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ANF07. Fathers of the Third and Fourth Centuries: Lactantius, Venantius, Asterius, Victorinus, Dionysius, Apostolic Teaching and Constitutions, Homily
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Sec. II.—Election and Ordination of Bishops: Form of Service on Sundays.

That to Make Constitutions About the Offices to Be Performed in the Churches is of Great Consequence.

III. We have now finished the first part of this discourse concerning gifts, whatever they be, which God has bestowed upon men according to His own will; and how He rebuked the ways of those who either attempted to speak lies, or were moved by the spirit of the adversary; and that God often employed the wicked35903590     We have adopted the reading of one V. ms., ἀπεχαρήσατο. It means more than is in the text—that God used the wicked in a way in which they would not be naturally used; lit., “abused,” or “misused.” The other mss. and the Coptic read ἀπεχαρίσατο, “gave His gifts to the wicked for prophecy.” Whiston has tried to make sense by giving a new meaning to ἀπεχαρίσατο, “taking away His grace from the wicked.”   for prophecy and the performance of wonders. But now our discourse hastens as to the principal part, that is, the constitution of ecclesiastical affairs, that so, when ye have learned this constitution from us, ye who are ordained bishops by us at the command of Christ, may perform all things according to the commands delivered you, knowing that he that heareth us heareth Christ, and he that heareth Christ heareth His God and Father,35913591     Luke x. 16.   to whom be glory for ever. Amen.  

Concerning Ordinations.

IV. Wherefore we, the twelve apostles of the Lord, who are now together, give you in charge those divine constitutions concerning every ecclesiastical form, there being present with us Paul the chosen vessel, our fellow-apostle, and James the bishop, and the rest of the presbyters, and the seven deacons.35923592     The Coptic and one V. ms. omit from the commencement of the chapter to “deacons.” The V. ms. has: “Peter, the chief of the apostles, proclaimed the Gospel to Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, Bithynia, and finally in Rome, where he was crucified by the prefect in the reign of Nero, and where also he is buried.”   In the first place, therefore, I Peter say,35933593     From this to the end of ch. xxvi., only small portions of what is now in the received text occur in the Coptic version. The Oxford ms. is also deficient. It has only a portion of the fifth, nothing of ch. vi. to xvi., and only a single sentence in ch. xxii. The portions in Coptic are printed in italics.   that a bishop to be ordained is to be, as we have already, all of us, appointed, unblameable in all things, a select person,35943594     Omitted in one V. ms.   chosen by the whole people, who, when he is named and approved, let the people assemble, with the presbytery and bishops that are present, on the Lord’s day, and let them give their consent. And let the principal of the bishops ask the presbytery and people whether this be the person whom they desire for their ruler. And if they give their consent, let him ask further whether he has a good testimony from all men as to his worthiness for so great and glorious an authority; whether all things relating to his piety towards God be right; whether justice towards men has been observed by him; whether the affairs of his family have been well ordered by him; whether he has been unblameable in the course of his life. And if all the assembly together do according to truth, and not according to prejudice, witness that he is such a one, let them the third time, as before God the Judge, and Christ, the Holy Ghost being also present, as well as all the holy and ministering spirits, ask again whether he be truly worthy of this ministry, that so “in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.”35953595     Matt. xviii. 16.   And if they agree the third time that he is worthy, let them all be demanded their vote; and when they all give it willingly, let them be heard. And silence being made, let one of the principal bishops, together with two others, stand near to the altar, the rest of the bishops and presbyters praying silently, and the deacons holding the divine Gospels open upon the head of him that is to be ordained, and say to God thus35963596     The Coptic has, “let the bishop pray for him.”  :—  

The Form of Prayer for the Ordination of a Bishop.

V. O Thou the great Being, O Lord God Almighty, who alone art unbegotten, and ruled over by none; who always art, and wast before the world; who standest in need of nothing, and art above all cause and beginning; who only art true, who only art wise; who alone art the most high; who art by nature invisible; whose knowledge is without beginning; who only art good, and beyond compare; who knowest all things before they are; who art acquainted with the most secret things; who art inaccessible, and without a superior; the God and Father of Thy only begotten Son, of our God and Saviour; the Creator of the whole world by Him; whose providence provides for and takes the care of all; the Father of mercies, and God of all consolation;35973597     2 Cor. i. 3.   who dwellest in the highest heavens,35983598     Ps. cxiii. 5.   and yet lookest down on things below: Thou who didst appoint the rules of the Church, by the coming of Thy Christ in the flesh; of which the Holy Ghost is the witness, by Thy apostles, and by us the bishops, who by Thy grace are here present; who hast fore-ordained priests from the beginning for the government of Thy people—Abel in the first place, Seth and Enos, and Enoch and Noah, and Melchisedec and Job; who didst appoint Abraham, and the rest of the patriarchs, with Thy faithful servants Moses and Aaron, and Eleazar and Phineas; who didst choose from among them rulers and priests in the tabernacle of Thy testimony; who didst choose Samuel for a priest and a prophet; who didst not leave Thy sanctuary without ministers; who didst delight in those whom Thou chosest to be glorified in. Do Thou, by us, pour down the influence of Thy free Spirit, through the mediation of Thy Christ, which is committed to Thy beloved Son Jesus Christ; which He bestowed according to Thy will on the holy apostles of Thee the eternal God. Grant by Thy name, O God, who searchest the hearts, that this Thy servant, whom Thou hast chosen to be a bishop, may feed Thy holy flock, and discharge the office of an high priest to Thee, and minister to Thee, unblameably night and day; that he may appease Thee, and gather together the number of those that shall be saved, and may offer to Thee the gifts of Thy holy Church. Grant to him, O Lord Almighty, through Thy Christ, the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, that so he may have power to remit sins according to Thy command; to give forth lots according to Thy command; to loose every bond, according to the power which Thou gavest the apostles; that he may please Thee in meekness and a pure heart, with a stedfast, unblameable, and unreprovable mind; to offer to Thee a pure and unbloody sacrifice, which by Thy Christ Thou hast appointed as the mystery of the new covenant, for a sweet savour, through Thy holy child Jesus Christ, our God and Saviour, through whom35993599     One V. ms. reads, “with whom.”   glory, honour, and worship be to Thee in the Holy Spirit, now and always, and for all ages. And when he has prayed for these things, let the rest of the priests add, Amen; and together with them all the people. And after the prayer let one of the bishops elevate the sacrifice upon the hands of him that is ordained, and early in the morning let him be placed in his throne, in a place set apart for him among the rest of the bishops, they all giving him the kiss in the Lord.36003600     The Coptic inserts, “let the holy Gospels be read.”   And after the reading of the Law36013601     The Coptic reads “Gospel” instead of “Law.”   and the Prophets, and our Epistles, and Acts, and the Gospels, let him that is ordained salute they Church, saying, The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with you all; and let them all answer, And with Thy Spirit. And after these words let him speak to the people the words of exhortation; and when he has ended his word of doctrine (I Andrew36023602     One V. ms. has the following note: “Andrew the brother of Peter preaches the Gospel to the Scythians, Sogdiani, and Thracians, who on account of preaching Christ is crowned with the martyrdom of the cross by Ægæa the proconsul, and was buried in Patræ. Afterwards he was removed to Constantinople by the Emperor Constantine.”   the brother of Peter speak), all standing up, let the deacon ascend upon some high seat, and proclaim, Let none of the hearers, let none of the unbelievers stay; and silence being made, let him say:—  

