Category Archives: Liturgy

An Open Letter to Archbishop Vilatte, by Ingram N. W. Irvine (undated)

St. Nicholas’ Russian Cathedral, 15 East Ninety-seventh St.
—New York City.—

To His Grace the Most Rev. J. R. Vilatte, D. D. Old Catholic Archbishop of America:

Your Grace: I have examined and read with much pleasure the articles in your official paper, “The American Old Catholic.” I beg to thank you for your courtesy in sending me the same and also for the truths expressed therein.

I know of few more heroic Bishops in the history of the Christian Church than your grace. Dark clouds have hung heavily over you and your work; but remember, the darkest cloud that ever lowered was that which shrouded the soul of the Redeemer of mankind when it passed from the victory upon earth to accomplish the equally great victory in the place of departed spirits.

I remember well the funeral of Chief Justice Chase of the U. S. Supreme Court. Two circumstances firmly rivet the occasion in my mind: First, he was one of our great judicial heroes of the Civil War times; second, while his burial service was held in St. George’s Protestant Episcopal Church, New York City, it was the Rev. Dr John Hall, a Presbyterian minister, who preached the funeral sermon. Of course the whole affair was incongruous to me—Presbyterianism and Episcopalianism—ecclesiastical hotchpotch—yet what I heard from the lips of the very distinguished Presbyterian clergyman in reference to Chief Justice Chase is perfectly true of you, your Grace. He said: “Around high trees and mountain-tops the fiercest storms do beat. “The late Bishop Grafton and his Episcopal satellites; Rome and her fulminations; the Devil with his arrows of poverty and misrepresentations; all of these have done their worst. You, like another great Bishop of the past, have bowed your head until the storm went by. Thank God for such an Archbishop as J R. Vilatte. Saint Athanasius was banished seven times. You, in free United States, cannot be civilly touched or banished, but if you were in a Latin country, where the chains of ecclesiasticism and those of the State were interwoven and in vigor, God have mercy upon your poor human frame and soul!

Your Grace, I look upon you as one whose work can alone regenerate Western Roman and Anglican Christianity. The Holy Orthodox Catholic Apostolic Church of the East, now happily also in the West, of which I am an humble priest, will be, no doubt, the rallying point of convergence for all Christian bodies, like as she is now here in our midst, the witness of “the Faith once-for-all delivered to the saints.” The Anglican Church, “from which” as Cardinal Newman said when he belonged to her communion, “surrounding nations lit their lamps,” is so afflicted with Protestantism that she has forgotten, in too many instances, her Catholic heritage. I love Anglicans. Among them are theological giants. The Anglican Church is impregnated with saintly virtues. Such broad minded priests as Daniel I. Odell and J. Andrew Harris of Philadelphia, J. Howard Mellish, T. J. Lacey of Long Island, Karl Reiland, W. M. Greer and W. T. Manning of New York; such Bishops as Darlington of Harrisburg, Greer of New York and Adams of Boston—representing hundreds more on this side of the Atlantic as ecclesiastics not forgetting such great laymen as Chancellor Henry Budd of Pennsylvania, and ex-Chancellor Price of the same State, Mr. Gardiner of Gardiner, Maine, and A. A. Mitchell of New York, have within them, irrespective of grades of churchmanship, the very spirit of Catholicity and the key, on the Anglican side, to Church unity. But, alas! the isolation of the Anglican Communion within the domineering Western ancient Patriarchate of Rome, is pitiful. She cannot play “good Lord, good Devil.” She must either hold to Protestantism and despise Romanism, or she must come out from the midst of this ecclesiastical fog and shine in her true light as a daughter of the Mother Church of Christendom the Holy Orthodox Church of the East. Hers is a special role and nature for the benefit of all the Churches of Christendom. All look to her as a Mother.

The Anglican Church, your Grace, can never reform Rome. She can never coerce the great Protestant bodies to accept her as a mother. Her position is unique. She is a beautiful married woman but not child-bearing. Her breasts are full, but the paps have no fecundating milk. She will leave no heritage excepting that of a magnificent personal record of biblical strictures such as this and others I could quote: “Stand by thyself, come not nigh me, for I am holier than thou.” (Isaiah lv-5).

Your grace, I well remember 1906 A. D., when you and the Russian Archbishop Tikhon, the Very Rev. Dean A. A. Hotovitzky and I met in the Russian Archiepiscopal Palace in New York City. That was a solemn and sacred moment. You then and there reiterated your Orthodox principles, which were one and the same as held by the Russian and all other portions of the Holy Orthodox Church. As far as dogmas were concerned, you were one with us, of the Eastern Church then; and from your present attitude, you are the same faithful son of Orthodoxy today. The document which you signed on that occasion is still extant.

There is, of course, no question as to the validity and regularity of your Holy Orders and Episcopate. No solid argument has been adduced by Rome or England (representing the Anglican Communion throughout the world) to overthrow your contention and pontificate. As the late Bishop Coxe of the Protestant Episcopal Church well said: “No Roman prelate in the United States has an Episcopate as valid as yours.” As far as Rome is concerned, she can only speak for Rome, and by her theory the whole world has gone mad except herself. The entire Christian Church, baptized in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and the Holy Ghost, is without spiritual guidance save that of the Vatican Curia on the “Seven Hills!” God have compassion on the poor “Successor of the Fisherman,” who poses as a so-called prisoner within the Roman cell, for whose door he himself holds the key to open and come out at will. The whole world, say they, is infidel except Rome, or schismatical, and outside the pale of redemption. Her “Treasury of superabundant merit” is a spiritual bank for her own children alone. There are no Saints outside her communion. God has no home for the rest of mankind “made in His image and after His likeness.” Holy Baptism has not conferred upon them the “Gifts of Regeneration.” They are still in the “gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity.” And yet Rome is overflowing with a devoted and self-sacrificing priesthood and laity. Her government and membership are two entirely different things. She will realize this herself before long in America.

It would be absolute madness to argue with Rome on any subject on which her heart is fixed. She is ecclesiastically insane. She still believes herself to be “Mistress of the World.” She ignores after a fashion all Holy Orders of Christendom, except those of the Holy Orthodox Greek Catholic Church. Yet within her very bosom are the valid and regular Orders of the Old Catholic Archbishop Vilatte of Chicago which she cannot gainsay on valid and regular grounds. And thus today there is within her ancient Patriarchate (“if America can be said to be within any patriarchate”) her purgated Liturgy, her Rites and Ceremonies perfect in every respect, for all those who cling to and desire the heritage of the West in contradistinction to the ways of the East under his (i.e. your Grace’s) oversight.

Your Grace, if to-day, were not a satisfied recipient of the Holy Orthodox Russian Greek Catholic Orders, I would accept from your hands Holy Orders and count them equal in all respects with those coming from Benedict XV. of Rome. And I should believe I was holding full and sufficient spiritual powers as a priest from the inbreathing of the Incarnate Lord God who said to His Apostles: “As My Father hath sent Me even so send I you. Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel.”

I am writing to your grace in all soberness of thought, and am fearless of consequences or criticism. I believe that God has raised you up within the Western Patriarchate to convert your Roman Brethren, and to give to the Anglicans that grace where anything is lacking, would, indeed advise every Anglican (cleric) to accept from your hands conditional ordination in order that neither the East nor the West may be able to gainsay the Catholic party’s ministerial orders in the day of reunion, and that the Holy Orthodox Greek Catholic Apostolic Church may raise no question as to their Doctrine, Discipline and Worship. If a priest’s blessing may be extended to a Bishop (and I believe it can, for we of the priesthood partake of sub-episcopal powers), then may the Triune God pour upon you all the effulgence of His holiness and gifts now end ever, through ages of ages. Amen.

I beg to remain, your Grace, ever faithfully and lovingly your old and sincere friend.

Ingram N. W. Irvine.

Canon of St Nicholas’ Russian Cathedral, and Priest-in-Charge of the English Department.


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Revived Order of Corporate Reunion, by Arnold Harris Mathew (1912)

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February 7, 2023 · 1:25 pm

Sarum Use, by H.R. Percival (1890)

Your anonymous correspondent can hardly expect me to restate  my argument which I hope most of your readers have more fully grasped; perhaps, however, it may not be amiss to point out one or two facts with regard to the Sarum Ritual. If its ultra-ritualistic and semi-superstitious character is to be exemplified, the rubrics for the procession on Palm Sunday are fully sufficient.

Anyone comparing these with the simple and dignified procession of the rest of the West will see the enormous difference. For corruption of doctrine, the peculiarities of the service for the Mass of the Presanctified on Good Friday is enough, although numbers of other instances could be cited. For the enthronement of superstition, the elaborate account of the supposed miracle of the bleeding crucifix for which a special feast day is appointed may suffice.

Why your correspondent was not familiar with these and dozens of other quite as flagrant examples, I cannot imagine. The study of almost any one of the so editions of which he speaks would have been sufficient. Your correspondent does not appear to be quite up to date in Liturgiology. Mr. St. John Hope, in his admirable monograph upon the English Liturgical Colours, has at last placed this question beyond all controversy. His conclusion in brief is this—but one thing is certain, and that is that white was the universal colour for Lent in England! Outside of this he shows there was almost no uniformity. Your correspondent will find a short resume of Mr. Hope’s article in the January number of the (English) Church Quarterly Review, written by Dr. Wickam Legg. Pray allow me before closing to point out to your readers just how far we have got on this Sarum question. We find that in the Prayer Book there are many peculiarities of the Roman Books and but few of the Sarum Books. An analysis of the Litany (for example shows that while there are traces of Sarum influences yet that in the main it follows the continental uses, and chiefly the German. I need not point out to students of Liturgiology how this happens to be the case. The same is true of a large part of the Prayer Book. While, then, it is readily granted that Sarum use had its influence in framing our present services, the statement (so often made and until recently so universally accepted) that Sarum Use was the basis of our Prayer Book appears to rest upon no foundation whatever.

