The Book of Common Prayer (calling Polycarp!)

Some time ago I acquired a somewhat out of date (mid-1970’s vintage) copy of the Book of Common Prayer. Looking through it, it seemed to be a combination of several different things that we Catholics have separated into different books—i.e., the BCP appears to contain elements of a missal, a breviary, and a Collectio Rituum, not to mention a bit of Lives of the Saints thrown in for good measure (although both a Catholic missal and breviary have that, too, and a hymnal as well). My question is concerning the calendar of liturgical feasts in the front of the book. We obviously share the saints we both have in common before the establishment of the Church of England (such as St. Agnes and St.Thomas Aquinas, and so on) but there are people on the list of liturgical feasts in the BCP that I’ve never even heard of before----I realize they must be Anglicans—(Phillips Brooks, Bishop of Western New York, is one entry, IIRC)-----but are these people considered actual saints by the Episcopal Church, or are they just revered leaders who are honored with a feast day?

That would be “we Roman Catholics,” of course. :wink: Read through that Book of Common Prayer a little more closely and you will see that Anglicans consider themselves to be “Catholic,” but not “Roman Catholic.” There’s a prayer in there for the holy Catholic church, as well as for the worldwide Anglican communion.

And yes, I do believe they are really considered “Saints.” Even if the Pope didn’t do it.


The newer Anglican “saints” are not canonized as such; the process, such as it is, is merely a part of the revision process of the Book of Common Prayer. The only official Anglican canonization was Charles Stuart, King and Martyr, and his date (with a special service) was suppressed in England sometime before 1968 (the date of my English BCP) – and, naturally, it was never in the USA book.

Since Anglicans do not believe in dulia or hyperdulia, the question of whether someone is “really” a saint or not is fairly meaningless. However, we use the word “Saint” only of the NT figures. (In day-to-day speaking, of course, we are likely to use it of various Roman SS, whether on our Kalendar or not, simply due to it being common usage.)

John W. Kennedy
“Compact is becoming contract; man only earns and pays.”
– Charles Williams

“Charles Stuart, King and Martyr”, eh? I’ll bet Cromwell would have loved that. It would be interesting to know whether the establishment of that feast day was motivated by purely religious concerns, or whether it had anything to do with Royalist reaction against the Roundheads.

King Charles is still listed on the Calendar for the Book of Alternative Servies of the Anglican Church of Canada (1985), as well as in the Book of Common Prayer.