The Daily Office:
Morning Prayer at St. Edward's

From the Monastery to the Parish

From the earliest days of the Church, Christians would gather at various fixed times during the day to offer their prayers and praises to the Lord. This wasn’t a practice they’d invented: it had its roots in Jewish worship. These Christians began dividing their days into seven set times for prayer, drawing on Psalm 119:164, “Seven times a day do I praise thee.” As monastic communities began to form within the Church, the keeping of these hours as the opus Dei (the ‘work of God’) became a central focus of their vocation. The core of the Daily Office in this monastic setting was the recitation of the Psalter, which was often prayed in its entirety on a weekly basis.

St. Edward’s offers Morning Prayer most days at 10:00 am and on Sundays at 9:30 am. 

Over the course of centuries, this basic pattern of reciting the Psalms became an increasingly complex endeavor: scriptural canticles and lections, additional prayers, and other liturgical features were added, all of which varied based on the seasons and feasts of the Church year. Over time, the Office became the province of the monastics and clergy who had both the time and the education necessary to pray the Office.

At the time of the English Reformation, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, who compiled the first Book of Common Prayer in 1549, sought to reclaim this ancient practice for the whole Church, to bring the Office out of the cloister and into the parish. To accomplish this, Cranmer reduced the total number of offices from eight (Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline) to two (Mattins and Evensong). While the Psalter remained central, he expanded its recitation cycle to be monthly, rather than weekly. He greatly diminished the number of variable components in the Office, making it much easier to navigate. Finally, he balanced the reading of the Psalms with the reading of substantial portions of Holy Scripture.

The result was a Daily Office that is ideal for a parish setting, as it is neither overly complicated nor unduly long. It also maintains a deep continuity with the Western liturgical tradition: It sacrifices none of the core features of the earlier forms of the Office, and all of its prayers can be traced to antecedent medieval texts. The genius of the Anglican Office is that it can be accommodated just as easily to an individual Christian sitting at his desk, a family in the living room, a parish on a Sunday morning, or Choral Evensong in a great English cathedral.


French Miniaturist, Psalter of the Duc de Berry, 13th century, Bibliothèque nationale, Paris



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We are a Christian church following the Anglican tradition of worship, using the 1928 Prayer Book. Newcomers are always welcome!