« PrécédentContinuer »
"From the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same My Name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto My Name, and a Pure Offering: for My Name shall be great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts."-MALACHI i. 11.
"This do in remembrance of Me."-LUKE xxii. 19.
• "He that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me.”—JOHN vi. 57.
"In the midst of the throne, and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb, as it had been slain."-REVELATION V. 6.
INTRODUCTION TO THE LITURGY.
Is the ancient Church of England, as in all other branches of the Western Church, the Celebration of the Holy Communion, and the Office for its celebration were designated by the common name of "Missa '," the true technical meaning of which word is probably the "Offering," and which assumed the form of "Mass" in the vernacular tongue. This name was retained in 1549, the title of the Office in the Prayer Book of that date being, "The Supper of the Lord, and the Holy Communion, commonly called the Mass;" but it was dropped in 1552, has not since appeared in the Prayer Book, and has been generally disused in the Church of England as a name either for the Office or the Rite: the latter being most frequently called the Holy Communion, or the Holy Eucharist, and the Office being conveniently distinguished by the Primitive name of "The Liturgy." This
latter word appears to have been derived from classical Greek through the Septuagint. Λειτουργία originally signified the public duties, or office, of any Aeitoupyós, or public officer, and especially of those persons who had to undertake the principal care and expense of public entertainments. In the Septuagint, the use of the word was restricted to the public Service of the Sanctuary [Numb. iv. 12. 26. 1 Chron. xxvi. 30]; and in the New Testament it passes on to the Christian Divine Service, which, during that age, and until the destruction of the Jewish system, consisted almost entirely of the celebration of the Holy Communion. In the Primitive Church, "The Liturgy" meant both the Office and the Rite itself, just as Mass" did in the Mediæval Church; but in more recent times it has been restricted to the Office alone 3.
THE HISTORY OF THE LITURGY.
Like the rest of the Prayer Book, the English Liturgy is an inheritance from former ages. It was principally translated, in the first instance, from the Ordinarium Missæ, and Canon Missæ of the Salisbury Use, which had been the chief rule of Divine Service in the Church of England, from A.D. 1085 to A.D. 1549, a period of nearly five hundred years. The Mass of the Salisbury Rite (as well as of other English rites, such as those of York, Hereford, Bangor, and Lincoln) was a revised form of a more ancient Service, which had been in some very slight degree influenced by the Roman under St. Augustine and his successors, but which substantially represented the Liturgy used also in the Churches of France and Spain: and this Liturgy was derived from the great Patriarchate of Ephesus, which was founded by the Apostle St. Paul, and ruled by the Apostle St. John for many years before his death 2. To understand this independent primitive origin of the English Liturgy, it will be necessary to trace out shortly the course of liturgical history from the first.
When our Blessed Lord instituted the Sacrament of the Holy Communion, and commanded it to be perpetually celebrated, He used the words, "This do in remembrance of Me," and thus imposed a certain form upon the Apostles as the one which they were to use in its celebration, and which would ever after be considered as essential by them, and the rest of the Church, as was the form given by Christ for Holy Baptism. This essential nucleus of the Liturgy consisted of at least Benediction, the breaking of the Bread, the giving of thanks, and the taking of the Cup into the hands, as is seen from the Gospel narrative [Matt. xxvi. 22. Mark xiv. 22. Luke xxii. 19]; and also from the special revelation made to St. Paul [1 Cor. xi. 23, 24].
"Missa" is a name of great antiquity, being found in an Epistle of St. Ambrose to his sister Marcellina [Opera ii. 853, Bened. ed.]. Many explatations of the word have been given, but that of Cardinal Bona seems the at reasonable, viz. that it is derived from the words "Ite missa est," with which the congregation is dismissed by the deacon at the conclusion of the service, and which are equivalent to the "Let us depart in peace" of the Laster Liturgies. That the term comes from "mittendo" is equally clear, and as early as Micrologus we find the explanation "In festivis diebus, Ite missa est, dicitur, quia tunc generalis conventus celebrari solet, qui per bujusmodi denuntiationem licentiam discendi accipere solet" [xlvi.]. St Thomas Aquinas explains the word as meaning that the sacrifice of the Holy Eucharist has been sent up to God by the ministration of angels [iii. qa. 83, art. iv.] : and as woeite," do this," is well known to have a technical association with sacrifice, so doubtless has "missa."
