An emoji in 1662

While celebrating the Holy Eucharist on the Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity this year our friend Fr Michael Burgess made a fascinating discovery in the text of the Gospel. The text used was in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.

Fr Michael asked the members of the congregation following the reading, and he asks us – Can the Church of England claim the first use of the emoji?

An emoji is defined as “a small digital image or icon used to express an idea or emotion in electronic communication.” However, do we now need to change the definition to allow for the discovery of a use in the seventeenth century?

Have a look at the image from the Book of Common Prayer, and there at the top of the image you will see what Fr Michael spotted – the emoji. It’s there in the Gospel set for the Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity (Matthew 6.24f). You may like to check if it is there in your copy of the Book of Common Prayer.

Wishing to share this discovery Fr Michael wrote to The Times, but unfortunately the editor couldn’t see the emoji and so his letter is yet to be printed.

We congratulate the good Father on his sharp eye sight and his further discovery that this emoji is also in the Authorised (King James) Bible (Matthew 6.32).

Perhaps the Book of Common Prayer was an even more visionary work than previously thought.

PS Thank you to our correspondent Antonia who promptly replied to this blog post to show an example of a superabundance of  emojis in the music of the liturgy, reminding us that God’s mercy comes with a smile.

Now we are hoping for other liturgical emoji sightings… 🙂  

About stchrysostoms

St Chrysostom’s is an Anglican (Church of England) parish church in Manchester, UK. We’re an inclusive, diverse and welcoming faith community rejoicing in our Anglo Catholic tradition, where people of many differing backgrounds make friends. Find our Facebook group at
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