|« Prev||The Sacrament of the Eucharist||Next »|
§ 95. The Sacrament of the Eucharist.
Comp. the Literature in vol. i. § 38 and § 102, the corresponding sections in the Doctrine Histories and Archaeologies, and the treatises of G. E. Steitz on the historical development of the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper in the Greek church, in Dorner’s “Jahrbücher für Deutsche Theologie,” for 1864 and 1865. In part also the liturgical works of Neale, Daniel, etc., cited below (§ 98), and Philip Freeman: The Principles of Divine Service. Lond. Part i. 1855, Part ii. 1862. (The author, in the introduction to the second part, states as his object: “To unravel, by means of an historical survey of the ancient belief concerning the Holy Eucharist, viewed as a mystery, and of the later departures from it, the manifold confusions which have grown up around the subject, more especially since the fatal epoch of the eleventh century.” But the book treats not so much of the doctrine of the Eucharist, as of the ceremony of it, and the eucharistic sacrifice, with special reference to the Anglican church.)
The Eucharist is both a sacrament wherein God conveys to us a certain blessing, and a sacrifice which man offers to God. As a sacrament, or the communion, it stands at the head of all sacred rites; as a sacrifice it stands alone. The celebration of it under this twofold character forms the holy of holies of the Christian cultus in the ancient church, and in the greater part of Christendom at this day.999999 Freeman, l.c. Introduction to Part ii. (1857), p. 2, says of the Eucharist, not without justice, from a historical and theological point of view: “It was confessedly through long ages of the church, and is by the vast majority of the Christian world at this hour, conceived to be ... no less than the highest line of contact and region of commingling between heaven and earth known to us, or provided for us;—a borderland of mystery, where, by gradations baffling sight and thought, the material truly blends with the spiritual, and the visible shades off into the unseen; a thing, therefore, which of all events or gifts in this world most nearly answers to the highest aspirations and deepest yearnings of our wonderfully compounded being; while in some ages and climes of the church it has been elevated into something yet more awful and mysterious.”
We consider first the doctrine of the Eucharist as a sacrament, then the doctrine of the Eucharist as a sacrifice, and finally the celebration of the eucharistic communion and eucharistic sacrifice.
The doctrine of the sacrament of the Eucharist was not a subject of theological controversy and ecclesiastical action till the time of Paschasius Radbert, in the ninth century; whereas since then this feast of the Saviour’s dying love has been the innocent cause of the most bitter disputes, especially in the age of the Reformation, between Papists and Protestants, and among Lutherans, Zwinglians, and Calvinists. Hence the doctrine of the ancient church on this point lacks the clearness and definiteness which the Nicene dogma of the Trinity, the Chalcedonian Christology, and the Augustinian anthropology and soteriology acquired from the controversies preceding them. In the doctrine of baptism also we have a much better right to speak of a consensus patrum, than in the doctrine of the holy Supper.
In general, this period, following the representatives of the mystic theory in the previous one, was already very strongly inclined toward the doctrine of transubstantiation and toward the Greek and Roman sacrifice of the mass, which are inseparable in so far as a real sacrifice requires the real presence of the victim. But the kind and mode of this presence are not yet particularly defined, and admit very different views: Christ may be conceived as really present either in and with the elements (consubstantiation, impanation), or under the illusive appearance of the changed elements (transubstantiation), or only dynamically and spiritually.
In the previous period we distinguish three views: the mystic view of Ignatius, Justin Martyr, and Irenaeus; the symbolical view of Tertullian and Cyprian; and the allegorical or spiritualistic view of Clement of Alexandria and Origen. In the present the first view, which best answered the mystic and superstitious tendency of the time, preponderated, but the second also was represented by considerable authorities.10001000 Rückert divides the fathers into 2 classes: the Metabolical, and the Symbolical. The symbolical view he assigns to Tertullian, Clement, Origen, Euseb., Athan., and Augustine. But to this designation there are many objections. Of the Synecdochian (Lutheran) interpretation of the words of institution the ancient church knew nothing.” So says Kahnis, Luth. Dogmatik, ii. p. 221.
