The Eucharistic Anaphora:
A Study

David Fuller


To those many friends, both clerical and lay, who, down the years, have helped me extend my knowledge and understanding of the liturgy and worship of Mother Church and to whom I shall be everlastingly thankful

Table of Contents


1 - The Oblation

2 - The Sursum Corda

3 - The Sanctus and Benedictus

4 - The Preface

5 - The Institution Narrative

6 - The Anamnesis

7 - The Epiclesis

8 - The Doxological Conclusion



Glossary of Terms

About the Author

Other books by the Author


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The anaphora is the most solemn part of the Divine Liturgy, or the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, during which the offerings of bread and wine are consecrated as the Body and Blood of Christ. This is the usual name for this part of the Liturgy in the Greek, Eastern Church. In the Latin, Western Church this section of the Eucharistic rite is commonly referred to as the anaphora (αναφορα) is that part of the liturgy which comprises: the Sursum Corda, the Anamnesis, the Oblation, Christ's Words of Institution, the Epiclesis and a Doxological Conclusion. Some definitions include the administration of Communion to the faithful; this extends it beyond what is generally considered to be the Canon of the Mass.1 Jasper and Cuming widened the list to include: Preface, Pre-Sanctus, Sanctus and Post-Sanctus. This latter pattern is often referred to as West Syrian, Antiochene or Syro-Antiochene.2

James Norman suggested that anaphora is not a classical Greek word, although it is found in the Septuagint, translated as 'offering'.3 An associated word, (αναφερω) means, 'to offer sacrifices'. A reference to this is to be found in the Epistle to the Hebrews where its author wrote, 'Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up (αναφορα) sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself' (Heb 7: 2). Another reference is, 'By him therefore let us offer (αναφορα) the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name' (Heb 13: 15). Norman accepted that in the Eastern rites this word designates the portion of the liturgy that is especially concerned with the consecration of the bread and wine which have previously been offered on the altar.

This monograph is based on research the author undertook while a part-time, distance-learning, post-graduate student of the University of Glasgow where he studied the life and principle written works of Anglican monk and liturgist, Dom Gregory Dix (1901-52). His thesis, for which the degree of Doctor of Philosophy was conferred on him, was titled: Homo Eucharisticus: Dom Gregory Dix - Reshaped (2014). The text of his thesis, retitled as: A Very Anglican Monk: A Study of the Life and Works of Dom Gregory Dix, was subsequently published by Lulu Press Inc. (ISBN: 9781291864366)

All Biblical references are taken from the King James Version (1611), unless otherwise stated.

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Chapter 1 The Oblation

That part of the anaphora called the Oblation concerns itself with the offering of the bread and wine. Historically the oblations may have included: grapes, oil, cheese and fish, and possibly other gifts from the Church members for the use of the clergy, the poor, the sick, or the Church in general.4 Louis Duchesne (1843-1922) asserted that,in the Eastern liturgy, after the lections and the prayers for the faithful, oblations were brought to the altar, accompanied by great pomp.5 The procession of the oblations constituted the most impressive ceremonial of the entire Mass. In Byzantine Churches the procession was associated with the singing of a hymn called the Cherubikon. This hymn symbolically incorporates the congregational members into the presence of the angels. It may be translated:

We who mystically represent the Cherubim, and who sing to the Life-Giving Trinity the thrice-holy hymn, let us now lay aside all earthly cares that we may receive the King of all, escorted invisibly by the angelic orders. Alleluia.

This gives an indication of the importance and significance of the Oblations within the liturgy. The link made with the angelic hosts in the Cherubikon may account for similar words in Western rites, where, in the closing words of the Preface, and before the Sanctus, the words, 'Therefore with angels and archangels, and with all the company of heaven ... (or some modern version) are included.

Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) compared the requirements laid upon Christians by the Sixth Council (at Constantinople in AD 680), that it is not necessary for communicants to make oblation, with the Council of Gregory VII (AD1074) which required, 'every Christian to take care that he offer something to God at the celebration of the Mass'.6 He made a clear distinction between something that is offered to God and destroyed in the worship of God and that which remains intact. The former he calls 'sacrifice'; the latter, 'oblation'. A century later Thomas A Kempis (1380-1471) made a clear connection between the oblation of Christ at Calvary, when he offered himself to the Father, and the requirement in a communicant to offer himself willingly, 'as a pure and sacred oblation, with all thy strength and affections, and to the utmost of thine inward faculties'.7

If oblation is seen in relation to sacrifice then it involves the shedding of blood. Writers in the late medieval period were much concerned with the exsanguination of Christ. As part of the continuing argument against Docetism they claimed that, in true human form, Christ's body had been blood filled. Some of this was doubtless spilled in the pre-crucifixion flogging and the brutal nailing that he suffered. Much debate took place over the reports of the soldier (sometimes named Longinus) who pierced the post-mortem body. Saint John's account makes it clear that Christ died with the great shout of Tetelestai (it is finished, or I've done it!). Medieval theologians knew that, generally speaking, dead bodies did not bleed. Yet John's account clearly speaks of the flow of blood and water. Carolyn Bynum quotes the suggestion of Bishop of Lincoln, Robert Grosseteste (?1253), that Christ's flowing blood was proof that his decision to die was his up to the very moment of his death; Christ's death was voluntary, even at the end.8 Christ did not bleed to death, rather by a special miracle he poured out the blood from his heart as a living gift.9 Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) stressed that Christ poured forth waves of blood, yet Pope Clement VI in 1343 repeated a claim by Bernard that only one drop of Christ's blood was sufficient to save the world. Despite his interest in the blood of sacrifice, Bernard made clear his ignorance of the need for Christ to bleed. Bynum quotes from Letter 190 of Bernard:

We are reconciled to God through the death of his Son (Rom 5: 10). Where is this reconciliation, this remission of sin? ... In this chalice (Christ) says, "of the blood" of the New Testament, 'which is poured out for you' (Matt 26: 28; Lk 22: 20) ... We obtain it by the interceding death of the only Begotten and are justified by grace In the same blood ... Why, you ask me, by blood when he could have done it by word. I ask the same question. It is ugiven to me only to know that it is so, not why it is so.10

James Srawley (1888-1954) believed that Clement of Rome (1st century) saw it as an important function of Church leaders to offer the gifts of the people, and that Cyprian (d 258) reproved those who attended Church without a 'sacrifice'.11 This concept of providing gifts, both of a Eucharistic nature and for the relief of the needy and the support of the clergy, underlined the Church's thank-offering for God's blessings in Creation and Redemption. Srawley asserted that in the prayers of the Middle Ages, many of which were said privately by the priest, there was some confusion between the gifted oblations (the offerings) and the 'final' oblation in which the Sacrifice of the Cross was commemorated.

This difference in definition of oblation and sacrifice very much affects the view that is taken of the bread and wine of the Eucharist. If these elements remain as bread and wine and only have soteriological efficacy through faithful consumption by the communicant then they are presumably an oblation. By contrast, if these elements become the Body and Blood of Christ, his Real Presence, then they are, by Aquinas' definition, sacrifice. It is of interest to consider the words that Thomas Cranmer wrote into the introductory paragraph of the Prayer of Consecration in 1549 Holy Communion service (maintained in all subsequent revisions) that Christ's death on the cross was, 'a full, perfect and sufficient, sacrifice, oblation and satisfaction...'. The question that must be addressed is, 'Was it oblation or was it sacrifice'?

Dix made it clear that, in his view, there was an important distinction between the 'offertory' and the 'oblation'. He wrote:

The offertory is not of course the Eucharistic oblation itself, any more than the Last Supper was itself the sacrifice of Christ. It is directed to that oblation as its pledge and starting-point, just as the Last Supper looks forward to the offering on Calvary. The offering of themselves by the members of Christ could not be acceptable to God unless taken up into the offering of himself by Christ in consecration and communion.12

Dix muddied the waters of the 'oblation' versus 'sacrifice' debate by quoting a rubric from Hippolytus that the bishop (as celebrant?), the deacons and presbyters all lay their hands on the oblation, before proceedin to the Eucharistic dialogue.13 He compares this praxis with that portrayed in the Old Testament, where, in the case of a sin-offering, the whole congregation of Israel, 'shall lay their hands upon the head of the bullock before the Lord: and the bullock shall be killed before the Lord' (Lev 4: 15). While accepting that nowhere else in Hippolytus is there any parallel blessings of 'things' - a practice that Dix admitted probably had third century origins - he saw the Eucharistic oblation in some ways representing those who had made the offerings. He explained the continuation of this con-celebratory blessing, in which the presbyters joined in with their bishop, as a confirmation that the Church later saw in the offertory, a religious act with a significance all of its own. It has ceased to be merely a preliminary to the formal consecration and communion.

