Presentation on theme: "Worshi p and its Architectural Setting 6. T HE E NGLISH R EFORMATION AND THE B OOK OF C OMMON P RAYER."— Presentation transcript:
Worshi p and its Architectural Setting 6. T HE E NGLISH R EFORMATION AND THE B OOK OF C OMMON P RAYER
The power of the Pope in medieval Europe reached its peak around 1215. Papal power declined slowly while national monarchies grew in France and England. Innocent III (1161-1216) was the most powerful Pope of the Middle Ages. Though later popes claimed power over kings, they were unable to make it stick.
Serious efforts at reformation of the medieval Church began in the 14 th century. John Wycliffe (ca. 1325-1384) in England and, later, Jan Hus (1372- 1415) in Bohemia advocated reforms. They emphasized: the authority of the Bible over tradition, putting the Bible in the hands of lay people, denial of transubstantiation, elimination of ethical abuses by churchmen, reform of the Papacy, lay leadership in the Church Hus burned at the stake at the Council of Constance in 1415.
Wycliffe’s followers in England were called “Lollards.” Though many were burned at the stake, they helped prepare for the Protestant Reformation. Wycliffe Wycliffe advocated translating the Bible into English, which was done by his followers in 1388. He stressed the relationship between God and each individual and criticized the priestly role. Some English gentry adopted Lollard ideas. They were fairly open about their views until around 1413. (Chaucer may have had Lollard sympathies. ) Some of these sympathizers appointed Lollard priests to parishes under their control, and these priests then taught their views to the common people. Wycliffe’s ideas about the role of the King and the supremacy of temporal power won him friends at court.
Wycliffe believed that the Church should possess neither property nor temporal power, and that clergy should be poor. He openly encouraged the secularization of Church property. He taught that it was a sin to oppose the power of the King, but Kings were obliged to protect and defend the Church. Wycliffe’s ideas were repulsive to powerful ecclesiastics, since the Church was the greatest landowner in England other than the Crown, and prominent churchmen exercised substantial temporal power. These ideas were embraced in the 16 th c. by Henry VIII.
Gutenberg’s 1450 invention of a printing press using moveable type led to greater changes in civilization than any other invention until the personal computer.
The 15 th c. renewal of Greek studies in Europe combined with the new printing press to set the stage for the Reformation. The first Greek New Testament printed in Europe was that of Erasmus in 1516.
By 1500, a number of Catholic scholars were advocating reforms in the Church based on a fresh appreciation of the New Testament. Erasmus, 1466-1536.John Colet, 1467-1519. Erasmus of Rotterdam and John Colet of London were friends. Colet was a critic of the church and a pioneer of “the New Learning” in England. But he always remained a faithful Catholic. He encouraged Erasmus to learn Greek.
Nevertheless, in the 15 th and early 16 th c. England was still a very pious Catholic country. Attendance at mass was high, even on weekdays and lay devotion was widespread. Growth of lay literacy in English made it possible for people to live a rich, personal religious life. Classics of devotional literature were translated into English made available for literate laity. Lay mystics had begun to appear by the mid-14 th c. Most pious lay people threw themselves into popular orthodox devotions of the time: frequent confession, going to daily mass, and even receiving communion. This piety was promoted by the friars. Founding of chantries was an important religious activity. Newly affluent wool merchants put much money into building magnificent churches. St. James Church in Chipping Camden, Glos., a “wool church” rebuilt 1490-1510.
Martin Luther nailed his “Ninety-five Theses” to the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church on Oct. 31, 1517. Luther objected to the selling of indulgences by professional “pardoners” who promised to grant remission of punishment in purgatory in return for contributions to the rebuilding of St. Peter’s basilica in Rome. Luther was not the first to criticize such theologically unsound and corrupt practices. But, unlike Erasmus, he was flamboyant and attracted great international attention. A seller of indulgences.
Luther’s theology challenged the authority of the papacy and the sacramental system of the Catholic Church. He taught that only the Bible had infallible authority for believers and that it should be read and inter- preted by every Christian for himself. Luther’s influence grew rapidly. His Ninety Five Theses were printed and spread across Europe within months. His influence spread quickly to England. Papal response to Luther took nearly two years, and by then it was too late. Other scholars had taken inspiration from him, and the Protestant Reformation was unstoppable.