I. The realistic and mystic view is represented by several fathers and the early liturgies, whose testimony we shall further cite below. They speak in enthusiastic and extravagant terms of the sacrament and sacrifice of the altar. They teach a real presence of the body and blood of Christ, which is included in the very idea of a real sacrifice, and they see in the mystical union of it with the sensible elements a sort of repetition of the incarnation of the Logos. With the act of consecration a change accordingly takes place in the elements, whereby they become vehicles and organs of the life of Christ, although by no means necessarily changed into another substance. To denote this change very strong expressions are used, like μεταβολή, μεταβάλλειν, μεταβάλλεσθαι, μεταστοιχειοῦσθαι, μεταποιεῖσθαι, mutatio, translatio, transfiguratio, transformatio;10011001 But not yet the technical term transubstantiatio, which was introduced by Paschasius Radbertus toward the middle of the ninth century, and the corresponding Greek term μετουσίωσις, which is still later. illustrated by the miraculous transformation of water into wine, the assimilation of food, and the pervasive power of leaven.
Cyril of Jerusalem goes farther in this direction than any of the fathers. He plainly teaches some sort of supernatural connection between the body of Christ and the elements, though not necessarily a transubstantiation of the latter. Let us hear the principal passages.10021002 Comp. especially his five mystagogical discourses, addresses to the newly baptized. Cyril’s doctrine is discussed at large in Rückert, Das Abendmahl, sein Wesen u. seine Geschichte, p. 415 ff. Comp. also Neander, Dogmengesch. i. p. 426, and, in part against Rückert, Kahnis, Die Luth. Dogmatik, ii. p. 211 f “Then follows,” he says in describing the celebration of the Eucharist, “the invocation of God, for the sending of his Spirit to make the bread the body of Christ, the wine the blood of Christ. For what the Holy Ghost touches is sanctified and transformed.” “Under the type of the bread10031003 Ἐν τύπῳ ἄρτου, which may mean either under the emblem of the bread (still existing as such), or under the outward form, sub specie panis. More naturally the former. is given to thee the body, under the type of the wine is given to thee the blood, that thou mayest be a partaker of the body and blood of Christ, and be of one body and blood with him.”10041004 Σύσσωμος καὶσύναιμος αὐτοῦ. “After the invocation of the Holy Ghost the bread of the Eucharist is no longer bread, but the body of Christ.” “Consider, therefore, the bread and the wine not as empty elements, for they are, according to the declaration of the Lord, the body and blood of Christ.” In support of this change Cyril refers at one time to the wedding feast at Cana, which indicates, the Roman theory of change of substance; but at another to the consecration of the chrism, wherein the substance is unchanged. He was not clear and consistent with himself. His opinion probably was, that the eucharistic elements lost by consecration not so much their earthly substance, as their earthly purpose.
Gregory of Nyssa, though in general a very faithful disciple of the spiritualistic Origen, is on this point entirely realistic. He calls the Eucharist a food of immortality, and speaks of a miraculous transformation of the nature of the elements into the glorified body of Christ by virtue of the priestly blessing.10051005 Orat. catech. magna, c. 37. Comp. Neander, l.c. i. p. 428, and Kahnis, ii. 213.
Chrysostom likewise, though only incidentally in his homilies, and not in the strain of sober logic and theology, but of glowing rhetoric, speaks several times of a union of our whole nature with the body of Christ in the Eucharist, and even of a manducatio oralis.10061006 Of an ἐμπῆξαιτοὺς ὀδόντας τῇ σαρκὶκαὶσυμπλακῆναι Comp. the passages from Chrysostomin Ebrard and Rückert, l.c., and Kahnis, ii. p. 215 ff.
