Tag Archives: Prayer for the Dead

The Liturgy of St. Tikhon of Moscow

“The Liturgy of St. Tikhon” is the name given, understandably but unfortunately, and inaccurately, to a version of a Western Catholic Mass rite used by Western-Rite Orthodox congregations of a largely Anglican background.  It has no real connection with the hierarch after whom it is named — St. Tikhon of Moscow (1865-1925), who, born as Vasilii Ivanovich Belavin, the son of a Russian parish priest, was tonsured as a monk (Tikhon) and ordained in 1891, consecrated a bishop in 1897, served as Orthodox Bishop of the Aleutian Islands and Alaska (whose see he moved in 1905 from San Francisco to New York and had his title changed to Bishop of North America) from 1898 to 1907, subsequently returning to Russia where, after the restoration of the Patriarchate of Moscow (in abeyance since 1721) in 1917, he was elected Patriarch -  and thereafter harassed and imprisoned by Russia’s Communist rulers, dying in prison in 1925, and canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church in 1989.  Rather (as we shall see) it was “compiled” around 1977 with some degree of deference to a critique of the Episcopalian Book of Common Prayer of 1892 by a committee appointed by the Russian Orthodox Church’s “Holy Governing Synod” (the body that exercised governing authority over that church during the abeyance of its patriarchate between 1721 and 1917) in 1904, in response to an inquiry from the then Bishop Tikhon concerning the possibility of authorizing the use of that Prayer Book for any Episcopalian parishes that should “with its minister” leave the Episcopal Church for Orthodoxy.

Fond du Lac Circus The Liturgy of St. Tikhon of Moscow

"The Fond du Lac Circus"

In the period from roughly 1890 to 1970 relations between some Orthodox and some Anglicans became, at times, very close indeed.  In Europe, from the 1870s onward the Russian Orthodox Church in particular interested itself in the Old Catholic Churches, those groups of formerly Roman Catholic clergy and laity in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland (and later elsewhere) that rejected the definitions of Vatican I in 1870 on the infallibility and universal jurisdiction of the papacy — the Dutch Old Catholic Church originated earlier, in the 1720s, as a result of a split in the Dutch Catholic community — and in 1889 organized itself into the “Old Catholic Union of Utrecht,” and because of the strong and sympathetic interest in the Old Catholics of elements in the Church of England, this common “anti-papalism” had the effect of furthering contacts between Anglicans and Orthodox, contacts which had been initiated in the 1850s through the efforts of some of the “Oxford Movement” Tractarians and their Anglo-Catholic successors, but which had been occasional in occurrence and largely fruitless in results.  In America, Episcopalians by and large, and especially those of an Anglo-Catholic outlook, sought the friendship of the Orthodox and often assisted Orthodox communities in tangible ways, and so earned a good reputation amongst the Orthodox, particularly the Russians.  This friendship was not a disinterested one on the Episcopalians’ part, as they often sought from the Orthodox support and even recognition of their own claims to embody a non-papal form of “Western Catholicism,” and since the Episcopalians who made most of the Orthodox tended to be those of a most strongly Anglo-Catholic viewpoint, such as Charles Chapman Grafton (1830-1912; Bishop of Fond du Lac from 1889), leading Orthodox clergy tended often to take them as representative of Anglicanism as a whole.  When Reginald Heber Weller (1857-1933) was consecrated as Bishop-Coadjutor of Fond du Lac on November 8, 1900 Bishop Tikhon and two of his clergy attended the event as guests, and a photograph of the assembled Episcopalian bishops and a Polish Old Catholic bishop vested in copes and miters, together with the three Russians was circulated by indignant Protestant Episcopalians (who tried to prosecute Grafton and the other bishops for violating the rubrics of the Prayer Book at the service) under the title of “the Fond du Lac Circus.”  It was some four years later that Bishop Tikhon sent his inquiry regarding the use of the Prayer Book by convert Episcopalian clergy and parishes to Moscow.  One of Bishop Tikhon’s assistant bishops, the Lebanese Raphael Hawaweeny (1860-1915), whom he consecrated in 1904 as Bishop of Brooklyn, and who was canonized by the Orthodox church in America in 2000, in 1910 issued a decree allowing members of the Orthodox faithful who were in “emergency situations” or who lived in regions where Orthodox priests were inaccessible, to have recourse to the ministrations of Episcopalian clergy — although late in 1912 he wrote a pastoral letter formally to revoke this permission, on the grounds that his further study of Anglicanism had convinced him that the “loose teaching” of Anglican theologians and the variety and indefiniteness of Anglican doctrinal stances demonstrated that the Episcopal Church was a Protestant body, and also because, as he claimed, Episcopalians had begun to proselytize Orthodox laypeople to join Episcopal churches (his letter can be found here).

