15, 1835. He was graduated from Columbia College, New York, N.Y., in 1858, studied theology in England, was ordained in 1866 and became minister of the Church of Santiago in the city of New York. At the request of the authorities of the “Church of Jesus” he went to Mexico, where he laboured as a missionary. He devoted his strength and his fortune to building up an Episcopalian organization in Mexico, and was consecrated bishop of the Valley of Mexico in 1879. Differences arose between him and other clergymen interested in the Mexican Church, and in 1884 he resigned his office. He assisted Bishop Plunket in his work in Spain and Portugal for a time, until the American House of Bishops protested[18]. Bishop Riley’s work in Mexico was continued by the American Church, which a few years ago issued as liturgical service-book: Oficios provisionales de la Iglesia Episcopal Mexicana, ó Iglesia de Jesús. Mexico: Gonzalez. 1894. 94 pages. Small 8vo. The same offices, with English text on opposite pages were put out a year later, 91 bis pages. 16mo.

[18] See further, the report of the Mexican Commission, etc., in Journal of the Proceedings of General Convention, 1886, pp. 830-834.

Griffiths 162:14

“It will be seen,” states the preface, “that the Oficios differ widely from the Book of Common Prayer of the American Church. It was considered that a liturgy derived largely from Spanish sources would be more acceptable to Mexicans than our own book translated into Spanish.”

Another edition appeared in 1901: Mexico. Tipografia “El Siglo XIX,” a cargo de José M. Prado . . ..

Griffiths 162:15


Mr. George Zabriskie, a vestryman of Trinity Church, New York, N.Y., writes to me, October 23, 1912, concerning the 1894 and 1895 Oficios as follows:

"I have not before me the book of 1894, but my recollection is that the Spanish text, so far as it goes, is the same as that in the book of 1895, and that it was published without the authority of the Bishop (Williams of Connecticut), but with the sanction of the local Mexican authority. I am very clear about this point, however, that the several offices were made up by the Right Reverend Charles R. Hale, Bishop of Cairo in the Diocese of Springfield, ... and that they were taken mostly from Mozarabic sources. I think his compilation was in English, and that it was translated into Spanish by some one (I do not remember by whom) selected by the Revd Henry Forrester, the vicar general (in effect though not in name) of Bishop Williams in Mexico. The book of 1895, according to my recollection, contained some further offices, also compiled by Bishop Hale, as well as an English version of the whole. This book . . . was issued under the imprimatur of Bishop Williams, with the approval of the Standing Committee of the Mexican Church; and it is authoritative to the extent indicated in the Bishop’s license — which, if you will pardon the personal allusion, I wrote myself. I have understood that the Spanish text of these two books is poor in the sense that it is commonplace and inelegant . . . When the book of 1895 was issued it was hoped that the English congregations in Mexico would unite with the Mexican Church; and one reason for printing the services in English as well as in Spanish was the hope that if this union did take place, the same offices might be used in both languages. This hope was not immediately realized; but some years later it was, although the English congregation in the City of Mexico stipulated for liberty to use the offices of the Church of England.”

The Mexican Prayer Book was compiled chiefly by the Rev. Henry Forrester, with the assistance of the late Bishop Charles Reuben Hale (1837-1900) Coadjutor of Springfield and of Dr. John F. Peters, of New York. We have here a Prayer Book that is at once individual, national, catholic. and yet in essential accord with our American Liturgy. It is not a translation; it is not even an adaptation. It has taken what it saw fit from Mozarabic and other sources, with the hope of adapting itself more completely to the temper of the Mexican people than any translation might do[19].

Title page, Mexican BCP
Griffiths 162:14 (1895)
[19] The Churchman, December 14, 1901, p. 783.

The Rev. Hemy Forrester, of Socorro, New Mexico, was born in 1840; ordained deacon in 1870, and advanced to priesthood in 1872. He was appointed Episcopal vicar and resident representative of the American Church in Mexico during the period when the Mexican Church was without a bishop and a mission. This was in 1893. He understood the Mexican character, and his work was intelligent, persistent and successful. He died September 20, 1904.

"Whatever the Church had accomplished up to his death, was largely due, under God, to the wisdom, the self-effacement; the sacrifice of this consecrated life”[20].

[20] Ibid., October I, 1904, p. 552.


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