Office in Honour of the Holy Cross

From Aelfwine’s Prayerbook, London, British Library, Cotton Titus D. Xxvii, foll. 80r-81v
trans. by The Scholiast and adapted for use by groups of modern Protestants

The Office shall begin with all kneeling in humility.  Wherever the + symbol appears, all shall cross themselves.

Officiant:  O God, make speed to save us.

Response: O Lord, make haste to help us. (Ps. 70:1)

All stand.

O: +Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

R: As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.

Antiphon (all):  Save us, Christ the Saviour, through the virtue of the Cross, you who saved Peter in the sea, have mercy upon us.

Here shall be prayed/chanted the three Psalms following, alternately by verse, either with the Leader commencing or the Gospel Side (Left) commencing, all either kneeling humbly or standing in worship.

Psalm 53/54 (Coverdale)

Left: Save me, O God, for thy Name’s sake,

and avenge me in thy strength.

Right: Hear my prayer, O God,

and hearken unto the words of my mouth.

Left: For strangers are risen up against me;

and tyrants, which have not God before their eyes,

seek after my soul.

Right: Behold, God is my helper;

the Lord is with them that uphold my soul.

Left: He shall reward evil unto mine enemies;

destroy thou them in thy truth.

Right: An offering of a free heart will I give thee,

and praise thy Name, O Lord, because it is so comfortable.

Left: For he hath delivered me out of all my trouble;

and mine eye hath seen his desire upon mine enemies.

Psalm 117/118

Left: Give thanks unto the Lord, for he is gracious,

because his mercy endureth for ever.

Right: Let Israel now confess that he is gracious,

and that his mercy endureth for ever.

Left: Let the house of Aaron now confess,

that his mercy endureth for ever.

Right: Yea, let them now that fear the Lord confess,

that his mercy endureth for ever.

Left: I called upon the Lord in trouble;

and the Lord heard me at large.

Right: The Lord is on my side;

I will not fear what man doeth unto me.

Left: The Lord taketh my part with them that help me;

therefore shall I see my desire upon mine enemies.

Right: It is better to trust in the Lord

than to put any confidence in man.

Left: It is better to trust in the Lord

than to put any confidence in princes.

Right: All nations compassed me round about;

but in the Name of the Lord will I destroy them.

Left: They kept me in on every side, they kept me in, I say, on every side;

but in the Name of the Lord will I destroy them.

Right:  They came about me like bees,

and are extinct even as the fire among the thorns;

for in the Name of the Lord I will destroy them.

Left: Thou hast thrust sore at me, that I might fall;

but the Lord was my help.

Right: The Lord is my strength, and my song,

and is become my salvation.

Left: The voice of joy and health is in the dwellings of the righteous;

Right: the right hand of the Lord bringeth mighty things to pass.

The right hand of the Lord hath the pre-eminence; the

right hand of the Lord bringeth mighty things to pass.

Left: I shall not die, but live,

and declare the works of the Lord.

Right: The Lord hath chastened and corrected me;

but he hath not given me over unto death.

Left: Open me the gates of righteousness,

that I may go into them, and give thanks unto the Lord.

Right: This is the gate of the Lord;

the righteous shall enter into it.

Left: I will thank thee, for thou hast heard me,

and art become my salvation.

Right: The same stone which the builders refused

is become the headstone in the corner.

Left: This is the Lord’s doing,

and it is marvellous in our eyes.

Right: This is the day which the Lord hath made;

we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Left: Help me now, O Lord;

O Lord, send us now prosperity.

Right: Blessed be he that cometh in the Name of the Lord;

we have wished you good luck, ye that are of the house of the Lord.

Left: God is the Lord, who hath showed us light;

bind the sacrifice with cords, yea, even unto the horns of the altar.

Right: Thou art my God, and I will thank thee;

thou art my God, and I will praise thee.

Left: O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is gracious,

and his mercy endureth for ever.

Psalm 118/119, vv. 1-8 (Coverdale)

Left: Blessed are those that are undefiled in the way,

and walk in the law of the Lord.

Right: Blessed are they that keep his testimonies,

and seek him with their whole heart;

Left: for they who do no wickedness walk in his ways.

Right: Thou hast charged that we shall

diligently keep thy commandments.

Left: O that my ways were made so direct,

that I might keep thy statutes!

Right: So shall I not be confounded,

while I have respect unto all thy commandments.

Left: I will thank thee with an unfeigned heart,

when I shall have learned the judgements of thy righteousness.