In spite of this, the 16 th c. Reformation in England was “top-down.” It did not begin at the grass roots. There was no “English Luther.” It received its impetus as yet one more chapter in a long history of disputes between the English crown and the Pope regarding papal power in England. The presenting case was Henry VIII’s application for a papal annulment of his marriage to Katherine of Aragon, who had been the widow of Henry’s elder brother, Arthur.
After Henry VIII decided that he needed a new wife, in 1527 Cardinal Wolsey asked a young priest named Thomas Cranmer to join the advocates for the King’s “Great Matter”. Traveling to Rome brought young Cranmer for the first time in contact with the Protestant Reformation, especially the radical Swiss. By 1528 Henry was determined to be free of Queen Katherine, since he had fallen in love with Anne Boleyn.
Thomas Cranmer’s devoted service to Henry led the King to nominate him to be Archbishop of Canterbury in 1532. The Pope complied. Cranmer was influenced more strongly by radical Swiss reformers like Ulrich Zwingli than by the more conservative Martin Luther. But his supreme loyalty was to the King. Cranmer believed sincerely that the King was the rightful Head of the Church, under Christ. Since Henry VIII was a medieval Catholic in his own piety, Cranmer cooperated with Henry while concealing his more radical personal ideas – and his marriage! During Henry’s lifetime, though the English Church separated from Rome, the mass remained in Latin.
Henry VIII and his Archbishop, Thomas Cranmer, held similar ideas about the authority of the monarch in matters of religion that had been characteristic of the Byzantine emperors.
Cranmer, always the obedient servant of the King, went along with the dissolution of monasteries and chantries in 1539-42. Ruins of Kirkstall Abbey in W. Yorkshire. By 1542 all of the religious houses in England had been closed, and the monks and nuns evicted. Many who would not cooperate were executed. Monastic properties were confiscated by the Crown.
By Royal injunction in 1547, the year of Henry’s death, all shrines or images “known to be abused “ by pilgrimages, or offerings of any kind made thereunto, were, “for the avoiding of idolatry,” to be forthwith taken down without delay. After Henry’s death this was fiercely enforced. The shrine of St. Thomas a Becket at Canterbury had already been demolished and despoiled in 1538 along with others. It took 26 wagons to convey the loot from Becket’s tomb to the royal coffers. King Henry approved of all “reforms” that were profitable to the Crown. Statues of kings, such as this one in York Minster, were kept in place. Only saints were removed.
Henry VIII died in 1547, and big changes began to be imposed on the Church of England by the radical Protestants around young King Edward. After Henry’s young son succeeded him, Cranmer could devote himself to transforming the English Church. An English language Litany was published in 1547. The First Book of Common Prayer was published in 1549.
The Injunctions of 1547 were meant to eliminate everything in the Church that seemed “superstitious” to the Protestant faction. All images in churches were to be dismantled. Stained glass windows, shrines, and statues were defaced or destroyed. Roods and often their lofts and screens were cut down. Church bells were taken down. Mass vestments were prohibited and either burned or sold. Ancient gold and silver altar vessels were melted down or sold. The requirement of clerical celibacy was removed. Processions were banned. Ashes and palms were prohibited on Palm Sunday. Chantries, endowed for the saying of masses for the dead, were abolished.
St. Michael from 15 th c. window in Gloucestershire. Enforcement of these changes did not take place everywhere without a fight. Rebellions in East Anglia, Devon, and Cornwall, which were brutally put down. Some chantry priests continued to say prayers and landowners paid them to do so. Opposition to the removal of images was widespread. Outwardly, the destruction and removals for sale had changed the church forever. But many churches had concealed their vestments and altar silver, and buried their stone altars. In London and the South East, however, Reformation ideas had permeated popular thinking. There, the sale of vestments and vessels was an opportunity to make money.
