10 January 2007

Speaking of Basil...

This was a version of the Basil Anaphora that the working group on the Lord's Supper liturgy had worked on, but which (sadly) did not come to see the light of day. Thought you guys might be interested in the great "what might have been..."

The Anaphora of St Basil the Great
Lutheran Hymnal Project, 007 Liturgy
(A Conflation and Redaction of Egyptian and Byzantine Basil
by the Lord’s Supper Working Group of the Liturgy Committee)

June 8, 2001

P The Lord be with you.
C And with your spirit.
P Lift up your hearts.
C We lift them up unto the Lord.
P Let us give thanks to the Lord, our God.
C It is right to give Him thanks and praise.

P It is truly good, right, and salutary, that we should at all times and in all places give thanks to You, Lord of heaven and earth, Master of all creation, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is our Savior and true God, the image of Your goodness, the living Word, eternal Wisdom, and the true Light by whom the Holy Spirit is revealed. This is the Spirit of Truth and Sonship, the fountain of life and sanctification, by whom all creation offers You eternal praise. Therefore with angels and archangels, thrones and dominions, principalities and powers, and all the company of heaven, we laud and magnify Your glorious name, evermore praising You and saying:

C Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of Sabaoth:
Heaven and earth are full of your glory;
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

P Holy indeed, and blessed are You, O Lord our God, for You formed us to share Your life forever. But when we disobeyed Your commandment and fell from eternal life, You banished us from Your paradise. Yet, in mercy, You did not cast us off forever, but sent Your holy prophets to proclaim Your promise to us. Now in these last days You have manifested Yourself through Your only-begotten Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He was made flesh and became man by the Holy Spirit of the blessed virgin Mary. He revealed to us the way of life and His means of salvation. He gave us new birth by His Word and Spirit in the water of Holy Baptism and so gained for Himself a special people, redeemed by His own blood. He loved His own who were in the world and offered Himself as a ransom to set us free from sin and death. Going forth to His voluntary and life-giving death, He handed Himself over and gave us this great mystery of godliness, for which we give thanks, now and forever.
C Amen.

P Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night when He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to the disciples and said: Take, eat; this is my + body, which is given for you. This do in remembrance of me.

In the same way also He took the cup after supper, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying: Drink of it, all of you; this is my + blood of the new testament, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.

The Confession may be concluded here as the pastor introduces the Lord’s Prayer with these words: “Lord, remember us in Your kingdom and teach us to pray.”

P As often as we eat this bread and drink this cup, the holy body and precious blood of Christ,
C we remember His sacrifice and proclaim the His death until He comes.

P Therefore, heavenly Father, remembering our Lord's holy sufferings, His life-giving cross and three-day burial, His resurrection from the dead and His ascension into heaven, His enthronement at Your right hand and His glorious coming for judgment:
C We praise You, we bless You, and we give You thanks.

P And we unworthy sinners pray to You in Your mercy and grace that Your Holy Spirit would sanctify us, body and soul, in the one true faith. Make us worthy to receive the body and blood of Your Son, given and poured out for the forgiveness of our sins for the life of the world.

Unite all who receive this one bread and cup with Your saints of all times and places—patriarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs, evangelists, and all the righteous spirits perfected in faith [including ________]. Receive us all into Your kingdom, bestow on us Your peace, and grant us with one heart and voice to glorify Your holy name with Jesus Christ and the life-giving Holy Spirit in Your one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, now and forever.
C Amen.

C Our Father...


JPalm said...

I used this anaphora at a pastoral conference.

One comment back was upset about "principalities and powers" being a part of our worship. They had always considered them "that which we strive against"

William Weedon said...

Oh, dear. I suppose they don't like LSB #670 vs. 1 either! : )

ptmccain said...

It's just too wordy! The great insight of Luther is that the Verba Domini need to be front and center with the spotlight shining on them.

The words are beautiful, but the Verba do not need all this ornamentation and verbiage.

To set them amidst so much else is to obscure them!

Let's let the glorious Verba shine. No need for all the words before and after, beautiful though they may be!

