The Book of Common Prayer is the name given to a number of related prayer books in the Anglican and Episcopalian churches. The first edition, published in 1549 under the reign of King Edward VI, was meant as a way to codify the prayers and practices of the Church of England in the after the break with the Roman Catholic Church. It was the first prayer book to include the complete forms of service for daily and Sunday worship in English. In addition to the daily prayers and services, The Book of Common Prayer contained the orders for baptism, marriage, confirmation, anointing of the sick, and funerary services among various readings and biblical excerpts.
This particular copy of The Book of Common Prayer is an edition made for the Episcopalian Church of the United States of America. While printed in 1893, it is based on the most recent ratified edition at that time from 1789. As the English monarch is the head of the Church of England (aka the Anglican Church), those who practiced Anglicanism in the New World, no longer wishing to be beholden to the kings and queens of England in any way, felt the need to establish a splinter church in the wake of the Revolution. The Episcopalian Church is consequently exceeding similar to yet notable separate from the Anglicans. This copy of The Book of Common Prayer reflects this split and desire for liberty:
“But when in the course of Divine Providence, these American States became independent with respect to civil government, their ecclesiastical independence was necessarily included; and the different religious denominations of Christians in these States were left at full and equal liberty to model and organize their respective Churches, and forms of worship, and discipline, in such a manner as they might judge most convenient for their future prosperity; consistently with the constitution and laws of their country.” (from the Preface, p.vi)
- Title: The Book of Common Prayer: And Administration of the Sacraments and other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church according to the use of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America; together with the Psalter of the Psalms of David
- Certified by: Samuel Hart, Custodian of the Standard Book of Common Prayer
- Publisher: & J.B. Young & Co.
- Place: New York
- Printer: Eyre and Spottiswoode, Queen’s Printers (London)
- Year: 1893
- Length: 566pp
- Dimensions: 7” x 11”
- Condition: Black leather covered boards, pebble texture, with an embossed frame motif on the cover. Cover generally worn with age and use, particularly along the edges. Gilt title on the spine. Gilding on the three exposed the edges of the text block as well. Quarto, the binding is tight and complete. The pages are clean with clear, large print text. No folded or torn pages. There is a small amount of writing in pencil on the back endpapers.