Project Canterbury

The Parson’s Handbook

By the Rev. Percy Dearmer, M.A.

London: Grant Richards, 1899



The Lord’s Supper should be celebrated at least on every Sunday and holy day, whenever there is a special collect, epistle, and gospel provided in the Prayer Book. But few devout parsons will be content with this, even in small country parishes; and the Prayer Book provides for frequent celebrations by the rubric, ‘Note also that the Collect, Epistle, and Gospel, appointed for the Sunday, shall serve all the week after, where it is not in this book otherwise ordered.’ For the Black-Letter days, however, it is very convenient that special collects, epistles, and gospels should be used; and most bishops would no doubt follow the present Primate’s example in allowing the little book drawn up by Canon T. T. Carter and published by Masters and Co., 78 New Bond Street. For Rogation and Embertide special collects have been drawn up by authority, and they are published by the S.P.C.K. These can be bound up with the Prayer Book. For requiems the last collect but one in the burial service, containing as it does a prayer for the departed, should be used. It is a most serious breach of Catholic order to use unauthorised missals. Every effort must be made, both at sung and plain Celebrations, to obey the rubric which orders that there should be three communicants at least; and in most parishes it will be best to arrange with members of the congregation, so that there shall be [134] some at every Mass.[1] At the same time, to omit the service because the required number do not happen to be present, would have a disastrous effect upon the faithful.[2] If the parson has done his best to comply with the rubric, and there are some present, it seems most in accord with his duty, and the rubric ‘according to his discretion,’ to go on with the service; but solitary Masses have always been strictly forbidden.[3] The Prayer Book rubrics as to communicants attacked the very grave evil by which, before the Reformation, attendance at the Lord’s Supper had taken the place of reception, and communion only once a year had become the rule. This evil was reprobated also by the Council of Trent, which expresses a hope that some of the faithful will communicate at every Mass.

In country parishes the difficulty of getting a congregation, as well as the desire,of the priest to avoid [135] anything like a mechanical and unprepared spirit, will often prevent the week-day celebrations being more than once or twice a week.[4] Thursday is sometimes chosen for a week-day Mass; but Thursday is the last day that should be chosen. In primitive times it was actually forbidden to celebrate on that day; it was dies aliturgicus. The proper days, when there are only two Celebrations, are the old station days, Wednesday and Friday; and this is, no doubt, why the Litany is ordered to be said on these two week-days.[5] If there is only one Celebration it should be on the Wednesday. The parson in a small parish, who is training his people to provide a congregation, may conveniently increase the Celebrations in something like the following order:—First, Red-Letter days, then adding Wednesday, then adding Friday, then starting the daily Celebration, which is most desirable wherever it is possible.

At the Council of London (1200) it was decreed that the priest should not celebrate twice in the day, except in case of necessity. This was explained later by Langton as including Christmas and Easter days, funerals, weddings, and the sickness or necessary absence of another priest.

It seems safer never to omit the Creed and Gloria in Excelsis. Yet there is a distinct case for the omission of the former on ordinary week-days, and of the latter in Advent and from Septuagesima to Easter. For it may be doubted whether the rubrics, ‘shall be sung or said the Creed’ and ‘There shall be said or sung, Glory, etc.,’ intended them to be sung on uncustomary occasions, when the clergy would naturally omit [136] them. If they were to be sung on a new principle, i.e. at every Mass, one would expect some statement in the rubrics. On the contrary, however, there is a rubric at the end of the First English Prayer Book,[6] which allows of their omission, ‘If there be a sermon, or for other great cause, the Curate by his discretion may leave out the Litany, Gloria in Excelsis, the Creed, the Homily, and the Exhortation to the Communion.’ This throws a significant light on the meaning of the other rubrics; for those before the Creed and Gloria in the First Book are neither more nor less peremptory than our own. Still, in days when disobedience in many dangerous directions is so rife as at present, it seems safer, as I have said, to stick rigidly to the letter of our rubrics, if only to avoid giving a false impression of disobedience to those who are ignorant of liturgical science.

The Ten Commandments are in a different position. There is no reason for their omission without proper authority. The only excuse that I know of is the analogy of the Scotch and American Prayer Books, which allow the substitution of the Summary of the Law when the Commandments have already been said at another service, and this is a very doubtful line of defence. Moreover there is no precedent for the omission of the Kyries, which are an ancient feature of the beginning of the Eucharist, and farced Kyries,[7] such as we have in the responses to the Commandments, are also an ancient feature.

I am, of course, concerned here merely with the interpretation of existing rubrics, and not with the question whether the substitution of the ninefold [137] Kyrie for the Commandments would be a useful alteration in the Prayer Book.

It is a help, when there is a special subject of intercession at the Holy Communion, to say an appropriate post-communion collect ‘immediately before the Benediction.’ Such collects are given in the three Ordination offices, and thus our Embertide Celebrations are provided for, and this feature sanctioned. Collects used in this way must, of course, be taken from authorised sources. It may be suggested that such collects as the following are not inappropriate,— Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity (for the Holy Spirit), Twenty-fourth Sunday (for the departed), Sixteenth or Twenty-second Sunday (for the Church), Twenty-third Sunday (for any necessity), Fifth Sunday (for peace), Good Friday (for the conversion of unbelievers and heathen), First after Epiphany (for guidance), Trinity Sunday (for special occasions of thanksgiving).

The eucharistic species are bread and wine. Wafer-bread is lawful under the present rubric, which declares only that common bread (if it be the best and purest) ‘shall suffice.’ It was substituted for the rubric of 1549 which enforced wafer-bread, ‘unleavened, and round,’ ‘through all this realm, after one sort and fashion’; so that it removes the former restriction to wafer-bread, and makes both kinds lawful.[8] There is a great amount of authority in antiquity for leavened bread, and the Easterns still use it. Wafer-bread, is, however, far more convenient, and involves less risks of irreverence. A large wafer is used for the priest, and small ones for the people. Several of the sisterhoods make wafer-bread, and it is best to [138] get it from them. Where ordinary bread is used, little machines can be bought for cutting it up into squares; but it should not be pressed. A metal box should be provided for the altar-breads.

The Judgement of the Archbishop’s Court in the Lincoln Case[9] decided that the ancient rule as to the mixed chalice has never been changed, and that the use of wine alone is unlawful in the Church of England. Red wine is more in accordance with ancient custom than white, though white is rather more convenient. It should be the pure fermented juice of the grape, not doctored with alcohol, or heavily sweetened, as are so many so-called eucharistic wines. The difficulty one sometimes hears of as to persons of intemperate habits is really due to the objectionable nature of some of these wines.[10]

The Lincoln Judgement is not binding on us; but the arguments and instances which it gives are so weighty and learned that they deserve our most careful consideration. It decided that the chalice should be mixed before the service, and not at the offertory. Its reasons are, That the direction of the Prayer Book of 1549, ‘putting the wine into the chalice…putting thereto a little pure and clean water,’ was omitted in subsequent revisions; and that this was done ‘in accordance with the highest and widest liturgical precedents.’[11] At Sarum, at high Mass, the later custom obtained, and the sub-deacon mixed the chalice after the Epistle; but at Westminster the priest mixed the chalice before the service, between the taking of the stole and chasuble; and this preparation before the service was also the custom all over England at low Mass,[12] and is still practised by [139] the conservative Dominicans. It is certainly a sound tradition to prepare the bread and the chalice at the same time; and it gives more meaning to the solemn bringing in of the vessels which is so characteristic a feature of the English rite, as it is of those Eastern rites which have preserved the ancient customs of the Church.

If the chalice is not made in the vestry, at the beginning of the Commandments the torchbearers fetch in the cruets and basin and towel, and during the gradual the clerk makes the chalice at the credence, holding the water cruet for the priest to bless before adding water to the wine.


