The ORE of Religion will be available for subscription in late September. Speak to your Oxford representative or contact us to find out more.

Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM the OXFORD RESEARCH ENCYCLOPEDIA, RELIGION ( (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2016. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details see Privacy Policy).

date: 24 August 2017

Reformation Liturgies

Summary and Keywords

The Reformation era was one of the most fertile times for liturgical revision in the history of Christianity between Late Antiquity and the late 20th century. New theological ideas, based on a study of the Bible and combined with humanist historical and literary scholarship, created dissatisfaction with the received medieval rites. Each of the great reformers undertook the work of liturgical reform, often producing two or more liturgical orders. Important Reformation liturgical work includes the reform proposals of Martin Luther, their implementation in official church orders, the very different approach to liturgy in the orders prepared by Ulrich Zwingli at Zürich, the worship of sectarian groups of Brethren and Anabaptists, the mediating Protestant liturgies that evolved in Strassburg and their influence on John Calvin in Strasbourg (there were German and French congregations in this city that straddled Germany and France; to indicate Bucer’s and Calvin’s liturgies, I use both the German and French spellings of the city) and Geneva, the liturgical changes that occurred in England during the reigns of Henry VIII and Edward VI, the work of the Scottish reformer John Knox among English exiles on the continent during the reign of Queen Mary Tudor and later in Scotland, the compromises of the Elizabethan settlement, the efforts of the Catholic Church to respond both to the Protestant attacks on traditional teachings and practices and to the frustrations of their own clergy with liturgies that had become overburdened with accretions of dubious historical veracity and literary quality and the complications of a cluttered calendar, and two final examples of Reformation liturgy among the New England Puritans and the Westminster Directory in the 17th century. The Reformation was a time of growing divisions between Christian people, especially in practices of public worship. But Protestants and Catholics were also responding in similar ways to cultural challenges that they themselves could not see. In their various ways they were turning away from rituals that concerned the body and toward doctrinal issues that engaged the mind. Reformation worship, both Protestant and Catholic, increasingly focused on informed (i.e., catechized) participation in new rites nurtured by a clear proclamation of the word and administration of the sacraments.

Keywords: Anabaptist, Bucer, Calvin, Cranmer, Knox, Liturgy, Luther, Quiñonez, Trent, Zwingli

On the Eve of the Reformation

Reform is not an idea that originated in the 16th century. Gerhard Ladner pointed out that Christianity has had recurring reform movements throughout its history, many of them generated by and within monasticism.1 The conciliar movement in the 15th century was an effort to implement reforms within the Western Catholic Church. Some of the issues the councils addressed touched on, but did not directly alter, the official liturgy of the church. They included the multiplicity of benefices with a resulting clerical absenteeism, superstitious veneration of relics, and corruptions in the payment of mass stipends.2 No thought was given to the reform of the liturgy itself. However, vernacular elements were creeping into the Latin Mass by the late Middle Ages, such as the Office of Prone, which surrounded the sermon.3 Within this office were vernacular elements such as the sermon, catechetical texts, parish announcements, intercessions, and a penitential prayer. Monks and clergy complained about the heaping up of prayer offices and the need for a reform of the breviary, but this did not touch the average lay worshiper. On the other hand, the use of customized books of the hours for the laity (Horae) indicated the desire of pious lay persons to participate in the daily prayer of the church. In spite of the Latin Mass, the laity found ways to participate in the liturgy through processions, the singing of carols (especially in Germany), ocular communion (observing the elevation of the Host at the consecration of the Eucharistic elements), kissing the pax board that was passed through the congregation at the Pax Domini, receiving Communion at least once a year at Easter, going to confession and receiving absolution from a priest before receiving Holy Communion, and celebrating festivals and feast days of saints with fairs, carnivals, liturgical dramas, and mystery plays. Paraliturgical popular devotions flourished in the 14th and 15th centuries, such as praying the rosary and participating in the Stations of the Cross.4 The church provided a means by which the living could provide charity for the dead by paying stipends for votive masses to be offered for the relief of souls in purgatory. The spread of plagues resulting in the Black Death caused a sharp demand for votive masses for the dead and priests (called altarists) who did no pastoral work except to offer votive masses. Without understanding the traffic in votive masses on the eve of the Reformation it is impossible to understand the thrust of the attacks by Luther and the other reformers on the sacrifice of the Mass.5 But while the Protestant reformers attacked these practices, social historians have questioned whether widespread dissatisfaction with the liturgy existed among the laity. The Mass and related practices provided comfort in this world and assurance in the life of the world to come.6

Lutheran Liturgy

Luther’s Liturgical Reforms

Many reform movements and dissenting groups appeared before the 16th century. Mention can be made of John Wycliff in England, Jan Hus in Bohemia, Savanarola in Italy, and the Cathari, Lollards, and Waldensians. Conciliarism was a reform movement and the Fifth Lateran Council met from 1512 to 1517 on the very eve of the Reformation. Nevertheless, the call for reform made by Martin Luther (1483–1546) was different from earlier calls for reform in that it was based on a clear theological concept that cut to the heart of late medieval religious culture and its underlying theology. The Ninety-Five Theses (1517) and the stream of reformatory tracts that followed (especially those of 1520) applied to Christian life and religious practice the interconnected theological ideas of justification by faith alone through grace alone on the basis of Scripture alone for the sake of Christ alone. That the historical and social situation was ripe for reform is evident in how quickly these ideas spread throughout Europe and how many leaders of reform sprang up in different places in Western Europe, ranging from Catholic humanists such as Erasmus to radical Anabaptists.

Luther, having been condemned as a heretic by Pope Leo X (1520) and declared an outlaw by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms (1521), was sequestered in the Wartburg Castle for safe keeping by his prince, Elector Frederick the Wise of Saxony during the winter of 1521–1522. Meanwhile, other reformers were moving ahead with liturgical reforms. In Wittenberg Andreas Bodenstein von Karlstadt (1486–1541), dean of the theological faculty, introduced a German mass on Christmas Eve in which he recited the Words of Institution in German, administered Communion in both kinds, did away with vestments, and unleashed an iconoclastic campaign. Confession before Communion was unnecessary, and the laity were to receive both bread and wine at Communion, the former taken in their hands, with no concern for the weak in faith. Luther returned from the Wartburg in February 1522 and preached eight sermons in eight days to restore order. He had Karlstadt banished from the university and the town. Luther’s commonly regarded liturgical conservatism may have stemmed, in part, from his reaction to the social and religious upheavals caused by radical reformers.

Luther finally got around to providing pastoral guidance for the conduct of evangelical worship in his 1523 tract, Concerning the Order of Public Worship. Although brief, this text is of immense importance because in it Luther develops an approach to the reform of liturgy that would characterize Lutheran worship thereafter. He argued that:

The service now in common use everywhere goes back to genuine Christian beginnings, as does the office of preaching. But, as the latter has been perverted by the spiritual tyrants, so the former has been corrupted by the hypocrites. As we do not on that account abolish the office of preaching, but aim to restore it again to its right and proper place, so it is not our intention to do away with the service, but to restore it again to its rightful use.7

In the very first sentence the reformer acknowledges that the Western liturgy of the mass then in use goes back to the early church. He also clearly connects preaching to ancient church practice. For Luther and his early supporters there could be no celebration of the Mass or Communion, no public worship at all, without preaching. The preaching of the word of God as law and gospel would drive the reform of the church and build up the body of Christendom. “Now in order to correct these abuses, know first of all that a Christian congregation should never gather together without the preaching of God’s Word and prayer, no matter how briefly.”8

In his critique of the cultus of his day Luther identifies three major abuses. The first is that regular preaching on the scriptural texts is not taking place and only “reading and singing remain in the churches.” The second abuse is the pastoral emphasis placed on the festivals of the saints and the development of homilies around legends surrounding their faith and life. This abuse arises out of the lack of scriptural preaching. The third abuse is that the divine service, which is God’s work toward humanity, had been turned into a human rite, a ritual good work.

In light of these abuses Luther begins to make practical suggestions for reform. First, he asserts that Christian worship consists fundamentally as God’s word and prayer. To recover the preaching office, Luther suggests that at morning prayer a passage from the Old Testament should be read and expounded upon and at evening prayer the New Testament should be read and expounded upon. The reading of the lessons, he indicates, should also include the singing of the psalms. Essentially the reformer retains the canonical hours of Matins and Vespers (at least in their public observance in the congregation). These ancient offices of the church have not only a scriptural basis; in fact, they are centered in the scripture itself.

In addition to daily prayer Luther indicates that the celebration of the Lord’s Supper should continue to be the Sunday norm. He writes:

Besides those daily services for a smaller group, the whole congregation should come together on Sundays, and mass and Vespers should be sung, as has been customary. In both services there should be preaching for the whole congregation, in the morning on the Gospel for the day, in the evening on the Epistle; or the preacher may use his own judgment whether he would want to preach on a certain book or two. If anyone desires to receive the sacrament at this time, let it be administered at a time convenient to all concerned. The daily masses should be completely discontinued; for the Word is important and not the mass. But if anyone should desire the sacrament during the week, let mass be held as inclination and time dictate; for in this matter one cannot make hard and fast rules.9

Luther envisions continuing the medieval custom of public Matins, Mass, and Vespers on Sundays with a preaching schedule. But he is typically nonlegalistic about it. Matins and Vespers with their responsories and antiphons can be retained as an ancient tradition that proclaims the scriptures and bears witness to the Gospel. The Sunday Mass can be retained because Jesus instituted the sacrament to be regularly celebrated in the church for all ages. Indeed, Luther is using the word “Mass” here in two different ways: positively to refer to the Sunday celebration of the gathered community and negatively to refer to the countless private masses. Note also that Luther clearly indicates that the appointed lectionary for the Mass should be used. It was a received tradition that the reformer felt he did not have the authority to change by his own right. Thus, for Luther liturgical reform was not about abandoning everything that had been done before in favor of creating completely new and innovative rites but of reforming the received rites so that the proclamation of the gospel is not obscured by practices but is emphasized. Moreover, the consciences of the faithful must be taken into consideration. In all his liturgical reforms a key concern is the effect that liturgy will have on people. Hence, the daily (private) masses (for the dead) should be discontinued but those who desire Communion during the week should have recourse to it.

Luther’s Formula Missae et Communionis (1523)

The Wittenberg reformer published his first proposal for the celebration of the Mass in his 1523 tract, An Order of Mass and Communion for the Church at Wittenberg. The liturgical proposals of 1523 and 1526 (German Mass and Order of Divine Service) reflect two different styles for two different contexts. The Latin Mass would continue to be used in cities and universities where there were trained choirs and the German Mass would be used in villages that lacked such resources. The Formula Missae et Communionis was a treatise on how to use the Latin Mass in an evangelical way rather than a complete liturgical book. It was published at the request of Dr. Nicholas Hausmann, bishop of the church in Zwickau, and presumably reflected the use of the church at Wittenberg as it had been developing. Luther writes:

We therefore first assert: It is not now nor has it ever been our intention to abolish the liturgical service of God completely, but rather to purify the one that is now in use from the wretched accretions which corrupt it and to point out an evangelical use. We cannot deny that the mass, i. e., the communion of bread and wine, is a rite divinely instituted by Christ himself and that it was observed first by Christ and then by the apostles, quite simply and evangelically without any additions. But in the course of time so many human inventions were added to it that nothing except the names of the mass and communion has come down to us. 10

Here again we see even more clearly the conservation and critique in Luther’s liturgical reform. However, the passage also indicates a sharp critique of how the Supper was celebrated in Luther’s day. Central to this critique is the conviction, first expressed in 1519, that the actual communing of the communicants with the physical elements of bread and wine is an indispensable action in the public celebration of the Supper. Thus the evangelical Mass is a communion service. The reformer criticizes certain additions that have been made to the liturgy not because he favors a pure primitive biblical rite but because Christ’s institution of the sacrament as a gift of grace has been forgotten and the church’s sacrifice was put in its place.

The Formula Missae begins with the Antecommunion, or what is today commonly called the liturgy of the word. Here Luther retains much of the order of the Roman Mass: the introits, the Kyrie, the Gloria in excelsis, the Collect of the Day, the Epistle, the graduals, the Gospel (which may be accompanied by candles and incense), and the chanting of the Credo. He is ambivalent about whether the sermon should be preached after the Gospel or before the beginning of the Mass, which had been the custom of late medieval preaching missions.

When Luther gets to the Offertory his proposal becomes radical.

From here on almost everything smacks and savors of sacrifice. And the words of life and salvation [the Words of Institution] are imbedded in the midst of it all, just as the ark of the Lord once stood in the idol’s temple next to Dagon. And there was no Israelite who could approach or bring back the ark until it “smote his enemies in the hinder parts, putting them to a perpetual reproach,” and forced them to return it, which is a parable of the present time. Let us, therefore repudiate everything that smacks of sacrifice, together with the entire canon and retain only that which is pure and holy, and so order our mass.11

There are two issues here. First, as he pointed out in The Babylonian Captivity of the Church, the Mass has been turned into a good work and a sacrifice (opus bonum et sacrificium). The use of the Mass as an act of works righteousness, an attempt to bring a blessing out of God without faith, could be corrected through evangelical preaching and teaching. But the “other scandal” (alterum scandalum) is “the common belief that the mass is a sacrifice, which is offered to God.”12 Since Luther affirmed the presence of the body and blood of Christ in connection with the proclamation of the words of Christ (verba Christi), what is being offered, according to the prayers of the Canon, after the institutional words of Christ, are the very gifts that Christ wills to give to us as the gift of Communion: “the bread of heaven and the cup of eternal salvation.” So his critique required a revision of the central ritual components of the Roman Mass. The words of Christ cannot be placed in the midst of sacrificial prayers. Nor can there be prayers of offering the sacramental elements after the Words of Institution. These words are Christ’s testament, the gift of Communion he bequeathed to his people on the night before his death. So the words of Christ must be extricated from these prayers of the Canon. Accordingly, the only components he retains from the Eucharistic prayer of the Roman Rite are the Sursum Corda, the Preface leading to the Verba in place of the proper preface (chanted aloud to the plainsong tone of the Lord’s Prayer), Sanctus with elevation of the bread and cup at the Benedictus qui venit (“Blessed is he who comes …”), the Lord’s Prayer, the Pax Domini (“The peace of the Lord”), and the Agnus Dei (“Lamb of God”).

