Concerning the Calendar

The Calendar of the Saints is a list of those holy men, women, and children whose lives the faithful are drawn to commemorate. A Saint is placed in the Calendar because he or she, by the grace of God, was made holy, a devout disciple of our Lord, of the kind that worshiped regularly, obeyed the Scriptures, and sought to lead the moral life of a Christian in witness to the risen Lord. Some gave their lives in witness to their faith. A Calendar should not include persons simply because of national importance or political prominence. Even notable good works are not a measure of holiness. To use the words of Mother Teresa, a Saint is a Christian who did ordinary things extraordinarily well.

The Calendar of The Anglican Service Book is structured around the prayer book Calendar of 1979 with the additions that are commonly followed in the Episcopal Church today. All commemorations in Lesser Feasts & Fasts are italicized. Additional Saints, commemorated in many places, have been added from other Anglican Calendars, as well as Calendars of various Western and Eastern Churches. Notable events in the life of Our Lord and his Church are also included. Some parishes and individuals may wish to add their own local commemorations.

For the most part, the Saints are celebrated on their "heavenly birthday," that is to say, the day of death; this has been the custom from the earliest days. In a few cases, where that day and the days near it are filled with more ancient or prominent observances, a translation day is kept. In rare cases, still another day is appointed, such as an ordination day.

This Calendar is put forth to provide the Church with a suitable plan for the faithful offering to God of the daily offices and the daily mass, and as a source for the spiritual growth of the faithful in Christ who are among the saints on earth, and members of his body.

The Calendar of the Church Year

The Church Year consists of two cycles of feasts and holy days: one is dependent upon the movable date of the Sunday of the Resurrection or Easter Day; the other, upon the fixed date of December 25, the Feast of our Lord’s Nativity or Christmas Day.

Easter Day is always the first Sunday after the full moon that falls on or after March 21. It cannot occur before March 22 or after April 25.

The sequence of all Sundays of the Church Year depends upon the date of Easter Day. But the Sundays of Advent are always the four Sundays before Christmas Day, whether it occurs on a Sunday or a weekday. The date of Easter also determines the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday, and the feast of the Ascension on a Thursday forty days after Easter Day.

1. Principal Feasts

The Principal Feasts observed in this Church are the following:

  • Easter Day
  • Ascension Day
  • The Day of Pentecost
  • Trinity Sunday
  • All Saints’ Day, November 1
  • Christmas Day, December 25
  • The Epiphany, January 6

These feasts take precedence of any other day or observance. All Saints’ Day may always be observed on the Sunday following November 1, in addition to its observance on the fixed date.

2. Sundays

All Sundays of the year are feasts of our Lord Jesus Christ. In addition to the dated days listed above, only the following feasts, appointed on fixed days, take precedence of a Sunday:
  • The Holy Name, January 1
  • The Presentation, February 2
  • The Transfiguration, August 6

The feast of the Dedication of a Church, and the feast of its patron or title, may be observed on, or be transferred to, a Sunday, except in the seasons of Advent, Lent, and Easter.

All other Feasts of our Lord, and all other Major Feasts appointed on fixed days in the Calendar, when they occur on a Sunday, are normally transferred to the first convenient open day within the week. When desired, however, the Collect, Preface, and one or more of the Lessons appointed for the Feast may be substituted for those of the Sunday, but not from the Last Sunday after Pentecost through the First Sunday after the Epiphany, or from the Last Sunday after the Epiphany through Trinity Sunday.

With the express permission of the bishop, and for urgent and sufficient reason, some other special occasion may be observed on a Sunday.

3. Holy Days

The following Holy Days are regularly observed throughout the year. Unless otherwise ordered in the preceding rules concerning Sundays, they have precedence over all other days of commemoration or of special observance:
  • Other Feasts of our Lord
  • The Holy Name
  • The Presentation
  • The Annunciation
  • The Visitation [Corpus Christi]
  • Saint John the Baptist
  • The Transfiguration
  • Holy Cross Day
  • Other Major Feasts
  • All feasts of Apostles
  • All feasts of Evangelists
  • Saint Stephen
  • The Holy Innocents
  • Saint Joseph
  • Saint Mary Magdalene Saint Mary the Virgin
  • Saint Michael and All Angels
  • Saint James of Jerusalem
  • Independence Day
  • Thanksgiving Day

Feasts appointed on fixed days in the Calendar are not observed on the days of Holy Week or of Easter Week. Major Feasts falling in these weeks are transferred to the week following the Second Sunday of Easter, in the order of their occurrence.

Feasts appointed on fixed days in the Calendar do not take precedence of Ash Wednesday.

Feasts of our Lord and other Major Feasts appointed on fixed days, which fall upon or are transferred to a weekday, may be observed on any open day within the week. This provision does not apply to Christmas Day, the Epiphany, and All Saints’ Day.

Ash Wednesday Good Friday

4. Days of Special Devotion

The following days are observed by special acts of discipline and self-denial:

Ash Wednesday and the other weekdays of Lent and of Holy Week, except the feast of the Annunciation.

Good Friday and all other Fridays of the year, in commemoration of the Lord’s crucifixion, except for Fridays in the Christmas and Easter seasons, and any Feasts of our Lord which occur on a Friday.

5. Days of Optional Observance

Subject to the rules of precedence governing Principal Feasts, Sundays, and Holy Days, the following may be observed with the Collects, Psalms, and Lessons duly authorized by this Church:

Commemorations listed in the Calendar Other Commemorations, using the Common of Saints The Ember Days, traditionally observed on the Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays after the First Sunday in Lent, the Day of Pentecost, Holy Cross Day, and December 13 The Rogation days, traditionally observed on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before Ascension Day Various Occasions Provided, that there is no celebration of the Eucharist for any such occasion on Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday; and provided further, that none of the Propers appointed for Various Occasions is used as a substitute for, or as an addition to, the Proper appointed for the Principal Feasts.