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Chapter 2 The Sursum Corda

The Eucharistic Prayer generally begins with the Sursum Corda, an exhortation to the congregation to lift up their hearts in thanksgiving, and the responses of the people; it may be simply translated as 'Lift up your hearts'. Evan Daniel wrote that the term 'Sursum Corda' originated in the Sarum Rite.14 Various sources place the introduction of this form of words to the time of Cyprian (d 258) in the West and Cyril of Jerusalem (315-386) in the East. A third, ancient source is The Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus (c 225). Srawley suggested that there are parallels with a text found in the Lamentations of Jeremiah, 'Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens' (Lam 3: 41).15 He also confirmed that the Sursum Corda was introduced by a salutation, 'The Lord be with you; And with thy Sprit'. This was included in Cranmer's 1549 Book of Common Prayer but was omitted in the revision of 1552 and subsequently.16 Hans Lietzmann (1875-1942) wrote that the Sursum Corda perhaps had its origins in the Agape meal that formerly would have surrounded celebrations of the Holy Eucharist.17 He suggested that, within the formality of a purely Eucharistic celebration (which would have taken place after the Agape and the Eucharist became separately identifiable events) the celebrant would have no need to ask members of the congregation to, 'Lift up their hearts'; they would already have been stirred and lifted by the earlier parts of the liturgy. However, when the assembled Christians met to eat a common meal, some formula was needed to cause their hearts and minds to be divorced from the labours and cares of the day. John Contreni observed that one of the reasons for priests not celebrating the Holy Mysteries alone and unattended is that the words of the Sursum Corda become meaningless.18 C A Bouman made the important observation that the Sursum Corda had a special significance in that it led to a different type of liturgical behaviour as a moment which was most strongly experienced by the congregation; they took part in it.19 Outside this dialogue many of the priestly prayers were made in secret, or were mumbled quietly.

In The Shape of the Liturgy Dix made no singular reference the Sursum Corda. However, he was vociferous in his condemnation of what became the Interim Rite in the revised Prayer Book of 1927/8.20 In the 1662 Book of Common Prayer the consecratory prayer (which has no specific title) followed on directly after the Prayer of Humble Access, which followed the Sanctus (the Benedictus was not included). In the 1927 revision the Sursum Corda, Preface, (and Proper Preface, if appropriate) and the Sanctus led directly to the consecration of the elements. This is followed immediately (in the same prayer) by the words of the Prayer of Oblation. Although the Deposited Prayer Book was rejected by Parliament in 1928, this 'Interim' pattern was given official sanction in 1966 in the 'Schedule of Agreed Amendments to 1662'. This became known as Series 1.

In 1954, between the debacle of 1928 and the later acceptance of the Interim Rite, the Communion Order for the Church of South India (CSI) was formulated. It is ironic, Jones suggested, that the Order for the Lord's Supper of the CSI, the union of whose constituent denominations Dix vociferously opposed, was the first to bear the marks of the 'four-fold shape' which, Dix had concluded, was the only indication of a standardisation of the Eucharistic rite from earliest times.21 In the Eucharistic Order, approved by the CSI Synod in 1950, the title 'Offertory' is used to describe an action in which bread, wine, money and gifts are brought to the altar. A note in the Introduction suggests, 'that this should be done by lay people'. Dix's second demand in his proposed four-fold shape was that the President gives thanks over the bread and wine together.22 The CSI rite contains the prayer:

HOLY Father, who through the blood of thy dear Son hast consecrated for us a new and living way to thy throne of grace, we come to thee through him, unworthy as we are, and we humbly beseech thee to accept and use us and these our gifts for thy glory. All that is in heaven and earth is thine, and of thine own do we give to thee. Amen.

Dix's suggestion that the Fraction should be a separate action was fulfilled through the rubric and prayer:

Then the presbyter shalt rise, and break the bread, saying: The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

Dix's fourth requirement, that the bread and wine are distributed together, was accepted in the CSI.23 A note in the Introduction made it clear that, 'Communion may be administered in the place and manner customary in the congregation. it is however recommended that communion may be given by 'tables', that is, the people come forward to receive in front of the Holy Table, and each row remains kneeling until the presbyter dismisses them with a blessing such as 'The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all'. When this is done it is convenient that there should be stewards on hand to co-ordinate the movements of the faithful.24

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Chapter 3 The Sanctus and Benedictus

The Sanctus (or Tersanctus) has its roots in a number of scriptural references. The first words come directly from Isaiah; 'And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory' (Is 6: 3 - AV). There is a parallel reference in Revelation; 'Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.' (Rev 4: 8). The verse from Isaiah is also part of Jewish liturgy; it is said by the congregation during Kedusha, a prayer used during a recitation of the Eighteen Benedictions (Amidah). Bradshaw reflected, quoting from research carried out by Gabriele Winkler, that the Sanctus first appeared in Syrian initiatory rites, where it formed part of the prayer (together with a form of epiclesis) for the consecration of oil and water. From that beginning it migrated to be part of the Eucharistic Prayer.25 Bradshaw accepted that, in other writings, Winkler had claimed that, rather than being a late interpolation into an already pre-existing Eucharistic Prayer, it may have been a core part of that prayer.26

There is a reference to the principal words of the Sanctus in Clement's Epistle to the Corinthians; 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Sabaoth; all creation is full of his glory' (1 Clem 34: 6).27 This epistle dates from the first century. This reference to 'thrice holy' is, of course, no indication that the words formed any part of early Eucharistic worship.

Dix made the observation that the Latin word sanctus and the Greek word ηαγιος (hagios) do not necessarily refer to what is, in itself, good; better they represent that which belongs to God.28 He believed that the Sanctus, preceded by an account of the angels' worship (Isaiah 6) could be traced back to Origen (c 230) and probably had its origins even earlier in the Alexandrian use.29 The Syrian form of the Liturgy of Saint Cyril, used in fourth century Jerusalem was clearly borrowed from Egypt. Dix attempted to demonstrate that the Western usage developed from the Syrian liturgy because is uniquely included the word God in 'Lord God of Sabaoth'. All Western rites include this Syrian interpolation. In all modern, western, Eucharistic rites the Sanctus is invariably followed immediately by the Benedictus. The words of this are generally considered to have their origin in the Prophecy of Ezekiel, 'Blessed be the glory of the Lord' (Ezek 3: 12). Another possible source is words found in the pseudepigraphal text of the Book of Ethiopic Enoch, where chapter 39 contains the words: 'Blessed be he, blessed from the beginning for ever' (v 10); 'blessing, glorifying, exalting you, and saying, "The holy, holy, Lord of spirits"' (v 11); and 'Blessed be you, and blessed be the name of God for ever and for ever' (v 12).30

Enrico Mazza confirmed that, by the first half of the fifth century, there existed two distinct rites, the Alexandrian and the Antiochene.31 The Western Eucharistic rite was based on the Antiochene liturgy, which included the Sanctus, consisting of the acclamation from Isaiah 6: 3, and an accompanying the Benedictus, a Christological acclamation based on Matthew 21: 9; 'And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest'. Geoffrey Wainwright suggested that Benedictus qui venit was a constant feature of Eucharistic liturgies because it concerned the relationship between the coming of Christ in the Eucharist and his coming at the Eschaton.32 Following the inclusion of the Benedictus in classic Eastern liturgies, with the notable exception of the Egyptian tradition, In the Western Church it follows on directly after the Sanctus, although the Testamentum Domini offers is between the Prayer of Consecration (containing the Institution Narrative) and the Communion of the faithful.33 The placing of the Benedictus is further complicated in the liturgy contained in Book VIII of the Apostolic Constitutions, where the words appear as part of the response to the celebrant's words Τα αγια τοις αγιοις at the elevation of the chalice and paten before the Communion. In the Armenian liturgy, instead of appearing after the Sanctus, the words that comprise the Benedictus are said by the Celebrant as he receives the oblations from the deacons at the Great Entrance; they are sung by the choir after the Communion.34 After the Communion the words of the Benedictus 'Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord' follow 'Our God and our Lord hath appeared to us'. F E Brightman wrote that, in contrast to this, the Ethiopian Anaphora places the words of the Benedictus immediately after the Epiclesis.35

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Chapter 4 The Preface

Srawley suggested that the Preface, or introduction to the Eucharistic Prayer, was a central feature of the liturgy in both Eastern and Western Churches.36 The dialogue with which the Preface is introduced is one of the oldest parts of the rite, and, furthermore, is essentially the same in all of the rites. It is to be found in both the Apostolic Tradition and in Cyprian's De Dominica Oratione (c 220). Josef Jungmann opined that the Latin word prefaetio in this context is more correctly translated as 'proclamation' rather than 'preliminary'.37 Grisbrooke argued that, in the ancient Gallican liturgy, the word prefaetio was used differently, as a descriptive invitation, or bidding, to a prayer38 E J Yarnold suggested that parts of the Preface were included in Jewish table blessings.39 He provided scriptural references for much of the dialogue.

