The Litany’s Faldstool

(A similar article dealing with the Daily Offices was also written: Supremacy in Offices) The faldstool in English ceremony was the movable seat otherwise reserved in the chancel as the chair for the visiting Bishop. From the faldstool, an Ordinary passed authority by laying on hands of both confirmed laity and clergy. But the faldstool also doubled as a prayer desk upon pentitential occasions where the bishop rested his arms upon the faldstool’s cushion while kneeling before it. The idea of the bishop’s faldstool representing a throne of authority in the church is embedded the BCP’s litany. From it we learn the peculiar order of authority within the Church of England.

Though today the prayer desk has replaced the faldstool, nevertheless, in the Parson’s Handbook the Rev. Dearmer explains the Litany is to be be given in the old position of the fladstool, namely,  in the midst of the church. According to Dearmer, the Litany should be recited regularly, normally Wednesdays and Fridays as well as between morning prayer and ante-communion on Sundays. But it is especially said upon penitential seasons.

However, these many details likely escape the majority of parishioners who rarely recite the Litany, and, perhaps they never do unless it be at Lent. Infrequent exposure to the Litany probably leaves more specifically Anglican features to pass unnoticed. The prayer book Litany differs from the Latin in a number of places. But perhaps the most conspicuous difference is the absence of heavenly saints of whom Romans and Eastern Orthodox commonly invoke. Instead, the Anglican emphasis is upon an earthy kingdom, or church militant. This ought to be an interesting point for Anglicans since our suffrages beg the Church of England instead of the heavenly hosts. The 1559 version of the litany lists the estates of the church [in bold] which are thus mentioned:

“We synners do beseche the to heare us (O Lord God,) and that it may please the to rule and governe thy holy Churche universally, in the right way…That it may please the, to kepe and strengthen in the true worshipping of the in righteousnes and holynes of lyfe, thy servaunt James our most gracious Kyng and governour…That it may please the, to rule his harte in thy faith, feare, and love, that he may evermore have affiaunce in the, and ever seke thy honoure and glory. That it may please the, to be his defender and keper, geving him the victory over al his enemyes. That it may please thee to bless and preserve our gracious Queen Anne, Prince Henry, and the rest of the King and Queen’s Royal issue… That it may please the to illuminate all Byshoppes, Pastours, and ministers of the Church, with true knowledge, and understanding of thy words, and that both by their preaching and livinge, they may sette it furth and shewe it accordingly…That it maye please thee to endue the Lordes of the Counsayle, and all the nobilitie, with grace, wisedom, and understanding…That it may please thee to blesse and kepe the Magistrates, geving them grace to execute justice, and to maynteyne truthe… That it may please the to blesse, and kepe al thy people.”

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Divided We Stand


I would like to recommend Divided We Stand:  A History of the Continuing Anglican Movement, by Douglas Bess, to all those interested in Continuing Anglicanism.  Having done some ad hoc research into the history of Continuing Anglicanism myself over the years, which has included in-depth conversations with several of the key participants in such landmark events as the St. Louis Congress, the Denver Consecrations, and the Dallas Synod, I can say with some confidence that Bess has done an excellent job of making an accurate record of the Movement’s key events.  Moreover, let me also say that this record is of crucial importance for anyone who wishes to understand the state of Continuing Anglicanism today.

My recent rereading of Divided We Stand left me with the firm impression that the Continuing Anglican Movement is fundamentally divided between two, discrete visions of Anglicanism.   There are (1) those holding an exclusively catholic-minded vision of Anglicanism, most of whom, but are not all, are distinguished by their use of the Anglican Missals and by their distinctively Tridentine theological outlook and piety; and (2) those adhering to a conservative, comprehensive vision of Anglicanism centered on the Book of Common Prayer and the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion but otherwise tolerant of quite a bit of theological and liturgical latitude.  Today, the predominant catholic jurisdictions are the Anglican Catholic Church (ACC) and the Anglican Province of Christ the King (APCK), while the comprehensive jurisdictions are the Anglican Church in America (ACA) and the Anglican Province in America (APA).