From a different perspective, Frederick Joseph Kinsman (1868-1944), the Church Historian and Episcopalian Bishop of Delaware from 1908 to 1919, when he resigned and became a Catholic, recorded in his religious autobiography Salve Mater (1920) — recently reprinted — some of the embarrassments of leading Episcopalians in their dealings with the Orthodox when the latter, taking them at their word about the “Catholic nature” of Anglicanism, requested that Episcopalians make their prayers and liturgies more explicit on such matters as prayer for the dead, invocation of the saints and sacramental efficacy and the Eucharistic Presence.  In subsequent decades, down through the 1940s, many Orthodox churches or patriarchies declared their “recognition” of Anglican Orders, by which they meant that Anglican churches had preserved the form and structure of the Church to a sufficient degree that if any Anglican church or the Anglican Communion as a whole should profess the Orthodox Faith and seek to unite with the Orthodox Church then those Anglican clergy deemed suitable to continue as clergy subsequently would not need to be ordained.  It did not mean what many Anglicans, then and subsequently, and some hopeful Continuing Anglicans today, seem to wish it to mean, that the Orthodox Church — or, rather, some Orthodox churches — had accepted Anglican churches as “sister churches,” real “churches” in the eyes of the Orthodox, or at least “real churches” to the same degree as the Orthodox view the Catholic Church (or “papal communion”) as “real.”  Fortunately, however, this essay need not deal further with that powerful delusion, save to note, first, that the Gadarene descent of Anglican churches into the abyss of WO and SS from the 1970s onwards has disabused the Orthodox of their illusions about the nature of Anglicanism (see this as an example), and, second, that the Orthodox do not seem inclined to treat any Continuing Anglican bodies as anything like the residuary legatee of Anglican orthodoxy.

Returning to the critique of the 1892 Episcopalian Prayer Book produced by the Holy Governing Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, which was subsequently translated into English and published under Anglican auspices as Russian Observations upon the American Prayer Book (Alcuin Club Tracts XII) translated by Wilfrid J. Barnes and edited and annotated by Walter Howard Frere (the latter an English liturgical scholar and later Bishop of Truro in the Church of England) in 1917 (and which may be read here) it is a polite but critical examination of its subject from an Orthodox perspective; and it is remarkable how uncritical, and often approving, of its critique Frere (an anti-papal somewhat Orthodoxophile Anglo-Catholic) showed himself to be.  The critique deals, in its first section, with the Holy Communion rite, the Ordination rites (the longest section), the Baptism rite, Confirmation, Matrimony, the Sacrament of Penance and the Sacrament of Unction (or the absence of any rites for these last two) and then, in its second, with a number of general observations, most notably concerning the lack of any prayers for the dead in that Prayer Book.  As regards its critique of the Eucharistic rite, all that concerns us here, it makes two critical observations, first, the lack of any clear indication of a belief in, or explicit petition for, the “change” of the elements of bread and wine into the body and Blood of Christ and, secondly, the lack of any clear statement or even indication that the Eucharist is “a sacrifice for the living and the dead.”  (The Prayer of Consecration of the 1892 Prayer Book was identical to that of the 1928 book, although in 1892, as in 1789, the “Prayer of Humble Access” came between the Preface and Sanctus and what was specifically termed the Prayer of Consecration, beginning with “All Glory be to thee …“ etc.) The authors go on to conclude in this section that while there is nothing in the Prayer Book rite that explicitly contradicts these two beliefs, a denial of them can be as easily read into them, or by implication extracted from them, as their affirmation, and so calls for their being made clearer in any version of the BCP adapted for Orthodox use.

