Tradition of sung daily prayer

St Anne's Cathedral
St Anne's Cathedral
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The singing of the office of the daily evening prayer or evensong at St Anne’s Cathedral, to which N Hamilton (Letters, June 4) draws attention, is basically in structure a compilation of medieval offices of daily prayer sung in the monastic churches.

It has long been sung daily, as with matins or the morning prayer, in the great Anglican churches, whether any other than clergy and singers were present or not.

Indeed in these churches for long it seems very much to have become a choir office until, I understand, sometime in the latter part of the nineteenth century that Dean Stanley, Dean of Westminster, in popularising the Abbey as a centre of life, brought about changes that facilitated the laity to be present, and St Paul’s Cathedral similarly followed.

It has always been the daily office for Anglican clergy to say whether in church or not, a kind of anchor to hold to, amidst swirling distractions and worries.

St Anne’s is in that tradition.

W A Miller,

Belfast