holy-communionOn this day 465 years ago, Easter Day, the Order of the Communion was first used in English churches. Authorised church services had been in Latin, but Archbishop Thomas Cranmer and other prominent church leaders strongly believed in the importance of holding worship services in a language which the people could understand, and so the Order of the Communion consisted of key parts of the Mass in English. The rest of the service was still in Latin.

Later the same year, 1548, the English Parliament authorised the establishment of a Book of Common Prayer, and the following year the Book of Common Prayer was published, including daily offices, readings for Sundays and holy days, and services for Communion, Baptism, Confirmation, Matrimony, Visitation of the Sick, and Burial, derived from a variety of sources, but all now printed in the English language.

The German reformer Martin Bucer made detailed suggestions for improvements, and many of these were taken into account in the 1552 revised edition, removing a number of Roman Catholic  practices from the Communion service. However, when Mary I became queen in 1553 Roman Catholic practices were re-established and Thomas Cranmer was burned at the stake, but the Book of Common Prayer was revived after Mary’s death in 1558.

Leave a Reply