The Relation of the Oxford Movement to the Twentieth Century Liturgical Renaissance in the Protestant Church and its Effect upon Music, Liturgy, and Architecture

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Oxford Movement, music, renaissance, Protestant Church, liturgy, architecture


Christian Denominations and Sects | History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology | History of Christianity | Music | Music Pedagogy | Religion


The Protestant Church is presently in the throes of a contemporary liturgical renaissance. This movement, which is a trend involved with the renewing of traditions and ceremonies of the early church, is the culmination of a previous reform in England, the Oxford Movement.

The Oxford Movement began on July 14, 1833, as a result of a sermon delivered by John Keble. Determined to restore dignity to the existing services of worship, the leaders of the movement, frequent and reverent celebration of the Eucharist, use of vestments, intoned services, and an increase of ritual and ceremony.

The Oxford Movement influenced all areas of church life including music, liturgy, and architecture. Evidence of its effect is still present today in a) the return to the cruciform plan in church architecture, b) a new emphasis upon symbols, c) a return to ancient plainsong, d) experiments in liturgical services of worship, e) an increase in congregational participation, and f) a new concern of the basic principles and concepts of corporate worship.

Due to the Oxford Movement, a general liturgical reawakening has occurred throughout the Protestant Church. This has caused a trend which has renewed the emphasis upon sacramental worship in the church and an inevitable return to an emphasis upon the Liturgy. Conceivably this movement will cause several churches within the next few years to return to the traditions and practices of the early church which existed before the reforms of Calvin, Luther, and Cromwell.

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status


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