Oxford Ms.36033603     The Oxford ms. has this chapter in an abbreviated form as in the parallel columns.  

V. God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, who knowest all things before they take place; Thou who didst appoint the rules of the Church through the word of Thy grace; who didst appoint beforehand the race righteous from the beginning that came from Abraham to be rulers, and didst constitute them priests, not leaving Thy sanctuary without ministers; who from the foundation of the world didst delight in those whom Thou chosest to be glorified in; and now pour down the influence of Thy free Spirit, which through Thy beloved Son Jesus Christ Thou hast bestowed on Thy holy apostles, who set up the Church in the place of the sanctuary, to unending glory and praise of Thy name: O Thou, who knowest the hearts of all, grant that this Thy servant whom Thou hast chosen to the holy office of Thy bishop, may discharge the duty of a high priest to Thee, and minister to Thee unblameably night and day; that he may appease Thee unceasingly, and present to Thee the gifts of Thy holy Church, and in the spirit of the high-priesthood have power to remit sins according to Thy commandment, to give lots according to Thy injunction, to loose every bond according to the power which Thou hast given to the apostles, and be well-pleasing to Thee, in meekness and a pure heart offering a smell of sweet savour through Thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom to Thee be glory, power, and honour, along with the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.  

The Divine Liturgy, Wherein is the Bidding Prayer for the Catechumens.

VI. Ye catechumens, pray, and let all the faithful pray for them in their mind, saying: Lord, have mercy upon them. And let the deacon bid prayers for them, saving: Let us all pray unto God for the catechumens, that He that is good, He that is the lover of mankind, will mercifully hear their prayers and their supplications, and so accept their petitions as to assist them and give them those desires of their hearts which are for their advantage, and reveal to them the Gospel of His Christ; give them illumination and understanding, instruct them in the knowledge of God, teach them His commands and His ordinances, implant in them His pure and saving fear, open the ears of their hearts, that they may exercise themselves in His law day and night; strengthen them in piety, unite them to and number them with His holy flock; vouchsafe them the laver of regeneration, and the garment of incorruption, which is the true life; and deliver them from all ungodliness, and give no place to the adversary against them; “and cleanse them from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, and dwell in them, and walk in them, by His Christ; bless their goings out and their comings in, and order their affairs for their good.”36043604     2 Cor. vii. 1, vi. 6; Ps. cxxi. 8.   Let us still earnestly put up our supplications for them, that they may obtain the forgiveness of their transgressions by their admission, and so may be thought worthy of the holy mysteries, and of constant communion with the saints. Rise up, ye catechumens, beg for yourselves the peace of God through His Christ, a peaceable day, and free from sin, and the like for the whole time of your life, and your Christian ends of it; a compassionate and merciful God; and the forgiveness of your transgressions. Dedicate yourselves to the only unbegotten God, through His Christ. Bow down your heads, and receive the blessing. But at the naming of every one by the deacon, as we said before, let the people say, Lord, have mercy upon him; and let the children say it first. And as they have bowed down their heads, let the bishop who is newly ordained bless them with this blessing: O God Almighty, unbegotten and inaccessible, who only art the true God, the God and Father of Thy Christ, Thy only begotten Son; the God36053605     One V. ms. has προβολεύς, “the sender forth,” or “producer,” instead of “God.”   of the Comforter, and Lord of the whole world; who by Christ didst appoint Thy disciples to be teachers for the teaching of piety; do Thou now also look down upon Thy servants, who are receiving instruction in the Gospel of Thy Christ, and “give them a new heart, and renew a right spirit in their inward parts,”36063606     Ps. li. 10.   that they may both know and do Thy will with full purpose of heart, and with a willing soul. Vouchsafe them an holy admission, and unite them to Thy holy Church, and make them partakers of Thy divine mysteries, through Christ, who is our hope, and who died for them; by whom glory and worship be given to Thee in the Holy Spirit for ever. Amen. And after this, let the deacon say: Go out, ye catechumens, in peace. And after they are gone out, let him say: Ye energumens, afflicted with unclean spirits, pray, and let us all earnestly pray for them, that God, the lover of mankind, will by Christ rebuke the unclean and wicked spirits, and deliver His supplicants from the dominion of the adversary. May He that rebuked the legion of demons, and the devil, the prince of wickedness,36073607     Mark v. 9; Zech. iii. 2.   even now rebuke these apostates from piety, and deliver His own workmanship from his power, and cleanse those creatures which He has made with great wisdom. Let us still pray earnestly for them. Save them, O God, and raise them up by Thy power. Bow down your heads, ye energumens, and receive the blessings. And let the bishop add this prayer, and say:—  

For the Energumens.