It is against all ancient tradition and all old English custom, for sung Mass to be celebrated by the priest alone without the assistance of any other minister, and with only a couple of serving boys. This is a modern Roman practice, as is also the disuse of incense at what is called abroad a Missa Cantata.

If there are two other ministers in the church, the celebrant should be assisted by deacon and sub-deacon, and also by the clerk. If there is only one other minister in priest’s or deacon’s orders he should assist as deacon, and the clerk should take the duties of the sub-deacon as well as his own. If the priest is single-handed he should be assisted by the clerk, unless this is absolutely impossible.

The ancient custom was that of reverence and common sense; if there was more than one priest or deacon to show respect to the Sacrament, so much the better; but if not, then at least the clerk. Where there is no clerk and one assistant clergyman, he may do the work of the clerk as well as taking the chalice and reading the gospel and epistle. But there should [140] always be a clerk (if possible, but not necessarily, in reader’s orders); and then the assistant clergyman will take the office of deacon and the clerk add to his own duties those of sub-deacon. Even at low Mass a boy only serves in the absence of the deacon (or clerk), as is admitted by Roman authorities.

As the majority of English churches have only one priest, and as unfortunately little attempt has been made to restore his functions to the clerk, I shall give suggestions here for a Sung Eucharist at which only the priest and clerk officiate, assisted by the servers.

It need hardly be said that the man chosen for the clerk’s office should be of exemplary and devout life, as well as quiet and reverent in his demeanour. His principal duties at High Mass are to carry the cross at the head of the procession, and to bear the sacred vessels to and from the sanctuary. When there is no gospeller or epistler he may also read the epistle. He should in either case wear a tunicle if possible. In those parishes where there is a reader (i.e. a person ordained by the bishop for what is curiously miscalled lay-readership), the office of clerk gives him his proper share in the service of the Church. But minor orders are not necessary for the epistler; custom long assigned to the clerk the reading of the first lesson and the epistle,[13] and a trace of this was [141] preserved in the Prayer Book of 1549—‘the priest or he that is appointed shall read the epistle…the minister shall read the epistle’;[14] while for the gospel the deacon is specially mentioned—‘the priest or one appointed to read the gospel…the priest or deacon shall then read the gospel.’ Our present rubric directs the Priest to read both Epistle and Gospel, but evidently on the assumption that there is neither an epistler nor gospeller present: it was certainly so interpreted in Elizabeth’s time when the rubric was new; and gospellers and epistlers are ordered for the Consecration of Bishops, the Ordering of Priests, and by Canon 24.

The persons needed for sung Mass, where there is only one priest, are these—the Priest, the Clerk, the Thurifer, and Boat-bearer, two Torchbearers; in a small place the torchbearers (or one of the torch-bearers) and thurifer might be dispensed with, but not, if possible, the clerk. It is far better for the dignity of the service not to have small boys for any office except that of boat-bearer. Let the position of server on Sundays be one that is looked up to, as something to be reached only after many years of probation; and let the boy-servers be trained and tested at the early week-day services.

In the vestry the servers will all vest in cassock, apparelled amice, and apparelled albe with girdle (or they may wear the rochet, or the surplice, but not red cassocks with semi-transparent albes).[15] Albes [142] should be girded rather high,[16] and amices always worn with them.

To put on an apparelled amice it should be laid on a table, and given two double folds under the apparel and of the same breadth; it is then laid on the top of the head with the apparel outside, the unfolded part of the amice falling over the back of the head; the tapes, which have been hanging by either cheek, are then crossed, taken round the neck rather tightly (completely hiding the collar), and brought round to the front, when they are crossed again and brought round the back and tied round the waist. (Thus the tape which hangs down the right side is drawn to the left side of the neck and round the back till it hangs again on the right side; it then passes under the left arm, round the back of the waist to the front, where it is tied to the other. The operation is really quite as easy as putting on a collar and tie in the morning.) The amice will be kept on the head till the other vestments are on, when the apparelled edge is pulled back, so that it forms a collar standing up well outside the albe and other vestments.[17] No loops are needed on the amice, but the tapes must be about 78 in. long.

A word of general advice to the servers may be useful. The torchbearers should move together with something like a military precision; they should avoid all fuss and running about and all ostentatious reverence, still more all carelessness or irreverence; they should carry their torches in the outside hand, upright, and at an equal height. They stand throughout the service, except on the few occasions when they are directed to kneel, or when they are doing [143] the work appointed for them. Their proper place is by and just below their torches, which are set down in their bases on the bottom step of the foot-pace (if there is room there) rather beyond the ends of the altar; except when they go into the midst of the choir for the Consecration. They must stand still, with their hands together, but there is no direction for them to stick their fingers out. Whenever they leave their torches they go first to the midst and bow together. All should bow on passing the altar, except in procession. They should bow sensibly, and neither ostentatiously nor familiarly.

The thurifer, when he has put the censer away after the Offertory, will stand with his boat-bearer in some convenient place near the end of the choir stalls, till the end of the service. He should never swing the censer with its lid at all open.

The clerk, when not otherwise engaged, will stand facing north in his place, which is near the credence. He will look after the priest, giving him any music, etc., that he may want; and if anything goes wrong, as he is responsible, he will go very quietly and naturally to put it right. No one should ever whisper during service; but if anything has to be said it should be spoken quietly in the natural voice, which is much less likely to attract attention. A mistake matters little, if no one makes a fuss about it. If there is no room for another seat near the sedilia, the clerk may sit during the sermon in any convenient place.

As for the priest, he, in particular, should be quiet and dignified, as well as reverent, in his movements. He must never let his arms hang down at his sides, or his eyes wander over the congregation. He must avoid at once a jaunty and a mincing gait. He must never sidle along the altar nor stand at an undecided angle; but when he moves he must turn and walk straight, and when he stands he must face squarely [144] in the required direction. If anything goes wrong in the singing, or among the congregation, he must not look round unless it is absolutely necessary. If he is likely to want a handkerchief, let him put a clean one in his sleeve, or tuck it in his girdle, so that he will not have to pull his albe up and search for his pocket.

If he inclines in the older fashion by bowing, he should take a step back from the altar, lay his hands on it, and bow reverently but not in an exaggerated fashion, inclining from the hips. If he genuflects, he should bring the right knee down to the ground near the left heel. The action should be without any pause, but not hurried. The hands should rest on the altar, and the head and body be kept quite erect.

If he is reverent and his thoughts intent on worship, if at the same time he is naturally graceful, and has been drilled, or taught deportment, as a boy, he will do all these things instinctively. But, as many parsons have not these qualifications, some directions are needed; for the priest occupies a prominent position in church, and faults which may be tolerable in a roomful of persons are seriously distracting and sometimes painful to the worshippers in a church. In preaching, a man with a marked individuality will do most good; but in conducting service the priest’s individuality should be as unnoticeable and his actions as normal as possible. For he does not stand at the altar as Mr. A. or Mr. B., but as the minister of the people and the representative of the Church, conducting in the name of the congregation the ‘Common Prayer’ of them all, and administering the ‘Sacraments and other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church.’ The Church is sacerdotal in the true sense of that good word; but she is essentially not clericalist, and therefore she does not unduly exalt the minister by putting the people at the mercy of his own ideas of [145] prayer, or by enthroning him at the east end of the church to overshadow the congregation. The eastward position, the sacred vestments, the chanted service, the appointed gestures, are all to hide the man and to exalt the common priesthood of the Christian congregation.

