Early Church: from Ignatius to Augustine - George Hodges
When seek for the beginning of definite and settled organization in the Christian church we find it not in the first or second century, but in the third, and not in the East, but in the West.
The idea of a permanent ordering of the administration and of the worship of the Christians was excluded from the minds of the early disciples by their expectation of the speedy return or Christ. It did not occur to them to lay abiding foundations in a world which might at any moment pass away. It was necessary, indeed, to provide for local and temporary emergencies. Thus the apostles directed the selection of seven men to care for neglected widows in Jerusalem, and Paul ordained elders to hold the converts together in the cities which he visited in his missionary journeys. Such titles appear as bishops, priests, and deacons, pastors, prophets, teachers, and evangelists. But the records give the impression of informality, and of a tentative adjustment to meet immediate needs.
Ignatius, it is true, urges obedience to bishops, but what he has in mind seems to be a loyalty to the local minister in the face of divisive individualism. Irenęus, indeed, attaches much importance to bishops, but chiefly as persons to whim inquirers or doubters may be referred for information as to the faith. It is a curious story which is told of the way in which Demetrius, bishop of Alexandria in the time of Origen, came to his position. From time immemorial the pastors of the twelve city parishes had elected a bishop. But Bishop Julian, on his deathbed, had vision of a man who should be his successor, coming to him with a present of grapes; and as he waked there came out of the country, bringing grapes, the peasant Demetrius, with his wife. He was accordingly made bishop without consulting the college of presbyters, and proved to be a masterful one, as Origen discovered to his cost.
Thus we proceed, down the line of saints and confessors, till we come, in the middle of the third century, to Cyprian. He was the father of ecclesiastics as Origen was the father of theologians.
Cyprian had the spirit of the West, where men were interested in practical suggestion of administration. He had been a lawyer before he became a bishop. The eminent men of the church in the East were successors of the Greek philosophers. Justin, as we have seen, wore his philosopher's cloak to the day of his martyrdom. Irenęus and Clement and Origen taught a Christian philosophy. These men and their disciples delighted in the study of theological problems. The Nicene Creed was framed in the East. There were theologians in the West, but they cared more for tradition than they did for speculation. But the eminent men of the West were successors of the Latin statesmen. Their gift was for order and rule. They hated confusion. They prized efficiency. Accordingly, while their brethren in the East were discussing and establishing the formulation of Christian thought in the creed, these men were discussing and establishing the organization of Christian life in the church.
The progress of this ecclesiastical organization appears in a series of protests. It was vigorously opposed by the Montanists, by the Novatians, and by the Donatists.
The Montanists first appeared in Phrygia in the middle of the second century when Montanus began to proclaim the nearness of the Second Coming of Christ, and to summon Christians to prepare for it by a return to primitive simplicity and severity of life. Montanus was a prophet.
In the list of ministerial officers which St. Paul gives in the First Epistle to the Corinthians (XII, 28) the prophets are the second order: "first apostles, secondarily prophets." They are mentioned in the Te Deum where the "goodly fellowship of the Prophets" follows the "glorious company of the Apostles"; and it is to the Christian teachers rather than to men of the Old Testament that reference is made in the phrase, "who hast built Thy Church upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets," They rose up, like the Old Testament prophets, at the direct call of God, having no official appointment. They asked no permission of any man. What they spoke was by inspiration from on high. Wandering from place to place, speaking unbidden in the Christian assemblies to which they came, they represented all that was free and spontaneous and informal in primitive Christianity. They expressed themselves frankly and without mitigation regarding whatever they found amiss.
Montanus and his followers found things seriously amiss in two respects.
They perceived the beginning of secularism. There were Christians who were in the church because they had been brought up in it; and others who had come because their friends or relatives were in it. Upon these Christians the burden of the rigorous life of the gospel lay rather lightly. Moreover, as the first novelty of the Christian movement passed, the distinction, at first so sharp, between the church and the world grew gradually obscure. Many of the Christians were content to have it so. They were adjusting themselves to their environment. They perceived that it was prudent to make some reasonable compromise, and to concede to common custom some matters about which it seemed hardly necessary to contend.
For example, the emperor Severus gave a donative to the army; every man received a piece of money. On this occasion, the soldiers in Africa adorned their heads with wreaths. One Christian soldier refused to wear a wreath. The incident was excitedly discussed; the soldier, meanwhile, being degraded from the ranks and put in prison. Most of the Christians condemned the soldier. The Montanists praised him.