Nothing came of these Russian reflections; for that, we must fast-forward to 1977 and the aftermath of TE”C”’s decision in September 1976 to capitulate to the Zeitgeist (of which it had long been enamored) and accept WO (a “fall” which in my view was far more decisive than its 2003 decision to accept SS [sanctified sodomy], the latter being merely one of the ineluctable consequences of the former).  Among the consequences of this decision was that of the Church of the Incarnation in Detroit, Michigan to leave TE”C” and to seek admission to the Western Rite Vicariate (WRV) of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America.  The WRV has been founded in 1958, and from its beginning it employed an English translation of the Roman Catholic “Tridentine Mass” (and other offices), altered, as in a 1963 paperback The Missal for Use of Orthodox (sic) in my possession, to remove the filioque clause from the Nicene Creed and to introduce the epiclesis (or petition to the Holy Ghost to transform the elements of bread and wine) from the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom into the Roman Canon after the Words of Institution (two “paragraphs” later, after the Unde et memores and the Supra quae and before the Supplices te rogamus of the Canon).   Now a form of service was compiled (by whom I have been unable to determine) and produced originally in the form of a booklet entitled The Divine Liturgy Commonly Called The Mass in 1977.  Without going into the matter of its antecedents in detail (for the focus of this article, as of that to which it was originally intended to be an appendix, “Thoughts on an Anglican Use Mass," posted on March 8, 2010, was the Eucharistic Prayer, or anaphora, not the rite as a whole), one can observe that the rite was a “Missal-style” Anglican Eucharist, beginning with the Asperges, the dialogue between celebrant and servers, the Introit, Collect for Purity, Summary of the Law, Kyrie, Gloria, and the rest of the “Mass of the Catechumens” (as it is termed in the booklet) and so onto the “Mass of the Faithful” with its Offertory, Secret(s), Orate Fratres, then what is there termed  “Canon of the Mass part1” which is actually the Anglican “Prayer for the Whole State of Christ’s Church,” then “The Communion Devotions” (which is actually the bidding “Ye who do truly and earnestly repent you …” followed by the congregation’s response and the celebrant’s absolution and the “comfortable words,” all of Anglican provenance), Sursum Corda, Proper Preface, Sanctus, “Canon of the Mass part 2” (to which we shall return), the Lord’s Prayer, Pax, Agnus Dei, Prayer of Humble Access, Communion (beginning with the Agnus Dei), Prayer of Thanksgiving, Postcommunion Collect(s), Dismissal, Blessing and Last Gospel.

“The Consecration Prayer” (as “Canon of the Mass, part 2” is subtitled) follows, but please note that for convenience sake I shall paste in the copy found online here in Orthodox Wikipedia, which is textually identical to the version found in the 1977 booklet mentioned above; however, its title and rubrics have been rewritten in what I may term here “Orthospeak,” using Byzantine Rite rather than Roman Rite terminology.  Where these things differ, I shall insert those in the 1977 booklet in parentheses after those found in the online version.

CANON OF THE EUCHARIST

(CANON OF THE MASS, part 2)

Consecration (The Consecration Prayer)

All glory be to thee, Almighty God, our heavenly Father, for that thou, of thy tender mercy, didst give thine only Son Jesus Christ to suffer death upon the Cross for our redemption; who (by his own oblation of himself once offered) made a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world; and did institute, and in his holy Gospel command us to continue, a perpetual memory of that his precious death and sacrifice, until his coming again:

The bell rings once.

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.

The bell rings thrice for the offering of the Host.  (The bell rings thrice for the elevation of the Host.)

