The calendar of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa is published in An Anglican Prayer Book 1989.[a]
The church year begins on the first Sunday of Advent, which is the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day. The church year begins on 01 December 2019 and 29 November 2020
The church year is divided into a number of seasons:
- Advent, Advent is the period which anticipates, prepares for, and builds up to Christmas. There are four Sundays in Advent.
- Christmas, the Christmas season begins on Christmas Day which falls on the 25th of December each year. There are 12 days in Christmas.
- The period of Ordinary time after Epiphany, Epiphany falls on the 6th of January each year, but is usually celebrated on the Sunday between the 2nd and 8th days of January.
- Lent, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday (6 March 2019 and 26 February 2020)
- Easter lasts 50 days, using inclusive counting and begins on the Feast of the Resurrection of the Lord (21 April 2019 and 12 April 2020)
- The period of Ordinary time after Pentecost.
The preface to the calendar in the prayer book describes its purpose: The Church's year both commemorates and proclaims how God came down from heaven to earth in Jesus Christ, who still lives among us by the Holy Spirit until he comes again at the end of time. The yearly observance of the holy days of the calendar is a celebration of what God has done and is doing for our salvation.
Holy days are distinguished as Great Festivals (being the principal celebrations), Festivals (celebrating New Testament events), Commemorations (recalling particular individuals and events), and other Special Days - the observance of the former taking precedence over the latter in the event of clashes. The preface to the calendar describes the commemorations as occasions: when the Church thankfully recalls the work and witness of men and women through whom Christ's saving victory has been manifested from the time of the apostles to the present day.
Each and every Sunday in the year is a Great Festival, in addition the following days are Great Festivals:
- Christmas Day which is celebrated on the 25th of December each year.
- Epiphany which falls on the 6th of January each year, but is usually celebrated on the Sunday between the 2nd and the 8th of January.
- Ascension Day (30 May 2019 and 21 May 2020).
- Corpus Christi also known as the Commemoration of the Holy Communion and falls on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday (20 June 2019 and 11 June 2020).
- All Saints' Day which falls on the 1st day of November each year.
The following Sundays (also Great Festivals) have special significance:
Festivals and commemorations
Festivals are shown in bold text and commemorations are shown in regular type. While this list shares many similarities with other calendars in the Anglican Communion, it is specific to Southern Africa and is determined by the Southern African Synod of Bishops.
- 1: The Holy Name of Jesus: The circumcision of Christ
- 10: William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury and Martyr, 1645
- 11: The Holy Innocents can be kept on this day instead of 28 December
- 13: Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers and Teacher of the Faith, 367
- 14: Richard Meux Benson of Cowley, Religious, 1915
- 17: Anthony of Egypt, Founder of the Religious Life, 356
- 18: The Confession of St Peter
- 21: Agnes, Virgin and Martyr, c.304
- 23: Yona Kanamuzeyi, Deacon and Martyr in Rwanda, Africa, 1964
- 24: Francis de Sales, Bishop of Geneva, 1622
- 25: The Conversion of Paul
- 26: Timothy and Titus
- 27: John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople and Teacher of the Faith, 407
- 28: Thomas Aquinas, Teacher of the Faith, 1274
- 29: Charles Frederick Mackenzie, Bishop in Central Africa, 1862
- 2: The Presentation of our Lord in the Temple
- 3: Anskar, Bishop and Missionary in Denmark and Sweden, 864
- 4: Manche Masemola of Sekhukhuneland, Virgin and Martyr, 1928
- 5: The Martyrs of Japan, 1597
- 9: James Mata Dwane, Priest, 1916
- 14: Cyril and Methodius, Missionaries to the Slavs, 9th century
- 15: Thomas Bray, Priest, 1730
- 20: Mother Cecile of Grahamstown, Religious, 1906
- 23: Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna and Martyr, 155
- 27: George Herbert, Priest, 1632
- 1: David, Bishop and Missionary in Wales, 6th century
- 2: Chad, Bishop of Lichfield, 672
- 3: John and Charles Wesley, Priests, 18th century
- 7: Perpetua and her companions, Martyrs, 202
- 9: Maqhamusela Khanyile of Zululand, Martyr, 1877
- 12: Gregory the Great, Bishop of Rome and Teacher of the Faith, 604
- 17: Patrick, Bishop and Missionary in Ireland, 461
- 18: Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop and Teacher of the Faith, 386
- 19: Thomas Ken, Bishop of Bath and Wells, 1711
- 20: Cuthbert, Bishop of Lindisfarne, 687
- 21: Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury and Martyr, 1556
- 25: The Annunciation of our Lord to the Blessed Virgin Mary
- 29: John Keble, Priest, 1866
- 1: Frederick Denison Maurice, Priest, 1872
- 6: William Law, Priest, 1761
