On the 250th anniversary of the first prayer book published in Manx Gaelic and as a part of Christmas 2015 celebration IOM Post issued a set of five Manx Christmas Prayer Book stamps.
A sparkling set of five stamps illustrated by Julia Ashby Smyth highlight Manx words and religious symbols contained in the first edition of the Manx Christmas Prayer Book published 250 years ago this Christmas by Bishop Phillips and the Manx clergy.
The Manx word and a religious emblem are closely associated with the spiritual aspects of Christmas and winter festival. The words and images themselves draw upon an extensive history of the Manx Prayer Book.
Christmas 2015 – The Manx Christmas Prayer Book
The concept of a Manx Gaelic Prayer Book, Book of Common Prayer was first translated by John Phillips, Bishop of Sodor and Man in 1610, when he interpreted the 1604 edition of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer.
The Manx edition to be published however used the 1662 English version of the Anglican Book of Prayer and was published under the auspices of the Society of Propagation of Christian Knowledge 250 years ago in 1765.
Both translations were then brought together in 1893 with a two volume edition by Professor John Rhys and published by the Manx Society.
The Prayer Book is a Church of England document, of significance not just for worship but also because it is at the heart of the religious establishment (the C of E being ‘The Established Church’) by virtue of the Acts of Uniformity which require use of the Prayer Book.
The artist, Julia Ashby-Smyth who draws upon this rich history to produce a striking set of stamps using the Manx Prayer Book itself.
Julia captures a certain Manxness throughout the collection by linking traditional Manx Gaelic terminology which is perhaps familiar with well-known Manx graphic motifs including for example: the word ‘Shee’ meaning ‘Peace’ accompanied by an image of a white dove of peace, while ‘Graith’ meaning ‘Love’ is represented by an angel. ‘Grayse’ meaning ‘Grace’ is represented in motherhood with Mary and Jesus. ‘Credjue’ meaning ‘Faith’ is shown with a cross, and finally, ‘Strength’, ‘Niart’ in Manx is depicted as a Wiseman.
This highly-collectable festive First Day Cover for Christmas 2015 contains the story of the beginnings of the first prayer book translated into Manx by Bishop Phillips in 1765.
Title: Christmas 2015 stamps collection Isle of Man
Date of Issue: 23rd October 2015
Country: Isle of Man
Denominations: 44p, 77p, 320p, 93p, 123p
Source: IOM post office