Litany

LITANY. In the 4th century this name began specially to be applied to a Form of Supplication, used in times of need, which was sung in procession, with hymns and frequent responses, and with collects at the various halting places. The old Litanies bore a general resemblance to ours. In 1544 Cranmer, by desire of the king, drew up the first English Litany, which was compiled principally from ancient sources. The Litany at first was a separate service. In 1662 it was ordered to be sung after Morning Prayer. The Act of Uniformity of the present reign, 1872, allows it to be used in the Morning or Evening, or as a separate service. It was ordered for Wednesdays and Fridays only in 1549; Sundays were added in 1552.