- 11: George Augustus Selwyn, Bishop and Missionary in New Zealand, 1878
- 21: Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury and Teacher of the Faith, 1109
- 23: George, Martyr, 4th century
- 25: St Mark
- 29: Catherine of Siena, 1380
- 1: St Joseph
- 2: Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria and Teacher of the Faith, 373
- 3: St Philip and St James
- 4: Monica, Mother of Augustine of Hippo, 387
- 6: St John may be kept on this day instead of 27 December
- 12: Simon of Cyrene
- 13: Elizabeth Paul of Mthatha
- 19: Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury, 988
- 21: Helena, Mother of the Emperor Constantine, 4th century
- 25: The Venerable Bede, Teacher of the Faith, 735
- 26: Augustine, First Archbishop of Canterbury and Missionary, 605
- 31: The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
- 1: Justin Martyr, c. 165
- 2: The Martyrs of Lyon, 177
- 3: The Martyrs of Uganda, 1886
- 5: Boniface, Bishop and Martyr in Germany, 755
- 9: Columba of Iona, Missionary in Scotland, 597
- 11: St Barnabas
- 13: Anthony of Lisbon, Religious, 1231
- 14: Basil and his Companions, Teachers of the Faith, 4th century
- 18: Bernard Mizeki, Martyr in Mashonaland, 1896
- 22: Alban, First Martyr in Britain, c. 304
- 24: The Birth of St John the Baptist
- 28: Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons and Teacher of the Faith, c. 202
- 29: St Peter and St Paul
- 1: Robert Gray, First Bishop of Cape Town, 1872
- 2: The Martyrs of New Guinea, 1942
- 8: The Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary
- 13: Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage and Martyr, 258
- 14: Holy Cross Day
- 16: Ninian, Bishop and Missionary in Scotland, c. 432
- 19: Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury, 690
- 20: John Coleridge Patteson, Bishop of Melanesia and Martyr, 1871
- 21: St Matthew
- 26: Lancelot Andrewes, Bishop of Winchester, 1626
- 29: St Michael and All Angels
- 30: Jerome, Priest and Teacher of the Faith, 420
- 1: Remigius, Bishop and Missionary to the Franks, 530
- 2: Anthony, Earl of Shaftsbury, Philanthropist, 1885
- 4: Francis of Assisi, Religious, 1226
- 6: Sister Henrietta CSM and AA
- 7: William Tyndale, Priest and Martyr, 1536
- 11: Philip the Deacon
- 15: Teresa of Avila, Religious, 1582
- 16: Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley, Bishops and Martyrs, 1555
- 17: Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr, c. 110
- 18: St Luke
- 19: Henry Martyn, Missionary to the East, 1812
- 28: St Simon and St Jude
- 2: The Commemoration of the Faithful Departed
- 3: The Martyrs of Mbokotwana, 1880
- 4: Martin de Porres, Religious, 1639
- 7: Willibrord, Bishop and Missionary in the Netherlands, 739
- 8: Martyrs and Confessors of our Time
- 10: Leo the Great, Bishop of Rome and Teacher of the Faith, 461
- 11: Martin, Bishop of Tours, 397
- 12: Charles Simeon, Priest, 1836
- 14: Samuel Seabury, Bishop in America, 1784
- 16: Margaret, Queen of Scotland, 1093
- 17: Hilda of Whitby, Religious, 680
- 22: Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr at Rome, c. 230
- 23: Clement, Bishop of Rome and Martyr, c. 100
- 30: St Andrew
- 1: Nicholas Ferrar, Deacon and Religious, 1637
- 3: Francis Xavier, Priest and Missionary to the East, 1552
- 4: John of Damascus, Teacher of the Faith, c. 760
- 5: Peter Masiza, Priest, 1907
- 7: Ambrose, Bishop of Milan and Teacher of the Faith, 397
- 24: Christmas Eve
- 26: St Stephen This Festival may be transferred to 3 August
- 27: St John This Festival may be transferred to 6 May
- 28: The Holy Innocents This Festival may be transferred to 11 January
- 29: Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury and Martyr, 1170
Days of Special Devotion are Ash Wednesday, the weekdays of Holy Week (including the Easter Vigil), and the weekdays of Easter Week. Additionally Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are fast days.
Ember Days fall on the following Sundays (and include the Wednesday and Friday prior): the Third Sunday in Advent, the Second Sunday in Lent, Trinity Sunday, and the Twenty Sixth Sunday of the Year. On these days particularly prayers are offered for theological institutions, the ordained, and those preparing for ordination.
Rogation Days are the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday following the Twenty Eighth Sunday of the Year and can be moved to suit local custom. On these days God's blessing is asked for the fruitfulness of the earth and peoples labour.
The Harvest Thanksgiving is celebrated according to local custom.
Evening Prayer on the eve of Christmas, Pentecost, and Ascension are services of special preparation for those Festivals.
Notes and references
- ^ The Anglican Church of Southern Africa publishes a lectionary each year. This lectionary is now based on the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL). The naming of some of the festivals in the RCL is different from the names given in An Anglican Prayer Book 1989; the main change is that the nth Sunday of the Year is now named the mth Sunday after Epiphany or the kth Sunday after Pentecost, as the case may be.