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Words of Institution

Words of Institution

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The Words of Institution (also called the Words of Consecration) are words echoing those of Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 himself at his Last Supper
Last Supper
The Last Supper is the final meal that, according to Christian belief, Jesus shared with his Twelve Apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion. The Last Supper provides the scriptural basis for the Eucharist, also known as "communion" or "the Lord's Supper".The First Epistle to the Corinthians is...

 that, when consecrating bread and wine, Christian Eucharist
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

ic liturgies
Liturgy
Liturgy is either the customary public worship done by a specific religious group, according to its particular traditions or a more precise term that distinguishes between those religious groups who believe their ritual requires the "people" to do the "work" of responding to the priest, and those...

 include in a narrative of that event. Eucharistic scholars sometimes refer to them simply as the verba (Latin for "words").

Almost all existing ancient Christian Churches (such as the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, and the Coptic, Mar Thoma and other churches of Oriental Orthodoxy
Oriental Orthodoxy
Oriental Orthodoxy is the faith of those Eastern Christian Churches that recognize only three ecumenical councils — the First Council of Nicaea, the First Council of Constantinople and the First Council of Ephesus. They rejected the dogmatic definitions of the Council of Chalcedon...

) explicitly include the Words of Institution in their Eucharistic celebrations, and consider them necessary for the validity of the sacrament (as well as a valid sacramental priesthood
Apostolic Succession
Apostolic succession is a doctrine, held by some Christian denominations, which asserts that the chosen successors of the Twelve Apostles, from the first century to the present day, have inherited the spiritual, ecclesiastical and sacramental authority, power, and responsibility that were...

). The Holy Qurbana of Addai and Mari
Holy Qurbana of Addai and Mari
The Holy Qurbana of Addai and Mari belongs to the East Syrian liturgical family and is in regular use in the Assyrian Church of the East, the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church and the Chaldean Catholic Church. Saint Addai and Saint Mari are credited with having written it...

 is the only ancient Mass ritual still in use that does not explicitly contain Words of Institution. This Anaphora
Anaphora (liturgy)
The Anaphora is the most solemn part of the Divine liturgy, Mass, or other Christian Communion rite where the offerings of bread and wine are consecrated as the body and blood of Christ. This is the usual name for this part of the Liturgy in Eastern Christianity, but it is more often called the...

 is used for part of the year by the Assyrian Church of the East
Assyrian Church of the East
The Assyrian Church of the East, officially the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East ʻIttā Qaddishtā w-Shlikhāitā Qattoliqi d-Madnĕkhā d-Āturāyē), is a Syriac Church historically centered in Mesopotamia. It is one of the churches that claim continuity with the historical...

 and (often in adapted form) by the Chaldean Catholic Church
Chaldean Catholic Church
The Chaldean Catholic Church , is an Eastern Syriac particular church of the Catholic Church, maintaining full communion with the Bishop of Rome and the rest of the Catholic Church...

 (which is one of the Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church), and (with the Words of Institution added) by the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church
Syro-Malabar Catholic Church
The Syro-Malabar Catholic Church in India is an East Syrian Rite, Major Archiepiscopal Church in full communion with the Catholic Church. It is one of the 22 sui iuris Eastern Catholic Churches in the Catholic Church. It is the largest of the Saint Thomas Christian denominations with more than 3.6...

 (another of the Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church). The Catholic Church has explicitly recognized the validity of this Mass ritual in its original form, without explicit mention of the Words of Institution, saying that "the words of Eucharistic Institution are indeed present in the Anaphora of Addai and Mari, not in a coherent narrative way and ad litteram, but rather in a dispersed euchological way, that is, integrated in successive prayers of thanksgiving, praise and intercession."

No formula of Words of Institution in any liturgy is claimed to be an exact reproduction of words that Jesus used, presumably in the Aramaic language
Aramaic language
Aramaic is a group of languages belonging to the Afroasiatic language phylum. The name of the language is based on the name of Aram, an ancient region in central Syria. Within this family, Aramaic belongs to the Semitic family, and more specifically, is a part of the Northwest Semitic subfamily,...

, at his Last Supper. The formulas generally combine words from the Gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke and the Pauline
Paul of Tarsus
Paul the Apostle , also known as Saul of Tarsus, is described in the Christian New Testament as one of the most influential early Christian missionaries, with the writings ascribed to him by the church forming a considerable portion of the New Testament...

 account in . They may even insert other words, such as the phrase "Mysterium fidei
Mysterium fidei (Latin phrase)
Mysterium Fidei, a Latin phrase meaning mystery of faith or mystery of the faith, is a Christian theological term for an article of faith or doctrine which defies man’s ability to grasp fully...