So much has been deleted from the Roman Mass that Luther also gave thought to everything that was retained. The Preface reflects a proper note of praise and thanksgiving, which leads to the words of Christ (the Verba institutionis), the gospel proclamation that is the motive for our thanksgiving. The Lord’s Prayer, of course, is taught by Christ and forms the proper supplication at the Eucharist. The Pax Domini conveys the absolution associated with the Supper, instituted “for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins.” The Agnus Dei is a worthy hymn to Christ who is present in the sacrament taking away the sins of the world.

Luther retains some elements for the sake of weak consciences and because he is able to rework their meaning in an evangelical way. A clear example of this is his retention of the elevation, which had been the liturgical high point of the medieval Mass for the laity. Luther as a pastor does not want to make a sudden change in the rite that would confuse the people and crush their consciences. By relocating the Sanctus to a point after the verba, the elevation could take place while the choir was singing the Benedictus qui venit (“Blessed is he who comes …”) portion—exactly what the people were accustomed to—and it served as an adoration of the Christ who is really present in the sacrament. Luther’s Latin Mass ends with one of two concluding collects based on the Communion devotions in the Roman Mass, the Salutation and Benedicamus Domini instead of Ite missa est, and the customary benediction or Aaronic benediction.

To the main treatise on the order of the Mass Luther appends a statement on Communion practices. This includes the practice of announcing to the priest one’s intention of receiving Communion, being examined as to one’s faith and understanding, and the possibility of making a confession of sins. The communicants are to group themselves in the chancel so that they may be seen by others in the congregation (perhaps as a witness to those who are not receiving). Luther recommends that both the bread and the cup be administered to the communicants, although he is not yet ready to force it on those who are not ready yet to receive both kinds. He issues a call for more evangelical songs to be written that can be sung by the people during the Mass. He reiterates that the daily masses should be discontinued and that in their place should be the offices of Matins, Vespers, and Compline. Matins and Vespers should include three psalms and one or two responsories and a reading from the one Testament or the other with homily. The whole Psalter is to be used and he implies lectio continua.

Luther’s German Mass and Order of Service (1526)

While Luther was busy revising the Latin Mass, others were experimenting with German masses. He said that he would be happy to have a German Mass, but the efforts he had seen so far of translating the Latin texts and setting them to the plainsong chants struck him as “imitation in the manner of the apes.” Perhaps his meeting with a delegation of Bohemian Brethren (Hussites) in 1524 gave him an idea of how to proceed, because the Brethren had developed a vernacular communion service based on vernacular hymns. He produced a German Mass in which the Latin texts were rendered into vernacular verse set to chorale tunes based on the Lieder traditions. Yet even as he set out this example of a German Mass he insisted that the use of the Latin should not be forgotten (he had had difficulty conversing with the Bohemians). Indeed, the German Mass was prepared “for the sake of the unlearned lay folk.” It was assumed that the Latin Mass would continue to be celebrated in the cities and universities that had musical resources capable to leading it. The real genius of the German Mass is that it is an excellent example of liturgical enculturation. Luther did not intend his proposal on vernacular worship to be copied for centuries to come; he was above all opposed to liturgical legalism. Rather, in the German Mass Luther demonstrated a direction for pastoral liturgical reform. He made the liturgy accessible to the people so that they might hear and receive the Gospel.

The structure of the Deutsche Messe retains the inherited pattern of the liturgy of the word (as was also the case in Formula Missae): Hymn or German Psalm, Kyrie (sung three times), Collect, Epistle, Gospel, and Apostles’ Creed. It is noteworthy that in this proposal Luther suggests that the Creed be sung in a German lied (song) form, “We all believe in one true God” (Wir glauben all an’ einen Gott) with a tune based on an old plainsong chant.

The most revolutionary aspect of Deutsche Messe is not its use of German song paraphrases but rather the restructuring of the liturgy of the Supper. The structure contains a paraphrase of the Lord’s Prayer, an admonition to communicants, the Words of Institution (with the German Sanctus and elevation of the host sung during the distribution of the bread) and then sung over the cup (with the German Agnus Dei sung during the distribution of the cup)—two acts of distribution are envisioned), a post-Communion collect composed by Luther and the Aaronic benediction. In this proposal Luther does not retain the dialogue and the preface as he did in the Formula Missae. Some have lamented the loss of even this element of Eucharistic prayer. But Luther’s liturgical choices here represented a pastoral innovation to restore the Gospel clarity of the words of institution as a gospel proclamation, so that the people could more clearly understand the gift Christ gives in the Holy Sacrament. This point is underscored by the fact that the Words of Institution are chanted using the same chanting tone as the one used for chanting the Gospel reading. But the German Mass is not lacking elements of praise and thanksgiving. It provides the German Sanctus and Agnus Dei, other hymns during Communion (such as Luther’s “O Lord, we praise you, bless you and adore you,” based on a Corpus Christi hymn), and a post-Communion thanksgiving for the gift received that has remained a staple of Lutheran liturgy ever since.

The separation of the Words of Institution (sometimes called the Verba Testamenti) from other prayers in the Lord’s Supper in this proposal does not imply a complete rejection of giving thanks around the table of the Eucharist. If that had been the case, the Sanctus and Agnus Dei should also have been removed. Instead, such a separation simply implies Luther’s desire to distinguish between the offering of prayer, praise and thanksgiving, and proclamation. The Testament is pure proclamation and the assembly does nothing but passively receive the gift of Communion with its promise of forgiveness. The people’s praise and thanksgiving arises as their response to God’s service to them in the sacrament. The post-Communion thanksgiving prayer in the German Mass has remained a staple in Lutheran Communion services.

A final important feature to note is Luther’s suggestion that the Verba be chanted to the same tone as the Gospel reading, so that the gathered assembly would immediately identify the Verba as a form of gospel proclamation.13 Since Luther said at the outset of the treatise on the German Mass that the Latin Mass, as corrected, would not be abandoned, and the verba were still viewed as prayer and thus chanted in the tone of the Lord’s Prayer in the Formula Missae, Lutherans have been stuck with a perpetual disagreement over whether the Words of Institution may be included in a Eucharistic prayer or must be proclaimed apart from the context of prayer. The chant for the Words of Institution in the German Mass has remained a feature of Lutheran Communion services.

Order for Baptism

Luther’s other major liturgical work was the revision of the Order for Baptism. Luther could justly be called the theologian of baptism. He used the sacrament of Holy Baptism as the basis for his teaching on the priesthood of all believers, the doctrine of Christian vocation, and the reform of Christendom. But in The Babylonian Captivity Luther blesses God that this sacrament has been preserved “untouched and untainted by the ordinances of men.”14 In his Catechisms Luther stresses that Baptism is not a one-time event but a way of life for the Christian, a daily dying to sin and being raised up to new life in Christ. Confession of sins and absolution is a return to baptism.

Luther’s theology of baptism stands in continuity with Catholic teaching but he puts baptism back into the heart of the Christian life. Against the Anabaptists, he maintained the practice of infant baptism and against Zwingli he staunchly defended the efficacy of sacramental signs. As with the Eucharist, Luther prepared two orders of baptism: the more traditional Order of Baptism 1523 and the much simplified Order of Baptism Newly Revised 1526. The first order of baptism is simply the Latin service that was in use at the time, based on the Magdeburg Agenda 1497 but translated into the German language.15 His postscript indicates his pastoral desire not to make radical changes in this rite so as not to afflict the consciences of those of weak faith. But he also indicated that there could be “improvements” because “Its framers were careless men who did not sufficiently appreciate the glory of baptism.”16

The structure of the 1523 Order of Baptism is divided into two parts. First, the catechetical rites took place at the door of the church. These rites included the exsufflation (a ritual act of blowing that signified expulsion of evil), signing with the cross, exorcism prayers, giving of salt, the Flood Prayer, additional exorcisms, prayer for enlightenment, salutation, Gospel (Mark 10:13–16), Our Father with the laying on of hands, and Ephphatha (a ritual opening of the ears to hear the word). Then the baptismal rites took place at the font. These rites included the procession to the font, the renunciation of Satan, the profession of faith, anointing on the breast, immersion with Trinitarian formula, anointing on the forehead with the sign of the cross, the sign of peace, and the giving of the baptismal garment and candle.

Within this order is the so-called Flood Prayer (Sintflutgeben) that is Luther’s own creative contribution to the liturgy of baptism, based on the Old Gelasian prayer for the consecration of the font with its rich biblical typology of baptism.

Almighty eternal God who according to thy righteous judgment didst condemn the unbelieving world through the flood and in thy great mercy didst preserve believing Noah and his family, and who didst drown hardhearted Pharaoh with all his host in the Red Sea and didst lead thy people Israel through the same on dry ground, thereby prefiguring this bath of thy baptism, and who through the baptism of thy dear Child, our Lord Jesus Christ, hast consecrated and set apart the Jordan and all water as a salutary flood and a rich and full washing away of sins: We pray through the same thy groundless mercy that thou wilt graciously behold this N. and bless him with true faith in the spirit so that by means of this saving flood all that has been born in him from Adam and which he himself has added thereto may be drowned in him and engulfed, and that he may be sundered from the number of the unbelieving, preserved dry and secure in the holy ark of Christendom, serve thy name at all times fervent in spirit and joyful in hope, so that with all believers he may be made worthy to attain eternal life according thy promise; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.17

This prayer nowhere invokes the Holy Spirit on the water. Indeed, the prayer is not offered at the location of the font. But it does explicitly refer to the waters of the sacrament as the saving flood. Because of God’s promise the flood of baptism does what it says, namely it saves. So the church prays and holds fast to that promise. The water-bath is efficacious because the rite is performed in faith according to Christ’s command and promise.

The 1526 Order of Baptism Newly Revised is a simplified version of the 1523 order. In the 1526 proposal, Luther greatly reduces the number of secondary liturgical signs and symbols and emphasizes the primary signs of baptism, word and water. The structure of the rite is as follows: exsufflation (without breathing on the eyes), signing with the cross, prayer for the blessing of baptism, Flood Prayer, exorcism (there is only one exorcism and no salt is placed on the mouth of the baptized), Gospel (Mark 10:13–16), Our Father with the laying on of hands, procession to the font, renunciation of Satan, profession of faith, immersion with the Trinitarian formula, and the giving of the baptismal gown with a concluding collect. The anointing with chrism, the Ephphatha, the post baptismal signing with the cross, and the presentation of the lighted candle were all eliminated in the 1526 revision.

Luther’s Other Liturgical Orders

Luther provided an Order of Marriage for Common Pastors in 1529. The traditional publication of the banns (announcement) of the marriage on the three Sundays preceding the wedding was retained as well as the exchange of promises and rings on the church porch. A procession singing Psalms 127 and 128 brought the couple to the altar for a reading of Genesis 2:18, 21–24, a homily composed of a catena of biblical verses, and a blessing of the bride and groom. The nuptial Mass was abolished because of its form as a votive Mass (a Mass asking for special intentions).

Luther provided a brief form of private confession of sins to a pastor in his Small Catechism (1529). An Exhortation to Confession was appended to the Large Catechism (1529).

Luther’s final liturgical rite was an order for the Ordination of Ministers of the Word. Such an order was needed as priests ordained before the Reformation were dying out and new ministers were needed. Luther’s order was completely different from the Roman order. All references to the authority of the priest to offer the Mass for the living and the dead are omitted. It included the singing of the traditional ordination hymn, Veni Sancte Spiritus (in German), the Collect for Pentecost, readings from 1 Timothy 3:17 and Acts 20:28–31, an admonition concerning the responsibilities of the office of pastor or bishop with agreement by the candidates to do these things, the laying on of hands by the whole presbytery (ministerium), the Lord’s Prayer, a prayer for the Holy Spirit, and a blessing. Holy Communion is celebrated and “the ordinands shall commune with the congregation.”

Luther’s proposed orders were to prove influential, to varying degrees, on those who guided liturgical development in Lutheran, Reformed, and Anglican Churches.

Lutheran Church Orders

Luther’s two types of mass-liturgy were created for the Church in Wittenberg and carried no authority beyond that city. But the great reformer’s influence on liturgy as on other areas of doctrine and practice is evident in the official church orders (Kirchenordnungen) that delineated the extent of reform of church and society in the various cities and territories of Germany and northern Europe. In some cities the Reformation was adopted by town councils after public debate. In larger territories the Reformation was implemented at the behest of the ruling prince. The church orders are not liturgical books; they deal with all areas of church life. At most they provide an order (outline) with directions on how to use liturgical books currently available. In a few instances they provide prayer texts and event chants. For example, the Brandenburg-Nürnberg Church Order 1533 provides the German text of the Lord’s Prayer set to a plain chant since this would not have been available in the pre-Reformation books.

Several of the reformers were engaged as consultants in drafting church orders for cities and territories throughout Germany. One of the busiest was Johannes Bugenhagen (1485–1558), pastor of the city parish in Wittenberg (St. Mary’s) and a colleague and friend of Luther. Bugenhagen devoted much of his life to the preparation of church orders that regulated worship, education, charity, and church polity, including those of Braunschweig, Hamburg, Lübeck, Wittenberg, Pomerania, Hildesheim, and Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel as well as for the Saxon Lutherans living under the Leipzig Interim and for the Kingdom of Denmark.

