Western Rite Office

Zeal to promote the common good, whether it be by devising anything ourselves, or revising that which hath been laboured by others, deserveth certainly much respect and esteem, but yet findeth but cold entertainment in the world. It is welcomed with suspicion instead of love, and with emulation instead of thanks: and if there be any hole left for cavil to enter, (and cavil, if it do not find a hole, will make one) it is sure to be misconstrued, and in danger to be condemned.

- Preface from the Translators to the Reader of the Authorised Edition of the Bible.

These Pages are a very incomplete project – and a commitment.  Nothing official of course, but then I’m not Antiochian at all, so I don’t have to make that disclaimer on all my “not officially official” WR materials.

The WR Daily Office as used parochially among Orthodox Christians is, essentially, the Episcopal Church’s 1928 Book of Common Prayer.  There are American cultural reasons for this, of course, but the BCP office is the prime gift to the Church Universal of the Reformation in the English Church: taking the Monastic Office, evolved, but mostly unchanged since St Benedict first composed it in his Orthodox Rule, and making it easy for laity and clergy with lives in the world to handle.  The daily office’s centerpiece of prayer and praise through psalms and lessons is made fully accessible to anyone with the ability to pick up a book and turn through some pages – using colorful ribbons, of course.  Compared to the complexity of the monastic Breviary or the 11-book choir stand of the Eastern Rite, this is really a blessing! As a geeky example, to do the Byzantine Rite or the Monastic rite as a website, it does require a database, but here, largely static pages are all that are needed – only the calendar changes regularly at all.

So, I’ve begun a project of putting the English daily office, as used in the WR, online, noted for an unofficial Orthodox Use.  Please note that the rest of this website is a reasonably decent Eastern Rite prayer book that you’re welcomed to use if WR material isn’t your speed!

The 1928 Book of Common Prayer, with the Coverdale Psalter and the Authorized (a.k.a King James) Version of the Holy Scriptures are all in the Public Domain. The Lectionary used is essentially the Anglican Lectionary that was universal prior to the revisions that took place in the late 20th Century. The Calendar is the traditional, Catholic (new) Calendar of the West (Pre-Schism, et al), modified by the Julian (old) Calendar Pascha as is required in the Orthodox Rite. I am using the lectionary and rubric modifications and feasts cited in the Book of Common Prayer released by Lancelot Andrewes Press – which is not an official publication of any Orthodox Jurisdiction at all, but is REALLY quite nice in the hands.

The project is a spiritual practice in stability for me: I’m inclined to change my daily prayers from time to time the way some people change their clothes.  This is not healthy.  I hope the daily project of putting this together will keep me in one place, in one book for a good while.  I ask for your prayers.