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The Book of Common Prayer

The Book of Common Prayer

Unique to Anglicanism is The Book of Common Prayer. Thomas Cranmer crafted the first Book of Common Prayer in English during the 16th century. Since then, it has undergone many revisions, and has been translated into scores of languages. Its original purpose, however, has remained the same: To provide in one place the core or the instructions and rites for Anglican Christians to worship together. It is The Book of Common Prayer that dictates our common worship practices. The BCP explains the main beliefs of our Church, and outlines the requirements for the sacraments. It is titled 'common prayer' because it is used by all Anglican churches around the world, for the Eucharist or mass, and for other rites and services of the church. 

Many other worship resources and prayers exist to enrich our worship, including The Holy Bible. About 70% of the text found in the Book of Common Prayer comes directly from The Bible. 

The present prayer book used by The Episcopal Church was published in 1979. You can find the Book of Common Prayer online.


The Book of Common Prayer at three hundred and fiftyThe New Yorker Magazine