Project Canterbury

[Alcuin Club Tracts XII]

Russian Observations upon the American Prayer Book

translated by Wilfrid J. Barnes

and edited with notes by

Walter Howard Frere

[A. R. Mowbray and Co. Ltd. London; Milwaukee, U.S.A.: The Young Churchman Co., 1917]


THESE Observations upon the American Book of Common Prayer ([Zamchania ob Amerikanskoi "Knig' Obshikh Molitv'"]) were published in 1904, in the journal called [Khristianskoi Chtenie] and separately. In the period that has elapsed since then considerable advance has been made in the better mutual understanding of Orthodox and Anglican. But it is though that the Observations deserve to be known in England, because they may help still further to advance that cause. The circumstances that evoked the Observations are described in the opening remarks, and they must be accurately noted if the document itself is to be properly appreciated. It was not the satisfactoriness, or the reverse, of the American Prayer Book itself, that was in question, but its satisfactoriness as a group of rites for use by an Orthodox congregation—and a congregation too which was for the first time conforming itself to Orthodoxy. This being the case the scrutiny was bound to be more searching, and the requirements more exacting, than they would have been in the other case.

The Observations are not controversial—they are practical in their character and brotherly in their spirit. They will seem to us Anglicans to betray at times some prejudices and some deep-seated suspicions, which we had not, perhaps, anticipated. But if we realize how much of similar prejudice and suspicion there is among us with regard to Orthodox belief and practice, we shall not let ourselves be surprised, or even hurt, by this.

Further, if we repudiate some of the criticism, because we may think it arises from prejudice or lack of knowledge and intercourse, we are bound to find also a good deal of criticism which we must lay to heart.

Complaint is made of some important omissions; and we must, at least in some cases, plead guilty. Complaint is made of lack of definiteness: in some cases we should do well to admit the defect, and, for our own sake, amend it; in other cases we may believe that our formularies are not so ambiguous or compromising as they are here made out to be. But, even so, it is clear that they are not definite enough to satisfy or reassure our friends, although they may satisfy us ourselves. In that respect, then, the demand for more explicitness is, from a practical point of view, justified; and, as practical people, we must satisfy it, if we are to advance with the Russian Church in mutual confidence and recognition.

The publication of the Observations at this time has therefore a real bearing on our plans of liturgical reform. Such criticisms as these need to be very carefully weighted. For though they are primarily criticisms on the American Book and its suitability for Orthodox use, they, for the most part, concern us too, and all who are trying to see how our English Book may be made more suitable for Anglican use. This is especially the case since in some respects the American Book is less open to criticism than our own: and the judgment upon the English Book, had that been in question, would in those points have been more severe.

It has seemed desirable to append some notes, for two reasons—(i) mainly for the English reader, both in order to make clear some points that might otherwise be obscure, and also to remind him from time to time what form the Anglican reply might take; (ii) partly also for Russian and other readers, that light may be thrown in some places, in order to facilitate both the avoidance of stumbling-blocks, and the mutual advances of the Russian and Anglican Churches.

In the translation it has been thought well occasionally to add the Russian word in a bracket—sometimes in order to show that one English equivalent is used for different Russian words, and in similar cases; sometimes also to call attention to a slight tendency, which occasionally emerges, to discredit Anglican ways, by not using for them the proper equivalent technical term, but some rather disparaging one, e.g. putting "presbyter" for our "priest."

It is interesting to compare some of these criticisms with those to be found in [Kerenskii, Amerikanskaya Episkopalnaya Tserkov'] (Kazan, 1908), ch. v and vi. The scope is very different, for Kerenski deals more with dogmatics than with the liturgical services and works upon the writings of Dr. Darwell Stone, Drs. Hall, Mortimer, and Percival. But for that very reason the comparison is all the more valuable.


