Service of the Church

Service Of The Church It appears that there was a daily celebration of divine worship in the time of Cyprian; and it has been supposed that the practice of offering public prayer every morning and evening was established during the 3d century. The order of the daily morning and evening services, as they undoubtedly obtained in the 4th century was as follows: The morning service began with the reading of Psalm 63, followed by prayers for the catechumens, energumens, candidates for baptism, and penitents; for the faithful, the peace of the world, and the state of the Church. Then followed a short prayer for preservation during the day, the bishop's commendation or thanksgiving, the imposition of hands, or bishop's benediction, concluding with the dismissal of the congregation with the usual form, Προέλθετε ἐν εἰρήνῃ "Depart in peace." The evening service (called hora lucernaris, because it began at the time of lighting candles) was in most parts the same with that of the morning, except with such variation of psalms, hymns, and prayers as were proper to the occasion. 1. The psalm was the one hundred and forty-first; 2. Proper prayer for the evening; 3. The evening hymn. In some churches the Lord's Prayer was always made a part of the daily worship both morning and evening (see Bingham, Christ. Antiq. 13, 10, 11). At the Reformation, in order to supply the absence of a vain and idolatrous worship by a scriptural and reasonable service, it was appointed that the "morning and evening service" should be "said daily throughout the year." This order is observed in cathedral and collegiate churches, in the universities, and in some parishes, but has not been generally followed in parochial churches.

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