Here I stand.

William Weedon said...

Hrumph! I'll be willing to bet my sweet bippy that you were SITTING when you wrote that. So there you SIT! ;)

Anonymous said...

Pr. McCain,

Out of curiosity, if the Verba Domini are so central, then what do you make of the fact that some early liturgies omitted Christ's words entirely?

The same question goes for Pr. Weedon as well.

Did those Churches just not have the Eucharist for several centuries?

William Weedon said...

'Tis a fascinating question indeed. Did the Serapion text, for instance, really just not have them? OR did they fall at a different place than in the anaphora itself? For myself, I feel confident with "verbum accedat ad elementum et fit sacramentum." No verbum accedating, no fit sacramentuming. But I am not certain that the early evidence is conclusive that Jerusalem and Syria had a non-Verba eucharist, even if they might have had a non-Verba anaphora.

Anonymous said...

Well, unless you have evidence to the contrary, all the liturgical history books I've seen say that a number of early liturgies were without the Verba, including the Liturgy of Sts. Addai and Mari.

At the very least, they certainly don't seem to have been central, since we don't have any surviving evidence of them.

So your position, then, is that they were probably in there somewhere, but without anything to show that, or else those Churches did not have the Eucharist for hundreds of years?

*scratches head*

William Weedon said...

Well, if it seems strange, I'm not the first to think of it. Bouyer also assumes that the institution functioned as "haggadah" outside of the actual anaphora. Check out *Eucharist*, p. 157.

Fr. Hank said...

The manner in which the Verba are spoken/intoned,and the rubics attendant to them more than amply set them apart. The fulness of the Real Presence includes what goes on in the Anaphora/Eucharistic Canon,,,,,, heck, if Rome can recover that understanding, the rest of us are jolly well able do the same.

The 'Nuda Verba' piety is what really gives The Verba short schrift and/or lends to a magical ex opere operato piety,,,,,, the irony of going full circle,,,,,,,, and make no mistake, that is very much alive and well out there.

Piepkorn and Korby both speak eloquently and pastorally to the point.

Bye the bye,,,,, in the current Lutheran Forum, among other delights, are two essays on the LSB worth the read, one by John Fleischmann and the other by John-Paul Salay.

William Weedon said...

Oh, now I wish I subscribed to Forum. I'd love to read John's article. I might have to see if he can email it to me.

Anonymous said...

Ah, okay. I don't have Bouyer's book with me, so you'll have to help me out. Does he provide any basis for this assumption?

Also, if some retelling of the institution took place, was it the words of institution themselves, or a retelling in the form of most Haggadah?

In either case, if the retelling or the Verba did exist (which seems at the very least questionable), why were these words not seen to be central or constitutive of the Eucharist?

The Vatican historical commission came to the conclusion that "from time immemorial, it has been used without a recitation of the Institution Narrative," and that the words were not present in a coherent narrative at all, but "rather in a dispersed euchological way, integrated in successive prayers of thanksgiving, praise, and intercession."

Anonymous said...

For example, you can find the text here:


I'm at a loss to see where the Verba are in this early liturgy.

Fr. Hank said...

Not a subscriber to Lutheran Form ?? !! For shame!
Now, get on line and subscirbe, and do request a copy of the Christmass/Winter 06 copy,,,,,,,
Your special treat for doing so will be the advert inside the back cover for the four,,,,, as in FOUR, vulumes of Piepkorn edited by Secker, and Lively Stones, the Berthold von Schenk autobiography edited by C George Fry
Rich treats for mind and spirit for years to come,,,,,, this is most certainly true!

Anonymous said...

or here:


I'm honestly confused. How is it possible to maintain that the Verba are the necessary element that makes the Eucharist what it is, if it seems like many early services lacked them entirely?

William Weedon said...

Dear Anon,

I'm trying to hunt down the Bouyer book - I don't have it on the shelf right now either. : ( But I've sent out an SOS for someone I know who has it sitting there to type it out for us. I just had the reference because I found the idea intriguing.

