Category Archives: Consubstantiation

Serving the Altar


The Ark’s Procession

I’ve been reading Barbara Gent and Betty Sturges’ handbook for Altar Guilds, published in 1982. The handbook partly deals with the history of the Sacristan and how it’s changed since the Victorian era. Until now, I haven’t pondered the orthodoxy of women serving at the Altar. Instead, I assumed anything that involved folding or cleaning linen was ‘servile’ or ‘housekeeping’– thus, no overthrow of male headship. But male headship has its limits, and it does not answer why altar service was first targeted by early feminists. Until I read Gent’s guide, I had no idea how recent an innovative were women-led Altar Guilds. The phenomena of female ordination might be blamed upon the loss of the Altar (or even sanctuary) as a focal point for public worship?
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Connecticut Concordate

His Grace, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Seabury

The Connecticut Concord was signed Nov. 14 1784 by the Rt. Rev. Dr. Samuel Seabury as a condition to his elevation to the episcopate while in Aberdeen Scotland.  The Concordant established several points for the primitive source of doctrine, certain manners regarding territorial integrity,  and perpetual goodwill between churches. However, the Concordate’s principle article had the Connecticut church adopt, as far as possible, the communion office belonging to the first prayer book of Edward VI, it being most agreeable with primitive pattern.  It’s from this Concordant that the  American High Church party, starting with the New Englanders, as well as later traditionalist Anglicans, would make the  1549 BCP a moniker.

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The Saxon Visitation

Chancellor Crell

Chancellor Crell

The Saxon Visitation Articles were published in 1593 to counter the influence of receptionism amongst Lutheran Churches in Saxony. They define an effectual, localized, spiritual presence in the bread. While Thomas Cranmer had died a convinced ‘receptionist’, Archbishop Parker added article XXIX, modifying Cranmer’s earlier spiritualization of sacrament so that an objective and local presence might be also confessed in the bread,

“The Wicked, and such as be void of a lively faith, although they do carnally and visibly press with their teeth (as Saint Augustine saith) the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ; yet in no wise are they partakers of Christ: but rather, to their condemnation, do eat and drink the sign or Sacrament”

The XXIXth Article permitted a distinctly  literal (verba) interpretation of sacrament. In so far as the Article persisted after the Restoration, the 1662 Black Rubric might to be read as ‘consubstantiationist’. Hence, the Restoration, like Elizabethan settlement, technically brought Anglicanism to a more German-catholic view.

How secondary elements (like ornaments) relate to Article 29 is another story. Generally speaking, Tudor and Stuart monarchs favored late Henrican worship (1538 Injunctions) and also wished to restore aspects of the 1549 against more ‘puritan’ elements pressed from the vantage of the 1552 BCP. A discrepency in eucharist theology persisted between what would become Parker’s 39 vs. Cranmer’s earlier 42 articles.  The modifications to the 1559 BCP tried to resolve such, and, though Elizabeth restored the older words of administration, the prayer of consecration could also be understood to locate the oblation with worshippers (the real presence located in hearts of the people) rather than in the elements. Thus, between 16th century articles and prayer book, the CofE comprehended both Calvinistic and Lutheran views of sacrament. This would leave her, confessionally speaking, somewhere near the Wittenberg Concord (1536) and Variatas Augsburg (1542) on the continent. The latter was also composed by Melancthon and signed by Calvin. These along with Bucer’s writings deserve re-examination if we are to speak of a “classicaly Anglican”  eucharist.

The image above is Chancellor Nicholas Crell’s head. Crell was executed for “acts of treachery” against the Duke in Wittenburg , 1601. Amongst these ‘acts’ were propagating receptionist views. Frederick William I with Rev. Aegidius Hunnius managed to reverse Calvinist gains through such Visitation powers. Below is Visitation Article’s used to exclude Calvinist views on the Holy Supper, summing the genuine Lutheran position.

Article 1. Holy Supper

The pure and true doctrine of our churches concerning the Holy Supper:

I. The words of Christ, “Take, eat, this is My body; drink, this is My blood” are to be understood simply and according to the letter, as they read.

II. In the Sacrament there ae two things that are given and received with  each other: one earthly, which is bread and wine; and one heavenly, which is the body and blood of Christ.

III. This giving and receiving occurs here on earth, and not above in heaven.

IV. It is the true natural body of Christ that hung on the cross, and the true natural blood that flowed from the side of Christ.

V. The body and blood of Christ are received not only by faith spiritually, which can also occur outside of the Supper, but here with the bread and wine orally. Yet this happens in an unexplainable and supernatural way, as a pledge of assurance of the resurrection of our bodies from the dead.

VI. The oral partaking of the body and blood of Christ is done not only by the worthy, but alos by the unworthy, who approach without repentance and true faith. Nevertheless, this leads to a different result: by the worthy for salvation, by the unworthy for judgment.