Missa Praesanctificatorum

Missa Praesanctificatorum is the term applied to a eucharistic office, observed by the advocates of the doctrine of transubstantiation, and in which the great oblation is made and communion administered with elements consecrated at a previous celebration.

The 49th canon of Laodicea (q.v.), which dates from the 4th century, states that bread ought not to be offered during Lent, save on the Sabbath- day and Lord's day. The 52d canon of the council in Trullo, or Quinisext (A.D. 692), renewed this canon, and ordered the use of the rite of the presanctified every day in Lent except on Saturday, the Lord's-day, and the Feast of the Annunciation. The Greek Church has accepted these regulations, and closely followed them, excepting that the Liturgy of Basil is said on Maundy-Thursday and on Easter eve, instead of the presanctified mass (Neale, Hist. East. Ch. part 1 chapter 7 page 713). For the rite itself we refer to Goar, Euchologium; Neale, Hist. East. Ch.; and Renaudot, Liturg. Or. Collectio (ed. 1847). 1:76. We have room here only for its essentials, and in presenting these depend chiefly upon Neale, who says that, technically speaking, the office of the presanctified is merely an addition to the usual vespers.

In the prothesis of the Sunday preceding, when reservation is to be made, the priest, having as usual cut and stabbed the first loaf, cuts also the other loaves, saying for each, "In remembrance," etc., as in the usual office. Then he pours forth wine and water in the holy chalice. When he is about to sign the loaves, he speaks in the singular, "Make this bread," because Christ is one. He elevates all the loaves together, and breaks the first loaf of the oblations, and puts the portion in the holy cup, and pours in the warm water as usual. Then taking the holy spoon in his right hand, he dips it in the holy blood; and in the left hand he takes each loaf by turns, and holding the holy spoon that has been dipped in the holy blood, he moves it crosswise on the part where the cross has been made on the crumb, and puts it away in the artophorion. So with the other loaves of reservation. In the rite itself, after the prayers and responses of the three antiphons, while the troparia are sung, the priest goes to the holy prothesis, and taking the presanctified bread from the artophorion, puts it with great reverence on the holy disk, putting also wine and water, after the accustomed manner, into the holy chalice, and saying, not the prayer of prothesis, but only, Through the prayers of our holy Father, Lord, God, Jesus Christ, have mercy upon us. For the sacrifice is presanctified and accomplished. After the Cathisma, etc., the little entrance takes place without the Gospel; then the prayers of the catechumens, and the prayers of the faithful, in the second of which is, "Behold at the present time his spotless body and quickening blood entering in, and about to be proposed on this mystic table, invisibly attended by the multitude of the heavenly host." Then is sung the hymn, "Now the heavenly powers invisible minister with us, for behold the King of Glory is borne in. Behold the mystic sacrifice, having been perfected, is attended by angels: with faith and love let us draw near, that we may become partakers of life eternal." After this the great entrance is made, but instead of the prayer of the cherubic hymn, the fifty-first, Psalm is said. After the entrance, the deacon says, "Let us accomplish our evening supplication unto the Lord. For the proposed and presanctified gifts, let," etc. In the following prayer occur the words, " Look down on us who are standing by this holy altar as by thy cherubic throne, on which thine only-begotten Son and our God is resting in the proposed and fearful mysteries." After further prayers, the priest, the divine gifts being covered, stretches out his hand and touches the quickening blood with reverence and great fear; and when the deacon says, "Let us attend," the priest exclaims, " Holy things presanctified for holy persons." Then, having unveiled them, he finishes the participation of the divine gifts. The communion being finished, and the holy things that remain being taken away from the holy table, the concluding prayers are made.

In the controversy regarding this rite between cardinal Humbert and Nicetas Pectoratus, the only matter of real liturgical interest appears to be Humbert's objection that a double oblation is made of the same thing first in the liturgy, in which it is consecrated, next in that in which it is received. Neale denies the existence of the second oblation. "The mere fact of the great entrance," he writes, "without any formal oblation, and simply considered, does not involve of necessity a sacrifice." Leo Allatius, in his tract on this rite (at the end of his work, De Eccl. Occ. et Or. Perpetua Consensione), names several variations. One is on the point just mentioned: "Alii sustollebant Praesanctificata. Alii non exaltabant, sed tantum modo tangebant" (1595). Another important variation is, "Constantinopolitanus praesanctificatum panem sanguine non tingit; cteteri tingunt" (1593). Again, as to the times when the rite is used, "Alii, prima et secunda primae jejuniorum hebdomadis feriis, Praesanctificata non celebrant; alii celebrant" (1594).

In the Roman Church the omission of consecration is limited to Good Friday and Easter eve. The Missal rubric for "Feria v in Coena Domini" is, "Hodie sacerdos consecrat duas hostias, quarum unam sumit, alteram reservat pro die sequenti, in quo non conficitur sacramentum; reservat etiam aliquas particulas consecratas, si opus fuerit, pro infirmis; safiguinem vero totum sumit; et ante ablutionem digitorum ponit hostiam reservatam in alio calice, quem diaconus palla et patena cooperit, et desuper velurni expandit, et in medio altaris eollocat." On Good Friday the reserved host is brought in procession to the altar, after the adoration of the cross, while the hymn is sung, "Vexilla Regis prodeunt." "Cum venerit sacerdos ad altare, posito super illud calice, genuflexus sursum incensat et accedens deponit hostiam ex calice super patenam quam diaconus tenet; et accipiens patenam de manu diaconi, hostiam sacram ponit super corporale, nihil dicens... Interim diaconus imponit vinum in calicem et subdiaconus aquam, quam sacerdos non benedicit, nec dicit super earn orationem consuetam; sed accipiens calicem a diacono ponit super altare nihil dicens; et diaconus illum cooperit palla." After censing the oblations and the altar, the priest, turning to the people, says as usual, "Orati fratres ut meum ac vestrum sacrificium acceptabile fiat." "Tune celebrans... supponit patenam sacramento, quod in dextera accipiens elevat ut videri possit a populo; et statim supra calicem dividit in tres partes, quarum ultimam mittit in calicem more solito, nihil dicens. Pax Domini non dicitur nec Agnus Dei, neque pacis osculum datur." The priest's prayer before reception follows. "Et sumit Corpus reverenter." "Deinde omissis omnibus quae dici solent ante sumptionem sanguinis, immediate particulam hostiae cum vino reverenter sumit de calice." "Quod ore sumpsimus," etc. "Non dicitur Corpus tuum Domine, nec Post Communio, nec Placeat Tibi, nec datur Benedictio; sed facta reverentia coram altare sacerdos cum ministris discedit; et dicuntur Vesperae sine cantu; et denudatur altare." The principle upon which these regulations regarding Lent are founded is that the Eucharist is a feast, and the consecration service is proper only for festivals. The Sabbath as well as the Sunday was a stated feast in the early Church, and the Western Church received the Laodicaean canon; but in later. times in the Roman obedience Saturday has been held a fast. Yet Socrates (E.H. 5:21) tells us that at Rome they fasted three weeks before Easter, excepting Saturdays and Sundays. See Bingham, Origines Ecclesiasticae, book 15: chapter 4:§ 12.

For a statement of the position in which the Church of England stands on these questions, see Blunt, Annotated Book of Common Prayer (in the notes for Good Friday.)

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