At the same time, while excellent reasons might be shown for a sensible secularism, it was plain that the main contention of the Montanists was right. There was a relaxing of discipline, a lowering of Christian standards of conduct, an increasing concession to the world. Against all this the Montanists protested. Montanus, speaking by the Holy Ghost, called his brethren to fasting, to strictness, even to martyrdom. Looking for the great and dreadful day of the Lord; he tried to purify the church.
The Montanists perceived the beginning not only of secularism, but of formalism. Emphasis was being put on order, and authority, and regularity. A difference was being made between the clergy and the laity. There were made now appointed persons to whom were given all the old rights of free speech and free prayer. Other people were expected to keep silence. The behavior of the congregation of Corinth, where, as St. Paul said, when they came together every one had a psalm, a doctrine, a tongue, or an interpretation, was now regarded as scandalous. To the Montanists, it was the ideal of Christina conduct. They felt that any restraint of it was a restraint of the Holy Spirit. They were the Quakers of the early church. The Montanists declined to be bound by the disciplinary regulations. They defied the new distinction between the presbyter and the people. They so insisted on their right to speak in meeting, and so exercised that right in season and out of season, that the whole ministry of preaching came under suspicion. Over against the growing system of canons and rubrics, they opposed the primitive simplicity of apostolic religion.
The most distinguished Western Montanist was Tertullian. He was born and brought up in Carthage, the son of a centurion. These two facts affected his whole life.
In Carthage, the life of the senses was encouraged under the patronage of pagan religion. Tertullian was nurtured in it, harmed by it, and converted out of it, and thereafter he hated it with the vigorous hatred of reaction. He had been a sinner. He knew by hard experience what the world was. He saw it everyday, cruel and foul dominated by the devil. The Monatanist teaching appealed, therefore, to his whole soul: the church must have no commerce with the world.
As the son of a soldier, Tertullian was a fighter. His whole life, after his conversion, was continuous controversy. He fought that pagan world which the Christians fathers of Alexandria regarded so kindly. He denounced its sins, he scorned its religion, he had no use even for his philosophy. What, he said, has the Church to do with the Academy? What kinship is there between Christ and Plato? It was Tertullian who first clearly sounded the note of the unhappy antagonism between the church and the learning of the world. He set faith over against reason, and cried, "It is certain because it is impossible!"
Tertullian fought the church also. He was the enemy of all worldly Christians, whom he desired to see put out of the church and kept out. He was the Hammer of Heretics. He wrote five books "Against Marcion." Pontus, he says a the beginning of this discussion, is inhabited by the fiercest nations, who have no fixed abode, and no morals. The dead bodies of their parents they cut up with their sheep, and devour at their feasts. Their women prefer was to marriage. The sky of Pontus is always cloudy, and the wind always from the north; all the rivers are blocked with ice. Nothing, however, in Pontus is so barbarous and sad as the fact that Marcion was born there.
Finally, Tertullian turned this zeal for invective against the ecclesiastical authorities, whom he rebuked for their conventionalism, for their indifference, and for the manner in which they magnified their office. "Are not we laymen priests also?" he cried. Thus he separated himself from the bishops and became identified with Montanism; which, refused and expelled, had now become a society outside the church.
The Novatians came into existence by reason of the controversy which arose after the Decian persecutions. When the distresses were over, and the church resumed its normal life, there appeared great numbers of lapsed brethren. Some who had not actually burned incense on pagan altars had purchased certificates from the magistrates stating that they had done so; others who had burned incense and then repented had papers signed by martyrs in prison stating that they had been absolved, or ugh tot be absolved. The whole church was in confusion.
Under the circumstances, churchmen took two sides. Some were temperamentally or doctrinally of a liberal spirit, and were in favor of treating the lapsed gently. The absolution of the martyrs was indeed to be set aside as subversive of all discipline, but the lapsed, after proper penance and probation were to be restored to the community of the church. Others, who were doctrinally or temperamentally austere, were disposed to deal with the lapsed severely. They denied the right of absolution not only to the martyrs, but to the bishops. Sin after baptism, they said, has no forgiveness in this world.
The severe party took its name from Novatian, who having failed of election to the bishopric of Rome was thereupon elected to that office by his friends. Thus the Novatians became a sect. The most eminent opponent of the Novatians was Cyprian.