Of the Latin fathers, Hilary,10071007 De Trinit. viii. 13 sq. Comp. Rückert, l.c. p. 460 ff. Ambrose,10081008 De Mysteriis, c. 8 and 9, where a mutatio of the species elementorum by the word of Christ is spoken of, and the changing of Moses’ rod into a serpent, and of the Nile into blood, is cited in illustration. The genuineness of this small work, however, is doubtful. Rückert considers Ambrosethe pillar of the mediaeval doctrine of the Supper, which he finds in his work De mysteries, and De initiandis. and Gaudentius († 410) come nearest to the later dogma of transubstantiation. The latter says: “The Creator and Lord of nature, who produces bread from the earth, prepares out of bread his own body, makes of wine his own blood.”10091009 Serm. p. 42: “Ipse naturarum creator et dominus, qui producit de terra panem, de pane rursus, quia et potest et promisit, efficit proprium corpus, et qui de aqua vinum fecit, facit et de vino sanguinem.” But, on the other hand, Gaudentius (bishop of Brixia) calls the supper a figure of the passion of Christ, and the bread the figure (figura) of the body of Christ (p. 43). Comp. Rückert, l.c. 477 f.
But closely as these and similar expressions verge upon the Roman doctrine of transubstantiation, they seem to contain at most a dynamic, not a substantial, change of the elements into the body and the blood of Christ. For, in the first place, it must be remembered there is a great difference between the half-poetic, enthusiastic, glowing language of devotion, in which the fathers, and especially the liturgies, speak of the eucharistic sacrifice, and the clear, calm, and cool language of logic and doctrinal definition. In the second place, the same fathers apply the same or quite similar terms to the baptismal water and the chrism of confirmation, without intending to teach a proper change of the substance of these material elements into the Holy Ghost. On the other hand, they not rarely use, concerning the bread and wine, τύπος, ἀντίτυπα, figura, signum, and like expressions, which denote rather a symbolical than a metabolical relation of them to the body and blood of the Lord. Finally, the favorite comparison of the mysterious transformation with the incarnation of the Logos, which, in fact, was not an annihilation of the human nature, but an assumption of it into unity with the divine, is of itself in favor of the continuance of the substance of the elements; else it would abet the Eutychian heresy.
II. The symbolical view, though on a realistic basis, is represented first by Eusebius, who calls the Supper a commemoration of Christ by the symbols of his body and blood, and takes the flesh and blood of Christ in the sixth chapter of John to mean the words of Christ, which are spirit and life, the true food of the soul, to believers.10101010 Demonstr. evang. 1, c. 10; Theol. eccl. iii. c. 12, and the fragment of a tract, De paschate, published by Angelo Mai in Scriptorum veterum nova collectio, vol. i. p. 247. Comp. Neander, l.c. i. 430, and especially Steitz, second article (1865), pp. 97-106. Here appears the influence of his venerated Origen, whose views in regard to the sacramental aspect of the Eucharist he substantially repeats.
But it is striking that even Athanasius, “the father of orthodoxy,” recognized only a spiritual participation, a self-communication of the nourishing divine virtue of the Logos, in the symbols of the bread and wine, and incidentally evinces a doctrine of the Eucharist wholly foreign to the Catholic, and very like the older Alexandrian or Origenistic, and the Calvinistic, though by no means identical with the latter.10111011 To this result H. Voigt comes, after the most thorough investigation, in his learned monograph on the doctrine of Athanasius, Bremen, 1861, pp. 170-181, and since that time also Steitz, in his second article, already quoted, pp. 109-127. Möhler finds in the passage Ad Scrap. iv. 19 (the principal eucharistic declaration of Athanasius then known), the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Supper (Athanasius der Gr p. 560 ff.), but by a manifestly strained interpretation, and in contradiction with passages in the more recently known Festival Letters of Athanasius, which confirm the exposition of Voigt. By the flesh and blood in the mysterious discourse of Jesus in the sixth chapter of John, which he refers to the Lord’s Supper, he understands not the earthly, human, but the heavenly, divine manifestation of Jesus, a spiritual nutriment coming down from above, which the Logos through the Holy Ghost communicates to believers (but not to a Judas, nor to the unbelieving).10121012 So in the main passage, the fourth Epistle to Serapion (Ad Scrap. iv. 19), which properly treats of the sin against the Holy Ghost (c. 8-23), and has been variously interpreted in the interest of different confessions, but now receives new light from several passages in the recently discovered Syriac Festival Letters of Athanasius, translated by Larsow, Leipzig, 1852, pp. 59, 78 sqq., 153 sqq., and especially p. 101. With this view accords his extending of the participation of the eucharistic food to believers in heaven, and even to the angels, who, on account of their incorporeal nature, are incapable of a corporeal participation of Christ.10131013 In the Festival Letters in Larsow, p. 101, Athanasius says: “And not only, my brethren, is this bread [of the Eucharist] a food of the righteous, and not only are the saints who dwell on earth nourished with such bread and blood, but also in heaven we eat such food; for even to the higher spirits and the angels the Lord is nutriment, and He is the delight of all the powers of heaven; to all He is all, and over every one He yearns in His love of man.”
