Archive Introduction - The Book of Common Prayer, 《教會禱文》1872

Date: Wednesday 19 Oct 2022

Title:                       The Book of Common Prayer 《教會禱文》

Translator:               John Shaw Burdon & Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky

Publication Date:   1872

Publisher:                Peking: Mei Hua Shu Guan


The HKSKH Archives has a copy of the Book of Common Prayer《教會禱文》, 1872 donated by Dr Otto Lam. This is the first edition of the Book of Common Prayer, and it is largely based on the English 1662 Prayer Book. This edition was translated by British CMS missionary John Shaw Burdon and the American Episcopal missionary Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky. The former later became the third Bishop of the Diocese of Victoria (1874 -1897) and the later became Bishop of Shanghai (1877-1884).

This Chinese version of the Book of Common Prayer used the term “天主” for God. Both Burdon and Schereschewsky thought the term “天主” was a more natural expression and suitable for the Chinese context and was adopted by Anglican missionaries in Northern China at that time. Yet, their idea was met with strong opposition from Anglicans in South China. The Chinese Book of Common Prayer in our Archives is the version that later came to southern China, with all of the characters “天主” in the text changed to “”.

If you are interested in further reflections on early Chinese versions the Book of Common Prayer, please visit our website for more detail:



John Shaw Burdon
Source of the image: Wikipedia

Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky
Source of the image: Wikipedia