VII. Thou, who hast bound the strong man, and spoiled all that was in his house, who hast given us power over serpents and scorpions to tread upon them, and upon all the power of the enemy;36083608     Matt. xii. 29; Luke x. 19.   who hast delivered the serpent, that murderer of men, bound to us, as a sparrow to children, whom all things dread, and tremble before the face of Thy power;36093609     Job xl. 24, LXX.   who hast cast him down as lightning from heaven to earth,36103610     Luke x. 18   not with a fall from a place, but from honour to dishonour, on account of his voluntary evil disposition; whose look dries the abysses, and threatening melts the mountains, and whose truth remains for ever; whom the infants praise, and sucking babes bless; whom angels sing hymns to, and adore; who lookest upon the earth, and makest it tremble; who touchest the mountains, and they smoke; who threatenest the sea, and driest it up, and makest all its rivers as desert, and the clouds are the dust of His feet; who walkest upon the sea as upon the firm ground;36113611     Ps. cvi. 9; Isa. li. 10; Ps. xcvii. 5; Isa. lxiv. 1, Ps. cxvii. 2, viii. 2, xcvii. 4, civ. 32; Nah. i. 4, 3; Job ix. 8, LXX.   Thou only begotten God,36123612     [Comp. note 1, p. 477, book vii. chap. xliii.—R.]   the Son of the great Father, rebuke these wicked spirits, and deliver the works of Thy hands from the power of the adverse spirit. For to Thee is due glory, honour, and worship, and by Thee to Thy Father, in the Holy Spirit, for ever. Amen. And let the deacon say: Go out, ye energumens. And after them, let him cry aloud: Ye that are to be illuminated, pray. Let all us, the faithful, earnestly pray for them, that the Lord will vouchsafe that, being initiated into the death of Christ, they may rise with Him, and become partakers of His kingdom, and may be admitted to the communion of His mysteries; unite them to, number them among, those that are saved in His holy Church. Save them, and raise them up by Thy grace. And being sealed to God through His Christ, let them bow down their heads, and receive this blessing from the bishop:—  

For the Baptized.

VIII. Thou who hast formerly said by Thy holy prophets to those that be initiated, “Wash ye, become clean,”36133613     Isa. i. 16.   and hast appointed spiritual regeneration by Christ, do Thou now also look down upon these that are baptized, and bless them, and sanctify them, and prepare them that they may become worthy of Thy spiritual gift, and of the true adoption of Thy spiritual mysteries, of being gathered together with those that are saved through Christ our Saviour; by whom glory, honour, and worship be to Thee, in the Holy Ghost, for ever. Amen. And let the deacon say: Go out, ye that are preparing for illumination. And after that let him proclaim: Ye penitents, pray; let us all earnestly pray for our brethren in the state of penitence, that God, the lover of compassion, will show them the way of repentance, and accept their return and their confession, and bruise Satan under their feet suddenly,36143614     Rom. xvi. 20.   and redeem them from the snare of the devil, and the ill-usage of the demons, and free them from every unlawful word, and every absurd practice and wicked thought; forgive them all their offences, both voluntary and involuntary, and blot out that handwriting which is against them,36153615     Col. ii. 13, 14.   and write them in the book of life;36163616     Phil. iv. 3.   cleanse them from all filthiness of flesh and spirit,36173617     2 Cor. vii. 1.   and restore and unite them to His holy flock. For He knoweth our frame. For who can glory that he has a clean heart? And who can boldly say, that he is pure from sin?36183618     Prov. xx. 9.   For we are all among the blameworthy. Let us still pray for them more earnestly, for there is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth,36193619     Luke xv. 7.   that, being converted from every evil work, they may be joined to all good practice; that God, the lover of mankind, will suddenly accept their petitions, will restore36203620     The V. mss. read, “restore them to their former position, and give then the joy,” etc.   to them the joy of His salvation, and strengthen them with His free Spirit;36213621     Ps. li. 12.   that they may not be any more shaken,36223622     The V. mss. add, “in their footsteps, but may be deemed worthy to be admitted,” etc.   but be admitted to the communion of His most holy things, and become partakers of His divine mysteries, that appearing worthy of His adoption, they may obtain eternal life. Let us all still earnestly say on their account: Lord, have mercy upon them. Save them, O God, and raise them up by Thy mercy. Rise up, and bow your heads to God through His Christ, and receive the blessings. Let the bishop then add this prayer:—  

Imposition of Hands; Prayer for PenItents.

IX. Almighty, eternal God, Lord of the whole world, the Creator and Governor of all things, who hast exhibited man as the ornament of the world through Christ, and didst give him a law both naturally implanted and written, that he might live according to law, as a rational creature; and when he had sinned, Thou gavest him Thy goodness as a pledge in order to his repentance: Look down upon these persons who have bended the neck of their soul and body to Thee; for Thou desirest not the death of a sinner, but his repentance, that he turn from his wicked way, and live.36233623     Ezek. xviii. and xxxiii.   Thou who didst accept the repentance of the Ninevites, who willest that all men be saved, and come to the acknowledgment of the truth;36243624     Jonah iii.; 1 Tim. ii. 4.   who didst accept of that son who had consumed his substance in riotous living,36253625     Luke xv.   with the bowels of a father, on account of his repentance; do Thou now accept of the repentance of Thy supplicants: for there is no man that will not sin; for “if Thou, O Lord, markest iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? For with Thee there is propitiation.”36263626     [Ps. cxxx. 3, 4.—R.]   And do Thou restore them to Thy holy Church, into their former dignity and honour, through Christ our God and Saviour, by whom glory and adoration be to Thee, in the Holy Ghost, for ever. Amen. Then let the deacon say, Depart, ye penitents; and let him add, Let none of those who ought not to come draw near. All we of the faithful, let us bend our knee: let us all entreat God through His Christ; let us earnestly beseech God through His Christ.  

The Bidding Prayer for the Faithful.