Having stated that Divide We Stand, as its title suggests, leads the reader to a dichotomous view of the Continuing Anglican Movement, I must give Bess credit for not painting this division in overly stark terms.  Indeed, as Bess correctly points out, the catholic jurisdictions, such as the ACC and APCK do, in fact, have parishes that do not use the Missals, and steer clear of Tridentine teaching and piety.  On the other hand, Bess notes that the comprehensive jurisdictions are hardly the exclusive province of low-church parishes, but instead contain many fully Anglo-Catholic parishes, some of which, I would note, are replete with the Missal Mass, Marian Statuary, and frequent use of the Rosary.  Thus, on the surface of things, the distinction between the two competing visions of Continuing Anglicanism might be viewed as merely involving differing centers of gravity in churchmanship, and Bess does not dispel this possibility in his text as far as I can tell.

Thus, I would not fault a reader of Divided We Stand for coming away with the impression that the difference between the catholic jurisdictions and the comprehensive jurisdictions is one of emphasis rather than substance–at least not enough substantive difference to justify continuing schism.  But, this conclusion would be, in my opinion, incorrect.  In the first place, as Bess’s narrative demonstrates,  experience has shown that the catholic and comprehensive camps have generally been suspicious of and adversarial toward each other throughout the history of the Continuing Movement.  Indeed, the conflict between the two visions of Continuing Anglicanism and the resulting political machinations that have occurred within the Movement is the very drama driving the main plot line of Divided We Stand.  Thus, I cannot help but conclude that something more fundamental must keeping the division alive.  And, what that something is, I believe, is, in a word, Calvinism.

Indeed, in the conservative, comprehensive vision of Anglicanism, Calvinists have been recognized as having a legitimate place at the Anglican table since the Glorious Revolution.  Thus, for the comprehensives, Evangelical Churchmanship, often denominated as “low churchmanship” in contemporary parlance, which is perhaps most seminally expressed in W. H. Griffith Thomas or D.B. Knox’s expositions of the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, deserves its share in the Continuing Anglican Movement.  In contrast, for the ardently catholic-minded Anglicans, the Evangelical Party has always been a bridge too far.  Indeed, for the catholic-minded Anglican, Missal Anglo-Catholics, Prayerbook Catholics, philOrthodox, Old High Churchman, and perhaps even Conservative Central Churchman can be tolerated under one big tent, but the “low” churchmanship of the Evangelicals  cannot.

Thus, in my view, the real reason that the predominantly Anglo-Catholic jurisdictions such as the ACC and APCK will not seriously entertain union with a conservative comprehensive jurisdictions like the APA or the ACA, is that comprehensive formulations of Anglicanism are simply too tolerant of Calvinism or Reformed principles.  Indeed, the existence of Evangelical expositions of the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion is precisely why the catholic jurisdiction have shied away from giving the Articles constitutional status.  Moreover, it is also my opinion that, despite the prevalence of Tridentinism in the catholic jurisdictions, they do have a valid point.  Whereas the differences in the exposition of the Thirty-Nine Articles evinced by decidedly non-Tridentine works of such catholic-minded men as W. Beveridge, E.H. Browne, or E. J. Bicknell can theologically co-exist along side the Tridentine-friendly expositions of A. P. Forbes and Newman (Tract XC), on the ground that each merely express differing theological opinions about secondary aspects of the same underlying faith, once the Evangelical point of view is introduced, fundamentally inconsistent understandings of the very faith itself are being asked to cohere, which is logically intolerable.  Indeed, atonement is either limited or it is not; grace is irresistible or its is not; men are predestined to death as well as life or they are not.

