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EUCHARIST, BISHOP, CHURCH: THE UNITY OF THE CHURCH IN THE DIVINE EUCHARIST AND THE BISHOP DURING THE FIRST THREE CENTURIES

 

PART III

DEVELOPMENTS

The Development of the One Eucharist "Under the Leadership of the Bishop" into Many Eucharistic Assemblies led by Priests. The Emergence of the Parish and Its Relationship to the Unity of the Episcopal Diocese

 

Chapter Two: THE APPEARANCE OF THE PARISH AND THE UNITY OF THE CHURCH IN "ONE EUCHARIST, UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF THE BISHOP"


The appearance and establishment of many parishes within each Church raises the basic question for historical research: what happened to the Church's original consciousness that the one Eucharist "under the leadership of the Bishop" incarnates and expresses the unity of the Church of God which is in a certain place, now that because of the many parishes the members of this Church had ceased to come together into one Eucharist? This question introduces the fundamental problem of the relation of parish unity to the unity of the episcopal diocese as the early Church understood it. To what extent did the appearance of the parish create a sort of self-contained Eucharistic unity within the unity of the diocese?

This question is exceedingly difficult to answer. The existing sources contain scarcely any systematic or theoretical clues to the solution of this problem. We shall, therefore, be obliged to draw the evidence essential for throwing light on our problem mainly from the practice and life of the early Church. Through appropriate interpretation of this evidence, we shall attempt to examine how the parochial Eucharistic assembly related to the episcopal Eucharistic assembly. To this end, we shall look at this relationship (a) during the transitional period, from the first appearance of the parish in the middle of the third century up to its consolidation in the fourth century, and (b) at the time when the institution of parishes was fully consolidated, and thereafter.

 

1. The relation of the Eucharistic unity of the parish to episcopal Eucharistic unity during the transitional period when parishes were first appearing.

During the crucial transitional period from the first appearance of the parish in practice around the middle of the third century to the definitive recognition of it in theory in the fourth century, when in many places the Presbyter began to receive through his ordination the right to offer the Eucharist, the few indications which exist reveal on careful examination that in order for Presbyters to assume any of the Bishop's liturgical responsibilities, it required: i) an express mandate from the Bishop, and ii) clearly defined limits to the powers conveyed to them. These two preconditions were not fulfilled once and for all through ordination, but were required in each particular case.

Ignatius already testifies to these preconditions when he writes regarding substitution for a Bishop in his ministry in the Eucharist, "or one to whom he (i.e. the Bishop) has entrusted it."117 The whole sense of the passage in which this phrase occurs makes it clear that the emphasis is placed by Ignatius on the word "he," so as to ensure the episcopocentric character of the Eucharistic synaxis, which is what interests Ignatius in this passage. It is precisely in this spirit of Ignatius' that episcopal functions begin to be assigned widely and now more permanently to Presbyters when the parish first appears around the middle of the third century. This is made clear by the letters of Cyprian and Dionysius of Alexandria, who, as we have seen, are connected with the first indications of parishes.

Thus concerning the forgiveness of the lapsed, which only the Bishop could give as of right, Cyprian entrusts this to the Presbyters because of his long absence, but only in cases of people on their death-bed.118 As for other cases, the Presbyters were obliged to await the return of their Bishop.119 This position of Cyprian's is, besides, consistent with his basic ecclesiological principle according to which the Church is governed by the Bishop according to divine law.120 The other clergy are his indispensable advisors,121 as the Laity too give their assent on serious matters.122 But any action by the Presbyters without the express instruction of the Bishop was unacceptable according to Cyprian.123 The same applies with the aforementioned example of episcopal responsibilities being delegated in Alexandria during the absence of its Bishop, Dionysius.124 The performance by Presbyters of episcopal duties, which included assembling the faithful to celebrate the Eucharist, was possible only "when I had given the instruction," as Dionysius writes.125 Hence the Eucharistic synaxis that takes place without him is in essence nothing other than the Eucharist which is under his leadership, which he had joined in convoking and at which he was spiritually present.126

These examples make it plain that at its first hesitant appearance in history, the parish was not a self-contained Eucharistic unity but a mere extension of the episcopal Eucharist designed to cope with dire practical needs. But did it form a self-contained Eucharistic unity from the mid-fourth century onwards, once the parish was fully established and the Presbyter began to be ordained in order, inter alia, to "offer the sacrifice"?