" which for many centuries was found within the Roman Rite
Roman Rite
The Roman Rite is the liturgical rite used in the Diocese of Rome in the Catholic Church. It is by far the most widespread of the Latin liturgical rites used within the Western or Latin autonomous particular Church, the particular Church that itself is also called the Latin Rite, and that is one of...

 Words of Institution, until removed in 1970.

Roman Rite of the Catholic Church


The Words of Institution of the Roman Rite
Roman Rite
The Roman Rite is the liturgical rite used in the Diocese of Rome in the Catholic Church. It is by far the most widespread of the Latin liturgical rites used within the Western or Latin autonomous particular Church, the particular Church that itself is also called the Latin Rite, and that is one of...

 Mass
Mass (liturgy)
"Mass" is one of the names by which the sacrament of the Eucharist is called in the Roman Catholic Church: others are "Eucharist", the "Lord's Supper", the "Breaking of Bread", the "Eucharistic assembly ", the "memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection", the "Holy Sacrifice", the "Holy and...

 are here presented in the new 2011 English translation of the Roman Missal
Roman Missal
The Roman Missal is the liturgical book that contains the texts and rubrics for the celebration of the Mass in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.-Situation before the Council of Trent:...

 in the form given in the following italicized text. The distinction here made by bolding is not found in the Missal.
Take this, all of you, and eat of it:
for this is my body which will be given up for you.

Take this, all of you, and drink from it:
for this is the chalice of my blood,
the blood of the new and eternal covenant.
which will be poured out for you and for many
for the forgiveness of sins .
Do this in memory of me.


From the time of Peter Lombard
Peter Lombard
Peter Lombard was a scholastic theologian and bishop and author of Four Books of Sentences, which became the standard textbook of theology, for which he is also known as Magister Sententiarum-Biography:Peter Lombard was born in Lumellogno , in...

 on, the prevailing theology of the Catholic Church  considered the eight words in bold above to be on their own the necessary and sufficient "sacramental form" of the Eucharist
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

. Pope Benedict XII
Pope Benedict XII
Pope Benedict XII , born Jacques Fournier, the third of the Avignon Popes, was Pope from 1334 to 1342.-Early life:...

's Decree for the Armenians, issued after the Council of Florence
Council of Florence
The Council of Florence was an Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church. It began in 1431 in Basel, Switzerland, and became known as the Council of Ferrara after its transfer to Ferrara was decreed by Pope Eugene IV, to convene in 1438...

, declared: "The words of the Savior, by which He instituted this sacrament, are the form of this sacrament; for the priest speaking in the person of Christ effects this sacrament. For by the power of the very words the substance of the bread is changed into the body of Christ, and the substance of the wine into the blood". The Decree did not limit the words to the eight in bold, but was popularly taken to mean that, on their own, they are all that is needed for effecting the sacrament. The Decree also declared that the matter of ordination was the giving to the ordinand of objects connected with their ministry, an idea now discarded and even then contradicted by the Catholic Church's recognition of the validity of ordinations in Churches that had no such ceremony in their rite of ordination.

The theological opinion about the necessity and sufficiency of pronouncing certain parts of the Words of Institution (the eight words bolded in the English translation given above) is not included in, for instance, the Catechism of the Catholic Church
Catechism of the Catholic Church
The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the official text of the teachings of the Catholic Church. A provisional, "reference text" was issued by Pope John Paul II on October 11, 1992 — "the thirtieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council" — with his apostolic...

, published in definitive form in 1997. On 17 January 2001 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith , previously known as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition , and after 1904 called the Supreme...

 declared that the Holy Qurbana of Addai and Mari, a probably second-century anaphora in which the Words of Institution are not spoken, "can be considered valid." The Guidelines for Admission to the Eucharist between the Chaldean Church and the Assyrian Church of the East issued by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity origins are associated with the Second Vatican Council which met intermittently from 1962–1965.Pope John XXIII wanted the Catholic Church to engage in the contemporary ecumenical movement...

 in agreement with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Congregation for the Oriental Churches
Congregation for the Oriental Churches
The Congregation for the Oriental Churches is the dicastery of the Roman Curia responsible for contact with the Eastern Catholic Churches for the sake of assisting their development, protecting their rights and also maintaining whole and entire in the one Catholic Church, alongside the liturgical,...

 on 20 July 2001 say that "the words of the institution of the Eucharist are in fact present in the anaphora of Addai and Mari, not in the form of a coherent narration and in a literal way but in a euchological and disseminated manner, that is to say they are integrated in the prayers of thanksgiving, praise and intercession which follow." These prayers in fact speaks of "the commemoration of the Body and Blood of your Christ, which we offer to you on the pure and holy altar, as you have taught us in his life-giving Gospel."