In sum, while much of Divide We Stand, leads me to believe that a great consolidation of the jurisdictions presently comprising Continuing Anglicanism is possible in the near future, I nevertheless believe that the irreducible minimum number of Continuing Anglican jurisdictions are two.  This is so because a significant number of catholic-mined Anglicans, whether of a Tridentine, Missal Anglo-Catholic persuasion or not, will simply never agree to the comprehension of Calvinist or Reformed principles as a legitimate component of Continuing Anglicanism.  Thus, a significant number of Continuing Anglicans are always going to hold hold against the supposed reasonableness of even the most conservative schemes of comprehensive Anglicanism and unification of the Continuing Movement into a single body will remain and elusive goal.


The Altar’s North Side

an english lecturn

I’ve always considered the communion rubric for standing on the North Side of the table to be incredibly odd. It’s always very much a challenge to envision a northside celebration, especially when there are close to nil churches doing it. We either have the priest facing the people during the recitation of the canon, or the priest faces eastward. But what is ‘northside’?

The 1662 BCP rubric for communion says, “And the Priest standing at the north side of the Table shall say the Lord’s Prayer, with the Collect following, the people kneeling”. This starts the antecommunion and the rest of the liturgy is finished in the same way. The 1637 BCP says the same, but the 1928 somewhat simplifies things by omitting the rubric altogether.

While probably a dead letter, the motive behind ‘northside’ originally involved a desire to include the people in the prayers and blessings of the church. The Reformation of the Mass was, firstly, concerned about the liturgy being 1) audible, and, 2) visible to the people. If a priest stood ‘eastward’, then manual acts were naturally blocked from view. Moreover, unless the bread was elevated above the shoulders, its visibility was also obstructed. Celebration against the east wall, especially in cathedrals with long choir stalls, would likewise hinder audibility. Another commenter observed the priest on the north side with deacon on the south would have made washings difficult, and this was also probably an intent.

However, the Puritan movement during Edward VI and Elizabeth I solved this problem by replacing fixed altars with movable tables, relocating the latter in the front of the chancel (between the choir) or, more often, the middle of the nave. The priest then celebrated the eucharist from the northside of a table which was often oblong in shape, meaning the table was orientated parallel to nave’s length.  Thus, the priest stood in the nave, faced northside, and had the length of the table before him. If this is very confusing, see this link: the Pre-tractarian Church.

Sacrament of the Altar not ‘the Desk’: When Laud restored the tables to their original Henrician position, plus forbidding their removal from the chancels, the northside position of the Puritans became untenable as the “north end” of a table was now fixed along the length of the ‘eastern’ wall. Especially in chapel sanctuaries, standing on the ‘north end’ would be awkward at best if not impossible.  Practicality reasoned ‘north side’ simply meant the gospel side of the altar, and it appears this would conform to ancient practice. But the intent of the 1662’s rubric was to keep the recitation of the liturgy near the altar rather than below in reading desk or pulpit as low churchmen might have it.  Bishop Cosin says regarding where the liturgy is pronounced:

“The Jews prayed standing, but only in the time of mourning; for then they prayed prostrate, or upon their knees. Formerly the Priest stood in the middle of the altar. Si ad aram Dei steteris. And the Writings of the Ancients abound with testimonies of the same thing. Again this Writer says with respect to standing at the Table: — which was the custom of the ancients, that all things which pertained to the celebration of the Lord’s-Supper should be said at the Altar. Now in this Celebration, there is hardly any difference between us and the Protestants in Germany, but that among us the Prayers are said by the Bishop or Minister at the Altar, but among them in the Desk: In which they do not agree with the ancients.” (Notes to Nicholls’ Book of Common Prayer, p. 38)

And the Rev. J.J. Blunt, (late Margaret Professor of Divinity at Cambridge.) observes: —

“Here the Rubric is express against a practice, not uncommon that of reading this Service, when there is no Communion, from the Desk. This, I say, is a clear infraction of the Rubric, which directs that “the Priest is to stand at the north side of the Table, and say, etc.. ( Duties of the Parish Priest, p. 325)