Gregory Nazianzen sees in the Eucharist a type of the incarnation, and calls the consecrated elements symbols and antitypes of the great mysteries, but ascribes to them a saving virtue.10141014 Orat. xvii. 12; viii. 17; iv. 52. Comp. Ullmann’s Gregor. v. Naz. pp. 483-488; Neander, l.c. i. p. 431; and Steitz in Dorner’s Jahrbücher for 1865, pp. 133-141. Steitz makes Gregory an advocate of the symbolical theory.
St. Basil, likewise, in explaining the words of Christ, “I live by the Father” (John vi. 57), against, the Arians who inferred from it that Christ was a creature, incidentally gives a spiritual meaning to the fruition of the eucharistic elements. “We eat the flesh of Christ,” he says, “and drink His blood, if we, through His incarnation and human life, become partakers of the Logos and of wisdom.”10151015 Epist. viii. c. 4 (or Ep. 141 in the older editions): Τρώγομενγὰραὐτοῦτὴνσάρκακαὶπίνομεναὐτοῦτὸαἷμα, κοινωνοὶγινόμενοιδιὰτῆς ἐνανθρωπήσεως καὶτῆς αἰσθητῆς ζωῆς τοῦλόγουκαὶτῆς σοφίας. Σάρκαγὰρκαιαἷμαπασᾶναυτοῦτὴνμυστικὴνἐπιδημίαν[i. e., a spiritual incarnation, or His internal coming to the soul, as distinct from His historical incarnation] ὠνόμασεκαὶτὴνἐκπρακτικῆς καὶφυσικῆς καὶθεολογικῆς συνεστῶσανδιδασκαλίαν, δἰἧς τρέφεταιψυχὴκαὶπρὸς τῶνὄντωνθεωρίανπαρασκευάζεται. Καὶτοῦτὸἐστιτὸἐκτοῦῥητοῦἴσως δηλούμενον. This passage, overlooked by Klose, Ebrard, and Kahnis, but noticed by Rückert and more fully by Steitz (l.c. p. 127 ff.), in favor of the symbolical view, is the principal one in Basil on the Eucharist, and must regulate the interpretation of the less important allusions in his other writings.
Macarius the Elder, a gifted representative of the earlier Greek mysticism († 390), belongs to the same Symbolical school; he calls bread and wine the antitype of the body and blood of Christ, and seems to know only a spiritual eating of the flesh of the Lord.10161016 Hom. xxvii. 17, and other passages. Steitz (l.c. p. 142 ff.) enters more fully into the views of this monk of the Egyptian desert.
Theodoret, who was acknowledged orthodox by the council of Chalcedon, teaches indeed a transformation (μεταβάλλειν) of the eucharistic elements by virtue of the priestly consecration, and an adoration of them, which certainly sounds quite Romish, but in the same connection expressly rejects the idea of an absorption of the elements in the body of the Lord, as an error akin to the Monophysite. “The mystical emblems of the body and blood of Christ,” says he, “continue in their original essence and form, they are visible and tangible as they were before [the consecration];10171017 Dial. ii. Opera ed. Hal. tom. iv. p. 126, where the orthodox man says against the Eranist: Τὰμυστικὰσύμβολα... μένειἐπὶτῆς προτέρας οὐσίας καὶτοῦσχήματος καὶτοῦεἴδους, καὶὁρατάἐστικαὶἁπτὰ, οἶακαὶπρότερονἧν. but the contemplation of the spirit and of faith sees in them that which they have become, and they are adored also as that which they are to believers.”10181018 Προσκυνεῖταιὡς εκεῖναὄνταἅπερπιστεύεται.These words certainly prove that the consecrated elements are regarded as being not only subjectively, but in some sense objectively and really what the believer takes them for, namely, the body and blood of Christ. But with this they also retained, according to Theodoret, their natural reality and their symbolical character.