The same argument, I suppose, could be made as to why the epiclesis cannot be consecratory: numerous early prayers lacked it!

The argument in the Taft article is interesting in the way it connects to the Formula of Concord's use of the Chrysostom quote. The Lutheran Church also acknowledges that the Word of Christ spoken at the first Eucharist remains effective to the end of time. But she likewise maintains that it is precisely the speaking of His Words by his ordained servant over the elements and then doing with them what He instructs which connects that original speaking to the current celebration.

What did God give the Christians who celebrated "Eucharist" sans the Words? Thank heavens, that is in the Lord's hands and not ours. To borrow a thought from Piepkorn, it might well be that the Lover of Mankind by a superabundant act of uncovenanted grace provided them His body and blood.

But we can rejoice that we are part of a tradition, very old and venerable in the West, whereby the Verba themselves are always included, and indeed function as the very center of the Canon. We have no doubt about what we receive, for we hear our Lord tell us each week: "Take and eat, this is my body; drink of it all of you, this cup is the new testament in my blood."

And if we believe that the Spirit leads the Church into all truth, it is certainly not without weight that the Chalcedonian Churches all use the Verba in the prayer of consecration; and even in the modern use of Addai and Mari, the Verba have been included.

Anonymous said...

I didn't say anything about the epiklesis, only about the Verba.

However, unless you're reading different liturgical books than I am, it seems that some form of epiklesis was universal among early liturgies. Even the Catholic Encyclopedia acknowledges this (while arguing against the epiklesis as essential, admits "It is certain that all the old liturgies contained such a prayer."

Be that as it may, my question was about the Verba. You regard them as essential and as what makes the Eucharist be the Eucharist. So your conclusion then about the Liturgy of Sts. Addai and Mari is that one of the earliest extant Christian liturgies (if not *the* earliest) was completely off on such a basic and essential point?

The Eucharist is the center of our lives as Christians. It is the heart of our common gathering as Christians. If the repetition of certain words is at the center of the Eucharist, is it likely that such an early liturgy (and it's not the only one) would have missed this entirely?

As to extraordinary acts of grace, certainly God is sovereign, and can, if He chooses, act outside of the bounds that He has established for us. To assume that He *will*, however, is dangerous. Would it not be safer to assume that the Liturgy of Sts. Addai and Mari was and is an acceptable Eucharist? (Note: The modern liturgy of Sts. Addai and Mari doesn't always include the Verba. Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't)

That having been said, I'm certainly not against the Verba being in the Liturgy. As you say, the Holy Spirit guides the Church in all truth, and it is definitely now a central part of the Liturgy. It's definitely important, very beautiful, and in the Liturgy as a result of the Holy Spirit. However, it seems clear historically that it isn't *the center* or even essential.

The reason why I'm making a big deal about this is Pr. McCain's post. He claimed that it was not good to use the long and wordy prayers of St. Basil because they took attention off of the Verba.

It seems dangerous to me to dismiss such venerable prayers as St. Basil's anaphora for such a reason.

Christianity is not about magical formulas. The difference between us and paganism is not that we have different magical formulas.

If Pr. McCain's argument is correct, and St. Basil's anaphora is best omitted because it's too distracting, why include anything other than the Verba? What is the point of the divine service as a whole?

William Weedon said...

Well, if you know me, you know that Pastor McCain and I are completely in disagreement on the point. I have always been in favor of the Verba standing within the Eucharistia. He thinks I'm wrong about that - but he'll come around someday. ; )

William Weedon said...

Should also clarify that the Lutheran use of the Verba alone was not conceived of as "magic formula" - again, if you're not familiar with how the Formula (also not magice!) of Concord deals with the consecration it is certainly worth reading. Check out SD VII:73-90; note the importance of the entire liturgical action. The words taken in isolation from the use prescribed are not regarded as consecratory at all - hence, no magic. But the speaking of Christ that gives us His body and blood to eat and drink for the forgiveness of our sins IS miraculous!

Fr. Hank said...

