What are Clerks in historic Anglicanism, mentioned in the canons

Discussion in 'Sacraments and Holy Orders' started by DivineOfficeNerd, Feb 27, 2018.

  1. DivineOfficeNerd

    DivineOfficeNerd Active Member Anglican

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    What would be the modern equivalent of a clerk? Historically, how were clerks chosen? The Clerk's Book of 1549 and the Canons of 1604 shed some light, but not much. What other information out there could be found for the clerk in the modern church?
     
  2. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    My understanding is that Clerk and Clerke are simply archaic forms of Cleric and refer to clergy (Clerk's in Holy Orders) in any of the three sacred orders.
     
  3. Symphorian

    Symphorian Well-Known Member

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    Non ordained men. More an office of former times I would say. They were chosen by the parish priest. Duties mainly included leading the responses, psalms and reading the lessons in Mattins/Evensong. (Possibly also reading the Epistle in some cases.)

    Not sure that we have an equivalent today......Lay Worship Leader perhaps? Whilst the latter are encouraged to assist the Priest during services, their main role is to lead non Eucharistic worship in the absence of an ordained minister. I can remember when Licensed Lay Readers acted in a similar way to Clerks.

    Clerks sometimes got above their station, Laud and Andrews having to clamp down on some of their exploits in the 17th century.
     
  4. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

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    My late beloved grandmother used to refer to the altar boys serving at Mass as clerks of the altar
     
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  5. Cameron

    Cameron Active Member

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    I've heard this several times as well. It might be an Anglo-Irish term for acolyte or altar boy. In Anglican terms, I can only think of a lay reader as the modern equivalent. In our terms, I think of an altar server or an individual permitted to lead services of the word, in the absence of a priest.
     

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