The Parson’s Handbook: The question still remains what would north-side celebration by the 1662 bcp look like? It’s hard to wrap one’s mind around. Evidently, there wasn’t a dominant or single interpretation of this rubric, so this complicates matters. However, the Anglican principle of hearing and seeing in worship should be kept in mind, calling the people to use their five wits with the clergy in liturgy. A good Anglican methodology when questions remain is to look back to prior practice. In his Parson’s Handbook, the Rev. Percy Dearmer rather successfully reconciles the earlier practice of eastward/altar facing as found in the 1549 BCP/Sarum with the 1662 ‘north side’ rubric. He says:

“In the editions of this Handbook preceding that of 1907 I deliberately left open the vexed question as to whether the priest should stand at the north, south, or middle of the altar. I have, however, now come to the conclusion that he should stand before the north part of the altar, mainly because more recent knowledge has resolved the doubt raised by the Lincoln Judgement, which, in a very thorough statement of the case, declared the eastward position a very thorough statement of the case, declared the eastward position throughout the service to be legal, but left the part of the altar undecided. Archbishop Benson took the following view:– The position of the Holy Table had, in 1662, been lawfully changed, but yet the revisers left the old rubric ‘standing at the north side’, although the Tables now stood altarwise, and had no north side in the sense of the rubric; therefore the words ‘at the north side’ are now ‘impossible of fulfillment in the sense originally intended’ (Lincoln Judgement, p. 44), and for the priest to stand at the northern part of the front ‘can be regarded only as an accommodation of the letter of the Rubric to the present position of the Table’ (ibid, p. 41).

Now it is not the case that the revisers of 1662 deprived the rubric of its meaning by leaving it unaltered to apply to the changed position of the altar. They seem rather indeed to have known what they were about, and to have left the words ‘standing at the north side’ (although the altars had been brought back to their proper position) because they knew that the words could still apply. The words ‘north side’ were, in fact, used to describe the ‘northern part of the front’ in pre-Reformation times; and there was therefore no reason to change them in 1662, when the altar stood as in those times. Here are some examples:– ‘Then I that was kneeling on the north side of the altar, at the right side of the crucifix’ (Revelation of the Monk of Evesham, 1482, cap. 12). In the Alphabetum Sacerdotum, the direction before the Gospel is ‘different missale ad aliud latus’. ‘How the priest after that with great reverenc doth begin the mass between deacon and subdeacon at the one side of the altar’ (Interpretacyon of the Masse, 1532, art. 5, qu. in Dat Becxhen, pp. xi, 142)

This position does in any case keep close to the letter of the rubric; and it was adopted by a good many after the Savoy Conference, when the Bishops declared in favor of the eastward position. The north end has never been authorized since, but the north part of the front was used at St. Paul’s in 1681, and in other ways is shown to have high sanction from 1674 to 1831. Nor was it an innovation to commence on the north side of the sanctuary: it was done at Westminster Abbey and by the Cluniacs before the Reformation, and is still the custom of the Carthusians.

Some have urged that the priest should stand at the south and not the north horn, on the ground that he began the service thus before the Reformation. This, however, is inexact. It is true that the Sarum Missal has ‘in dextro cornu‘” but at low Mass the priest vested at the north side of the altar, the chalic and paten lying in the middle and the book on the south side. He thus began Mass at the north side, and in this position he said amongst other things those very prayers which now begin our service, viz. the Paternoster and the Deus cui omne cor. Furthermore, to begin at the south is not even an accommodation of our rubric, and it has never been adopted under authority since the altars have been set back in their old position. Some have recommended the priest to stand ‘afore the midst of the altar’, because this was his position under the First Prayer Book; but this at least gives teh impression of disobeying our present rubric; and we have perhaps no right to imagine that the revisers of the 1662 meant the priest to revert to the custom of 1549 since they did not say so. They kept the words ‘north side’; and, as we have seen, ‘north side’ is good English for ‘sinistrum cornu‘.

