"Today the concept of truth is viewed with suspicion, because truth is identified with violence. Over history there have, unfortunately, been episodes when people sought to defend the truth with violence. But they are two contrasting realities. Truth cannot be imposed with means other than itself! Truth can only come with its own light. Yet, we need truth. ... Without truth we are blind in the world, we have no path to follow. The great gift of Christ was that He enabled us to see the face of God".Pope Benedict xvi, February 24th, 2012

The Church is ecumenical, catholic, God-human, ageless, and it is therefore a blasphemy—an unpardonable blasphemy against Christ and against the Holy Ghost—to turn the Church into a national institution, to narrow her down to petty, transient, time-bound aspirations and ways of doing things. Her purpose is beyond nationality, ecumenical, all-embracing: to unite all men in Christ, all without exception to nation or race or social strata. - St Justin Popovitch

Thursday, 8 January 2015


Toledo Cathedral which was home
for centuries of the Mozarabic Rite.

Previous Posts

Dom Cyprian Vagaggini OSB is usually given as the author of this anaphora (eucharistic prayer), and he is certainly the main author; but it is a bit more complicated than that.   In contrast to Eucharistic Prayer II, which was written in a night, (though, of course, collecting the materials took a lot longer), this anaphora  went through a committee stage, so that the end result is rather different from Dom Cyprian's original, and it is probable that the final version was the work of Pope Paul VI.

Father Bouyer writes:
...The second of the new eucharistic prayers borrows the scheme of its prayers and its most characteristic expressions as well from the best Gallican and Hispanic tradition.   It is suited particularly, like the Roman Canon, for all Sunday and festive occasions.   The first part is made up of one of the variable prefaces which will be easily adaptable to it as they were to the old Roman Canon.

Louis Bouyer tells us that the basic structure and much of its vocabulary are taken from Gallican and Mozarabic sources.   Certainly that was the intention of Father Cyprian Vaggagini - he told me  that himself - but, once more, it is a bit complicated.   For one thing, in order to have the full Gallican/Mozarabic experience, you would need a large number of eucharistic prayers for different times and feasts, each made up of a sequence of prayers which are independent of one another in that they can be borrowed and put in other sequences to make up new anaphoras.  In contrast, this is a single anaphora in which its constituant parts belong to each other and form a whole.   Moreover, as we shall see, there are other influences taken from other strands of Catholic liturgical tradition; and all this together means that it is an original liturgical composition with its roots in the wider Catholic Tradition, a masterpiece of ressourcement.   Pere Bouyer continues:

The Sanctus is followed by a Post-Sanctus in two closely connected parts. The first begins with a Mozarabic formula (for the feast of the Circumcision) which associates all of creation with the praise of the angelic spirits and the Church.   From here the prayer goes on to a mention of the Spirit working in creation in order to gather together the Church of Christ, so that history's term may be the establishment of this people of God which will offer him the same unique and pure oblation from one end of the world to the other.   These perspectives go back to the most consistent patristic tradition, which is itself grafted upon the Jewish tradition, through St Justin particularly.   Their cosmic and universalist breadth give to the Church and at the same time to the Eucharist all the dimensions of the great Pauline berakoth with which the captivity epistles open.

Here is the pasaage about which Father Louis Bouyer has been commenting: 
You are indeed Holy, O Lord, and all you have created rightly gives you praise, for through your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, by the power and working of the Holy Spirit, you give life to all things and make them holy, and you never cease to call a people to yourself, so that from the rising of the sun to its setting, a pure sacrifice may be offered to your name.

In these last words you will recognize the allusion to Malachi 1, 11 which is familiar to the Eastern and especially the Egyptian liturgies.  It offers a natural transition to the consecratory epiclesis which follows it immediately.

Therefore we humbly implore you by the same Spirit graciously make holy these gifts we have brought to you for consecration that they may become the Body and Blood of your Son our Lord Jesus Christ, at whose command we celebrate these mysteries.

This last sentence itself is reminiscent of the formulas of Addai and Mari as well as the liturgy of Theodore of Mopsuestia.   It leads to the institution narrative.   We find the words of Christ in the same form as in the preceding liturgy (Eucharistic Prayer II), but with significant variations in the narrative formulas.