1 See pp. xvii, xviii, of the Historical Introduction.
But as the words with which our Lord "blessed" the elements, and with which He "gave thanks," are not recorded, it can only be concluded that He left them to the inspired memory of His Apostles; to whom, at the proper time, the Holy Spirit was to call all things to remembrance that our Lord had taught them for the work which they had to do. It may well have been, also, that further details respecting the celebration of this principal rite of the Church were among those "things pertaining to the kingdom of God” which our Lord communicated to the Apostles during the forty days between His Resurrection and Ascension.
There is, however, no strong evidence that the Apostles adopted, or handed down, one uniform system of celebrating the Holy Communion, except in respect to these central features of the rite. Proclus, Patriarch of Constantinople in the fifth century, asserts that the Apostles arranged a Liturgy before they parted for their several fields of labour [see Bona, Rer. Liturg. I. v. 3], and a passage from a Homily of St. Chrysostom [Ad Cor. xxvii. 7], in which he says, "Consider, when the Apostles partook of that holy supper, what they did? Did they not betake themselves to prayers and hymns?" has been supposed to signify the same settled character of the Liturgy which they used. On the other hand, St. Gregory appears to say [Ep. lxiii.], that the Apostles used only the Lord's Prayer in consecrating the holy oblation; and although it is certain his words must not be taken strictly, they may be considered to show that the Apostolic form of Liturgy was not originally a long one. Bona considers that the diversity in the evidence may be reconciled by supposing that the Apostles used a short form (containing only the essential part of the rite), when danger or other urgent circumstances gave them time for no more; and that when time permitted they used a longer form; although even this longer form he believes must have been short, compared with the Liturgies afterwards used, on account of the difficulties which Christians experienced in celebrating Divine Service during the age of persecutions. Several early liturgical commentators allege that the development of the Liturgy was gradual; and the truth seems to be expressed by one of them when he says, that the Lord Himself instituted the rite in the simple manner narrated in the Gospel, that the Apostles added some things to it (as, for example, the Lord's Prayer), and that
3 Inexact writers sometimes designate the whole of the Offices used in Divine Service by the name of "the Liturgy," but it is much more proper, as well as convenient, to limit the use of the word as above. U
then some of their successors appointed Epistles and Gospels to be read; others, hymns to be sung; and others, again, made such additions to the Liturgy from time to time as they considered suitable for contributing to the glory of God in the holy Sacrament1. The Gospels and Epistles were certainly not written until a Liturgy had been in use for many years, in some form.
The ancient Liturgies which remain, show, nevertheless, so much general agreement as to bring conviction to the mind that they were all of them originally derived from some common source; and the same kind of synthetic criticism which traces back all known languages to three original forms of speech, can also trace back the multitude of differing Liturgies which are used by the various Churches of East and West to a few,-that is to say, four or five,-normal types, all of which have certain strong features of agreement with each other, pointing to a derivation from the same liturgical fountain. That there is any difference at all in these may be attributed probably to three causes: (1) That the Apostles did not limit themselves or others solely to the use of the central and essential portion of the rite; and that while this was substantially kept uniform by them all, each added such prayers as he saw fit. (2) That Liturgies were, to a certain extent, adapted to the circumstances of the various nations among whom they were to be used, by such changes in the non-essential portions, and such additions, as appeared desirable to the Patriarch or Bishop. (3) That as Liturgies were not committed to writing until the end of the second century 2, diversities of expression, and even greater changes, would naturally arise, among the variety of which it would be impossible to recover the exact original, and therefore to establish an authoritative uniformity.
It may be added that the lawfulness of an authorized diversity in non-essential rites, when combined with an orthodox uniformity in those which are essential, has always been recognized by the Catholic Church 3; and that this principle is stated in the 34th Article of Religion of the Church of England.
Of the many Liturgies which are very ancient there are several which undoubtedly belong to the primitive age of Christianity, and from these all others that are known (as has been already said) have evidently branched off. They are the Liturgies which go by the names of St. James, St. Mark, St. Peter, and St. John; the first was the Liturgy of Jerusalem, the second of Alexandria, the third of Rome, and the fourth of Ephesus.