X. Let us pray for the peace and happy settlement of the world, and of the holy churches; that the God of the whole world may afford us His everlasting peace, and such as may not be taken away from us; that He may preserve us in a full prosecution of such virtue as is according to godliness. Let us pray for the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church which is spread from one end of the earth to the other; that God would preserve and keep it unshaken, and free from the waves of this life, until the end of the world, as founded upon a rock; and for the holy parish in this place, that the Lord of the whole world may vouchsafe us without failure to follow after His heavenly hope, and without ceasing to pay Him the debt of our prayer. Let us pray for every episcopacy which is under the whole heaven, of those that rightly divide the word of Thy truth. And let us pray for our bishop James,36273627     [This is “James, the Lord’s brother;” Gal. i. 19. An incidental proof of the Eastern and Ante-Nicene origin of book viii. also.—R.]   and his parishes; let us pray for our bishop Clement, and his parishes; let us pray for our bishop Euodius, and his parishes; let us pray for our bishop Annianus, and his parishes: that the compassionate God may grant them to continue in His holy churches in health, honour, and long life, and afford them an honourable old age in godliness and righteousness. And let us pray for our presbyters, that the Lord may deliver them from every unreasonable and wicked action, and afford them a presbyterate in health and honour. Let us pray for all the deacons and ministers in Christ, that the Lord may grant them an unblameable ministration. Let us pray for the readers, singers, virgins, widows, and orphans. Let us pray for those that are in marriage and in child-bearing, that the Lord may have mercy upon them all. Let us pray for the eunuchs who walk holily. Let us pray for those in a state of continence and piety. Let us pray for those that bear fruit in the holy Church, and give alms to the needy. And let us pray for those who offer sacrifices and oblations to the Lord our God, that God, the fountain of all goodness, may recompense them with His heavenly gifts, and “give them in this world an hundredfold, and in the world to come life everlasting;”36283628     Matt. xix. 29.   and bestow upon them for their temporal things, those that are eternal; for earthly things, those that are heavenly. Let us pray for our brethren newly enlightened, that the Lord may strengthen and confirm them. Let us pray for our brethren exercised with sickness, that the Lord may deliver them from every sickness and every disease, and restore them sound into His holy Church. Let us pray for those that travel by water or by land. Let us pray for those that are in the mines, in banishments, in prisons, and in bonds, for the name of the Lord. Let us pray for those that are afflicted with bitter servitude. Let us pray for our enemies, and those that hate us. Let us pray for those that persecute us for the name of the Lord, that the Lord may pacify their anger, and scatter their wrath against us. Let us pray for those that are without, and are wandered out of the way, that the Lord may convert them. Let us be mindful of the infants of the Church, that the Lord may perfect them in His fear, and bring them to a complete age. Let us pray one for another, that the Lord may keep us and preserve us by His grace to the end, and deliver us from the evil one. and from all the scandals of those that work iniquity, and preserve us unto His heavenly kingdom. Let us pray for every Christian soul. Save us, and raise us up, O God, by Thy mercy. Let us rise up, and let us pray earnestly, and dedicate ourselves and one another to the living God, through His Christ. And let the high priest add this prayer, and say:—  

The Form of Prayer for the Faithful.

XI. O Lord Almighty, the Most High, who dwellest on high, the Holy One, that restest among the saints, without beginning, the Only Potentate, who hast given to us by Christ the preaching of knowledge, to the acknowledgment of Thy glory and of Thy name, which He has made known to us, for our comprehension, do Thou now also look down through Him upon this Thy flock, and deliver it from all ignorance and wicked practice, and grant that we may fear Thee in earnest, and love Thee with affection, and have a due reverence of Thy glory. Be gracious and merciful to them, and hearken to them when they pray unto Thee; and keep them, that they may be unmoveable, unblameable, and unreprovable, that they may be holy in body and spirit, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that they may be complete, and none of them may be defective or imperfect. O our support, our powerful God, who dost not accept persons, be Thou the assister of this Thy people,36293629     The V. mss. insert, “whom Thou hast selected out of myriads.”   which Thou hast redeemed with the precious blood of Thy Christ; be Thou their protector, aider, provider, and guardian, their strong wall of defence, their bulwark and security. For “none can snatch out of Thy hand:”36303630     John x. 29.   for there is no other God like Thee; for on Thee is our reliance. “Sanctify them by Thy truth: for Thy word is truth.”36313631     John xvii. 17.   Thou who dost nothing for favour, Thou whom none can deceive, deliver them from every sickness, and every disease, and every offence, every injury and deceit, “from fear of the enemy, from the dart that flieth in the day, from the mischief that walketh about in darkness;”36323632     Ps. lxiv. 1; xci. 5, 6.   and vouchsafe them that everlasting life which is in Christ Thy only begotten Son, our God and Saviour, through whom glory and worship be to Thee, in the Holy Spirit, now and always, and for ever and ever. Amen. And after this let the deacon say, Let us attend. And let the bishop salute the church, and say, The peace of God be with you all. And let the people answer, And with thy spirit; and let the deacon say to all, Salute ye one another with the holy kiss. And let the clergy salute the bishop, the men of the laity salute the men, the women the women. And let the children stand at the reading-desk; and let another deacon stand by them, that they may not be disorderly.36333633     The meaning in Coptic seems to be uncertain.   And let other deacons walk about and watch the men and women, that no tumult may be made, and that no one nod, or whisper, or slumber; and let the deacons36343634     The Coptic reads, “sub-deacons.”   stand at the doors of the men, and the sub-deacons at those of the women, that no one go out, nor a door be opened, although it be for one of the faithful, at the time of the oblation. But let one of the sub-deacons bring water to wash the hands of the priests, which is a symbol of the purity of those souls that are devoted to God.  

The Constitution of James the Brother of John, the Son of Zebedee.

