AskDefine | Define versicle

Dictionary Definition

versicle n : a short verse said or sung by a priest or minister in public worship and followed by a response from the congregation

Extensive Definition

A versicle is the first half of one of a set of preces, said or sung by an officiant or cantor and answered with a said or sung response by the congregation or choir. For example, in the following opening of the Anglican service of Evening Prayer according to the Book of Common Prayer, the first line is the versicle and the second is the response.
O: O Lord, open thou our lips
P: And our mouth shall shew forth thy praise.
In some liturgical books (such as hymnals or breviaries) the symbol "V" or "℣" is used.
versicle in German: Versikel
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