It has therefore been argued that it is the prayer as a whole, not some isolated words within it, that is efficacious in the sacrament, and that the Words of Institution that Jesus himself spoke at his Last Supper
Last Supper
The Last Supper is the final meal that, according to Christian belief, Jesus shared with his Twelve Apostles in Jerusalem before his crucifixion. The Last Supper provides the scriptural basis for the Eucharist, also known as "communion" or "the Lord's Supper".The First Epistle to the Corinthians is...

 are consecratory at every Eucharist, whether they are repeated or only implied, in accordance with the teaching of Saint John Chrysostom
John Chrysostom
John Chrysostom , Archbishop of Constantinople, was an important Early Church Father. He is known for his eloquence in preaching and public speaking, his denunciation of abuse of authority by both ecclesiastical and political leaders, the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, and his ascetic...

: "That saying, 'This is my body', once uttered, from that time to the present day, and even until Christ's coming, makes the sacrifice complete at every table
Altar
An altar is any structure upon which offerings such as sacrifices are made for religious purposes. Altars are usually found at shrines, and they can be located in temples, churches and other places of worship...

 in the churches."

While thus accepting as valid the Anaphora of Addai and Mari even when the Words of Institution are not explicitly spoken, the document of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity "warmly invites" an Assyrian minister celebrating the Eucharist when Chaldean Christians are particiipating to insert the Words of Institution in that circumstance, as permitted by the Assyrian Church itself.

Byzantine Christian Churches


In the Eastern Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 and Greek-Catholic Churches, the Words of Institution are the only portion of the Anaphora
Anaphora (liturgy)
The Anaphora is the most solemn part of the Divine liturgy, Mass, or other Christian Communion rite where the offerings of bread and wine are consecrated as the body and blood of Christ. This is the usual name for this part of the Liturgy in Eastern Christianity, but it is more often called the...

 that are spoken aloud by the priest.

The specific words spoken by the priest differ, depending upon which form of the Divine Liturgy
Divine Liturgy
Divine Liturgy is the common term for the Eucharistic service of the Byzantine tradition of Christian liturgy. As such, it is used in the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches. Armenian Christians, both of the Armenian Apostolic Church and of the Armenian Catholic Church, use the same term...

 is being celebrated:
  • Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom:


For the bread: "Take, eat: this is My Body, which is broken for you for the remission of sins."

For the wine: "Drink of it, all of you: this is My Blood of the New Testament, which is shed for you and for many, for the remission of sins."
  • Liturgy of St. Basil the Great:


For the bread: "He gave it to His holy disciples and apostles, saying: 'Take, eat: this is My Body, which is broken for you for the remission of sins.'"

For the wine: "He gave it to His holy disciples and apostles, saying: 'Drink of it, all of you: this is My Blood of the New Testament, which is shed for you and for many, for the remission of sins.'"

Orthodox Christians and some Eastern Catholic Churches do not interpret the Words of Institution to be the moment the "Holy Gifts" (bread and wine) are changed into the Body and Blood of Christ. In fact, they do not define a specific moment of change; however, they understand the process to be completed (perfected) at the Epiclesis
Epiclesis
The epiclesis is that part of the Anaphora by which the priest invokes the Holy Spirit upon the Eucharistic bread and wine in some Christian churches.In most Eastern Christian traditions, the Epiclesis comes after the Anamnesis The epiclesis (also spelled epiklesis; from "invocation" or...

 (the calling-down of the Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of the Hebrew Bible, but understood differently in the main Abrahamic religions.While the general concept of a "Spirit" that permeates the cosmos has been used in various religions Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of...

 upon the Gifts.

The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts
Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts
The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, informally Presanctified Liturgy, is an Eastern Christian liturgical service for the distribution of communion on the weekdays of Great Lent....

 does not contain the Words of Institution, since it is actually a Vespers
Vespers
Vespers is the evening prayer service in the Western Catholic, Eastern Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran liturgies of the canonical hours...

 service at which the faithful receive from the Reserved Mysteries
Reserved sacrament
During the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the second part of the Mass, the elements of bread and wine are considered, in some branches of Christian practice, to have been transubstantiated into the veritable Body and Blood of Jesus Christ...

