Singing God's Praise in Choral Evensong
What is Evensong?
The roots for the Office of Evensong date back to the early church, and those roots are found in the Temple worship of the Jews. Communal prayer at specified hours of the day have always been a part of the Judaeo-Christian tradition.
In the monastic practices of the Western church, the community gathered nine times in a 24-hour period for prayer:
Vespers (at the end of the day)After Constantine's conversion, Cathedrals throughout the church observed prayer three times each day - morning, evening, and sometimes during the night. These services came to be called Matins, Vespers, and Vigils.
Compline (upon retiring)
Vigils (sometime during the night)
Matins (at sunrise)
Prime (during the first hour of daylight)
Terce (at the third hour)
Sext (at the sixth hour)
None (at the ninth hour)
Vespers (at the end of the day)
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During the English Reformation, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556) combined elements of the offices of Vespers and Compline to create the office of Evensong. A concise Introduction to Evensong, written by Jeff Konz, may be found at the website of Pastyme, a choral ensemble in North Carolina.