Worship has been offered daily in Saint Patrick’s for centuries. So come and join us this Heritage Week as we journey through 800 years of worship with 5 services charting the liturgical heritage of this ancient house of prayer.
CHORAL EVENSONG Friday 24th August at 5.30pm
Over the last few years, and whilst church attendance has been dwindling, attendance at Cathedral worship has been growing and it’s largely down to the jewel in the Anglican choral tradition that is Choral Evensong. So what better way to finish our liturgical journey.
The service itself dates back to the time of the Reformation, using elements of the old monastic Offices of Vespers and Compline. The liturgy (a fixed set of words and ceremonial features) that the Church uses to this day was was laid out in Archbishop Cranmer’s Book of Common Prayer, the first version of which appeared in 1549. The music took shape a few decades later with great composers like William Byrd and Thomas Tallis developing exquisite polyphonic choral music specifically for this new service, and in each subsequent generation new composers have continued to add masterworks of classical choral music to the repertoire of Evensong. This has inspired a unique 500-year-old unbroken tradition of choir school foundations across Britain and Ireland that has been responsible for the very high standard of choral singing maintained to this day.
Cranmer created the liturgy of Evensong with the general public in mind, motivated by the fact that it would condense more services than people could be expected to attend into one short service; the people of his day were not well-versed in Scripture; the public services were in Latin; and they were too elaborate for simple people to follow.