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Book of Canons

Passed by James I and by Canterbury Convocation in 1604, and by York Convocation in 1606, the book contained 141 canons covering such things as the conduct of services, the duties of church officers, and the discipline of the clergy. They betray at points an anti-Puritan bias, but generally reflect the Elizabethan Settlement.* Down to 1936 there were minor changes, the convocations reforming their own composition (without seeking statutory authority) and thus becoming more representative in order to be joined with the house of laity in the newly empowered church assembly (see General Synod). In 1939 the archbishops appointed a canon law commission which drew up a draft new code (1947). Revision was undertaken by the convocations (consulting the house of laity). Many changes in statute law were required. The new canons were promulgated in 1964 and 1969, but further, continuous reform of the code has gone on, and the new general synod of the Church of England has a standing commission handling such needs. While the present church- state relationship lasts, such amendments themselves sometimes require a parliamentary measure before gaining the royal assent.