Home > announcements, how-come? > On the Transference of the Annunciation

On the Transference of the Annunciation

I know I’m going to hear about it on this one so I thought I’d put up a preemptive post…

The ’79 BCP states that when prayer book Holy Days fall on  privileged Sundays, they: “are normally transferred to the first convenient open day within the week” (BCP, 16). What I ponder is the precise meaning of “convenient” and “open”. While having a broad appeal across the range of Anglican spiritualities, the breviary was set up with a particular eye towards traditional Anglo-Catholic practice and one of the key features here is the inclusion of Eves/First Vespers.

If we’re celebrating the First Vespers of a prayer book Holy Day then it can’t be put on Monday because the First Vespers will interfere with the Second Vespers of the Sunday. As a result, the first “open” day is the Monday for the First Vespers and Tuesday for the rest of the feast.

In making this decision, I’m following the official practice of the English Book of Common Prayer which spells this out. In the late 19th century folks like Vernon Staley and Walter Frere raised this question of transference and, eventually, a rubric to this effect was placed in the book: “…it shall be permissible to transfer a greater Holy Day falling on a Sunday to the following Tuesday, except that St. Stephen’s Day, Epiphany, and All Saints’ Day may not be so transferred.”

This is why, in the breviary, you’ll find the First Vespers of the Annunciation on Monday evening and the full feast celebrated on Tuesday.


Categories: announcements, how-come?
  1. RFSJ
    March 26, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Interesting and sensible. Galley took the rubric more strictly: In his Prayer Book Office, the table of occurrences for Sunday and today would say “Office of Sunday, nothing of Annunciation” and so would simply omit First Evensong of the Annunciation this year. I wonder what the major A-C churches did? I see St. Paul’s K Street observes Annunciation today, but no mention of last night’s Evensong. Same with St. Mary the Virgin. St. Thomas Fifth Avenue apparently celebrated Second Evensong of the Sunday according to their online schedule. Church of the Advent observed First Evensong of the Annunciation instead.

  2. March 27, 2012 at 1:39 am

    Ah! I was wondering where it had gotten off to. I appreciate your explaining, and I think the solution is reasonable and seems consistent with precedent, as you say.

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