What your correspondent says about the ready access that there is now to Sarum Books is, comparatively speaking, true, but here again we find ourselves faced by a tremendous difficulty. We have not only the Sarum Books but we have also contemporaneous descriptions of the services in different parts of England and these descriptions do not agree with the Sarum directions! I have digested a large number of these and shall hope some time to be able to speak with some positiveness upon the subject, but it is evidently the work of years; and until this is done by some one, mere statements, unsupported by contemporary writers, and only made by authors more than 300 years afterward, can be no proof of the even approximate universality of the Sarum Ritual. I should add that the extensive use of the Revised Sarum Psalter is not disputed.

I do not know whether any one else is pursuing his researches by the same method as myself. I hope others are doing so who have better opportunities of consulting rare books found only in the libraries of the Old World, but at least mine have gone far enough to shew the unreliability of most of what was called information upon the Sarum question.

I can well remember the time when I shared your correspondent’s views, and it was not until I had devoted more attention to the subject that I found I had been misled by similar false statements to those which are evidently now influencing him. In closing I would say that while my chief contention was the identity in all essential points of our present celebration of the Holy Eucharist with that of the past, I yet am of the opinion of those who considered that the Service Books of mediaeval England had become “corrupt” and “superstitious,” and that the ritual was often “barbaric” and “theatrical,” and therefore needed Reformation. Unless I misunderstood “Boston” he deems the Reformation un-called for and is one of those (I use his own rather curious expression) “Catholic Churchmen that look back with longing to the days when the Church of England held the Catholic Faith in its entirety.”

Henry R. PercivalThe Church Eclectic, May, 1890, pp. 171-173.

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The Order of Corporate Reunion Briefly Discussed in Twenty-Five Questions and Answers (1877)

Q. 1. I have heard some talk about a Society which calls itself the “Order of Corporate Reunion.” Can you tell me anything about it?
A. It is a voluntary association of Catholics in the Church of England, who have combined to carry out certain objects, which they believe to be necessary and lawful. I myself, concurring in these objects, have willingly sought and obtained admission into the Order.

Q. 2. Is it a secret society, pray?
A. By no means. Its promoters desire nothing more earnestly than that its objects, aims, and modes of working should be known as generally as possible.

Q. 3. What is its first object?
A. The attainment of a sound doctrinal agreement, and a public affirmation to that effect.

Q. 4. How is this carried out?
A. By the solemn acceptance and profession of a common Catholic Rule of Faith, plain, clear, and easily understood. This has been publicly announced in the Pastoral lately issued, and printed in the first number of its Magazine.

Q. 5. What is its next object?
A. To supply the defect consequent upon the lapse of actual spiritual jurisdiction in the Church of England.

Q. 6. What do you mean by a lapse of actual spiritual jurisdiction?
A. I mean that the Bishops, by submitting to the enactment and operation of the Public Worship Regulation Act, have let the powers intrusted to them as rulers of the Church, pass out of their own hands, into those of a layman. As this is quite inconsistent with the divine constitution of the Church, inasmuch as it was to the Apostles and their Successors only that Christ gave the power of ruling the Church; therefore there is now no spiritual authority in the Church of England which is in harmony with Christ’s institution.

Q. 7. How, then, can the Order supply this defect?
A. By obtaining the help of men who have received Episcopal Orders; and who will be obeyed by the members in purely spiritual matters, which are now left unheeded by the Diocesan Bishops.

Q. 8. But surely, such a course must be unlawful?
A. Not at all. For there is no law to prevent any layman or Clergyman who is a member of the Church of England from being ordained or consecrated abroad. Then supposing a person so consecrated, there is no law to prevent him from returning to England. In fact this kind of thing is constantly being done in connection with Colonial Churches.

Q. 9. But how can any Bishops, so consecrated, have authority to act in England?
A. In the first place, these Bishops make no claim to any temporal or civil recognition or authority whatever. Secondly, they are pledged not to originate a secession or schism from the Established Church. Thirdly, they only receive the obedience of those who are willing to have recourse to them; and after all, this is the real foundation of all spiritual authority. Fourthly, they will not perform their functions in the public Churches of the Establishment. Lastly, they will only administer those rites, and perform those functions, which, though of divine institution, and immemorial usage in the Catholic Church, the Diocesan Bishops of England refuse to administer or perform.

Q. 10. To what functions or rites do you refer?
A. Such as the Consecration of Chrism; its application in Confirmation; the Consecration of Oil for Unction of the Sick, and others of that nature.

Q. 11. But is not the interference of such Bishops entirely unheard of in the Church? As is not the whole scheme contemplated by such a society of volunteers equally strange and novel?
A. Not at all. Besides the Diocesan Bishops, there are many others now in England, such as the Suffragan and Colonial Bishops, who discharge Episcopal functions. Our Bishops will only do much as they do. Again, such Societies as the Church Association and the Church Missionary Society, voluntarily take upon themselves many of the functions which properly belong to Bishops. And the Society of the Holy Cross provides a supply of Oil for the Unction of the Sick.

Q. 12. Are these the only reasons you can give for the institution of your Order?
A. By no means. One of the most important objects we have in view, is to remedy the evils which spring from the careless way in which Baptism has for a long time been, and still is, administered.

Q. 13. I do not understand what you are talking of?
A. Many persons are, beyond all doubt, actually unbaptized without being aware of the fact. A very common custom used to be prevalent, of administering this Sacrament to as many as a dozen children at once, by merely tinging the moistened hand once in the direction in which they were, held in their nurses’ arms, while the words appointed were said once, in the plural.

Q. 14. You don’t mean to tell me that this is true?
A. I believe it is perfectly true. I have no doubt about it. I have seen and spoken to persons who have witnessed it. Many persons living have done so.

Q. 15. But if this be so, how are you to know who has been rightly baptized, and who has not?
A. That is the very point. Of course we cannot know. The only thing we do know is, that shameful carelessness and neglect have been very common.

Q. 16. How, then, do you propose to remedy the evil?
A. The only safe and certain remedy is, for all persons to be baptized in the conditional form, unless they can prove, by the clearest evidence, that they have been properly baptized. This is the rule followed in the Roman Church. And plain common-sense shows that it is the only safe one.

Q. 17. But cannot our present Bishops do all this?
A. Certainly they can. But it is equally certain that they don’t. But that is not all. Suppose that the Bishops themselves, or some of them, have been among those thus imperfectly baptized; we have to consider what would follow upon such a state of things.

Q. 18. I see what you mean: and should be glad to know how you propose to meet this difficulty.
À. This is, in fact, the chief reason which has compelled us to seek for the consecration of independent Bishops. For the great probability which exists that some of the Bishops may never have received valid Baptism, throws a doubt over the reality of their possession of a true Episcopal character.

Q. 19. Then do you mean to say that our Bishops are not true Bishops?
A. They are certainly Bishops in the eye of the law of the land. This law does not clearly lay down the requirements of valid Baptism. This is peculiarly one of those spiritual things which the Church alone is competent to deal with. But it is a fact that no ancient Episcopal Churches recognize the English Bishops as such; and from what I have said it is almost, if not quite, impossible to prove that during the past hundred years, Baptism has been so administered as to ensure a proper application of water to the persons. And thus many of those who have afterwards become Bishops may have been actually unbaptized. Therefore, as among other things, we desire to promote the Corporate Reunion of Churches, so we are compelled to do what we can to remedy this defect.

Q. 20. I should like to know what you propose to do in this case?
A. I think I have told you enough to show you how we are prepared to meet all these difficulties. For, as we make sure of the valid Baptism of every member of our Order, and impose no conditions upon any persons inconsistent with their duties as members of the Established Church; it is clear that we remove all doubts on this head. And then, as we have amongst us Bishops of undoubtedly valid Consecration, who are ready in every case to supply all possible defects of Ordination, we have nothing wanting to enable was to put an end to all the uncertainty which is so sad and so discreditable.

Q. 21. I must confess that what you propose is reasonable enough, and yet many persons express very strong objection against the plans of your Society.
A. I am quite aware of it. There is an amount of hostility already manifest for which I am unable to account. Still, looking at the way in which it is expressed, and the quarter from whence it proceeds, I can only say that it convinces me only the more fully of the great need there is for the work we have taken in hand.

Q. 22. Perhaps there is some objection to the persons who are engaged in promoting it?
A. If there were, what has that to do with the main question? I take it that the first thing to be considered is, whether the facts are as we affirm them to be. Then, whether the mode in which we propose to deal with them is lawful and efficient.

Q. 23. Are the facts denied?
A. Not that I know of. One thing I am sure of: they are true, whether denied or admitted. And, being true, there is an obvious necessity for something to be done.

Q. 24. Granting the facts, is there no other way of dealing with them?
A. That is a fair question. But the facts should first be well looked in the face. This has not yet been done. Then if any other persons have a better plan to propose under the circumstances we shall be glad to listen to them. But, as the facts are simply ignored, of course no one troubles himself about remedies.