Cyprian had been the most eloquent orator in Carthage, at a time when oratory was greatly esteemed. A man of wealth and position, he had given up his prospects, and even his property, to become a Christian. He had entered the ministry, and shortly after, when the bishop died, the Christian people by popular acclaim had called him to be bishop. When the Decian persecution began, Cyprian had retired into the country, deeming it more important for the church that its leaders should continue to lead than that they should give their lives in martyrdom. That this flight was in fact dictated rather by prudence than by fear, he proved when the persecution was renewed by Valerian. He met the Roman officers with all confidence, proclaimed himself a Christian and a bishop, and was beheaded.
To an administrative mind like that of Cyprian the Novatian protest presented two questions: as to the right of the church to absolve, and as to the right of the churchmen to secede.
The question as to the right of the church to absolve he answered in the affirmative. Against those who held that the church is a society of saints, out of which all offenders must be permanently expelled, he held that the church is properly composed of those who are striving, however unsuccessfully, after perfection, and that the purpose of the Christian fraternity is to assist such striving persons. The church, he said, may determine its own conditions of membership, and may administer discipline according to its own discretion. The church, following Christ's commission, may forgive sins. That this position represented the general mind of Christendom is witnessed by the phrase "the forgiveness of sins," as it stood thereafter in the ancient creeds. It follows "the holy Catholic Church," the "one Catholic and Apostolic Church," and is the expression of one of its functions. It declares that the forgiveness of sins is to be sought in the church, and that the church is holy in spite of the presence of sinners. At the same time the effect was to emphasize the nature of the church as a society held together by the bonds of organization, and including saints and sinners, as opposed to the idea of a church invisible and spiritual, a company of faithful people, to which they belonged, and they only, who were unfailingly loyal to Jesus Christ.
The question as to the right of churchmen to secede, Cyprian answered in the negative. The Novatians had separated themselves from the general society. Declining to obey bishops regularly appointed, and electing rival bishops, they had their own complete independent organization, their own buildings, ministry and sacraments. To the Latin mind, accustomed to the order of the empire, this was a state of things which must not be permitted to continue. Indeed, it was plain to all reflective persons that a divided Christendom, broken into fragments, disagreeing and competing, church against church, could not maintain itself against the hostile world. It was a practical matter. The doctrine which was essentially involved in it was no more ecclesiastical, or even religious, than the doctrine involved in the American Civil War. It was a matter of policy: Shall we be nation, or shall we be a federation of states, form which any state may withdraw at will? Shall we be a church, or shall we be a federation of churches, from which any company of persons, on the ground of disagreement regarding faith or discipline, may quietly secede?
The question arose in the case of Novatians and other separated persons who had been baptized by the ministers of their sect, and now desired to become members of the historic church: ought they to be rebaptized? Cyprian took the extreme position. He would recognize no validity whatever in the acts of the seceded churches. In this he was not supported by the general opinion. It was commonly felt that, however great the evil of secession, the wise policy of centralization was pushed too far when it thus discredited the ministry of men whose chief fault was that they were more intent than their neighbors upon the purity of the church. It was agreed against Cyprian that the returning Novatians need not be baptized again.
But a book which Cyprian wrote on the general subject, the "Unity of the Catholic Church," made a profound and lasting impression. This book is related to the ecclesiastical progress of the early church as the Nicene Creed is related to its theological progress. Out of long confusion and experiment, and in the midst of conditions which were compelling a definition of the church, Cyprian made a clear statement. It did not appear to him a novel statement, though it had no warrant in the New Testament; neither did it seem original to his contemporaries, for they had been gradually coming to a like conclusion. Nevertheless, it introduced into Christian history a proposition as new and as radical as that which was afterwards presented on the other side by Luther. Luther declared that all men are in need of the grace of God, without which they cannot be saved, and that this grace comes straight from God, without the mediation of any priest or rite, into the heart of the individual. That doctrine began the Reformation and the era in which we live, wherein the unit is the individual. Cyprian declared that all men are in need of the grace of God, without which they cannot be saved, and that this grace is to be had only in the church, into which it comes by the medium of the bishop, who derives it from the apostles.
Ignatius had exalted the bishop as the head of the Christian community, who is to be obeyed as the soldiers obey their captain. Irenęus had exalted him as the arbiter in disputes about the faith, having received the tradition of the fathers. Cyprian brought at last to the episcopal office the sanction of divine right. Surrounded as the Christians were by universal paganism, they breathed in out of the air the idea of the bishop as a sacrificing priest, and the idea of God as limiting His benediction to the faithful. These ideas Cyprian clearly enunciated. To him the Novatians and other separatists were like men swimming in the rising waters of the flood: their only sure salvation was to get aboard the ark, the church.
