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Ritus in classical Latin in means primarily, the form and manner of any religious observance, so Livy, 1, 7: "Sacra diis aliis albano ritu, græco Herculi ut ab Evandro instituta erant (Romulus) facit"; then, in general, any custom or usage. In English the word "rite" ordinarily means, the ceremonies, prayers, and functions of any religious body, whether pagan, Jewish, Moslem, or Christian. But here we must distinguish two uses of the word. We speak of any one such religious function as a rite -- the rite of the blessing of palms, the coronation rite, etc. In a slightly different sense we call the whole complex of the services of any Church or group of Churches a rite-thus we speak of the Roman Rite, Byzantine Rite, and various Eastern rites. In the latter sense the word is often considered equivalent to liturgy, which, however, in the older and more proper use of the word is the Eucharistic Service, or Mass; hence for a whole series of religious functions "rite" is preferable.

A Christian rite, in this sense comprises the manner of performing all services for the worship of God and the sanctification of men. This includes therefore: (1) the administration of sacraments, among which the service of the Holy Eucharist, as being also the Sacrifice, is the most important element of all; (2) the series of psalms, lessons, prayers, etc., divided into unities, called "hours", to make up together the Divine Office ; (3) all other religious and ecclesiastical functions, called sacramentals. This general term includes blessings of persons (such as a coronation, the blessing of an abbot, various ceremonies performed for catechumens, the reconciliation of public penitents, Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament etc.), blessings of things (the consecration of a church, altar, chalice, etc.), and a number of devotions and ceremonies, e.g. processions and the taking of vows. Sacraments, the Divine Office, and sacramentals (in a wide sense) make up the rite of any Christian religious body. In the case of Protestants these three elements must be modified to suit their theological opinions.


The Catholic Church has never maintained a principle of uniformity in rite. Just as there are different local laws in various parts of the Church, whereas certain fundamental laws are obeyed by all, so Catholics in different places have, their own local or national rites; they say prayers and perform ceremonies that have evolved to suit people of the various countries, and are only different expressions of the same fundamental truths. The essential elements of the functions are obviously the same everywhere, and are observed by all Catholic rites in obedience to the command of Christ and the Apostles, thus in every rite is administered with water and the invocation of the Holy Trinity ; the Holy Eucharist is celebrated with bread and wine over which the words of institution are said; penance involves the confession of sins. In the amplification of these essential elements in the accompanying prayers and practical or ceremonies, various customs have produced the changes which make the different rites. If any rite did not contain one of the essential notes of the service it would be invalid in that point, if its prayers or ceremonies expressed false doctrine it would he heretical. Such rites would not be tolerated in the Catholic Church. But, supposing uniformity in essentials and in faith, the authority of the Church has never insisted on uniformity of rile; Rome has never resented the fact that other people have their own expressions of the same truths. The Roman Rite is the most, venerable, the most archaic, and immeasurably the most important of all, but our fellow Catholics in the East have the same right to their traditional liturgies as we have to ours. Nor can we doubt that other rites too have many beautiful prayers and ceremonies which add to the richness of Catholic liturgical inheritance. To lose these would be a misfortune second only to the loss of the Roman Rite. Leo XIII in his Encyclical, "Præclara" (20 June, 1894), expressed the traditional attitude of the papacy when he wrote of his reverence for the venerable able rites of the Eastern Churches and assured the schismatics, whom be invited to reunion, that there was no jealousy of these things at Rome ; that for all Eastern customs "we shall provide without narrowness."