The Liturgy of St. James, or of Jerusalem, was that used in Palestine and Mesopotamia, the dioceses of both which countries were included within the Patriarchate of Antioch. A singular proof of its primitive antiquity is found in the fact that the Monophysite heretics, who now occupy all these dioceses, use a Syriac Liturgy which they attribute to St. James, and which is nearly identical with that attributed to him by the orthodox, between whom and the Monophysites there has been no intercommunion since the Council of Chalcedon, which was held A.D. 451. Such a coincidence goes far to prove that this Liturgy is at least fourteen centuries old, and also offers some evidence that it was the one in use by the Churches of the Patriarchate of Antioch before the great division which arose out of the Eutychian heresy. The Liturgy of St. James is also mentioned in the 32nd Canon of the Constantinopolitan Council held in Trullo, A.D. 691; and traces of it are to be found in the writings of Fathers who lived or had lived within the Patriarchate of Antioch, and may thus be supposed to have been familiar with its words. Among such are Theodoret, St. Jerome, St. Chrysostom (once a priest of Antioch), and St. Cyril, Bishop, of Jerusalem, two of
1 Gemma Animæ, i. 86. Walafrid. Strabo de Rebus Eccles. xxii.
2 This rule was observed from feelings founded on our Lord's words, "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine." (Matt. vii. 6.] For the same reason great reserve was used in speaking and writing on the subject of the Holy Eucharist, and hence little can be learned from the Fathers of the first three centuries about the mode in which it was celebrated.
3 See, e. g., St. Gregory's Epistle to St. Augustine, p. xviii of the Hiзtorical Introduction.
4 To these Dr. Neale adds that of St. Thaddeus, used in Persia, and also called the "Liturgy of the East."
whose Catechetical Lectures (preached in the latter half of the fourth century) are expressly on the subject of the Holy Eucharist, and describe the Service minutely. In the Apostolical Constitutions, written in the third century, there is a Liturgy, or synopsis of one, which has been called by the name of St. Clement, but appears to be that of St. James; and with the latter also agrees the description of the celebration of the Eucharist which is given by Justin Martyr, who was a native of Samaria (within the Patriarchate of Antioch), and died about sixty years only after St. John. From this evidence it appears almost certain, that the Liturgy of St. James which is used by the Monophysites, and that which is used on the feast of St. James by the orthodox Church of Jerusalem, are versions of the primitive Liturgy which was used for the celebration of the Holy Communion in Judæa and the surrounding countries in the age which immediately followed that of the Apostles. From it St. Basil's Liturgy was derived, and from St. Basil's that of St. Chrysostom, which is the ore used at the present day in the Eastern Church, and in Russia. The Liturgy of St. Mark, or of Alexandria, is known to have been used by the orthodox Churches of North-eastern Africa down to the twelfth century, and is still used in several forms by the Monophysites, who supplanted them. The most authentic form of it is that entitled, "The Liturgy of Mark which Cyril perfected," and which is extant in the Coptic, or vernacular language of Egypt, as well as in Greek, in MSS. of very ancient date. This Liturgy is traceable, by a chain of evidence similar to that mentioned in the preceding paragraph, to the second century, to which date it is assigned by Bunsen. Palmer says respecting it, "We can ascertain with considerable certainty the words and expressions of the Alexandrian Liturgy before the Council of Chalcedon, A.D. 451; and we can trace back its substance and order to a period of far greater antiquity. In fact, there is nothing unreasonable in supposing that the main order and substance of the Alexandrian Liturgy, as used in the fifth century, may have been as old as the Apostolic age, and derived originally from the instructions and appointment of the blessed Evangelist"."
The Liturgy of St. Peter, or of Rome, is found, substantially as it is used in the Latin Church at the present day, in the Sacramentaries of St. Gregory [A.D. 590], Gelasius [A.D. 491], and St. Leo [A.D. 483], although many additions have been made to it in later times. The Roman Liturgy is attributed to St. Peter by ancient liturgical commentators, who founded their opinion chiefly upon a passage in an Epistle of Innocent, Bishop of Rome in the fifth century, to Decentius, Bishop of Euzubium 8. But no doubt St. Innocent refers to the "Canon of the Mass" (as it has been called in later ages), that part of the Office which begins with the actual consecration of the Sacrament. There seems no reason to believe that this confident opinion of so eminent a Bishop in the fifth century was otherwise than correct; and like the preceding Liturgies, that of Rome may reasonably be assigned to the age succeeding the Apostles. St. Gregory revised the variable parts of this Liturgy, the Collects, Epistles, and Gospels; but the only change which he made in the Ordinary and the Canon
5 Justin Martyr describes the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, about A.D. 140, in the following terms:-"Upon the day called Sunday we have an assembly of all who live in the towns or in the country, who meet in an appointed place; and the records of the Apostles, or the writings of the Apostles, are read, according as the time will permit. When the reader has ended, then the Bishop [ó #poeσTr] admonishes and exhorts us in a discourse that we should imitate such good examples. After that we all stand up and pray, and, as we said before, when that prayer is ended bread is offered, and wine and water. Then the Bishop also, according to the authority given him [öon dúvaμis avry], sends up [àvanéunei, cf. missa est] prayers and thanksgivings; and the people end the prayer with him, saying. Amen. After which, distribution is made of the consecrated elements, which are also sent by the hands of the deacons to those who are absent." [Justin. Mart., Apol.]