 

2. The relationship of the Eucharistic unity of the pansh to episcopal Eucharistic unity once the institution of parishes was established

The appearance and establishment of the parishes as discrete Eucharistic assemblies within the bosom of the episcopal diocese provoked no apparent reaction, but it did create within the Church's consciousness the problem of maintaining one Eucharist under the leadership of the Bishop despite the existence of the parishes. The attempt by the early Church to provide a solution to this problem is depicted dramatically in the practice known as the Fermentum127 This practice consisted in sending with the acolytes a portion of the Eucharist which had been celebrated by the Bishop to those who had been unable to participate in it, and above all to those assemblies whose Eucharist was celebrated by Presbyters (parishes). In the latter case, the Presbyter had to mix this portion of the episcopal Eucharist in with the Eucharist which he himself celebrated.128 This custom appears to have been widespread in the West,129 but was undoubtedly known more widely, as G. Dix shows.130 But although this fact has generally been recognized by scholars, its significance for the history of the unity of the Church was much greater than that usually ascribed to it. The fermentum presents in a dramatic way the Church's hesitations about abandoning the principle of celebrating one Eucharist as an expression of her unity. For how else can we make sense of the fact that amidst fears and persecutions and adverse weather conditions, two Acolytes - an office established precisely for this purpose131 - traversed the roads and often went even beyond the boundaries of the city in order to take the parish assemblies a portion of the Eucharist that was under the leadership of the Bishop? Was the Presbyter's Eucharist not sufficient? Clearly the fermentum was for the early Church something more than a mere symbol of unity: it was the expression of a dire and fundamental necessity. The full justification for it lies only in the Church's conviction that a Eucharist independent of that one Eucharist which is under the Bishop was unthinkable, and that in consequence, the parish Eucharist celebrated by Presbyters needed the Bishop's presence within it in some way. From an historical viewpoint, then, the fermentum represents a period at which ancient elements of the consciousness concerning the unity of the Church in the Eucharist and the Bishop still survived in the Church. Its disappearance, therefore, coincided in the East with the end of the fourth century,132 that is to say, the time when, as we have seen, the parish was becoming stabilized in theory as well as practice; but in conservative Rome it disappeared much later - perhaps after the ninth century133 - having been preserved under various highly remarkable liturgical forms.134

But if the fermentum disappeared, the principle which it expressed so graphically was preserved under the form of many elements in liturgy. This principle, which formed the basis for the relation of the one Eucharist under the Bishop to the several parish Eucharists under Presbyters, consisted, as we have seen, in the need in some way to ensure the living presence of the Bishop in the parish Eucharist so that in reality there was not more than the one Eucharist in the same Church just as it was originally. To go into all the details of these elements would of course require a special study into the history of Eucharistic worship after the fourth century. Such a study goes beyond the chronological limits of the present work; but because of the importance of these elements for throwing light on situations in the years studied here in relation to the unity of the Church in the one Eucharist, we shall not pass by without setting out some of these elements, albeit in general terms, in the following points.

1. It should not be seen as mere chance that even after the appearance of the parish and when the right to celebrate the Eucharist was already assigned to Presbyters through then-ordination all the surviving texts of Liturgies go under the names of Bishops and not of Presbyters.135 Doubtless such Liturgies would have appeared under the names of Presbyters, if in the early Church the Presbyter had become through the parish the leader of a full and self-contained Eucharistic assembly, i.e. in every way equal to the Bishop as regards the Eucharist. By contrast, most of the works concerned with the teaching and catechetical instruction of the people are preserved under the names of Presbyters136 while the Eucharist remained in this way too essentially an episcopal ministry.

2. It is remarkable that even today the commemoration of the Bishop's name, and that indeed at the supreme moment of the Anaphora, has remained an absolutely indispensable element in the Presbyter's liturgy. This commemoration seems to go back to earliest times.137 The fact that the Presbyter is obliged to commemorate the name not of just any Bishop but of the Bishop of the place in which the Eucharist is being celebrated indicates the significance of the action which obviously has the purpose of making the parish Eucharist under the Presbyter an organic and inseparable component of the one Eucharist under the Bishop through which the Church of God sojourning in that place is united into one body. If the Presbyter were celebrating the Eucharist independently of the episcopal Eucharist and by right of his ordination, would it not be more natural for him to commemorate the name of the Bishop who had ordained him, or the Bishop of the Church he came from?