Q. 25. I don’t suppose the public at large will care to enter upon the subject. I have in most places heard your Society spoken of as a band of crazy fanatics. But in any case, you have said enough to convince me that there is something calling for serious consideration, and 1 should like to know more about the matter.
A. We shall do all we can to give every information. Inquiry must lead to good; and, sooner or later, the very existence of our Order must lead to inquiry. The more we have tried to ascertain the truth, the more clearly we have found that it is as I have stated One thing further I have to say about the persons who have undertaken this work. Their names cannot add to, nor diminish from, the force of the arguments for or against the principles of the Order. We have nothing to do with persons as such. We avoid all political disputes. We see a grave need in the circumstances of the time. We have long looked for some definite and certain guidance from acknowledged leaders. Their counsel is, in effect “Do nothing. Whatever occurs still do nothing.” We cannot concur in this counsel. As none others are forthcoming, we have been compelled to act for ourselves. Wealth, and talent and position would powerfully assist in furthering such a work as ours when once started. But we must not wait for these. We see the Church. in danger and necessity; and, since none others will come forward to grapple with the evils which are clearly seen by us, we have, in all humility and patience, taken those steps which alone seem calculated to remove them. In doing this we have consulted in the first place our own necessities and consciences; at the same time we are able and willing to help others who may seek our aid. But we shall be perfectly contented to go on our way by ourselves in patience and obscurity, interfering with no one, and seeking only to give a good account to Him Whom we love and serve.

The Order of Corporate Reunion Briefly Discussed in Twenty-Five Questions and Answers.
London: David Nutt, 1877.

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Priestly Concelebration at the Altar, by H. Boone Porter, Jr. (1973)

New York: The Anglican Society, for distribution at the General Convention, 1973.

Like so many other expressions, the term “eucharistic concelebration” is open to differences of interpretation. In a sense, everyone participating in Holy Communion is concelebrating the Eucharist. The term is more often used, however, to describe priests who are joining together in the service specifically as priests, performing together the sacramental actions at one altar. This latter, narrower sense is the subject of the present discussion. Nonetheless, the general, broader sense of the phrase cannot be ignored if we are to understand the principles involved.

We are all accustomed to any number of lay persons worshipping together in unison. Similarly, certain special lay persons may discharge special responsibilities together. A dozen or more singers sing together in the choir. Two or three men or boys may be acting as servers or acolytes. Several men may be ushers. Several persons, men, women, or children, may bring forward the alms and oblations. In the Liturgy of the Lord’s Supper which is presently undergoing trial use, there may be two or even three lay readers functioning at one service (Old Testament lector, epistoller, and litanist). Few parishes are fortunate enough to have more than one deacon, but two or more deacons certainly can function in one service since, beside the reading of the Gospel, diaconal duties properly include leading the intercessions, arranging the elements on the altar at the offertory, distributing Holy Communion, performing the ablutions, and, when necessary, carrying the sacrament to the sick. In the liturgy now being tried, the Summary of the Law, the Invitation to the General Confession, and the Dismissal may also be assigned to a deacon. On occasion a deacon may preach. Several deacons could be kept busy, particularly if there were many communicants. In short, there is nothing incongruous or surprising in having several ministers of the same rank or order share together their liturgical duties.

The Role of Additional Priests

By the same token, several priests can be included in one service. The old way to do this—normal Anglican usage of the past few decades—was to have an assisting priest read the Epistle and administer the chalice. If there were two assistant clergy, one read the Epistle and the other the Gospel. The rest of the time they simply knelt (or stood) at the sides of the sanctuary. All of this was good as far as it went, but if lay persons are trained to read the Epistle, they should not be displaced every time a visiting priest happens to appear. After all, the priest could be assigned some other part to read; the layman couldn’t. If, furthermore, the Epistle and Gospel are read with dignity from the lectern and pulpit, or from the chancel step, the old positions of the epistoller and gospeller at each end of the altar require some new justification. We are today rediscovering the integrity of the Ministry of the Word. During this first half of the Eucharist, the principal priest is primarily to preside and, like everyone else, to hear the Word of God in a framework of praise and prayer. An additional priest would, in the absence of a deacon, read the Gospel, and he might preach. Other additional priests, like other worshippers, are there to honor God by listening. They should be standing or sitting at their scats or sedilia, not standing or kneeling at the altar, for the Ministry of the Word.

In the more specific sense, sacerdotal concelebration really begins at the offertory. In the recent past, an assisting priest usually did nothing at the offertory, since the preparation of the bread and wine was considered an unimportant detail of housekeeping which the congregation should not notice. Today we want it to be conspicuous—as indeed the Anglican Society has long urged that it should be. An additional priest or two make it easy to accentuate the offertory. This is especially true in a large church, or on a special occasion, when several patens and chalices are to be used. Two or three priests, with the deacons (if any), can meet the oblation-bearers in the chancel and, while facing the people, fill the patens and pour the wine and water into the chalices. The priests can then go to the altar and present in unison the vessels they arc holding, as also the alms.

They can then remain right there, standing about the chief celebrant, during the prayer of consecration. When there is a free-standing altar, it looks very well to have a semi-circle of ministers back of it, thus completing the circle of Cod’s people around His holy table. Opinions differ as to whether the priests should recite all, or parts of, the prayer of consecration in unison aloud, or in an undertone, or whether different ones should say different parts of it. Theologically, all or any of these are valid options. Many of us, however, will prefer the indubitably older practice of having the additional “fellow-presbyters” simply stand in silence beside the chief celebrant. Their position gives visible evidence of there “priestly intention” of supporting and endorsing his words. If there are several vessels, concelebrants can help fulfill the rubrical requirements of putting hands on chalices, etc. During the Invocation, all the priests may appropriately make the sign of the cross in unison towards all of the elements. (When facing the people, priests should remember to make one large, deliberate, and dignified sign of the cross, not the jerky wiggling of the hand which was formerly too much in fashion.)

In the ancient Roman rite, a distinctive role of the concelebrants was the breaking up of the consecrated bread. In the Liturgy of the Lord’s Supper, with the fraction restored as a distinct section of the rite, this practice  may be conveniently restored, as is suggested in the long rubric regarding the ministers at the beginning of the text. Without entering here into the complicated question of whether “real bread” should be restored at the altar, it is always simple enough to have several large wafers on the paten so that there will be adequate material for several priests to be visibly engaged in breaking for some seconds. If the majority of the congregation are really to see it, the fraction must go on for more than a moment. It is better to extend the time by breaking more hosts, rather than by confusing one’s self and others with the exotic gestures of an elaborate commixture.

All the clergy can conveniently communicate standing together about the altar, passing the vessels from one to another. If there are many concelebrants, they may distribute Communion to the people while the chief celebrant remains at the altar, or withdraws to his seat. Afterwards, one or two of the priests (if there be no deacons) can take the vessels to the credence table, or a side altar, or the sacristy and perform the ablutions, while the rest continue with the Post-communion and conclude the liturgy.

In short, concelebrating priests participate in the Ministry of the Word basically like everyone else, by joining in the’ prayers and chants and by listening to the Word of God. If there is no deacon, one of the priests will read the Gospel, and one of them or the chief celebrant, will preach. In the second half of the rite, they will have a visible role at the altar in taking, giving thanks, breaking, and receiving. With good planning, it is possible for the participation of added priests to give dramatic emphasis to the main actions of the rite, and they can do so without crowding out deacons, lay readers, or others who should also retain their proper share in the total liturgy. It will be noted that if the Liturgy of the Lord’s Supper is performed in strict conformity to the preliminary rubric regarding ministers, there may be two lay lectors (O.T. and Epistle), one or more deacons (Gospel, intercessions, offertory, etc.), several concelebrating priests, and a senior’ priest or (better still) a bishop as chief celebrant and president of the liturgical assembly.

Variations on Special Occasions

Within this basic traditional pattern, a good deal of flexibility is possible. I recently participated in a concelebration of the Liturgy of the Lord’s Supper at a large conference in which it was desired that two bishops should have a part. For the Ministry of the Word, both bishops sat side by side in their chairs (with several priests to the right and left of them), but the suffragan presided, reciting the Collect for the Day, etc. For the Ministry of the Sacrament, both stood side by side at the altar (with the priests still on either side of them), but the diocesan presided, reciting the sursum corda, preface, and remainder of the canon. This arrangement was convenient and gave clear expression to the unity of the episcopate and the close association of the episcopate with the presbyterate. 

At a conference in another diocese, the bishop sat in his chair in the chancel, but did not wish to preach or lead the prayers. Accordingly, one of the priests did so. The bishop’s presidency over the first half of the rite was dramatically expressed, however, at the Greeting of Peace. Each of the priests and deacons in the chancel came up individually to be greeted by the bishop, and then they passed the Peace to the other worshippers. The bishop’s presidency over the second half of the rite was expressed after the Lord’s Prayer, when he came up to the altar and began the breaking of the consecrated bread.

At the last Annual Meeting of the Anglican Society, half a dozen priests concelebrated together. One of the concelebrants read the Gospel and preached; another led the intercessions; and others helped at the offertory, etc., thus distributing the diaconal duties among the priests in a very convenient fashion.

I would suggest that at the ordination of a priest or bishop, the newly ordained, after joining the chief celebrant in the fraction, might appropriately be the one to invite the communicants with the words “Holy things for the People of God”. Similarly, when a bishop is ordained, he can give his blessing at the end. The circle of priests, or bishops, who lay on hands in these ordinations should of course remain as the circle of concelebrants in the Eucharist.

Our present Prayer Book allows a much smaller role to deacons and lay lectors and, as often pointed out, it tends to be a priestly monologue. With the Prayer Book rite it is, therefore, especially desirable to divide the priestly prayers between different concelebrants, even if the principal prayers are all left to the chief celebrant. Thus one may read the Prayer for the Whole State of Christ’s Church, another the Prayer of Humble Access, another the Post-communion Thanksgiving, etc. This has, of course, often been done.

When Should Concelebrations Take Place

It is evident that the foregoing suggestions and comments are chiefly directed toward special occasions when many people are involved in the liturgy, as at ordinations, conferences, conventions, etc. There are also some places, such as monasteries, cathedrals, and seminaries, where several clergy are normally present, and some degree of concelebration may be desirable either as the regular routine, or at least on certain days. Among our seminaries, Nashotah House has found a daily concelebration to be of value, as has also the Order of the Holy Cross.