Right: I will keep thy ceremonies;

O forsake me not utterly.

The Apostles’ Creed

All stand.

All: I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.

And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; hedescended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.

Antiphon (all): Save us, Christ the Saviour, through the virtue of the Cross, you who saved Peter in the sea, have mercy upon us.

The Congregation may be seated.

Short Lesson: 1 Peter 2:24 NKJV

Christ Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.

O: O blessed Cross, you alone were worthy to carry the King and Lord of the Heavens.

R: O admirable Cross, you alone are escape from wounds, restoration of health.

All stand for the Hymn.

Hymn: Vexilla Regis, by Venantius Fortunatus (c. 569), trans. Canon Percy Dearmer (1933)

The royal banners forward go,
The Cross shines forth in mystic glow,
Where he, the Life, did death endure,
And by that death did life procure.

There was he slain in noble youth,
There suffered to maintain the truth,
And there, to cleanse the heart of man,
From out his side life’s torrent ran.

Fulfilled is all his words foretold:
Then spread the banners, and unfold
Love’s crowning power, that all may see
He reigns and triumphs from the Tree.

O Tree of grace, the conquering sign,
Which doest in royal purple shine,
Gone is thy shame; for, lo, each bough
Proclaims the Prince of Glory now.

For once thy favoured branches bore
The wealth that did the world restore,
The priceless treasure, freely spent,
To pay for man’s enfranchisement.

Father of all, life’s source and spring,
May every soul thy praises sing,
May those obey the rule of heaven
For whom the perfect life was given.

Please remain standing until after the Magnificat.

O: All the Earth worships you, O God.

R: And your faithful servants bless you.

Antiphon (all): Over all the branches of the cedars you alone are higher, where the life of the world hung, where Christ triumphed and death conquered death.  Alleluia!

Magnificat, Luke 1:46-55

My soul doth magnify the Lord, / and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded / the lowliness of his handmaiden.
For behold, from henceforth / all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath magnified me; / and holy is his Name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him / throughout all generations.
He hath showed strength with his arm; / he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat, / and hath exalted the humble and the meek.
He hath filled the hungry with good things; / and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He remembering his mercy / hath holpen his servant Israel;
As he promised to our forefathers, / Abraham and his seed for ever.
+Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, / and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, / world without end. Amen.

Antiphon (all): Over all the branches of the cedars you alone are higher, where the life of the world hung, where Christ triumphed and death conquered death.  Alleluia!

Please sit or kneel as you are able.

O: Lord, have mercy.

R: Christ, have mercy.

O: Lord, have mercy.

All: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.  Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever.  Amen.

O: We worship you, O Christ.

R: This sign of the holy Cross will be in the sky, when the Lord comes to judge.

O: Proclaim among the nations that God rules.

R: We venerate your Cross, O Lord.

O: O God, hear our prayer.

R: And let our cry come unto you.

Prayers Concerning the Holy Cross and Salvation

These may be prayed as a group, by the officiant, or each by a different member of those present:

O God, whom all creatures obey, and who made everything in your word with wisdom, we suppliants beseech your ineffable mercy, that for those whom you are pleased to redeem through the wood of the holy Cross by the merciful blood of your Son, you who are the repairer of the wood of life and paradise may extinguish the dreadful venom of the serpent in those who believe in you, and through the grace of the Holy Spirit may the cup of salvation always be available. Through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

Shine, O Lord, your countenance upon us, and propitiously bestow the remedy of your blessing upon us so that reflecting upon you, the author of our redemption, in honour of the favourable service of the holy Cross and worshipfully confessing you in holy fear we may be worthy of carrying back the fruit of righteousness face to face with the visage of your majesty, who live and reign together with the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

God who made the gibbet of the blessed Cross, which previously had served as a punishment for evildoers, to profit the redeemed unto life through the death of your Son, grant to your people that the same defense of the faith may be a foundation of hope for favour in adversities, assistance in prosperity, and may his protection preserve us, for whom it is armed in his battle-standard. Through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

God, who through the blood and Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, gave peace to men and the heavenly choir of angels, give to us that we may be filled from the richness of your peace and cheered by the unity of angelic society. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

O: Let us depart in peace, mindful of the salvation wrought for us on the holy Cross of our Saviours passion.

R: Amen.

Translated from Aelfwine’s Prayer Book, ed. Beate Günzel  for the Henry Bradshaw Society, 2009.

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