An Order of Service for the Enthronement of the Boy Bishop
Boy Bishop Benjamin Odell, All Saints' Cathedral, Albany, New York, 1992
Photo: Full Homely Divinity
Used by permission
According to the late 20th century use of the Episcopal Cathedral of All Saints in Albany, New York
While boy bishopping is most at home in a cathedral, it was not limited to cathedrals in medieval times and need not be today, either. Many parish churches have a chair set aside for the use of the bishop when he makes his regular visitation and, where such a chair does not exist, a suitable throne may always be improvised. In keeping with the whimsical spirit of boy bishopping, the following order should be freely adapted to meet local circumstances.
The Presenter, standing before the Dean with the Boy Bishop-elect, addresses the Dean:
Mr. Dean, I present to you N.N., whom, you approving and God willing, we would seal as Boy Bishop.
N., do you desire to become the Boy Bishop?
Will you be diligent in service and virtuous in conduct,
both in public and in private?
I will, the Lord being my helper.
Let us pray.
Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.
Our Father. . . .
O Almighty God, who out of the mouths of babes and infants art pleased to perfect praise: Grant this thy son grace, that he may praise thee with a child-like heart. Keep him, O Lord, from wandering thoughts and all irreverence, and from whatsoever other sin may most easily beset him; and make us all to glorify thy holy Name, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Boy Bishop kneels before the Dean, who blesses him, saying:
Christ, the Lamb of God, whose Name we praise, grant thee to sing his song amongst the choirs of angels in heaven. Thrice Holy Lord, before whom angels veil their faces, we confess our unworthiness to praise thee. Pardon, O Lord, all our sins, negligences, and ignorances of the time that is past. Forgive our wandering thoughts, our heedless words, and our unworthy lives, and enable us so to sing thy praises now that we may be numbered among thy blessed ones, who, with robes washed white in the Blood of the Lamb, praise thee day and night in thy Temple, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Boy Bishop is then invested with the apparel of his office as the following prayers are said:
At the Pectoral Cross:
Vouchsafe, O Lord Jesus Christ, to defend him against all the assaults of the enemy with the sign of thy most holy Cross.
At the Stole:
Render back to him, O Lord, everlasting life's raiment, made forfeit in the transgression of our first parents; and grant that he may be found worthy to wear the same in everlasting gladness.
At the Cope:
Clothe him, O Lord, with the robe of salvation and the garment of gladness and righteousness.
At the Mitre:
Set on his head, O Lord, the mitre and helmet of salvation, that he may be unhurt of the assaults of the ancient enemy and all his adversaries.
When the Boy Bishop has been invested, he stands up and the Dean conducts him to a throne. The Dean then invests him with the Crozier and says:
N., we do deliver into your hands the pastoral staff and install you in the chair pertaining to your office with all and singular its rights and privileges. May the Lord preserve your going out and your coming in, from this time forth, for evermore. Amen.
The Boy Bishop then stands and says:
The Lord be with you.
And with thy spirit.
Let us pray.
Almighty God, who in thy love didst give thy servant Nicholas a perpetual name for deeds of mercy both on land and sea: We pray thee that thy Church may never cease to work for the happiness of children, the poor, and those tossed by the tempests of doubt and grief; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be thanks and praise from all the company of saints, now and for ever. Amen.
Sit Nomen Domini benedictum.
Adiutorium nostrum in Nomine Domini.
Benedicat vos omnipotens Deus, +Pater, et +Filius, et +Spiritus Sanctus.**
The Doxology is sung and the altar party all retire, except the Boy Bishop who remains in his throne to receive the homage of the people and to give them his blessing.
**Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Our help is in the name of the Lord.
May Almighty God bless you,
the +Father, and the +Son, and the +Holy Spirit. Amen
The Cathedral of All Saints, Albany, New York, celebrated the Enthronement of the Boy Bishop as part of its Medieval Faire. The custom began in 1979 and continued for more than twenty years, until the fair was discontinued.
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From Full Homely Divinity. Used by permission.