3. Similar conclusions may perhaps be drawn from the necessity of celebrating the Eucharist on an antimension bearing the signature of the Bishop. What of course came to be regarded as the fundamental significance of the antimension was the presence of the sacred Relics on the Altar especially in cases where a chapel had not previously been consecrated.138 It seems, however, that in parallel with this purpose the antimension also served as a living expression of the necessity for the Bishop's permission as a prior condition for every non-episcopal Eucharist. This hypothesis is justified by the following sources which are usually overlooked. Already in the writings of Dionysius the Areopagite, it is implied that there is a relation between the antimension and the Presbyter's dependence on his Bishop. Just as the priest cannot perform chrismation, we read there, without the chrism which only the Bishop can bless, so neither can he "perform the mysteries of the divine communion unless the symbols of communion have been placed on the most divine altar."139 That this has to do with some sort of antimension and not simply with the consecration being performed once and for all by the Bishop, is implied by the fact that these "symbols" are placed on an altar which is already consecrated ("most divine"). The connection made by the author of these writings between this practice and the analogous practice of the chrism blessed by the Bishop alone being used for chrismation suffices to prove that exactly the same relation of dependence on the Bishop exists in the case of the Eucharist headed by a Presbyter. But even if it were accepted that, as is usually thought, the antimension appeared and became widespread mainly after the iconoclast controversy.140 The idea that it signifies the the Presbyter's dependence on the Bishop in the celebration of the Eucharist is not absent from the few sources which inform us about its use in the early Church. The 31st Canon of the Council in Trullo (691 /2) laid down that no Presbyter was permitted to celebrate the Eucharist in a chapel without the permission of the local Bishop.141 Balsamon, one of the earliest sources to give us clear information about antimensia, relates this canon to the antimension in his interpretation of it, and writes: "For this reason, it seems, antimensia were devised, and come from the local Bishops... not only in place of the dedication, opening and consecration [of the chapel], but also to show that the rite performed in the chapel takes place with episcopal consent."142 It should be noted that at that period the Bishop never celebrated in a chapel, i.e. a private church which did not have an episcopal throne.143 Thus, the necessity for an antimension, being connected with chapels, relates not to the Bishop's Eucharist but to that of the Presbyters. Hence another source concerning the antimension, the anonymous metropolitan of Vella (early thirteenth century), writes that antimensia are given to Presbyters "and they cannot celebrate them."144 Thus, the antimension appears in the sources as a sort of successor to the fermentum connected with the principle of the dependence of the parish Eucharist on the Bishop - a principle which the fermentum, as we have seen, expressed so dramatically in earlier times.

4. To all this should be added the notable hesitancy with which the early Church proceeded with the break up of the one Eucharist under the Bishop once this was imposed by practical necessity. A careful reading of Egeria's Travels, to which we have already referred repeatedly, reveals that even in the fourth century in the populous Church of Jerusalem, where throngs of believers converged from all corners of the Christian world, only one Divine Eucharist was celebrated regardless of the great number of faithful. This was the Eucharist at which the Bishop of Jerusalem presided, and which was celebrated in the characteristically-named "ecclesia major,"145 in other words the cathedral, while at feasts, the faithful gathered at the other churches for the celebration of the Eucharist, but again not in groups but all together under the leadership of the Bishop, and the "great church" would stand idle on those days.146 Here we have a remarkable attempt to save the original one Eucharist under the Bishop from succumbing to the pressure of the necessity for parishes. This discouragement of the proliferation of Eucharistic assemblies which was so far forgotten in the West in the Middle Ages147 - and later among the Orthodox too, clearly as a result of Western influence - must be the basis underlying the prohibition in the Canons against more than one Eucharist being celebrated on the same day, by the same priest, at the same altar. This prohibition is ancient,148 and as it is characteristically formulated in the sixth century in the West (Synod of Auxerre), it contains the points that one cannot celebrate two Liturgies on the same day at the same altar, and that if the Bishop has celebrated the Liturgy at one altar, no one else is allowed to celebrate on that day.149 We could not have a clearer expression of the purpose underlying this prohibitory regulation: it has to do with the necessity for the one Eucharist "which is under the leadership of the Bishop" to remain the center of unity par excellence for the "whole Church," as it was in earliest times.