Similar language occurs in an epistle to the monk Caesarius ascribed to Chrysostom, but perhaps not genuine;10191019 Ep. ad Caesarium monach. (in Chrys. Opera, tom. iii. Pars altera, p. 897 of the new Paris ed. of Montfaucon after the Benedictine): “Sicut enim antequam sanctificetur panis, panem nominamus: divina autem illum sanctificante gratia, mediante sacerdote, liberatus est quidem ab appellatione panis; dignus autem habitus dominici corporis appellatione, etiamsi natura panis in ipso permansit, et non duo corpora, sed unum corpus Filii praedicamus.” This epistle is extant in full only in an old Latin version. in Ephraim of Antioch, cited by Photius; and even in the Roman bishop Gelasius at the end of the fifth century (492–496).
The latter says expressly, in his work against Eutyches and Nestorius: “The sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, which we receive, is a divine thing, because by it we are made partakers of the divine-nature. Yet the substance or nature of the bread and wine does not cease. And assuredly the image and the similitude of the body and blood of Christ are celebrated in the performance of the mysteries.”10201020 De duabus naturis in Christo Adv. Eutychen et Nestorium (in the Bibl. Max. Patrum, tom. viii. p. 703) ... “et tamen esse non desinit substantia vel natura panis et vini. Et certe imago et similitudo corporis et sanguinis Christi in actione mysteriorum celebrantur.” Many Roman divines, through dogmatic prejudice, doubt the genuineness of this epistle. Comp. the Bibl. Max. tom. viii. pp. 699-700.
It is remarkable that Augustine, in other respects so decidedly catholic in the doctrine of the church and of baptism, and in the cardinal points of the Latin orthodoxy, follows the older African theologians, Tertullian and Cyprian, in a symbolical theory of the Supper, which however includes a real spiritual participation of the Lord by faith, and in this respect stands nearest to the Calvinistic or Orthodox Reformed doctrine, while in minor points he differs from it as much as from transubstantiation and consubstantiation.10211021 From his immense dogmatic authority, Augustinehas been an apple of contention among the different confessions in all controversies on the doctrine of the Supper. Albertinus (De euchar. pp. 602-742) and Rückert (l.c. p. 353 ff.) have successfully proved that he is no witness for the Roman doctrine; but they go too far when they make him a mere symbolist. That he as little favors the Lutheran doctrine, Kahnis (Vom Abendmahl, p. 221, and in the second part of his Luth. Dogmatik, p. 207) frankly concedes. He was the first to make a clear distinction between the outward sign and the inward grace, which are equally essential to the conception of the sacrament. He maintains the figurative character of the words of institution, and of the discourse of Jesus, on the eating and drinking of his flesh and blood in the sixth chapter of John; with Tertullian, he calls the bread and wine “figurae” “or “signa corporis et sanguinis Christi” (but certainly not mere figures), and insists on a distinction between “that which is visibly received in the sacrament, and that which is spiritually eaten and drunk,” or between a carnal, visible manducation of the sacrament, and a spiritual eating of the flesh of Christ and drinking of his blood.10221022 In Psalm. iii. 1: “Convivium, in quo corporis et sanguinis sui figuram discipulis commendavit.” Contra Adamant. xii. 3 (”signum corporis sui“); Contra advers. legis et prophet. ii. c. 9; Epist. 