Dix explained that a peculiarity of the Eucharist, compared with rites for other sacraments, was the variability of the prayer content of the liturgy, depending upon the day or season.40 He accepted that this was a post-Nicene innovation, whose effects have been considerable. The Eastern Church expresses this variability in a unique way. In the Byzantine rite, for example, there are two different liturgies; those of Saint Basil of Caesarea (330-379) and of Saint John, Chrysostom (d 407).41 The Church has strict rules about the usages of these liturgies and individual celebrants have no choices. There is little actual difference between the rites, and that is found in the text of the prayers recited by the officiant. It can be argued that this variability is greater than in some Western rites. In the East the whole Eucharistic Prayer, as well as other prayers said by the celebrant, varies, but the choice is always limited to one of two sets of prayers. By comparison, in the Latin Church, especially in the Roman rite, the content of the Eucharistic Prayer never varies, with the exception of minor additions to the preface. It is significant to note that in the East there is no reference in the text of the prayers to the day in the liturgical calendar, although that calendar has caused the decision as to which Mass to celebrate. In the West sets of additional or alternative prayers are specific to the day or occasion. The Sarum Rite, the precursor of Cranmer's Communion Service of 1549, had a fixed preface followed by the Sanctus and Benedictus, which led directly to the Canon of the Mass. This was:

It is meet and right, true and just that we should always and everywhere give thanks to thee, O holy Lord, Father Almighty, Eternal God, through Christ our Lord. Through whom angels praise thy Majesty, Principalities adore, Powers tremble. The heavens, and heavenly virtues, and blessed seraphim with united exultation praise thee. With whom we pray that we may be admitted to join our humble voices, in suppliant confession, saying....42

Cranmer severely truncated this to:

It is very meet, right and our bounden duty that we should at all times, and in all places give thanks to thee, O Lord, holy Father, Almighty everlasting God.

However, he did add five Proper Prefaces, to be inserted after this sentence, for Christmas Day, Easter Day, Ascension Day and Whitsunday and Trinity Sunday. In the 1549 rite they were appointed to be used on the day of the feast. In the 1552 revision the first three of these Proper Prefaces was to be used, 'and seven days after'. The Proper Preface for Whitsunday was to be used, 'for six days after' because the seventh day after was Trinity Sunday. The Proper Preface for Trinity Sunday was for the day of the feast only. This pattern of Proper Prefaces was maintained in the 1928 (deposited) Prayer Book but the Scottish Prayer Book of 1929 contained no fewer than eighteen, including: The Feast of the Purification, Ash Wednesday, Passiontide, Maundy Thursday, the Feast of the Transfiguration; and for Apostles and Evangelists, Consecrations and Ordinations and the Dedication of a Church. This rite also contained a parallel series of post-Communion prayers for a similar list of occasions.

The practice of extending the liturgy with variant prayer options was further developed in the latter part of the twentieth century. In the Church of England the Alternative Service Book of 1980 contained no fewer than four Eucharistic Prayers, while Common Worship (2000) has eight Eucharistic Prayers. The 1982 Rite of that Scottish Episcopal Church has five. It may seem strange that the thirty or so words of Jesus uttered at the Last Supper should become the foundation of the Institution Narrative which has developed into such a plethora of prayers. It is likely that the Eucharistic liturgies of the Reformation Churches had to be 'all things to all men' in their designs, to cater for everyone from the most Evangelical to the most Catholic in their Christian understanding.

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Chapter 5 The Institution Narrative

The Institution Narrative, or Words of Institution, or Words of Consecration, are included in almost all Eucharistic rites in both Eastern and Western Churches. One exception is the Holy Qurbana of Addai and Mari, which is an ancient Assyrian rite, dating back to third century Edessa. While this rite does not contain the Institution Narrative in a recognisable way, per se, it has been argued that the verba are present euchologically in the anaphora, integrated within the prayers of praise, thanksgiving and intercession. None of the Narratives in any of the Church's rites comprise an exact restating of Christ's words from the Last Supper, because the gospel accounts of this event and Paul's version do not exactly agree. From the twelfth century the Catholic Church considered that the Eucharistic sacrament could be effected if the Prayer of Consecration consisted of the words, 'this is my body' and, 'this is my blood'. Later the Church argued that the 'whole prayer', or some close version of it, must be incorporated into the Mass; that is:

Take this, all of you, and eat it: this is my body which will be given up for you. Take this, all of you, and drink from it: this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for many so that sins may be forgiven. Do this in memory of me.

It is, for example, a condition of membership of the Anglican Communion that Churches, in their celebrations of the Holy Eucharist, minister, 'with unfailing use of Christ's words of institution and of the elements ordained by him'.43 There has been much debate on the textual differences in the scriptural passages that give Christ's words at the Last Supper, thus the demands of the Quadrilateral to use these 'unfailingly' have to be treated with a degree of circumspection.

Dix simplified matters by representing the various texts as a 'seven-action scheme'. He wrote, 'Our Lord (1) took bread; 2) 'gave thanks' over it; (3) broke it; (4) distributed it, saying certain words. Later he (5) took a cup; 6) 'gave thanks' over that; (7) handed it to his disciples, saying certain words.'44 In a footnote he added a degree of complication by explaining that this represents what he called, 'the Matthew, Mark and 1 Corinthians schema'. Variants of Luke's account yield: the above seven-fold action; a ten-fold action, if the second cup is included, a different seven-fold plan if there was a single cup before the bread, or a four-fold action if there was no cup. Dix claimed that, 'with absolute unanimity', the liturgical tradition reproduces these seven actions as four'. Paul Bradshaw suggested that Dix thought that this change, from a seven-fold action to a four-fold shape, took place after Paul wrote his first epistle to the Christian Church in Corinth (thought to be about AD 56) and the first gospel (Mark in c AD 65).45 Dix saw an early misunderstanding in the nature of the Eucharist when it was still integrated within a corporate meal, presumably the agape meal. In contrast Mark, followed by Matthew, shows almost no interest in any relationship between the actions involving the bread and cup, and the meal. They have no reference to, 'after supper', words found in the Pauline letter. Dix wrote that the evangelists did not state where or when in the meal the words and actions associated with the bread and wine occurred, or whether together, or at an interval.46 Dix added:

No one would gather from either account that anything occurred in between. They are writing primarily for Gentile readers, to whom the details of Jewish custom would be unfamiliar and perhaps not particularly interesting. But they are also writing for Christian readers, and it rather looks as though the interrelation of Eucharist and supper to one another was no longer familiar or interesting to Christians.47

While it is probable that Luke wrote his gospel for Gentile readers, those of Matthew, Mark and John were clearly written for Jewish converts to Christianity. All of these latter gospels make many references to the fulfilment of Jewish prophecy in the new covenant brought by Christ.

Bradshaw argued that there is not one scrap of direct evidence to suggest that the Christian Eucharist ever conformed to the model in the Last Supper.48 He also suggested that the is no basis for a so-called seven-fold Eucharistic pattern or that this could imply a four-fold shape, as proposed by Dix. The text in Exodus 12, which has been used by some scholars to substantiate the format of a Passover meal, did not, by the first century, have a direct connection with what took placeat the Last Supper. Bradshaw posits that, even if there was an early correlation, Eucharistic praxis changed materially in subsequent centuries. He understood the scriptural texts that underpin the Last Supper to be a set of instruction of what to so, not a narrative for future sacramental observance.

It is now generally conceded that Bradshaw was correct in his assertion. Jesus did not, as some commentators assert, preside at the First Mass of the Last Supper. There was no need for him to offer any other form of himself to them 'at that time'; he was still with his disciples in the flesh. The Last Supper was a sort of 'dress-rehearsal' of words and actions that the post-Ascension, post-Pentecost Church could use in order to have its Saviour spiritually and corporeally available to its members.49 Perhaps there is some evidence for this view in the future tense used by Hipploytus in his version of, 'Take, eat; this is my body, which shall be broken for you'.50 Dix accepted that this stance pointed to an early recognition of the fact that the Last Supper was not, properly speaking, a Eucharist, because the crucifixion was not then an accomplished fact.51 The Church has, from the thirteenth century, made a clear distinction between its Commemoration of the Institution of the Holy Eucharist, which it generally does on the evening of Maundy Thursday (not to be confused with the now quite common Episcopally celebrated, or con-celebrated, Chrism Mass at about midday) and the Celebration of the Eucharist on the Feast of Corpus Christi (always held on the Thursday following Trinity Sunday).