The torchbearers will light the two candles on the altar, and the two standards; they will then light their torches, and see that the socket-bases are in the right place in the sanctuary. They will also place on the credence the bason, vessel of water, and towel, if the chalice is made before the service. The thurifer will put into the censer sufficient—not too much—charcoal (p. 107). The boat-bearer will see that there is incense in his boat. The clerk in his albe, but before he puts on the tunicle, will place the gospel and epistle books on the north and south ends of the altar, so that they rest against the reredos. (But if there are a deacon and sub-deacon they will carry the books themselves in procession, and carry them back at the end of the service.) Having done this, the clerk will take the processional cross from its locker, and put on his tunicle, which may be of the colour of the day, or of any colour if there are not sufficient vestments. The verger will be in readiness in his gown, his verge in his hand.

The most exact punctuality must be observed at this and at all services.

The priest will prepare the chalice, putting therein sufficient wine, to which he adds a very little water. On the chalice he will lay the folded purificator; and on the purificator the paten, containing a large wafer for himself and a sufficient number of breads for the people. On the paten he places the pall, and over all the burse containing the corporal. [At low Mass the vessels may perhaps be covered with a small veil, called a chalice-veil, before the burse is laid on the top. At low Mass also the priest carries the vessels [146] in when he goes in to begin the service. If the chalice is already made, he must put the vessels on the credence; as by our Offertory rubric the bread and wine are not set on the table till the Offertory.] Near the table in the vestry where the vessels stand will be laid the humeral veil for the clerk.

The priest will vest in cassock, apparelled amice and albe, girdle (which is most easily tied double in a running noose), stole (crossed at the breast, and held in position by tucking the ends of the girdle round it), maniple (on left arm), and chasuble.[18] But if there is a procession (as there may be every Sunday) he wears a cope and does not put on the chasuble till after the procession. During the vesting he may say, in accordance with the ancient custom, the Veni Creator, and Ps. 43, Judica me.

The Commencement of the Service.—If there is to be a procession the priest and servers enter the chancel the short way, the choir (if there be a surpliced choir) being already in their places; arrived in the midst of the chancel, the priest blesses the incense in the usual way, and the procession starts (see p. 194) in this order:—Verger, churchwardens, clerk in tunicle with cross, torchbearers with lighted torches, thurifer with boat-bearer at his side, celebrant in cope, choirboys, choir-men, other clergy in surplice, hood, and tippet.[19] When it has returned, the priest goes off with the torchbearers, thurifer, and clerk by the short way to the vestry, where he changes his cope for a [147] chasuble. Where there is no vestry near enough, the chasuble may be put on at the altar. The choir sing the Introit. The priest, having put on the chasuble, goes with the servers into the choir as when there is no procession.

If there be no procession, the priest and servers start at the commencement of the introit (which may consist of the old verses appointed from holy Scripture, or of the psalms set down in the Prayer Book of 1549),[20]going to the altar the long way,[21] in the following order:—Verger, clerk with cross, torch-bearers, thurifer and boat-bearer, priest (saying to himself as he goes Psalm 43).

When the priest has arrived at the foot of the altar steps, all bow; the torchbearers then set down their torches in the usual place,[22] the clerk puts the cross down in a convenient place (against the north wall of the sanctuary is best), and stands near the credence. The thurifer remains still for a while, the verger goes to the sacristy by the short way and waits there. The priest then goes up to the altar, and, bending forward with hands joined, prays silently, kisses the altar in the midst.[23] The thurifer has followed him and remains standing behind him: the priest turns to the right, the clerk comes up to the thurifer, and [148] taking the spoon, puts incense into the censer; the priest then blesses the incense, and, receiving the censer from the thurifer, censes the altar[24] in the midst and at the south and north sides, taking the ring in his left hand, and grasping the chains near the cover with his right. Going back to the south of the altar, he then gives the censer to the clerk, and remains standing in the same place while the clerk censes him. The clerk then gives the censer to the thurifer, who takes it to the vestry and hangs it on a peg. Turning to the altar[25] the priest alone says the [149] Lord’s Prayer, with its Amen, without note but quite audibly; he says the Collect for Purity in the same way, but the people take up the Amen, though still without note.

He then, ‘turning to the, people,’ where he stands (not going to the middle), rehearses ‘distinctly’ on a note the Ten Commandments, the people singing the Kyrie after each Commandment.

At the conclusion of the last Kyrie, the priest turns back to the altar, and ‘standing as before’ says one of the Collects for the Queen. Thus the Preparation, Commandments, and Collect for the Queen are all said in the same place.

As the first Kyrie is being sung, the torchbearers take up their torches, and, without bowing, walk straight to the chancel steps, where they stand facing one another. The clerk, meanwhile, has placed the humeral veil on his shoulders, his left hand in the left end of the veil holds the stem of the chalice; holding the other end of the veil with his right hand over the top of the burse, he carries the sacred vessels to the altar, going the long way. He walks solemnly and slowly, holding the vessels breast high. He is thus met at the chancel gates by the torch-bearers, who precede him to the sanctuary step, where they stand, holding their candles. The clerk, after passing between them, turns to the right, walks along the pavement till he is in a line with the credence, then turns again, goes up to the credence, and sets the vessels upon it. The clerk removes his humeral veil, and he may spread it on the vessels. He then takes the burse and carries it solemnly to the altar steps, walks straight up to the midst of the altar and then sets the burse down, leaning it against the reredos with its closed edge downwards. As the clerk comes down the steps the torchbearers replace their torches in the bases.

The Collect, Epistle, and Gospel. ‘Then shall be [150] said the Collect for the Day,’ the priest going for this to the south[26] side if he has said the Preparation, etc., at the north. (It is best in this case for the Book to be laid on the south cushion before the commencement of the service; and for the priest to say the Preparation, etc., from memory, or with the aid of a small book.) The Prayer Book gives no rule as to the collects being of an uneven number (which was not a universal custom); but it orders a second collect for Lent and Advent, and three for Good Friday; a memorial may no doubt be also added when there is a concurrence of festivals, or some special object of prayer, and one of the collects at the end of the Communion Service may be said ‘after the collects either of Morning or Evening Prayer, Communion, or Litany, by the discretion of the Minister.’

The priest will say all the prayers facing due east, his hands slightly extended, so that the elbows touch the sides, and the palms face each other with fingers united, but not exceeding the height or limit of the shoulders: at the concluding sentence of the prayers he joins his hands.

If the priest is to read the Epistle, there is no good reason why he should not turn to the people. Such is undoubtedly the spirit of the Prayer Book, such has always been the custom since the Mass has been said in English. At low Mass, when it was in Latin, it was the custom to say it facing east, which was reasonable enough, as the people could not understand it; but now that they can, they resent its being said away from them, and thus unnecessary difficulties [151] are put in the Church’s way. In the Sarum Missal there is no direction. And ‘in the early Ordines and liturgical writers we find no trace of reading the Gospel or Epistle with back to the people’ (Dr. W. Legg, S.P.E.S. Trans. ii. 125). Le Brun himself in the Explication de la Messe praises the Armenians for preserving the ancient custom of singing the Epistle towards the people, and says in another place, ‘L’usage ancien et le plus naturel est que tout le monde écoute le soudiacre’ (cf. Notes on Ceremonial, p. 183).

If the clerk is to read the Epistle, the priest goes by the short way to the sedilia immediately after the collect, and sits down; the torchbearers leave their torches and sit by him. The clerk then takes the book of the epistles from the altar, and goes to the choir, when he stands near the entrance on the south side, facing the people.

Both the Gospel and Epistle should be sung to the old tones, with due regard to their rhythm and meaning, or else recited on a note.

The Epistle is begun with the words, ‘The Epistle (or the portion of Scripture appointed for the Epistle) is written in the — Chapter of — beginning at the — verse.’ ‘And the Epistle ended, he shall say, Here endeth the Epistle.’ Then the gradual (and tract or sequence),[27] or a suitable hymn, may be sung.