The problem remains for Dearmer how the elements are made visible. Dearmer feels, though the priest stands on the north or gospel side, during the words of consecration, with the priest still facing eastwards, the bread ought be raised to “the level of the mouth” and the fraction thus made visible to the people behind. Meanwhile, the cup should remain on the table and the priest bow during that portion of the institution. This seems a bit odd to me, treating species differently, but Dearmer’s point is such satisfies the canon’s principle of visibility. I have to ask does this  suggest a kind of concomitance– what is done to one kind is done to the other?

The 1892 BCP revision seems to imply precedent for Dearmer’s recommenda-tion. The third rubric at the beginning of the Holy Communion rite instructs, “And the minister, standing at the right side of the Table, or where Morning and Evening Prayer are appointed to be said, shall say the Lord’s Prayer and the Collect following, the People kneeling” (p. 243)

Liturgics of Minor Orders: Dearmer offers the best answer to the north side question. If anyone has ever found a youtube video showing north side, please share!  My own preference would be to see Priests recognize the north side rubric despite its obsolesce since 1928. The 1928 BCP was an attempt to retrieve the 1549, and, ironically, the 1549 version has the priest turning to the choir to declare “the peace”, upon which the choir responds, “and with thy spirit”. This hearkens to the old Sarum where the Priest would actually begin the Pax with a kiss to the deacon or clerk, likewise turning north to do so. Calls and responses to choirsides might occur elsewhere in the liturgy, but traditionally the choir did have a more prominent role in the liturgy than today, singing introits and graduals. Liturgics today are very different from the Sarum. Minor orders are virtually dissolved into the “people”, and Anglican liturgy is conducted almost like a perpetual low mass. However, the 1549 and perhaps Dearmer’s northside retain the best of both eras.

The north side (gospel side) seems a distinctly Anglican ceremonial position. One advantage relevant for today might be the further de-emphasis that modern liturgics (both Vatican II Roman and neo-Anglican) tend to put upon laity in the attempt to democratize services and flatten ecclesiology.  A sense of prelatial space might thus be engendered by giving choirs, clerks, and swornmen heightened roles as was done in olden days when the church was conceived as ordered society with ranks and hierarchies rather than as an undifferentiated mass of ‘equal’ priests?

Charles Bartlett lives and works in Northern California. He is a member-at-large in the UECNA, worshiping in the REC by bishopric dispensation. His blog, Anglican Rose, explores the nature of adiaphora in England’s Church beginning with late-Henrician standards.

Brothers, we have lost a giant.

The Reverend Dr. Crouse, Patristics scholar and Anglican theologian passed away in his sleep last week.  Dr. Crouse was a professor and mentor to a number of people currently on the board of the Prayer Book Society in the United States, and without his instruction and influence Anglicanism in North America would be in much greater disarray than it currently is.  It is our fervent prayer that in future years Dr Crouse’s multiple essays on classical Anglican and Patristic theology will serve to guide those who desire to continue within the Anglican Way.

The following paragraphs are excerpted from the obituary written this week by Dr. W. J. Hankey, a colleague and long time friend in the Classics Department of Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

On the night of Friday the 14th, in his 81st year, the Reverend Professor Robert Darwin Crouse died in his sleep in his childhood home in Crousetown, Lunenburg county, where his family has been established for more than 200 years.  He had been very ill for several years, but played the organ for the Liturgy at St Mary the Virgin, Crousetown, the Sunday before last.  His contributions of the highest level to the Classics Department of Dalhousie University, to the University of King’s College, and to their students, to international scholarship, to the Anglican Church of Canada, and to the musical life of Nova Scotia make his passing momentous.  The Department of Classics has received condolences from many parts of Europe and North America.

In 1981 Robert was the founder of St Peter Publications in Charlottetown and of the Atlantic Theological Conferences, both of which continue.  For five decades Fr Crouse delivered uncounted theological and spiritual addresses, conferences, and retreats and guided the hundreds who came to him for help.  The extent of his labours, which embraced North America and Europe, was suggested when the Diocese of Saskatchewan made him its Canon Theologian.