At the time of the Schism, Photius and Cerularius hurled against Latin rites and customs every conceivable absurd accusation. The Latin fast on Saturday, Lenten fare, law of celibacy, confirmation by a bishop, and especially the use of unleavened bread for the Holy Eucharist were their accusations against the West. Latin theologians replied that both were right and suitable, each for the people who used them, that there was no need for uniformity in rite if there was unity in faith, that one good custom did not prove another to be bad, thus defending their customs without attacking those of the East. But the Byzantine patriarch was breaking the unity of the Church, denying the primacy, and plunging the East into schism. In 1054, when Cerularius's schism had begun, a Latin bishop, Dominic of Gradus and Aquileia, wrote concerning it to Peter III of Antioch. He discussed the question Cerularius had raised, the use of azymes at Mass, and carefully explained that, in using this bread, Latins did not intend to disparage the Eastern custom of consecrating leavened bread, for there is a symbolic reason for either practice. "Because we know that the sacred mixture of fermented bread is used and lawfully observed by the most holy and orthodox Fathers of the Eastern Churches, we faithfully approve of both customs and confirm both by a spiritual explanation" (Will, "Acta et scripta quæ de controversiis ecclesiæ græcæ et latinæ sæc. XI composite extant", Leipzig, 1861, 207). These words represent very well the attitude of the papacy towards other rites at all times. Three points, however, may seem opposed to this and therefore require some explanation: the supplanting of the old Gallican Rite by that of Rome almost throughout the West, the modification of Uniat rites, the suppression of the later medieval rites.

The existence of the Gallican Rite was a unique anomaly. The natural principle that rite follows patriarchate has been sanctioned by universal tradition with this one exception. Since the first organization of patriarchates there has been an ideal of uniformity throughout each. The close bond that joined bishops and metropolitans to their patriarch involved the use of his liturgy, just as the priests of a diocese follow the rite of their bishop. Before the arbitrary imposition of the Byzantine Rite on all Orthodox Churches no Eastern patriarch would have tolerated a foreign liturgy in his domain. All Egypt used the Alexandrine Rite, all Syria that of Antioch-Jerusalem, all Asia Minor, Greece, and the Balkan lands, that of Constantinople. But in the vast Western lands that make up the Roman patriarchate, north of the Alps and in Spain, various local rites developed, all bearing a strong resemblance to each other, yet different from that of Rome itself. These form the Gallican family of liturgies. Abbot Cabrol, Dom Cagin, and other writers of their school think that the Gallican Rite was really the original Roman Rite before Rome modified it Paléographie musicale V, Solesmes, 1889; Cabrol, Les origines liturgiques Paris 1906). Most writers, however, maintain with Mgr Duchesne ("Origines du culte Chrétien", Paris, 1898, 8489), that the Gallican Rite is Eastern, Antiochene in origin. Certainly it has numerous Antiochene peculiarities (see GALLICAN RITE), and when it emerged as a complete rite in the sixth and seventh centuries (in Germanus of Paris, etc.), it was different from that in use at Rome at the time. Non-Roman liturgies were used at Milan, Aquileia, even at Gobble at the gates of the Roman province ( Innocent I's letter to Decentius of Eugubium; Ep. xxv, in P. L., XX, 551-61). Innocent (401-17) naturally protested against the use of a foreign rite in Umbria; occasionally other popes showed some desire for uniformity in their patriarchate, but the great majority regarded the old state of things with perfect indifference. When other bishops asked them how ceremonies were performed at Rome they sent descriptions (so Pope Vigilius to Profuturus of Braga in 538; Jaffé, "Regesta Rom. Pont.", n. 907), but were otherwise content to allow different uses. St. Gregory I (590-604) showed no anxiety to make the new English Church conform to Rome, but told St. Augustine to take whatever rites he thought most suitable from Rome or Gaul (Ep. xi, 64, in P. L., LXXVII, 1186-7).

