An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Black Letter Days

Lesser feasts of the church year. About sixty-seven lesser feasts were added to the calendar of the English Prayer Book in 1567. These lesser feasts became known as black-letter days. They were distinguished from the major feasts which were known as red-letter days. That term reflects the early practice of printing Prayer Book calendars in red. The major feasts were included in the Prayer Book calendar and printed with red letters. In Prayer Books with single-color printing, major feasts are printed in bold type and lesser feasts are printed in lightface type. See the calendar of the church year (BCP, pp. 19-30). Lesser Feasts and Fasts includes proper collects and lessons for these days of optional observance in the Episcopal calendar, along with biographical and historical information.

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.