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.

The bell rings thrice for the offering of the Cup. (And it rings thrice again for the elevation of the Chalice.)

Oblation (The Oblation)

Wherefore, O Lord and heavenly Father, according to the institution of thy dearly beloved Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ, we, thy humble servants, do celebrate and make here before thy Divine Majesty, with these thy holy gifts, which we now offer unto thee, the memorial thy Son hath commanded us to make; having in remembrance his blessed passion and precious death, his mighty resurrection and glorious ascension; rendering unto thee most hearty thanks for the innumerable benefits procured unto us by the same.

Epiclesis (The Invocation)

And we most humbly beseech thee, O merciful Father, to hear us; and of thy almighty goodness, vouchsafe to send down thy Holy Ghost upon these thy gifts and creatures of bread and wine, that they may be changed into the Body and Blood of thy most dearly beloved Son. Grant that we, receiving them according to thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ's holy institution, in remembrance of his death and passion, may be partakers of his most blessed Body and Blood. And we earnestly desire thy fatherly goodness, mercifully to accept this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving; most humbly beseeching thee to grant that, by the merits and death of thy Son Jesus Christ, and through faith in his blood, we, and all thy whole Church, may obtain remission of our sins, and all other benefits of his passion. And here we offer and present unto thee, O Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice unto thee; humbly beseeching thee, that we, and all others who shall be partakers of this holy Communion, may worthily receive the most precious Body and Blood of thy Son Jesus Christ, be filled with thy grace and heavenly benediction, and made one body with him, that he may dwell in us, and we in him. Be mindful also, O Lord, of thy servants who are gone before us with the sign of faith, and who rest in the sleep of peace, especially N. and N. (Here, the names of the departed are remembered.) To them, O Lord, and to all who rest in Christ grant we pray thee a place of refreshment, light and peace. To us sinners also, thy servants, confiding in the multitude of thy mercies, grant some lot and partnership with thy holy Apostles and martyrs (John, Stephen, Matthias, Barnabas, Ignatius, Alexander, Marcellinus, Peter, Felicitas, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucia, Agnes, Cecilia, Anastasia, and with all thy Saints) into whose company we pray thee of thy mercy to admit us. And although we are unworthy, through our manifold sins, to offer unto thee any sacrifice; yet we beseech thee to accept this our bounden duty and service; not weighing our merits, but pardoning our offenses, through Jesus Christ our Lord; by whom, and with whom, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, all honor and glory be unto thee, O Father Almighty, world without end. Amen.

This is the Prayer of Consecration of the PECUSA Prayer Book (probably, as explained below, that of 1928 rather than 1892) revised according to the critique made by the Holy Governing Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church in 1904.  The first of its two criticisms of the BCP rite, its lack of any explicit “change” of the elements of bread and wine into Christ’s Body and Blood, was dealt with by changing the wording of the 1928 Book’s “Invocation:”

And we most humbly beseech thee, O merciful Father, to hear us; and, of thy almighty goodness, vouchsafe to bless and sanctify, with thy Word and Holy Spirit, these thy gifts and creatures of bread and wine; that we, receiving them according to thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ’s holy institution, in remembrance of his death and passion, may be partakers of his most blessed Body and Blood.

to:

And we most humbly beseech thee, O merciful Father, to hear us; and of thy almighty goodness, vouchsafe to send down thy Holy Ghost upon these thy gifts and creatures of bread and wine, that they may be changed into the Body and Blood of thy most dearly beloved Son. Grant that we, receiving them according to thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ's holy institution, in remembrance of his death and passion, may be partakers of his most blessed Body and Blood.

although it seems to me a defect that the second sentence of the 1928 “Invocation,” which originated in Cranmer’s 1552 rite as a denial of the identity of “these they gifts and creatures of bread and wine” with “his most blessed Body and Blood,” and which is a kind of “anti-epiclesis” immediately following upon a genuine epiclesis, was not either reworded or removed entirely, the more so as the “exordium” or introductory portion of the 1928 Prayer of Consecration was replaced by the exordium of the 1764 Scottish prayer — an exordium which had itself been replaced by that retained in 1892 and 1928 from the 1789 PECUSA BCP. (I myself suggested a rewording based on the 1929 Scottish Episcopalian BCP in my earlier article.)  Even more so is this the case as the same petition occurs again in very similar wording only two sentences later in the prayer (“… humbly beseeching thee, that we, and all others who shall be partakers of this holy Communion, may worthily receive the most precious Body and Blood of thy Son Jesus Christ …” etc.).