23; De Doctr. Christ. iii. 10, 16, 19; De Civit. Dei, xxi. c. 20, 25; De peccat. mer. ac rem. ii. 20 ”quamvis non sit corpus Christi, sanctum est tamen, quoniam sacramentum est”). The latter he limits to the elect and the believing, though, in opposition to the subjectivism of the Donatists, he asserts that the sacrament (in its objective import) is the body of Christ even for unworthy receivers. He says of Judas, that he only ate the bread of the Lord, while the other apostles “ate the Lord who was the bread.” In another place: The sacramentum “is given to some unto life, to others unto destruction;” but the res sacramenti, i.e., “the thing itself of which it is the sacramentum, is given to every one who is partaker of it, unto life.” “He who does not abide in Christ, undoubtedly neither eats His flesh nor drinks His blood, though he eats and drinks the sacramentum (i.e., the outward sign) of so great a thing to his condemnation.” Augustine at all events lays chief stress on the spiritual participation. “Why preparest thou the teeth and the belly? Believe, and thou hast eaten.”10231023 Tract. in Joh. 25: “Quid paras dentes et ventrem? Crede, et manducasti.” Comp. Tract. 26: “Qui non manet in Christo, nec manducat carnem ejus, nec bibit ejus sanguinem licet premat dentibus sacramentum corporis et sanguinis Christi.” He claims for the sacrament religious reverence, but not a superstitious dread, as if it were a miracle of magical effect.10241024 De Trinit. iii. 10: “Honorem tamquam religiosa possunt habere, stuporem tamquam mira non possunt.” He also expressly rejects the hypothesis of the ubiquity of Christ’s body, which had already come into use in support of the materializing view, and has since been further developed by Lutheran divines in support of the theory of consubstantiation. “The body with which Christ rose,” says he, “He took to heaven, which must be in a place .... We must guard against such a conception of His divinity as destroys the reality of His flesh. For when the flesh of the Lord was upon earth, it was certainly not in heaven; and now that it is in heaven, it is not upon earth.” “I believe that the body of the Lord is in heaven, as it was upon earth when he ascended to heaven.”10251025 Ep. 146: “Ego Domini corpus ita in coelo esse credo, ut erat in terra, quando ascendit in coelum.” Comp. similar passages in Tract. in Joh. 13; Ep. 187; Serm. 264. Yet this great church teacher at the same time holds fast the real presence of Christ in the Supper. He says of the martyrs: “They have drunk the blood of Christ, and have shed their own blood for Christ.” He was also inclined, with the Oriental fathers, to ascribe a saving virtue to the consecrated elements.
Augustine’s pupil, Facundus, taught that the sacramental bread “is not properly the body of Christ, but contains the mystery of the body.” Fulgentius of Ruspe held the same symbolical view; and even at a much later period we can trace it through the mighty influence of Augustine’s writings in Isidore of Sevilla, Beda Venerabilis, among the divines of the Carolingian age, in Ratramnus, and Berengar of Tours, until it broke forth in a modified form with greater force than ever in the sixteenth century, and took permanent foothold in the Reformed churches.
Pope Leo I. is sometimes likewise numbered with the symbolists, but without good reason. He calls the communion a “spiritual food,”10261026 “Spiritualis alimonia.” This expression, however, as the connection of the passage in Serm. lix. 2 clearly shows, by no means excludes an operation of the sacrament on the body; for “spiritual” is often equivalent to “supernatural.” Even Ignatius called the bread of the Supper “a medicine of immortality, and all antidote of death” (φάρμακον ἀθανασίας, ἀντίδοτος τοῦ μὴ ἀποθανεῖν, ἀλλὰ ζῇν ἐν Χριστῷ διὰ παντός́̈Ad Ephes. c. 20; though this passage is wanting in the shorter Syriac recension. as Athanasius had done before, but supposes a sort of assimilation of the flesh and blood of Christ by the believing participation. “What we believe, that we receive with the mouth .... The participation of the body and blood of Christ causes that we pass into that which we receive, and bear Christ in us in Spirit and body.” Voluntary abstinence from the wine in the Supper was as yet considered by this pope a sin.10271027 Comp. the relevant passages from the writings of Leo in Perthel, Papst Leo 1. Leben u. Lehren, p. 216 ff., and in Rückert, l.c. p. 479 ff. Leo’s doctrine of the Supper is not so clearly defined as his doctrine of baptism, and has little that is peculiar. But he certainly had a higher than a purely symbolic view of the sacrament and of the sacrifice of the Eucharist.
