One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
More fully "Ante-Communion Service". The earlier part of the Communion Service in the Book of Common Prayer, which extends from the beginning of the office to the end of the general prayer ‘For the whole state of Christ's Church militant here in earth’, or, in the American rite, to the Gospel; (also) the first part of a Eucharistic service in which Communion is not received.
Mid 17th century; earliest use found in John Taylor (1578–1653), poet. From ante- + communion.
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