I just started reading Treasure Island by RL Stevenson. The very first sentence says: "...I take up my pen in the year of grace 17__ and...".

I had never encountered "grace" used in such fashion and failed to figure out what it is doing there.


1 Answer 1


The 'year of grace' means the 'liturgical year number counting from the birth of Christ'. Each Christian liturgical year begins on the first Sunday of Advent, so that the 'year of grace 2020' began on December 1st, 2019. Advent can fall on any date between (and including) November 27 and December 3. The word 'grace' can mean 'gift of God', the 'gift' being, in this case, the sending by God of his son, Jesus. This usage is a little old-fashioned, and is at the present time mainly used in in religious circles:

Liturgical year

  • 1
    You might mention that this usage is archaic, and so should not be used in new writing. (unless you want to sound like an 18th century novel)
    – James K
    Dec 21, 2019 at 22:42
  • It is actually quite specific, and in current religious usage, (as I have just discovered) and my answer now reflects that. Dec 22, 2019 at 0:35

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