Thus for centuries the popes alone among patriarchs did not enforce their own rite even throughout their patriarchate. The gradual romanization and subsequent disappearance of Gallican rites were (beginning in the eighth and ninth centuries), the work not of the popes but of local bishops and kings who naturally wished to conform to the use of the Apostolic See . The Gallican Rites varied everywhere (Charles the Great gives this as his reason for adopting the Roman Use; see Hauck, "Kirchengesch. Deutschlands", 11, 107 sq.), and the inevitable desire for at least local uniformity arose. The bishops' frequent visits to Rome brought them in contact with the more dignified ritual observed by their chief at the tomb of the Apostles, and they were naturally influenced by it in their return home. The local bishops in synods ordered conformity to Rome. The romanizing movement in the West came from below. In the Frankish kingdom Charles the Great, as part of his scheme of unifying, sent to Adrian I for copies of the Roman books, commanding their use throughout his domain. In the history of the substitution of the Roman Rite for the Gallican the popes appear as spectators, except perhaps in Spain and much later in Milan. The final result was the application in the West of the old principle, for since the pope was undoubtedly Patriarch of the West it was inevitable, that sooner or later the West should conform to his rite. The places, however, that really cared for their old local rites (Milan, Toledo) retain them even now.

It is true that the changes made in some Uniat rites by the Roman correctors have not always corresponded to the best liturgical tradition. There are as Mgr Duchesne says, "corrections inspired by zeal that was not always according to knowledge " (Origines du culte, 2nd ed., 69), but they are much fewer than is generally supposed and have never been made with the idea of romanizing. Despite the general prejudice that Uniat rites are mere mutilated hybrids, the strongest impression from the study of them is how little has been changed. Where there is no suspicion of false doctrine, as in the Byzantine Rite, the only change made was the restoration of the name of the pope where the schismatics had erased it. Although the question of the procession of the Holy Ghost has been so fruitful a source of dispute between Rome and Constantinople the Filioque clause was certainly not contained in the original creed, nor did the Roman authorities insist on its addition. So Rome is content that Eastern Catholics should keep their traditional form unchanged, though they believe the Catholic doctrine. The Filioque is only sung by those Byzantine Uniats who wish it themselves, as the Ruthenians. Other rites were altered in places, not to romanize but only to eradicate passages suspected of heresy. All other Uniats came from Nestorian, Monophysite, or Monothelete sects, whose rites had been used for centuries by heretics. Hence, when bodies of these people wished to return to the Catholic Church their services were keenly studied at Rome for possible heresy. In most cases corrections were absolutely necessary. The Nestorian Liturgy, for instance, did not contain the words of institution, which had to be added to the Liturgy of the converted Chaldees. The Monophysite Jacobites, Copts, and Armenians have in the Trisagion the fateful clause: "who wast crucified for us", which has been the watchword of Monophysitism ever since Peter the Dyer of Antioch added it (470-88). If only because of its associations this could not remain in a Catholic Liturgy.

In some instances, however, the correctors were over scrupulous. In the Gregorian Armenian Liturgy the words said by the deacon at the expulsion of the catechumens, long before the Consecration : "The body of the Lord and the blood of the Saviour are set forth (or "are before us") (Brightman, "Eastern Liturgies ", 430) were in the Uniat Rite changed to: "are about to be before us". The Uniats also omit the words sung by the Gregorian choir before the Anaphora : "Christ has been manifested amongst us (has appeared in the midst of us)" (ibid., 434), and further change the cherubic hymn because of its anticipation of the Consecration. These misplacements are really harmless when understood, yet any reviser would be shocked by such strong cases. In many other ways also the Armenian Rite shows evidence of Roman influence. It has unleavened bread, our confession and Judica psalm at the beginning of Mass, a Lavabo before the Canon, the last Gospel, etc. But so little is this the effect of union with Rome that the schismatical Armenians have all these points too. They date from the time of the Crusades, when the Armenians, vehemently opposed to the Orthodox, made many advances towards Catholics. So also the strong romanizing of the Maronite Liturgy was entirely the work of the Maronites themselves, when, surrounded by enemies in the East, they too turned towards the great Western Church, sought her communion, and eagerly copied her practices. One can hardly expect the pope to prevent other Churches from imitating Roman customs. Yet in the case of Uniats he does even this. A Byzantine Uniat priest who uses unleavened bread in his Liturgy incurs excommunication. The only case in which an ancient Eastern rite has been wilfully romanized is that of the Uniat Malabar Christians, where it was not Roman authority but the misguided zeal of Alexius de Menezes, Archbishop of Goa, and his Portuguese advisers at the Synod of Diamper (1599) which spoiled the old Malabar Rite.

