Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Invalid Forms

There are rites that would be valid, if celebrated by valid ministers. There are also invalid rites, unable to impart the Sacrament intended - or in some cases because they are not intended to impart the Sacrament!

I've been rereading an old favourite of mine, Neale & Littledale's The liturgies of SS. Mark, James, Clement, Chrysostom, and Basil, and the Church of Malabar ([187-?]): in its first appendix are given the words of institution, the Consecration, or at least what passes for such, in almost all extant liturgies (over eighty of them). Unfortunately, as the book notes, several of the Ethiopian and Syrian Jacobite anaphoræ are not sufficient; here they are, numbered as in the volume mentioned:

* 24. Dionysius Bar-Salibi (Syro-Jacobite).

And when He had prepared Himself for the saving Passion, the bread which He took, He blessed, brake, and named it His holy Body for life everlasting to those who receive it. And the cup, which He mingled with wine and with water, He blessed, and consecrated, and perfected it (into) His precious Blood for life everlasting to those who receive it. And when He had delivered this to His holy Apostles, He commanded them, saying, Thus do for My commemoration until I come.

[An invalid formula.]

I assume that it is invalid because the Verba Domini are phrased in the third person, not the first. The priest, acting in the person of Christ, must say, "This is My Body...", not "This is His Body", which would be merely indicative, not performative.

* 46. James of Serug or Batnæ (Ethiopic).

Thou didst take bread in Thy holy hands, that Thou mightest give it to Thy holy disciples. Thou Who didst then bless, Who art with glory, bless now this bread. Thou Who didst then break, Who art with blessing, break now this bread. And again, Thou didst mix the cup of wine with water, that Thou mightest give it to the pure Apostles. Thou who didst consecrate then, consecrate now this cup. Thou Who didst hand then, hand now this cup. Thou Who didst unite then, unite now this bread to this cup. Let it be Thy Flesh and Thy Blood.

[This is one of the invalid forms, as there is no recitation of the words of institution.]

If anything, this is what is technically called a Logos epiclesis, or invocation of the Person of the Eternal Word to descend and consecrate the elements.

* 49. John Bar-Susan (Syro-Jacobite).

And before the voluntary passion of the Word God, He took in His divine hands simple bread and wine that (was) mingled moderately with water, blessed, and consecrated, and brake, and handed it to the band of the twelve, saying : Take, use (it) ; and when of these ye eat and drink, believe that they are My Body and Blood, which I give for the salvation of tlie world, and they shall be to you, and through you to the whole world, for the commemoration of My Burial aud Resurrection, until that I come.

[An invalid formula.]

I assume this is considered invalid because it most promiscuously, impertinently and presumptuously mixes together the formulæ for consecrating each species, and says "believe that they are" not "they are". But would "These are My Body and My Blood" work?

61. Matthew the Shepherd (Syro-Jacobite).

Priest. And when He willed to give a New Testament, by which the Old should be abolished. He took leavened bread, in which the mystery of life was concealed, and earnestly looking to Thee, Father, He gave thanks. He blessed. He sanctified, He brake, and gave to them that were lying at His supper, saying : Take, eat of it : This is My Flesh, which for all the faithful that adhere to Me is divided, that it may be eaten for the expiation of transgressions, the remission of sins, and eternal life.

People. Amen.

Deacon [!]. In like manner also. He took the Chalice of Life, which He had temperately mingled with the fruit of the vine and water, and gave thanks, blessed, sanctified, and gave also to them that were initiated in His mystery, and exhorted them that all should communicate of it, and declared that in it should be salvation to them that drink it, when they use it in a pure conscience, to the expiation of transgressions, the remission of sins, and eternal life.

People. Amen.

Priest. He adjoined also an admonition and declaration, saying: As often as ye shall be partakers of the Mysteries, ye shall celebrate the memory of My Death and Kesurrection until I come.

People. [As in 18.) We make memory, Lord, of Thy Death, we confess Thy Eesurrection, and we look for Thy Second Advent : we beseech from Thee mercy and grace : we pray for the redemption of our sins : let Thy mercies be upon us all.

[Observe that, valid, though much corrupted, in the first part of the Institution, this formula is invalid in the second.]

Pretty obviously, it just won't do for the priest to consecrate the host, and then let the deacon tackle consecrating the chalice... when all he does (which to be fair, is all he can do) is to describe what benefits it would bring if it were consecrated.

* 69. Our Lord Jesus Christ. II. (Ethiopic.)

In that night in which they delivered Him up, He took bread in His holy and blessed hands, which are without stain, He gave thanks, blessed, and brake, and handed to His disciples, saying : Take, eat ; this bread is My Body, which is broken for you for the remission of sins ; and when ye do this, make commemoration of Me. And similarly the Cup of wine, Thy mixing, giving thanks, blessing, and consecrating, and Thou gavest to them ; verily this is Thy Blood, which was poured out for our sins.

