Consecration-Eastern difference?

So I was talking to my friend who is Byzantine, and she was saying that the words for the consecration are different than in the western church. Is this true? If so, which wording came first? She said that the Eastern Church wording came first…but ours is the same as in the Bible…was it translated differently from the Latin? If the words of consecration are different how is that valid? Is there one that is correct?

Briefly, the concept of “The Consecration” is totally Western. In the East and Orient in general, and in the Syriac Churches in particular, it’s not the words of Institution alone which are consecratory: it is the entire Anaphora. At a minimum, both the Institution Narrative and the Epiklesis are necessary.

So, there is not one formula which is correct. They are ALL correct. And there are more than two: the (West) Syriac Tradition alone comprises some 70+ anaphorae, each having its own Institution Narrative, and all are consecratory. Plus there is the East Syriac anaphora of Ss Addi and Mari which, in its oldest form, (as used by the ACoE), has none. Yet, despite that, the anaphora is nonetheless accepted even by Rome as being consecratory.

It’s just a matter of different theology. One thing you’ll see in the eastern churches is an emphasis on certain beliefs as opposed to a rigid theology (they believe Mary slept before she was assumed, Catholics believe she could have slept before being assumed; they believe the whole anaphora consecrates the bread and wine, Catholics believe it could be the whole anaphora or simply the words of Christ; etc.). Not to say the churches in the east don’t hold to the Faith.

This is a non-question based on a false assumption–namely that the Narrative of the Institution is older in one Liturgy than in another.

Actually, the Words of Institution have always been liturgical, that is unique to each of the classical liturgies–e.g., they were always different in the Mozarabic Rite of Spain and the Roman Rite–and not directly taken from anywhere in Scripture.

As Malphono pointed out, the Words of Institution and Epiclesis are two parts of the same prayer. It’s like asking which phrase of the Lord’s Prayer is the essential one.

A Roman rite priest cannot intend to celebrate Mass by merely saying the Words of Institution, any more than a Byzantine priest can presume to accomplish the mystery of the Eucharist by saying only the Epiclesis. All priests must read the all the prayers of the Holy Liturgy.

Malphono instanced the West Syrian tradition. In one of these Syriac anaphorai, the Words of Institution are said in the third person, “He said that this was His Body…that this was His blood…” (or similar words) and in one or the other of them, they are totally missing (as well as in Ss Addai and Mari). But would anyone be so lacking in understanding as to say these prayers do not confect the Eucharist? That’s the only interpretation that makes any sense when you read these ancient prayers for yourself.

I’m not familiar with any West Syriac Anaphora having an Institution Narrative in the 3rd person. Do you have a title for it?

Also, to the best of my knowledge, none of the West Syriac Anaphorae lacks an Institution Narrative. l seem to think the Anahpora you mean in Peter III, which is similar in structure to Adai and Mari, but it most certainly does have an Institution Narrative, and one which is quite unique: it’s in the **2nd **person.

It should be noted that the Anaphora Sts. Addai and Mari do assert that the Body and Blood of the Lord are present on the Eucharistic table (I don’t know the exact wording). So the words of institution are considered implicit.


It’s one or the other of the Anaphorai that can be found here:

Perhaps my memory failed me, and it’s that of Peter III after all.

But my point is that it was not in the first person.

Ah … now I see: you were probably thinking of Sixtus.

FYI, Peter III is normally considered unique to the Maronites and is not used by the Syriac OC/CC. The Institution Narrative there also differs from what I’ll call the “norm” in that it is addressed to the Son (“You took bread…” etc).