The mass-orders prepared by Bugenhagen clearly show the influence of Luther’s liturgical ideas, but they retain their own unique character, blending Latin and vernacular options. The basic structure is as follows:

  • Vernacular psalm or introit in Latin during which time the presider and deacon may say devotional prayers before the altar

  • The Kyrie (setting appropriate to the festival cycle)

  • The Gloria in excelsis Deo (intoned by presider and choir except during Lent)

  • Opening Collect (sung in the vernacular facing the altar)

  • Epistle lesson (sung)

  • Gradual hymn and Alleluia (with the Alleluia sung on festivals according to the old Latin sequences)

  • The Gospel (chanted in the vernacular facing the people but according to the prescribed Latin melodies)

  • The Creed (intoned before the altar by the presider and choir in Latin or in alternating form between the presider, assembly, and choir using the Latin prose and the German metrical form)

  • The pulpit office: Sermon, Confession of sin, and prayers of intercession (this office may also include the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and the recitation of the Ten Commandments—catechetical materials were included in the medieval pulpit office of prone)

  • Gathering of alms for the poor

  • Preface and Sanctus (sung in Latin)

  • Exhortation to Communicants (facing the assembly)

  • The Our Father (sung facing the altar)

  • The Verba Institutionis (sung in the vernacular)

  • Administration of the sacrament while hymns (including the German Agnus Dei) are sung by congregation

  • The post-Communion collect of thanksgiving and benediction

The structure of the Eucharist blends the structures of Luther’s Latin and German Masses because it retains the proper preface and Sanctus in their customary place but places the Words of Institution in juxtaposition with the administration of the sacrament. The order of Preface and Sanctus, Lord’s Prayer, Verba, Pax, and administration became common in Lutheran Communion services.18

While Bugenhagen borrows much from Luther’s pattern, his liturgy has its own style. First, his orders include more rubrics than Luther’s orders because these orders will actually be used in worshiping communities. (Luther’s two mass-order were treatises, not actual liturgies—although the Formula Missae reflects actual usage in Wittenberg.) The retention of traditional elements of the Mass reflects the conservative liturgical preferences of northern Germany and Scandinavia. These elements included the wearing of the accustomed vestments by the priest, an altar vested with the usual paraments (hangings), crucifix and candles, and the use of chalice and paten. In his German Mass Luther has a neutral attitude toward vestments and indicates that he would prefer an altar facing the people.19 Bugenhagen also clearly favored the old Latin chant melodies even when set to a German text whereas Luther clearly favored setting German words to German musical tones. The use of both plainsong and chorale styles would also characterize Lutheran liturgy in the centuries to come. All of the reformers were in agreement that there should be no masses without communicants (private masses). Luther and Bugenhagen agreed that the consecrated Communion elements should be treated with reverence and not be mixed with unconsecrated elements after the service. Bugenhagen avoided the issue of reservation of the consecrated elements by insisting that the celebrant consume the remaining consecrated elements after the service.

The Church Order for the Kingdom of Denmark should also have applied to Norway and Iceland, since these territories were ruled by the king of Denmark. However, it was not possible to implement evangelical vernacular liturgical orders in these countries until the Bible was translated into Norwegian and Icelandic and suitable hymns were available in these languages. We should note that Luther’s translation of the New Testament into German preceded his work of liturgical revision, and that he and others were composing hymns in German from 1523–1524 on. He continued working on translating the Old Testament and Psalms. At least the New Testament was translated into Danish and Swedish before the first Danish and Swedish liturgies.

More than a hundred church orders were promulgated in Germany between 1523 and 1555 (the Peace of Augsburg).20 While interesting variations are found among them, certain common features may be noted. The historic shapes of the Mass and the prayer offices of Matins and Vespers were retained. Liturgy could be either in Latin or in German or usually in a blending of both languages. Typically, plain chant was sung by the clergy, polyphonic music by the choir, and chorales by the congregation. New hymns and songbooks and cantionales (choir books) proliferated after 1523 and the organ was being given new prominence for the introductions to congregational song. The church year calendar and lectionary remained in force, although the number of feast days of saints was reduced to apostles, evangelists, and a few other biblical figures. Vestments, altar appointments, and church art remained intact at least up until the devastations of the Thirty Years War.

We note three church orders of particular significance. Brandenburg-Nürnberg 1533 was influential especially in southern Germany. It provided a prayer of confession in place of the Confiteor, continuous readings of Epistles and Gospels rather than the traditional periscopes, but opted for the Words of Institution after the Exhortation to the communicants but before the Sanctus and Lord’s Prayer. The more “high church” Mark Brandenburg Church Order 1540, prepared at the direction of Elector Joachim II, included the Latin proper prefaces before the Sanctus, four German prayers said silently by the celebrant during the Sanctus, Latin verses sung by the choir at the Offertory and during Communion, and communion of the sick from the reserved sacrament. The Reformation of Cologne (1543) was prepared jointly by Philipp Melanchthon and Martin Bucer at the request of Hermann von Wied, archbishop-elector of Cologne, although it was never implemented in the territory of Cologne. All three of these church orders exerted some influence on the Anglican Book of Common Prayer through Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer, who had served as King Henry VIII’s ambassador to the court of Emperor Charles V when it was being held in the city of Nürnberg in 1533 just when that city was implementing a Lutheran liturgy and catechism. Cranmer married the niece of Nürnberg’s chief pastor, Andreas Osiander, and he remained in contact with the continental reformers. He translated the Reformation of Cologne into English as A Simple and Religious Consultation (1547, revised 1548).

The Lutheran Church Orders retained the structure of the church year calendar with its major festivals (Christmas, Epiphany, Easter, Ascension, Pentecost, Trinity Sunday) and seasons of Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Trinity. Most feast days of saints were abolished, but commemorations of the apostles, evangelists, the Virgin Mary (Annunciation, Visitation), the Nativity of John the Baptist, and other New Testament saints continued to be observed.

The Swedish Situation

The importation of the Reformation into Sweden was important because this was the largest geographic territory to embrace Lutheranism, and Swedish administration and influence extended to Finland and the Baltic states. German merchants of the Hanseatic League brought Lutheran ideas to Stockholm and other port cities from the very beginning of Luther’s reform efforts. Sweden’s two leading reformers, the brother Olavus (1493–1552) and Laurentius (1499–1573) Petri, both studied at Wittenberg at the time when ideas of reform were brewing. Olavus published a Swedish translation of the New Testament from the Greek in 1526.

In 1531, as secretary of the Stockholm city council, Olavus Petri secured a resolution to abolish the Latin Mass in Stockholm. He published a Swedish Mass, based on Luther’s Formula Missae, with an expanded paschal preface leading to the Verba institutionis and Sanctus, that was made official in Stockholm but not in the rest of the country. The new Swedish king, Gustaf Vasa (reigned 1523–1560), having led Sweden to independence from Danish rule, understood the conservative temper of his countrymen and proceeded cautiously with reform, especially since, like Henry VIII in England, he closed monastic foundations and confiscated parish church plate to fill the empty state treasury. In 1531, he set aside the rights of the cathedral chapter at Uppsala and convened a national assembly to elect a new archbishop (there were two other duly consecrated pre-Reformation archbishops contending against each other and the see was functionally vacant, at a time when the king needed an archbishop to officiate at his marriage and the coronation of his queen). The new archbishop of Uppsala, Laurentius Petri (served 1531–1573), guided the liturgical reforms in Sweden over the course of the next forty years. Changes were made in the Swedish Mass so that what was originally a Low Mass became a fully provisioned sung High Mass with choral music in Latin and congregational hymns in Swedish, as these became available.21 Petri was not able to persuade Gustaf Vasa to promulgate a church order, nor under Erik XIV (reigned 1560–1568), who had Calvinist leanings. But the archbishop had prepared a handwritten church order in 1561 in case it could be considered. The succession of Johan III (reigned 1568–1592), duke of Finland and brother of the deposed Erik, brought a sympathetic ruler to the throne, and the church order (Den svenksa kyrkoordningen) was officially promulgated in 1571.

The new king had humanist sympathies and high church leanings. He was married to the Catholic queen Katarina Jagellonica, sister of Sigismund II of Poland, and their son was heir to the thrones of both Sweden and Poland. He was a learned disciple of the mediating theologian Georg Cassander and was interested in reconciliation with Rome on the basis of the consensus of the first five centuries (consensus quinquasaecularis). He published a New Church Order (Nova ordinantia ecclesiastica, 1574), a year after the old archbishop’s death, with the idea of enriching liturgical performance. But it was in reality a harbinger of what was to come: a Latin-Swedish liturgy that restored many medieval features (such as sacristy vesting prayers) and included Offertory prayers and a full Eucharistic prayer with references to patristic sources. Liturgia svecanae ecclesiae catholicae et orthodoxae conformis (Liturgy of the Swedish Church Conforming to the Catholic and Orthodox Tradition, 1576), popularly known as the “Red Book” because of the color of its binding, was authorized by Archbishop Laurentius Petri Gothus. It occasioned much liturgical dissension in the realm that resulted in the exile of several gnesio-Lutheran faculty members from Uppsala University. Johan set up an alternate patristic-based theological school in Stockholm that was staffed secretly with Jesuits. This move backfired when Antonio Cardinal Possevino exposed the school in an effort to force Johan’s hand in terms of the king’s conversion (he had been abstaining from Lutheran Communion) to Catholicism and the return of Sweden to the Catholic fold. Amid popular uproar, Johan dismissed the Jesuits and returned to Lutheran altars.

Queen Katarina died in 1583 and Johan married a Swedish Protestant. An accommodation was made with the bishops in a Directory of Worship, which they accepted, and liturgical life settled down for the rest of his reign. The Directory of Worship licensed Latin masses and even some noncommunicant masses in some circumstances and restored medieval musical settings of the Mass. The liturgy of the “Red Book” served as the official mass-order of the Church of Sweden for sixteen years. But at the accession of Sigismund III in 1593, already king of Poland, who was prepared to bring the Counter-Reformation to Sweden, Duke Karl (the third son of Gustav Vasa) convened a national assembly (möte) of the Church of Sweden, which for the first time adopted the Augsburg Confession and restored the Church Order of 1571. The assembly presented these documents to Sigismund as the conditions for recognizing his hereditary right to rule Sweden and Finland. These instruments, along with the use of Luther’s Small Catechism, remained the confessional documents of the Church of Sweden.

Bohemian Brethren

The Bohemian Brethren, also known as Unitas Fratrum (United Brethren) and later as the Moravians, are descendants of the followers of Jan Hus in Bohemia. They organized themselves according to a congregationalist system in 1467, although they also had a bishop. The sacrament of Holy Communion was important to the Brethren since they had been persecuted for continuing to give the cup to lay communicants. They also continued to commune infants after their baptism. Printed orders of worship from the 15th and 16th centuries are not available, but from descriptions of worship we know that their liturgies were composed of many congregational hymns and songs and that the Words of Institution were chanted in the Czech language. They undoubtedly served to inspire Luther in his preparation of the German Mass after he met with a delegation of Bohemians in 1524. Vernacular hymnals or song books were published in 1501, 1505, 1519, and 1541, although only this last one survives. Walter Blankenburg reports that this Czech songbook “edited by Johannes Horn (Jan Roh in Czech), contains 481 songs set to some 300 melodies, and thus has a bulk surpassing by several times that of any contemporary Reformed songbook in Germany.”22 An even bulkier songbook was compiled by a commission of Brethren consisting of Jan Czerny, Jan Blohoslav, and Jiri Sturm in 1560 and printed the following year in Szamotuly, Poland. There were two branches of Brethren hymnals: the Polish branch edited by Jan Blahoslav and the German branch edited by Michael Weisse in 1531. Both show evidence of being influenced by early Lutheran songbooks, and some of Weisse’s German hymns found their way into later Lutheran hymnals.23

Anabaptist Liturgy

In the meantime, Anabaptist groups emerged in Germany and Switzerland in the early 1520s. Although their communities called themselves “brethren,” they are to be distinguished from the Unitas Fratrum, which practiced infant baptism. The Anabaptists challenged the magisterial Reformation for not going far enough in its reforms and for lacking church discipline. Practices varied among Anabaptist groups, such as the frequency with which they celebrated Holy Communion, but, as their name implies, they were characterized by re-baptizing those who adhered to their faith as well as maintaining a strong communal discipline. These groups were persecuted and suppressed by Catholic, Lutheran, and Reformed civil authorities. Martyrdom became a hallmark of Anabaptist spirituality.24

One of the only actual liturgies we have from the early Anabaptists is that prepared by Balthasar Hubmeier (c. 1480–1528), who had been a parish priest and a professor at Freiburg and Ingolstadt, where he earned a doctorate. At first he became a proponent of Zwingli’s reforms, but, along with Conrad Grebel, he pushed reforms beyond what Zwingli and the authorities in Zürich would countenance. He experimented with worship in the village of Waldshut and prepared “A Form of Christ’s Supper” (1527) that included confession of sins led by the priest, exposition of scripture by the priest, opportunity for the laity to ask questions of the preacher or impart revelations, self-examination in silent meditation on Christ’s passion, catechesis on the Lord’s Supper and exhortation to the living of the Christian life, thanksgiving over the bread and cup with Words of Institution, reception of the bread and cup in silence, and further exhortation and dismissal.25 Hubmeier was killed in 1528, the year many other Anabaptist leaders were also martyred.