The First Book of Common Prayer, 1549, was a dramatic change for England. It was in English. Prayer Books were available for the literate. The Epistle and Gospel were read directly to the people in English. The laity were offered the Cup as well as the Bread. It was entitled “The Supper of the Lorde, and the Holy Communion, commonly called the Masse.” The service had been known only as the Mass for a thousand years. The language of the Prayer of Consecration was ambiguous.
The Second Book of Common Prayer was imposed in 1552, only three years after the first book. The 1552 book was much more “Protestant” than the 1549 book. The “Black Rubric” was inserted at the last minute, reading (in part) Leste …kneelyng myght be thought or taken otherwyse, we dooe declare that it is not ment thereby, that any adoracion is doone, or oughte to bee doone, eyther unto the Sacramentall bread or wyne there bodily receyved, or unto anye reall and essencial presence there beeyng of Christ's naturall fleshe and bloude. “ The so-called “Black Rubric” in the 1552 Book of Common Prayer.
15 year-old Edward VI died in 1553 and his half-sister, Mary became Queen. One year after the very Protestant Prayer Book of 1552, Mary restored the Latin mass. Cranmer and many other Protestants were burned at the stake. Cranmer was imprisoned in 1553 and burned at the stake as a heretic at Oxford in 1556. Mary herself was dead two years later.
Mary died in 1558 and her sister, Elizabeth became Queen. Elizabeth returned the Church of England to Protestantism. A new, slightly modified Book of Common Prayer was issued in 1559. Elizabeth was greeted by enthusiastic Protestant crowds as she made her way to Westminster Abbey, where she was crowned with the traditional Catholic rite, but by the Bishop of Carlisle, not the Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury, Cardinal Pole!
The “Elizabethan Settlement” of religion was more moderate than what had prevailed under Edward VI. Parliament passed a new Act of Supremacy, but the sovereign’s title was now “Supreme Governor” of the Church of England, not “Supreme Head on Earth under Jesus Christ.” Public officials were to swear an oath of loyalty to the Queen as the Supreme Governor or be removed from office. Heresy laws were repealed, to avoid the persecution of dissenters. Church attendance and use of the new 1559 Book of Common Prayer were made compulsory, but penalties for disobedience were mild.
Worship in England in the Elizabethan Age was decidedly Protestant. This radical engraving from 1563 shows the earlier Edwardine ideal: “the Temple well-purged,” with a minister preaching from a high pulpit, a simple Holy Table set for Communion, a Baptism, and a cong- regation listening to a sermon.
Medieval altars were taken down and replaced with “holy tables” from 1547 onwards. But this process was not complete until the end of the century. Candlesticks and ornaments were also removed.
In the Elizabethan Age new altar vessels were made. Chalices were simpler, and were made to hold more wine because lay people now received the Cup. 15721504
The chancel of the medieval church at Hailes, with its Holy Table arranged lengthwise. It remained thus there from the late 16 th to the late 19 th.
Distribution of Communion in a late 16 th or early 17 th c. service.
In the ancient Anglo-Saxon church at Deerhurst, Glos., the chancel was arranged with a Holy Table, and the Creed, Lord’s Prayer, and Ten Commandments were painted on the chancel wall where colorful frescoes of Christ and the saints had been in the Middle Ages.
In a Wiltshire parish church, we look through a 15 th c. carved screen to a 17 th c. triple-decker pulpit, and beyond it to a 12 th c. blind arcade in the chancel wall. Inglesham Church, Wiltshire. Built in 12 th c.
A new piece of liturgical furniture in 17 th century England was the “triple-decker” pulpit. It had: a prayer desk at the lowest level, from which the minister read the prayers from the Prayer Book, a lectern at the middle level from which he read the lessons from the Bible, and a pulpit at the highest level from which he preached his sermon.
18 th c. engraving of a typical medieval church, rearranged for “reformed” worship.
English church designs were reproduced in the American colonies in the 17 th century. Bruton Parish Church in colonial Williamsburg: box pews, triple-decker pulpit, governor’s box and dais, small chancel. But in the photo from forty years ago the original 17 th c. bare “holy table” is replaced by a 20 th c. altar with candlesticks and cross.