Harvard granted him an S.T.B. (cum laude) in 1954.  After he was ordained priest by the Bishop of Nova Scotia, Robert moved to Trinity College, Toronto where he was a Tutor in Divinity for three years and earned a Master of Theology (1st class Honours) in 1957.  Trinity awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Divinity in 1983.

In 1970 Robert became PhD of Harvard University.  His dissertation was a critical edition of the De Neocosmo of Honorius Augustodunensis.  He supervised scores of MA theses at Dalhousie and directed and examined dozens of doctoral dissertations there and throughout North America and Europe.  His lectures, sermons, and scholarly publications (he published over seventy articles, reviews, and translations) were polished artefacts characterized by the greatest economy, precision and beauty of language. … In 1990 the Institutum Patristicum Augustinianum in Rome named him Visiting Professor of Patrology, a post he took up repeatedly until 2004; he was the first non-Roman Catholic to be given this distinction.

In 1972 he joined other members of Classics, as well as members of the Departments of German and Sociology, as the first co-ordinators responsible for the structure and lectures of the Foundation Year Programme at King’s.  His Section on the Middle Ages was a model of the integration of literary, philosophical, religious, social and artistic culture.  With camera in hand he crisscrossed Europe bringing back the history of Romanesque and Gothic architecture.  His lectures on architecture and music opened many students to hitherto hidden mysteries.  His lectures on Dante’s Divine Comedy were so loved that he continued them well after retirement, giving his last series in 2003.  Former students returned annually to hear them.  Suitably his last lectures in the University were delivered on the Confessions of St Augustine in 2004 in the Foundation Year Programme. … Outside of the classroom his greatest contribution there was in the Chapel.  His celebration of the liturgy and his sermons had enormous influence on the lives of students and faculty.  Moreover, he established the choir for the Thursday Solemn Eucharist which is now the foundation of the musical renaissance at King’s.  

Robert’s gifts as an organist and choirmaster, were extended not only to parishes (notably in his home parish of Petite Riviere, Holy Trinity, Bridgewater, and St James’, Halifax) and chapels.  Soon after he returned to Nova Scotia, he assisted in the rescue and restoration of an early 19th century tracker organ which became the centre of forty-seven years of Summer Baroque concerts at St Mary’s Crousetown.  While such concerts of early music have now become staples of our Summer fare in the Maritimes, Robert was a pioneer.

After the concerts, receptions at his house allowed musicians and their audiences to admire Robert’s extraordinary gardens.  He was always an organic gardener, and inspired many to imitate his practices; his salads provoked awe, and his rosary, with 129 varieties, delight. … He eschewed radio, television, and telephone.  Around the walls of the room where Robert spent most of his time, [there is] carved in Carolingian Latin, an inscription from Scripture.  They are words St Bernard took from Isaiah for the habituations of his Cistercian monks and nuns who keep silence strictly, they translate thus: “The solitary place shall be glad, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the lily…and a highway shall be there and a way, and it shall be called the way of holiness” (Isaiah 35.1-9)  At the heard of all Robert’s apparently endless practicality lay a carefully guarded silence which enabled the depth of his thought, his communion with God, nature, and humanity, and his unmovable independence of mind.  Among his greatest gifts as a teacher was his communication of the necessity, goodness, and beauty of contemplative silence.