Reformed Liturgy

Zwingli’s Liturgies

Ulrich Zwingli (1484–1531) was a humanist scholar who took Desiderius Erasmus (1466–1536) as a model. He was called to be the preacher at the main city church of Zürich and, like the other reformers, used the pulpit to promote reformatory ideas. He preferred continuous reading of biblical books and began a sermon series on the Gospel according to St. Matthew. Apart from Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost, he oversaw the abolition of other festivals, seasons of the church year calendar, festivals and commemorations. This also eliminated the periscope system in the traditional lectionary and practically required another arrangement, such as reading and preaching continuously on whole biblical books. Like the other reformers, he rejected noncommunicant masses. He proposed doing away with the daily masses and instead having a daily sermon followed by Communion. The city council opposed going this far, but it did relieve priests of the obligation to celebrate daily masses and allowed them to change the rubrics as they saw fit. In this context, Zwingli produced his own Latin Mass in 1523 that involved rewriting the Canon (De canone missae epichiresis). In response to the chaotic situation that followed in 1524–1525, Zwingli prepared a German Communion Service in 1525 entitled Act or Custom of the Supper (Aktion oder Bruch des Nachtmahls) that was approved by the city council, although not entirely according to Zwingli’s suggestions. The order is as follows:

  • Collect (prayer of preparation)

  • Epistle: 1 Corinthians 11:20–29 (a fixed lesson)

  • Gloria in excelsis Deo (Zwingli proposed reading it antiphonally between men and women, but the council objected)

  • Gospel: John 6:47–63 (a fixed lesson)

  • Apostles’ Creed (Zwingli proposed reading it antiphonally, but the council objected)

  • Exhortation to the communicants to give thanks and live as becomes members of the body of Christ

  • The Our Father

  • Prayer for the congregation

  • Words of Institution (1 Corinthians 11:23–26)

  • Ministration of Holy Communion (accompanied by the reading of John 13)

  • Psalm 113 (Zwingli proposed reading the psalm antiphonally, but again the council objected)

  • Brief prayer of thanksgiving

  • Dismissal.26

This order was approved on Wednesday in Holy Week and on Maundy Thursday through Easter Sunday Zwingli instituted Holy Communion according to his vision of the whole congregation receiving together. This would not have been unusual for Easter, since medieval canon law specified that every Christian should make a confession to a priest during Holy Week and receive Communion on Easter. Zwingli increased the number of times per year for the whole congregation to receive Communion to four. The other Communion times were Pentecost, in autumn, and on Christmas. This pattern was picked up by other Reformed Swiss cantons.

It should be noted that there is no singing or music in this service. Metal communion ware was replaced with wooden plates and cups. The congregation sat at tables to emphasize the meal character of the sacrament. Ministers did not wear vestments, only the black clergy gown. All artwork and organs were removed from church buildings.27

Preaching was to be based on a continuous reading of biblical books rather than a pericope system. This also meant the abandonment of the church year calendar except for the few principal festivals. The order of service on Sundays when Communion was not celebrated was based on the medieval pulpit Office of Prone. This office included a bidding prayer, the Our Father, the Hail Mary (without the petition for her intercession), reading of the scripture text and the sermon, announcement of deaths, prayer for the deceased and the living, and general confession of sins and prayer for forgiveness.28 Using the Office of Prone made sense to the reformers for several reasons. It had been a vernacular order set within the late medieval Latin Mass. It could be used apart from the Mass, for example, in preaching missions. It included catechetical material, which served the reformers’ desire for greater catechesis of the people. But as a full order of worship it was limited and would be replaced with Antecommunion (the liturgy of the word) on non-Communion Sundays.

Strassburg Liturgies

Strassburg was a major commercial and trading center in the mid-Rhineland. It straddled German and French cultures as a city in Alsace. It would also reflect a mediating position between the Wittenberg and Zürich reformations.

Before either Luther or Zwingli produced a German Service the city of Strassburg authorized a German Mass, which was prepared by Diebold Schwartz in 1524.29 It retained the structure of the Roman Mass but provided a confession of sins that the people could participate in and a new Eucharistic prayer that avoided the language of Eucharistic sacrifice and intercession of Mary and the saints. Initially no outward changes were made in the celebration of the Mass; vestments and altar appointments were retained. Over a period of years changes were made one by one, especially as Martin Bucer (1491–1551) provided reformatory leadership in the city.

Bucer had been a Dominican from Alsace. In Heidelberg in 1517–1518 he came under the influence first of Erasmus and then of Luther, who participated in the Heidelberg Disputation of 1518. As Zwingli came to prominence Bucer was also drawn to his practical ideas for church reform. But in the Eucharistic controversies between Luther and Zwingli he found in Luther’s concept of ubiquity a more comprehensive idea for the Eucharistic presence of Christ. He worked tirelessly for agreement between the Protestant parties on the doctrine of the real presence and was able to achieve a partial agreement in the Wittenberg Concordat of 1536.

Of a reconciling temperament, Bucer helped move the liturgy in Strassburg steadily in a reformed direction. Through eighteen editions of Schwartz’s original German Mass the term “Mass” gave way to “Lord’s Supper,” the “altar” became the “table,” the “priest” became the “parson” and then the “minister.” The minister stood behind the table facing the people for the Lord’s Supper wearing only his black clergy gown. Communion was celebrated every Sunday in the cathedral but usually once a month in the parish churches. People received the sacrament standing around the table rather than kneeling. As early as 1525 only the Gospel was read in the Sunday Communion Service, and this continuously. The abandonment of the lectionary periscope system also meant the abandonment of the church year, except for the major festivals. Since there were three sermons every day (morning, noon, and evening), there was also reading of and preaching on other biblical books. Rather than using the Office of Prone, as at Zürich, the Antecommunion was used as the chief Sunday service. Traditional liturgical chants were replaced with congregational singing of German psalms and hymns. Daily morning and evening services with sermon were similar to the former daily prayer offices in that they included the singing of metrical psalms, a reading, sermon, and prayers.30

A fifteen-year evolution of evangelical worship in Strassburg under Bucer culminated with the publication of The Psalter with Complete Church Practice (1539).

Because the Eucharistic controversies between Luther and Zwingli were threatening to split the nascent Protestant movement, a mediating Reformed position developed in Strassburg under Martin Bucer. Bucer’s liturgical efforts solidified in his German Service of 1537, which included congregational singing of German psalmody. The order is:

  • Confession of sins (several options provided)

  • An absolution or words of comfort (several biblical texts provided)

  • Congregational singing of a psalm or hymn

  • Short prayer for grace and a right spirit to hear the text and sermon

  • Another song as the minister goes to the pulpit

  • Gospel reading and sermon

  • Catechesis on the Lord’s Supper and Exhortation or Catechesis on Baptism if children are to be baptized

  • Collection of alms

  • Setting of the table if Holy Communion is to be observed during the singing of the Creed

  • Intercessions and prayer for worthy communion (several options provided), but only intercessions in Ante-communion

  • The Lord’s Prayer

  • Antecommunion ends here.

  • Exhortation to communicants if it has not been done after the sermon

  • Words of Institution

  • Distribution of the bread and cup with congregational singing of psalms or a hymn (Bucer mentions Luther’s communion hymn, Gott sei gelobet—“O God, we praise you”)

  • Prayer of thanksgiving (several options provided)

  • Aaronic benediction and dismissal. 31

Several of Bucer’s liturgical projects became influential in other Reformation churches. The rite of confirmation was construed as a renewal of baptism after a time of catechetical instruction. Marriage was celebrated at the Sunday service and the newly married couple received Holy Communion with the congregation. Bucer proposed an order for ordination that could be adapted for different orders of bishops, presbyters, and deacons. The Reformed churches did not always practice the laying on of hands, and ordination was sometimes repeated when a pastor undertook a new call.

Calvin’s Liturgies

John Calvin early on developed a “regulative” view of worship, which meant that we should do what God has prescribed in scripture. Calvin had not been a priest and had no lingering loyalties to the old forms. When he, along with the reformer Guillaume Farel, tried to effect changes in the liturgical order and practices of church discipline, the twenty-nine-year-old Calvin was expelled from Geneva, along with Farel, in 1538. Calvin headed to Basel to resume scholarly studies but was persuaded to go to Strassburg by Martin Bucer to serve as the pastor of the French-speaking congregation. He discerned that worship in Strassburg was based on sound biblical principles and he adapted Bucer’s German liturgy for the French congregation in 1540, making a few changes. Since he was translating some of the German texts into French he made a selection of prayers of confession and intercession from the several included in the German order of the service. It is evident that Calvin liked the congregational singing in the German services; however, only a few metrical psalms and hymns were available in French. He added the sentence of Psalm 124:8, “Our help is in the name of the Lord …” before the Confession of Sins; placed a metrical sung Decalogue with Kyrie eleison response to each commandment after the words of pardon and absolution; moved the sung Apostles’ Creed and setting of the table to after the Lord’s Prayer in a long paraphrase, followed by a consecration prayer, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Words of Institution; and added the Nunc dimittis as the post-Communion song. It is possible that the sung Decalogue and Nunc dimittis had also been used in the German services on occasion.

Calvin was invited back to Geneva in 1541. The former differences with the authorities were not completely resolved, but they agreed to reach an accordgreement on matters of worship. Calvin would have preferred to celebrate Holy Communion every Sunday, following the usage of the patristic church, but the consistory was not prepared to depart from the pattern of quarterly communion observed in the Swiss Reformed cantons. However, it did accept Calvin’s principle of using the Antecommunion (liturgy of the word) on non-communion Sundays. This usage gave the sense of straining toward completion in the full celebration of the liturgy of the word and the Lord’s Supper. Another controversial matter was the use of a form of absolution or declaration of forgiveness as opposed to a prayer for pardon. The form Calvin had used in Strasbourg based on the German order began with the words of 1 Tim 1:15 (“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus is come into the world to save sinners”). It then stated:

Let each make confession in his heart with St. Paul in truth [‘that I am the chief’

in some editions], and believe in Christ. So in His Name do I pronounce forgiveness unto

you of all your sins, and I declare you to be loosed of them in earth so that ye may be loosed of them also in heaven and in all eternity.32

The order Calvin prepared for Geneva included a prayer for pardon but no absolution.

The Genevan service set forth in The Form of Church Prayers of 1542 was as follows:

  • Scripture sentence: Psalm 124:8

  • Confession of sins, Prayer for pardon

  • Metrical psalm

  • Collect for illumination

  • Reading

  • Sermon

  • Collection of alms

  • Intercessions and Lord’s Prayer in long paraphrase.

  • The Antecommunion ended here.

  • The full Communion Service continues with the preparation of the elements while the Apostles’ Creed is sung

  • The Words of Institution

  • An exhortation to the communicants

  • The distribution of the bread and cup while psalms and other Scripture passages are read.

  • The service ended with a post-Communion thanksgiving prayer and the Aaronic Benediction. 33

Calvin gave the following summary and defense of his order of service in 1545:

We begin with confession of our sins, adding verses from the Law and the Gospel [i.e. words of absolution], … and after we are assured that, as Jesus Christ has righteousness and life in Himself, and that, as He lives for the sake of the Father, we are justified in Him and live in the new life through the same Jesus Christ, … we continue with psalms, hymns of praise, the reading of the Gospel, the confession of our faith [i.e., the Apostles’ Creed], and the holy oblations and offerings…. And, … quickened and stirred by the reading and preaching of the Gospel and the confession of our faith, … it follows that we must pray for the salvation of all men, for the life of Christ should be greatly enkindled within us. Now, the life of Christ consists in this, namely, to seek and to save that which is lost; fittingly, then, we pray for all men. And, because we receive Jesus Christ truly in this Sacrament, … we worship Him in spirit and in truth; and receive the Eucharist with great reverence, concluding the whole mystery with praise and thanksgiving. This, therefore, is the whole order and reason for its administration in this manner; and it agrees also with the administration in the ancient Church of the Apostles, martyrs, and holy Fathers.34

An issue to be noted in comparing Calvin’s Liturgies of the Lord’s Supper with other vernacular Communion services is the location of the Words of Institution. The German services of Luther, Zwingli, and Bucer immediately juxtapose the Words of Institution with the administration of the sacrament. The 1552 Book of Common Prayer will do the same. Calvin places the Words of Institution before the rest of the Communion rite, so that these words seem more like a warrant for the ordinance to follow than a formula of consecration. As Luther bequeathed to Lutheran liturgics the two models of the Words of Institution, one within prayer and the other as an act of proclamation outside of prayer, so the Reformed tradition has in its Reformation liturgies models of the Words of Institution in conjunction with the administration (i.e., after an exhortation and prayer of consecration) and as a biblical warrant for the ordinance (i.e., before an exhortation and a prayer of consecration).

Apart from his liturgical forms, Calvin’s other important liturgical contribution was securing the talent necessary to produce a complete French Psalter for congregational use. Of the three major reformers (Luther, Zwingli, Calvin), Calvin was the least musical. He also seems to have had the most to say about the character of music for the worship service. He did not eliminate all music in the service, as Zwingli did; nor was he in favor of using secular-type tunes, as Luther did. While Lutherans retained choral polyphony and expanded the use of the organ, Calvin would have no choir but the congregation and the musical instruments were eliminated. He considered the use of instruments in Old Testament worship only as preliminary to the more perfect divine service in the New Testament and the early church. Unison, unaccompanied congregational singing of lyrics based on biblical texts set to chaste, not sensuous, tunes was the type of worship music he sought for his congregations in Strasbourg and Geneva.35 To that end he edited Aulcuns pseaulmes et cantiques mys en chant (Strasbourg, 1539) which contained nineteen versified psalms with eighteen melodies, the versified canticle of Simeon and the Ten Commandments, and the so-called Strasbourg Credo. The texts are by Calvin and the French poet Clément Marot. The source of the tunes is unknown, but they are in the style of the courtly French chanson.

The second psalter under Calvin’s direct influence was La forme des prières et chants ecclésiastiques (Geneva, 1542), based on the Strasbourg Psalter. But now the number of psalms had grown to thirty-nine. Those originating from Calvin were reduced by two, and those authored by Marot was increased from thirteen to thirty-two. Calvin must have recognized the superior poetic skills of Marot because in the expanded 1543 edition, fifty psalms plus the Canticle of Simeon and the Ten Commandments were all by Marot with Calvin only providing the preface. The composer of the tunes for this psalter can be referred back from fifty four-part arrangements of these psalms by Louis Bourgeois (Lyons, 1547). Marot died in 1544 and there was a delay in completing the entire psalter until Theodore Beza continued the work about 1550. The fruit of his work is Pseaumes octante trois de David, mis en rime françoise (Geneva, 1551). As new psalm versifications and other texts were completed new editions were published. The final “Genevan Psalter” with all 150 Psalms, the Canticle of Simeon, the Ten Commandments, the Creed, and two table songs for use before and after meals was published under Calvin’s direction in 1562.36 Further revisions and editions would follow, but by 1562 the work was essentially done. It provided a model that would be used in the Reformed tradition for centuries. The first book published in the British North American colonies was the Bay Psalm Book (1636).

