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The Book of Common Prayer

In the final years of Henry VIII’s reign Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, conceived and wrote the original Book of Common Prayer. One year after his death in 1547, Parliament enacted the Act of Uniformity and for the first time England had its first, single church service, set out in the Book of Common Prayer.

For the next one hundred years the Book went through a number of modifications, driven by a succession of monarchs and their management of shifting theological politics.

After the English Civil War, between 1645 and 1660, the Puritan Parliament abolished both the Church of England and the Book of Common Prayer.

But with the restoration of the monarchy, Charles II and a new Parliament oversaw the production and introduction of the Book of Common Prayer in 1662. It is the one we use today.

For over 350 years the Book has been the service book for the Anglican Church, firstly in Gt Britain and subsequently across the world. Today the Book of Common Prayer is used in over 50 countries and can be found in 150 different languages.

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