No one, so far as I know, proposes that the average parish should have a concelebrated service as its normal usage. Yet there are special times when such an arrangement may meet a genuine need. There may be a visiting missionary preacher from another branch of the Anglican Communion who is not sufficiently familiar with our American liturgy to celebrate alone. Or an aged or infirm priest may welcome the chance to have some place in the sanctuary on the great feasts of the year.

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Since the Parson’s Handbook, by C. E. Pocknee (1973)

New York: The Anglican Society, for distribution at the General Convention, 1973.

That we now have something like a recognizable Anglican Use, particularly in our cathedrals and larger churches, is due in no small measure to the late Percy Dearmer, the author of The Parson’s Handbook and the general editor of The English Hymnal. Dr Dearmer belonged to a generation which produced a galaxy of scholars who were also deeply devoted dhurchmen. With Dearmer were Walter Howard Frere, Charles Gore, W. H. St John Hope, J. Wickham Legg, Francis Deles, and Jocelyn Perkins; later there came A. S. Duncan-Jones and J. H. Arnold. All these were members of the Alcuin Club, founded in 1899 to promote loyalty to, and the study of, the Book of Common Prayer. It was the merit and achievement of The Parson’s Handbook that it collated and brought together all the researches of scholars, notably those of the associates of Dearmer, such as W. H. Frere and J. H. Wickham Legg, and made them available to the ordinary parish priest who had not the time and inclination to delve into the researches that were required. The book was in fact an haute vulgarisation of the works that had been published during the previous thirty years. Dearmer’s book was first published in April 1899, and 1903 an enlarged edition appeared, which was to remain substantially unaltered in the twelfth edition Which appeared in 1932. The seventh impression of that edition appeared in 1957.

The founder members of the Alcuin Club took as their watchword loyalty to the Book of Common Prayer and to the Church of England, Catholic and Reformed. They believed the English Prayer Book to have Catholic rites and ceremonies which did not require to be supplemented by additions and borrowings from the Roman Missal. One of the first publications of the Alcuin Club was J. T. Micklethwaite’s Ornaments of the Rubric, which gave in great detail all the ornaments and ceremonial adjuncts that could legally be used with the Book of Common Prayer. Micklethwaite’s investigations were based on the supposition that the Ornaments Rubric, which first appeared in the Elizabethan Prayer Book of 1559, and which we quote herewith: And here it is to be noted that such ornaments of the church, and of the ministries thereof, al all times of their ministration, shall be retained and be in use as were in this Church of England, by the authority of Parliament, in the second year of the reign of King Edward the Sixth, laid down a precise date, namely the second year of Edward the Sixth (28 January 1548 to 27 January 1549), at which all the ornaments and appointments of the Church of England were determined. Readers of Micklethwaite’s work were surprised to learn how much  pre-Reformation ceremonial had been retained by the Church of England. In effect the writer argued that anything that had not been expressly repudiated or forbidden by the Church was still permissible.

It was inevitable that the founders of the Alcuin Club, and popularization of its researches in Dearmer’s handbook, should look back to pre-Reformation usage in this country since the first English Prayer Book had evolved from the pre-Reformation rites. These rites were exemplified in the service books of the illustrious cathedral church of Salisbury, whose ceremonial customs and service books had for several decades before 1549 been increasingly adopted throughout the Whole of the Province of Canterbury. This was the celebrated Sarum Use, whose customary was edited and published in a printed text in 1898 by W. H. Frere. Dr Dearmer and his associates were inclined to suppose that the Sarum Use was something peculiarly English and insular; and they sometimes used this argument against the post-Tridentine ceremonial Which the later Anglo- Catholic movement was introducing into some of our parish churches under the epithet of the “full Western Use.” We now realize that there is nothing peculiar to the Provinces of Canterbury and York in the Sarum Use. A study of the rites in use in France, the Low Countries, and Germany in the last part of the Middle Ages will reveal much that has strong affinities with medieval Salisbury. We may say that the Sarum Use represents the trend of liturgical practice throughout Northern Europe in the late Middle Ages. Thus apparelled albs and full surplices were in use- everywhere, even in Italy. We may also point out that there is nothing peculiarly insular about an altar surrounded by four posts and enshrined by curtains. The term “English Altar” was not used by Dearmer, although he rightly claimed that this type of altar was particularly suited to the east end of the English parish church with its low window. In fairness to the writer of The Parson’s Handbook, a careful reading will show that the author does not propose to restore all the complicated ceremonial of the Sarum rite, but rather a modified and adapted form that would fit the Book of Common Prayer, which has become known as the “English Use”. Thus Dearmer and his associates were opposed to the reintroduction of the late medieval ceremony of the Elevation of the Host with its accompanying bell-ringings, censings, and genuflexions, which the rubrics of the 1549 Book had forbidden. Nearly fifty years after Dearmer had dealt with this matter it was to occupy the increasing attention of Roman Catholic scholars such as Jungmann and Parsch. The latter was to write, much more forcibly than the former Vicar of St Mary’s, Primrose Hill: “It cannot be denied, however, that by this elevation and the accompanying adoration of the sacred Species, an alien element was brought into the Mass, which had the effect of beclouding the true significance of the Holy Sacrifice. The Mass came to be less and ‘less appreciated as the sacrifice of Christ. Instead, a movement arose in which the adoration of the Eucharist was greatly developed, and thereby the spiritual energies of the faithful were, in the course of centuries, turned away from the sacrifice itself.’”

Indeed, it is one of the ironies of the situation that many of the things which were advocated in The Parson’s Handbookhave now come to be accepted by the liturgical movement within the Roman Catholic Church to-day, and they can no longer be dismissed as “British Museum” or “Dearmerism”. The active participation of the laity in a Mass that is completely audible, such are the aims of the reforms that are now taking place in the Roman rite.

The whole trend of Sunday morning worship as manifested to-day in the Parish Eucharist had been foreshadowed by John Wordsworth in the Ministry of Grace (1901), and by W. H. Frere in Some Principles of Liturgical Reform. Both writers had advocated a return to the old canonical hour of 9 a.m. for the chief act of Sunday morning worship. Charles Gore, Percy Dearmer, and Walter Frere were all opposed to the late High Mass with few or no communicants that had been introduced by the Anglo-Catholic movement into the Church of England. Gore in The Body of Christ (1901) had stigmatized the custom as “a seriously defective theology”. In our own day Rome is just as concerned to discourage non-communicating attendance at Mass; and we now have the spectacle of large numbers of communicants at High Mass on Sundays at the Roman Catholic cathedral at Westminster.

In the Church of England a considerable impetus to the reform of Sunday morning worship was given in 1935 by the publication of Liturgy and Society by Father A. G. Hebert, S.S.M., and two years later of the same writer’s The Parish Communion. In both books there is an examination of the relation between the sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of his Church in the Holy Eucharist. The excessive individualism which had characterized western religious devotion and thought, both Catholic and Protestant, since the Middle Ages was subjected to a critical scrutiny and contrasted with the corporate doctrine of the Eucharist as exemplified in the primitive Church in the writings of the New Testament and of the Fathers. The matter has been further underlined since the close of the Second World War by the increasing desire for reunion on the part of all Who profess and call themselves Christians. The nature of the Church as the Body of Christ and the relations between clergy and laity have taken on a new complexion. Indeed, the whole idea of  church membership has been raised by the debate which the Baptismal Reform Movement has started in the Church of England in regard to nominal church membership through infant Baptism. The word “laity” now means the laos, the people of God, and not merely those people who are not in Holy Orders.

No survey of the changes that have come about in liturgical belief, and practice during the last half-century can ignore the work of the Anglican Benedictine, the late Dom Gregory Dix, who, in The Shape of the Liturgy (1945), published a large volume which raises many questions but does not always supply the right answers. It is an uneven work, some of which is based on the writer’s brilliant intuitions (some of which proved to be true), rather than upon factual evidence. Indeed, it is one of the chief weaknesses of the book that it is often unsupported by factual evidence in the arguments that it presents. As a work of precise scholarship it cannot stand alongside that of the Austrian Jesuit, Father Joseph Jungmann, who in the two volumes of Missarum Sollemnia, translated into English under the title, The Mass of the Roman Rite, has placed the whole of western Christendom in his debt. The chief merit of Dom Gregory Dix’s book lies not in his unravelling of the complexities of liturgical history, a task for which he was not fully equipped, but rather in his insistence that we should look back to the pre-Nicene era to the eschatological element in eucharistic worship rather than to the historical element that came to the fore from the end of the fourth century. Here Dix was on much surer ground in claiming that the Eucharist not only looks back to the upper room but also forward to the last things, as all the historic liturgies, almost without exception, insist that we celebrate the Eucharist “until his coming again”. There is in the Holy Sacrament of the altar a realized eschatology.

It is not, therefore, a new ceremonial that has to be devised or even a revision of the liturgy that is paramount, but rather a change of emphasis in eucharistic worship. Much of the argument between Catholic and Protestant about the nature of the eucharistic sacrifice is outmoded and meaningless; and for this fact we must indeed be thankful since the way is now open for the recovery of unity at the Lord’s Table. While the primitive era is exercising a great fascination on the liturgical scholars of our time, we must beware of a kind of antiquarian “primitivism”. This kind of thing would be as false as the appeal to the Middle Ages which Characterized much Which the Oxford Movement introduced in its later stages. We cannot ignore nearly twenty centuries of church life. Nor would it be true to imply that all forms of liturgical development since the primitive era have  been unfruitful and completely corrupt. Such an idea has dogged the steps of reformers and sectarians from the Middle Ages onwards. The Holy Ghost has not left himself without a witness in all ages. The latitudinarianism of the eighteenth century can be offset with the hymns of Charles Wesley, and William Law’s A serious Call to a devout and Holy Life.