Anglican Liturgy

Liturgical Changes in England

The various strands of reform on the continent found their way to England. The divorce of Henry VIII (reigned 1509–1547) from Catharine of Aragon and acclamation as supreme head of the Church in England made possible incremental liturgical reforms under the leadership of Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer (1489–1556). While relations between the church in England and the Roman See were severed, Henry’s theology was traditional and reform moved only as much as the monarch allowed at any given time.

A reform act of 1534 abolished a number of feast days of saints that fell during harvest time. The publication of Miles Coverdale’s English Bible in 1535 made provided a usable biblical text for liturgical purposes. The Royal Injunctions of 1536 ordered incumbents of benefices to provide Bibles in Latin and English in their churches and to see that the abrogated feast days of saints were not observed. In 1538 the king required curates to procure a large edition of the Coverdale Bible for their parishes and to encourage people to read and study it. The failure of Henry’s marriage to the Lutheran duchess Anne of Cleves in 1540 produced a conservative reaction on Henry’s part that reaffirmed six traditional Catholic teachings and momentarily halted liturgical reform. The King’s Book of 1543 codified the state of reform up to that time. However, Henry’s impending war with France occasioned the first piece of vernacular liturgy, which was Cranmer’s English Great Litany of 1544, based on Luther’s German Litany, which eliminated the bids for the intercessions of the saints. The Great Litany served to accompany processions into cathedrals on Sunday mornings at the beginning of Mass, on penitential days, and through the fields at Rogationtide (the three days of prayer before the feast of the Ascension of Our Lord), which was a popular feature of English religion. The King’s Prymer of 1545, which provided a manual for lay religious education, is noteworthy not only for the deletion of certain psalms and prayers associated with mourning, but also for the inclusion of the English Litany.

Reform moved into high gear at the accession of the boy king Edward VI in 1547. The Lord Protector Somerset and the Privy Council, which included Cranmer, were all Protestants. Injunctions were immediately issued forbidding the display or veneration of images, ordering the removal of all candles from the churches except two on the altar for the sacrament, prohibiting Sunday processions and pilgrimages, and abolishing chantries (associated with prayers for the dead) and confiscating their endowments for the Crown treasury. In spite of the protests of Bishop Stephen Gardiner and other traditionalist bishops to hold off on further reform until the king came of age, changes proceeded apace. In January and February 1548 candles on Candlemas, ashes on Ash Wednesday, and palms on Palm Sunday were abolished. At Easter 1548 an Order of Communion derived from the Cologne Church Order of Archbishop Hermann von Wied (translated into English as A Pious and Religious Consultation) was inserted into the Latin Mass at the administration of the sacrament. This material included an invitation to Communion, a confession of sins, an absolution, words of comfort, a prayer of humble access, and words of administration of Communion in both kids (which had been authorized by Parliament). The prayer of humble access was ambiguous enough in its statements about the sacrament that both traditionalists and reformers could read their Eucharistic doctrines into it. It was consistent with Cranmer’s later efforts to cover rather than expose theological differences.

We do not presume to come to this thy Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table. But thou art the same Lord, whose property is always to have mercy: Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his body, and our souls washed through his most precious blood, and that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us. Amen.

Cranmer had sent a questionnaire to all twenty-seven bishops and received seventeen responses. This gave him confidence to hold a “Grand National Debate” on the Eucharist in Parliament in January 1549. It resulted in an Act of Uniformity passed by both houses on January 21 that authorized “one uniform order” of worship throughout the realm superseding the five provincial uses that flourished in medieval England. The Act of Uniformity received royal assent in March and The Booke of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments, and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Churche, after the Use of the Churche of England that Cranmer and his committee had been working on was published and implemented on Whitsunday that year. (The entire vernacular rite had been in trial use in St. Paul’s Cathedral in London since Lent.)

The First Prayer Book of King Edward VI

The Prayer Book of King Edward VI included in English all orders needed for parish liturgy: “the Calendar; a table of psalms, orders for Mattins and Evensong; Collects for the church year; Introit psalms, Epistles and Gospels for the church year all printed out; the Supper of the Lorde and the Holy Communion, commonly called the Masse; the Litany and Suffrages for use as solemn prayers in Mattins and Evensong; orders for Baptisme, both publique and priuate; Confirmacion, where also is a Catechism for children; Matrimony; visitacion of the sicke, and Communion of the same; Buriall; the Purificacion of women; the firste daye of Lent, commonlye called Ashwednesdaie.”37 This table of contents would remain unchanged in subsequent editions of the Book of Common Prayer. The first book also included a preface explaining the new use and a concluding statement on ceremonies. Where there had previously been five liturgical uses in the realm, there would henceforth be only one. Most of the work, including the translation of the collects into exquisite English prose, was undertaken by Cranmer. The material was drawn from the Sarum (Salisbury) Use of the Roman Rite, from German Church Orders, and from Quiñones’s revised Roman breviary. The ordination orders appeared in the Ordinal of 1550. Chants for the new services awaited the publication of The Book of Common Prayer Noted by John Merbecke also in 1550.

The calendar retained the principal festivals and liturgical seasons and feast days of saints, the apostles, and evangelists, including the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Nativity of John the Baptist, Mary Magdalene, and St. Michael and All Angels. Matins and Evensong combined Matins and Lauds into one office of morning prayer and Vespers and Compline into one office of evening prayer. The telltale sign of this blending was the use of both the Benedictus and Te Deum laudamus at Matins and both the Magnificat and Nunc dimittis at Evensong. There was a daily lectionary and a thirty-day course of psalmody for morning and evening prayer. All antiphons and hymns were eliminated.

The order of the Communion Service was as follows:

  • Lord’s Prayer (said by the minister)

  • Collect for purity

  • Introite sung by clerkes (a whole psalm, as in Luther’s German Mass)

  • “Lorde have mercy” sung three times by clerkes or said by priest

  • “Glory be to God on high” sung by clerkes or said by priest

  • Salutation and collect for the day

  • Collect for the king (one of two)

  • Epistle

  • Gospel

  • Nicene Creed sung by clerkes or said by priest

  • Sermon or homily

  • Exhortation to communicants

  • Offertory sentences

  • Procession with gifts

  • Sursum corda

  • Preface (5 proper prefaces for Christmas Day, Easter Day, Ascension Day, Whitsundaye, and the feast of the Trinitie)

  • Sanctus and Benedictus

  • Eucharistic prayer including intercessions, commemorations, epiclesis, words of institution, memorial or oblationary prayer

  • The Lord’s Prayer

  • Invitation to communion

  • Confession of sins and Absolution

  • Comfortable words

  • Prayer of humble access

  • “Lamb of God” sung by clerkes or said

  • Administration of Holy Communion

  • Post-communion verse

  • Prayer of thanksgiving

  • Blessing

Among the pastoral offices the Order of Public Baptism retained a thanksgiving over the water that Cranmer translated from Luther’s “flood prayer,” an exorcism, the giving of the white vestment, and an anointing, inspired largely by the Nuremberg Order of Baptism of Andreas Osiander. “Confirmation” is retained in name and concept, including the laying on of hands by the bishop, even though it had been abandoned in this form by all the Reformed and most Lutheran churches on the continent. The Order of the Visitation of the Sick was a skillful shortening of the Sarum rite. But the laity would have missed the priest holding before the eyes of the dying an image of the crucified Christ. Also, anointing the sick was now optional and performed only once upon the forehead or breast. The Order for the Communion of the Sick provided for Communion from the reserved sacrament (that day’s celebration) after the Mark Brandenburg Church Order of 1540.

Many complaints were made against the Prayer Book, and in Cornwall and Devonshire open rebellion broke out against the use of “the king’s English” (these were Celtic-speaking shires). The clergy of Oxford refused to use the new book. The government put down the rebellions and continued with the liturgical changes. To prevent priests from “counterfeiting the mass,” the Council of Regents in 1550 ordered all the high altars throughout the realm to be demolished and communion tables to be set up lengthwise in the choir. Communion was celebrated three or four times a year in most parishes. If Holy Communion was not celebrated, the Antecommunion was used, as in the Lutheran and Reformed practice.

The Second Prayer Book of King Edward VI

Meanwhile, Cranmer solicited critiques of the Prayer Book from continental reformers, of which Bucer’s Examen was the most influential. He invited several of the leading continental reformers to England and gave them chairs at Oxford and Cambridge. The Communion formularies were also much discussed among the English reformers. These critiques were taken into account, and a revised second Prayer Book was authorized by Parliament in 1552 with another Act of Uniformity.

The 1549 Prayer Book had not included the penitential rite characteristic of Prime in the morning or Compline at night. The 1552 Prayer Book adds a penitential rite before the opening versicles of Matins and Evensong that includes scriptural sentences, an invitation to confession, a prayer of confession, and a prayer for absolution—the same for both orders. The Jubilate Dei (Psalm 100) is added as an option for the Benedictus and the Benedictite opera omnia is added as an option for the Te Deum laudamus in Matins. The Cantate Domino (Psalm 98) is added as an option for the Magnificat and the Deus misereatur (Psalm 67) is added as an option for the Nunc dimittis in Evensong. The Apostles’ Creed is added to both offices before the concluding prayers.

The 1552 Prayer Book presented a drastic revision of the 1549 “Order for the Administracion of the Lordes Supper, or Holye Communion Service,” which was accomplished more through a relocation of various parts rather than by a thorough rewriting. The order was as follows:

  • Lord’s Prayer said by minister

  • Collect for purity

  • Rehearsal of the Decalogue with response: “Lorde have mercy upon us, and encline our heartes to kepe thys law”

  • Collect for the day

  • Collect for the king

  • Epistle

  • Gospel

  • Nicene Creed said

  • Sermon or homily

  • Offertory sentences

  • Collection of gifts

  • Intercessions “for the whole state of Christes Church militant here in earth”

  • Exhortation to communion

  • Invitation to communion

  • Confession of sins

  • Absolution

  • Comfortable words

  • Sursum corda

  • Preface (with five propers)

  • Sanctus (without Benedictus)

  • Prayer of humble access

  • Prayer of consecration

  • Words of institution

  • Administration of Holy Communion

  • The Lord’s Prayer

  • Prayer or thanksgiving

  • “Glory be to God on high”

  • Blessing

Among items to note: the inclusion of the Decalogue as in Calvin’s order; the relocation of the intercessions away from the Eucharistic prayer; the juxtaposition of the Words of Institution and the administration of the sacrament. The words of administration, “take and eate this …” and “Drinke this …” make no reference either to Christ’s body and blood or to the elements of bread and wine. The Eucharistic theology of the Prayer Book suggests that by eating and drinking we remember Christ’s death for our sakes and are thankful. As in other Protestant Reformation orders the prayer of thanksgiving comes after the reception of the sacrament in grateful response to the gift received. The last note of the Communion Service is the Trinitarian praise of “Glory be to God on high,” which had been displaced from the introductory rites by the recitation of the Decalogue. Since the Prayer Book continued to allow kneeling to receive the sacrament a rubric was inserted at the last minute on the insistence of the Scot John Knox (c. 1510–1572) (referred to as the “Black Rubric” because it was not printed in red ink, as rubrics usually are) that kneeling did not imply adoration of Christ’s body and blood since “they are in heaven and not here.”

In the Order for Public Baptism the exorcism, anointing, and white vestment are abolished. The sign of the cross remains, but after the baptism rather than before. The flood prayer remains, but there is no sense that it was used to bless the water. Anointing and the sign of the cross on the forehead are eliminated in the Order for Confirmation. Also, changes in the confirmation prayer and blessing move in a Lutheran direction that would make a sacramental interpretation of this rite difficult. Anointing is also omitted from the Visitation of the Sick. The Communion of the sick is no longer from the reserved sacrament. Rather, a full celebration of Holy Communion is celebrated at the bedside of the sick person. The 1549 Prayer Book allowed prayers for the dead and the priest addressed the corpse in the committal. In 1552 there is no intercession for the dead but only an exhortation to faith on the part of the living. The priest addresses the congregation at the committal instead of the corpse and there is to be no celebration of Holy Communion at funerals. This completes a process that social historians have commented upon: the complete separation of the dead from the living in the Protestant Reformation rites.38

John Knox among English Exiles on the Continent and Back in Scotland

The Protestant Edward VI died on July 6, 1552, and he was succeeded by his half-sister, the Catholic Mary Tudor. The Roman Rite as it existed at the time of her father was restored. Cranmer retired and was replaced by Cardinal Reginald Pole. Eventually Cranmer and, with him, Bishops Ridley and Latimer were accused of heresy, tried at Oxford, and burned at the stake, along with several hundred other recalcitrant Protestants. Many other Protestants fled to continental Europe and took refuge in Frankfurt and Geneva.

