One day, Fr T said unto me “I have solved the problem with the Epiclesis!” For those not in the know, the Roman Canon is lacking an epiclesis (invocation of the Holy Ghost over the gifts). This is because the Roman Canon is older than the Constantinopolitan idea of the need for such things. When the Russian Church examined the Roman Rite, they requested an explicit epiclesis be inserted and it was done. However Fr Overbeck, who had petitioned the Russian Church for a Western Rite, was not that familiar, I think, with Byzantine tradition: he used the Epiclesis from the Anaphora of St John Chrysostom, the most-heard Byzantine Liturgy. Following him, everyone has used that Epiclesis. If Overbeck had used the Anaphora of St Basil liturgy rather than St John’s, the insertion would be of a more harmonious effect. Thus ruminated Fr T over coffee one morning and, having little to do today, I decided to take the Roman Canon (as translated by Miles Coverdale) and add to it a Basilian Epiclesis. I think it is, in fact, much more harmonious.
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The Roman Canon
Most merciful Father, we humbly pray thee, through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord. He joins his hands and, making the sign of the cross once over both bread and chalice, says: and we ask, that thou accept and bless ✠ these gifts, these presents, these holy and unspoiled sacrifices.
With hands extended, he continues
We offer them unto thee, first, for thy holy Catholic Church: that thou vouchsafe to keep it in peace, to guard, unite, and govern it throughout the whole world; together with thy servant N., our (Senior Primate/Metropolitan/Patriarch) and N., our Bishop and all the faithful guardians of the Catholic and apostolic faith.
Commemoration of the Living
Remember, O Lord, thy servants and handmaids [N. and N.] He prays for them briefly with hands joined. Then, with hands extended, he continues and all who here around us stand, whose faith is known unto thee and their steadfastness manifest, on whose behalf we offer unto thee, or who themselves offer unto thee, this sacrifice of praise; for themselves, and for all who are theirs; for the redemption of their souls, for the hope of their salvation and safety; and who offer their prayers unto thee, the eternal God, the living and the true.
United in one communion, we venerate the memory, first of the glorious ever-Virgin Mary, Mother of our God and Lord Jesus Christ; of Joseph her spouse; as also of the blessed Apostles and Martyrs, Peter and Paul, Andrew, James, John, Thomas, James, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Simon and Thaddaeus; Linus, Cletus, Clement, Xystus, Cornelius, Cyprian, Lawrence, Chrysogonus, John and Paul, Cosmas and Damian and of all thy Saints: grant that by their merits and prayers we may in all things be defended with the help of thy protection.
[Through Christ Our Lord. Amen]
With hands extended, he continues
We beseech thee then, O Lord, graciously to accept this oblation from us thy servants, and from thy whole family: order thou our days in thy peace, and bid us to be delivered from eternal damnation, and to be numbered in the fold of thine elect. [Through Christ our Lord.]
Vouchsafe, O God, we beseech thee, in all things to make this oblation blessed, approved and accepted, a perfect and worthy offering: that it may become for us the Body and Blood of thy dearly beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
He joins his hands.
Who the day before he suffered, On Maundy Thursday he says: Who the day before he suffered to save us and all men, that is today, He takes the bread and, raising it a little above the altar, continues: took bread into his holy and venerable hands, He looks upward and with eyes lifted up to heaven, unto thee, God, his almighty Father, giving thanks to thee, he blessed, broke and gave it to his disciples, saying: He bows slightly. Take this, all of you, and eat it: this is my body which will be given up for you. He genuflects, shows the consecrated Host to the People, places it on the paten, and again genuflects in adoration. Then he continues Likewise, after supper, He takes the chalice, and, raising it a little above the altar, continues taking also this goodly chalice into his holy and venerable hands, again giving thanks to thee, he blessed, and gave it to his disciples, saying: He bows slightly. Take this, all of you, and drink from it: this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven. Do this in memory of me. He genuflects, shows the Chalice to the People, places it on the corporal, and again genuflects in adoration. Then with hands extended, the Priest says:
Wherefore, O Lord, we thy servants, and thy holy people also, remembering the blessed passion of the same Christ thy Son our Lord, as also his resurrection from the dead, and his glorious ascension into heaven; do offer unto thine excellent majesty of thine own gifts and bounty, the pure victim, the holy victim, the immaculate victim, the holy Bread of eternal life, and the Chalice of everlasting salvation.
We implore thee and call upon thee, O Holy of Holies, that by the favor of thy goodness thy Holy Spirit may come upon us and upon the gifts now offered, to bless, to sanctify, and to show this bread he blesses the bread ✠ to be the precious Body of our Lord and God and Savior, Jesus Christ, and this cup he blesses the cup ✠ to be the precious Blood of our Lord and God and Savior, Jesus Christ, he blesses both ✠ shed for the life of the world. Making the change by the Holy Spirit
The people respond: Amen! Amen! Amen!
Vouchsafe to look upon them with a merciful and pleasant countenance; and to accept them, even as thou didst vouchsafe to accept the gifts of thy servant Abel the Righteous, and the sacrifice of our Patriarch Abraham; and the holy sacrifice, the immaculate victim, which thy high priest Melchisedech offered unto thee. Bowing, with hands joined, he continues We humbly beseech thee, almighty God, command these offerings to be brought by the hands of thy holy Angel to thine altar on high, in sight of thy divine majesty; that all we who at this partaking of the altar shall receive the most sacred Body and Blood of thy Son, He stands up straight and makes the sign of the cross upon himself, saying may be fulfilled with all heavenly benediction and grace. [Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.]
Commemoration of the Dead
With hands extended, he says Remember also, O Lord, thy servants and handmaids, [N. and N.], who have gone before us sealed with the seal of faith, and who sleep the sleep of peace. The Priest prays for them briefly with joined hands. Then, with hands extended, he continues To them, O Lord, and to all that rest in Christ, we beseech thee to grant the abode of refreshing, of light, and of peace.
[Through the same Christ our Lord.]
The Priest strikes his breast with the right hand, saying To us sinners also, thy servants, who hope in the multitude of thy mercies, With hands extended, he continues vouchsafe to grant some part and fellowship with thy holy Apostles and Martyrs; with John, Stephen, Matthias, Barnabas, Ignatius, Alexander, Marcellinus, Peter, Felicitas, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucy, Agnes, Cecilia, Anastasia and with all thy Saints, within whose fellowship, we beseech thee, admit us, not weighing our merit, but granting us forgiveness; He joins his hands and continues through Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom, O Lord, thou dost ever create all these good things; dost sanctify, quicken, bless, and bestow them upon us; He takes the Chalice and the paten with the Host and, lifting them up, sings or says By whom, and with whom, and in whom, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, all honour and glory be unto thee, O Father Almighty, world without end.
The People respond: Amen.
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