The Western medieval rites are in no case (except the Ambrosian and Mozarabic RiteRites ), really independent of Rome. They are merely the Roman Rite with local additions and modifications, most of which are to its disadvantage. They are late, exuberant, and inferior variants, whose ornate additions and long interpolated tropes, sequences, and farcing destroy the dignified simplicity of the old liturgy. In 1570 the revisers appointed by the Council of Trent restored with scrupulous care and, even in the light of later studies, brilliant success the pure Roman Missal, which Pius V ordered should alone be used wherever the Roman Rite is followed. It was a return to an older and purer form. The medieval rites have no doubt a certain archæological interest; but where the Roman Rite is used it is best to use it in its pure form. This too only means a return to the principle that rite should follow patriarchate. The reform was made very prudently, Pius V allowing any rite that could prove an existence of two centuries to remain ( Bull "Quo primum", 19 July, 1570, printed first in the Missal ), thus saving any local use that had a certain antiquity. Some dioceses (e.g. Lyons ) and religious orders (Dominicans, Carthusians, Carmelites ), therefore keep their special uses, and the independent Ambrosian and Mozarabic RiteRites, whose loss would have been a real misfortune (see LITURGY, MASS, LITURGY OF THE) still remain.

Rome then by no means imposed uniformity of rite. Catholics are united in faith and discipline, but in their manner of performing the sacred functions there is room for variety based on essential unity, as there was in the first centuries. There are cases (e.g. the Georgian Church ) where union with Rome has saved the ancient use, while the schismatics have been forced to abandon it by the centralizing policy of their authorities (in this case Russia ). The ruthless destruction of ancient rites in favour of uniformity has been the work not of Rome but of the schismatical patriarchs of Constantinople. Since the thirteenth century Constantinople in its attempt to make itself the one centre of the Orthodox Church has driven out the far more venerable and ancient Liturgies of Antioch and Alexandria and has compelled all the Orthodox to use its own late derived rite. The Greek Liturgy of St. Mark has ceased to exist; that of St. James has been revived for one or two days in the year at Zakynthos and Jerusalem only (see ANTIOCHENE LITURGY). The Orthodox all the world over must follow the Rite of Constantinople. In this unjustifiable centralization we have a defiance of the old principle, since Antioch, Jerusalem, Alexandria, Cyprus, in no way belong to the Byzantine Patriarchate. Those who accuse the papacy of sacrificing everything for the sake of uniformity mistake the real offender, the oecumenical patriarch.


A complete table of the old rites with an account of their mutual relations will be found in the article LITURGY. Here it need only be added that there is a Uniat body using each of the Eastern rites. There is no ancient rite that is not represented within the Catholic Church. That rite, liturgical language, and religious body connote three totally different ideas has been explained at length in the article GREEK RITES. The rite a bishop or priest follows is no test at all of his religion. Within certain broad limits a member of any Eastern sect might use any rite, for the two categories of rite and religion cross each other continually. They represent quite different classifications: for instance, liturgically all Armenians belong to one class, theologically a Uniat Armenian belongs to the same class as Latins, Chaldees, Maronites, etc., and has nothing to do with his Gregorian ( Monophysite ) fellow-countrymen (see EASTERN CHURCHES). Among Catholics the rite forms a group; each rite is used by a branch of the Church that is thereby a special, though not separate, entity. So within the Catholic unity we speak of local Churches whose characteristic in each case is the rite they use. Rite is the only basis of this classification. Not all Armenian Catholics or Byzantine Uniats obey the same patriarch or local authority; yet they are "Churches" individual provinces of the same great Church, because each is bound together by their own rites. In the West there is the vast Latin Church, in the East the Byzantine, Chaldean, Coptic, Syrian, Maronite, Armenian, and Malabar Uniat Churches. It is of course possible to subdivide and to speak of the national Churches (of Italy, France, Spain, etc.) under one of these main bodies (see LATIN CHURCH). In modern times rite takes the place of the old classification in patriarchates and provinces.