To some ears “Protestant Saints” might sound oxymoronic[1]. However, Anglicans and “high-church” Protestants during the 16th and 17th centuries often continued the medieval cults but in a ‘reformed’ manner. It should be remembered during the first generation of reform categories like “protestant” and “roman catholic” weren’t so neat and tidy. The term ‘protestant’ didn’t even exist until nine years following Luther’s 95 Theses. Until then, Swiss and English divines might interchangeably be called “Lutherans”. Many reformers, like Martin Bucer, and certainly Luther himself, initially received their religious education either as Augustinian monks or discovered the New Learning while serving as prebends, deans, professors, or in other Roman Catholic minor orders akin to academic chapters. In the early years of reform, 1520-1545, the anticipation a free general council [2] between Northern Protestant churches and Rome bred a kind of theological hesitancy if not purposed conservatism, especially in England and in Germany, where the hope of reconciliation drove policies of accommodation and continuity to certain medieval practices. Despite the Roman abuse of the medieval saint-cult, the mentioning saints in church prayers has primitive origin, dating to the second century.

Modest Reform: English divinity continued this older religious practice on the condition it was not contrary to scripture. The earlier Roman Catholic cult was distinguished by a vast and messy array of superstitions, not to mention devotional practices promoted by the Papacy that reinforced Rome’s merit theology. An alternative to abolishing the entire cultus was pruning away exagerations. English Reformers accomplished this several ways [3]. In 1538 reverencing of images by decking or prayer were banned in both public and private worship [4]. The 1536 Ten Articles rebuked those vain superstitions, “as to think that any saint is more merciful, or will hear us sooner than another or that any saint doth serve for one thing more than another, or is patron of the same” (Formularies, p. 30). In 1548 Anglicans started reform of the Salisbury mass, finishing an overhaul of the missal and its related Christian calendar which eliminated many legendary saints. In 1544 the “litany of saints” was also revised, where the heavenly saints were reduced to a single stanza while living members of the church gained the greater focus of the litany. Until 1549 this single stanza continued from the Cranmer’s 1544 litany where an invocation of heavenly saints remained[5]:

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Cranmer’s Beard

Henry VIII

Henry VIII’s biography is perhaps the most abused and defamed of 16th century reigns. Protestant scholars often treat Henry as a re-converted Roman Catholic. Meanwhile, for Roman Catholics, Henry’s several divorces preoccupy his church policy. But little is known about Henry’s genuine conviction as a churchman, much less head of the church militant in England. Like Elizabeth and James who succeeded him, Henry was an accomplished and well-read theologian in his own right, convinced of England’s catholicism. His churchmanship might be identified with those earlier Erasmian catholics– humanists who retrieved antiquity through original manuscripts, study of the fathers, and ancient texts. How Henry understood the old faith is more definitively known by his 1543 Catechism and 1536 Ten Articles, where the six articles delineate conservative (supposedly adiaphoric) boundaries on ceremony and discipline.

In a very interesting study on Henry VIII and Lutheranism (Neelak Serawlook Tjernagle, 1965), Neelak describes Henry upon his death neither professing Roman Catholicism nor Lutheranism. Henry died an Anglican:

“Henry breathed his last at Whitehall early on the morning of Jan. 1547. To prophesy the king’s death was treason in England, and therefore not until the attending physicians saw that his death was very near was it suggested that the might desire spiritual ministrations at his approaching death. Those near him might have wondered whether, in his last moments, he would call for the Catholic bishop, Stephen Gardiner, who had been the leading member of the Privy Council for the last years. They might have wondered whether he would request the formal last rites of the Roman Catholic Church and the ministrations of the foremost English son of the faith of his childhood. But there was no question in Henry’s mind. He asked that Thomas Cranmer be summoned.. When the archbishop arrived at the palace, the end was near. Cranmer asked the king to give some acknowledgement of his faith and trust in Christ. The king could only claps Cranmer’s hand. It was his last gesture. “And from that day to his own last agony the Archbishop left his beard to grow in witness of his grief”. To him alone the king had given a warm and enduring affection. ” (p. 247)

The Henrician period is formative for Anglicans. It not only severed the CofE from the Papacy, but the formulas approved by convocation and crown established a framework and substance for religion which Edward VI and Elizabeth would only slightly expand upon, namely, reforming the mass. No matter popular opinion, the standards stand above individual peculiarities– e.g., Cambridge’s calvinist faculty during the 1580’s, or, for example, Bp. Stokesley’s advocacy to realign toward Eastern churches in the 1530’s. This foundation and memory of King Henry might likewise be called “Cranmer’s Beard”. To better understand Henrician learning, I suggest this study on the Henry’s Media Via as well as the following book where the primary texts with royal seal can be read for themselves:

Various. Formularies of Faith put Forth by Authority During the Reigns of Henry VIII. Oxford, 1825.