Rather it has an Institution Narrative in it now. Originally it did not. From Bishop Sarhad Yawsip Jammo’s scholarship published in Orientalia Christiana Periodica:

C) The redaction with the third stratum and its transmission to the Maronites
The Mesopotamian Fathers, in order to update their anaphora, had considered sufficient the insertion of an explicit linkage with the Last Supper at the beginning of the third section, enforced by the composition of a new paragraph in the sense of an anamnesis. The later Maronites, living in the theological and liturgical atmosphere of Antioch, were understandably concerned by the difference in pattern between A&M, their adopted anaphora, and the rest of the Antiochian anaphoras they used, almost all of them having the Institution Narrative within their text. They felt the need, therefore, to conform the Mesopotamian anaphora to the common pattern of western anaphoras by the insertion of the Institution Narrative.
Nevertheless, both the Mesopotamian and the Maronite Fathers recognized the particularity of the Mesopotamian pattern and knew exactly in what part of their anaphora the linkage with the founding Supper of the Lord should have been made: not in first section, within the theological celebration, according to the Antiochian pat
tern, but in the third, where the commemorations are made. The Maronite reviser, in fact, carried on at exactly the same spot retouched by the Mesopotamian Fathers, and expanded the same concept expressed by them, that the oblation of the Church is done “as You have taught us,” completing it by the insertion of the Institution Narrative. Then the reviser returned to recuperate the sliced segment of the diptychs, introducing it with the sentence: “We offer you, O Lord, this oblation in memory of all the upright and just fathers: the prophets and apostles, the martyrs and confessors…” etc. Consequently, inserting the Institution Narrative, rendered the so-called anamnesis (para*graph “j”) redundant, and it was therefore eliminated. Also the paragraph (“h”) invoking peace had to be reformulated. The fact is that the “anamnesis” of A&M is not lacking in Peter III, but has been substituted by the Institution Narrative.

That may be and I grant Mar Sarhad is a recognized expert on Addi & Mari, so I am not about to engage him in an argument. That said, though, I am not particularly comfortable with, among other things, the reference to “their [the Maronite’s] adopted” anaphora. Yes, Peter III is similar to Addi & Mari, but it is not identical. Unfortunately I have not the resources at hand to debate the matter further.

In any case, and with all due respect, one thing that is missing in the quote is the time-frame involved. The implication to the casual reader is that the cited “addition” was recent which, even if it was added, it most assuredly was not.

Ok-so that was all completely over my head…what exactly do you men by anaphora and Epiklesis? I’ve heard the terms before, but I don’t really know-sorry for my lack of knowledge…that’s why I’ve come to you.

From Denzinger 2147a

POPE PIUS X “Certain Errors of the Orientals”

[From the letter, "Ex quo,’ to the Archbishops Apostolic Delegates in Byzantium, in Greece, in Egypt, in Mesopotamia, in Persia, in Syria, and in the Oriental Indies, December 26, 1910]

2147a No less rashly than falsely does one approach this opinion, that the dogma concerning the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Son by no means is taken from the very words of the Gospel, or is sanctioned by the faith of the ancient Fathers;–most imprudently, likewise, is doubt raised as to whether the sacred dogmas on purgatory and on the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary were acknowledged by the holy men of earlier years;–. . . regarding the constitution of the Church . . . first of all an error, long since condemned by Our predecessor, Innocent X, is being renewed [cf. n. 1091], in which it is argued that St. Paul is held as a brother entirely equal to St. Peter;–then, with no less falsity, one is invited to believe that the Catholic Church was not in the earliest days a sovereignty of one person, that is a monarchy; or that the primacy of the Catholic Church does not rest on valid arguments.–But . . . the Catholic doctrine on the most Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist is not left untouched when it is taught inflexibly that the opinion can be accepted which maintains that among the Greeks the words of consecration do not produce an effect unless preceded by that prayer which they call epiclesis, *although, on the other hand, it is well known that to the Church there belongs no right whatsoever to innovate anything touching on the substance of the sacraments; and no less inharmonious with this is the view that confirmation conferred by any, priest at all is to be held valid. These opinions are noted as “grave errors.”

“It is not man who causes what is present to become the Body and Blood of Christ, but Christ Himself Who was crucified for us. The priest is the representative when he pronounces those words; but the power and the grace are those of the Lord. He says: `This is my Body.’ This word changes the things that lie before us.”

