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An intercessory prayer including various petitions that are said or sung by the leader and fixed responses by the congregation. It was used as early as the fifth century in Rome. It was led by a deacon, with the collects led by a bishop or priest. The litany was the first English language rite that was prepared by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556). It was first published in 1544. The 1979 BCP titled the litany "The Great Litany" (pp. 148-154), distinguishing it from other litanies in the BCP. The Great Litany may be done before the eucharist, or after the collects of Morning or Evening Prayer, or separately. The BCP also includes a Litany of Penitence in the Ash Wednesday service (pp. 267-269); a Litany at the Time of Death (pp. 462-464); a Litany for Ordinations, which is also used in the Celebration of a New Ministry (pp. 548-551, 560); a Litany of Thanksgiving for a Church, which may be used for reaffirmation of mission and ministry when a building has been used for an extended time without consecration, or on the anniversary of the dedication or consecration of a church, or at other times (pp. 577-579); and a general thanksgiving in the form of a Litany of Thanksgiving (pp. 836-837). The BOS includes a Litany of Healing in a public service of healing, and a Litany for the Church in the service for the founding of a church. See Great Litany, The. 

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.
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