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Did marriage customs vary before and in the Reformation period?

12 June 2020

Email if you have any answers to the questions, below


In films and TV mini-series, Catholic marriages, whether in the centuries before or soon after the Reformation, are pictured taking place before the altar in the nave of the church or cathedral. Yet I always understood that marriages took place at the church door, and only afterwards did the group enter the church to celebrate the mass. Were there different customs in England and on the Continent, and for different classes in society?


Your answer: 

Marriage services, in English tradition, have always been in two parts: taking of vows followed by a blessing and (officially until 1662) a eucharist. The taking of vows took place outside the church door until 1549 and thereafter in the nave. The blessing was done near the altar or communion table. So a historical reconstruction ought to show vows being exchanged where people can hear them: at the church door or in the nave, and only a blessing or receiving of communion at the altar.

(Professor) Nicholas Orme
Department of History, University of Exeter


Your questions: 

Why does the Prayer Book direct that the words “Holy Father” be omitted in the Preface to the Prayer of Consecration on Trinity Sunday? Surely, above all days, this is the day when they should be included?

J. R.

The C of E maintains its ministry through apostolic succes­sion, which I have been told it does through the ordination of bishops by bishops from the Old Catholic Church of Utrecht. Is this still done? If so, how many of our current bishops were ordained by Old Catholics?

B. J.


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Tue 24 May @ 15:34
Dominic Walker reads about spiritual renewal https://t.co/SHfK5n0JL2

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