XII. And I James,36353635     One V. ms. gives the following note: “James the son of Zebedee, brother of John, preached the Gospel in Judea, was slain with the sword by Herod the tetrarch, and lies in Cæsarea.”   the brother of John, the son of Zebedee, say, that the deacon shall immediately say, Let none of the catechumens, let none of the hearers, let none of the unbelievers, let none of the heterodox, stay here. You who have prayed the foregoing prayer, depart.36363636     [N.B.—No non-communicating attendance permitted.]   Let the mothers receive their children; let no one have anything against any one; let no one come in hypocrisy; let us stand upright before the Lord with fear and trembling, to offer. When this is done, let the deacons bring the gifts to the bishop at the altar; and let the presbyters stand on his right hand, and on his left, as disciples stand before their Master. But let two of the deacons, on each side of the altar, hold a fan, made up of thin membranes, or of the feathers of the peacock, or of fine cloth, and let them silently drive away the small animals that fly about, that they may not come near to the cups. Let the high priest, therefore, together with the priests, pray36373637     The Coptic adds, “over the oblation, that the Holy Spirit may descend upon it, making the bread the body of Christ, and the cup the blood of Christ; and prayers being ended.” It then goes on with the words in italics in ch. xiii.   by himself; and let him put on his shining garment, and stand at the altar, and make the sign of the cross upon his forehead with his hand,36383638     The common text has, “before all the people,” omitted by one V. ms.   and say: The grace of Almighty God, and the love of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. And let all with one voice say: And with thy spirit. The high priest: Lift up your mind. All the people: We lift it up unto the Lord. The high priest: Let us give thanks to the Lord. All the people: It is meet and right so to do. Then let the high priest say: It is very meet and right before all things to sing an hymn to Thee, who art the true God, who art before all beings, “from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named;”36393639     Eph. iii. 15.   who only art unbegotten, and without beginning, and without a ruler, and without a master; who standest in need of nothing; who art the bestower of everything that is good; who art beyond all cause and generation; who art alway and immutably the same; from whom all things came into being, as from their proper original. For Thou art eternal knowledge, everlasting sight, unbegotten hearing, untaught wisdom, the first by nature, and the measure of being, and beyond all number; who didst bring all things out of nothing into being by Thy only begotten Son, but didst beget Him before all ages by Thy will, Thy power, and Thy goodness, without any instrument, the only begotten Son, God the Word, the living Wisdom, “the First-born of every creature, the angel of Thy Great Counsel,”36403640     Col. i. 15; Isa. ix. 6, LXX.   and Thy High Priest, but the King and Lord of every intellectual and sensible nature, who was before all things, by whom were all things. For Thou, O eternal God, didst make all things by Him, and through Him it is that Thou vouchsafest Thy suitable providence over the whole world; for by the very same that Thou bestowedst being, didst Thou also bestow well-being: the God and Father of Thy only begotten Son, who by Him didst make before all things the cherubim and the seraphim, the æons and hosts, the powers and authorities, the principalities and thrones, the archangels and angels; and after all these, didst by Him make this visible world, and all things that are therein. For Thou art He who didst frame the heaven as an arch, and “stretch it out like the covering of a tent,”36413641     Gen. i.; 4 Esd. xvi. 60; Ps. civ. 2.   and didst found the earth upon nothing by Thy mere will; who didst fix the firmament, and prepare the night and the day; who didst bring the light out of Thy treasures, and on its departure didst bring on darkness, for the rest of the living creatures that move up and down in the world; who didst appoint the sun in heaven to rule over the day, and the moon to rule over the night, and didst inscribe in heaven the choir of stars to praise Thy glorious majesty; who didst make the water for drink and for cleansing, the air in which we live for respiration and the affording of sounds, by the means of the tongue, which strikes the air, and the hearings which co-operates therewith, so as to perceive speech when it is received by it, and falls upon it; who madest fire for our consolation in darkness, for the supply of our want, and that we might be warmed and enlightened by it; who didst separate the great sea from the land, and didst render the former navigable and the latter fit for walking, and didst replenish the former with small and great living creatures, and filledst the latter with the same, both tame and wild; didst furnish it with various plants, and crown it with herbs, and beautify it with flowers, and enrich it with seeds; who didst ordain the great deep, and on every side madest a mighty cavity for it, which contains seas of salt waters heaped together,36423642     Job xxxviii.   yet didst Thou every way bound them with barriers of the smallest sand;36433643     Jer. v. 22.   who sometimes dost raise it to the height of mountains by the winds, and sometimes dost smooth it into a plain; sometimes dost enrage it with a tempest, and sometimes dost still it with a calm, that it may be easy to seafaring men in their voyages; who didst encompass this world, which was made by Thee through Christ, with rivers, and water it with currents, and moisten it with springs that never fail, and didst bind it round with mountains for the immoveable and secure consistence of the earth: for Thou hast replenished Thy world, and adorned it with sweet-smelling and with healing herbs, with many and various living creatures, strong and weak, for food and for labour, tame and wild; with the noises of creeping things, the sounds of various sorts of flying creatures; with the circuits of the years, the numbers of months and days, the order of the seasons, the courses of the rainy clouds, for the production of the fruits and the support of living creatures. Thou hast also appointed the station of the winds, which blow when commanded by Thee, and the multitude of the plants and herbs. And Thou hast not only created the world itself, but hast also made man for a citizen of the world, exhibiting him as the ornament of the world; for Thou didst say to Thy Wisdom: “Let us make man according to our image, and according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowls of the heaven.”36443644     Gen. i. 26.   Wherefore also Thou hast made him of an immortal soul and of a body liable to dissolution—the former out of nothing, the latter out of the four elements—and hast given him as to his soul rational knowledge, the discerning of piety and impiety, and the observation of right and wrong; and as to his body, Thou hast granted him five senses and progressive motion: for Thou, O God Almighty, didst by Thy Christ plant a paradise in Eden,36453645     Gen. ii. 8.   in the east, adorned with all plants fit for food, and didst introduce him into it, as into a rich banquet. And when Thou madest him, Thou gavest him a law implanted within him, that so he might have at home and within himself the seeds of divine knowledge; and when Thou hadst brought him into the paradise of pleasure, Thou allowedst him the privilege of enjoying all things, only forbidding the tasting of one tree, in hopes of greater blessings; that in case he would keep that command, he might receive the reward of it, which was immortality. But when he neglected that command, and tasted of the forbidden fruit, by the seduction of the serpent and the counsel of his wife, Thou didst justly cast him out of paradise.  