6 Analecta Ante-Nicæna iii. 106.
7 Origin. Liturg. i. 105. 8"Si instituta ecclesiastica, ut sunt a beatis apostolis tradita, integra vellent servare Domini sacerdotes, nulla diversitas, nulla varietas in ipsis ordinibus et consecrationibus haberetur-quis enim nesciat, aut non advertat, id quod a principe apostolorum Petro Romanæ Ecclesiæ traditum est...?" [Labbe, Concil. ii. 1245.] Cardinal Bona remarks on a similar passage from St. Isidore's writings, "Hoc de re et substantia, non de verborum tenore et cæremoniis intelligendum est." [Rer. Liturg. I. vii. 5.]
was by that addition of a few words which is noticed by the Venerable Bede [see p. 13, note]. From the Roman Liturgy in its primitive form were derived that used by the Churches of North-western Africa, and the famous Ambrosian Rite which is used in the Church of Milan. Since the time of St. Gregory this Liturgy has been used over a large part of the Western Church, and is now the only one allowed by the See of Rome.
The Liturgy of St. John, or of St. Paul, i. e. the Ephesine Liturgy, was the original of that which was used, probably in three various forms, in Spain, France, and England during the earlier ages of Christianity, and the only one besides the Roman which obtained a footing in the Western Church. This appears to have been disused in the dioceses of which Ephesus was the centre, at the time of the Council of Laodicea in Phrygia some time in the fourth century: the nineteenth Canon of that Council giving such directions respecting the celebration of the Holy Communion as show that it substituted the Liturgy of St. Basil and St. Chrysostom, which is still used in those dioceses. But, at a much earlier date, missionaries had gone forth from the Church of Ephesus, and had planted the standard of Christianity at Lyons, that city thus becoming the great centre from which the Church spread itself throughout France; and as late as A.D. 177, the Christians of Lyons wrote to the Churches of Asia respecting the martyrdoms which had occurred in that city as to those who represented their mother Church, and had therefore a special sympathy with them. The primitive Liturgy of Ephesus thus became that of France, and, probably by the missionary work of the same apostolic men, of Spain also. This Liturgy continued to be used in the French Church until the time of Charlemagne [A.D. 742-841]. It had received such additions from the hands of Musaus, Sidonius, and St. Hilary of Poitiers, as St. Gregory had made to the Roman rite, but these additions or alterations did not affect the body of the Liturgy, consisting, as they did, of Introits, Collects, and other portions of the Service belonging to that which precedes the Ordinary and Canon.
The Gallican Liturgy was partly supplanted by the Roman in the time of Pepin, who introduced the Roman chant and psalmody into the Churches of France; and it was altogether superseded by Charlemagne, who obtained the Sacramentary of St. Gregory from Rome, and issued an edict that all priests should celebrate the Holy Sacrament only in the Roman manner. In Spain the same Liturgy had been used in a form called the Mozarabic; but by the influence of Pope Gregory VII., Alphonso VI., King of Castille and Leon, was persuaded to do as Charlemagne had done in France, to abolish the use of the national rite and sub
stitute that of the Roman Church. It was thus wholly discontinued until the beginning of the sixteenth century, when Cardinal Ximenes endowed a college and chapel for the use of it at Toledo, and there it still continues to be used.
The early connexion between the Church of France and the Church of England was so close, that there can be no reasonable doubt of the same Liturgy having been originally used in both countries. When St. Augustine came to England in A.D. 596, expecting to find it an altogether heathen land, he discovered that there was an ancient and regularly-organized Church, and that its usages were different in many particulars from those of any Church with which he had been previously acquainted [see p. xvii]. By the advice of St. Gregory he introduced some changes into the Liturgy which he found in use; the changes coming, not directly from the Roman Sacramentary of St. Gregory, but "from a sister rite, formed in the south of France by the joint action, probably, of St. Leo and Cassian, about two hundred years before [A.D. 420]; having a common basis, indeed, with the Roman Office, but strongly tinctured with Gallican characteristics derived long ago from the East, and probably enriched, at the time, by fresh importations of Oriental usages'." Thus the Liturgy of the Church of England after St. Augustine's time became a modified form of the more ancient Gallican, which itself was originally the Liturgy of the Church of Ephesus, owing its germ to St. Paul or St. John. The English Church of St. Augustine's day, and long after, distinctly averred that its customs were derived from the latter Apostle; but in many particulars the work of St. John and St. Paul appears to have traversed the same ground, as it certainly did in the Church of Ephesus, and probably did in the Church of England.
