The Book of Common Prayer : Forms of Prayer to be Used at Sea

Jay Roches

Apr 14, 2012
The Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England includes a section on "Forms of Prayer to be Used at Sea." It begins by saying that daily services aboard ships are to be the same as on land. There are prayers specific to the Royal Navy, and there are prayers for storms as well as prayers of thanksgiving to be used after a storm.

For ships in imminent danger, there is a Confession to be recited by the faithful and an Absolution to be given by a priest. I do know that a Catholic priest gave a general absolution shortly before the sinking, but I can't recall now if there is a record of an Anglican priest doing so.

There is a very beautifully decorated manuscript from 1904 here. The section begins on page 343.
Other editions can be found here.

Easter Sunday was April 7th, 1912 (recall the Titanic being 'dressed' for Good Friday), so the 14th was the first Sunday after Easter. The manuscript referenced above has the collect, epistle and gospel (1 John 5:4 and John 20:19) for that day on page 140.

Not being Anglican, I cannot say exactly how a service would be conducted, but it is most likely that the service would have been conducted according to the Book of Common Prayer, and the link above provides an example of a decorated Edwardian manuscript.

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