Thanks for the review of the Tradition on the consecration,,,,,, the point of observation I made was that at least for American Lutheranism, the magic/ex opera operato is alive and well in popular (unspoken ?) piety, especially the more pietistic/minimalistic expressions,,, and LCMS is replete with it.
The truly scarey point, which often goes hand in glove with the above, is an observation by Ratzinger in his B16 days, that the American Church is functionally Zwilnglian. If we looked a bit, that infects us as well.

Anonymous said...

I don't know you, so I don't know what you and Pr. McCain agree or disagree on. I've never met either one of you. :-)

But the importance wasn't who was arguing for what, but the arguments themselves.

He was arguing that the Anaphora, even if it might be beautiful, was unnecessary and distracting, because it took attention away from the Verba. The same could be said of almost anything in the service.

The fact of the matter is that the Verba have not always been present. That doesn't mean that it's not good to have them there, but it certainly means we shouldn't elevate the Verba at the expense of other parts of the service.

This type of barebones liturgics is the praxis equivilent of fundamentalism, which seeks to reduce the Faith only to its most "essential" elements. This is not how the Faith should be approached, either in theology or praxis.

William Weedon said...

I would argue that the beauty of the St. Basil anaphora is precisely the CONTEXT it gives to the Verba, shows their place in the whole economy of salvation - or rather, shows the place of the Eucharist itself in that economy. So, rather than burying the Verba, I think the anaphora frames them, sets them forth in such a way that we see in the gift of our Savior's Body and Blood to us the fulfillment of God's eternal purpose in creating the human race. He comes to us in forgiveness that His coming to us might be the advent of the eternal life which we had anciently rejected and which He then in unfathomable love brought down to us in our very own flesh and blood. Glory to Your condescension, O Lord!

Nonetheless, the Verba, the words of Christ, remain for us as Lutherans absolutely essential for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. Through them the Body and Blood of Christ are sacramentally united to the elements so that we the bread is His body and the wine is His blood and both are reached us for the forgiveness of our sins. The Lutheran Eucharist, even when it does not include the Verba in an anaphora, still includes thanksgiving to God through Christ that frames the Verba both before and after.

Might I ask, then, are you Roman?

William Weedon said...

By the way, I've gotten to know so many folks name Anon that I'm thinking it must be the most popular name in Blogdom. ; )

Fr. Hank,

Mark this on your calendar! I disagree. : ) I know that folks have described it that way, but I've never met Lutherans who believed it was a magical formula. Words of promise from Christ that create what they say - miracle, yes. Magic, a manipulation of deity, or some such, no.

I'm so happy to know that there is SOMETHING we don't think the same way about!!! I was beginning to think we might be Doppelgänger. It's like the refreshing moments when Chris Jones and I disagree! Sigh. If only everyone were given the charism of infallibility... ;)

Fr. Hank said...

Pastor Weedon is just too young and innocent ! The sort of thing I refered to is in the range of 'volktheologie',,, sort of the same way as some of the abuses of Marian piety. The occurance of either is stronger in some places and times than others.

Charism of infallibility ? ? We've got Our German Shepherd, do we need more ? 8>)

William Tighe said...

I understand that the version of the Anaphora of St. Basil given here is a "conflation and redaction" of the (short) Egyptian Basil and the (long) Byzantine Basil -- according to John R. K. Fenwick in his *The Anaphoras of St Basil and St James: An Investigation into their Common Origin* (Rome, 1992) respectively the first and the last of St Basil's three versions of his anaphora (one surviving, unused for centuries, in Armenian and Syriac being the second redaction -- but still, the section running:

"P: Therefore, heavenly Father, remembering our Lord's holy sufferings, His life-giving cross and three-day burial, His resurrection from the dead and His ascension into heaven, His enthronement at Your right hand and His glorious coming for judgment:
C: We praise You, we bless You, we give You thanks.
P: And we unworthy sinners pray to You in your mercy and grace that Your Holy Spirit would sanctify us, body and soul, in the one true faith. Make us worthy to receive the body and blood of Your Son, given and poured out for the forgiveness of our sins for the life of the world."