Through all these elements in the liturgical life of the early Church, the relationship she recognized between the parish Eucharist and the episcopal Eucharist is clearly brought out. Far from being a self-contained and self-sufficient Eucharistic unity, the parish made its appearance as an extension within the area of the diocese of the one Eucharist "which is under the leadership of the Bishop." Hence the Eucharist celebrated by Presbyters had a continuing need not only for episcopal permission, but also for the living presence of the Bishop in such a way that in reality there was but the one single altar (monogenes thysiasterion)150 in the whole diocese. In this way the parish ended up being nothing other than the spatial distribution of the Presbyters' synthronon, while the one and only center of Eucharistic unity was still the episcopal throne, from which every parish Eucharist drew its substance.151

 

To sum up the conclusions of the Part III, we may make the following points

Insuperable practical needs, such as the rapid rise in the number of Christians during the first half of the third century and the prolonged absence of Bishops from their Churches during the persecutions in the middle of that century, led to the appearance in history of parishes, as separate, presbytero-centric Eucharist assemblies within the episcopal Church. This event brought with it corresponding developments in the functions of Bishops and Presbyters. As a comparative study of the liturgical and canonical texts of the first four centuries has shown, whereas originally only the Bishop was ordained to offer "the gifts of the episcope," in the fourth century this ministry of the Bishop was added into the original prayers for the ordination of Presbyters in such a way that the right to ordain was the only difference remaining between these two ministers. This development marked the consolidation of the parish. But before this development could be firmly established in the Church's consciousness, the way had to be prepared by the appearance of the parish in practice (and not yet in theory) which on the evidence adduced from the sources we have dated to the middle of the third century.

As was natural, however, this development could not remain without ecclesiological implications. The original preservation of one Eucharist "which was under the leadership of the Bishop" in each Church was the living expression of the unity of the Church of God sojourning in that place in one complete body, the whole body of Christ. Breaking up this one Eucharist into several would consequently be equivalent to schism of the gravest sort. Hence, the problem of the relation existing between the presbyterocentric parish Eucharist and the one episcopocentric Eucharist was not wholly absent from the consciousness of the early Church. Through the practice of the fermentum and many other means whereby the proliferation of Eucharistic assemblies was discouraged and an attempt was made to keep the presbyterocentric Eucharist in a relationship of organic and essential dependence on the one episcopal throne, a solution was found to the prob-lem: the parish did not form a self-sufficient and self-contained Eucharistic unity, but an extension in space of the one self-same episcopocentric Eucharist. The Presbyter thus, celebrated the Eucharist in the name of the Bishop who remained the only true head of this mystical body of the Church of God. The thrones of the synthronon were dispersed, but they did not form discrete centers of Eucharistic unity. They were simply radii of the same circle constantly dependent on the one center which was occupied by the Bishop. Thus, each local Church continued even after the appearance of the parishes to be, as described in the second part of our study, one full circle, one body, the very body of Christ manifested in history in one Eucharist.

 

NOTES


117. Smyrn. 8.1. Cf. above, p. 208.

118. Epist. 18 (12).l. Cf. Epist 19 (13).2 and 20 (14).3.

119. Epist. 15,16 and 17 (Migne 10,9 and 11).

120. Epist. 33 (27).l. Cf. above, p. 139f.

121. Epist. 38 (33).l.

122. Epist. 14 (5).4.

123. Epist. 15,16 and 17 (Migne 10,9 and 11). Cyprian reprimands with the utmost severity those presbyters and deacons who did not follow his instructions as to the reinstatement of the lapsed who had repented. Cf. also his view on Presbyters above, p. 174 n. 166.