St. John Chrysostom***

This is a pretty strong source seeing as it is called the “Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom”

<<the Catholic doctrine on the most Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist is not left untouched when it is taught inflexibly that the opinion can be accepted which maintains that among the Greeks the words of consecration do not produce an effect unless preceded by that prayer which they call epiclesis,>>

This is by no means an infallible statement for the simple reason that it contains a glaring inaccuracy.

The Epiclesis FOLLOWS the Words of Institution. They do NOT precede it, as Pius X falsely claims here in this quote.

To answer your question, littleflower_24, “Anaphora” is a Greek word that refers to the same prayer that in the Western use is called the Canon of the Mass or Eucharistic Prayer (in the Ordinary Form).

“Epiclesis” is simply a section of this prayer in which (in the Byzantine ones), God the Father is asked to send the Holy Spirit upon the bread and wine to change them into the Body and Blood of Christ.

To try to oppose this prayer to the Words of Institution, especially in terms of which one is consecratory, is to make a false dichotomy. This is the liturgical tradition of the Eastern Churches, which is simply different from the Western ones.

For the Byzantine Churches, the liturgical texts are the ultimate expression of our faith and teaching, not simply quotes from this or that father or this or that council, especially when wrenched from their contexts in handbooks of citations.

It’s PRECISELY in our worship that all of our faith is distilled and expressed.

Dear brother Cluny,

As you point out, this is not an infallible statement. Thank God for that, because though I agree with almost everything in the letter, I do disagree wholeheartedly with his statement that the Church was a “sovereignty of one person.” Such language, much, much less the term “monarchy,” was absent from the Decrees of V1.

But I believe you have misinterpreted the point of his statement regarding the anaphora. Far from indicating that the words of epiclesis SHOULD come before the words of institution, he is asserting the exact opposite - that is, those who “INFLEXIBLY” (that’s the key word here) teach that the Greeks should add the epiclesis before the words of institution are in “grave error.”


Except in the roman rite, where the epiclesis is at the start of the Eucharistic prayer.

Actually, at the time he wrote this, there was only ONE Anaphora in the Roman rite.

The paragraph Supplices te rogamus has been interpreted as an Epiclesis, even by St. Nicholas Cabasilas.

And don’t forget, this was from a statement entitled “Errors of the Orientals” or something similar.

The actual Latin:
– Sed nec ibidem intacta relinquitur catholica doctrina de Sanctissimo Eucharistiae Sacramento, cum praefracte docetur, sententiam suscipi posse, quae tenet, apud Graecos verba consecratoria effectum non sortiri, nisi iam prolata oratione illa quam epiclesim vocant, cum tamen compertum sit Ecclesiae minime competere ius circa ipsam sacramentorum substantiam quidpiam innovandi;

**nisi : ***if not, unless, except. *
**iam : ***now, by now, already / presently, immediately, soon. *
**iam : ***moreover, henceforth, indeed, just, further. *

[FONT=Bookman Old Style][FONT=Bookman Old Style][FONT=Trebuchet MS][size=2]nisi iam = unless already
[/FONT]nisi iam = unless indeed [/FONT]
[FONT=Trebuchet MS]nisi iam = if not soon[/FONT]
[/FONT][/size][FONT=Trebuchet MS]prolata oratione illa = uttered by prayer that[/FONT]
[FONT=Trebuchet MS]quam epiclesim vocant = which they call the epiclesis[/FONT]

Latin students, how does one know that [FONT=Bookman Old Style]nisi iam prolata oratione illa quam epiclesim vocant means the following?[/FONT]

“unless soon uttered by prayer that which they call the epiclesis”.

PM MarkThompson, he’s really good with Latin. I don’t think he checks the Eastern forums

This is the “actual Latin” of what, exactly? Did I miss something in this resurrected thread? :confused:

And that actually brings me to another question: why was this thread resurrected after some 15 months? :confused:

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