The Third Sunday of Advent, Solemn Evensong, by the Rector

The preface to the first, the 1549, Book of Common Prayer, begins—famously—with these words, “There was never any thing by the wit of man so well devised, or so sure established, which in continuance of time hath not been corrupted.”[1] These words were the work, of course, of archbishop and reformation martyr Thomas Cranmer. We know that the seventh-century practice of the monks of St. Peter’s in Rome to read the Bible all the way through in a year had by the ninth century spread through the Christian West. But by the time of the Reformation, these readings had been greatly shortened by the addition of many weekday commemorations—feasts of saints—and other devotions.[2] There was also the major problem that if you did not read and speak Latin well, you could not understand the words you heard in worship.
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