The Reformation in the sixteenth century produced a new and numerous series of rites, which are in no sense continuations of the old development of liturgy. They do not all represent descendants of the earliest rites, nor can they be classified in the table of genus and species that includes all the old liturgies of Christendom. The old rites are unconscious and natural developments of earlier ones and go back to the original fluid rite of the first centuries (see LITURGY). The Protestant rites are deliberate compositions made by the various Reformers to suit their theological positions, as new services were necessary for their prayer meetings. No old liturgy could be used by people with their ideas. The old rites contain the plainest statements about the Real Presence , the Eucharistic Sacrifice, prayers to saints, and for the dead, which are denied by Protestants. The Reformation occurred in the West, where the Roman Rite in its various local forms had been used for centuries. No Reformed sect could use the Roman Mass; the medieval derived rites were still more ornate, explicit, in the Reformers' sense superstitious. So all the Protestant sects abandoned the old Mass and the other ritual functions, composing new services which have no continuity, no direct relation to any historic liturgy. However, it is hardly possible to compose an entirely new Christian service without borrowing anything. Moreover, in many cases the Reformers wished to make the breach with the past as little obvious as could be. So many of their new services contain fragments of old rites; they borrowed such elements as seemed to them harmless, composed and re-arranged and evolved in some cases services that contain parts of the old ones in a new order. On the whole it is surprising that they changed as much as they did. It would have been possible to arrange an imitation of the Roman Mass that would have been much more like it than anything they produced.

They soon collected fragments of all kinds of rites, Eastern, Roman, Mozarabic, etc., which with their new prayers they arranged into services that are hopeless liturgical tangles. This is specially true of the Anglican Prayer-books. In some cases, for instance, the placing of the Gloria after the Communion in Edward VI's second Prayer-book, there seems to be no object except a love of change. The first Lutheran services kept most of the old order. The Calvinist arrangements had from the first no connexion with any earlier rite. The use of the vulgar tongue was a great principle with the Reformers. Luther and Zwingli at first compromised with Latin, but soon the old language disappeared in all Protestant services. Luther in 1523 published a tract, "Of the order of the service in the parish" ("Von ordenung gottis diensts [sic] ynn der gemeine" in Clemen, "Quellenbuch zur prakt. Theologie", 1, 24-6), in which he insists on preaching, rejects all "unevangelical" parts of the Mass, such as the Offertory and idea of sacrifice, invocation of saints, and ceremonies, and denounces private Masses (Winkelmessen), Masses for the dead, and the idea of the priest as a mediator. Later in the same year he issued a "Formula missæ et communionis pro ecclesia Vittebergensi" (ibid., 26-34), in which he omits the preparatory prayers, Offertory, all the Canon to qui pridie , from Unde et memores to the Pater, the embolism of the Lord's Prayer, fraction, Ite missa est. The Preface is shortened, the Sanctus is to be sung after the words of institution which are to be said aloud, and meanwhile the elevation may be made because of the weak who would be offended by its sudden omission (ibid., IV, 30). At the end he adds a new ceremony, a blessing from Num., vi, 24-6. Latin remained in this service.

