Thomas Cranmer and the First Day of Lent

Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury


The Ash Wednesday (The first day of Lent) ritual of the Church of England, Mother Church of the Anglican Communion, contains “The Imposition of Ashes” in its Ash Wednesday liturgy. During the archbishopric of Thomas Cranmer, however, the practice of sprinkling ashes on the forehead as a sign of humiliation was eliminated, so the following Collect of his original composition was crafted.
Though the “Imposition of Ashes” returned to the Anglican Communion, after over four centuries, the Collect remains unchanged.
“Almighty and everlasting God, which hatest nothing that thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all them that be penitent; Create and in us new and contrite hearts, that we may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ.”
— Book of Common Prayer, 1549 (and all editions thereafter)

Beth von Staats

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