III. The old liturgies, whose testimony on this point is as important as that of the church fathers, presuppose the actual presence of Christ in the Supper, but speak throughout in the stately language of sentiment, and nowhere attempt an explanation of the nature and mode of this presence, and of its relation to the still visible forms of bread and wine. They use concerning the consecrated elements such terms as: The holy body, The dear blood, of our Lord Jesus Christ, The sanctified oblation, The heavenly, spotless, glorious, awful, divine gifts, The awful, unbloody, holy sacrifice, &c. In the act of consecration the liturgies pray for the sending down of the Holy Ghost, that he may “sanctify and perfect”10281028 In the liturgy of St. Mark (in Neale’s ed.: The Liturgies of S. Mark, S. James, S. Clement, S. Chrysostom, S. Basil, Lond. 1859, p. 26): Ἵνα αὐτὰ ἁγιάσῃ καὶ τελειώσῃ ... καὶ ποιήσῃ τὸν μὲν ἄρτον σῶμα, to which the congregation answers: Ἀμήν. the bread and wine, or that he may sanctify and make “them the body and blood of Christ,10291029 In the liturgy of St. James (in Neale, p. 64): Ἵνα ... ἁγιάσῃ καὶ ποιήσῃ τὸν μὲν ἄρτον τοῦτον σῶμα ἅγιον τοῦ Χριστοῦ σου, κ. τ. λ. or bless and make.”10301030 The liturgy of St. Chrysostom(Neale, p. 137) uses the terms εὐλόγησον and ποίησον.
IV. As to the adoration of the consecrated elements: This follows with logical necessity from the doctrine of transubstantiation, and is the sure touchstone of it. No trace of such adoration appears, however, in the ancient liturgies, and the whole patristic literature yields only four passages from which this practice can be inferred; plainly showing that the doctrine of transubstantiation was not yet fixed in the consciousness of the church.
Chrysostom says: “The wise men adored Christ in the manger; we see him not in the manger, but on the altar, and should pay him still greater homage.”10311031 Hom. 24 in I Cor. Theodoret, in the passage already cited, likewise uses the term προσκύνεῖν, but at the same time expressly asserts the continuance of the substance of the elements. Ambrose speaks once of the flesh of Christ “which we to-day adore in the mysteries,”10321032 De Spir. S. iii. II: “Quam [carnem Christi] hodie in mysteriis adoramus, et quam apostoli in Domino Jesu adoraverant.” and Augustine, of an adoration preceding the participation of the flesh of Christ.10331033 In Psalm. 98, n. 9: “Ipsam carnem nobis manducandam ad salutem dedit; nemo autem illam carnem manducat nisi prius adoraverit ... et non modo non peccemus adorando, sed peccemus non adorando.”
In all these passages we must, no doubt, take the term proskunei’n and adorare in the wider sense, and distinguish the bowing of the knee, which was so frequent, especially in the East, as a mere mark of respect, from proper adoration. The old liturgies contain no direction for any such act of adoration as became prevalent in the Latin church, with the elevation of the host, after the triumph of the doctrine of transubstantiation in the twelfth century.10341034 So says also the Roman liturgist Muratori, De rebus liturgicis, c. xix. p. 227: “Uti omnes inter Catholicos eruditi fatentur, post Berengarii haeresiam ritus in Catholica Romana ecclesia invaluit, scilicet post consecrationem elevare hostiam et calicem, ut a populo adoretur corpus et sanguis Domini.” Freeman, Principles of Div. Service, Introduction to Part ii. p. 169, asserts: “The Church throughout the world, down to the period of the unhappy change of doctrine in the Western church in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, never worshipped either the consecrated elements on account of their being the body and blood of Christ, or the presence of that body and blood; nor again, either Christ Himself as supernaturally present by consecration, or the presence of His divinity; neither have the churches of God to this hour, with the exception of those of the Roman obedience, any such custom.”
|« Prev||The Sacrament of the Eucharist||Next »|
►Proofing disabled for this book
► Printer-friendly version