seems rather distant from that same section of Egyptian Basil as given in *Prayers of the Eucharist: Early and Reformed* by R. C. D. Jasper and G. J. Cuming (Liturgical Press, 1990):

"We therefore, remembering his holy sufferings, and his resurrection from the dead, and his ascension into heaven, and his session at the right hand of the Father, and his glorious and fearful coming to us again, have set forth before you your own from your own gifts, this bread and cup. And we, sinners and unworthy and wretched, pray you, our God, in adoration, that in the good pleasure of your goodness your Holy Spirit may descend upon us and upon these gifts that have been set before you, and may sanctify them and make them holy of holies." (Egyptian Basil)

or from the equivalent in Byzantine Basil:

"P: Therefore, Master, we also, remembering his saving Passion, his lifegiving cross, his three-day burial, his resurrection from the dead, his ascension into heaven, his session at your right hand, God and Father, and his glorious and fearful second coming, offering you your own from your own, in all and through all,
C: "We hymn you, we bless you, we thank you, O Lord, and we pray to you, our God.
P: Therefore, all-holy Master, we also, your sinful and unworthy servants, who have been held worthy to minister at your holy altar, not for our righteousness, for we have done nothing good upon earth, but for your mercies and compassions which you have poured out richly upon us, with confidence approach your holy altar. And having set forth the likeness of the holy body and blood of your Christ, we pray and beseech you, O holy of holies, in the good pleasure of your bounty, that your Holy Spirit may come upon us and upon these gifts set forth, and bless them and sanctify them and make this bread the precious body of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ, amen, and this cup the precious blood of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ, amen, which is shed for the life of the world, amen amen, amen."

seems to have, if not removed, then considerably muted both the oblationary and epikletic phrases in the originals.

Chaz said...

The more I study the use of anaphoras and Eucharistic prayers the more convinced I am that Piepkorn and his followers on this point are simply wrong in this respect:

Anaphoras, eucharistic prayers, and canons ADD nothing to the sacramental theology of the liturgy.

If they do anything, they take away, because the Words of the Lord that accomplish the very Sacrament itself become lost in a mix of what-not.

The most convincing argument against adorning the Verba with anything but the Sanctus and the Our Father is the left hand column in DS 1 and 2 in LSB.

Anonymous said...

Pr. Weedon,

No, I'm not Roman. I'm Eastern Orthodox. Are you familiar with the East?

In any case, it seems like your fellow Lutherans, as evidenced by Chaz, are siding with Pr. McCain, believing that prayers like St. Basil's Anaphora only distract attention from the Verba, and are thus a bad thing. This is what disturbs me about the whole thing.

I'm not sure I understand what your answer is to the question. Given that a number of early liturgies lacked the Verba (as evidenced by the Liturgy of Sts. Addai and Mari), how is it possible to maintain that the Verba are *the* key element in the whole Eucharistic feast, and that without them, there is no Eucharist?

Aside from resorting to "an extraordinary act of grace" to explain these Churches having the Eucharist for these hundreds of years, wouldn't you have to maintain that they were without the Eucharist, and that a large portion of the Early Church got things completely wrong on a fundamental point?

Do you see the minimalism this leads to?

This whole idea disturbs me greatly.

Chaz said...

Without the Verba, there is no certainty of the Lord's body and blood.

If those liturgies truly did lack the Verba, they were not apostolic in character and the Eucharist was absent.

William Weedon said...

Here's the citation from Bouyer fwiw. The Verba are simply essential given the Western understanding of Sacrament: the coming of the Word to the element to make the Sacrament. As I said, IF there were early liturgies that actually lacked the Verba, then in our view, those liturgies were defective, but that is not to preclude the possibility of God's super-abundant and uncovenanted grace still granting Christians His body adn blood; but instead of presuming on His grace, we stick to our Lord's words and have the joy of certainty in receiving what He promises.