Dix saw the Institution Narrative as pivotal to the Eucharist. The Lambeth Quadrilateral requires member Churches of the Anglican Communion to celebrate this Dominical sacrament, 'with unfailing use of Christ's words'. Referring specifically to the Eucharistic Prayer used by the Roman Church, Dix enumerates three points that mandate the singular importance of the Institution Narrative:

[T]hree points may be said to stand out from our cursory examination of the Roman Eucharistic prayer: (1) The centrality in its construction of the narrative of the institution as the authority for what the church does in the Eucharist. Its importance in this respect is greatly emphasised by being placed out of its historical orders after the thanksgiving for the passion. (2) What is understood to be (done' in the Eucharist is the church's offering and reception of the bread and the cup identified with the Lord's Body and Blood by the institution. This 'doing' of the Eucharist is our Lord's command and a 'priestly' act of the church. (3) The whole rite 'recalls' or 're-presents' before God not the Last Supper but the sacrifice of Christ in his death and resurrection; and it makes this 'present' and operative by its effects in the communicants.52

As has been observed, Dix saw the Institution Narrative as pivotal to the Mass, but it seems unclear whether he saw them uniquely as the 'consecrating' element. He wrote that it was possible to find in some Patristic writings statements attributing a 'consecratory force' to the words themselves, particularly as they constituted a repetition of Christ's words (as far as was known). Although Dix did not say so, it may be assumed that the consecratory actions were of equal importance.53 As in the Liturgy of Addai and Mari, some pre-Nicene rites did not contain the Institution Narrative. Dix argued that in Apostolic times it was possible that no rite contained these words. However, once the Narrative had become established, it was inevitable that, sooner or later, it would become of central importance, if only because it did contain words purported to have been Christ's own.

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Chapter 6 The Anamnesis

The Greek word αναμνεσις may be translated as memorial or remembrance.54 Its first appearance in the New Testament is in Paul's first letter to the Christian Church in Corinth, where he gives Christ's Words of Institution, 'Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance (αναμνεσιν) of me.' (1 Cor 11: 24) and similarly, 'This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me' (1 Cor 11: 25). Luke included a parallel passage in his gospel, 'This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance (αναμνεσιν) of me.' (Luke 22: 19). The word also appears in the Epistle to the Hebrews, 'But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year' (Heb 10: 3). W Jardine Grisbrooke suggested that anamnesis is a Greek word expressing a Semitic concept. He added that it is all but un-translatable into English. The words 'memorial', 'commemoration' and 'remembrance' all suggest that the person or deed commemorated is in the past. In fact it is an objective act by which the person or event commemorated is truly made present and is brought into the realm of the here and now.55

In the ancient Greek thinking of philosophers such as Plato, anamnesis was epistemologically concerned with the acquisition of knowledge. The theory of anamnesis supposed that there are certain concepts or beliefs in the mind from before birth, which explain aspects of the learning process undergone by normal human beings. Anamnesis is essentially a theory of learning, and may be summed up in a single phrase: learning (mathesis) is recollection (anamnesis). Learning is understood in terms of recollecting knowledge which was known before birth. Yet, anamnesis does not explain all forms of learning; it does not explain, for example, the acquisition of factual information or the development of skills. Anamnesis is restricted to a priori knowledge; that is knowledge which does not depend on experience for its justification. Thus the Greek interpretation of anamnesis would suggest that every participant in Eucharistic worship has a built-in understanding (from birth) of the significance of the sacrifice at Calvary and its importance and involvement in the present. This metaphysical philosophy would make the Eucharist a truly cosmological event, not restricted by constraints of time and space.

Dix clearly made the point that the Eucharist is an action, not merely a series of words.56 He accepted that the action has a particular meaning, imparted to it by Jesus, himself. Dix used the phrase, 'for the anamnesis of Me'.57 He argued that the offering of the bread and cup, the priestly action of the Church, is a sacrifice because it is the anamnesis of Christ's death and resurrection. He quoted Justin Martyr:

What Jesus Christ our Lord commanded to be done for an anamnesis of his passion, which he suffered on behalf of men whose souls have (thereby) been cleansed from all iniquity.58

Dix accepted that a lot depended on what the word 'anamnesis' meant and how it was to be translated. He spent much time explaining the scriptural connotations of the idea of 'remembrance' as not representing something that is absent and that is only mentally recollected. He wrote:

But in the scriptures both of the Old and New Testaments anamnesis and the cognate verb have the sense of 're-calling' or 'representing' before God an event in the past, so that it becomes here and now operative by its effects.59

Dix claimed that early writers such as Justin and Hippolytus spoke vividly of the Eucharist being 'in the present'. The sacrament thereby bestows soteriological benefits on the communicants, such as redemption and immortality, which are more usually attributed directly to Christ's sacrifice when viewed as an historical event, an event from the past. He explained that Christians have to examine what may be unfamiliar language and linguistic concepts to identify how completely they must identify the offering of the Eucharist by the Church with Christ's sacrificial offering, not as repetition, but as re-presentation, as anamnesis. Dix made the controversial observation that:

[T]he whole rite 'recalls' or 'represents' before God not the Last Supper, but the sacrifice of in his death and resurrection; and it makes this 'present' and operative by its effects in the communicants.60

One understanding of the Roman Catholic dogma of transubstantiation is that the essential constituent of the Mass is a re-enactment of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross at Calvary, as an extension of the doctrine of the 'real presence', whereby the elements of bread and wine actually become the Body and Blood of the Saviour. Transubstantiation is not part of traditional, Anglican, Eucharistic teaching, although many 'High Church' Anglicans are happy to accept it.61 Article XXVIII (of the XXIX Articles of Religion of the Church of England) make it clear that transubstantiation, 'cannot be proved by holy Writ'. The 'Real Presence', accepted by Luther and many of the Reformers, equally cannot be verified from Biblical sources. Apart from occasional allusions to 'the breaking of the bread' (Lk 24: 35; Acts 2: 24) there are no 'scriptural' references to what the sacramental presence of Christ meant to early Christians. On the simple basis that Christianity is a revealed religion, it seems likely that these later revelations, certainly to pre-Reformation Churches of East and West, included transubstantiationary belief and perhaps even the ideas that the Blessed Sacrament may be, 'reserved, carried about, lifted up and worshipped,' contrary to the dictates of Article XXVIII.

Transubstantiation is a tenet of belief that has caused the Roman Catholic Church to deny its Eucharistic sacrament to non-Catholic Christians. Dix was a devout 'Papalist' but it is interesting to reflect on whether he meant to make so bold a statement of Roman Catholic doctrine in his Anglican book. Aelred Arnesen wrote that none of the pre-Nicene writers put forward any theories as to what was supposed to happen within the Eucharist.62 He argued that they were writing in response to challenges from Gnostics and pagans and were simply concerned to remind their readers that the Christian Eucharist was really about worship with the crucified and living Lord. The Christian concept of anamnesis coincides with the Jewish understanding of zikkaron, which may be translated as memorial or re-enactment. When applied to the Passover celebration, zikkaron refers to the fact that God's saving deed is not only recalled but actually relived through and in the ritual meal. The synoptic gospels present Jesus as instituting the Eucharist during a Passover seder celebrated with his followers, giving to it a new and distinctly Christian 'memory'.

Bruce Morrill explained that in the Semitic view, zikkaron conceives reality as a single, unified whole; the totality of the person is conceptualised as the 'soul'.63 When a particular event is remembered, it is not merely a recalling of that objective event; rather it is the calling forth of an image which assists in the determination of a direction for action. Moreover, God is the all-pervading 'soul' in this reality, thus zikkaron always involves both God and man. In the Jewish mind, zikkaron can never be seen in isolation, it has dynamic consequences as God and man act in unison; it stirs the memories of both God and his people, eliciting action in both of them.

Dix added further evidence from Sarapion of Thmuis (d c 360). Sarapion used the word 'likeness' to compare the bread with the Body and the wine with the Blood. After the first part of the Institution Narrative (the bread), the Prayer continued:

Therefore we also making the likeness of the death, have offered the bread and we beseech you through this sacrifice....64

Dix added:

the pivotal importance of the narrative of the institution in the prayers as the ground of the Eucharist's effective 're-calling' before God of the of the sacrifice' of Christ, does not in any way obscure the fact that it is Calvary and not the Upper Room which is thus recalled.65

Dix used three scriptural texts to support his theory on anamnesis: Numbers 5: 15; 1 Kings 17: 18 and Hebrews 10: 3-4.66 The Greek text (LXX) of Dix's reference to Numbers 5: 15 does not contain the word αναμνεσις. It does contain a similar word αναμιμνησκουσα, which means, more simply, to remind someone of something. Dix could have quoted from Numbers 10: 10, which does include αναμνεσις in relation to a remembrance, 'before the Lord your God'. Dix could have included Lev 24:7, where the word αναμνεσιν is translated generally in regard to a token offering, 'that it may be on the bread for a memorial, even an offering made by fire unto the Lord'.