During the gradual the clerk goes to the altar, takes the corporal from the burse, and spreads it on the altar. Towards the end of the gradual the priest rises, and, preceded by the clerk, goes the short way to the midst of the altar. The thurifer approaches, the clerk puts incense into the censer, the priest blesses the incense, takes the censer and censes the midst of the altar. Meanwhile the clerk preceded by the torchbearers (who carry their [152] torches) walks round to the north end of the altar and there stands facing south, the torchbearers on either side of him facing each other: the thurifer having received the censer back from the priest, follows them, and stands behind the clerk (or, if the chancel be small, in some convenient place), gently swinging the censer. On festivals the clerk holds the cross during the gospel; on other occasions he may stand with his hands together. As he announces the gospel, the priest signs the book and then himself on the forehead and breast, but not on the mouth. The choir turn east and sing ‘Glory be to Thee, O Lord,’ but the priest remains facing north. The servers should not sign themselves or bow when they are holding torch, thurible, or cross.

‘Then shall he read the Gospel (the people all standing up) saying, The holy Gospel is written in the — Chapter of — beginning at the — verse.’ The Gospel will be read by the priest himself [unless there is a deacon assisting, when the priest stands at the south side of the altar] at the north part of the altar facing north, the book resting on the altar.

At the conclusion of the Gospel the choir, still facing east, sing ‘Praise be to Thee, O Christ,’ or ‘O Lord.’ This usage, though in no English missal, can be traced in England to the seventeenth century, and probably had come down to us by tradition. It is ordered in the Scotch liturgy and sanctioned by the 29th of the present Scotch Canons. The priest kisses the book at the conclusion of the Gospel.

Himself moving the cushion and missal from the north to near the centre, so that it lies just to the north of the corporal, the priest begins the Creed. If he is strong enough, it is more in accordance with the spirit of English worship that he should stand while the Creed is being sung. If not, he may go with the torchbearers (whose torches of course remain in their bases) to the sedilia, after privately [153] reciting the Creed. All bow at the Holy Name; at the Incarnatus the choir bow, the priest, servers, and people may either bow or kneel.[28]

‘Then shall the Curate declare unto the people what Holy-days, or Fasting-days, are in the week following to be observed,’ etc. ‘Then shall follow the Sermon’ (cap. vii.). If the celebrant is to give out the notices, he will do so, in his chasuble, from the altar step; but if he is also to preach, he takes off his chasuble and maniple, spreading them on the south side of the altar, and then enters the pulpit. If he preaches in his chasuble from the altar step, he will probably offend the congregation and preach badly. If the sermon is to be preached by another priest, it is generally more convenient that he too should give out the notices. He remains in his stall till the verger comes to fetch him, which the latter will do towards the end of the Creed.

The Banns of Marriage should be published with the notices; ‘immediately before the sentences for the Offertory,’ are the words of the Prayer Book, inserted in 1662, when often there was no sermon. The rubric now generally printed at the beginning of the Marriage Service, ordering the banns to be published during morning service, or at evening service, if there be no morning service, has been inserted without authority, and one of the testimonies of the Prayer Book to the need of a weekly Eucharist thereby removed. It is simply a statement from an ambiguous Act of Parliament, of 26 Geo. II., about which lawyers have not agreed.

There is some difficulty as to the notice of the Communion. The rubric after the Creed orders it to be given with the other notices, but only ‘if occasion [154] be’; so that it need not be given unless the curate feels it to be necessary.[29] But the ‘Warning for the celebration of the holy Communion,’ which is printed after the Church Militant Prayer, is to be given ‘after the Sermon or Homily ended,’ and not where it is printed. It is generally taken as included under the phrase ‘if occasion be’; so, of course, is the Exhortation to the Negligent. The Third Exhortation might be only read occasionally, following its use under the First Book.[30] They are all too long for ordinary use; and custom, and the Ordinary, allow their omission. Nevertheless their teaching is often needed; and the Warning, especially, with its call to Confession, may well be read on the Sunday before the great Festivals, at least before Easter, when all communicate, and perhaps also before Christmas and Whitsunday, which are practically the other days of general communion.

The Offertory. The Sermon over, the priest goes to the midst of the altar, and, facing east, says on a note ‘one or more’ of the Sentences, to ‘begin the Offertory.’ Meanwhile the torchbearers go to the credence and stand facing north. Usually one sentence only is said, and is immediately followed by a hymn or anthem (p. 125), which should be fairly long if there is to be the censing of persons and [155] things. This is a very suitable place for an anthem. It is well to make the Sentences speak as much as possible of the season, and but little of money; therefore a selection may be made. ‘Let your light’ is suitable for Saints’ Days; ‘Whatsoever ye would,’ by its comprehensiveness, for ordinary occasions; ‘Not every one’ for the great feasts; ‘While we have time,’ on occasions of special intercession for the living or departed. If a rule like this is kept to, the people soon learn to appreciate its significance, and the Offertory Sentence is used in the ancient spirit.

‘While these sentences are in reading, the Deacons, Churchwardens, or other fit persons…shall receive the alms…in a decent bason.’ The best way to carry out the rubric in most churches is for the wardens and sidesmen to collect the alms (which no one must be suffered to call the ‘offertory’) in wooden plates[31] (or bags, so that they be not of the colour of the season); the collection finished, they put their plates on the large bason which is held by the clerk [in the absence of a deacon] at the chancel-gates. The clerk carries the bason up to the altar (not hanging behind out of the priest’s sight), and shall ‘reverently bring it to the priest, who shall humbly present and place it upon the holy Table.’ The priest ‘presents’ the alms by slightly raising the bason (without any signing) and then placing it upon the holy Table on the right of the corporal, whence it will be removed by the clerk. (See p. 129.)

Then, after the alms have been presented, the real Offertory should now begin. The clerk, putting on the humeral veil with the assistance of the torch-bearers, takes the chalice and the paten, covered with a pall, and gives them to the priest, who ‘shall then [156] place upon the Table,’ and then raise them slightly together (the paten lying on the chalice) as an offering to God. Then he places the paten on the corporal immediately in front of the chalice,[32] and he covers the chalice with the pall. (If a ciborium is necessary it will be placed on the altar by the clerk immediately after the chalice and paten.)

The priest then takes the censer, and censes the oblations, first making three signs of the cross with the censer over them, then swinging the censer thrice round them, and then giving one swing on each side of them. He does not cense the altar. The clerk takes the censer from him, and goes to the pavement on the south side, and, turning to the priest, censes him. They bow to each other slightly, both before and after the censing, as is customary. The thurifer then takes the censer from the clerk and ‘censes the choir,’ in grades, first on the Decani then on the Cantoris side,—which is all the direction the Sarum Missal gives.[33] Perhaps this is best done in the most simple way, by the thurifer turning west where he stands, and swinging the censer towards the south-west and north-west. He then takes the censer out, accompanied always by the boat-bearer, and puts it away; they return to the choir and remain in their place for the rest of the service.

Meanwhile the torchbearers, who have been standing [157] near the credence since the offertory sentence, come to the priest at the north end of the altar; one, holding the basin, pours water over his fingers, the other presents to him the towel. The priest according to the Sarum rite would here say to himself, ‘Cleanse me, O God, from every stain of mind and body, that I may in purity fulfil the holy work of the Lord,’ but no psalm. The torchbearer at once pours the water down the piscina.

The priest goes to the midst of the altar; and, after turning to the people[34] to say, ‘Let us pray for the whole state,…’ he says the Church Militant Prayer facing east and with extended hands as usual.