 (Sacrament) which were Consecrated
Consecration
Consecration is the solemn dedication to a special purpose or service, usually religious. The word "consecration" literally means "to associate with the sacred". Persons, places, or things can be consecrated, and the term is used in various ways by different groups...

 the Sunday before (hence the name: "Pre-sanctified").

Protestant denominations


Protestant denominations generally, with the exception of the Anglican Communion
Anglican Communion
The Anglican Communion is an international association of national and regional Anglican churches in full communion with the Church of England and specifically with its principal primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury...

 and Lutheranism
Lutheranism
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

, rely exclusively on the words of St. Paul
Paul of Tarsus
Paul the Apostle , also known as Saul of Tarsus, is described in the Christian New Testament as one of the most influential early Christian missionaries, with the writings ascribed to him by the church forming a considerable portion of the New Testament...

 as recorded in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26. (ESV
English Standard Version
The English Standard Version is an English translation of the Christian Bible. It is a revision of the 1971 edition of the Revised Standard Version...

):
"For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread,
and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, 'This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.
In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes."


Protestantism
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 has typically utilized the words of institution as a central part of its Communion service, though precise traditions vary by denomination. The debate over the force and literalness of the words of institution underlies the arguments between consubstantiation
Consubstantiation
Consubstantiation is a theological doctrine that attempts to describe the nature of the Christian Eucharist in concrete metaphysical terms. It holds that during the sacrament, the fundamental "substance" of the body and blood of Christ are present alongside the substance of the bread and wine,...

 and transubstantiation
Transubstantiation
In Roman Catholic theology, transubstantiation means the change, in the Eucharist, of the substance of wheat bread and grape wine into the substance of the Body and Blood, respectively, of Jesus, while all that is accessible to the senses remains as before.The Eastern Orthodox...

. Most of the established churches in the Protestant tradition employ a mirroring of Paul's words surrounding the words of institution, while Congregationalist
Congregational church
Congregational churches are Protestant Christian churches practicing Congregationalist church governance, in which each congregation independently and autonomously runs its own affairs....

 and Baptist churches use the words themselves without the full citation of Paul's wording.

Current trends in Methodist thought would require both the verba and an epiclesis
Epiclesis
The epiclesis is that part of the Anaphora by which the priest invokes the Holy Spirit upon the Eucharistic bread and wine in some Christian churches.In most Eastern Christian traditions, the Epiclesis comes after the Anamnesis The epiclesis (also spelled epiklesis; from "invocation" or...

 for a Prayer of Thanksgiving, which bridges Western and Eastern thought.

Anglican Communion


The following version of the Words of Institution is found in the Book of Common Prayer
Book of Common Prayer
The Book of Common Prayer is the short title of a number of related prayer books used in the Anglican Communion, as well as by the Continuing Anglican, "Anglican realignment" and other Anglican churches. The original book, published in 1549 , in the reign of Edward VI, was a product of the English...

 and is used among those in the Anglican Communion
Anglican Communion
The Anglican Communion is an international association of national and regional Anglican churches in full communion with the Church of England and specifically with its principal primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury...

:

"For in the night in which he was betrayed, he took bread; and when he had given thanks, he brake it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, Take, eat, this is my Body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me. Likewise, after supper, he took the cup; and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, "Drink ye all of this; for this is my Blood of the New Testament, which is shed for you, and for many, for the remission of sins. Do this, as oft as ye shall drink it, in remembrance of me."

Lutheran churches


The Lutheran
Lutheranism
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

 liturgy differs from that of other Protestants by using a conflation of the four versions of the words of institution. Luther's Small Catechism
Luther's Small Catechism
Luther's Small Catechism was written by Martin Luther and published in 1529 for the training of children. Luther's Small Catechism reviews The Ten Commandments, The Apostles' Creed, The Lord's Prayer, The Sacrament of Holy Baptism, The Office of the Keys & Confession, and The Sacrament of the...

 shows this,
"Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night when he was betrayed, took the bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples and said, Take; eat; this is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me. In the same way he also took the cup after the supper, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them saying, Drink of it, all of you. This cup is the New Testament in my blood, shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."
By doing so, they include the phrase "My blood, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins..." This reflects Lutheran sacrament
Sacrament
A sacrament is a sacred rite recognized as of particular importance and significance. There are various views on the existence and meaning of such rites.-General definitions and terms:...

al theology in which the sacrament is a means of grace
Means of Grace
The Means of Grace in Christian theology are those things through which God gives grace. Just what this grace entails is interpreted in various ways: generally speaking, some see it as God blessing humankind so as to sustain and empower the Christian life; others see it as forgiveness, life, and...

and actively forgives sins.

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