The title line of Psalm 37 (38 LXX) is, ψαλμσς τω Δαυιδ εις αναμνεσιν περι σαββατον , which may be translated as 'A psalm to David in remembrance of the Sabbath'. The use of αναμνεσιν here is more indicative of a reminding than a remembrance; this may be why Dix did not include this among his references. A similar meaning may be put on the word in the opening line of Psalm 69 (70 LXX), εις το τελος τω εις Δαυιδ εις αναμνησιν. It seems that there may have been some confusion in the minds of the translators of the LXX over the word αναμνεσις. Dix used these texts to argue that the concept of anamnesis should be translated from the Hebrew as 'recall'.

Contained within the concept of an Institution Narrative is the requirement for an Institution Action. In the Last Supper Christ's 'anamnesis of Me' (Dix's phrase)67 included the instruction, ποιειτε εις την εμην αναμνησιν (do this in remembrance of me). This instruction is clearly given twice by Saint Paul (1 Cor 11: 24-25) and is included in some Lukan MSS (as an extension to Lk 22: 19). Luke only includes these words in relation to the cup, and Dix suggests that they may have been added in deliberate imitation of Paul's letter.68 These words of action are not included in the Matthean or Markan accounts. Dix argued that these gospels, written a generation or more after the events of the Last Supper, and during a time when the Eucharist is at the very centre of Christian life, would have had no need to include them.69 He supposed that Paul had included the 'action' words in his letter for no other purpose than to report exactly what Jesus said and did at that supper; he did maintain that the tradition, which he had handed on to the Christians in Corinth, came from Christ himself (1 Cor 11: 23).

Dix also reflected on the work of the Reformers who, he argued, had perpetuated a mediaeval insistence that, since the Passion of Christ was wholly in the past, then it could only be entered into mentally, by remembering and imagining oneself into it.70 For these Reformers there was no sacrifice and the phrases 'eat the Body' and 'drink the Blood' only had figurative meanings. Communicants have 'communion' with their Lord when they eat the bread and drink the wine because, and only because, obedience stimulates emotions and aspirations, and thus deepens a purely mental union, that they have by conscious faith. Any 'real' Eucharistic action only takes place mentally, within the secrecy of the individual mind; there is no corporate significance. Dix concluded:

The external action must be done by each man for himself; the real Eucharistic action goes on separately even if simultaneously within each man's mind.71

Yet, it is not true to say, as Dix inferred, that all Reformation teaching could be subsumed into a heading of 'mere memorialism'. John Jewel (1522-1571), who was an alumnus of Dix's Oxford college, Merton, and was later Bishop of Salisbury and a strong supporter of Ecclesia Anglicana, wrote:

We affirm that bread and wine are holy and heavenly mysteries of the body and blood of Christ, and that by them Christ Himself, being the true bread of eternal life, is so presently given unto us as that by faith we verily receive his body and his blood.72

Richard Hooker (1554-1600), author of the eight volume work Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, defended Anglicanism from both Rome and the Puritans. He defined Eucharistic theology and experience as, 'the real participation of Christ and of life in his body and blood by means of this sacrament'.73

There have been a number of dissenting voices on the meaning of anamnesis. Darwell Stone (1859-1941), an Anglo-Catholic theologian, seemed to disagree with Dix's understanding of anamnesis. He wrote:

The word 'memorial' naturally suggests, without actually necessitating, the sense of a sacrificial memorial before God; and that in the case of the institution of the Eucharist the probability of a sacrificial meaning is greatly strengthened by the use of the word 'covenant' just before and by the sacrificial surroundings when our Lord spoke (Matt 26: 28; Mark 14: 24).74

After reviewing all the evidence Stone concluded that:

The word 'memorial' naturally suggests, without actually necessitating, the sense of a sacrificial memorial before God; and that in the case of the institution of the Eucharist the probability of a sacrificial meaning is greatly strengthened by the use of the word 'covenant' just before and by the sacrificial surroundings when our Lord spoke.75

Stephen Bedale, after making studies into the LXX, confirmed that each use of the word 'anamnesis' was exclusively a 'God-ward' reference, although, as has been demonstrated, this may not always be obvious.76 D R Jones concluded, after studying the LXX and other sources, that:

the use of the word anamnesis in the LXX involves too many ambiguities to prove authority for any interpretation of New Testament passages'.77

C F Evans commented that the words, εις την ημην αναμνησιν in Luke 22: 19 may be simply translated as, 'have me in mind'.78

Arnesen opined that Dix's theory and understanding of anamnesis is not supported by the Biblical references or the second century writers that he quotes. Dix was writing in the times of the so-called Biblical Theology Movement when there was nothing strange about constructing a whole theory on a single word which was said to have a special meaning for the biblical commentators.79 Arnesen believes that Dix's advocacy of the anamnesis theory was not unconnected with his view that the Protestant Eucharist was only a personal, mental remembrance of the redeeming work of Christ.

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Chapter 7 The Epiclesis

The word επικλησις (epiclesis) was originally used in Christian writings to mean, 'an invocation to a named individual'. Subsequently it simply implied a prayer. In modern parlance it is specifically employed as a petition, invoking the Father to send the Holy Spirit upon the Eucharistic bread and wine to change them into the body and Blood of Christ.80 Much controversy surrounds, and has always surrounded, the theological significance of this form of petition. The concept dates from the fourth century and is thought to have originated in the Catechetical Lectures of Saint Cyril of Jerusalem. The Latin text of Hippolytus' Apostolic Tradition contains a petition for the illapse of the Holy Spirit upon the Eucharistic elements, that the Spirit may dwell or rest upon them, not so much to consecrate them as to separate them from the mundane. It is believed that, by this process, the communicants would become Spirit filled. This is a position very similar to that taken by Ulrich Zwingli (1484-1531) in post-Reformation Zurich. There is some suggestion that the epiclesis has been understood to invoke the presence of the Holy Spirit on the communicants such that they might enjoy the soteriological benefits of reception of the Eucharistic elements.

There is no scriptural support for any epicletic involvement in the Eucharist. This is in part explained by a complete absence of Biblical evidence of the third Person of the Trinity.81 Pneumatic theology was not revealed to the Church until the fourth and fifth centuries, principally in the writings of Athanasius, Augustine and the Cappadocian Fathers. That notwithstanding, questions by these Patriarchs led to the emergence of the idea of a 'moment of consecration'; that point in the Eucharist when the bread and wine become, or are converted into, the Body and Blood of Christ. Dix suggested that individual Churches and theologians settled the placement of this 'point' in strict accordance with the particular tradition of the prayer with which they were familiar. They all placed the 'moment' and therefore the 'formula' of consecration at the most obvious point indicated by the actual language of their prayer. He argued that:

the fourth century was a period of continual liturgical revision ... we find Churches and even individual writers identifying consecration and therefore the 'formula' and the 'theology' of consecration now with one and now with another clause of the prayers in a way which seems to us very confusing.82

Echoes of fourth century confusion lasted for a long time. Even in modern times there persists, especially in the Byzantine, Eastern Church, a doctrine that states that the consecration cannot be completed, or effected in any part, until the Institution Narrative has been supplemented by a petition to the Holy Spirit to 'make', 'show' or 'transform' the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ.83 Dix accepted that the explanation of this tradition was more historical than theological and arose from the amalgamation and fusion of two separate liturgies. Such a stance begs the question of whether consecration can be satisfactorily concluded if the Institution Narrative is excluded from the rite.

By contrast the Western Church was less conncerned about the exact moment or point of consecration. Catholic Christians were required to kneel in adoration after the Words of Institution; the earlier idea of an invocation was not included in the Canon of the Mass. Perhaps the nearest link to the Godhead in the Tridentine Mass was found in the words:

Supplices te rogamus, omnipotens Deus, jube haec perferri per manus sancti Angeli tui in sublime altare tuum, in conspectu dininae majertatis tuae: ut quoquot ex hac altaris participatione, sacrocanctum Filii tui Corpus, et Sanguinem sumpserimus, omni benedictione coelesti et gratia repleamur. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum (Most humbly we implore you, Almighty God, bid these offerings to be brought by the hands of your holy angel to your altar above, before the face of your Divine Majesty. And may those of us who by sharing in the sacrifice of this altar shall receive the most sacred Body and Blood of your Son, be filled with every grace and heavenly blessing, through Christ our Lord).84

The Council of Florence (1439) determined that both elements of the rite were essential, the former part (the Institution narrative) acting as a 'seed' for the latter invocatory prayer. It was understood that the strength of the Holy Spirit had to supplement the sound of Christ's words. At that Council, Dominican Ambrose Catharinus (born Lancelot Politi, 1483-1553) argued that the moment of consecration preceded the Institution Narrative and cited the words:

Quam oblationem tu, Deus, in omnibus, quaesumus, benedictam, adscriptam, ratam, rationabilem, acceptabilemque facere digneris, ut nobis Corpus, et Sanguis fiatdilectissimi Filii tui Domini nostri Jesu Christi (O God, deign to bless what we offer, and make it approved, effective, right, and wholly pleasing in every way, that it may become for our good, the Body and Blood of your dearly beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ).

