Excellent Anglo-Catholic Liturgical Books

Lancelot Andrewes Press is the publishing arm of the Fellowship of Saint Dunstan, a non-profit organization for the advancement of historic Christian orthodoxy, as expressed by the liturgical and devotional usages of traditional English Christianity (particularly as embodied in the texts of traditional editions of the Book of Common Prayer, the 1611 Authorised Version Bible, and related texts, commentaries, hymnals and chant books).  LA Press is associated with the Western Rite Vicariate of the Antiochian Orthodox Church, but all of the books it publishes are imminently suitable for traditionalist, Catholic-minded Anglicans.  I own a good many of them, and I recommended Lancelot Andrewes Press without reservation.  It is one of the finest sources of traditional Catholic books in the marketplace.  I especially commend these volumes below to our readers' attention.

The Book of Common Prayer

This new edition of the Book of Common Prayer is essentially an amplified version of the American 1928 BCP.  The base text is made more comprehensive by the restoration or addition of certain elements.  The Litany has restored to it the opening petitions as first published in 1544 and has added the petitions for the Faithful Departed proposed in 1928.  The Occasional Prayers adopt the bidding, versicle, and response format of the 1929 Scottish Prayer Book.  The Daily Offices are augmented by numerous optional elements from the monastic breviary.  Simple orders for Prime, Sext, and Compline are provided.  The book is also organized in a more linear order.  The Psalter, for example, is moved to the first part of the book for convenience as the psalms are read with Morning Prayer and Evensong.  The Proper of the Season includes all of Holy Week, the full texts of the Ember Days, and there is an enlarged Proper of the Saints that includes prominent extra-biblical saints like SS. George, Benedict, and Anne, as well as a number of Feasts of the Blessed Virgin.  The so-called "minor propers" are included for each day.  The Communion Service includes a variety of different Eucharistic Prayers, including both that of the standard 1929 BCP and the Roman Canon.

The book is printed on bible (thin) paper and attractively bound in a supple "Vivella" cover.  I notice from the LA Press web site that it is currently on sale (through the end of this week).

This new edition of the Prayer-book would make the perfect Sunday and Holy Day missal for persons not equipped to deal with the complexities of a full-blown daily hand missal.

Monastic Diurnal

This book is an English translation of the Day Hours from the Breviarium Monasticum published at Bruges in 1925 after extensive revision and restoration by its Benedictine editors.

The Monastic Office was first set forth in all of its essential features and in much of its detail about the year 535 A.D. in the Holy Rule of St. Benedict, the father of Western monasticism. It was the first complete and enduring order of daily praise and prayer in European Christendom.

For fourteen hundred years it has voiced the worship of an ever-increasing circle of devout men and women. It came to England with St. Augustine, the first Archbishop of Canterbury, and it was the Prayer Book of those who more than any other group of Religious formed and influenced the Church of England – men such as St. Wilfrid, St. Benedict Biscop, the Venerable Bede, St. Dunstan, St. Anselm. For centuries the Archbishops of Canterbury wore the Benedictine habit, and many of the greater English cathedrals resounded with Benedictine praise.

The volume is a high quality, exact reprint of the 1963 Oxford University Press edition, including all texts necessary for the daily recitation of the traditional Benedictine Hours of Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers and Compline. At 4" x 6" and 880 pages, the book fits easily into a pocket or purse. It is printed on fine bible paper with gilt edges and has a sturdy Smythe-sewn binding.

This edition of the Monastic Diurnal is easily one of the finest liturgical books on the market today.  For those who wish to pray a more comprehensive version of the Divine Office than that found in the Book of Common Prayer — but one substantially simpler than that found in the secular breviary — this is the ideal place to start.  LA Press also prints the companion volume Monastic Breviary Matins.

American Missal

While this book is not yet available, its arrival will be a serious boon to many Anglo-Catholics (especially in the US where the wait for the Anglican Parish Association's pending reprint seems interminable).  An augmented version of the American Missal is expected sometime in 2010.  Fr. John at the LA Press provided me with the following information about the upcoming volume:

[T]he reprint will be on better paper, about 512 ppi, better bound, and therefore not so infernally heavy to move about as the original and [it will] probably sustain daily use a bit better. There will be added to the middle three Canons for the use of Orthodox Western Rite clergy and which can be totally ignored by Anglican clerics. There will be added some Proper Masses in a final appendix which can be ignored by those who do not need, want, desire, or observe, those Saints' days. We are using a fine printer who has the finest Bavarian presses and does very good work.

We will leave the American Canon with the rubrics for missa cantata as Fr. Maddox set it up. We will add the WRV edited Canon with rubrics that are like those of the Anglican Missal in the American edition which assume a solemn Mass with Deacon and Subdeacon. We will add the 4th edition English Missal Canon 1940 of the Gregorian in English…. in the opinion of many the finest rendering in English of the Missale Romanum, and the odd Canon of Fr. Alexander Turner of 1958 which is standard for our Gregorian Parishes.

Size as the original only not as thick because of superior opaque paper. Cloth cover stamped. The technical bits about binding are beyond me but Thomson-Shore uses a very strong binding that has little glue and lots of threads… like the third printing of St. Duntan's Psalter or the second printing of the Monastic Diurnal Noted… both rather big books that lay flat from the first day and never make that nasty sound of glue popping loose. If you have either book you can tell me how it is manufactured. I observe that they both hold up very well in twice daily use over several years… as much as any Altar Missal would be used. We will also have stained page edges as in the original. I might go for gilded page edges as in the 4 Ed. English Missal just because after 70 years the pages are still clean and preserved from dirt and handling. I will not supply tabs because they are of little practical value and they induce most of the damage done to Missals if you observe what happens to pages with tabs.


I would also highly recommend the reprinting of Lancelot Andrewes' Preces Privatae or Private Devotions.  This compilation of Andrewes' two sets of devotions, The Greek Devotions, as translated by J. H. Newman, and The Latin Devotions, as translated by J. M. Neale, is a precious gem in the crown of our Anglican patrimony.

“Had you seen the Original Manuscript, happy in the glorious deformity thereof, being slubbered [stained] with His Pious hands, and watered with His penitential tears, you would have been forced to confess That Book belonged to no other than pure and Primitive Devotion.” – Richard Drake, in the first printed edition (1684)