In the Church Militant Prayer is part of the old Canon. The first clause, down to ‘truth, unity, and concord,’ is a paraphrase of the Te igitur; therefore, following the ancient ritual, the oblations may be signed[35] when they are mentioned (but not the alms). The long clause from ‘And grant’ to ‘any other adversity’ is a paraphrase of the Memento Domine; therefore slight, but very slight, pauses may be made during which the priest remembers any for whom he wishes specially to pray. The next clause ‘And we also bless’ is a paraphrase of Communicantes, a commemoration of the Saints; and ‘beseeching thee to give’ contains the prayer of Hanc igitur.[36]

[158] ‘Then shall the Priest say to them that come to receive the holy Communion, Ye that do truly.’ At a sung Celebration the Invitation is said in a quiet but audible voice and without a note. It is addressed only to those who intend to communicate; and it will be much more seemly and convenient if they are placed together somewhere near the chancel gates,[37] ‘the Communicants being conveniently placed for the receiving of the holy Sacrament.’

‘Then shall this general Confession be made, in the name of all those that are minded to receive the holy Communion, by one of the Ministers; both he and all the people kneeling humbly upon their knees, and saying…’ The meaning of this rubric seems to be clear that—(1) The Confession is to be said by the deacon or sub-deacon, or in the service which we are describing by the clerk their substitute. (2) He who leads the Confession need not be an intending communicant, for his office is clearly only to say it ‘in the name’ of the communicants. (3) Not the clerk only and the communicants, but ‘all the people,’ are to join in the Confession. As they are to kneel ‘humbly,’ they are also presumably to speak humbly; and the unseemliness of saying the Confession on a note is to be avoided. It is far the most impressive way for the clerk to say the words quietly but clearly, so that he can keep the congregation together, while they follow him in a low murmur; as choir-boys are often not confirmed, and as they have [159] an incurable tendency to get on to a note, it is better (both here and at the Confession at Mattins and Evensong) for them to be silent.[38]

As the next rubric, ‘Then shall the Priest stand up,’ was carried bodily from the Book of 1549, it is perhaps open to doubt whether he is meant to kneel unless he leads the Confession himself. It seems safer, however, for him to kneel.

‘Then shall the Priest (or the Bishop, being present) stand up, and turning himself to the people, pronounce this Absolution,’ still in a natural voice. He should raise his right hand at ‘Have mercy upon you,’ but he must not make the sign of the Cross. The Lincoln Judgement points, out that neither in the uses of Sarum, York, nor Hereford is there any direction for making the sign of the Cross at absolutions. It is ‘borrowed and introduced from foreign usages’ (though even in the Roman missal the priest signs himself only), and is in no ‘sense a continuance of old prescription in the Church of England.’[39]

‘Then shall the Priest,’ still turned towards the people, and with hands joined, ‘say, Hear what comfortable words…’ The Comfortable Words may be said with or without a note, or sung.

The Preface. As he sings ‘Lift up your hearts,’ the priest extends and slightly raises his hands; he joins them again at ‘Let us give thanks.’ When the choir (standing eastward) has finished the response, ‘Then shall the Priest turn to the Lord’s Table, and say’ the [160] Preface (with a Proper Preface, if one be appointed in the Prayer Book) with extended hands. The choir sing the Sanctus, during which the priest, according to the Sarum Missal, should ‘raise his arms a little and join his hands,’ which seems to mean that his joined fingers are just beneath his chin. When the choir sing the Benedictus[40] he signs himself at the words ‘in the name of the Lord.’

The short pause for private prayer should not be made here, but after the Prayer of Humble Access. But at a sung service such prayer may be said during the Sanctus and Benedictus, which should be sung together, and not separated by the Prayer of Access. There is absolutely no authority for the quite modern Continental custom of separating the Benedictus from the Sanctus.

At the Sanctus the torchbearers leave their torches and go out of the sanctuary to the midst of the choir, where they stand side by side, facing east. They kneel during the Prayer of Access, and bow reverently (not kneel) during the Consecration, bowing also whenever the priest bows or kneels. When the Priest turns to communicate the people, they genuflect where they stand, and go off to the right and left, when they stand in a convenient place near the altar rails. When the communion of the people is finished, they return to the sanctuary, and, after genuflecting together, go off right and left to their torches.

There is no direction in the Sarum books for any use of incense, or entry or lifting of torches, at the Consecration. Incense and torches were, however, used in some other places.[41] The old spirit of keeping a solemn silence, with nothing to distract either priest, [161] servers, or congregation, at this supreme moment, is surely the most fitting as it is the most impressive. The priest and ministers stand alone in the sanctuary, from which the servers have reverently withdrawn; all stand like watchers round the sacred presence, with bodies inclined, having no distracting thoughts as to what they are to do next to keep them from prayer and worship. Fuss is nothing less than irreverence. Perhaps the bell in the tower will toll three times at each consecration, and a small bell may also be used if it is felt to be desirable.[42]

At the Prayer of Humble Access, ‘the Priest, kneeling down at the Lord’s Table,’ says the words in his natural voice. The people reply Amen quietly and without a note. The priest at once stands.

The Consecration. If there is a standing pyx containing extra breads, or a second chalice, the priest will, before commencing the Consecration Prayer, so order them ‘that he may with the more readiness and decency’ consecrate them ‘before the people.’ This phrase ‘before the people’ was inserted by the Revisers of 1662, and that demanded by the Puritan Divines, ‘in the sight of the people,’ deliberately rejected.

After a pause for private prayer, he says the Consecration Prayer clearly and quite audibly, but humbly, solemnly, and in his natural voice. The clause ‘Grant that we receiving’ being a rendering of Quam Oblationem, he may make the old signs over the elements, once at ‘creatures’ once at ‘bread’ and at ‘wine’ and at ‘body’ and ‘blood’ reverently regarding the oblations the while. At the words ‘took bread,’ ‘here the Priest is to take the Paten into his hands,’ he slightly raises the paten with both hands and looks upwards. Then he takes the large bread, that he may at the words ‘he brake it ‘break [162] the bread.’ After the next sentence he lays his right ‘hand upon all the bread’ and says clearly and distinctly, ‘this is my Body which is given for you.’ He then inclines.[43] He then elevates the Sacrament with both hands, saying as he does so,[44]Do this in remembrance of me.’ After this he inclines again. According to very ancient custom he will not now disjoin the finger and thumb of either hand till the ablutions, except to touch the Bread.

At the words ‘took the Cup,’ ‘here he is to take the Cup into his hand,’[45]—first removing the pall—holding it with both hands, and slightly raising it. At the words ‘for this is my Blood,’ he is ‘to lay his hand upon every vessel,’ finishing the words without break down to ‘sins.’ He then inclines as before, and slightly elevates[46] the Chalice as he says, ‘Do this as oft as ye shall drink it in remembrance of me.’ He then inclines as before.[47]

The choir sing the Amen, which has here a special significance. They then sing the Agnus, after which a Communion Hymn may be sung.

[163] The priest occupies the interval with his own private prayers, preparation, and communion. This interval, both at high and low Mass, is necessary, and is by no means an innovation: if it be not too long, it is also very helpful to the people. Many clergy will naturally prefer to form their own private prayers on the old lines; but even in their private devotions it is well to remember how much of the old prayers are still in our Book, and to avoid repetitions. Supra quae and Supplices, for instance, have been rendered at the commencement of the Consecration Prayer and in the Prayer of Access; and their inappropriateness after the Consecration has been admitted by many liturgical writers of authority.[48] The Paternoster, again, is to be said after the Communion; and even the prayer for the departed finds a public place in our liturgy, for the words ‘and all thy whole Church,’ in the Prayer of Oblation, can only be logically interpreted as including the faithful departed, for which reason a short pause may well be made at the conclusion of the phrase.