For those interested in the Henrician Settlement’s relation to wider vera-Protestantism, see my belabored article: The Christmas Day Articles.

Andrewes Hall is a Theological College affiliated with the Reformed Episcopal Church.  I stumbled across its website yesterday and was taken with the College’s statement of doctrinal standards.  Personally, I found the statement to be an excellent summary of the classical Anglican point of view.  This should not surprise anyone, however, given that I am very devoted to Lancelot Andrewes and consider among a handful of the most important Anglican divines.   In any event, I thought I would share the principles for discussion.

* * * * * * *

Perhaps the best shorthand statement of our doctrinal position as a seminary is the famous formula set forth by Lancelot Andrewes’ in defining the boundaries of faith and practice for the Church of England:

One canon reduced to writing by God himself, two testaments, three creeds, fourgeneral councils, five centuries, and the series of Fathers in that period – the centuries that is, before Constantine, and two after, determine the boundary of our faith.

“One Canon”

We affirm that the Canon of Holy Scripture is central to our Rule of Faith, standing as the ultimate norm of belief and practice. We affirm the Bible to be the infallible and revealed Word of God. Hence we test all things by God’s Word written.

“Two Testaments”

We affirm the 39 canonical books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament to be the limits of biblical inspiration. The received books of the Deuterocanon or “Apocrypha”, while being an important subdivision of the greater biblical corpus, are in no way afforded the same status as the inspired books of the Old and New Testaments. The Church may read them “for example of life and instruction of manners,” yet they are not used or applied to establish binding doctrine (cf. Article VI of the Articles of Religion of the Church of England).

We also affirm Two Sacraments as ordained by Christ Himself – Baptism and the Supper of the Lord – ministered with unfailing use of Christ’s words of Institution, and of the elements ordained by Him (cf. Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral of 1886/1888).

“Three Creeds”

We affirm (1) the Apostles’ Creed, as our Baptismal symbol; (2) the Nicene Creed, as the sufficient statement of the Christian Faith; and (3) the creed known in the West as the “Creed of Saint Athanasius”, as affirming the mysteries of the Triune God and the Personal union of two Natures in our Divine Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

“Four Councils”

We affirm the dogmatic definitions of the first four ecumenical councils of the undivided Church – (1) Nicaea, A.D. 325, (2) Constantinople, A.D. 381, (3) Ephesus, A.D. 431, and (4) Chalcedon, A.D. 451 – as representing the true mind of the Church Catholic in the face of heresy and controversy, and the consensus of the faithful as led by the Spirit of God into all truth. The later ecumenical councils (i.e., the fifth, sixth, and seventh) are affirmed as orthodox to the degree that they are consistent with, while adding nothing to, the substance of dogma defined by the first four.

“Five Centuries”

We affirm the witness of the Spirit of God during the formative period of the Church, otherwise known as the Patristic era, contained primarily in the writings and testimonies of the great Fathers of the first five centuries (roughly from the Apostles to Gregory the Great). This witness continues to inform our faith and practice, especially in the areas of polity, worship, and evangelical mission.

One further note…

Andrewes Hall finds its identity in the Reformed character of the historic Protestant Church of England and the greater Anglican tradition. Thus we cherish and honor the heritage of the Book of Common Prayer and the Articles of Religion contained therein. Nevertheless, we also remain open to fellowship, dialogue and interaction with Christians of all branches of Christ’s Church in the spirit and heritage of the Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral of 1886/1888.