HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER - DR. GIL HAAS, ST. AUGUSTINE OF CANTERBURY EPISCOPAL CHURCH, OKLAHOMA CITY
Following the American revolution, our country’s former Anglicans needed their own Prayer Book, and the first American Book of Common Prayer was ratified by the first General Assembly of the Protestant Episcopal Church in 1789. Our Book of Common Prayer relied heavily upon the Church of England’s Prayer Book as well as the Scottish Eucharistic rite. The Scottish influence was in deference to America’s first bishop, Samuel Seabury, being consecrated by Scottish bishops when English bishops refused. One consequence of this Scottish influence is the inclusion in our Eucharist prayer of an invocation of the Holy Spirit, or epiclesis. An epiclesis is not found in Anglican Eucharistic prayers, but it was present in the Scottish service which was influenced by Orthodox liturgies. The epiclesis is the moment of consecration in the Orthodox branch of Christianity; the Words of Institution are the moment of consecration to Catholics. This blending of Catholic and Orthodox beliefs are unique to our Eucharistic prayer. Our Prayer Book was altered in 1892, 1928, and in 1979. Our current Prayer Book contains for the first time services for baptism and family devotions. Eucharistic prayers, morning and evening prayer, and burial services are included in both contemporary and traditional language.
~Dr. Gil Haas, St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church, Oklahoma City
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