It is essential that the celebrant communicate. After he has communicated, he places the pall on ‘the chalice, having first passed his thumb along the edge to dry it. He then inclines, takes the paten (or pyx, if there be many communicants), goes to the south side of the altar rails, and proceeds to communicate ‘the people also in order, into their hands,’ not into their fingers; they should hold up the palm of their right hand, putting the palm of the left under it,— which is the godly and decent order of the ancient Fathers.[49] Returning to the altar he puts the paten on the corporal, inclines, removes the pall, and, taking up the chalice, goes to the altar rails. [164] [If there is a deacon the priest gives him the chalice before he takes the paten himself.] The traditional method with us of ‘delivering’ the Cup into the hands of the people, is, in my opinion, by far the safest and most reverent way of administering it. It is very difficult to guide the chalice, unless the people take it themselves; and many resent the apparent want of trust when the minister refuses to let go of it. The communicant should grasp it firmly with both hands. The priest will be careful to repeat the whole formula of administration to each communicant.

Post-Communion. After the Communion, he unfolds the pall (which is really a second corporal, p. 95), and spreads it over the Chalice and Paten; according to the rubric ‘to return to the Lord’s Table, and reverently place upon it what remaineth of the consecrated Elements, covering the same with a fair linen cloth.’

The torchbearers return to their usual place, and remain standing. The clerk still stands by the credence.

He then chants the Paternoster, in the midst of the altar, with hands extended, the choir joining in. In the same position he says the Prayer of Oblation. There is an alternative prayer, that of Thanksgiving, which seems to be suitable at times of general communion. He then chants ‘Glory be to God on high,’ the choir joining in; he joins his hands at the next clause and keeps them joined. All bow at ‘we praise Thee,’ at ‘receive our prayer,’ and at the end, signing themselves.

He then inclines, steps a little to the north of the midst of the altar, and turns to the. people to say the blessing, his left hand still resting on the altar. He says the Pax, facing the people,[50] raising his right hand [165] to the level of his face,—all the fingers (except the first) being straight out and joined—till ‘Amen.’ He does not make the sign of the cross (p. 159). The clerk and torchbearers kneel at the blessing.

Turning back to the altar, he inclines once, and then ‘immediately after the Blessing’ consumes what remains of the Blessed Sacrament.[51] He may, if it be necessary, call on some of those who have just communicated to assist in this, ‘reverently.’[52]

The priest first consumes what remains of the Sacrament of the Body; he then carefully wipes the paten with his finger, holding it over the chalice. Without any more inclinations he drinks what remains in the chalice.

The priest then takes the Ablutions, this being the only possible way of entirely consuming what remains of the consecrated Elements.[53]

The method is as follows[54]:—

[165] 1. The priest goes to the south side, carrying the chalice and paten, his fingers still joined; he holds out the chalice for the wine, which the clerk [or sub-deacon] pours in, and drinks it from the same part of the chalice that has been previously used.[55]

2. He then holds the bowl of the chalice with the three last fingers of both hands, laying the thumb and forefinger of each hand over the bowl, so that the minister can pour water over them into the chalice: he then holds the paten (and ciborium) for water to be poured into it, and empties it into the chalice; after which he drinks this ablution of water.

The priest will be careful, of course, to see that all that part of the chalice which has been used is rinsed. He should drink the ablutions facing east, carefully, but without lifting the chalice higher than necessary.

He then takes the vessels to the midst of the Holy Table, wipes the chalice and paten with the purificator; lays the purificator on the chalice, and places the paten on the top. He then folds the pair of corporals, puts them into the burse, and lays the burse on the top of the paten.

The clerk meanwhile has put on the humeral veil and approached the altar by the midst. He stands at the right of the priest, who gives him the sacred vessels. Muffling his hands in the ends of the veil as before, the clerk takes the vessels and carries them solemnly out the long way, preceded by the torchbearers with their torches. They stand at the chancel-gates for him to pass, and then return for the priest: he comes down the steps, and bows with the torchbearers. The thurifer and boat-bearer stand behind them to bow, and then they all return to the sacristy the long way, preceded by the clerk who has returned the short way for his cross. There [167] may be no objection to the priest saying the first fourteen verses of St. John’s Gospel to himself as he goes out.[56]

After the last hymn (which is generally sung during the ablutions) is finished, the choir go out.

Arrived in the sacristy or vestry, the priest may say a prayer before unvesting (a suitable one is ‘O God, who in this wonderful sacrament has left us a memorial of thy Passion; grant us, we beseech thee, so to venerate the sacred Mysteries of thy Body and Blood, that we may ever feel within ourselves the fruit of thy Redemption. Who livest,’ etc.). He then unvests, first putting the amice over his head; afterwards, he goes in his cassock back to the church to say his thanksgiving. All the vestments should be carefully laid down, and not thrown in disorder. The clerk will see that everything is put away, and the torchbearers will put out the lights.

Deacon and Sub-deacon. If there is a deacon assisting, as well as the clerk, his duties will be as follows: —He walks in next before the priest; puts the incense into the censer; censes the celebrant. His usual position is on the step next below the footpace, at the right of the priest. He sits during the Epistle on the right of the priest. Towards the end of the Gradual, he goes the short way to the altar, spreads the corporal, then puts incense in the censer, and censes the Gospel-book as it lies by the corporal in the midst of the altar. He then takes the book and follows the other ministers to the gospel lectern, which stands on the north side of the choir near the gates. Having sung or said the Gospel, facing north (or west, if it be convenient), he hands [168] the book to the clerk (who places it on the credence), and stands at his usual place.

He stands at the right-hand of the priest while the latter reads the Offertory sentence; he then takes the chalice and paten from the clerk and hands them to the priest. He puts incense into the censer; and, when the priest has censed the oblations, he censes the priest. He hands the alms-bason to the priest; and then stands at his usual post, turning, kneeling and inclining with the priest. He may lead the confession. He genuflects before taking the chalice to communicate the people, and after giving it back to the priest. When the priest is taking the ablutions, he goes up and folds the corporals. He receives the vessels from the priest, covers them with the burse, and hands them to the clerk.

For more elaborate directions, Notes on Ceremonial might be consulted.[57]

The principal duties of the sub-deacon are to read the Epistle (after receiving the book from the clerk) from the south side of the choir near the gates; to hold the Gospel-book for the deacon; to hand the vessels to the deacon, and to pour the water over the priest’s fingers; and to give the priest the wine and water for the ablutions. He walks before the deacon. His usual position is on the step below the deacon, behind him at the first part of the service, and on the left of the priest from the offertory till the end of the service.


1 We are sometimes told that the word ‘Mass’ should not be used because it arouses prejudice; and the advice may often be useful. But, in a book like this which is written for reasonable people, it would not be right to respect a prejudice at once so illogical and uncharitable. ‘The Lord’s Supper,’ ‘Mass,’ ‘Communion,’ ‘Eucharist,’ are different names for one and the same thing, and to talk of ‘abolishing the Mass’ is as stupidly blasphemous as it would be to talk of abolishing the Lord’s Supper. Indeed, the Reformation was brought about in England on the distinct understanding that the Mass should not be ‘abolished.’ In the First Prayer Book the convenient popular title is preserved—‘commonly called the Mass.’ In 1549, Edward VI. solemnly assured the Devonshire rebels that ‘as to the Mass, the King assures them the learned clergy have taken a great deal of pains to settle that point, to strike off innovations, and bring it back to our Saviour’s institution.’—Collier, ii. 271.

2 Cosin, who approved of the rule so much that he inserted it in his Durham Prayer Book, certainly held this to be its intention. ‘Better were it,’ he wrote, ‘to endure the absence of the people than for the minister to neglect the usual and daily sacrifice of the Church, by which all people, whether they be there or no, reap so much benefit. And this was the opinion of my lord and master, Dr. Overall,’—who wrote the last part of the Catechism. (Works, v. 127.)