124. See above, p. 214.

125. Letter to Fabius of Antioch, 11 (PG 10:1309). If the celebration and distribution of the Eucharist by presbyters had been regarded as a usual practice, taken for granted as being within their competence, it would not be so pointedly stressed by Dionysius that this took place on his instruction. Likewise, in Eusebius, Eccl. Hist. VI.44.3-5. The active participation of the Presbyters in the celebration of the Eucharist (see above, p. 219f.) does not seem to have made them literally "concelebrants" as shown by the fact that the term "concelebrant" was used around the middle of the third century to indicate rather the Bishops; thus for example by Dionysius of Alexandria to Basileides (PG 10:1272. That Basileides was a Bishop, see Eusebius, Eccl. Hist. VII.26.3). Similarly in the letter concerning Paul of Samosata (in Eusebius, Eccl. Hist. VII.30.2), the term "concelebrants" probably refers to the Bishops. The phrase "To Dionysius and Maximus and all those throughout the world who are our concelebrant Bishops and Presbyters and deacons and to all the Catholic Church under heaven" {"Dionysio kai Maximo kai tois kata ten oikoumenen pasin sylleitourgois hemon episkopois kai presbyterois kai diakonois kai pase te hypo ten ouranon MholiL ekklesia") admits of the following interpretations: i) "concelebrants" ("sylteitourgois") is attached to the preceding names, Dionysius and Maximus, and to the term "Bishops" which follows, so as to indicate the Bishops who are of the same rank as those sending the letter; ii) "concelebrants" refers to all that follows, i.e. Bishops, presbyters and deacons, in which case the deacons too would be characterized as "concelebrants," which is unlikely at that period (see Apostolic Tradition 9.2. Cf. P. Trembelas, "Contributions," p. 46). The first possibility, therefore, seems more probable. The whole problem of the "concelebration" of Presbyters appears very difficult. On the basis of what has been written above (p. 220f.) in connection with the Apostolic Tradition, it becomes essential to make a distinction between two senses in which the "concelebration" of the Presbyters may be understood: on the one hand their assent and "seal" upon what the Bishop has done, and on the other a "concelebration" identical with the Bishop's action of offering. J. Hanssens ("De concelebratione Eucharistica," in Periodica 17 (1927), 143-21, (1932), 219), finds support for this distinction in the sources, distinguishing between concelebratio caeremonialis and concelebratio sacramentalis. While the latter may perhaps have been known earlier in the West, according to Hanssens it was never recognized in the East. This view of Hanssens' on the basis of the sources is regarded as having great weight. Thus E. Herman in D.D.C, V, 505, after studying the literature on the subject, remarks that "the minute criticism of the sources undertaken by Fr Hanssens tends to prove that the East never knew of sacramental concelebration, either at ordinations or outside ordinations (that is to say, in the Eucharistic sacrifice) before the eighteenth century."

126. See passages above, n. 108.

127. CfH. Fries, op. cit. p. 175.

128. On the origin and history of the Fermentum, see J.A. Jungmann, "Fermentum," in Cotligere Fragmenta (Festschrift Alban Dold), 1952, pp. 185-190. On the etymology of the term in connection with Mt. 13:33, see P. Batiffol, Leqons sur la Messe, 19207, p. 34.

129. The decretum in the Liber Pontificalis attributed to Pope Siricius in the fourth century instructs the presbyters to renew each week the Fermentum they received from their Bishop (ed. Duchesne, I, pp. 216 and 168). Shortly afterwards, at the beginning of the fifth century, Innocent I (Ep. 25 ad Decentium; PL 20:556) clearly informs us that every Sunday, the Pope sends the Presbyters of the parishes portions of the Eucharist consecrated by him at the episcopal Liturgy so that the Presbyters could mix them into the Chalice of the Eucharist celebrated by them.

130. A Detection of Aumbries, pp. 16-20.

131. See G. Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy, p. 105: the acolytes came into being as assistants to the deacons specifically in their task of conveying the Eucharist "to those who were not present," according to the testimony of Justin Q Apol. 67. Cf. also above). Hence the acolytes' sacculum, the linen bag in which they conveyed the fermentum to the parishes. See the details of their ordination in P.Jounel, "Les Ordinations," in L'Eglise en Priere. Introduction la Liturgie, ed. A.G. Martimort, 1961, p. 502.

132. G. Dix, The Shape of the Liturgy, p. 134. According to Dix, a possible vestige of the fermentum in the East was the practice found there, from the fourth century onwards, of placing a part of the holy bread in the Chalice after its fraction by the priest and before communion. Apart from the symbolic meaning usually given to this action, it remains otherwise inexplicable given that the priest partakes separately of the Body from the Paten and the Blood from the Chalice. Hence Dix's hypothesis, although not proved, appears highly probable.