A third protest which marks the further progress of ecclesiastical organization was made by the Donatists. They came into being in consequence of the persecution under Diocletian, as the Novatians had come into being in consequence of the persecution under Decius. The Diocletian persecution had been directed mainly against the clergy, who were required to surrender the church books. When peace was restored, the ecclesiastical standing of the clergy who had made this surrender was called in question. Had the traditor, by the fact of his treachery, forfeited his orders? The Novatians had insisted that no libellatic, who had procured a paper certifying that he had offered incense, could be restored to the means of grace: he had committed a sin beyond forgiveness. Now the Donatists insisted that no traditor, no clergyman who had give up the sacred books, could validly administer the means of grace.
As in the case of the Montanists and Novatians the debate centred in Carthage. Cęcilian the archdeacon had been elected and duly consecrated bishop of that city. But he had enemies. Two of them were trustees of the funds of the diocese, whom Cęcilian had discovered to be dishonest. One was the lady Lucilla whom Cęcilian had rebuked for her habit of bringing to church a bone of a martyr and kissing it before receiving the bread and wine. Another was Donatus, the bishop of a neighboring diocese. Thus, as in the case of the Novatians, personal animosities confused discussion. Donatus and his friends declared that Cęcilian had been consecrated by a traditor, and that his consecrated by a traditor, and that his consecration was no consecration, and they proceeded to put a rival bishop in his place.
Whatever were the rights and wrongs of the matter, the Donatists stood for the purity of the church. They insisted that the supreme quality of the minister is derived not from his office, but from his character. They did not demand an impossible perfection, but they held that certain sins, of which apostasy was one, destroyed the reality of the ministry. They maintained that the sacraments administered by bad men are invalid. An unholy ministry, they said, cannot communicate to men the grace of God. Their baptism is no baptism; their eucharist is no eucharist.
Against this position the church in general maintained that such a theory made all the sacraments uncertain. Nobody could tell whether at the moment of administration the bishop or presbyter or deacon was good enough, or not. The church held that the grace of God is independent of the minister.
The Donatists appealed to Constantine shortly after his conversion, and he appointed a committee of bishops to hear their case. The decision was adverse to the plaintiffs, and they appealed again, and Constantine called a conference at Arles (314), interesting to us as having been attended by three British bishops. This council confirmed the decision against the Donatists. Thereupon they rebelled not only against the church, but against the state. They attracted to themselves those who were fanatical in their religion and revolutionary in their politics. A socialistic strain was added to their heresy and schism. Vagrants and brigands came to their assistance, bringing clubs with which they defaced the churches and attacked the persons of the orthodox. The church and the state replied with corresponding violence. At last, the original grievance was forgotten in the host of new ones.
Meanwhile, the answers which were given to these various Protestants—Monatist, Novatian, and Donatist—had determined the organization of the church. Against the protest of the Novatians, a line had been drawn between the church and all separated Christian communities, who were denied the right of succession, and were informed that if they seceded they were cut off form the means of grace. Against the protest of the Donatists, a line was drawn between the old idea of a personal ministry whose efficiency depended on character and the new idea of an official ministry whose efficiency depended on proper appointment.
At the same time it is plain that in the middle of the third century, in the time of Cyprian, the ministers were bishops, priest and deacons. Any congregational or Presbyterian experiments which may have been tried and failed. The primacy of the bishops of Rome was only beginning to appear. There was a pope in Carthage and a pope in Alexandria as well as a pope in Rome. These prelates already interfered with the primitive equality and independence of the bishops. But none of them controlled the general church.
While the church in the West was thus determining the order and function of the ministry, the church in the East was developing and enriching the forms of worship. The earliest liturgies are in Greek; in which language St. Paul wrote to the church in Rome, and St. Clement of Rome wrote from that city to the church in Corinth. The church in Italy was a Greek mission. When Latin liturgies begin to appear, they are translations, with some changes, from the Greek.
A description of a church building in the tenth book of the "Ecclesiastical History" of Eusebius, and a complete service of the administration of the Holy Communion in the eighth book of the "Apostolic Constitutions," enable us to transport ourselves in imagination into the early years of the fourth century and to take part in the prayers and praises of our brethren of that day.