The Liturgy thus derived from the ancient Gallican, and the more recent version of it which had been introduced by Cassian, was again revised by St. Osmund, Bishop of Salisbury, in A.D. 1085; and it was the same Liturgy which also formed the basis of the other slightly varying Offices that were used in different Dioceses of England, and have come down to us by the names of these Dioceses. The Salisbury Liturgy eventually supplanted all the others which were used by the Church of England, and became the principal basis of the vernacular Liturgy which has now been used for more than 300 years in all the churches of the Anglican communion 2.
The historical particulars thus given respecting the connexion between ancient and modern Liturgies may be conveniently reduced into one general view by a tabular form :
§ Structure of Primitive Liturgies.
In all the primitive Liturgies there is a consistency of structure which shows that they were based on one common model, or else on certain fixed principles. They consist of two principal portions, the Pro-Anaphora and Anaphora. The Anaphora, or Oblation, is represented in the Latin Liturgies by the Canon of the Mass, and in our English Office by the part which begins with the versicle, "Lift up your hearts." The Pro-Anaphora is represented by the Ordinary of the Mass, which is all that goes before the Sursum Corda. The general structure of each of these portions of the Liturgy is as follows, the respective portions of the several parts varying, however, in different Liturgies 1 :
The Prefatory Prayer.
The Introit (known by various names].
The Little Entrance, or bringing the book of the Gospels in procession to the Altar.
The Epistle and Gospel.
The Prayers after the Gospel [after these prayers the Catechumens left the Church, and only "the faithful" or baptized and confirmed persons remained].
The Great Entrance, or bringing the Elements in procession to the Altar.
The Kiss of Peace.
The Triumphal Hymn [Tersanctus] with its Preface. These come in between two portions of a long Prayer, called the Prayer of the Triumphal Hymn.
Commemoration of the Institution.
The Words of Institution.
Oblation of the Consecrated Elements.
The Lord's Prayer, preceded by a prayer of preparation, and followed by the Embolismus.
Adoration, with an appointed prayer.
Union of the two Consecrated Elements.
Without going into very great detail it is impossible to show the elaborate character of the ceremonial, and of the responsive part of the primitive Liturgies. These details may all be found in the original languages, and also in Dr. Neale's translation of the Primitive Liturgies; and it is sufficient here to say, that the early Christians appear to have had no thought of what is called "simplicity" in Divine Worship, their Liturgies exhibiting a complicated structure, much ceremony, and an elaborate symbolism. All of them agree in the above general characteristics, but there are variations in the order of the different parts, the chief of which are represented in the following table :—
§ Table showing the order in which the principal features of the Primitive Liturgies occur.
It will be seen at once that the order of St. John, or the Ephesine Liturgy, is that which is most closely represented by our own Communion Office. The same correspondence between the two may also be traced in several particulars, in which the Liturgy of St. John differs from the other two Eastern Liturgies; especially in the provision of varying collects, and proper prefaces, and in the use of the versicle, "Glory be to Thee, O Lord," before the Gospel.
The Liturgy of St. John was handed down (as has been already stated) through the French Church, to which it was conveyed from Ephesus by missionaries, at a period very near to that of the Apostles themselves. The Gallican Liturgy itself is thus described by Palmer [Orig. Liturg. i. 158], "Germanus informs us, that the Liturgy began with an Anthem, followed by Gloria
1 It is almost needless to say that Dr. Neale's works on the Eastern Church and the Primitive Liturgies should be referred to by those who wish for further details.
Patri, after which the Deacon proclaimed silence; and a mutual salutation having passed between the priest and people, the hymn Trisagios, in imitation of the Greek rite, was sung, and was followed by Kyrie eleëson, and the song of Zacharias the prophet beginning Benedictus, after which the priest read a collect, entitled Post prophetiam, in the Gallican missals. The office so far, though ancient, cannot be traced to the most primitive ages of the Gallican Church, as doubtless the Liturgy originally began with the lessons from Holy Scripture, which I now proceed to consider.
"A lesson from the prophets or Old Testament was first read, then one from the Epistles, which was succeeded by the hymn of the three children, Benedicite, and the Holy Gospel. In later times the book of the Gospels was carried in procession to the pulpit by the Deacon, who was accompanied by seven men bearing lighted tapers, and the choir sung Anthems before and after the Gospel. After the Gospel was ended, the Priest or Bishop preached, and the Deacon made prayers for the people (probably in imitation of the Greek Liturgies, where a litany of the kind