133. Ibid., pp. 21 and 134.

134. Thus according to the most ancient ordo of the papal Liturgy, attributed to Pope Zachariah (eighth century), the pope sets down a portion of the Eucharist on the Altar without mixing it in the Chalice obviously so that it should remain there for use at subsequent Liturgies. This curious rubric is today explained as a survival of the fermentum by distinguished specialists such as P.L.Haberstroh, Der Ritus der Brechung nach dem Missale Romanum, 1937, p. 41 and B. Capelle, Travaux liturgiques, , 1962, pp. 302-306. It is noteworthy that the most ancient version of the ordo primus, found in a ninth-century manuscript (see M. Andrieu, Ordines Romani, II, pp. 101 and 59-60), connects this action with the necessity for the altar not to cease to have the Eucharist: "Ita observant ut dum missarum solemnia peraguntur, aitare sine sacrificio non sit." ["They take care that while the rites of the mass are being performed, the altar should not be without the sacrament."] This version of the original ordo already betrays a certain modification given that it does not require the celebrant to mix the portion of the papal Eucharist with his own. This mixing was explicitly required in earlier orders, such as that attributed to St Amand (eighth century), which directs that, in the case where the Pope is not celebrating, the celebrant before Holy Communion and the "filling of the Cup" "deportatur a subdiacono oblationario particula fermenti quod ab Apostolico consecratum est... mittit in caticem" ["the oblationary subdeacon brings him particles of the fermentum which was consecrated by the Apostle (= the Pope) and he puts it into the Chalice."] (see text in PL 78:948C). According to the same ordo, on Holy Saturday every year, the ancient fermentum was observed just as in earlier times: "Ef transmittit unusquisque presbyter mansionarium de titulo suo ad ecclesiam Salvatons, et expectant tbi usque dum frangitur sancta, habentes secum corporales. Et venit oblationarius subdiaconus et dat eis de sancta quod pontifex consecravit, et recipiunt ea in corporales, et revertitur unusquisque ad titulum suum et tradit sancta presbytero. Et de ipsa facit crucem super calicem et ponit in eo et dicit Domtnus vobiscum. Et communicant omnes, sicut superius." ["And each presbyter sends a doorkeeper from his parish to the church of the Saviour and they wait there until the fraction of the Holy Things, having corporals with them. And the oblationary subdeacon comes and gives them some of the Holy Things consecrated by the pontiff, and they receive it in their corporals, and each one goes back to his parish and gives the Holy Things to the presbyter. And he makes the sign of the Cross with it over the Chalice and puts it in the Chalice and says: The Lord be with you.' And all receive communion, as above."] (See text in L. Duchesne, Origines du Culte Chritien, 1889, p. 454).

135. Thus we have for example Liturgies of Hippolytus as Bishop of Rome, James as Bishop of Jerusalem, Gregory of Nazianzus, Basil the Great, Cyril of Alexandria, John Chrysostom et at.

136. One might reasonably ask, for example, why major church figures such as Clement, Origen et al., who were presbyters, remained known in history as teachers but not as authors of Liturgies. This could perhaps be a chance occurrence if it did not hold good for all the well-known Presbyters in early history.

137. Chrysostom (OR the Obscurity of the Prophets 2.5, PG 56:182) tells us that "all together we hear the deacon commanding this and saying, Let us pray for the Bishop, and for the aged, and for succour, and that he may rightly divide the word of truth... Those who are initiated know what is said. For this has never been permitted in the prayer of the catechumens." Besides, it is known that the names of the Bishops were written in the Diptychs, from which they were erased, as happened with Chrysostom, in case of deposition (cf. Cyril of Alexandria, Letter to Atticus, PG 77:352), and were read after the exclamation "Especially for our Most Holy Lady..." (The above information, as also seen in note 17, comes from the suggestions of Professor P. Trembelas, to whom the author is most grateful for this and for all his valuable assistance.) This ancient practice is also attested by the 13th Canon of the Protodeutero Council (861), when it punishes by deposition any presbyter or deacon who, while a charge is pending against his Bishop and before the synodical sentence, "dares to depart from his (= the Bishop's) communion, and does not mention his name in the sacred prayers of the liturgies according to what has been handed down to the Church..." (Alivizatos, Sacred Canons, p. 315).