For on the night he was betrayed he himself took bread, and giving you thanks, he said the blessing, broke the bread and gave it to his disciples, sayingTAKE THIS, ALL OF YOU, AND EAT OF IT, FOR THIS IS MY BODY, WHICH WILL BE GIVEN UP FOR YOU.In a similar way, when the supper was ended, he took the chalice, and giving you thanks, he said the blessing, and gave the chalice to his disciples, sayingTAKE THIS, ALL OF YOU AND DRINK FROM IT, FOR THIS IS THE CHALICE OF MY BLOOD, THE BLOOD OF THE NEW AND ETERNAL COVENANT, WHICH WILL BE POURED OUT FOR YOU AND FOR MANY FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS. DO THIS IN MEMORY OF ME.  
Note the introduction of the words, "he said the blessing," making explicit the consecratory sense included in the act of thanksgiving.   Further, the Pauline formula: "On the night he was betrayed" is used.   It is generally retained by the Eastern eucharists as well as by the ancient Mozarabic and Gallican liturgy.   The mention of the unique sacrifice in which the preparations of the figurative sacrifices find their fulfilment, expresses the connection between the old and new covenants in terms that echo the great vision of the history of salvation developed in the Post-Sanctus.

There is the same acclamation of the people as in the previous prayer (Euch. II), responding to the consecration.   Then comes the anamnesis which, as in many Eastern liturgies, introduces an explicit link between the celebration of the eucharistic memorial and the expectation of the parousia.
Therefore as we celebrate the memorial of the saving Passion of your Son, his wondrous  Resurrection and Ascension into heaven, and as we look forward to his second coming, we offer you in thanksgiving this holy and living sacrifice.
The second epiclesis takes on here a particular development, which stresses the uniqueness of the sacrifice of the cross.  The very beautiful formula, taken from the Mozarabic Postpridie of the fourth ferial day after Easter, expresses with unusual success the essence of the eucharistic sacrifice, as the presentation by the Church to the Father of the very sacrifice of the cross, in the sacramental pledge which he himself gave us.  This is precisely the substance of the "memorial" as Jeremiah interprets it and the ecumenical value of this formula is obvious.   We may say that it does away with the most basic objections and misunderstandings held by the Protestants against the traditional doctrine.
Look, we pray, on the oblation of your Church and, recognizing the sacrificial Victim by whose death you willed to reconcile us to yourself, grant that we, who are nourished by the Body and Blood of your Son and filled with his Holy Spirit, we may be one body, one spirit in Christ.   May he make us an eternal offering to your glory.
The bringing together in this text of the acceptance of our offering joined to that of Christ, and of which he himself remains the unique offerer in us as in himself, along with our incorporation in his body and our participation in the Spirit., stresses even more the ecumenical character of the whole prayer.  In a singular fulness of expression of the whole of both Eastern and Western Catholic tradition, its formula fuses the terms of St Basil in its Egyptian form with those of one of the most beautiful Secrets  of the Roman tradition.
The prayer goes on without interruption to a commemoration of the saints, in such a way that we return to the great Augustinian evocation of the whole Church offered to the Father with and in Christ.
May he make of us an eternal offering to you, so that we may obtain an inheritance with your elect, especially with the most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, with your blessed Apostles and glorious Martyrs  (with Saint N.: the Saint of the day or Patron Saint) and with all the Saints, on whose constant intercession in your presence we rely for unfailing help.
As in the liturgy of St Basil the intercessions here merely extend this commemoration of the saints, which itself is directly associated as in the Jewish tradition with the "memorial" of the mirabilia Dei.   Note the universal cosmic opening which corresponds to what characterized the Post-Sanctus.
May this Sacrifice of our reconciliation, we pray, O Lord, advance the peace and salvation of all the world.   Be pleased to confirm in faith and charity your pilgrim Church on earth, with your servant N. our Pope and N. our Bishop, the order of Bishops, all the clergy, and the entire people you have gained for your own.   Listen graciously to the prayers of this family, whom you have summoned before you; in your compassion, O merciful Father, gather to yourself all your children scattered throughout the world.To our departed brothers and sisters and to all who are pleasing to you at their passing from this life, give kind admittance to your kingdom.   There we hope to enjoy for ever the fullness of your glory, through Christ our Lord, through whom you bestow on the world all that is good.
Two pauses, at the middle and the end of this paragraph, allow the detailed mention of the living and the dead for whom we wish especially to intercede.

The same concluding doxology as in the Roman Canon ends this prayer:
Through him, and with him, O God, almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honour is yours, for ever and ever.

After the next post on Eucharistic Prayer IV, there will be one on the changes to the Roman Canon and why, and another on "What went wrong, and Why?"

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