In the Fourth Nocturn


Who are you?

I’m Daphne Preston-Kendal, a millennial snowflake and Anglican in the Church of England living in Berlin, Germany.

Old High Churchlady with a streak of Prayer Book Catholicism. Anglo-Catholic socialist. Perhaps prospective clergywoman. Liturgical traditionalist, theological progressive. Still unhealthily fascinated by liturgics. Arminian with an Origenian hope for universal salvation. Transgender woman. Linguistics student by week, servant of the church by weekend.

Why ‘In the Fourth Nocturn’?

In the mediaeval daily office, the office of Matins was structured around ‘nocturns’: a series of psalms followed by three lessons, with each of the lessons being followed by a responsory.

Most ferias (ordinary days of the year), as well as some of the lesser feasts which were called ‘feasts of three lessons’, had only one nocturn at Matins. More important days, ‘feasts of nine lessons’, had three nocturns.

Since the purpose of this blog is to record my thoughts that arise from the discussions I have with my prayer group after we have prayed Mattins each morning (albeit that we pray it from the Book of Common Prayer which, among other things, reformed away the arcane system of nocturns and graded feasts), ‘In the Fourth Nocturn’ seems a suitable way to describe the contents of this blog: there is no fourth nocturn at Matins, so ‘the fourth nocturn’ might describe the pious and godly conversation that goes on after it has concluded.

Not all my posts come from these discussions: some will be about other liturgical issues that arise while we’re praying, and others from discussions at my church at other times, such as after our Sunday evening eucharist. Still others will be things I’ve been thinking about independently.

Also please note that although the ideas for topics may come from these groups, the views I post here are mine and mine alone.