138. Hence some consider the antimension superfluous when there is a consecrated church. See e.g. K. Kallinikos, The Church Building and the Rites Performed in it (in Greek), 1921, p. 215f.

139. On the Church Hierarchy 5.5 (PG 3:305).

140. This view is at variance with the fact that antimensia made of stone or wood appear very early, and in Rome (see note 17 above) they occur clearly in connection with the presbyters' Eucharist. Cf. J. Jungmann, Missarum Solemnia, II, 1952, p. 244. These may indeed go back to the third century. See Leclercq in D.A.C.L., art. "Autel."

141. "We determine that clergy who celebrate the Liturgy or baptize in chapels which are in houses should do so with the consent of the local Bishop..." (Alivizatos, p. 89)

142. PG 137:613-616.

143. Ibid., 912.

144. Synodal Replies of the Archbishops of Constantinople, in PG 119:812. On the connection of the antimension with the presbyter's Eucharist in the West too, cf. notes 17 and 22 above.

145. The use of this term or its synonym eccliesia senior for the cathedral, the Bishop's seat where "the whole Church" would gather for the celebration of the Eucharist, in contrast to the separate parish assemblies, is noteworthy because it is interchanged with the term ecciesia catholica in many cases, e.g in the ancient Georgian Lectionary (see text in M. Tarchnishvilli, Le Grand Lectionnaire ie I'tgHse de Jerusalem, I, 1959). This comes as a remarkable confirmation of the theses set out here, especially in Part II Chapter 2, in connection with the term "Catholic Church." The close relation between the one Eucharist under the Bishop and the consciousness concerning a "Catholic Church" is attested in a very characteristic way by such a use of the term in the liturgical language of the fourth century. Perhaps, it was the use of the term "Catholic Church" to mean the cathedral, the episcopal seat in which "the whole Church" came together, that gave rise to the use of the term "catholikon" for the central church in a monastery. This is likewise of interest from the point of view of the history of the term "Catholic Church."

146. According to Egeria's Travels, the Bishop took part in all the services and indeed the liturgies, whereas each of the churches in Jerusalem was used for the Eucharist only on certain days in the year, when the Bishop would celebrate there, so that in reality only the Eucharist under the Bishop was celebrated. On each of these churches in detail, see the edition of the Travels by H. Petre, pp. 57-64f.

147. Characteristically, it is unheard of in the early Church for individual liturgies to be performed privately by the priests, a practice introduced in the West during the Middle Ages as a manifest and historically noteworthy abandonment of the ecclesiological character of the Eucharist (see above, p. 23f.).

148. In the early Church, only Rome allowed the Pope, exceptionally, to celebrate three liturgies at Christmas, Easter and Pentecost. See P. Trembelas, "One Celebrant and Several Liturgies on the Same Day" (in Greek), in Orthodoxos Parousia (1964), 269-75. It is, however, noteworthy that this was not permitted to take place at the same altar (Ibid.). Anyway, we find no similar exception to the rule in the East. Hence, Professor P. Trembelas suggests (Ibid.,p. 271f.) that as a solution to modern problems, when a priest is obliged to celebrate more than one liturgy on the same day the Liturgy of the Presanctified can be celebrated. This is in accord with the whole spirit of the conclusions of this work given that the Liturgy of the Presanctified has never had the character of the main Eucharistic unity being intended for the receiving of Holy Communion without a festive assembly. In this way, the ecclesiological character of the main Liturgy is preserved.

149. Hefele-Leclercq, Histoire des Conciles, III, 1909, p. 216. Cf [Goar, Euchologion sive Rituale Graecorum, 1647 16 (ed 1960 p.13).

150. i.e. that of the Bishop. See Eusebius, Eccl. Hist. X.4.68.

151. Characteristic is the comparison Eusebius makes between the Bishop and the presbyters when he writes that in the Bishop "Christ dwells in His fullness," while "those of second rank (= Presbyters) after him (= the Bishop) are given apportionments of the power of Christ and of the Holy Spirit according to the capacity of each" (Eccl. Hist. X.4.67). The distinction between whole ("fullness") and part should be noted.

 

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Article published in English on: 5-5-2008.

Last update: 22-5-2008.

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