Donald Prudlo argued that Catharinus was one of the most outspoken representatives of the reactionary side of Catholic scriptural theology. In addition to attacking the Protestants, he frequently trained his sights on members of the Church whom he suspected of subversive tendencies, especially those in his own Dominican order. In his Annotationes in Commentari Caietani (1535), he accused confrere Tommaso Cardinal Vio de Cajetan (1469-1534), a dominant theologian of the Counter-Reformation, of 'audacious' mystical readings and of abandoning the interpretations of the Church Fathers. Catharinus's zeal, however, was not unique as many in the Church shared it.85 A divergent view was expressed by John of Torquemada (1388-1468), another Dominican. He believed that the Holy Spirit was invoked to sanctify the reception of the sacrament by the faithful, a position taken by many later Protestant reformers.

W Jardine Grisbrooke noted that Alexandrine anaphorae also have a preliminary epiclesis.86 The division of epicletic material varied from one rite to another. The origins of this apportionment are not clear and there is little if any evidence to suggest that either placement of the epiclesis is an early interpolation.

At the time of the Protestant Reformation there was much debate about the importance (or otherwise) and place of the epiclesis within Eucharistic worship. To take the Church of England as an example: in Archbishop Thomas Cranmer's first Book of Common Prayer (1549) the extension to the Prayer of Consecration contains the epicletic words, 'that he may dwell in them, and they in him'. It has to be admitted that these words lack any direct invocation to the Holy Spirit, yet they carry the indication of divine interaction with the elements. This prayer also includes the words, 'and command these our prayers and supplications, by the ministry of thy holy angels, to be brought up into they holy tabernacle before the sight of thy divine majesty'. These closely parallel Supplices te rogamus from the Roman Mass.87 Under pressure from more Protestant reformers from the continent, particularly Martin Bucer (1491-1551) and Peter Martyr Vermigli (1499-1562), Cranmer made sweeping changes in his revised Eucharistic rite of 1552. The Prayer of Consecration was seriously truncated and concluded with the words, 'Do this, as oft as ye shall drink it, in remembrance of me'.88 Cranmer even deleted the concluding 'Amen', thus giving congregational members even less time to contemplate any form of worship or adoration of the consecrated species. A rubric followed for the administration of the sacrament. The second half of the prayer, after serious rewriting, was moved to a position after the Lord's Prayer. It now contained no epicletic content. J Wickham Legg suggested that the extensions that Cranmer made to the words of administration in 1552, which continued in all subsequent revisions, take the place of Quam oblationem from the Roman rite.89 These were, 'Take and eat this in remembrance that Christ died for thee, and feed on him in thy heart with thanksgiving'.

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Chapter 8 The Doxological Conclusion

Dix suggested that, from as early as the fourth century, the Eucharistic Prayer ended with a solemn doxology.90 In the Apostolic Tradition, as a conclusion of the epiclesis, Hipploytus refers to the words:

that we may praise and glorify you through your child Jesus Christ; through whom be glory and honour to you, to the Father and the Son, with the Holy Spirit in your holy Church, both now and to the ages of ages. Amen.91

J H Srawley wrote that the doxological ending to the Eucharistic Prayer was only an interim conclusion. It was followed by further blessings of oil, cheeses and olives (although cheese and olives were not included in the Ethiopic version).92 In later writings, in the Canons of Hipploytus, there were prayers for the blessing of oil and 'first-fruits', each followed by the Gloria Patri. It is nowhere suggested that these letter blessings compared with the consecration of the Eucharistic elements. In the liturgy of Addai and Mari, the rite ends with:

And because of all your wonderful dispensation towards us, with open mouths and uncovered faces we give you thanks and glorify you without ceasing in your Church, which has been redeemed by the precious blood of your Christ, offering up praise, honour, Thanksgiving and adoration to your living and life-giving name, now and at all times forever and ever).93

Dix made it clear that, in his mind, there was a difference between the epiclesis, which invoked the presence of the Holy Spirit to complete the consecration of the elements, and a prayer for the benefits of the communion, for the salvific efficacy of the sacrament for the communicants. He saw the doxological ending of the various prayers as a thanksgiving for the latter.94

In the first English post-Reformation Prayer Book the long Prayer of Consecration concluded with the words:

through Jesus Christ our Lord, by whom, and with whom, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, all honour and glory, be unto thee, O Father almighty, world without end.

This was followed by the Lord's Prayer, the Peace, the Invitation to Confession, Confession, Absolution, Comfortable Words, Prayer of Humble Access and the Agnus Dei. Only then was the sacrament administered. There was adequate opportunity in this post-consecration time for communicants to worship and adore, as had been their custom in times past; but, as has been observed, in all subsequent revisions the Prayer of Consecration was terminated immediately after the Institution Narrative. Administration followed immediately, leaving no space or time for adoration of the sacrament. The administration was followed by the Lord's Prayer and either of the Prayer of Oblation or Prayer of Thanksgiving. The Prayer of Oblation, which was a modified form of the original conclusion to the 1549 Prayer of Consecration, still included the previously quoted words:

through Jesus Christ our Lord, by whom, and with whom, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, all honour and glory, be unto thee, O Father almighty, world without end.

Some modern, Anglican clergy, and I suspect, others from earlier times, when using the Prayer Book rite, add the Prayer of Oblation to the end of the Prayer of Consecration, without pause, contrary to the rubrics. Perhaps in order to allow adoration and praise (of God, not of the sacramental presence) at the end of the liturgy, Cranmer moved the Gloria in Excelsis to the conclusion of the service, immediately before The Peace and The Blessing. Dix observed that, 'the doxology, that 'blessing of the Name' without which for the first century Jew and the primitive Christian no blessing could be a blessing, has similarly been removed from the prayer to beyond the communion - at the end of the Prayer of Oblation or of Thanksgiving'.95

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Much research has been undertaken, over many decades, on the anaphorae in Christian Eucharistic liturgies in both east and west. This work has attempted, in general, to derive the historical roots of this rite or that. Among many liturgists Dix attempted to return to Patristic, and, indeed, Apostolic and early Jewish, sources for his understanding of modern Eucharistic rites. That notwithstanding, more recent scholars, using a wide variety of new discoveries in, for example, history, archaeology, palaeography and epigraphy, have determined that there is very little substantial evidence for the validity or veracity of ancient sources. Paul Bradshaw, a beacon among modern liturgical scholars, argued that a reconstruction of Christian worship, 'is not simply a matter of joining up the dots on a sheet of otherwise plain paper, but rather of finding the dots in the first place, buried as they are among countless others of different shades and hues, and of doing so with a blindfold over one's eyes'.96 Dix suggested that:

while we cannot hope to learn everything we would like to know about the Church's early worship, it is not impossible to say, even if only in a provisional way, a certain amount about how that worship began and developed in the first few centuries of the Christian tradition. When the dots are carefully joined, a faint picture can indeed emerge.97

Elsewhere Bradshaw wrote:

There is nothing in this particular [Eucharistic] prayer, therefore, that would lead one necessarily to date its introduction into [liturgical] usage before the early fourth century, and hence we must beware of treating it as a trustworthy guide to what older forms of Eucharistic praying might have been like'.98

It seems unlikely that true and reliable evidence of early Christian worship will ever be found, since new discoveries seem to prove the increased unreliability of the evidence. Yet, since liturgical words and praxis, certainly in modern times, are meant to reflect the age in which that worship takes place, there will forever be scholars who wish to update, upgrade and otherwise transform Eucharistic worship. There will always be a dichotomy between those who demand ever more 'relevant' liturgies and those who still yearn for and love the Latin of the Tridentine Mass and the poetic, Tudor prose of Thomas Cranmer.

Dix claimed to understand the history of Eucharistic worship in both East and West and attempted to present his evidence in a popular format. He explored and catalogued liturgical changes across the centuries, yet loved the Latin Mass (which he said daily). His objections to the Anglican worship of his time lay more in the theology there prescribed, rather than the language in which it was presented. He had seen the, albeit abortive, attempts at liturgical reform in the Prayer Book of 1928 and made great capital out of the embarrassment that ensued among the Church's hierarchy. Yet, he must have known that experiments in liturgical reform would not stop and that further revision was likely (if not actually necessary). It would be fascinating, in hindsight as it were, to have Dix's observations on the Alternative Service Book (1980), the Scottish Episcopal Church's Rite (1982) and Common Worship (2000) as well as the post-Vatican II, vernacular, Roman Mass.