John Knox joined the exiles in Frankfurt. They produced an even more Reformed version of the second Prayer Book. But there was disagreement over how much more “reformed” the revised Prayer Book should be, and when another group of Anglican exiles arrived Knox’s leadership position was compromised and he relocated to Geneva. There in 1556 he produced an English liturgy modeled closely, but not slavishly, on the Genevan liturgy. The Forme of Prayers and Administration of the Sacraments, etc., Used by the Englishe Congregation at Geneva and Approved by the Famous and Godly Learned Man John Calvin is characterized by very long prayers of confession and exhortations to the communicants. Like Calvin’s Geneva Liturgy, there is no prayer of consecration and the Words of Institution are addressed to the congregation, not to the elements. However, an analysis of the texts shows that some material from the 1552 Prayer Book is included in Knox’s exhortations and it reproduces much of the marriage service. In Knox’s English congregation the minister stood in the pulpit for the whole service until the time for Communion, when he and the communicants sat around a long table. 39

The English exiles returned to England upon the death of Queen Mary, but Knox was not welcomed there because of the untimely appearance of his tract First Blast of the Trumpet against the Monstrous Regiment of Women, which was aimed against Queen Mary Tudor but could also be applied to the new queen Elizabeth. He returned to his native Scotland where the Reformation was well underway following the death of the Catholic queen Mary of Guide and the reluctance of her daughter Mary, Queen of Scots to take an interest in her kingdom or, indeed, even to visit (she was married in 1558 in France to Francis, the dauphin). The Scots Protestants had been using the 1552 Book of Common Prayer in token of a common bond with the English Protestants. Knox was appointed preacher at St. Giles, Edinburgh, and he was of the six drafters of The First Book of Discipline. He succeeded in persuading the Scots to consider his Genevan English liturgy. They were not under the religious constraints of the Elizabethan settlement in England (see below) and agreed to use Knox’s liturgy as the basis for their Communion liturgy in 1562 and then for all their liturgies in 1564. The Book of Common Order, as it came to be called, served as the liturgical book of the Scottish Kirk until the Westminster Directory in 1645.

The Elizabethan Settlement

Queen Mary Tudor died in 1558 and was succeeded by the Protestant Elizabeth I. The 1552 Prayer Book was restored, with a few amendments in the direction of comprehension on Eucharistic theology, by a third Act of Uniformity in 1559. The words of administration of the sacrament combined the formulas of the first and second prayer books and the “Black Rubric” was deleted. Some have thought that Elizabeth would have preferred the first Prayer Book. But she had to depend on the support of the returning exiles and we have seen that they were moving in a more Reformed direction. These small compromises were probably as much as she could get.40 Even at that, the Act of Uniformity passed by only three votes. A Latin translation was made of the Prayer Book in 1560 for use in the university colleges of Oxford and Cambridge that included many of the 1549 texts and rubrics. This Latin version of the Prayer Book was also used in Ireland since the Irish claimed to speak Gaelic rather than English, and they had to await the production of a prayer book in their language.

For the rest of Elizabeth’s long reign until 1603 she struck a balance between High Church and Puritan parties in the Church of England. She may have thought she was striking a via media, but many of the “godly” (as the Puritan party has been called) felt that too much popishness existed in the Elizabethan Church. They objected to such ceremonies in the Prayer Book as the sign of the cross in baptism, the wearing of a surplice, and the use of a ring in marriage. Some of the godly took matters into their own hands and made their own emendments to the Prayer Book.

When James VI of Scotland became James I of England upon Elizabeth’s death in 1603, the godly thought that a king accustomed to Scots Presbyterianism would rule in their favor. They were sadly disappointed. Only minor changes were made to the Book of Common Prayer in 1604, although the godly did get the fresh translation of the Authorized King James Version of the Bible in 1611 based on the original Hebrew and Greek texts.

Catholic Liturgical Reform

The Quiñones Breviary

Among Catholics, the major liturgical dissatisfaction on the eve of the Reformation centered on the breviary. Monasteries maintained the choral offices of the eight canonical hours, namely Vespers, Compline, Matins (Vigil), Lauds, Prime, Terce, None, and Sext, and they used several liturgical books that contained the material needed for a fully sung liturgy of the hours. The breviary was a compendium that included all the material needed for the daily prayer offices in one volume (or actually four volumes to cover the entire year) and that facilitated the private recitation of the offices by mendicant friars and secular clergy, whose peripatetic way of life or pastoral responsibilities made a choral (communal) recitation of the hours impossible. It contained all the texts of the liturgy of the hours, including antiphons and responsories, that contributed to the dialogical character of the choral office. The calendar was complicated because feasts of the temporal cycle (the course of the year) and sanctoral cycle (the calendar of feast days of saints) could supplant the day-by-day succession of psalms and readings. Matters became very complicated when feasts of the temporal calendar were moveable. Moreover, the number of canonical feast days of saints in the sanctoral cycle that required observance had grown tremendously throughout the Middle Ages. To these additional days were added the little offices of the dead, of the Virgin Mary, the seven penitential psalms, and the fifteen gradual psalms, all of which could be omitted on a feast day, which created an incentive to expand the number of feast days. An additional complication was that antiphons and responsories used in the choral office were included in the private, spoken form of the office in the breviary. There was also dissatisfaction with the inclusion of fables and legends of the saints, especially among those of a humanist inclination.

Popes Leo X (1513-1521) and Clement VII (1523-1534) responded to these complaints by commissioning bishops of humanist leanings to reform the breviary, but nothing came of these efforts. Finally Pope Clement VII turned to the respected Cardinal Francisco de Quiñones (1480-1540), Minister General of the Observant Branch of the Franciscan Order, to work on the project. Pope Clement turned to Quiñones for the breviary project not because of his liturgical acumen but because of his family ties, pedigree, experience, and diplomatic skills. Nevertheless, Quiñones undertook the project with characteristic dedication and the result was an impressive piece of liturgical work. He sought to make the new breviary a source of clerical renewal and to promote biblical literacy. Because Quiñones and his assistant believed that the “Divine Office was so fashioned by the ancient Fathers as to provide perfectly for this double need” the revisions focused on making the Psalter and lessons more accessible. The changes were drastic. The majority of antiphons, responsories, little chapters, and preces were removed outright since this was to be a private rather than a choral office. Only the hymns with the “most authority and impressiveness” were retained. The Psalter was reorganized to three psalms per hour with the whole Psalter recited weekly. The “Venite” (Psalm 95) was still fixed as the opening to a unified office of Matins and Lauds. Matins was simplified from three nocturnes to one and the readings were reduced from twelve to three. The supplementary Offices of the Dead and of the Blessed Virgin Mary were abolished; however, Quiñones did specify that any unoccupied Saturday office is to be the Marian office.

In 1535, under the authority of Pope Paul III, the new Brevarium Romanum nuper reformatum in quo sacre scripturae libri probatae; sanctorum historiae eleganter bene; dispoitae leguntur was printed. The resulting single-volume simplified breviary with more scripture than had been previously provided was immediately popular. A second, substantially revised edition was published in 1536. Between these two editions the breviary underwent more than one hundred printings in thirty-two years.41 But Quiñones’s breviary, though popular, constituted a clear departure from Roman practice. Thus, clergy had to apply to Rome for the right to implement it where they were and it never became the standard breviary of the Catholic Church. Indeed, Quiñones’s breviary was not so warmly greeted everywhere. The influential Sorbonne served as a center of criticism of the new breviary. In remarks against Quiñones, it was noted: “the author of the new breviary has preferred his private judgment to the decrees of the ancient Fathers, and to the common and time-honored customs of the Church.” The tension between these “time-honored customs” and the practical concern of getting clergy to recite the Office was soon decided. Though Quiñones’s breviary was never condemned, on August 8, 1558, Pope Paul IV decreed that he no longer saw any reason for it to be printed. Ten years later, the Tridentine Roman Breviary would be promulgated and the reform efforts of Cardinal Quiñones were no longer seen as necessary. In the meantime, however, Quiñones’s breviary greatly influenced Archbishop Thomas Cranmer in his revision of the prayer offices of the Book of Common Prayer. But Cranmer’s Office proved to be a form of communal rather than private prayer and it was not a clerical preserve like the Roman breviary.

Decrees of the Council of Trent

The Council of Trent was convened in 1546 to deal not only with Protestant attacks on Catholic tradition, but also with long-festering abuses in Catholic Church life. The council was under pressure to deal with liturgical reform not only because of the emergence of Protestant liturgies, but also because Catholic humanists wanted to bring order out of the disorder in liturgical practices. The council met intermittently over a period of seventeen years from 1546 until 1563. It was held in the city of Trent on the border between the Papal States in Italy and the Holy Roman Empire in the hope that Protestants would attend. In spite of promises of safe conduct, there was no Protestant presence at the council.

The council never dealt directly with the reform of the liturgy as such. The council fathers contented themselves to defend traditional Catholic doctrine and to correct abuses, especially those associated with the votive Mass. It reaffirmed the doctrine of the real presence as expressed by the term “transubstantiation” (session 13, October 11, 1551). In fact, this was the first time that the term “transubstantiation” was used as a noun in a conciliar document. The council affirmed the appropriateness of withholding the cup from lay communicants on the basis of the doctrine of concomitance and withholding Communion from young children, even though this had been the practice of the ancient church (session 21, July 16, 1562). In the Decretum de sacrificio missae the council reaffirmed the traditional teaching on the sacrifice of the Mass, using standard Catholic boilerplate language that there “is contained and immolated in an unbloody manner the same Christ who once offered Himself in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross,” and that the sacrifice of the Mass may be “rightly offered not only for the sins, punishment, satisfactions and necessities of the faithful who are living, but also for those departed in Christ but not yet purified” (session 22, September 17, 1562).42 As David Power has pointed out, the Tridentine decree affirmed that the Eucharist gathers the living and the dead in one communion of grace.43 Protestant rejection of purgatory, masses and offices for the dead, and chantries and confraternities effectively cut off the dead from the living.

Perhaps the more interesting statement in this decretal is the command that pastors and “all who have the care of souls” are to “explain frequently during the celebration of the mass some of the things read during the mass, and that among other things they explain some mystery of this most holy sacrifice, especially on Sundays and festival days.”44 The council fathers insisted on a doctrinally informed laity as much as the Protestants did.

The council fathers had before them portions of the reformers’ writings, but they often read them out of the context of the actual worship practices of the Protestant Churches. For example, they read Luther’s statement in The Babylonian Captivity that “In the celebration of Masses all ceremonies, vestments and external signs are provocations to impiety rather than duties of piety. And as Christ’s Mass was extreme simple, therefore, the more the Mass is similar to and resembles the first of all Masses [i.e., Christ’s institution in the upper room], the more Christian it will be.”45 Yet it is apparent that the Lutherans did not discard all the additions of the centuries, including the ceremonies, vestments, and other externals, and the Lutheran princes said as much in Article 24 of the Augsburg Confession:

Our people are unjustly accused of having abolished the Mass. But it is obvious, without boasting, that the Mass is celebrated among us with greater devotion and earnestness than among our opponents. The people ae instructed more regularly and with greater diligence concerning the holy sacrament, to what purpose it was instituted, and how it is to be used, namely, as a comfort to terrified consciences. In the same way, the people are drawn to Communion and to the Mass. At the same time, they are also instructed about the other, false teaching concerning the sacrament. Moreover, no noticeable changes have been made in the public celebration of the Mass, except that in certain places German hymns are sung alongside the Latin responses for the instruction and exercise of the people. For after all, all ceremonies should serve the purpose of teaching the people what they need to know about Christ.46

Nevertheless, the Council of Trent declared anathema whoever declared these ceremonies, vestments, and external signs to be provocations to impiety.

The council fathers believed that reforms were needed in the actual liturgies of the breviary and the Mass, but they recognized that the task could not be accomplished in the format of a council. So they entrusted the actual reform of the missal and the breviary to the papacy.

Roman Catholic Liturgical Reform after the Council of Trent

The actual reform of the Roman liturgy was carried out by the Roman Curia, begun under Pope Pius IV (1559–1565) and continued under Pope Pius V (1565–1572). The reformed Roman breviary was issued in 1568 and the reformed Roman Missal in 1570.

The breviary project was undertaken first because the dissatisfactions with it lingered and the Quiñones breviary had been suppressed as too great a departure from the tradition. Michael Kwatera notes that “the commission under Pius IV and Pius V was guided by three principles: (1) no essential part of the ancient Roman breviary was to be removed; (2) the primitive form of the breviary was to be restored; (3) there was to be no difference in text between the text of the public office and office recited in private.”47

Pius V’s bull Quod a nobis (July 1, 1568) promulgated the revised Roman breviary and abolished all previous versions of the office except those which had been in use for more than two hundred years and legislated the exclusive use of this one. The two hundred–year rule precluded the addition of Protestant elements. Surviving this rule were the breviaries of the dioceses of Milan, Toledo, some dioceses in France that recovered ancient Gallican rites rather than use the Roman one, and those of some religious orders such as the Carmelites and the Dominicans. Standardization of the breviary and the missal was possible because of the mass printing of books.

With the promulgation of the Roman missal with the papal bull Quo primum tempore (July 14, 1570), the papal liturgy (Missale secundem consuetudinem Romanae Curiae) was imposed on the universal Catholic Church under the papacy whose uses were less than two hundred years old. It is in this sense that we may speak for the first time of Roman Catholic liturgy. The reform was essentially a restoration of the Roman Rite at the time of Pope Gregory VII (1073–1085), who was viewed as the defender of ancient Roman tradition, “standing on the threshold of the period of centralization of Western liturgy.”48

Nevertheless, the missal of Pius V did represent a pruning of material and a clearing out of material of dubious quality. Only a few of the multitude of votive masses were spared—one for each day of the week, and the use of these was carefully regulated. Sunday masses could no longer be replaced by votive masses. All tropes (additions to established texts) were eliminated as parasitical. Only four of thousands of sequence hymns at the gradual survived: those for Easter (Victimae paschali laudes), Pentecost (Veni, Sancte Spiritus), Corpus Christi (Lauda Sion), and requiem masses (Dies irae). Only eleven of the dozens of Eucharistic prefaces remained. The calendars of the Breviary and the Missal were harmonized and the number of saints’ days in the sanctoral cycle was reduced., leaving 157 days without any commemoration As Joseph A. Jungmann observed, “The new missal had, in round numbers, 150 days free of feasts, not counting octaves. This was achieved by retaining only those feasts which were kept in Rome itself up to the eleventh century.”49. Rubrics now took on the character of canon law and the texts regulating performance were deemed as important as the spoken texts.

Even so, recognition that corrections would be needed from time to time is reflected in the establishment of the Congregation of Rites by Pope Sixtus V in 1588. The congregation completed the work of liturgical revision by publishing the Roman Pontifical in 1596, which contained rites used by a bishop such as confirmation and ordination; the Ceremonial in 1600, which dealt largely with ceremonial occasions; and the Ritual in 1614, which included pastoral acts not reserved to the bishop such as orders of baptism, marriage, penance, visitation of the sick, and burial.

