Posted by: rbbadger | July 19, 2009

A Prayer for the Emperor

As I’ve mentioned before, we have all of the major denominations of Protestant Christianity well represented in Korea, including even the Anglican (Episcopal) Church.  The Church of England sent a missionary bishop by the name Charles John Corfe.  The Book of Common Prayer, the liturgy used by the Anglicans, was translated into Korean.  Apparently, Bishop Corfe was an Anglo-Catholic, something he shared in common with not a few of the great Church of England missionaries.  The liturgical texts provided are sort of something like the Tridentine Latin Mass superimposed on the Communion Service of the Book of Common Prayer.  Project Canterbury has a version of the 1938 liturgy as it was used in Korea.  It is printed in both Korean and English.  You may see it by clicking here.

In the older version of the liturgy which was translated into Korean from English, there were a couple of prayers which probably have long since been omitted.  These were said immediately following the collect for the day.  The first is the prayer for the Emperor.

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, we are taught by Thy Holy Word that the hearts of kings are in Thy rule and governance and that Thou dost dispose and turn them as it seemeth best to Thy godly wisdom. We humbly beseech Thee so to dispose the heart of Thy servant the Emperor of this country that he may be led into the way of truth, and study to preserve the people committed to his charge in wealth, peace and godliness. Direct and prosper all his consultations to the advancement of Thy glory, the good of Thy Church the safety, honour and welfare of his Dominions; that all things being ordered and settled upon the best and surest foundations, peace and happiness, truth and justice, religion and piety may be established among us for all generations. These and all other necessaries as well for him, as for us and Thy whole Church we humbly beg in the Name and Mediation of Jesus Christ our most Blessed Lord and Saviour. Amen.

Following this, the prayer for the conversion of Korea was said:

O God, Whose blessed Son was manifested that He might destroy the works of the Devil and make us the sons of God and heirs of everlasting life, mercifully look upon the people of Corea; take from them all ignorance, hardness of heart and whatsoever else may hinder them from being brought to the knowledge of Thy Grace and faith in Thee; that being made partakers of the Divine Nature they may receive the exceeding great and precious promises which Thou hast given us through the same Thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Anglican Church in Korea does have a very beautiful cathedral, located not inappropriately near the British Embassy.  Whether or not they’ve adopted the very strange theological modernism adopted by the Episcopal Church in the USA, I can’t say.  They do ordain women, however.  I’m not sure what response, if any, they will have to the Episcopal Church’s decision to drop the moratorium on ordaining gays and lesbians this past week.  A number of the member churches of the Anglican Communion may leave if the Episcopal Church is not expelled.


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