3 Indeed the medieval rule was that three or at least two should be present. Even in 1528 a writer says, ‘Nullus presbyterorum missarum solennia celebrare presumat nisi duobus presentibus et sibi respondentibus,’ because the priest addresses the congregation in the plural ‘vobiscum’ and ‘fratres.’ S.P.E.S. Trans. ii. 124.

4 It was never considered necessary in England for priests to celebrate every day: e.g. St. Thomas of Canterbury, Colet, and others quoted by the Roman writer, Rev. T. E. Bridgett, in his History of the Holy Eucharist, ii. 132.

5 In the First Prayer Book the Litany is distinctly ordered to be said on Wednesdays and Fridays, and at its conclusion the priest to vest for Mass (p. 89).

6 P. 172.—The rubrics in the American office are, ‘Then shall be said or sung, all standing, Gloria in Excelsis, or some proper Hymn from the Selection,’ and, ‘But the Creed may be omitted, if it hath been said immediately before in Morning Prayer; provided that the Nicene Creed shall be said on Christmas-day, Easter-day, Ascension-day, Whitsun-day, and Trinity-Sunday.’

7 For ancient examples see—Maskell, Ancient Liturgy, 109; Blunt, 166; Missale Sarum, 929-933.

8 ‘Its wording “it shall suffice” seems to indicate non-enforcement rather than suppression of the old custom, sanctioned in the older Rubric; and this was certainly the view taken in the Injunctions of 1559 and correspondence thereon.’ Bp. Barry, Teacher’s Prayer Book (in loc.). Wafer-bread was frequently used in the reigns of Elizabeth and James I. Charles Leslie in the time of Queen Anne said that some clergy always used unleavened bread (Works, i. 511).

9 Read v. Bishop of Lincoln, p. 13.

10 Suitable wines are sold by Ford and Son, 409 Oxford Street.

11 Ibid. p. 11. A vast number of instances illustrating this point can be found in Dr. W. Legg’s ‘Comparative Study of the Time at which the Elements are prepared.’ S.P.E.S. Trans. iii.

12 Low Mass in England. Rev. A. S. Barnes (S. S. Osmund).

13 Archbishop Grindal (1575) requires that persons appointed to the office of parish-clerk should be able and ready to read the first lesson and epistle as is used. Grindal, Remains, 142-168. Cf. Robertson On the Liturgy (cap. 10), also for note as to the admission of those to read who were not in minor orders, in ancient times. A few traces of this have come down to our times; e.g. the parish-clerk at Christ Church, Hants, ‘has from time immemorial worn a surplice, and has up to quite recent times read the lessons and the epistle.’ (What sacerdotalist robbed him of his duties?) This vesting of the clerk can be traced back in other places—e.g. in the Churchwarden’s Account Book at All Saints, Hereford, occurs in 1619 the entry, ‘One surplesse for the minister, and one surplesse for the clarke.’ Canon 91 requires that the clerk be competent to read, write, and sing.

14 ‘With the first Liturgy of Edward VI. the clerk was to read the Epistle. In the companion to the first book, plainly written for the use of the clerk, and published by Grafton under the name of “Psalter” in 1549, the priest or the clerk is to read the epistle. See an article by ‘J. W. L.’ in the Church Times for December 2, 1898, which appeared since the above was written, and gives a list of authorities from ‘the ninth century to the nineteenth.’

15 The servers should never wear gloves; which are an objectionable bit of fancy ritual, and are forbidden even by Baldeschi. They can easily be taught to wash their hands before the service. Red slippers are not to be commended.

16 Anciently the albe was pulled over the girdle to reduce it to the required length. But we have not yet succeeded in making this arrangement graceful.

17 The apparel is tacked on to the amice on all sides, not on the top side only; as it is not meant to fall down in the shape of an Eton collar.

18 If the proper vestments are not worn, the priest had better wear surplice and stole only, and not the hood. But an ample plain chasuble without orphreys can be used almost everywhere without rousing ignorant prejudice.

19 i.e., a visitor or special preacher. Any clergy attached to the church should assist as sacred ministers, even if the church has no dalmatics; for in that case it is in accordance with ancient precedent for the deacon to wear over his albe and amice a stole crossed under the right arm and maniple, and the sub-deacon a maniple but not a stole. When the church possesses only one dalmatic it should, according to precedent, be worn by the deacon, if there is one, the other ministers being in albes, etc.

20 The use of a whole psalm for the introit is the more ancient custom (Gasquet, 190). It is also more convenient; and, being the use of the First Prayer Book, has more authority for us.

21 The ‘long way’ is when the chancel is entered from the west; the ‘short way’ is when it is entered by a side entrance on the north or south.

22 In some churches, during the singing of the introit, the priest and torchbearers here privately confess to and absolve one another, the torchbearers kneeling close to the priest. The old prayers are correctly given in ServersCeremonial (Pickering, 9d.), which is useful for servers. It will be noticed that the English form is shorter and better than the Roman one. At low Celebrations it seems better that any preparation should be over before the bell has ceased ringing, so that the Paternoster may be begun at the last stroke of the bell.

23 ‘To kiss the Lord’s table,’ ‘shifting of the book,’ ‘sacrying bells,’ and altar lights, were all forbidden together by certain ‘Articles’ after the Act of Uniformity of 1549.

24 The Sarum books have only these simple directions: at Mass the direction is, ‘primo in dextera, secundo in sinistra parte, et interim in medio,’ at Vespers, ‘primo in medio, deinde in dextera parte, post in sinistra.’ In some copies of some parts of the Customary the directions are ter in media, ter in sinistra, and ter in dextera parte. (See Frere, 183). The arrangement of the medieval altar would also lead us to suppose that the elaborate and intricate method of censing employed by the Roman Church in modern times was unknown.

25 I leave open the vexed question as to whether the priest should stand at the north or south of the altar. The Lincoln Judgement in a very thorough statement of the case left this matter open, while declaring the eastward position throughout the service to be legal. It declared the words in the rubric, ‘standing at the north side,’ to be abrogated by the changed position of the Holy Table; and that for the priest to stand at the northern part of the front could not be regarded as a fulfilment of the rubric, but ‘only as an accommodation of the rubric to the present position of the Table.’ In favour, however, of the north part may be urged that this position was taken by a good many after the Savoy Conference when the north end had been condemned by the Bishops. The north end has never been authorised since [Lincoln Judgement, p. 34], but the north part of the front was used at St. Paul’s in 1681, and in other ways is shown to have had high sanction [Ibid. 116-121]. Neither is this commencing the service at the north part of the front an innovation: it was done at Westminster Abbey in the middle ages, and is still the custom of the Carthusians. On the other hand, the south part was undoubtedly the proper place in parish churches before the Reformation, and it was so ordered in the Sarum Missal (‘in dextero cornu’); it is therefore urged that, as the altar now stands in its old position against the east wall, the priest should also resume his old position at the southern part. It has been proposed that the Preparation to the end of the Commandments should be said below the altar, the priest then going up to the altar at the south side for the Collect for the Queen. But this cannot be done; for it crosses the rubric at the beginning of this Collect, ‘standing as before.’

26 Up to the last revision the Collect for the King followed the Collects for the day under one Let us pray: they would therefore all be said in one place. Now that there is a distinct break, and a fresh rubric which includes Collect, Epistle, and Gospel together, and directs the Epistle to be said ‘immediately after the Collect,’ it seems better to cross over before the Collect for the Day; and this is much more convenient when the Epistle is read at the altar.