The second criticism, concerning the lack of any indication of the Eucharist as a sacrifice offered “for the living and for the dead,” was met by inserting this prayer:

“Be mindful also, O Lord, of thy servants who are gone before us with the sign of faith, and who rest in the sleep of peace, especially N. and N. (Here, the names of the departed are remembered.) To them, O Lord, and to all who rest in Christ grant we pray thee a place of refreshment, light and peace. To us sinners also, thy servants, confiding in the multitude of thy mercies, grant some lot and partnership with thy holy Apostles and martyrs (John, Stephen, Matthias, Barnabas, Ignatius, Alexander, Marcellinus, Peter, Felicitas, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucia, Agnes, Cecilia, Anastasia, and with all thy Saints) into whose company we pray thee of thy mercy to admit us.”

which is simply the Memento etiam (“Be mindful also …“) and Nobis quoque peccatoribus (“To us sinners also …“) petitions from the Roman Canon inserted into this prayer.  The first is simply a prayer for the dead, perhaps originally a diaconal proclamation which may not have become part of the Canon until the Sixth Century, and the second, which immediately follows it in the Canon, perhaps originally a prayer offered by the bishop and concelebrating presbyters and deacons on their own behalves, might have been included as well in response to another criticism expressed in the Russian Church’s 1904 critique, one concerning its “general defect” of “the absence from the Anglican service of any confession of faith in a living and real bond existing between the earthly and heavenly parts of the Church.”  A detailed examination of the prayer will demonstrate that its compilers worked from the 1928 Episcopalian BCP rather than that of 1892, for whereas in 1892 the wording of the petition immediately preceding these insertions from the Roman Canon ran ”that we, and all others who shall be partakers of this Holy Communion, may worthily receive the most precious Body and Blood of thy Son Jesus Christ, be filled with thy grace and heavenly benediction, and made one body with him, that he may dwell in them, and they in him” that of 1928 altered its ending to “that we, and all others who shall be partakers of this Holy Communion, may worthily receive the most precious Body and Blood of thy Son Jesus Christ, be filled with thy grace and heavenly benediction, and made one body with him, that he may dwell in us, and we in him,” and the wording of the 1977 adaptation follows the latter.  To recapitulate, then, this 1977 Western-Rite Orthodox Eucharistic Prayer revises its 1928 Episcopalian original by (1) replacing its opening exordium with that of the Scottish Communion Office of 1764 (and so undercutting Cranmer’s insistence that the only Christian sacrifice is that which Christ offered once, in the past, on the Cross), (2) altering its Cranmerian “Invocation” by dividing into two petitions, the first an explicitly consecratory epiclesis in the Byzantine fashion, the second an incongruous retention of the substance of Cranmer’s 1552 petition (which I have termed an “anti-epiclesis”) that those who receive the bread and wine may also “partake” of Christ’s Body and Blood (actions which for Cranmer were not necessarily connected with one another) and (3) inserting two petitions from the Roman Canon to provide an explicit statement of the Eucharist as a sacrifice for the living and the dead as well as an assertion of the continuing close connection of the living and the dead in Christ and in the Church (both of which Cranmer had come to deny by 1552).  Later on, in 1995, at the explicit request of the Patriarch of Antioch, two Byzantine-rite pre-communion prayers of the laity (“I believe, O Lord, and I confess …” and “Of thy Mystical Supper …”) were inserted in the rite immediately before communion and after the bidding “Behold the Lamb of God …” and its response “Lord, I am not worthy …”

