From John Allen’s current column:

This special issue is devoted to an Oct. 26, 2001, decision of three Vatican offices (the Council for Christian Unity, the Congregation for Eastern Churches, and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) approving inter-communion between the Assyrian Church of the East and its parallel Eastern rite Catholic church, the Chaldean Catholic Church. In so doing, the Vatican accepted the validity of a Eucharistic prayer used by the Assyrians, called the “Anaphora of Addai and Mari,” even though it does not contain an “institution narrative” citing the words of Christ at the Last Supper: “Take this, all of you, and eat it,” etc.

Though this may seem a classic case of insider’s baseball, the decision has two levels of wide significance. First, according to liturgical experts, it suggests a break with traditional sacramental theology that concentrates on verbal formula, towards an approach rooted more in intention and overall meaning – a step, in other words, towards a more “modern” understanding of the essence of the sacraments. Second, by recognizing the validity of a Eucharistic prayer even though it doesn’t conform to the precise norms of the Catholic church, the Vatican seemed to signal a new level of ecumenical sensitivity.

The special issue of Divinitas offers six articles more or less supporting the decision, and four questioning it.
The fact that a Vatican-published journal would run material challenging a joint decision of three dicasteries would, by itself, be remarkable. The language in a couple of the articles, however, goes beyond the polite obfuscation in which such challenges are generally posed. German scholar David Berger, for instance, suggests that the church has no power to do what it did in this case, i.e., approve a Eucharistic prayer lacking the words of Christ.

Adding to the intrigue is the fact that another strongly critical piece was written by a veteran Vatican monsignore, Fr. Brunero Gherardini, who was the postulator for the beatification of Pope Pius IX. Gherardini is the editor-in-chief of Divinitas. Further, the journal comes with an imprimatur from Cardinal Francesco Marchisano, arch-priest of St. Peter’s Basilica and the pope’s vicar general for Vatican City.

All this suggests that the decision of 2001 has some powerful critics inside Vatican corridors.

Berger is unequivocal: “In none of the other sacraments does such clarity prevail as here: Christ himself, according to the unanimous witness of scripture and tradition, personally and immediately decreed the matter and form of the Eucharist and Baptism. The church thus has no authority to change something in the essential rites of these sacraments which is based on a divine ordinance.”

Berger, by the way, publishes in a German periodical called Una Voce Korrespondenz, put out by the German branch of a pro-Latin Mass group called “Una Voce.”

Gherardini, professor of ecclesiology and ecumenism for 37 years at the Lateran University and secretary of the Pontifical Academy of Theology, lists five arguments against the anaphora: …"


Of course, this is not accepting a recently composed Anaphora. The Anaphora of Sts Adai and Mari is one of the oldest there is. What is significant is there is neither an institution narrative nor an epiclesis (and both are necessary for a valid anaphora since the Fourth Century).

FWIW, this anaphora is attributed to one of the Twelve Apostles and one of the 70 (Adai is Syraic for the Greek “Thaddeos”). I forget, though, what the western version of Mari is. Anyway, it may or not actually be by these folks, just like the Anaphorae of St James, or St Mark, but it is still very, very old.

In Christ,


i think there may be an epiclesis. this is the first anaphora of the blessed apostles addai and mari

And may there come, O my Lord, your Holy Spirit, and may he rest upon this oblation of your servants. May he bless it and hallow it, and may it be for us, O my Lord, for the pardon of debts, the forgiveness of sins, the great hope of resurrection from the dead, and for new life in the kingdom of heaven with all who have been well-pleasing before you. And for all this great and marvelous dispensation towards us we will give thanks to you and praise you without ceasing in your church, which is saved by the precious blood of your Christ - with unclosed mouth and open face, repeat,

the second anaphora has the words of concecration and an epiclesis (i never checked out the thrid but i’m sure it has)

[size=1]For with his holy apostles, on the night in which he was betrayed, he appointed this great, holy, and divine Mystery, taking bread in his holy hands, and blessing and breaking it, and giving it to his disciples, saying, This is my body which is broken for the life of the world and for the forgiveness of sins. In the same way also he gave thanks over the cup and gave to them and said, This is my blood of the new testament which is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins. Take, therefore, all of you, and eat of this bread and drink of this cup. You must do the same, whenever you gather for my memorial.[/size]
AND THERE MAY COME[size=1]upon us and upon this oblation the grace of the Holy Spirit. May he dwell and rest upon this bread and upon this cup, and may he bless, consecrate, and seal them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. By the power of your name may this bread become the holy body of our Lord Jesus Christ, and this cup the precious blood of our Lord Jesus Christ… [/size]

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