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10. Consecration of the Elements

Antiquities of the Christian Church
XVI. Of the Lord's Supper

10. Consecration of the Elements

The consecration of the elements was at a very early period performed with great formality, and with a set form of words and prayer, which were the subject of frequent discussion in different churches. It would be foreign to the design of this work to enumerate the various controversies that have prevailed on this subject. In general, the church has agreed that the elements should be set apart to a sacramental use by prayer. The words given in the original institution were uniformly included in the consecrating prayer. Some contended that a personal invocation of the Holy Spirit was essential to a due consecration of the elements. But all agreed in supplicating the graces of the Spirit to sanctify these gifts to them, and to make them partakers of the body and blood of Christ, i.e. of the benefits of his death. Several of the authors who have treated of this general subject are enumerated in the index. 

Elevation of the host. As early, perhaps, as the third or fourth century, it became customary in the Eastern church to exhibit the consecrated elements to the people, to excite their veneration for the sacred mysteries of the sacrament. In the middle ages the host became the subject of adoration, under the notion that the elements, by transubstantiation, became the body and blood of Christ. This theological dogma was introduced into Gaul in the twelfth century, and into Germany in the thirteenth. 

Micrologus, c. 12: Berno, De missa. c. 1: Steph. Durantus, De Rit, eccl. cath. lib. ii. c. 18–28: Guil. Duraiidus, Ration, div. Offic. lib. iv. c. 35, 36: Chr. M. PfafF, Dissert, de consecratione vet. eucharisiica.: J. Fr. Cotta. Ad Gerhardi, Loc. Theol. torn. x. p. 264.

Steph. Diiranti, De elevatione et osteiisione Eucharistiae: S. Ejiisd. De litib. eccl. caihol. lib. ii. c. 40. p. 673 seq.: Carol, de Lith. de adoratione panis consecrati et interdictione sacri calicis in Eucharistia. Suobac. 1753. 8.


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