Strangely, however, when in 2009 The Book of Common Prayer (subtitled The Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church in the English Parochial Tradition according to Orthodox Catholic Usage), an attractive and beautiful book, appeared, there were further changes of a puzzling nature to its Eucharistic Prayer.  (Other changes in the rite appear to be matters of style and “lay-out").  In the first place, the exordium of the includes elements of both the 1764 Scottish and the 1928 PECUSA prayers.  It runs:

All glory be to thee, Almighty God, our heavenly Father, for that thou of thy tender mercy, didst give thine only son, Jesus Christ, to suffer death upon the Cross for our redemption; who made there (by his own Oblation of himself once offered) a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world …

where the 1928 American runs “who made there (by his one oblation of himself once offered) a full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice …” (etc.) and the 1764 Scottish “who (by his own oblation of himself once offered) made a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice …” (etc.).  Later on in the Prayer, in the petitions taken from the Roman Canon, the first, the Memento etiam is translated differently than in the 1977 version — this may be a matter of style, although I prefer that of 1977 — while the ensuing Nobis quoque peccatoribus is abbreviated and paraphrased in its beginning as “And vouchsafe to give unto us some portion and fellowship with …” (etc.) which seems as undesirable as it is unaccountable a change.  I have been given to understand since my original posting of “Thoughts on an Anglican Use Mass” on March 8 that these changes, or some of them, may represent no more than the singular and eccentric usage of one particular Western-Rite Orthodox priest and parish that by regrettable inadvertence was published as the “canonical” version, and that this shall be corrected in the future.  In the light of this new information, I am obliged to qualify my statement in the earlier posting concerning the Eucharistic Prayer of the Liturgy of St. Tikhon as affording “a striking example, as I see it, of how not to do this sort of thing.”  Most of the “flaws” or “objectionable features” that I had in mind were the work not of the compilers, but of the botcher(s) who were responsible for the version that was unfortunately published in 2009.  And yet I cannot withdraw it entirely, because the wording of the 1977 “epiclesis” (or “invocation”), which was unaltered in 2009, does seem cumbersome and objectionable.  Far better than “And we most humbly beseech thee, O merciful Father, to hear us; and of thy almighty goodness, vouchsafe to send down thy Holy Ghost upon these thy gifts and creatures of bread and wine, that they may be changed into the Body and Blood of thy most dearly beloved Son. Grant that we, receiving them according to thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ's holy institution, in remembrance of his death and passion, may be partakers of his most blessed Body and Blood” would have been something like “And we most humbly beseech thee, O merciful Father, to hear us; and of thy almighty goodness, vouchsafe to send down thy Holy Ghost upon these thy gifts and creatures of bread and wine, that they may be changed into the Body and Blood of thy most dearly beloved Son to the end that all who shall receive the same may be sanctified both in body and soul, and preserved unto everlasting life,” of which the final part is drawn from the Scottish 1929 rite.

I will end by drawing interested readers’ attention to what appears to be a different, and seemingly independent, and rather more radically comprehensive, adaptation of the 1928 PECUSA Eucharistic Prayer for Orthodox use, and yet one that preserves unaltered then opening exordium of 1552/1789/1928:

The English Liturgy

Should any readers be able to provide information about its origin, authorization (by what jurisdiction?) and contemporary use I would be most grateful.

100 7988a The Liturgy of St. Tikhon of Moscow

In Town Again?

Finally, I wish to acknowledge my debt to Benjamin Joseph Andersen of Lancelot Andrewes Press, who kindly sent me a copy of his M.Div. thesis, "An Anglican Liturgy in the Orthodox Church: The Origins and Development of the Antiochian Orthodox Liturgy of St. Tikhon," which he submitted in May 2005 at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary of Crestwood, N. Y.  It has been invaluable to me, and I hope that he will accept whatever criticisms that I have made in this article in an indulgent manner.

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