Karlstadt began to hold vernacular services at Wittenberg since 1521. In 1524 Kaspar Kantz published a German service on the lines of Luther's "Formula missæ" (Lohe, "Sammlung liturgischer Formuläre III, Nördlingen, 1842, 37 sq.); so also Thomas Münzer the Anabaptist, in 1523 at Alstedt (Smend, "Die evang. deutschen Messen", 1896, 99 sq.). A number of compromises began at this time among the Protestants, services partly Latin and partly vernacular (Rietschel, "Lehrbuch der Liturgik", 1, 404-9). Vernacular hymns took the place of the old Proper ( Introit, etc.). At last in 1526 Luther issued an entirely new German service, "Deudsche Messe und ordnung Gottis diensts" (Clemen, op. cit., 3443), to be used on Sundays, whereas the "Formula missæ", in Latin, might be kept for week-days. In the "Deudsche Messe" "a spiritual song or German psalm " replaces the Introit, then follows Kyrie eleison in Greek three times only. There is no Gloria. Then come the Collects, Epistle, a German hymn, Gospel, Creed, Sermon, Paraphrase of the Lord's Prayer, words of institution with the account of the Last Supper from I Cor, xi, 20-9, Elevation (always kept by Luther himself in spite of Karlstadt and most of his colleagues), Communion, during which the Sanctus or a hymn is sung, Collects, the blessing from Num., vi, 24-6. Except the Kyrie, all is in German; azyme bread is still used but declared indifferent; Communion is given under both kinds, though Luther preferred the unmixed chalice. This service remained for a long time the basis of the Lutheran Communion function, but the local branches of the sect from the beginning used great freedom in modifying it. The Pietistic movement in the eighteenth century, with its scorn for forms and still more the present Rationalism, have left very little of Luther's scheme. A vast number of Agendæ, Kirchenordnungen, and Prayer-books issued by various Lutheran consistories from the sixteenth century to our own time contain as many forms of celebrating the Lord's Supper. Pastors use their own discretion to a great extent, and it is impossible to foresee what service will be held in any Lutheran church. An arrangement of hymns, Bible readings (generally the Nicene Creed ), a sermon, then the words of institution and Communion, prayers (often extempore), more hymns, and the blessing from Num., vi, make up the general outline of the service.

Zwingli was more radical than Luther. In 1523 he kept a form of the Latin Mass with the omission of all he did not like in it ("De canone missæ epichiresis" in Clemen, op. cit., 43-7), chiefly because the town council of Zurich feared too sudden a change, but in 1525 he overcame their scruples and issued his "Action oder bruch (=Brauch) des nachtmals" (ibid., 47-50). This is a complete breach with the Mass an entirely new service. On Maundy Thursday the men and women are to receive communion, on Good Friday those of "middle age", on Easter Sunday only the oldest (die alleraltesten). These are the only occasions on which the service is to be held. The arrangement is: a prayer said by the pastor facing the people, reading of 1 Cor, xi, 20-9, Gloria in Excelsis, "The Lord be with you" and its answer, reading of John, vi, 47-63, Apostles' Creed, an address to the people, Lord's Prayer, extempore prayer, words of institution, Communion (under both kinds in wooden vessels), Ps. cxiii, a short prayer of thanksgiving; the pastor says: "Go in peace". On other Sundays there is to be no Communion at all, but a service consisting of prayer, Our Father, sermon, general confession, absolution, prayer, blessing. Equally radical was the Calvinist sect. In 1535 through Farel's influence the Mass was abolished in Geneva. Three times a year only was there to be a commemorative Supper in the baldest form; on other Sundays the sermon was to suffice. In 1542 Calvin issued "La forme des prières ecclésiastiques"" (Clemen, op. cit., 51-8), a supplement to which describes "La manière de célébrer la cène" (ibid., 51-68). This rite, to be celebrated four times yearly, consists of the reading of 1 Cor, xi, an excommunication of various kinds of sinners, and long exhortation. "This being done, the ministers distribute the bread and the cup to the people, taking care that they approach reverently and in good order" (ibid., 60). Meanwhile a psalm is sung or a lesson read from the Bible , a thanksgiving follows (ibid., 55), and a final blessing. Except for their occurrence in the reading of I Cor, xi, the words of institution are not said; there is no kind of Communion form. It is hardly possible to speak of rite at all in the Calvinist body.