We must now turn to another aspect of the work of Dr. Dearmer and his associates. Dearmer, Gore, and others were strongly imbued with a sense of social righteousness and justice. They perceived that the Church could not preach the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man if some sections of the community were under privileged as well as sweated and underpaid; and at the turn of this century there were many who were in that state. Moreover, some of the things turned out under these conditions were cheap, shoddy, and worthless. This applied to some of the ornaments and furnishings that were being supplied to our churches. Such things were often badly designed, uninspired, and badly produced. They were an offence against God and man. Craftsmanship there certainly was, but it was being subordinated to commercialism and exploitation. Our churches were being filled with appalling stained glass and equally appalling brass fittings and ornaments. Dearmer and his associates founded the Warham Guild to show how even simple things could be well made and designed; and also to pay those who made and produced such things, craftsmen, embroiderers, and seamstresses, adequate and proper compensation for their labours. It was little use the preacher in the pulpit urging social righteousness if the surplice that he wore proclaimed the sweating of those who made such things and cheapness of production as the primary consideration in the ornaments of the church. During the past half century there has been a vast improvement in such matters in regard to the ornaments and furnishings that have been put into our churches, although not all church furnishers have caught up with the vastly increased knowledge that has affected both design and production.

One of Dr. Dearmer’s associates was the late Francis Eeles. He was particularly concerned with the amateurish manner in which our parish churches and cathedrals were being maintained. Considerable damage was being done both in repairs to the structure as well as in the custody of the medieval and renaissance fittings that were to be found in many of them. It was largely through the labours of Dr Eeles that much of this amateurish approach to the care of our churches has ceased. He became the first secretary of the Central Council for the Care of Churches, with an advisory committee for each diocese, to which all alterations and proposals for new ornaments and fittings in a parish church must be submitted for recommendation. Under the faculties Measure, 1938, the chancellor of the diocese must authorize by licence or faculty any structural alterations as well as new furniture and ornaments. While the chancellor is not obliged to concur with the opinions expressed by the diocesan advisory committee, he usually takes note of their recommendations and opinions as the committee is authorized by the diocesan bishop to advise both the incumbent and his parochial church council as well as the chancellor. But it should be underlined that the final decision regarding the granting of a faculty lies with the chancellor.

On the whole, the system has worked well and it has prevented the wrong kind of structural repairs to many of our historic churches, and has rejected unsuitable, badly designed, and unfunctional ornaments and furniture. But there are some serious anomalies in the system which call for urgent consideration. Not all diocesan advisory committees possess the same degree of liturgical and ecclesiological knowledge; and in some instances known to us bad designs and unfunctional fittings have been passed by an advisory committee. Moreover, amongst diocesan chancellors there is sometimes a conflict of opinion as to what may legally be placed in a parish church. In one diocese an inscription asking for prayers for the departed may be passed by the chancellor and in another diocese it will be refused. One chancellor will grant a faculty for a ciborium over the altar, while in the adjoining diocese such an ornament will be refused. Also, there is the serious criticism that cathedrals and collegiate churches are not subject to faculties and they are, therefore, free to introduce any ornament or alteration which the dean and chapter choose to make, while in the same diocese a parish church will be refused the same things. It is true there is a Cathedrals’ Advisory Committee, but no cathedral chapter is obliged to consult it, and in practice some do not. The supposition that cathedral and collegiate chapters possess an omniscience and omnicompetence in matters liturgical and ecclesiological is not true and is disproven by the conduct of some of our cathedral services. If incumbents and their parochial church councils are to be subject to diocesan advisory committees and faculty law, so also must our greater churches, since one of the new canons approved by the Convocations of Canterbury and York says the cathedral church is the mother church of the diocese and in matters liturgical should be the exemplar to the diocese. Cathedral dignitaries must be subject to the same discipline and order of Canon Law as the incumbent and his people in the smallest country parish in the diocese. This is a matter that calls for urgent reform.

The Parson’s Handbook assumed loyalty and obedience to the  Church of England and the authority and teaching of the Book of Common Prayer. Here we are at one with Dearmer, Gore, and Frere. But such loyalty did not prevent them from urging the need for changes in the rites of the Prayer Book, provided these changes were approved by the Convocations of Canterbury and York. This problem still remains with us. It is now fashionable to talk of liturgical experiment to meet the pastoral situation. We do not regard the 1662 Prayer Book as a fifth Gospel and incapable of improvement and revision. But we are opposed to the idea that the parson can make up his own services and substitute them for the authorized rites of the Church of England. Such an idea is contrary to Church Order and the whole conception of corporate authority as recognized in every part of Catholic and historic Christendom. We gladly recognize that in the Missal, Pontifical, and the older Sacramentaries of the Roman rite, as well as in the rites of eastern Christendom, there are treasures which could enrich and supplement our existing Prayer Book liturgy. But such things must be introduced by proper and constitutional authority. It is a serious breach of discipline for a priest or bishop to substitute the rite of another part of the Church for that officially authorized by the Church of England and the Churches of the Anglican Communion.

We also agree with the words of the report of the Lambeth Conference of 1958: “When in the past there has been discussion on the place of the Book of Common Prayer in the life of the Anglican Communion, the underlying assumption, and often declared principle, has been that the Prayer Book of 1662 should remain as the basic pattern, and indeed, as a bond of unity in doctrine and in worship for our Communion as a whole. . .. Yet it now seems clear that no Prayer Book, not even that of 1662, can be kept unchanged forever, as a safeguard of established doctrine.” Mr. Wigan’s recently published book, The Liturgy in English, shows conclusively that the other Churches of the Anglican Communion have moved a considerable way from 1662, and W. J. Grisbrooke, in Anglican Liturgies of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, has shown that there never was an uncritical acceptance of the 1662 Book on the part of Anglican scholarship before the Oxford Movement. The supposition that it was the Catholic revival of the nineteenth century which caused discontent with the liturgy of 1662 is an entirely erroneous one. Wherever the Churches of the Anglican Communion have been freed from Parliamentary interference and control there has been a reversion to the type of liturgy exemplified in the First English Prayer Book of 1549, beginning with the Scottish Liturgy of 1637, through the American Book of 1789, and finding its most recent expression in the liturgies of the Canadian Church in 1959 and that of the Province of the West Indies of the same year. The further suggestion of the 1958 Lambeth Conference was that the time had come to consider one liturgy for the whole Anglican Communion. In the light of the facts set out above we may assume that such a liturgy is most unlikely to be that of 1662. Liturgies, such as that now in use in the Church of South India, also indicate the same pattern of liturgical worship. If the price the Provinces of Canterbury and York have to pay for the revision of the English liturgy is disestablishment, then they should be prepared to pay that price. The age has long gone by when men could be compelled to pray by act of Parliament. There must be freedom for the Church of England to order and revise her liturgy in accordance with the teaching of the Holy Scriptures and that of the undivided Church. Ecclesia Anglicana libera sit!

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The Three Sacred Ministers: An Outmoded Concept? by H. Boone Porter, Jr. (1973)

New York: The Anglican Society, for distribution at the General Convention, 1973.

Ever since medieval times, a typical practice of Western Christendom has been the employment of three sacred ministers to mark the solemn celebration of the Holy Eucharist. Referred to as priest, deacon, and subdeacon, or as celebrant, gospeller, and epistoler, these three hieratic figures have long been characteristic of Western worship at its best.

They have graven deep furrows in our religious thought and practice. In medieval theology, as represented by St. Thomas and other writers, the three sacred orders of the ministry are no longer defined (as in antiquity) as bishop, priest, and deacon. Instead, they were defined, in accord with contemporary medieval liturgical usage, as priest, deacon, and subdeacon. (See Summa Theologica, Quest. 37, Articles 2 & 3, Supplement). Such has continued to be the normal Roman teaching until recent years. In architecture, the long gothic Chancel, with its distant view of the sanctuary at the end, was perfectly suited to display the altar with three symmetrically placed figures before it. In order to make the subdeacon match the deacon, the tunicle was invented to clothe him. Our altars are still customarily raised on three steps, one for each order to stand on; and traditional sedilia provide three seats for them to sit in.

During the late medieval, renaissance, and modern period, the liturgy has been attenuated by the individualistic outlook common to laity and clergy alike. During these long centuries, the customary usage of three sacred ministers at a solemn celebration has been a most valuable witness, maintaining some awareness of the properly corporate and collegial character of liturgical action. Today, however, the Church is ready for a much deeper and broader understanding of corporate liturgical worship. The arbitrary restriction to three ministers is a limitation that is now very difficult to defend. There are repeated occasions when two, or four, or six, or seven ministers would better suit the circumstances.


How much historical authority does lie behind the threefold stereotype? First of all, it does not go back to the earliest periods of Catholic worship. In the age of Hippolytus, Augustine, Chrysostom, or Basil, a solemn celebration was led by a bishop, concelebrating with several priests (or “fellow presbyters ). They were assisted by° as many deacons, who were helped by as many subdeacons as might be on hand, and there were as many readers and cantors as were necessary to read the lessons and lead the chants appointed for the day. 

Secondly, even in the late medieval and modern latin rite, the most solemn enactments of the mass are still based on that pre-medieval pattern. In the fullest forms of the pontifical mass, the officiating bishop is assisted by several priests, several deacons and subdeacons, and several taper-bearers. Such a practice survived down to modern times in certain European cathedrals on Maundy Thursday and a few other great feasts. (A. A. King, in Liturgies of the Primatial Sees, London & New York, 1957, discusses this practice in connection with the Cathedral of Lyons, where it still continues. In Liturgy of the Roman Church, London & New York, 1957, the same author describes the papal solemn mass). The present Vatican Council, in its admirable Constitution on the Liturgy, rightly recalls attention to the central and plenary character of the episcopal celebration.