[The latter part of this formula is invalid, and there is no consecration of the Cup.]

Again, for validity, the Verba have to be in the first person: to correct this, adding "saying" before "verily", and changing "Thy" to "My" would work. Strictly speaking, the Mass is only half-completed, and as Christ is present in His Body alone (though by concomitance His whole Person is therefore there), there is no sacrifice, which is made present in the separate consecration of each species, thus mystically re-presenting the separation of His Body and Blood on the Cross. This would truly be a mere Communion service in one kind only.

71. S. Peter. II. [Syro Jacobite.)

Priest. Who, when He willed to taste death, and was accomplishing the Pascha in the evening, He took bread into His hands, He blessed, He sanctified and brake, and gave to the company of the holy Apostles, and said, Take and eat, for the remission of sins and life eternal.

People. Amen.

Priest. In like manner, mingling the Chalice of wine and water, He blessed, sanctified, and said to them, Take, and drink ye all of it, for the remission of sins and life eternal.

People. Amen.

Priest. This He commanded and admonished them, That as often as ye shall accomplish these mysteries, ye shall commemorate My Death and Resurrection until I come.

People. [As in 18.) We make memory, Lord, of Thy Death, we confess Thy Eesurrection, and we look for Thy Second Advent : we beseech from Thee mercy and grace : we pray for the redemption of our sins : let Thy mercies be upon us all.

[This is one of the liturgies which is invalid from the omission of the words, This is My Body, This is My Blood. It is one of the shortest of all the Syro-Jacobite offices and perhaps the composer ignorantly thought that the Invocation of the Holy Ghost, which is singularly plain and expressive, might, by itself, avail for the transmutation of the Elements. He might also wish to express his dissent from the Latin practice of entirely omitting the Invocation. Some copies of this Liturgy have the words inserted by a later hand.]

80. Thomas of Heraclea (Syro-Jacobite).

Priest. Verily and certainly He took on Himself the form of a servant, that in that form He might accomplish the things that were to be for our salvation, and the life that was to be given us. He took bread and wine : He blessed, He sanctified, He brake, and gave to His Apostles, saying : Take, use, and thus do. And when ye shall receive these things, believe and be certain that ye eat My Body and drink My Blood, doing it in remembrance of My Death, until I shall come.

People. (As in 18.) We make memory, Lord, of Thy Death, we confess Thy Eesurrection, and we look for Thy Second Advent : we beseech from Thee mercy and grace : we pray for the redemption of our sins : let Thy mercies be upon us all.

[This is one of the invalid formulæ : the words inserted in the second clause, according to the judgment of the best ritualists, scarcely avail to make good their omission in the first.]

See my comments on no. 49 above...

Any thoughts?


Michael said...

It may be a little more complex than at first appears. Considering that the Anaphora of Addai and Mari is considered valid even though it itself has no words of consecration, only an epiklesis.

I personally don't understand why we become all defensive when we don't have an epiklesis. There certainly isnt one in any scriptural text I've read.

Considering that the opinion of Propoganda Fide in the 18th century was against the validity (non-official) and an official organ has declared validity, it is interesting to go back and look at older liturgies.

Joshua said...

Yes, I'm glad that someone has spotted the alleged "Get out of jail free card"!

If the Liturgy of Addai and Mari, used by the Assyrians since the remotest times, has been pronounced valid, on the grounds that "the words of the Lord are present in a a dispersed euchological manner throughout the anaphora", what to make of these lesser prayers, which if anything are rather more explicitly attempting to have an institution narrative?

It must however be underlined that the greatest reason for validating Addai and Mari was that, of the three anaphoræ of the Assyrians, it was their usual formula - the other two being only used on certain feasts and during certain seasons (that of Theodore of Mopseustia, from approximately Advent to Palm Sunday; that of Nestorius, on four major feasts, and on those of "the Greek Doctors") - and it would seem rather odd, to say the least, if their Liturgy were only valid for half the year!

Furthermore, and I hadn't previously heard much of that PropAganda Fide opinion, there is a great weight of presumption of validity given to Addai and Mari, simply because of its immemorial use, and the fact that it was never criticised previously by Greeks or Romans or whoever. Then again, a cynic might say that few knew and fewer cared of what the mountain Christian sectaries were up to, lost in a Muslim sea...

I think the concern with these Ethiopian and Syro-Jacobite forms is that they are late compositions, and are but some among many anaphoræ used in each rite.

The Ethiopians, for instance, have twenty anaphoræ, of which only these two, not among the most popular forms, have problems...

As for the Syrian Jacobites, they have over seventy anaphoræ, many of which are known only from manuscripts, and so to have five recherche and corrupt forms is not so worrying.