The other ritual functions kept by Protestants ( baptism, confirmation as an introduction to Communion marriage, funerals, appointment of ministers ) went through much the same development. The first Reformers expunged and modified the old rites, then gradually more and more was changed until little remained of a rite in our sense. Psalms, hymns, prayers, addresses to the people in various combinations make up these functions. The Calvinists have always been more radical than the Lutherans. The development and multiple forms of these services may be seen in Rietschel, "Lehrbuch der Liturgik", II, and Clemen, "Quellenbuch zur praktischen Theologie", I (texts only). The Anglican body stands somewhat apart from the others, inasmuch as it has a standard book, almost unaltered since 1662. The first innovation was the introduction of an English litany under Henry VIII in 1544. Cranmer was preparing further changes when Henry VIII died (see Procter and Frere, "A New History of the Boo of Common Prayer " London, 1908, 29-35). Under Edward VI (1547-53) many changes were made at once: blessings, holy water , the creeping to the Cross were abolished, Mass was said in English (ibid., 39-41), and in 1549 the first Prayer-book, arranged by Cranmer, was issued. Much of the old order of the Mass remained, but the Canon disappeared to make way for a new prayer from Lutheran sources. The "Kölnische Kirchenordnung" composed by Melanchthon and Butzer supplied part of the prayers. The changes are Lutheran rather than Calvinist. In 1552 the second Prayerbook took the place of the first. This is the present Anglican Book of Common Prayer and represents a much stronger Protestant tendency. The commandments take the place of the Introit and Kyrie (kept in the first book), the Gloria is moved to the end, the Consecration-prayer is changed so as to deny the Sacrifice and Real Presence, the form at the Communion becomes: "Take and eat this in remembrance that Christ died for thee, and feed on him in thy heart by faith with thanksgiving" (similarly for the chalice ). In 1558 Elizabeth's Government issued a new edition of the second Prayer-book of Edward VI with slight modifications of its extreme Protestantism. Both the Edwardine forms for communion are combined. In 1662 a number of revisions were made. In particular the ordination forms received additions defining the order to be conferred. A few slight modifications (as to the lessons read, days no longer to be kept) have been made since.

The Anglican Communion service follows this order: The Lord's Prayer , Collect for purity, Ten Commandments , Collect for the king and the one for the day, Epistle, Gospel, Creed, sermon, certain sentences from the Bible (meanwhile a collection is made), prayer for the Church militant, address to the people about Communion, general confession and absolution, the comfortable words ( Matthew 11:28 ; John 3:16 ; 1 Timothy 1:15 ; 1 John 2:1 ), Preface, prayer ("We do not presume"), Consecration-prayer, Communion at once, Lord's Prayer, Thanksgiving-prayer, "Glory be to God on high", blessing. Very little of the arrangement of the old Mass remains in this service, for all the ideas Protestants reject are carefully excluded. The Boo of Common Prayer contains all the official services of the Anglican Church, baptism, the catechism, confirmation, marriage, funeral, ordination, articles of religion, etc. It has also forms of morning and evening prayer, composed partly from the Catholic Office with many modifications and very considerably reduced. The Episcopal Church in Scotland has a Prayer-book, formed in 1637 and revised in 1764, which is more nearly akin to the first Prayer-book of Edward VI and is decidedly more High Church in tone. In 1789 the Protestant Episcopal Church of America accepted a book based on the English one of 1662, but taking some features from the Scotch services. The Anglican service-books are now the least removed from Catholic liturgies of those used by any Protestant body. But this is saying very little. The Non-jurors in the eighteenth century produced a number of curious liturgies which in many ways go back to Catholic principles, but have the fault common to all Protestant services of being conscious and artificial arrangements of elements selected from the old rites, instead of natural developments (Overton, "The Non-jurors ", London, 1902, ch. vi). The Irvingites have a not very-successful service-book of this type. Many Methodists use the Anglican book; the other later sects have for the most part nothing but loose arrangements of hymns, readings, extempore prayers, and a sermon that can hardly be called rites in any sense.