The Diocletian persecution, beginning with the demolition of the great church of Nicomedia and addressing itself to the general destruction of church buildings, was followed by a period of architectural restoration. Thus at Tyre, in 315, Bishop Paulinus built a new and splendid church on the site which had been strewn with the ruins of the old. On the occasion of the consecration of this church, Bishop Eusebius of Cęsarea preached the sermon, and afterwards published it in his history. In the course of the sermon he so referred to various parts of the church as to direct not only the eyes of the congregation, but even the minds of remote readers to the general look of things.
Tyre, in 315, is still a pagan city. The Christian congregation going to service pass pagan temples, and recognized pagan neighbors who took an enthusiastic part in pulling down the old church and would be glad to visit the same zeal upon the new. All the adult Christians know by bitter experience the meaning of persecution. The first sight which we get of the church shows the high wall which stands about it, facing the street. This is a barrier of stone a hundred and twenty-nine feet in breadth, and two hundred and twenty-two in length. It is lofty enough to afford seclusion, and stout enough to serve for defence in case of another pagan assault. Passing through a great gate, made splendid to attract the eyes of strangers to the faith, we enter a large quadrangle, open to the sky, having pillared porticoes on the four sides, and in the midst a fountain of water. Here we wash our hands before proceeding into the church, symbolizing the importance of a pure heart. In the latticed porches are people who are under penance. They are suffering the worst punishment known at that day to Christian men, being forbidden to go to church. They stand there in the vestibule, asking our prayers.
The church has three doors, a greater in the midst, a lesser on each side. The middle door is adorned with plates of brass. The side doors lead into the side aisles between the outer walls and pillars which uphold the roof. The pillars are of rose-colored granite, the ceiling is of cedar; between the pillars and the walls are galleries. Entering by the middle door, we stand in an inner vestibule, parted by a low barrier from the nave. Here are strangers, who have come from curiosity to see the church or hear the sermon; and catechumens who are preparing for baptism and confirmation; and persons of disordered minds, "entangled by contrary qualities," to whom the church extends a certain perplexed hospitality. Young deacons and deaconesses in white gowns are moving about to see that all the men and women are in order. In the midst of the nave is a platform for readers and singers. The floor is of marble. Texts of Scripture, and portraits of the emperor or of the bishop are painted on the walls.
The chancel is parted from the nave by a screen of carved and latticed wood, and has a curtain hanging at the door, ready to be drawn in the more solemn moments of the service. Beyond the screen is the altar, standing in the middle of the apse. It is a table of wood covered with rich tapestry, having as yet no cross upon it, but adorned with gold and silver cups and bowls and lighted with silver lamps. Behind the altar is the high seat of the bishop, with seats on either side for the clergy. To the right of the chancel is a room for the preparation of the bread and wine; to the left is a room for the clergy.
After the record of the words of institution, as utter by our Lord at the Last Supper, in the First Epistle to the Corinthians and in the Synoptic Gospels, the earliest of our liturgy sentences appear in the Canons of Hippolytus, early in the third century. The third canon gives these versicles and responses:—
Let the bishop say: The Lord be with you all.
Let the people reply: And with thy spirit.
Let him say: Lift up your hearts.
Answer: We lift them up unto the Lord.
Bishop: Let us give thanks unto the Lord.
Answer: It is meet and right so to do.
The nineteenth canon gives the words of distribution:—
Let the deacon bring the oblation to the bishop. And he shall give thanks over a loaf, because it is the symbol of the flesh of Christ, and over a chalice of wine because it is the blood of Christ which was outpoured for all that believe in him, and over milk and honey mixed, for the fulfilling of the promise unto the fathers: for he hath said, "I will give unto you a land flowing with milk and honey." And when the bishop has now broken the bread, let him give a fragment to every one of them, saying, "This is the bread of heaven, the body of Jesus Christ." Let him also that receives say, "Amen." And if there be not a presbyter present, let the deacons take the chalice and stand in fair order, and give them the blood of Jesus Christ our Lord, and the milk and honey. And let him that giveth the chalice say, "This is the blood of Jesus Christ our Lord." Let him also that receives again say, "Amen."
In the middle of the fourth century, the Catechetical Lectures of Cyril of Jerusalem and the Sacramentary of Serapion describe the order of the eucharistic service and give the words of some of the prayers.