Here's Bouyer:

"In this regard it is fitting to shed light on the
connection between the anamnesis and the institution narrative. In
the eucharist of Addai and Mari, if Dom Botte is right as we believe,
we already see this narrative incorporated in the eucharistic prayer
and through its conclusion giving rise to the formulation of the
anamnesis. Dom Botte himself does not hesitate, after Leitzmann, to
posit as a principle: 'no anamnesis without the institution
narrative.' We should rather be inclined to say: 'no institution
narrative without the anamnesis.' Actually, we have seen and can now
verify that the Christian anamnesis has its pre-history and its
primary source in the 'memorial' formulated in the first part of the
third of the final berakoth for the Jewish holy day meals. But it is
clear that this 'memorial' in the Jewish prayers was not directly
attached to any narrative of this kind. And, as the formulas of the
Didache seem to demonstrate, at the origin of the Christian
eucharist, it was not to be found either, at least at this
place. Yet this should not surprise us, for it does not seem that
Jesus himself sought to incorporate what we call the words of
eucharistic institution into the berakoth themselves which he must
have left unchanged. Still it does seem that Jeremias was right in
explaining the divergencies of detail in the institution accounts
that the New Testament has handed down to us by the fact that these
were already different local liturgical formulations. But in the
beginning, while the eucharist was still inseparable from the whole
of a complete community meal, it seems that they must have been
recited during the meal, as was the haggadah of Passover and as an
explanation of it. When the eucharist became detached from the meal,
the initial blessing of the bread became confused with the first of
the three berakoth over the final cup, since both had the same
object: a blessing for food, giving rise to a more general blessing
for the creation and preservation of life. At this time, we think,
the new haggadah of the renewed sacred meal was incorporated in the
eucharistic prayer. It came quite naturally to be attached to the
words of the anamnesis in the third blessing, both because it
furnished a justification for it and because the words: 'Do this as a
memorial of me' were directly called forth by the formulation of this
memorial in this part of the prayer. For this fact, we can find
twofold evidence in liturgical tradition. Even where the whole
eucharistic prayer was being organized and redistributed, many
examples subsisted where the Last Supper narrative was not
incorporated into the detailed recall, in the praise for the
redemption, of the mirabilia of Christ, but was returned to, after
the mention of his death and glorification, as the starting point of
the anamnesis. And, elsewhere, particularly in Egypt, it is not
before the anamnesis properly socalled begins, but within it that the
narrative appears. This is also what may explain the fact, at first
sight disconcerting, that there is a eucharistic liturgy (that of St.
John Chrysostom) where the words 'Do this, etc.' have simply
disappeared from the narrative. This is a case where we can so well
verify the remark of Fr. de Vaux that there is no need to recite a
rubric once it is in operation." (Bouyer, Eucharist, University of
Notre Dame Press, 1968, pages 156-158)

William Tighe said...

The most recent searching examination of Addai and Mari -- *The Eucharistic Prayer of Addai and Mari* by Anthony Gelston (Oxford, 1992: Clarendon Press) -- concludes that it almost certainly never contained the Verba. This conclusion is strengthened by comparing Addai and Mari with the Maronite so-called "Third Anaphora of St. Peter" a long-disused Maronite Catholic anaphora which is obviously based on the same original prayer or prayers as is Addain and Mari, although the two church communities had separated from one another by ca. 450 AD. The Maronite prayer is more theologically "developed" but the fact that the Verba come right at its end, in an intercession for the dead, rather implies that it came in as a kind of afterthought --- just as, when the Portuguese arrived in south India in 1499, they found that the Malabari Christians used a version of Addai and Mari with the Words of Institution read after the doxology that concluded the anaphora.

I don't think that Bouyer gave any attention to the Maronite anaphora; and I think its possible scholarly significance was realized only in the 1960s.

William Tighe said...

Rather more speculatively, Gelston and others suggest that the anaphora underlying both Addai and Mari and the "Third Anaphora of St. Peter" was very likely the anaphora of the Church of Edessa in the Third Century or even earlier, and so coeval with, or older than, Hippolytus; and perhaps even of Antioch, before that great see began to follow the pattern of the Church of Jerusalem as the latter took shape under the leadership of its very liturgically-minded bishop, St. Cyril (349-386).