Yet of Thy goodness Thou didst not overlook him, nor suffer him to perish utterly, for he was Thy creature; but Thou didst subject the whole creation to him, and didst grant him liberty to procure himself food by his own sweat and labours, whilst Thou didst cause all the fruits of the earth to spring up, to grow, and to ripen. But when Thou hadst laid him asleep for a while, Thou didst with an oath call him to a restoration again, didst loose the bond of death, and promise him life after the resurrection. And not this only; but when Thou hadst increased his posterity to an innumerable multitude, those that continued with Thee Thou didst glorify, and those who did apostatize from Thee Thou didst punish. And while Thou didst accept of the sacrifice of Abel36463646     Gen. iv.   as of an holy person, Thou didst reject the gift of Cain, the murderer of his brother, as of an abhorred wretch. And besides these, Thou didst accept of Seth and Enos,36473647     Ecclus. xlix. 16.   and didst translate Enoch:36483648     Gen. iv. and v.   for Thou art the Creator of men, and the giver of life, and the supplier of want, and the giver of laws, and the rewarder of those that observe them, and the avenger of those that transgress them; who didst bring the great flood upon the world by reason of the multitude of the ungodly,36493649     Gen. vi. and vii.   and didst deliver righteous Noah from that flood by an ark,36503650     1 Pet. iii. 20.   with eight souls, the end of the foregoing generations, and the beginning of those that were to come; who didst kindle a fearful fire against the five cities of Sodom, and “didst turn a fruitful land into a salt lake for the wickedness of them that dwelt therein,”36513651     Gen. xix.; Wisd. x. 6; Ps. cvii. 34   but didst snatch holy Lot out of the conflagration. Thou art He who didst deliver Abraham from the impiety of his fore-fathers, and didst appoint him to be the heir of the world, and didst discover to him Thy Christ; who didst aforehand ordain Melchisedec an high priest for Thy worship;36523652     Gen. xii., etc.   who didst render Thy patient servant Job the conqueror of that serpent who is the patron of wickedness; who madest Isaac the son of the promise, and Jacob the father of twelve sons, and didst increase his posterity to a multitude, and bring him into Egypt with seventy-five souls.36533653     Gen. xlvi. 27, LXX.   Thou, O Lord, didst not overlook Joseph, but grantedst him, as a reward of his chastity for Thy sake, the government over the Egyptians. Thou, O Lord, didst not overlook the Hebrews when they were afflicted by the Egyptians, on account of the promises made unto their fathers; but Thou didst deliver them and punish the Egyptians.36543654     Ex. 1, etc.   And when men had corrupted the law of nature, and had sometimes esteemed the creation the effect of chance, and sometimes honoured it more than they ought, and equalled it to the God of the universe, Thou didst not, however, suffer them to go astray, but didst raise up Thy holy servant Moses, and by him didst give the written law for the assistance of the law of nature,36553655     See Isa. viii. 20, LXX.   and didst show that the creation was Thy work, and didst banish away the error of polytheism. Thou didst adorn Aaron and his posterity with the priesthood, and didst punish the Hebrews when they sinned, and receive them again when they returned to Thee. Thou didst punish the Egyptians with a judgment of ten plagues, and didst divide the sea, and bring the Israelites through it, and drown and destroy the Egyptians who pursued after them. Thou didst sweeten the bitter water with wood; Thou didst bring water out of the rock of stone; Thou didst rain manna from heaven, and quails, as meat out of the air; Thou didst afford them a pillar of fire by night to give them light, and a pillar of a cloud by day to overshadow them from the heat; Thou didst declare Joshua to be the general of the army, and didst overthrow the seven nations of Canaan by him;36563656     Josh. iii. 10, etc.   Thou didst divide Jordan, and dry up the rivers of Etham;36573657     Ps. lxxiv. 15   Thou didst overthrow walls without instruments or the hand of man.36583658     Josh. vi   For all these things, glory be to Thee, O Lord Almighty. Thee do the innumerable hosts of angels, archangels, thrones, dominions, principalities, authorities, and powers, Thine everlasting armies, adore. The cherubim and the six-winged seraphim, with twain covering their feet, with twain their heads, and with twain flying,36593659     Isa. vi. 2   say, together with thousand thousands of archangels, and ten thousand times ten thousand of angels,36603660     Dan. vii. 10   incessantly, and with constant and loud voices, and let all the people say it with them: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord of hosts, heaven and earth are full of His glory: be Thou blessed for ever. Amen.”36613661     Isa. vi. 3; Rom. i. 25.   And afterwards let the high priest say: For Thou art truly holy, and most holy, the highest and most highly exalted for ever. Holy also is Thy only begotten Son our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, who in all things ministered to His God and Father, both in Thy various creation and Thy suitable providence, and has not overlooked lost mankind. But after the law of nature, after the exhortations in the positive law, after the prophetical reproofs and the government of the angels, when men had perverted both the positive law and that of nature, and had cast out of their mind the memory of the flood, the burning of Sodom, the plagues of the Egyptians, and the slaughters of the inhabitant of Palestine, and being just ready to perish universally after an unparalleled manner, He was pleased by Thy good will to become man, who was man’s Creator; to be under the laws, who was the Legislator; to be a sacrifice, who was an High Priest; to be a sheep, who was the Shepherd. And He appeased Thee, His God and Father, and reconciled Thee to the world, and freed all men from the wrath to come, and was made of a virgin, and was in flesh, being God the Word, the beloved Son, the first-born of the whole creation, and was, according to the prophecies which were foretold concerning Him by Himself, of the seed of David and Abraham, of the tribe of Judah. And He was made in the womb of a virgin, who formed all mankind that are born into the world; He took flesh, who was without flesh; He who was begotten before time, was born in time; He lived holily, and taught according to the law; He drove away every sickness and every disease from men, and wrought signs and wonders among the people; and He was partaker of meat, and drink, and sleep, who nourishes all that stand in need of food, and “fills every living creature with His goodness;”36623662     Ps. cv. 16.   “He manifested His name to those that knew it not;”36633663     John xvii. 6, 4.   He drave away ignorance; He revived piety, and fulfilled Thy will; He finished the work which Thou gavest Him to do; and when He had set all these things right, He was seized by the hands of the ungodly, of the high priests and priests, falsely so called, and of the disobedient people, by the betraying of him who was possessed of wickedness as with a confirmed disease; He suffered many things from them, and endured all sorts of ignominy by Thy permission; He was delivered to Pilate the governor, and He that was the Judge was judged, and He that was the Saviour was condemned; He that was impassible was nailed to the cross, and He who was by nature immortal died, and He that is the giver of life was buried, that He might loose those for whose sake He came from suffering and death, and might break the bonds of the devil, and deliver mankind from his deceit. He arose from the dead the third day; and when He had continued with His disciples forty days, He was taken up into the heavens, and is sat down on the right hand of Thee, who art His God and Father.  

