Today I have officially launched a Kickstarter project to convert the Anglican Breviary to digital form and to make it available as a completely free web application.
For those not familiar with it, the Anglican Breviary is one of the great liturgical works that has come out of the Catholic movement in Anglicanism. 30 years in the making, it was produced in the year 1955 by the Frank Gavin Liturgical Foundation. Like all breviaries, it contains the traditional hours of prayers of the Western Church: the long early morning Matins office with its readings from the Church Fathers interspersed with psalms; the main offices for the hinges of the day, Lauds and Vespers; the daytime offices of Prime, Terce, Sext, None; the bedtime office of Compline; and the brief Capitular office that includes the martyrology recounting the saints to be remembered. Built on the structure of the Roman Catholic Divine Office according to the usage established by Pius X, it utilizes the Scriptures of the King James Bible and the Coverdale Psalms of the Book of Common Prayer to place these prayer hours within an Anglican idiom.
For more information on the Anglican Breviary itself, visit its home site at www.anglicanbreviary.net, owned and operated by Mr. Daniel Lula, the man responsible for keeping it in print. We have corresponded regarding this initiative, and I have his blessing to proceed.
Transcribing and coding this roughly 2,000 page volume will take a lot of time and energy, so I have split it into three manageable parts.
- The first will see the transcription of the Commons, and the bulk of the behind-the-scenes programming that makes everything work. Additionally, I will be creating a wiki where the transcriptions will be housed in a plain-text form.
- The second portion will include all of the material in the Proper of Seasons.
- The third portion will include all of the material in the Proper of Saints.
Completing this work will accomplish some goals very near and dear to my heart. Obviously, it will preserve the Anglican Breviary for future generations and will introduce it to a far wider audience than it has had in the past. Beyond this clear win, it will accomplish these additional goals:
- The transcription will provide a web-based source of material from the Church Fathers relating to both seasons and saints that can be incorporated into a host of possible future platforms. I plan on pulling it into the St. Bede’s Breviary myself.
- The transcription will give us the opportunity to study lectionary inter-relations in a way not possible before.
- Should we seek to create an updated Anglican Breviary that meshes with the current liturgical calendar used by Anglican churches worldwide (as well as the Roman Catholic Church), a hefty chunk of the necessary material will already be available in a clean, machine-readable form.
My experience with the St. Bede’s Breviary (SBB) has shown me the downside of trying to accomplish such an effort on a voluntary basis; for the sake of my family, my efforts have to be focused on those projects that contribute to our income. As a result, the SBB has often received the last and least of my energy, stolen away in bits of time on weekend mornings before the girls get up. As a Kickstarter funded project, I would be able to engage the Anglican Breviary wholeheartedly, knowing that it was helping me provide for them in a much more direct fashion than the SBB!
I’m hoping to receive pledges to meet my goal by February 5th. That’s not a lot of time, but is—I think—sufficient time provided there is enough energy and will to get this carried out. Please check out the link and consider what you can do to support this project and ensure the future and flourishing of this gem of catholic Anglicanism!