Therefore all should hold in great esteem the liturgical life of the diocese centered around the bishop, especially in his cathedral church; they must be convinced that the preeminent manifestation of the Church consists in the full active participation of all God’s holy people in these liturgical celebrations … at which there presides the bishop surrounded by his presbytery and by his ministers. (IV, 41).

Thirdly, it may be pointed out that while the medieval rite was still a living thing, it did not permit itself to be hamstrung by the threefold scheme of sacred ministers. In the small parish, where there was no deacon or assistant priest, the parish clerk could still chant the Epistle on Sundays and feasts, and the priest himself could come down to the lectern to chant the Gospel. (See C. Atchley, The Parish Clerk, and his Right to Read the Liturgical Epistle, Alcuin Club Tracts IV, 1903, 1924).

Fourthly, the threefold scheme has never been universal, for it is unknown to the Eastern Churches. In normal Orthodox usage, as many priests as are present concelebrate together: priests never masquerade as deacons or subdeacons. When deacons are present, they perform their proper duties, irrespective of whether one or several priests are officiating. So too do subdeacons where members of this ancient rank are on hand. In most Orthodox communities, the Epistle is taken by a reader who simply steps out of the congregation in lay clothes. In short, the limiting of sacred ministers to a priest, a deacon, and a subdeacon has no universal or comprehensive claim.


Granting that the threefold scheme has had no monopoly on the arrangement of solemn worship in the past, what are the objections to it in the present or future?

First, it may be pointed out that if the Eucharist is to be celebrated and the three available ministers are in fact a priest, a deacon, and a subdeacon, then the customary Western pattern is an excellent arrangement. In fact, however, this very rarely happens. Apart from the Armenians and certain other smaller Eastern groups, the subdiaconate scarcely exists anywhere today. Within the Anglican Communion, it is now normally conferred only within the Province of South Africa. The use of priests to fulfill all three roles puts the whole rite on an artificial and misleading basis. If ill-tom ei\ ed liturgical usage could confuse so great a theologian as Aquinas, it can certainly confuse the average lay person. Ceremonial and \esture ought to clarify, rather than obscure, what is happening.

On occasions when more than three clergy are present, the arbitrary concentration on three “sacred” ministers unnecessarily relegates the others to the side-lines. The use of ordained clergy for epistolers, furthermore, is very questionable. It may have been necessary in ages when the laity were illiterate, but today any congregation ought to have one or more competent lectors, and they ought normally to be able to perform their office without having to put on an elaborate costume which makes them look like ordained clergy in the eyes of the congregation.

Particularly regrettable is the still widespread assumption that the two assisting ministers can only function at a fully choral celebration. This view is still being implanted in younger clergy by the customs still followed in certain seminary chapels. Unfortunately, many congregations are not familiar with an elaborate choral rite, and they will only become familiar if it is introduced to them by degrees in a flexible manner. The rigid, authoritarian, “all or nothing” approach is no longer tenable—if indeed it ever was.

One young curate recently told me, with obvious bitterness, that during the entire period of his diaconate the rector under whom he served had never once permitted him to read the Gospel, prepare the elements at the offertory, or perform the ablutions. Then three days after he had been advanced to the priesthood, a solemn mass was performed in the parish and for the first time he was assigned to be “deacon”!

It is evident that the celebration of the Holy Mysteries, by a priest, deacon, and subdeacon represents simply one of many ways of arranging a group of clergy. In America at the present time, it is not normally the most reasonable or useful way. Practical convenience, pastoral sensitivity, and the theology of holy orders all require a more flexible and more realistic manner of deploying clergy and lay assistants in the liturgy. In the subsequent section of this essay, we will consider how this can be done. 

Part II

In the previous section, we briefly surveyed the history of the solemn celebration of the Holy Eucharist. We saw that in varying times and varying places, varying numbers of clergy, in various ranks, have exercised their liturgical ministry. The limitation of the solemn rite to three ministers, whether called priest, deacon, and subdeacon, or celebrant, gospeller and epistoler, cannot claim to be either ancient or universal. In many cases, it is inconvenient, misleading, and otherwise unsuitable. But what then are some of the alternative patterns? In order to answer this question, we must first understand what we are trying to achieve.


The use of additional clergy and lay assistants has two major objectives, both of which are important. First, additional persons enable the rite to be performed more effectively and more expeditiously. It is easier to listen attentively to Epistle, Gospel, and Sermon if we hear them from different persons with differing voices. The dramatic force of the rite is enhanced if additional clergy enable the more rapid distribution of Holy Communion, and if they can dispatch the ablutions.

Secondly, additional persons give visual and audible expression to the corporate nature of the rite. When the Eucharist appears (as, alas, it so often does) as a “one man show” performed by the officiating priest, its very nature is compromised. The sacrament of Christ’s Body is the sacrament of the Church, in which different members perform different functions in an orderly manner. The solemn collaboration of different orders of persons in the liturgy expresses the holy community of the Household of God.

Other reasons for additional ministers also arise in particular cases. Thus, lay readers and young clergy cannot learn to perform their tasks properly if they have no opportunities to practice. The local church will have little idea of its place within the Church Catholic if visiting clergy from other places cannot be welcomed into the sanctuary. 


With these objectives in mind, we can consider concrete means of achieving them. The average congregation has only one ordained clergyman, the priest. In order to give the liturgy a more visibly corporate character, therefore, the role of lay readers must be zealously promoted. In many congregations it is an attainable to have a layman read the Epistle at every public celebration of the Eucharist, even the “simple, said service” at an early hour. Nor should the occasional presence of visiting priests cause the readers to be squeezed out of their regular role. This consistent use of lay readers in the Church’s chief act of worship can have a marked effect on a congregation.

If shortened Matins precedes the Eucharist (at least at certain seasons) this provides the occasion for a lay officiant at the office, and an Old Testament reader. When the Litany is sung or said before the Eucharist, this too can be assigned to a layman Thus the rector can have two or three lay ministers reading significant portions of the rite. He will of course also have servers and, in an increasing number of parishes, representatives of the congregation will bring die elements forward at the offertory. Thus the service ceases to be an individual performance by one clergyman.

Another kind of question arises with regard to the diaconate. In many parts of the Christian Church, its effective revival is now being called for. Some of us believe that the Holy Eucharist will never gain its rightful place in the life of the Episcopal Church, unless we also can provide at least one deacon in every parish to help administer Holy Communion in the liturgy and also to carry the sacrament to the sick (as well as helping in various other ways). Our canons now have clear provision for the diaconate, and   in every

diocese there are many mature and experienced laymen who could be encouraged to study for this order while remaining in their secular professions and occupations. (See H. B. Porter, The Ministers of the Distribution of Holy CommunionSupplemental Report II, the General Convention, 1964.) Several dioceses already have a number of men serving very usefully in this order.

In certain larger centers and on certain special occasions, there is the problem of fitting several priests into the rite. Some form of concelebration is the answer to this question. Once it is understood that a group of priests can offer the Eucharist together, the exact details of arranging the rite can easily vary according to the number of participants, the size of the sanctuary, the nature of the occasion, etc. (For an extended Anglican discussion, see Basil Minchin, Every Man in His Ministry, London, 1960. For an excellent modern Roman account, see Mother Jean McGowan, Concelebration, New York, 1964.) Some of us who have repeatedly celebrated in this fashion have found it very satisfactory.

These remarks would be gravely incomplete if no mention were made of the episcopate. Our present rubrics require the bishop to give the absolution and blessing in the liturgy, but these are only peripheral ceremonies not integral to the eucharistic action as such. Should not the bishop, as bearer of the apostolic commission, preach the Gospel and preside at the Lord’s Table? In rubrical terms, this would mean delivering the sermon, and reciting the eucharistic prayer, beginning with the sursum corda. The local priests, as his collaborators and associates, would properly concelebrate with him. Performed in this way, the rite is extraordinarily impressive.

In conclusion, we see that the three authentic orders of sacred ministers are not those of priest, deacon, and subdeacon. Rather they arc those of bishop, priest, and deacon. Each of these orders can and should have their proper roles in the Holy Mysteries, whether they be represented by one or by several individuals. The fullest participation of ordained clergy, furthermore, should not crowd out all the functions of lay readers and other assistants. All of these, and the choir, should carry out their roles in such a spirit and in such a manner that the congregation as a whole is not suppressed, but is rather stimulated to a new awareness of itself as a community of priestly people who glorify God through Christ in the fellowship of His Life-giving Spirit.

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How to Receive Communion in the Polish National Catholic Church (1954)

The Polish National Catholic Church is the only Church in the United States with which the Episcopal Church is in communion. Not only may Episcopalians receive Communion at its altars, but they should do so if this Church is available to them and their own is not.

But apart from such unusual circumstances, Episcopalians will naturally want to acquaint themselves with the members and the worship of a Church with which they enjoy intercommunion and to make its members feel at home when they attend services of the Episcopal Church. It is toward the furtherance of such mutual fellowship that a special issue of The Living Church will carry a complete list of Polish National Catholic parishes in America, with their street addresses and the names of their pastors.

The second Sunday in March is kept in the Polish National Catholic Church as “Polish National Catholic Sunday,” for it was on March 14, 1897 that this part of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church was organized. An informative and interesting account of the history, doctrine, worship, and life of the Polish National Catholic Church was published last year in England and this year made available in America. (The Polish National Catholic Church in America and Poland, by Theodore Andrews, Macmillan. Pp. ix, 117, $2.50)

The Polish National Catholic Church is in communion with the European Old Catholics of the see of Utrecht; and it is the only body in America claiming the classification of Old Catholic that is in communion with Utrecht—from which, as a matter of fact, it received its episcopal succession. The Anglican Communion throughout the world is in communion with the see of Utrecht, but intercommunion between the Episcopal Church and the Polish National Catholic Church was not completed until 1946, although relations had been friendly.