Being mindful, therefore, of those things that He endured for our sakes, we give Thee thanks, O God Almighty, not in such a manner as we ought, but as we are able, and fulfil His constitution: “For in the same night that He was betrayed, He took bread”36643664     1 Cor. xi. 23.   in His holy and undefiled hands, and, looking up to Thee His God and Father, “He brake it, and gave it to His disciples, saying, This is the mystery of the new covenant: take of it, and eat. This is my body, which is broken for many, for the remission of sins.”36653665     Matt. xxvi.; Mark xiv.; Luke xxii.   In like manner also “He took the cup,” and mixed it of wine and water, and sanctified it, and delivered it to them, saying: “Drink ye all of this; for this is my blood which is shed for many, for the remission of sins: do this in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do show forth my death until I come.” Being mindful, therefore, of His passion, and death, and resurrection from the dead, and return into the heavens, and His future second appearing, wherein He is to come with glory and power to judge the quick and the dead, and to recompense to every one according to his works, we offer to Thee, our King and our God, according to His constitution, this bread and this cup, giving Thee thanks, through Him, that Thou hast thought us worthy to stand before Thee, and to sacrifice to Thee; and we beseech Thee that Thou wilt mercifully look down upon these gifts which are here set before Thee, O Thou God, who standest in need of none of our offerings. And do Thou accept them, to the honour of Thy Christ, and send down upon this sacrifice Thine Holy Spirit, the Witness of the Lord Jesus’ sufferings, that He may show this bread to be the body of Thy Christ, and the cup to be the blood of Thy Christ, that those who are partakers thereof may be strengthened for piety, may obtain the remission of their sins, may be delivered from the devil and his deceit, may be filled with the Holy Ghost, may be made worthy of Thy Christ, and may obtain eternal life upon Thy reconciliation to them, O Lord Almighty. We further pray unto Thee, O Lord, for thy holy Church spread from one end of the world to another, which Thou hast purchased with the precious blood of Thy Christ, that Thou wilt preserve it unshaken and free from disturbance until the end of the world; for every episcopate who rightly divides the word of truth. We further pray to Thee for me, who am nothing, who offer to Thee, for the whole presbytery, for the deacons and all the clergy, that Thou wilt make them wise, and replenish them with the Holy Spirit. We further pray to Thee, O Lord, “for the king and all in authority,”36663666     1 Tim. ii. 2.   for the whole army, that they may be peaceable towards us, that so, leading the whole time of our life in quietness and unanimity, we may glorify Thee through Jesus Christ, who is our hope. We further offer to Thee also for all those holy persons who have pleased Thee from the beginning of the world—patriarch, prophets, righteous men, apostles, martyrs, confessors, bishops, presbyters, deacons, sub-deacons, readers, singers, virgins, widows, and lay persons, with all whose names Thou knowest. We further offer to Thee for this people, that Thou wilt render them, to the praise of Thy Christ, “a royal priesthood and an holy nation;”36673667     1 Pet. ii. 9.   for those that are in virginity and purity; for the widows of the Church; for those in honourable marriage and child-bearing; for the infants of Thy people, that Thou wilt not permit any of us to “become castaways.” We further beseech Thee also for this city and its inhabitants; for those that are sick; for those in bitter servitude; for those in banishments; for those in prison; for those that travel by water or by land; that Thou, the helper and assister of all men, wilt be their supporter. We further also beseech Thee for those that hate us and persecute us for Thy name’s sake; for those that are without, and wander out of the way; that Thou wilt convert them to goodness, and pacify their anger. We further also beseech Thee for the catechumens of the Church, and for those that are vexed by the adversary, and for our brethren the penitents, that Thou wilt perfect the first in the faith, that Thou wilt deliver the second from the energy of the evil one, and that Thou wilt accept the repentance of the last, and forgive both them and us our offences. We further offer to Thee also for the good temperature of the air, and the fertility of the fruits, that so, partaking perpetually of the good things derived from Thee, we may praise Thee without ceasing, “who gavest food to all flesh.”36683668     Ps. cxxxvi. 25.   We further beseech Thee also for those who are absent on a just cause, that Thou wilt keep us all in piety, and gather us together in the kingdom of Thy Christ, the God of all sensible and intelligent nature, our King that Thou wouldst keep us immoveable, unblameable, and unreprovable: for to Thee belongs all glory and worship, and thanksgiving, honour and adoration, the Father, with the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, both now and always, and for everlasting, and endless ages for ever. And let all the people say, Amen. And let the bishop say, “The peace of God be with you all.” And let all the people say, “And with thy spirit.” And let the deacon proclaim again:—  

The Bidding Prayer for the Faithful After the Divine Oblation.