All of these post-Tridentine liturgical books were in Latin as a matter of principle, and while concerned was expressed to instruct the people in the sacramental rites no thought was given to their full participation other than to receive Communion more frequently. Indeed, the laity were often given over to popular devotions, which increased in number and intensity during the 17th century. The most popular Roman Catholic rite was Solemn Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament after Sunday Vespers.50

The End of the Reformation Era

The Reformation era began with a flurry of liturgical experimentation. Each of the major reformers involved in liturgical reform—Luther, Bugenhagen, the Petri brothers, Zwingli, Bucer, Calvin, Cranmer, Knox, and even Quiñones—produced two or more versions of their principal liturgical orders as they experimented with liturgical renewal. Within the emerging magisterial Protestant traditions there were variations on basic liturgical orders as we see in the Lutheran church orders, the various Reformed liturgies in Switzerland, the Rhineland, Scotland, and the Netherlands, and even in versions of the Book of Common Prayer in England and Wales, Ireland, and Scotland. But toward the end of the era there was also a tendency toward standardization and rubricism (strict adherence to the printed directions). Theodore Klauser and other Roman Catholic scholars have commented on this in terms of Catholic liturgy in the period after the Council of Trent. But we should note that by 1568, when the first post-Tridentine liturgical book, the Roman breviary, was promulgated, the English Parliament had already passed three Acts of Uniformity requiring the exclusive use throughout the realm of a standard text of the Book of Common Prayer. The Lutheran Church Orders were civic or territorial ordinances regulated by law and the Reformed liturgies were regulated by the Company of Pastors in Geneva or consistories in France and the Netherlands. There is a point, therefore, at which liturgical experimentation ceased and regulative liturgies were being controlled by theological, ecclesiastical, and civil authorities. At this point we may say, from a historiographical view, that we are moving into the post-Reformation age of confessionalism in which there is doctrinal and political control over liturgy.

But the exact time frame for the end of the Reformation Era is blurry. The further development in the 17th century of Reformed worship in Puritan New England and the novel approach of the Westminster Directory in 1644 might be regarded as the last examples of Reformation liturgical creativity.

The Puritans who settled in the Boston Bay Colony after 1630 (as opposed to the Separatists in the Plymouth Colony) were still members of the Church of England, but they were Anglicans who rejected the Prayer Book and an episcopal polity in favor of congregationalism and free church liturgy that may have been influenced by Mennonites in the Netherlands when some Puritans took refuge there. John Cotton, a pastor in Boston, provided a full description of Puritan worship in The True Constitution of a Particular Visible Church Proved by Scripture (London, 1642). It included:

  • Opening prayers of thanksgiving and intercession offered extemporaneously (a literal supplication of 1 Timothy 2:1)

  • Singing a psalms (lined out by a cantor)

  • Reading, expounding, and preaching the word of God from Scripture, a whole chapter at a time

  • Exhorting the people by the elders and questioning the preaching by the laity.51

Cotton noted that the Lord’s Supper was celebrated “once a month at least” without ceremonies. There was a separate blessing and distribution of the bread and wine, which was passed from the presiding minister sitting at the head table by deacons to the people sitting at adjacent tables. After the distribution, a psalm of thanksgiving was sung, followed by the dismissal. In the afternoon the congregation assembled again for occasional services such as the baptism of children, the admonition or excommunication of sinners, and prayers for the sick. The afternoon service ended with a psalm of praise and a prayer for God’s blessing.52

At about the same time in England, the civil war was being decided in favor of Parliament and against King Charles I. Parliament was dominated by Presbyterians with Congregationalist or Independent allies (these should not be thought of as denominations but parties within the established church), and with support from Scotland. In 1644 Parliament abolished episcopacy and the Book of Common Prayer. Archbishop William Laud was consigned to the Tower of London, soon to lose his head, and the king was on the run. A Westminster Assembly was constituted to devise a new form of polity and practice for the Church of England, including a form of worship. The worship committee included Presbyterians and Independents as well as representatives from the Church of Scotland. Their task was to develop a form of worship that would satisfy the non-episcopalian Anglicans and Scots. They devised a Directory for the Publique Worship of God, which was approved and authorized by Parliament in 1644. Instead of providing texts, over which there might be theological disagreements, the Directory gave an order of service with “directions” for what might be said (although ministers could take these directions and put them into the forms of prayers or exhortations).

The order of service included a call to worship, an opening prayer, the reading of scripture (one chapter from the Old Testament and the New Testament each), the singing of psalms, a long pastoral prayer for all sorts and conditions of humanity, the sermon, and a prayer after the sermon in which the pastor is directed to “turn the chief and most useful heads of the sermon into some few Petitions.” Holy Communion is to be celebrated as often as is determined by the ministers and governors of each congregation. An exhortation was issued to the communicants followed by an invitation to the Supper. The Words of Institution were read before the blessing. The bread was then broken and the bread and cup were distributed to those who sit “about” (a concession to the Independents who received communion in the pews) or “at” the table (a concession to the Scots Presbyterians who sat at tables).53

This Directory was used officially until the restoration of the Prayer Book under the restored monarchy in 1662. It had its limitations and did not appeal to the English people as a whole. They missed Christmas and other holidays, church music (the Puritan regime dismantled the organs and disbanded the choirs), and a bit of ceremonial. During the Puritan Commonwealth some ministers simply memorized texts from the forbidden Prayer Book and prayed them at services. Prayer Book Anglican laity often prayed Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer in their homes. 54

Reformation Liturgical Theology

In the contemporary debate over the relationship between the lex orandi (law of prayer) and the lex credenda (law of belief), it would seem that in the Reformation period theology was imposed on worship and guided liturgical revision in both Protestant and Catholic traditions. However, the issue of liturgical theology is not just to establish causal relationships between worship and doctrine but to discern what meanings inhere in liturgy itself. These meanings are expressed not only in texts newly composed or revised, but also in the positioning of common texts within different liturgical orders. Thus, for example, the Eucharistic Words of Institution, substantially similar in all the Reformation liturgies, functioned differently in the various uses. In the Roman Canon, the Words of Institution, located in the midst of the Eucharistic prayer, validated the oblation and Eucharistic sacrifice that was expressed in the surrounding prayers. In the Lutheran rites, the Words of Institution, often juxtaposed with the administration of the elements but chanted by the minister facing the altar, proclaimed the presence of the body and blood of Christ in, with, and under the bread and wine to be received as the gift of communion. In the Reformed rites, from Calvin on, the Words of Institution were often spoken at the beginning of the Communion order as a warrant for the performance of the holy ordinance and were read facing the people, and usually from 1 Corinthians 11 rather than a compendium of the four New Testament institution narratives.

Doctrine is expressed not only in liturgical texts, but also in liturgical actions. Ordinary lay people may not have understood the subtleties of doctrine, but they knew that the correct doctrine was promoted by ritual actions. Roman Catholic understandings of the Eucharist were expressed as much in adoration of the exposed sacrament as in receiving Holy Communion. Lutheran and Reformed congregations could tell which confession their ministers held by whether they elevated the bread and cup or broke the bread and passed it among the communicants. These actions became especially important in territories of mixed confession, such as Brandenburg. In an age of more diligent catechizing, the respective actions were sometimes reinforced with words spoken at the elevation or the fraction.55 Whether communicants knelt at the altar, stood around the table, sat at tables, or remained in their seats also expressed Eucharistic meanings. With the paring down of ceremonies, especially in the Protestant churches, those ceremonies that remained undoubtedly took on even more significance. Confessional traditions compared and contrasted themselves with others especially in terms of practice.


As the confessional traditions settled into their own forms of church life, they often defined themselves against other confessional traditions. Historians in the 19th and early 20th centuries tended to study only their own tradition with hardly a look over their shoulder at other traditions. Since the Reformation is a watershed in the history of liturgy, more general studies of the liturgies of the Western churches could not ignore it. But once historians reached the 16th century in their studies they tended to focus on their own tradition and give short shrift to other traditions. For example, Gregory Dix, in The Shape of the Liturgy, traced the history of Christian liturgy through the centuries, ending with the Anglican tradition.56 Likewise, Luther D. Reed, in The Lutheran Liturgy, did the same with the Lutheran tradition (although in the Reformation era he gave some attention to the Book of Common Prayer).57 In both cases these scholars had agendas for dealing with liturgy in their own respective traditions.

With Herman Wegman, Christian Worship in East and West, we see a change to a more ecumenical approach to Reformation liturgy.58 When he gets to the Reformation he looks across the spectrum of Reformations. James White, in A Brief History of Christian Worship, was remarkably even-handed in his synoptic view of worship in the Reformation Era.59 While I had an obligation to focus on Lutheran liturgy in Christian Liturgy—Catholic and Evangelical,60 I tried to pay attention to concurrent developments in other traditions during and after the Reformation. In the even more expansive Oxford History of Christian Worship, Nathan D. Mitchell wrote about “Reforms, Protestant and Catholic.”61 Additional discussion of Reformation liturgies are presented in separate articles dealing with denominational traditions in particular lands and territories. Innumerable monographs are available on the liturgical work of various reformers and on particular liturgical rites (e.g. baptism, Eucharist) in the Reformation era, but as yet no magisterial comprehensive and comparative study of all the Reformation liturgies.

An interesting recent development in historical studies is to look for instances of continuity and discontinuity between Reformation and medieval liturgy. This was the focus of a project sponsored by the Calvin Center for Christian Scholarship at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, the papers of which were collected and edited by Karen Maag and John D. Witvliet in Worship in Medieval and Early Modern Europe: Change and Continuity in Religious Practice.62 A classic study originally published in 1959 that fits into this kind of study is Ernest Walter Zeedon, Faith and Act: The Survival of Medieval Ceremonies in the Lutheran Reformation.63 See also Bruce Gordon, “Transcendence and Community in Zwinglian Worship: The Liturgy of 1525 in Zurich,”64 It is fascinating to see what instances of medieval liturgy remain in the Reformation orders. For example, the late medieval pulpit office of Prone became the model for Zwingli’s liturgy of the word and it secured an established place in Lutheran liturgies in Scandinavia. This accounts for the use of catechetical and intercessory elements surrounding the sermon, including the Apostles’ Creed, the prayers of the church, and, in several Reformation liturgies, a penitential rite between the sermon and the Lord’s Supper. On the other hand, Roman Catholic liturgy after Trent, which is often viewed as being in continuity with medieval liturgy, also reflects the Reformation concern to clear away clutter and to simplify the forms. The so-called Tridentine Mass must also be included among Reformation liturgies. Indeed, the tendency of historians is to speak of the Catholic Reformation rather than the Counter-Reformation.

Discerning common practices among all the Reformation churches has been made possible by social histories that pay attention to the cultural context. For example, catechizing the children and youth on Sunday afternoon before Vespers was done in Lutheran Nürnberg, English parishes, Catholic Milan, and undoubtedly in other places as well. Then as now, churches had to relate to cultural conditions for pastoral ministry no matter what their confession. A comparative study would show the concern for fencing the table through disciplinary and penitential practices in all the Reformation churches in the light of confessionalization and a spirituality focused on self-examination. Social historians have contributed to a revisionist view of Reformation liturgy. They include works by John Bossy, Eamon Duffy, Edward Muir, Ritual in Early Modern Europe, and Judith Maltby.65 Social historians have an important contribution to make to liturgical study because they look for evidence of what was actually done in liturgy, not just what was promulgated in official documents.

Primary Sources

The most accessible English language source book of Reformation liturgies is Bard Thompson, Liturgies of the Western Church.66 This provides texts of the liturgies of the Latin Mass of Pope Pius V (1570), Luther (1523, 1526), Zwingli (1523, 1525), Bucer (1539), Calvin (Geneva 1542, Strassburg 1545), the first and second Prayer Books of King Edward VI (1549, 1552), John Knox (1556), the Middleburg Liturgy of the English Puritans (1588), and the Westminster Directory (1644). The texts of the Eucharistic rites have been collected by Irmgard Pahl in Coena Domini, Vol. 1, Spicilegium Friburgense 29.67 For the Reformation orders of baptism, see J. D. C. Fisher, Christian Initiation: The Reformation Period: Some Early Reformed Rites of Baptism and Confirmation and Other Contemporary Documents.68

Luther’s liturgical writings are all available in English in Luther’s Works, American edition, Vol. 53, Liturgy and Hymns.69The full editions of the Lutheran church orders are available only in Die evangelischen Kirchenordnungen des XVI. Jahrhunderts.70 The Swedish liturgies are in English translation in Eric C. Yelverton, The Mass in Sweden: Its Development from the Latin Rite from 1531 to 1917.71 The Manual of Olavus Petri 152972 was actually the first vernacular book of pastoral offices, written twenty years before the first Book of Common Prayer. For translations of several Swedish liturgical sources, including chapters of the Swedish Church Order (1571), see appendixes in Eric C. Yelverton, An Archbishop of the Reformation: Laurentius Petri Nericius, Archbishop of Uppsala, 1531–73: A Study of His Liturgical Projects.73 For an English translation of and commentary on the only text of an Anabaptist liturgy, “A Form of the Supper of Christ” (1527), see H. W. Pipkin and John H. Yoder, Balthasar Hubmeier: Theologian of Anabaptism.74 The Strassburg liturgies were collected by F. Hubert, Die Strassburger Liturgischen Ordnungen im Zeitalter der Reformation.75 For the full Book of Common Prayer liturgies, see The First and Second Prayer Books of King Edward VI.76 William D. Maxwell published The Liturgical Portions of the Genevan Service Book Used by John Knox While a Minister of the English Congregation of Marian Exiles at Geneva, 1556–1559 (John Knox’s Genevan Service Book 1556).77 The famous Breviarium Romanum a Francisco Cardinali Quignonio (1535) was edited by Johanne Wickham Legg.78 For the Tridentine Roman breviary, see The Roman Breviary: An English Version Compiled by the Benedictine Nuns of the Abbey of Our Lady of Consolation, at Stanbrook in Worchestershire.79