In round numbers, the Polish National Catholic Church has an estimated 250,000 communicants in North America, mostly in the United States but including a few places in Canada. It has – or did have – about the same communicant strength in Poland, where it started a mission some years ago. But its members in that country, presumably now without a bishop, are at present cut off from communication with their American brethren.

The communicant strength of the PNC Church is therefore roughly that of the Episcopal Church in 1870, but of course it has not been a going concern nearly as long as Anglicanism in America had been by 1870. It does not have as many parishes or clergy as the Episcopal Church had in 1870: on the other hand, the average communicant strength of PNC parishes is considerably larger than that of the Episcopal Church today.

The Polish National Catholic Church is organized into four dioceses in America—the Eastern or New England Diocese, the Central Diocese, the Buffalo-Pittsburgh Diocese, and the Western Diocese. Elsewhere in the U.S. the P.N.C. Church is not yet at work.

Unlike dioceses of the Episcopal Church, these are not strictly defined geographical areas, but are rather groupings of parishes under one bishop. The parishes in Florida, for example, come under the Western Diocese simply because they were started by it. Similarly, the Western and Buffalo-Pittsburgh dioceses contain Canadian congregations.

PNC churches look very much like Roman churches. Services are in Polish and English, except for a few affiliated congregations of other national backgrounds, which have been allowed to retain the languages to which they were accustomed. Preaching is sometimes in English, sometimes in Polish; sometimes there is a sermon in both languages at the same service.

Holy Communion, in Polish National Catholic churches, is given on the tongue in the form of the bread only. It is received after fasting, and only after a form of general confession, including absolution, similar to that of the Book of Common Prayer (“Ye who do truly and earnestly repent you of your sins,” etc.) But in the Polish National Catholic Church the general confession comes just before the Mass and includes a silent period for mental recollection and acknowledgment of one’s sins to God. It is used as a matter of course on certain Sundays (like the first in the month), but is available on request of intending communicants at any Mass.

Thus the Episcopalian who wishes to make his communion in a Polish National Catholic Church should notify the priest, either the day before or a half hour or so before mass, so that he may join in the PNC form of general confession. This general confession is to be distinguished from sacramental confession (with the naming of one’s sins to the priest), which is also provided for in the PNC Church, though it is compulsory only for children. The general confession, required by the PNC Church of all intending communicants, would seem simply to point up the implications of the General Confession in the Book of Common Prayer.

Unpaginated pamphlet. Milwaukee: The Living Church, 1954.

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The Eleven Great Principles of the Lithuanian National Catholic Church (undated)

  1. Spiritual Communion of Christ with His Believers

Christ, our Lord, established the Church for this purpose: that His believers might carry on the work begun by Him, the work of human salvation. The apostles and disciples, as well as their followers, were to prepare and lead humanity into the Kingdom of God; assured that if they fulfilled this task, He would be with them. For He had promised them, saying, “Where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them.” Mat. 18:20. “And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” Mat. 28:20.

This presence of His, however, He made conditional. He would be with His disciples, if they would be gathered together and work in His Name, for His purpose, according to the plan indicated by Him.

He said to them, “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted?” It is thence-forth good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men.” Mat. 5:13. “Ye are the light of the world. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Mat. 5:16. “But be ye not called masters, or teachers for one is your Master, even Christ and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father on earth; for one is your Father which is in heaven.” Mat. 23:8, 9, 10.

So if the members of the National Catholic Church will live according to these teachings of the Lord, our Master, and will Propagate the democratic principles of Christ, they will be assured of His presence, help and cooperation. When we gather for common prayer, tasks or efforts, when we struggle for His Holy Cause; He our Master,Leader and Saviour, will sustain us. For our work is His work; our toil, our suffering, our tears, our persecutions and the final triumph of His ideal of a Divine Society, are His suffering, His tears, His persecution and the victory of a common ideal with Him.

“If ye abide in My Word (that is, the program give by Me to you) then are ye My disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31-32.

2. The National Catholic Church and the Kingdom of God on Earth.

The most important task and mission of Jesus Christ, according to His own declaration and the words of His disciples, as recorded in the Gospels and documents of the first two centuries of our era, was the proclaiming and establishing of the Kingdom of God upon earth. From the moment when He returned from the wilderness, where He had suffered trials for forty days and nights and said to the multitudes, “Repent ye: for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” Mat. 4:17. Until the time when, out-stretched upon the cross, He whispered with His last breath. “It is finished,” our Master, the Nazarene, served the mighty purpose of preparing humanity for the Kingdom of God upon earth.

The apostles and their immediate followers took up this appointed task, and for its sake suffered and died martyrs’ deaths; but later generations forgot it, and become entangled in a system of Church politics directed from the Vatican. Official Christendom devoted itself to the unravelling of theological problems; to building magnificent cathedralIs. of stone, brick, gold and silver; and in curtailing human thought and freedom; serving the kings, lords and potentates of the world in general and forgetful of building a regenerated, living society, the. Kingdom of God upon earth.

For this reason, there arose among the poor Lithuanian immigrants in America, the Lithuanian National Catholic Church, in order to remind the world and especially the Lithuanian people, of that immortal and indispensable idea of organizing a Divine Society founded on love, heroic courage, cooperation, righteousness and brotherhood. “Repent ye; for the Kingdom of Christ has come nigh to us.”

Repent that you have wasted so much time, talents, strength of soul and body, in fratricidal struggle, extortion, mutual deception, trickery, treachery, trafficking, in the holiest feelings and ideals. Cease from doing unrighteousness. Line up, begin a new period of your own life, of that of the Lithuanian people and of all humanity. Go forth, and may all that the Eternal Wisdom has purposed, be fulfilled in you.

  1. Salvation, the Condition of Entering the Kingdom of God

Religion is the living bond uniting man with God; it is the most powerful, noblest and holiest sentiment of man’s heart and the highest flight om man’s understanding. It arises in the mystery of the soul and is kept alive by faith, unbounded trust and good deeds toward fellow men.

No one should therefore, debase, or ridicule, or traffic in religion, or use it for his own personal ends. Whoever does this, exposes himself to the horrible consequences; his rejection by God and by humanity. History brands none so severely as those who traffic in God, virtue, faith and the Sacraments; brands them as blasphemers, perjurers, destroyers of sacred things, sacrilegious.

“Woe unto the shepherds,” cries the great Israelite prophet to all those who abuse religion by making it serve their low, base and selfish ends, “who feed themselves.” Should not the shepherds feed the sheep? Ye eat the fat and ye clothe you with wool and ye kill the fatlings: but ye feed not the sheep. The dis-eased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with rigor have ye ruled over them. And my sheep were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became meat to all the beasts of the field and were scattered. Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord, which the Lord God saith: Behold I am against the shepherds; and will require my sheep at their hands and will cause them to cease from feeding the sheep; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; and I will deliver my sheep from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.” Ezekiel 34:2-10.

Were not these prophetic words fulfilled in the course of human history, on the priesthood of Egypt, Judea, and Rome? May they not likewise be fulfilled concerning the Lithuanian priesthood, of the Roman Church, if they turn no back from their course, in their faithlessness toward God? The same causes bring the same results.

  1. Leading a Man Into the Kingdom of God

The leading of a man into the Kingdom of God, that perfect state of human society for which mankind yearns and toward which it constantly turns its steps, is called in the language of religion, a saving work of salvation.

According to the teaching of Christ our Lord, the Kingdom of Heaven is the condition of people united with God in His boundless love; surrendered completely to Him; living and working in cooperation with Him. In order to attain this state, a man must go through a long process of inward change; he must be spiritually regenerated and above all, be free from sin and its consequences.

Sin is misunderstanding of the being and purpose of God on the part of the individual man, the nation, even all humanity. For the effects of that lack of knowledge of God within him and of his denial of God the source of every life, are for man simply fatal, crushing. Left to himself in his own spiritual life, a sinful man does not only fail to develop or progress, but on the contrary retrogrades and becomes dwarfed in soul. For a while he vegetates and then becomes moribund and wastes away; and would necessarily perish, but for the help which comes to him from that Father and Creator who desires not the death of a poor sinner, but rather that he be converted and live.

This He accomplishes through Jesus Christ. The saving work of God’s Mediator depends on this – that He shows to fallen man the terrible consequence of sin; also God’s Divine compassion and righteousness and that God’s primary and final purpose is man’s eternal bliss. He makes a bond uniting the Creator with man, who has so shattered to naught his life and disposes anew the moral relationship which will give him life. Man is a social being, not only in the sense that he lives with creatures similar to himself in a union of causation and must cooperate for the common good if he would profit by it; but also, in a higher and larger sense, that he is dependent on the First cause of every being, on the Supreme Organizer of the Universe; being joined to Him by spiritual and moral ties, the natures of which are determined by his conscious existence, his degree of development and the final goal toward which he tends.

A man may not with impunity isolate himself from nature, his family, his people, nation, state, Church or God. Every such deviation brings about fatal and terrible consequences; above all, the severing of his relation with God. This produces in man a spiritual desert, which makes barren and discourages all that we call the beautiful, moral, creative and spiritual life of man; and fills him with the opposite impulses, toward a brutish, low and base life. Borne away on the whirlpool of bestial and inert living, man wallows lower and lower, soiling and polluting himself in the depths of shamelessness and evil doings; till he descends into an abyss, at the bottom of which awaits him, either the complete decay of his humanity, despair, suicide, heinous crime or else something yet more dire, hell, Gehenna.