XIII. Let us still further beseech God through His Christ, and let us beseech Him on account of the gift which is offered to the Lord God, that the good God will accept it, through the mediation of His Christ, upon His heavenly altar, for a sweet-smelling savour. Let us pray for this church and people. Let us pray for every episcopate, every presbytery, all the deacons and ministers in Christ, for the whole congregation, that the Lord will keep and preserve them all. Let us pray “for kings and those in authority,” that they may be peaceable toward us, “that so we may have and lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.”36693669     1 Tim. ii. 2.   Let us be mindful of the holy martyrs, that we may be thought worthy to be partakers of their trial. Let us pray for those that are departed in the faith. Let us pray for the good temperature of the air, and the perfect maturity of the fruits. Let us pray for those that are newly enlightened, that they may be strengthened in the faith, and all may be mutually comforted by one another.36703670     This is not a fair translation of the Greek which, as the text stands, does not make sense. One V. ms. reads, “Let us beseech in behalf of one another.”   Raise us up, O God, by Thy grace. Let us stand up, and dedicate ourselves to God, through His Christ. And let the bishop say: O God, who art great, and whose name is great, who art great in counsel and mighty in works, the God and Father of Thy holy child Jesus, our Saviour; look down upon us, and upon this Thy flock, which Thou hast chosen by Him to the glory of Thy name; and sanctify our body and soul, and grant us the favour to be “made pure from all filthiness of flesh and spirit,”36713671     2 Cor. vii. 1.   and may obtain the good things laid up for us, and do not account any of us unworthy; but be Thou our comforter, helper, and protector, through Thy Christ, with whom glory, honour, praise, doxology, and thanksgiving be to Thee and to the Holy Ghost for ever. Amen. And after that all have said Amen, let the deacon say: Let us attend. And let the bishop speak thus to the people: Holy things for holy persons. And let the people answer: There is One that is holy; there is one Lord, one Jesus Christ, blessed for ever, to the glory of God the Father. Amen. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will among men. Hosanna to the son of David! Blessed be He that cometh in the name of the Lord,” being the Lord God who appeared to us, “Hosanna in the highest.”36723672     Luke ii. 14; Matt. xxi. 9.   And after that, let the bishop partake, then the presbyters, and deacons, and36733673     The Coptic adds, “the rest of the clergy in their order.”   sub-deacons, and the readers, and the singers, and the ascetics; and then of the women, the deaconesses, and the virgins, and the widows; then the children; and then all the people in order, with reverence and godly fear, without tumult. And let the bishop give the oblation, saying, The body of Christ; and let him that receiveth say, Amen. And let the deacon take the cup; and when he gives it, say, The blood of Christ, the cup of life; and let him that drinketh say, Amen.36743674     The Coptic has, “and let them sing psalms during the distribution, until the whole congregation has received it.”   And let the thirty-third psalm be said, while the rest are partaking; and when all,36753675     The Coptic has, “let all the women receive it also.”   both men and women, have partaken, let the deacons carry what remains into the vestry. And when the singer has done, let the deacon say:—  

The Bidding Prayer After the Participation.

XIV. Now we have received the precious body and the precious blood of Christ, let us give thanks to Him who has thought us worthy to partake of these His holy36763676     The Coptic, “these His holy and immortal mysteries, which are numbered in heaven.”   mysteries; and let us beseech Him that it may not be to us for condemnation, but for salvation, to the advantage of soul and body, to the preservation of piety, to the remission of sins, and to the life of the world to come. Let us arise, and by the grace of Christ let us dedicate ourselves to God, to the only unbegotten God, and to His Christ. And let the bishop give thanks:—  

The Form of Prayer After the Participation.

XV. O Lord God Almighty, the Father of Thy Christ, Thy blessed Son, who hearest those who call upon Thee with uprightness, who also knowest the supplications of those who are silent; we thank Thee that Thou hast thought us worthy to partake of Thy holy mysteries, which Thou hast bestowed upon us, for the entire confirmation of those things we have rightly known, for the preservation of piety, for the remission of our offences; for the name of thy Christ is called upon us, and we are joined To Thee. O Thou that hast separated us froth the communion of the ungodly, unite us with those that are consecrated to Thee in holiness; confirm us in the truth, by the assistance of Thy Holy Spirit; reveal to us what things we are ignorant of, supply what things we are defective in, confirm us in what things we already know, preserve the priests blameless in Thy worship; keep the kings in peace, and the rulers in righteousness, the air in a good temperature, the fruits in fertility, the world in an all-powerful providence; pacify the warring nations, convert those that are gone astray, sanctify Thy people, keep those that are in virginity, preserve those in the faith that are in marriage, strengthen those that are in purity, bring the infants to complete age, confirm the newly admitted; instruct the catechumens, and render them worthy of admission; and gather us all together into Thy kingdom of heaven, by Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom glory, honour, and worship be to Thee, in the Holy Ghost, for ever. Amen. And let the deacon say: Bow down to36773677     The Coptic has, “the Lord.”   God through His Christ, and receive the blessing. And let the bishop add this prayer, and say: O God Almighty, the true God, to whom nothing can be compared, who art everywhere, and present in all things, and art in nothing as one of the things themselves; who art not bounded by place, nor grown old by time; who art not terminated by ages, nor deceived by words; who art not subject to generation, and wantest no guardian; who art above all corruption, free from all change, and invariable by nature; “who inhabitest light inaccessible;”36783678     1 Tim. vi. 16.   who art by nature invisible, and yet art known to all reasonable natures who seek Thee with a good mind, and art comprehended by those that seek after Thee with a good mind; the God of Israel, Thy people which truly see, and which have believed in Christ: Be gracious to me, and hear me, for Thy name’s sake, and bless those that bow down their necks unto Thee, and grant them the petitions of their hearts, which are for their good, and do not reject any one of them from Thy kingdom; but sanctify, guard, cover, and assist them; deliver them from the adversary and every enemy; keep their houses, and guard “their comings in and their goings out.”36793679     Ps. cxxi. 8.   For to Thee belongs the glory, praise, majesty, worship, and adoration, and to Thy Son Jesus, Thy Christ, our Lord and God and King, and to the Holy Ghost, now and always, for ever and ever. Amen. And36803680     The Coptic adds: “And let the presbyters and deacons watch the few fragments that are left, that they may perceive that there is nothing superfluous; lest they fall into the great judgment, like the sons of Aaron and Eli, whom the Holy Spirit destroyed, because they did not refrain from despising the sacrifice of the Lord: how much more those who despise the body and blood of the Lord, thinking that to be merely material food which they receive, and not spiritual!”   the deacon shall say, Depart in peace.36813681     The Coptic inserts, “when they have been blessed.”   These constitutions concerning this mystical worship, we, the apostles, do ordain for you, the bishops, presbyters, and deacons.  


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