Cyril instructs his confirmation class in the order and meaning of the Holy Communion. The deacon, he says, gives the priest water to wash his hands; the men of the congregation greet the men, and the women greet the women, with the kiss of peace. Then the priest cries aloud, "Lift up your hearts," and you answer, "We lift them up unto the Lord." The priest says, "It is meet and right." A long thanksgiving follows, culminating in the ascription, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Sabaoth." No mention is made of the words of institution; perhaps kept secret till the catechumen is actually admitted to the Sacrament. But there is a prayer for the descent of the Holy Spirit that he may make the bread the body of Christ, and the wine the blood of Christ. Prayers are made for the living and for the dead, ending with the Lord's Prayer. Then the priest cries, "Holy things to holy persons," and you say, "One is holy, one is the Lord, even Jesus Christ." Cyril tells them to receive the bread, "making the left hand a throne for the right." The service ends with renewed prayer and thanksgiving.
Serapion begins with, "It is meet and right," and gives the actual words of the service as he said it, in the middle of the fourth century in his diocese in the Delta of the Nile. A long thanksgiving rises to the "Holy, holy, holy, Lord of Sabaoth, full is heaven and the earth of thy glory." The words of institution are recited. "The Lord Jesus Christ, in the night in which He was betrayed, took bread, and brake and gave to His disciples, saying, Take and eat; this is my body which is being broken for you. Wherefore we also making the likeness of the death have offered the bread, and we beseech thee through this sacrifice be reconciled to all of us, and be merciful, O God of truth. And as this bread had been scattered on the top of the mountains and, gathered thy holy church out of every nation and every country and city and village and house, and make one living Catholic Church." Similarly, the wine is offered. An invocation of the Holy Spirit follows, then intercessions. Then the people receive the bread and wine.
To the same period belongs the liturgy named from St. Clement of Rome in the Apostolic Constitutions. The name is of no historic significance, and the attributing of the whole through Clement to the apostles is only a literary advice; the value of the account for us is that it preserves not only the order but the words of the service of the fourth century. Harnack's date for the Apostolic Constitution is about 340, but the liturgy here contained is neither original nor novel. It is fair conjecture that after this manner the service was said in that church in Tyre which the sermon of Eusebius enables us to visit.
Passing, then, into the nave, and joining the company of the faithful who are there assembled, the men on one side and the women on the other, we hear the reader beginning the service from the high platform in the midst. He reads two lessons from the Old Testament; then a single voice sings several psalms, the people joining "at the conclusion of the verses"; then is read a passage from an epistle, and then a passage from a gospel. And while the gospel is read all the clergy and people "stand up in great silence." Sermons follow, "Let the presbyters one by one, not all together, exhort the people, and the bishop is the last place, as being the commander." The preacher stands on the raised platform, or on the chancel step. The deacons move about and "oversee the people, that nobody may whisper, nor slumber, nor laugh, nor nod." Then the inner vestibule is cleared. First the hearers, strangers, unbelievers, are dismissed; then the catechumens, then the energumens—the crazy people—then the penitents go out, each group dismissed in order after prayer and blessing. Only the faithful, the communicants, remain; among them the children who are assembled at the reading desk under the care of a deacon.
The service begins again with a long prayer for Christ's Church militant. The kiss of peace is given. The officiating priests wash their hands. The deacons bring the bread and wine to the Lord's table. Two of them, on each side of the altar, having fans of peacock feathers, drive away the flies. The celebrant puts on a shining garment. Then standing at the altar, and making the sign of the cross, he says, "The grace of Almighty God, and the love of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with you all." We reply, "And with thy spirit." "Lift up your mind." "We lift up unto the Lord." "Let us give thanks to the Lord." "It is meet and right so to do." "It is very meet and right," the priest repeats, "to sing praise unto thee." And praises follow, at great length, for all the blessings of creation, until the worshippers join their voices with the angels and archangels, crying, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts, heaven and earth are full of His glory. Blessed be thou forever. Amen."
Again the praises are renewed for all the blessings of salvation, coming presently to the night when He who was betrayed took bread, and brake it, and poured the wine and gave it to His disciples. . Long intercessions follow, till the bishop cries, "Holy things to holy persons," and the people answer, "There is one that is holy, there is one Lord, one Jesus Christ, blessed forever to the glory of God the Father. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will toward men. Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed be He that cometh in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest!"
Then the clergy partake of the bread and wine and afterward the people in order; the ministrant saying, "The body of Christ," "The blood of Christ, the cup of life," to which we reply, "Amen." There is a prayer of dedication, and a prayer of benediction; after which the deacon cries, "Depart in peace."