Further Reading

Bergendoff, Conrad. Olavus Petri and the Ecclesiastical Transformation of Sweden. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1965. First published 1928 by Macmillan.Find this resource:

Blume, Friedrich. Protestant Church Music: A History. Foreword by Paul Henry Lang. New York: W. W. Norton, 1974.Find this resource:

Cuming, Geoffrey J.A History of Anglican Liturgy. 2d ed. London: Macmillan, 1982.Find this resource:

Cuming, Geoffrey J.The Godly Order: Texts and Studies Related to the Book of Common Prayer. London: S.P.C.K., 1983.Find this resource:

Davies, Horton. The Worship of the English Puritans. Westminster, UK: Dacre Press, 1948.Find this resource:

Grosse, Christian. Les rituels de la cène: Le culte eucharistique réformé à Genève. Geneva, Switzerland: Droz, 2008.Find this resource:

Kavanagh, Aidan, O.S.B. The Concept of Eucharistic Memorial in the Canon Revisions of Thomas Cranmer Archbishop of Canterbury 1533–1556. St. Meinrad, IN: Abbey Press, 1964.Find this resource:

Maag, Karen, and John Witvliet. Worship in Medieval and Early Modern Europe: Change and Continuity in Religious Practice. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2004.Find this resource:

Naphy, W. G.Calvin and the Consolidation of the Genevan Reformation. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1994.Find this resource:

Old, Hughes Oliphant. The Patristic Roots of Reformed Worship. Zürich: Theologischer Verlag, 1975.Find this resource:

Reed, Luther D.The Lutheran Liturgy. 2d ed. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1959.Find this resource:

Schmidt-Lauber, Hans-Christoph. Die Eucharistie als Entfaltung der verba testamenti: Eine formgeschichtlich-systematische Einführung in die Probleme des lutherischen Gottesdienst und seiner Liturgie. Kassel, Germany: Johannes Stauda-Verlag, 1957.Find this resource:

Senn, Frank C.Christian Liturgy—Catholic and Evangelical. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1997.Find this resource:

Spinks, Bryan. Luther’s Liturgical Criteria and His Reform of the Canon of the Mass. Cambridge, UK: Grove, 1982.Find this resource:

Spinks, Bryan D.From the Lord, and “the Best Reformed Churches”: A Study of the Eucharistic Liturgy in the English Puritan and Separatist Traditions, 1550–1633. Allison Park, PA: Pickwick, 1984.Find this resource:

Theissen, Reinold Jerome. Mass Liturgy and the Council of Trent. Collegeville, MN: St. John’s University Press, 1965.Find this resource:

Vajta, Vilmos. Luther on Worship. Philadelphia: Muhlenberg, 1958.Find this resource:

van der Pol, G. J.Martin Bucer’s Liturgical Ideas. Groningen, The Netherlands: Van Gorcum, 1954.Find this resource:

Wisløff, Carl F.The Gift of Communion: Luther’s Controversy with Rome on Eucharistic Sacrifice. Translated by Joseph M. Shaw. Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1964.Find this resource:


(1.) See Gerhardt B. Ladner, The Idea of Reform: It’s Impact on Christian Thought and Action in the Age of the Fathers (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1960).

(2.) See John P. Dolan, History of the Reformation, introduction by Jaroslav Pelikan (New York and Toronto: A Mentor-Omega Book, 1965), 105–183.

(3.) See Frank C. Senn, The People’s Work: A Social History of the Liturgy (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2006), 132–146.

(4.) Senn, The People’s Work, 132–146.

(5.) See The Smalkald Articles, II; The Book of Concord, edited and translated by Robert Kolb and Timothy J. Wengert (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2000), 301ff.

(6.) See John Bossy, History of the Reformation (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985), 57–75.

(7.) Luther’s Works 53, edited and translated by Ulruch S. Leupold (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1965), 11.

(8.) Luther’s Works 53:11.

(9.) Luther’s Works 53:13.

(10.) Luther’s Works 53:20.

(11.) Luther’s Works 53:25–26.

(12.) Luther’s Works 36:51.

(13.) Luther’s Works 53:80–81.

(14.) Luther’s Works 36:57.

(15.) See the comparison of orders in J. D. C. Fisher, Christian Initiation: The Reformation Period (London: S.P.C.K., 1970), 9–16.

(16.) Luther’s Works 53:103.

(17.) Luther’s Works 53: 97.

(18.) Dennis Marzolf, “The Divine Service,” Logia: A Journal of Lutheran Theology: Johannes Bugenhagen and the Lutheran Mass 2.2 (1993): 15.

(19.) See Luther’s Works 53: 69. His suggestion seems to have been followed in the renovations of the Torgau Castle chapel.

(20.) The churches orders have been collected in Emil Sehling, Anneliese Sprengler-Ruppenthal, Gunther Franz, et al., eds., Die evangelischen Kirchenordnungen des XVI. Jahrhunderts, 24 vols. (4 more vols. in preparation). Institute für Evangelisches Kirchenrect (Aalen: Scientia Verlag), 1970ff.

(21.) See See Frank C. Senn, “The Mass in Sweden: From Swedish to Latin?” in Worship in Medieval and Early Modern Europe: Change and Continuity in Religious Practice, edited by Karen Maag and John D. Witvliet, 63–83 (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame, 2004).

(22.) See See Walter Blankenburg, “The Music of the Bohemian Brethren,” in Friedrich Blume, ed., Protestant Church Music (New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1974), 591.

(23.) Blankenburg, “The Music of the Bohemian Brethren,” in Protestant Church Music, 591–607.

(24.) See Peter Erb, “Anabaptist Spirituality,” in Protestant Spiritual Traditions edited by Frank C. Senn, 80–124 (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1986).

(25.) See John Rempel, “Historic Models of Worship, 170. Anabaptist: Hubmeier’s ‘A Form of Christ’s Supper’ (1527),” in The Complete Library of Christian Worship, Vol. 2, Twenty Centuries of Christian Worship, edited by Robert E. Webber, 216–225 (Nashville; Star Song Publishing Group, 1994).

(26.) Bard Thompson, Liturgies of the Western Church (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1980), 151–155.

(27.) See Ulrich Gäbler, Huldrych Zwingli: His Life and Work, translated by Ruth C. L. Gritsch (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1983), 105–108.

(28.) Thompson, Liturgies of the Western Church, 147–148.

(29.) See William D. Maxwell, An Outline of Christian Worship: It’s Developments and Forms (London: Oxford University Press, 1936), 91–98, for the complete text in English translation.

(30.) Thompson, Liturgies of the Western Church, 160–161.

(31.) Thompson, Liturgies of the Western Church, 167–179.

(32.) Cited in Maxwell, Outline of Christian Worship, 103.

(33.) Thompson, Liturgies of the Western Church, 197–208.

(34.) Cited in Maxwell, Outline of Christian Worship, 116.

(35.) See Walter Blankenburg, “Church Music in Reformed Europe,” in Protestant Church Music: A History, edited by Friedrich Blume, 516–517 (New York: W.W. Norton, 1974).

(36.) Blankenburg, “Church Music in Reformed Europe,” in Protestant Church Music, 518.

(37.) The First and Second Prayer Books of King Edward VI. Evefryman’s Library 448 (London: Dent, 1910), 2.

(38.) See Eamon Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England, 1400–1580 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1992), 474–475.

(39.) Thompson, Liturgies of the Western Church, 287–307.

(40.) Bryan Spinks, “From Elizabeth I to Charles II,” in The Oxford Guide to The Book of Common Prayer: A Worldwide Survey, edited by Charles Hefling and Cynthia Shattuck, 44–48 (Oxford: University Press, 2006).

(41.) See Katherine Elliot van Liere, “Catholic Reform of the Divine Office in the Sixteenth Century: The Breviary of Cardinal Francisco de Quiñones,” in Worship in Medieval and Modern Europe, 162–199.

(42.) Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent, translated by H. J. Schroeder (London: Herder, 1941), 145–146.

(43.) David N. Power, The Sacrifice We Offer: The Tridentine Dogma and Its Reinterpretation (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1987).

(44.) Power, The Sacrifice We Offer, 148.

(45.) Reinold Theissen, Mass Liturgy and the Council of Trent (Collegeville, MN: St. John’s University Press, 1965), 134, n. 59.

(46.) Augsburg Confession 24 (Latin text), in The Book of Concord, 68.

(47.) Michael Kwatera, “Liturgy: Roman Catholic Liturgy,” in The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Reformation, edited by Hans J. Hillerbrand (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1996).

(48.) Theodore Klauser, A Short History of the Western Liturgy, translated by John Halliburton (London: Oxford University Press, 1969), 126.

(49.) Joseph A. Jungmann, The Mass of the Roman Rite: Its Origins and Development, translated by Francis A. Brunner (Westminster, MD: Christian Classics, 1986).

(50.) See Frank C. Senn, The People’s Work: A Social History of the Liturgy (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2006), 240–262.

(51.) See Doug Adams, Meeting House to Camp Meeting. Toward a History of American Free Church Worship from 1620 to 1835 (Austin: The Sharing Company, 1981), 19ff.,

(52.) See Adams, Meeting House to Camp Meeting, 31ff.

(53.) Thompson, Liturgies of the Western Church, 354ff.

(54.) See Judith Maltby, “The Prayer Book and the Parish Church: From the Elizabeth Settlement to the Restoration,” in The Oxford Guide to the Book of Common Prayer, 89–91.

(55.) See Bodo Nischan, Prince, People, and Confession: The Second Reformation in Brandenburg (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994), 47–49, 64–67, 86–88, 138–139.

(56.) Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy (Westminster, UK: Dacre Press, 1945).

(57.) Luther D. Reed, The Lutheran Liturgy (Philadelphia: Muhlenberg, 1947).

(58.) Herman Wegman, Christian Worship in East and West (New York: Pueblo, 1976).

(59.) James White, A Brief History of Christian Worship (Nashville: Abingdon, 1993).

(60.) Frank C. Senn, Christian Liturgy—Catholic and Evangelical (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1997).

(61.) Nathan D. Mitchell, “Reforms, Protestant and Catholic,” in Oxford History of Christian Worship, edited by Geoffrey Wainwright and Karen B. Westerfield Tucker, 307–350 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006).

(62.) Karen Maag and John D. Witvliet, Worship in Medieval and Early Modern Europe: Change and Continuity in Religious Practice (Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2004).

(63.) Ernest Walter Zeedon, Faith and Act: The Survival of Medieval Ceremonies in the Lutheran Reformation, translated by Karen G. Walker (St. Louis: Concordia, 2012).

(64.) Bruce Gordon, “Transcendence and Community in Zwinglian Worship: The Liturgy of 1535 in Zurich,” in R. N. Swanson, Continuity and Change in Christian Worship (Rochester, NY: Boydell, 1999), 128–150.

(65.) John Bossy, History of the Reformation, 1400–1700 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985); Eamon Duffy, The Stripping of the Altar: Traditional Religion in England, 1400–1580 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1992); Eamon Duffy, The Voices of Morebath: Reformation and Rebellion in an English Village (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2001); Edward Muir, Ritual in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1997); Judith Maltby, Prayer Book and People in Elizabethan and Early Stuart Society (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1998).

(66.) Bard Thompson, Liturgies of the Western Church (1961; repr., Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1980).

(67.) Irmgard Pahl, Coena Domini, Vol. 1, Spicilegium Friburgense 29 (Fribourg, Switzerland: Fribourg University Press, 1983).

(68.) J. D. C. Fisher, Christian Initiation: The Reformation Period: Some Early Reformed Rites of Baptism and Confirmation and Other Contemporary Documents, Alcuin Club Collections 51 (1971; repr., Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, 2004), introduction by Maxwell E. Johnson.

(69.) Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 53, Liturgy and Hymns, edited and translated by Ulrich Leupold (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1965).

(70.) Emil Sehling, Anneliese Sprengler-Ruppenthal, Gunther Franz, et al., eds., Die evangelischen Kirchenordnungen des XVI. Jahrhunderts, 24 vols. (Aalen, Germany: Scientia Verlag), 197 ff. Four additional volumes in preparation.

(71.) Eric C. Yelverton, The Mass in Sweden: Its Development from the Latin Rite from 1531 to 1917, Henry Bradshaw Society 57 (London: Harrison, 1920).

(72.) Eric C. Yelverton, ed. and trans., The Manual of Olavus Petri 1529 (London: S.P.C.K., 1953).

(73.) Eric C. Yelverton, An Archbishop of the Reformation: Laurentius Petri Nericius, Archbishop of Uppsala, 1531–73: A Study of His Liturgical Projects (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1959).

(74.) H. W. Pipkin and John H. Yoder, Balthasar Hubmeier: Theologian of Anabaptism (Scottsdale, AZ: Herald, 1989).

(75.) F. Hubert, Die Strassburger liturgischen Ordnungen im Zeitalter der Reformation (Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1900).

(76.) The First and Second Prayer Books of King Edward VI, Everyman Library 448 (repr., London: Dent, 1910). Introduction by Douglas Harrison.

(77.) William D. Maxwell, The Liturgical Portions of the Genevan Service Book Used by John Knox While a Minister of the English Congregation of Marian Exiles at Geneva, 1556–1559 (John Knox’s Genevan Service Book 1556) (London: Faith Press, 1965).

(78.) Johanne Wickham Legg, ed., Brevarium Romanum a Francisco Cardinali Quignonio (Westmead, UK: Gregg, 1970).

(79.) Charles Francis Brown, ed. The Roman Breviary: An English Version Compiled by the Benedictine Nuns of the Abbey of Our Lady of Consolation at Stanbrook in Worchestershire (London: Burns, Oates, & Company, 1936). Introduction by Fernand Cabrol.