27 A collection of sequences is published by the Plainsong Music Society, 9 Berners Street, W.

28 The Sarum rubric ordering a bow refers only to choir; the Hereford missal does not mention the choir, but has ‘fiet genuflexio’ and ‘tunc fiet levatio.’ But in many places the priest bowed. See Low Mass in England (S.S.O.), 10.

29 This agrees perfectly with the wording of the rubric, ‘When the Minister giveth warning… (which he shall always do upon the Sunday, or some Holy-day immediately preceding)’; the point of the phrase in brackets being, not that he shall always give warning, but that when he does do so it shall be done on the Sunday or Holy-day before, and not in a semi-private manner on an ordinary week-day.

30 In the First Prayer Book (pp. 70 and 172) two rubrics allow the third Exhortation to be omitted (1) on week days, (2) when there is a sermon, (3) for other great cause; so that there is very little occasion left for its reading. In cathedrals it was to be read once a month; and the other exhortation was everywhere only for occasional use. It seems more loyal to the Prayer Book, if we use this Third Exhortation thus occasionally, as it was originally directed to be used. Indeed it is probable that they are all only meant for occasional use, like those pre-Reformation exhortations from which they are taken.

31 On special occasions the rubric may well be followed by the deacons and clerk leaving the chancel and taking the collection themselves. This generally has a good result.

32 Our rubric (p. 161) does not admit of the paten being slipped under the corporal.

33 There are further directions in the Consuetudinary. But the ‘choir’ meant only the clergy in choir, which looks as if in an ordinary parish church the thurifer would take the censer out of the chancel directly after the censing of the celebrant.

The deacon was directed at some occasions to walk right round the altar, swinging the censer, before giving it up to the thurifer. But this direction is not given at the Mass. Both Missal and Customary speak of a censing in circuitu, but it is the relics not the altar that are censed,—which abrogates that ceremony for us. Comp. Missale Sarum, 595 (and note), Consuetudinary and Customary (Frere), 44, 77, 114, 183.

34 The First Prayer Book has the direction here, ‘turn him to the people’ and then ‘turning him to the altar,’ which establishes the tradition. Usually the priest turns by his right to face the people, and turns back the same way, but at the Orate fratres he turned right round, finishing the second half-turn after he had addressed the people; and this seems to stand in its place.

35 Such signing seems to have been sanctioned by the Caroline Bishops. ‘The lawfulness of crossing, not only in Baptism, but in the Supper and anywhere, is avowed.’ A Parallel, quoted in Hierurgia, 378.

36 The remaining prayer of the first part of the Sarum Canon, Quam Oblationem, is rendered almost exactly by the clause ‘And grant that we receiving’ in our Consecration prayer. There is therefore no need—as there is certainly no authority—for repeating over again the ancient prayers in the pause before the Consecration. (Comp. the P.B. of 1549, where the Prayer for the State of the Church comes after the Sanctus, and is joined to the Consecration Prayer.) But there has always been a slight pause before the commencement of the Consecration Prayer. See e.g. Cookson’s Companion to the Altar (3rd ed. 1789), where the communicant is given a private meditation of 159 words to fill up the silent pause before the Consecration Prayer.

37 The First Prayer Book ordered the communicants to tarry ‘in the choir, or in some convenient place nigh unto the choir,’ the rest to depart out of the choir. This custom, it may here be noted, of the non-communicants attending the service from the body of the church was long continued, and has never been forbidden in our service-books. Cf. Robertson, 195-9.

38 The P. B. of 1549 says, ‘Then shall this general Confession be made, in the name of all those that are minded to receive the Holy Communion, either by one of them or else by one of the ministers, or by the Priest himself, all kneeling humbly upon their knees.’ The Scottish Liturgy of 1637 has ‘by the presbyter himself or the deacon, both he and all the people kneeling humbly.’ It is clear from these that, in the absence of ministers, the priest may say the Confession himself. The omission of the communicants in the later rubric was very likely due to the practical difficulty in one of them leading.

39 Lincoln Judgement, 83-4.

40 The Benedictus and Agnus have been pronounced lawful by the Lincoln Judgement. It is important that they should always be sung.

41 But a light at the Elevation is very different from a theatrical processional entry of candles.

42 The use of a bell later, as a signal for communicants to approach, is convenient, though without authority.

43 This he may do either by solemnly bowing or by kneeling on one knee (see p. 144). The old rubrics are in favour of bowing or bending the body; but the genuflexion seems to have been introduced some time before the Reformation in some places. The Caroline divines used very profound bows. Hierurgia, 39, 56.

44 In the Sarum rite these words (which were only said after the Consecration of the chalice) were clearly connected with the actual Elevation, ‘Here let him elevate the chalice, saying, “As often as ye shall do these things, ye shall do them in remembrance of Me.”’ Therefore they should not be said before the Elevation.

45 This is the reason of the knot on the stem of the chalice, for convenience in the holding.

46 The order for the elevation of the Chalice was of considerably later date than that for the elevation of the Host (which was itself as late as the end of the eleventh century). When it was ordered, the rubrics are careful to say that it must not be elevated very high. To this day the conservative order of the Carthusians elevate the Host only. Bridgett, ii. 6.

47 The somewhat minute directions for the Canon taken from foreign sources, seem sometimes to cross our Prayer Book rubrics. It is not advisable to tie ourselves down to Baldeschi, Le Vavasseur, and the Missale Romanum.

48 See on this subject, Notes on Ceremonial (pp. 183-4); Mr. Lacey on Liturgical Interpolations (Alcuin C. tract): Duchesne, Origines du Culte Chrétien, pp. 172-3.

49 St. Cyril’s Catech. Lectures, xxiii.

50 The Prayer Book of 1549 has, ‘Then the Priest turning him to the people, shall let them depart with this blessing.’ For the reason why this order should be kept and the priest turn before giving the blessing (not in the middle of it) see Dr. W. Legg, S.P.E.S. Trans. ii. 124.

51 Nothing can be clearer than the directions, first to cover what remains of the Blessed Sacrament with a corporal after the Communion, and secondly to consume it immediately after the Blessing. It seems therefore incredible that some priests should consume what remains before the Paternoster, on the ground that our rubrics are obscure.

52 These are the directions of the sixth rubric at the end of our service. It is certainly not directed against the practice of reservation. It was inserted in 1662 to guard against irreverence. A certain class of clergy had carried what remained of the Blessed Sacrament into their own homes and used it for domestic purposes. To prevent this horrible sacrilege the rubric was inserted—‘And if any of the Bread and Wine remain unconsecrated, the Curate shall have it to his own use: but if any remain of that which was consecrated, it shall not be carried out of the Church, but the Priest and such other of the Communicants as he shall then call unto him, shall, immediately after the Blessing, reverently eat and drink the same.’

53 See Lincoln Judgement, 14-17.

54 The directions of the Missal, Customary, and the Manual of 1554, are at first sight confusing; but a little study removes the difficulty, which is caused by the ablutions being first summarised ‘vinum et aquam,’ and then explained separately, as if there were three acts instead of two. The directions here given are the same as those in Notes on Ceremonial (99, 128), which seem to be the most correct, as they are certainly the most simple and practical. The pouring of water into the paten was ordered by a Constitution of Archbishop Edmund, 1246.

55 The. cross, or other device, on the foot of the chalice marks the part to be used for communicating.

56 The Last Gospel appeared in the Sarum Missal long before it was in the Roman. It is ordered to be said in redeundo, though in small churches where the priest vested and unvested at the altar it was often said at the altar also. Cf. Barnes, Low Mass in England, p. 17.

57 When, however, English tradition is silent, it is safer to do a thing in the simplest and most natural way,—not to follow other guides. If, for instance, the deacon is standing in his usual place, it seems better for him, when our books are silent, to remain where he is, and not to move elsewhere.

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