And then Christ saves him from extinction. He restores in him a sense of awe of loathing; regret for his wasted life; longing for what is better and holier He shows him the Divine mercy and righteousness and reveals to him his wretched heart; that its filth, poison, misery and despair may flow out and a ray of hope may enter in Divine compassion, united with repentance, confession and resolve. With His hand of a Great Physician and Most Loving Friend, Christ binds up the wounds of the rescued man and restores him to the Church, family, and nation; but above all restores him his own self and to God. He helps him to be saved forever.

For as the greatest privilege of man is salvation, so God’s holiest right is to assist man in attaining salvation.

  1. The Church and Its Foundations

The church is an organized body of free religious people, who strive by the help of their organization to achieve life’s highest purpose. Every religious act has to develop by man’s free will; it must not yield in any way whatsoever to external compulsion. Religion and the Church, its exponent, must not be servants of political parties, governments or the potentates of this world, it must not combat the free aspirations of man or a nation toward liberty, but on the contrary, it is the obligation of the Church to inspire and to spiritually strengthen man in the struggle of life, in order to fulfill its mission to humanity as a whole.

  1. The Word of God, the Great Sacrament of the National Catholic Church

A great Sacrament of Christ’s National Catholic Church, as set forth in the ideals of its Divine Founder, is the preaching and hearing of the Word of God.

God addressed mankind most plainly through Jesus Christ. When, therefore, a priest from the National Catholic Church takes from the Treasury of Eternal Light Strength and Life; when he repeats the Gospel of the Saviour in the self-same spirit as the Great Mediator showed toward mankind; when he interprets, simplifies, extends and sounds its depths, according to the needs of the time, he is fulfilling the highest duty attainable by man, since he is proclaiming the will of God, eternal, holy and creative.

Likewise those who harken worthily, confidently and sincerely to the Word of God, are united with their Divine Lord, are fellow workers with Him. Through such an act they become all things their hearts are fixed, they are God’s reborn; they grow strong in their resolves; in heirs of the universe.

Christ, our Lord, proclaimed this power of the Word of God in these sayings. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life and shall not come to judgement; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, that the hour cometh, yea, now is, when the dead shall harken to the voice of God and they that hear shall live.” John 5:24-25.

  1. God is Love and There is No Eternal Punishment

We cannot conceive that God created man out of sheer caprice, or selfishness, (as various theological systems, drawn up accord-ing to the model of present day political and social relations, interpret the matter) nor for the purpose of delivering him to the devils, for them to abuse him and treat cruelly, by physical and spiritual torment and tortures; nor would He destroy, bring to naught and erase His own work, the child of His mind, love and power. Nay, He created man for this – that man should live his own life according to his Creator’s likeness. Therefore man thinks and acts; therefore, he yearns to possess more and more the sum total of light, truth, love, creative energy and bliss. Man has had given to him the necessary powers and means for the attainment of these Divine purpose and a period of time sufficiently long for arriving at the appointed goal. Given that tendency, man is left by God with a free will in order that his acts may have a moral value, so that he may of his own self, think, feel, act, save his own soul.

God did not create man perfect, but relatively weak; yet He infused man’s being with a spark of longing for perfection; a sort of germ of eternal life, impulse, creative power. This makes man to go on through the centuries, from stage to stage, so that he continually climbs higher, develops and approaches perfection both as an individual and as the human species. Now, since man is not omniscient nor all powerful and does not know completely the laws that govern his physical and spiritual nature, he often deviates from the sure path of life. He goes astray, struggles, falls down; then arises with sorrow and considers the whole immensity of his physical, moral and spiritual experiences, till purified through these sufferings and struggles, through these creative thoughts, through toil and yearning, he enters upon the way of partial emancipation and then in due time, that of a freer, more perfected existence; till at last he becomes united with the goal of his life, God.

Some people attain this goal sooner, even in this temporal life; others later; some in a higher, others in a lower degree. It depends on the manner in which they make use of their Divine endowments of will, intellect, inspiration and of the mediations of Jesus Christ and His Church.

In the Holy Scriptures and especially in the New Testament books, we find numerous episodes which confirm the above hopeful view concerning the gradual development and final salvation of the individual man and of the whole of the human race. Expressions such as eternal fire, undying worm, fiery place, mouths of hell, place of torment, outer darkness where there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth, lake burning with fire, full of brimstone and pitch and similar phrases, are expressive illustrations, having the purpose of picturing the greatness of guilt and punishment for sinners; but were not meant to indicate hell in the Roman Catholic sense of the term. Neither were the pagan peoples nor the Jewish synagogue acquainted with such an eternal hell as the Roman Catholic Church teaches; nor were the Christians of the first centuries – not until the time when in the year, 1215, the fourth General, Lateran Council finally decided that “The wicked receive from the devil eternal punishment; but the good, from Christ, eternal glory.”

Christ, our Lord, speaking to the Jewish people, made use of their language, employing phrases and imagery familiar to their minds, that He might appeal to their imagination, understand-ing and feelings. Thus, in order to point out to these people the greatness of sin and its punishment, by choosing an example of this sort, He compares that punishment to Gehenna. Now Gehenna, was a place near Jerusalem where in former times sacrifices had been made to the Syrian god, Moloch; it was later used for burning the city refuse, so that over it rose continually black clouds of smoke mingled with fiery red flames and from it issued fetid and suffocating fumes; so that it was a place of horror and oppressiveness.

The Greek adjective, ainios, used by the Evangelists with word, Gehenna, does not mean everlasting, but long lasting, that is, lasting through a certain time or period through a future age, a future time. So when the Lord Jesus represented the consequences of transgressions, He did not say that they would be everlasting, for ages and ages; but He wished to make plain that those consequences would assuredly befall sinners in the future and that they would be a severe and grave character.

His teaching concerning the salvation of all humanity is corroborated by the following texts of Holy Scripture:

“Now is the judgement of this world; now shall the prince of this world be cast out; and I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me.” John 12:31-32.

“And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” Luke 3:6.

“The grace of God hath appeareth, bringing salvation to all men.” Titus 2:11.

“For as in Adam, all die; even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits and afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming. Then cometh the end, when He shall have abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign, till He hath put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. And when all things shall have been subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also be subject to Him that put all things under Him: that God may be all in all.”1 Cor. 15:22-28.

“Whom Jesus Christ the heavens must receive until the time of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.” Acts 3:21.

  1. Nations, As God’s One Family on Earth.

Nations are members of one great family of God on earth. Hence it is not right for one nation to rob another nation of land, their political, religious and social freedom, their right to create a native culture; just as it is not right for one man to rob another of his property, his good name, freedom of conscience, and the pursuit of happiness, insofar as that pursuit does not interfere with the common good. The right to live and develop is the highest of all rights.

  1. The Kingdom of God and the Federation of Nations.

The Kingdom, or Society, of God, for which Jesus Christ laid the foundations, is to be a federation of all free nations of the earth, conceived as one mighty ideal of brotherhood, cooperation and justice. The fulfillment of one’s obligations toward God, nation, government, family, self and toward individual members of society is the best regulator for that living mechanism called Man, or collective humanity.

  1. Religious Rites in the Lithuanian Language

All religious rites in the Lithuanian Church and the Lithuanian home should be conducted in the Lithuanian language; since they are the outward manifestations of the relation of the Lithuanian soul and the Lithuanian people to God. Christ spoke to God, His Father, in Syro-Chaldean, that is, in the language of His own People; He ministered in his tongue the Holy rite at the Last Supper and at the final moments of the most dreadful tragedy that ever took place on this earthly sphere,He cried out to God. likewise in the speech of His own people, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani.”

Why then should Lithuanian priests, followers of Jesus Christ, the Lawgiver, show disdain for the marvelous Lithuanian speech, the language of a great, immortal people; and interpose between a Lithuanian soul and God the alien Latin tongue, the language of a dead people?

  1. The People Own All Church Property.

The owners and controllers of National Catholic Church property are the Lithuanian people who build, maintain and believe in that Church. Bishops and priests are its guardians with the consent of the people.

The First Lithuanian National Catholic Church was established in America in the City of Scranton, Penna., in the year, 1913; supported on one hand by God’s Gospel proclaimed to the world by Jesus Christ; and, on the other, by Lithuanian working people who thirst for truth and righteousness.

The above principles comprise in themselves the substance of God’s Revelation given to man through the prophets, through Jesus Christ our Lord and His disciples. These are sufficient for a knowledge of the way of God and of the obligations of religion and salvation, for the individual soul and for the whole nation as well.

Prime Bishop Hodur.

—From Lietuvių Katalikų Tautine Bažnyčia Scrantono Parapija (1949), pp. 175-190.

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Why A Minister Resigned (1884)

Baltimore, Md.—There is a stir in Protestant Episcopal Church circles here. Ritualistic troubles in the diocese are revived by the Rev. Nelson Ayres resigning from the rectorship of the Church of Our Savior, because the congregation objected to his High Church views. He has been Rector of the church about 18 months, and has gradually been introducing forms and ceremonies of a ritualist or Romish character. He is a prominent clergyman, and personally was popular with his congregation, but his extreme ritualistic practices caused many members to leave the church. The opposition grew against him, and a few Sundays ago he preached a sermon strongly favoring the Roman Catholic view of purgatory, which brought matters to a climax. Before resigning, he appealed to the congregation to stand by him, that he was right, but finding that the majority were against his views he resigned in accordance with their wish. Mr. Ayres will, no doubt, connect himself with one of the ritualistic churches here, or possibly become a Catholic.[1]

[1] The New York Times, February 27, 1884

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