The language of any Church or rite, as distinct from the vulgar tongue, is that used in the official services and may or may not be the common language. For instance the Rumanian Church uses liturgically the ordinary language of the country, while Latin is used by the Latin Church for her Liturgy without regard to the mother tongue of the clergy or congregation. There are many cases of an intermediate state between these extremes, in which the liturgical language is an older form of the vulgar tongue, sometimes easily, sometimes hardly at all, understood by people who have not studied it specially. Language is not rite. Theoretically any rite may exist in any language. Thus the Armenian, Coptic, and East Syrian Rites are celebrated always in one language, the Byzantine Rite is used in a great number of tongues, and in other rites one language sometimes enormously preponderates but is not used exclusively. This is determined by church discipline. The Roman Liturgy is generally celebrated in Latin. The reason why a liturgical language began to be used and is still retained must be distinguished in liturgical science from certain theological or mystic considerations by which its use may be explained or justified. Each liturgical language was first chosen because it was the natural language of the people. But languages change and the Faith spreads into countries where other tongues are spoken. Then either the authorities are of a more practical mind and simply translate the prayers into the new language, or the conservative instinct, always strong in religion, retains for the liturgy an older language no longer used in common life. The Jews showed this instinct, when, though Hebrew was a dead language after the Captivity, they continued to use it in the Temple and the synagogues in the time of Christ, and still retain it in their services. The Moslem, also conservative, reads the Koran in classical Arabic, whether he be Turk, Persian, or Afghan. The translation of the church service is complicated by the difficulty of determining when the language in which it is written, as Latin in the West and Hellenistic Greek in the East, has ceased to be the vulgar tongue. Though the Byzantine services were translated into the common language of the Slavonic people that they might be understood, this form of the language (Church-Slavonic) is no longer spoken, but is gradually becoming as unintelligible as the original Greek. Protestants make a great point of using languages "understanded of the people", yet the language of Luther's Bible and the Anglican Prayerbook is already archaic.


When Christianity appeared Hellenistic Greek was the common language spoken around the Mediterranean. St. Paul writes to people in Greece, Asia Minor, and Italy in Greek. When the parent rites were finally written down in the fourth and fifth centuries Eastern liturgical language had slightly changed. The Greek of these liturgies (Apost. Const. VIII, St. James, St. Mark, the Byzantine Liturgy ) was that of the Fathers of the time, strongly coloured by the Septuagint and the New Testament. These liturgies remained in this form and have never been recast in any modern Greek dialect. Like the text of the Bible , that of a liturgy once fixed becomes sacred. The formulæ used Sunday after Sunday are hallowed by too sacred associations to be changed as long as more or less the same language is used. The common tongue drifts and develops, but the liturgical forms are stereotyped. In the East and West, however, there existed different principles in this matter. Whereas in the West there was no literary language but Latin till far into the Middle Ages , in the East there were such languages, totally unlike Greek, that had a position, a literature, a dignity of their own hardly inferior to that of Greek itself. In the West every educated man spoke and wrote Latin almost to the Renaissance. To translate the Liturgy into a Celtic or Teutonic language would have seemed as absurd as to write a prayerbook now in some vulgar slang. The East was never hellenized as the West was latinized. Great nations, primarily Egypt and Syria, kept their own languages and literatures as part of their national inheritance. The people, owing no allegiance to the Greek language, had no reason to say their prayers in it, and the Liturgy was translated into Coptic in Egypt, into Syriac in Syria and Palestine. So the principle of a uniform liturgical language was broken in the East and people were accustomed to hear the church service in different languages in different places. This uniformity once broken never became an ideal to Eastern Christians and the way was opened for an indefinite multiplication of liturgical tongues.

In the fourth and fifth centuries the Rites of Antioch and Alexandria were used in Greek in the great towns where people spoke Greek, in Coptic or Syriac among peasants in the country. The Rite of Asia Minor and Constantinople was always in Greek, because here there was no rival tongue. But when the Faith was preached in Armenia (from Cæsarea) the Armenians in taking over the Cæsarean Rite translated it of course into their own language. And the great Nestorian Church in East Syria, evolving her own literature in Syriac, naturally used that language for her church services too. This diversity of tongues was by no means parallel to diversity of sect or religion. People who agreed entirely in faith, who were separated by n

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