Much of Dix's 'fat green book', which The Shape of the Liturgy is often called, is occupied in examining the anaphora of the Church's Eucharistic liturgy. It has been argued by many that Dix made mistakes, quoted from bogus references (or, at least, from those that other scholars have been unable to verify) and ignored the writings of contemporaries, many of whom had researched the same or similar subject matter. That said, his book has been on the publisher's shelves for over sixty years and is still recommended for modern students of liturgy and worship.

NB In 2005, to mark the 60th anniversary of the date of publication of Dix's magnum opus, a facsimile edition of The Shape of the Liturgy, with an important Foreword by the Rev'd Canon Dr Simon Jones, Chaplain of Dix's Oxford College, Merton, was issued by Bloomsbury T & T Clarke.

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Norman, James, Handbook to the Christian Liturgy, Part II Commentary, I, The anaphora, Ref: (Accessed 24/03/10).

Prudlo, Donald S, 'Scripture and Theology in Early Modern Catholicism', in Holcomb, Justin S (ed), Christian Theologies of Scripture: A Comparative Introduction, (New York: New York University Press, 2006).

Srawley, J H, 'The Holy Communion Service', in Lowther-Clarke, W K (ed), Liturgy and Worship, (London: SPCK, 1950).

________, J H, The Early History of the Liturgy, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1947).

Stone, Darwell, A History of the Doctrine of the Holy Eucharist, (London: Longman, Green & Co, 1909).

________, Darwell, The Faith of an English Catholic, (London: Longman, Green & Co, 1926).

Yarnold, E J, 'The Liturgy of the Faithful in the Fourth and Early Fifth Centuries', in Jones, Cheslyn et al (eds), The Study of Liturgy (Rev Ed), (London: SPCK, 1992).

Wainwright, Geoffrey, Eucharist and Eschatology, (London: Epworth Press, 1971).

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End notes

1. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church offers this interpretation. See: F L Cross (ed), The Oxford. Dictionary of the Christian Church, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1958), sv 'Anaphora'.

2. R C D Jasper and G J Cuming, Prayers of the Eucharist: Early and Reformed, 3rd edition (Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1990), 6.

3. James Norman, Handbook to the Christian Liturgy, Part II Commentary, I, 'The anaphora', Ref: (Accessed 24/03/10).

4. See: F L Cross (ed), The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, sv 'Oblations.

5. Louis Duchesne, Christian Worship: Its Origin and Evolution, (London: SPCK, 1912), 84.

6. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica (Ed 3), (Hayes Barton Press, 1947), 28-35.

7. Thomas A Kempis, Of the Imitation of Christ, (London: Thomas Nelson & Sons Ltd), 260.

8. Caroline Walker Bynum, Wonderful Blood: Theology and Practice in late medieval northern Germany and beyond, (Pennsylvania PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007), 167.

9. There is here a direct link back to Old Testament thinking, explained in Deut 12: 23, that, 'the blood is the life'.

10. Caroline Walker Bynum, Wonderful Blood, xiii.

11. J H Srawley, 'The Holy Communion Service', in W K Lowther-Clarke (ed), Liturgy and Worship, (London: SPCK, 1950), 318.

12. Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy, (London: Dacre Press, 1945), 118.

13. Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy, 125f.

14. Evan Daniel, The Prayer-Book: Its History, Language and Contents, (London: Wells, Gardner, Darton & Co, 1892), 320.

15. J H Srawley, 'The Holy Communion Service', 335.

16. The salutation was also removed from other parts of the order: before the Collect for the reigning monarch and before the post-Communion Prayer of Thanksgiving.

17. Hans Lietzmann, Mass and Lord's Supper: A Study in the History of the Liturgy, Vol I, (Leiden: E J Brill, 1979), 186f.

18. John J Contreni, 'The Carolingian Renaissance: Education and Literary Culture', in Rosamond McKitterick (ed), The New Cambridge Mediaeval History, Vol 1, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 730.

19. C A Bouman, 'Variants in the Introduction to the Eucharistic Prayer', Vigilae Christianae, Vol 4, No 2 (Apr, 1950), 95.

20. Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy, 708. Dix explained that, despite studying the writings of the Evangelists, the Apostles and the Early Church Fathers, he found it impossible to arrive at a consensus of what comprised the original wording of the earliest Eucharistic rite.

21. Simon Jones, ' Introduction', in Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy (loc cit), xxiii.

22. Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy, 48.

23. Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy, 48.

24. The Eucharistic Rite for the Church of South India may be found at: (Accessed 03/07/10).

25. Paul F Bradshaw, Eucharistic Origins, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 27.

26. Paul F Bradshaw, Eucharistic Origins, 128.

27. English translation by J B Lightfoot, Ref: (Accessed 22/05/10).

28. Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy, 134f. 29. Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy, 538.

30. Ref:]

31. Enrico Mazza, The Celebration of the Eucharist: The Origin of the Rite and the Development of Its Interpretation, (Collegeville MN: Liturgical Press, 1999), 285f.

32. Geoffrey Wainwright, Eucharist and Eschatology, (London: Epworth Press, 1971), 70.

33. See translation in: J Cooper and A J Maclean, The Testament of Our Lord, (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1902), 75.

34. For a transliteration and translation of the Armenian Divine Liturgy, see:]

35. F E Brightman, Liturgies Eastern and Western Vol 1 (Eastern Liturgies), (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1896), 233f.

36. J H Srawley, 'The Holy Communion Service', 335.

37. Josef A Jungmann, The Mass of the Roman Rite: Its Origins and Development, Vol II, (Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 1955), 115.

38. W Jardine Grisbrooke, 'Preface', in J G Davies (ed), The Westminster Dictionary of Worship, 322.

39. E J Yarnold, 'The Liturgy of the Faithful in the Fourth and Early Fifth Centuries', in, Cheslyn Jones et al (eds), The Study of Liturgy (Rev Ed), (London: SPCK, 1992), 231.

40. Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy, 527. Dix claimed that, in other sacraments, the outline of the rite and actual wording of the prayers is identical.

41. The Byzantine Church also has a Lenten Liturgy of the Presanctified.]

42. See, inter alia, Ref: (Accessed 10/11/17).

43. Words extracted from Clause IV of the Lambeth Quadrilateral of 1888.

44. Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy, 48.

45. Paul F Bradshaw, Eucharistic Origins, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 12. See also: Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy, 101.

46. Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy, 98.

47. Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy, 98.

48. Paul Bradshaw, Eucharistic Origins, 13.

49. Or actually and physically available to them, depending on the development of doctrines such as the Real Presence, consubstantiation and transubstantiation.

50. See, inter alia, R C D Jasper and G J Cuming, Prayers of the Eucharist, 35.

51. Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy, 133.

52. Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy, 162. The italics are Dix's.

53. Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy, 239. Dix quoted from John Chrysostom, Gregory of Nyssa and Ambrose in this context.

54. William Arndt & F Wilbur Gingrich (eds), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957), sv 'αναμνεσις'

55. W Jardine Grisbrooke, 'Anaphora', in J G Davies (ed), The Westminster Dictionary of Worship, (Philadelphia, PA: The Westminster Press, 1972), 15.

56. Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy, 238.

57. Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy, 243.

58. Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy, 159. Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, 41.

59. Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy, 161.

60. Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy, 162.

61. Transubstantiation is a belief in the corporeal presence of Christ in the sacramental elements, although only the accidentals may be physically observed; by contrast Consubstantiation holds an understanding of a spiritual acceptance of the sacrament. In both, there is a Real Presence of Christ.

62. Aelred Arnesen, Anamnesis, Ref: (Accessed 03/05/10).

63. Bruce T Morrill, Anamnesis as Dangerous Memory: Political and Liturgical Theology in Dialogue, (Collegeville MN: The Liturgical Press, 2000), 176f.

64. R J S Barrett-Lennard, The Sacramentary of Sarapion of Thmuis: A Text for Students, with Introduction, Translation, and Commentary, Nottingham: Grove Books Ltd, 1993), 26.

65. Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy, 172

66. Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy, 161.

67. Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy, 243.

68. Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy, 68.

69. Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy. 68.

70 Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy, 623.

71. Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy, 624.

72. John Jewel, The Apology for the Church of England, Part II, Ref: (Accessed 03/05/10).

73 Richard Hooker, Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, BOOK V. Ch. lxvii. 7. Ref: (Accessed 12/03/22).

74. Darwell Stone, A History of the Doctrine of the Holy Eucharist, (London: Longman, Green & Co, 1909), 11.

75. Darwell Stone, The Faith of an English Catholic, (London: Longman, Green & Co, 1926).

76. Stephen Bedale, 'The Eucharist Sacrifice', Theology, Vol 56 (1953).

77. D R Jones, 'Anamnesis in tfhe LXX and the Interpretation of 1 Corinthians 11: 25', Journal of Theological Studies, Vol 6 (1955), 183.

78. C F Evans, Luke, (London: SCM Press, 1945), 790.

79. This academic approach has led to what has been called a 'Hebrew Mentality' in which current ideas from the past and present are deemed inappropriate to the scholar. Such ideas have largely been discredited.

