4:30 p.m. - Evensong: The Holy Name of Jesus Christ
One of the oldest and most beautiful liturgies of the world-wide Anglican communion, Evensong is a combination of two of the ancient Roman Catholic daily offices: vespers and compline. It is a meditative service, consisting of scripture, prayer and song. It is relatively brief: there is no communion and no sermon. In the Anglican tradition, of which the American Episcopal church is a part, evensong is sung especially in collegiate chapels and cathedrals, often daily. A tradition of fine choirs has grown up in these institutions, which have no parish congregations of their own. Our service this evening opens with the ancient Greek canticle Phos hilaron (O Gracious Light), followed by a portion of the psalter. After the first reading, the Magnificat is sung. This canticle is Mary’s response to the angel Gabriel’s message that she will be the mother of the Messiah. The Nunc dimittis follows. This canticle is the prayer of the old man Simeon, when he beholds the boy Jesus in the temple and recognizes him to be the Savior of the nations.