(Consecratio, Sanctificatio). For the distinction between consecration andl benediction, SEE BENEDICTION. The general consideration of the doctrine of eucharistic consecration belongs to theology, and the question is considered here only in its relation to the liturgy.
1. The principal formulte of consecration are given under SEE CANON OF THE LITURGY. The lost noteworthy difference between the forms of consecration used in the Eastern and Western churches consists in this, that in the Eastern Church the Holy Spirit is invoked, after the recitation of the words of institution, to descend upon the elements, and make them the body and blood of Christ, SEE EPICLESIS; and this invocation is commonly thought to imply that consecration would be imperfect without it. In the Western Church the invocation of the Holy Spirit at this part of the liturgy is generally wanting, and the whole consecrating virtue is attributed by Western ritualists to the recitation of the words of institution, accompanied by the fitting gestures. It would seem from the Mozarabic liturgy, however, that such an invocation is an ancient rite which the Latin Church has lost, not an innovation of the Orientals (Neale, Eastern Church, introd. page 492 sq.).
2. In the Ordo Romanus, 3, c. 16, the following rubrical directions are given: "After the pope has communicated of the cup, which is held by the archdeacon, the latter pours a portion of the remaining wine into the larger chalice from which the people are to communicate; for wine not consecrated but mingled with the Lord's blood is completely sanctified." The reason of this custom probably was that in a very large congregation it was difficult to consecrate exactly the quantity of wine required. A small portion was, therefore, consecrated in the first instance, and amplified according to the number of communicants by pouring in fresh wine. The whole of the wine in the cup was held to be completely consecrated by mingling with that which had been originally consecrated. The same practice is enjoined in a number of other documents.
3. The placing of a particle of the consecrated bread in the chalice is sometimes called "consecration." SEE COMMISTIO.
4. On certain days it is an ancient custom not to consecrate the sacred elements. SEE PRESANCTIFIED, LITURGY OF.