80. See: F L Cross (ed), The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, sv 'Epiclesis'.

81. There are many references to the Holy Spirit in the gospels but no clear statement about the Trinitarian nature of the Godhead.

82. Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy, 240. The italicised word is Dix's.

83. Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy, 241.

84. See: Ref (Accessed 14/05/10).

85. Donald S Prudlo, 'Scripture and Theology in Early Modern Catholicism', in Justin S Holcomb (ed), Christian Theologies of Scripture: A Comparative Introduction, (New York: New York University Press, 2006), 140f.

86. W Jardine Grisbrooke, ' Anaphora', in J G Davies (ed), A Dictionary of Liturgy and Worship, (London: SCM Press, 1972), 16.

87. It is important to remember that Cranmer's title for this service was, The Supper of the Lorde and the Holy Communion commonly called the Masse'.

88. This revised prayer did not allow for the congregation to reply 'Amen'

89. J Wickham Legg, Some Vindications of the Book of Common Prayer appearing in Unexpected Quarters, (London: SPCK, 1916). Ref: (Accessed 15/05/10).

90. Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy, 105.

91. Quoted in: R C D Jasper and G J Cuming, Prayers for the Eucharist: Early and Reformed, 35.

92. H Srawley, The Early History of the Liturgy, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1947), 71.

93. R C D Jasper and G J Cuming, Prayers for the Eucharist: Early and Reformed, 44f.

94. Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy, 183.

95. Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy, 671.

96. Paul Bradshaw, The Search for the Origins of Christian Worship (2nd Ed), (London: SPCK, 2002), 20.

97. Gregory Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy, 538.

98. Paul Bradshaw, Eucharistic Origins, 138.

Glossary of Terms

A prayer consisting of a varying number of blessings recited while the worshippers stand. It is the central prayer of the Jewish liturgy.

Antiochene liturgy

A modern designation for a style of liturgy associated with the Church at Antioch, contrasted with Alexandrine liturgy.

Cappadocian Fathers

The Cappadocian Fathers were three important fourth-century theologians, all born in Cappadocia, now modern Turkey. The three were responsible for precisely defining the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. The Cappadocian Fathers were: Basil the Great (330-379), Bishop of Caesarea; Basil's younger brother Gregory of Nyssa (c 332-395), Bishop of Nyssa; and their friend Gregory of Nazianzus (329-389), who became Patriarch of Constantinople.


A short composition used as a refrain for psalm verses - normally sung at the Great Entrance of the Byzantine liturgy.

Deposited Prayer Book

In 1927 the Church of England 'Deposited' a revised Book of Common Prayer before Parliament for acceptance. The contents could be debated but not altered. The House of Lords accepted it, but it was rejected by the House of Commons. The process was repeated in 1928 with the same overall result.


The doctrine, important in Gnosticism, that Christ's body was not human but either a phantasm or of real but celestial substance, and that therefore his sufferings were only apparent.

Epicletic Referring to the Epiclesis..

The study or science of epigraphs and inscriptions, especially those of ancient origin.


Relating to the study or a theory of the nature and grounds of knowledge especially with reference to its limits and validity.


According to New Testament sources this is the day at the end of time following Armageddon when God will decree the fates of all individual humans according to the good and evil of their lives.

Ethiopic Enoch

The most important of the pseudepigraphic, apocalyptic works, written in Hebrew or Aramaic over the last three centuries BC and dating from the period of the Second Temple.


Referring to the Euchologicon, a principal service book of liturgies, prayers, and occasional rites used in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Hagios ηαγιος = angels

Hippolytus of Rome (170-c 235) was one of the most important second-third century Christian theologians. His provenance, identity and corpus remain elusive to scholars and historians. But it is generally accepted that the Second Eucharistic Prayer of the Roman Mas is partially based on a reconstruction of the Canon of Hippolytus. Dix translated The Apostolic Tradition, in which Hippolytus recorded the first liturgical reference to the Virgin Mary, as part of the consecration rite of a Bishop.

Holy Qurbana

The Liturgy of Addai and Mari (or the of Mar Addai and Mar Mari) is the Eucharistic liturgy belonging to the East Syriac Rite and was historically used in the Church of the East of the Sasanian (Persian) Empire.


A gliding in; or an immission or entrance of one thing into another. Often referring to a quotation.


The recital of a prayer in the Jewish ritual introduced into the third benediction of the otherwise silent Amidah.

Lambeth Quadrilateral

A four-point articulation of Anglican identity, often cited as encapsulating the fundamentals of the Anglican Communion's doctrine.


The number 70 in Roman numerals: used to represent the Septuagint. It is the Greek translation of the Old Testament. It is believed that 70 scholars took part in the exercise.


The study of ancient writing systems and the deciphering and dating of historical manuscripts.

Pneumatic theology

An understanding of the nature of the Holy Spirit within the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity. Πνευμα (Pneuma) is the Greek for air, wind and spirit.


Spurious writings, especially those falsely attributed to Biblical characters or times. They include a body of texts written between 200 BC and AD 200 which are spuriously ascribed to various prophets and kings of the Hebrew Scriptures.


Concerning that branch of theology dealing with the nature and means of salvation. [From the Greek σοτεριον (soterion) = deliverance].

Testamentum Domini

A short early Christian treatise professing to be in the words of Christ Himself. It contains detailed regulations on matters of ecclesiastical order and church building, and a complete Eucharistic liturgy.


As reported by Saint John τετελεσται was Jesus' final word from the cross. It is a crucial word because it signifies the successful end to a particular duty or function. It is often translated as 'it is finished' or, more colloquially, 'I've done it!' (John 19: 30). It seems more likely that any cry of acclamation by Jesus would have been in Aramaic.


Liturgical Remembrance and Sacred History. The worship of the God in the Temple revealed his dual nature as both the Lord of Creation and the Lord of History.

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About the Author

David Fuller was born in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, and attended King Edward VI Grammar School. He left school at age 16, with a modest list of mediocre GCE 'O' level passes, and was accepted for employment as an Apprenticed Metallurgist with a local manufacturing company. He studied part-time at Ipswich Civic College (now Suffolk New College) and was credited with Ordinary and Higher National Certificates in Metallurgy. In 1962 he went to University College, Cardiff, (now Cardiff University) to read Applied Metallurgy and in 1966 was awarded a Bachelor of Science Degree with First Class Honours and the prestigious A A Read Student Metallurgy Prize.

In 1978, after a number of years in scientific management, he moved to Blackburn in Lancashire and until 1992 was responsible for the operation of one of Europe's most modern, high volume iron foundries. During this time he was a regular contributor of technical lectures at many national and international conferences and seminars associated with the foundry industry. He was appointed to the Management Board of BCIRA, then the foundry industry's principal research association, and in 1991 was elected President of EEF North West, an organisation which represented engineering companies that collectively employed over 30,000 personnel. During most of the 1980s he was 'head' of the band of altar servers at Blackburn Cathedral.

In 1993 he left manufacturing industry and retrained as a computer scientist. In 1995 he was awarded a Post Graduate Certificate in Education by Huddersfield University and taught computer classes at Blackburn College until 1999. In that year he retired to the Isle of Mull in Scotland where he and his wife had had a holiday home for many years. He is now a Licensed Lay Reader in the Scottish Episcopal Church, Diocese of Argyll and The Isles. After retirement he spent seven years as a part-time, distance-learning, undergraduate student of the University of Aberdeen and was awarded a Bachelor of Theology Degree with Honours (2:1) in 2009. In 2014, after five years of part-time, distance-learning, post-graduate, research at the University of Glasgow, studying the life and writings of Anglican monk and liturgist Dom Gregory Dix (1901-52), the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy was conferred on him. His external examiner, against whose questioning he had to defend his thesis, was Baron Willims of Oystermouth, formerly Archbishop of Canterbury.

His interests include: theological research, writing, cabinet making, puzzle solving and calligraphy.

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Other books by the Author

The Lay-Led Eucharist: A Practical Handbook

Out of the Melting Pot
Some Autobiographical Reminiscences of a Foundryman

Out of the Mouth
A Selection of Lay Sermons

Out of my Mind
An Assortment of Odes and Poems for Many Occasions

A Very Anglican Monk:
A Study of the Life and Works of Dom Gregory Dix
(Doctoral Thesis - retitled)

A Latter-Day Tractarian: Dom Gregory Dix

Essays to a Degree
A compilation of theological essays

Gruline Diary
A Decade in the Life of a Small Island Parish

The Protestant Reformation and The Book of Common Prayer:
A Liturgical Study

English Church and State: A Short Study of Erastianism

The Book of Common Prayer: Some Lesser Known Parts

Out of the Cloud: A Theological Miscellany

Sin and the Decalogue: A Study

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