Francis Young

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A Latin translation of Compline according to the proposed 1928 Book of Common Prayer

Since I began broadcasting Latin services according to The Book of Common Prayer every Sunday, a couple of people have asked me about the possibility of Compline in Latin. No Church of England service of Compline in Latin is available, so I have made a Latin translation of one of the Church of England’s liturgies of Compline, which is available to download here.

There is, of course, no service of Compline in the 1662 Prayer Book, but such a service was included as an appendix to the revised Prayer Book of 1928, which notoriously passed through Convocation but was rejected by Parliament and so never replaced the 1662 Book. However, several of the additional services or forms of service in the 1928 Prayer Book did come into use over the next few decades under both episcopal and Parliamentary authority, influencing both The Alternative Service Book and Common Worship. Following in the footsteps of the 1928 Book, Common Worship includes a service of Compline.

Because I find the 1928 Prayer Book closer to the spirit of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, when choosing a service of Compline to translate into Latin I decided upon the one in the 1928 book. The 1928 service of Compline is influenced both by Vespers in the BCP and by the Roman liturgy of Compline (as well as incorporating much material from the Latin Vulgate Bible), so translating it into Latin is not an especially difficult task (although it does have some distinctive prayers that required translating from scratch). In this translation, I follow the rule of adhering to the established phraseology of liturgical Latin, rather than attempting a slavishly literal translation of the English words. The service is formatted in the style of Common Worship, since this is the format familiar to many people who say the Daily Office. Needless to say, this Latin order of Compline is not an authorised liturgy and is intended for private prayer.

One comment on “A Latin translation of Compline according to the proposed 1928 Book of Common Prayer

  1. barrowdownes
    May 24, 2020

    All very wonderful. But, without wanting to pour cold water on anything you have done, why did you not just take the Latin Breviarium Romanum (pre-Pius X/1910 reforms) version of Compline and use it. Like the Sarum and more ancient forms it had four psalms, prior to Pius X’s 1910 wrecking and was the same daily. Just an idea. The Lord Bute breviary rendered the old Compline into good ENGLISH ! The only difference would be the (is it 5 ? ) collects at the end and the variant last verse of the hymn. Interestingly, the old Church of Ireland Prayer book introduced Compline as an Alternative Form of Evening Prayer, sadly, it was rarely used.

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This entry was posted on May 17, 2020 by .