HOMILIES APPOINTED TO BE READ IN CHURCHES IN THE TIME OF QUEEN ELIZABETH OF FAMOUS MEMORY
Those who support the Prayer Book often care about language, theology, the teaching of the Bible, even the 39 Articles of Religion. However, when asked about the 'Book of Homilies', most will draw a blank.
Along with the Bible in English, the Prayerbook and the Articles, the Book of Homilies (First Book-- 1547, Second Book-- 1563) were intended to present a full diet of faith, worship, doctrine, and scriptural teaching from the reformed yet catholic faith of the Anglican Reformation.
These readable homilies (based on the Prayerbook Collect, Epistle & Gospel for holy communion) were to be preached in church, often to help "disaffected and unlearned" clergy teach the faith clearly to lay-people. The original 1547 homilies are ascribed to Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer. The homilies of the Second Book are thought to have been written mainly by Bishop Jewel in 1563. One additional homily by Archbishop Parker in 1569 completed the collection.
The 1993 Australian Prayer Book Society foreword to The Homilies pamphlets states:
"In the sixteenth century, a time of confusion and dissension, the Homilies were part of a strategy to teach all people of England fundamentals of the faith. It is fair to say that some 340 years later, the Anglican Church is seen by some as being in need of the reiteration of these fundamentals."
This page is not intended to give full access to all the Homilies, but a sampler of some important ones, intended to present once more the teaching of the English Reformation, on themes such as Holy Scripture, Salvation, Repentance, the Fear of Death, Christian Faith, and Prayer, among others.
This Homily Page (when completed) owes a great debt of thanks to The Prayer Book Society in Australia (Victorian Branch) Incorporated, which published these homilies in booklet form beginning in 1993.