THE following "Observations" represent a report drawn up by order of the committee appointed by the Holy Synod on Old Catholic and Anglican questions. The report was drawn up by some of its members and submitted for consideration at one of the meetings of the committee. The authors examined the American edition of the "Book of Common Prayer" with the especial object of preparing material for an answer to a question which was raised by a memorandum to the Holy Synod from the Right Rev. Tikhon, bishop in America. If an entire parish with its minister should simultaneously leave Anglicanism to join the Orthodox Church in America, then would it be possible to authorize the "Common Prayer Book" for their liturgical use? If so, then what in this book should be deleted, what corrected, and what supplemented? The opinions given in these "Observations" are only an expression of the individual views of the authors.

The "Observations" concern in the first place the more important rites which either have amongst Anglicans also the signification of sacraments, or at least have some correspondence with the sacraments of the Orthodox Church; secondly, they concern other services and forms of prayer found in the book.



I. The first matter which suggests itself to an Orthodox in judging of the Order of Communion is the question, How far is there clearly and definitely expressed in this Order the belief in the change ([prelozhenie]) or transformation ([presischlestvenie]) of the holy Gifts into the Body and Blood of Christ; for this is the corner-stone of the Orthodox Liturgy. From this point of view the C. P. B. cannot satisfy the Orthodox. Leaving on one side the English Order, we observe that in the American Invocation the phrase is used only "to bless and sanctify with thy Word and Holy Spirit these thy gifts and creatures of bread and wine"; and with regard to the change there is found only this very vague and elastic phrase— "that we receiving them (the gifts) according to thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ’s holy institution, in remembrance of his death and passion may be partakers of his most blessed Body and Blood." In order to see fully the vagueness of this phrase it is sufficient to compare the Communion Service with any of the Church’s Liturgies, even with the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great, which for the most part is distinguished by caution in the terms concerning the change, and which indeed immediately after the change speaks of Communion from "bread." "We who communicate from the one bread and the cup" . . . The expression "changing by thy Holy Spirit" may be left out of account, as having evidently been inserted later into the text, possibly in conformity with the Liturgy of St. Chrysostom; but even apart from that, the Holy Spirit is invoked not only "to bless and sanctify" (the gifts), but to "manifest this bread to be verily the precious Body of the Lord and God, our Saviour Jesus Christ, and this holy cup to be verily the precious Blood of our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ, poured out for the life of the world."

2. The second foundation-stone of the Orthodox Liturgy is represented by the belief in the Eucharist as a sacrifice for the living and the dead. This belief is expressed with indisputable clearness in our Liturgies, both in the proskomide and also especially in the prayer "No one is worthy," which prayer, as the prelude to the whole solemn action of the sacrament, gives the key to the interpretation of the remaining passages, which are perhaps not so clear and definite if each of them is taken separately. We do not see that in the C. P. B. In the American "Oblation" it only says that "We . . . do celebrate and maker here before thy Divine Majesty with these thy Holy Gifts, which we now offer unto thee, the memorial ([Vospominanie]) thy Son hath commanded us to make"; but about the sacrificial significance of this offering and about its saving power for those on whose behalf they offer it, there is not a word said either here or elsewhere in the Communion Service. In the Offertory (sic) one can discern something more similar to our proskomide, for there are found there prayers for the living and also a slight mention of the dead; but all mention of the Gifts is omitted (though they lie on the table ([stol']) at the time), and mention is made only of prayers, donations ([pozhertvovaniyakh']), and alms ([milostin']), if any are collected. It is true, in the American rite immediately after the Invocation there is placed the prayer "And we earnestly desire," in which one can find some sort of allusion ([kamekh']) to prayer for the whole Church; therein they entreat God "mercifully to accept this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving," But remember that this same prayer is employed in the English edition as the prayer of thanksgiving after Communion and is read after it, one cannot fail to see how vague is the reference to sacrifice in it. This is all the more so, as the term, "sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving" is applied in the C. P. B. to a general thanksgiving prayer (see, for example, the prayer to be used at sea: O most blessed and glorious Lord God).

They can point us to several ancient Liturgies in which these ideas about the change of the Holy Gifts and about the Sacrifice also are expressed somewhat vaguely. For example (concerning the change) the Gallican Liturgy, the Mozarabic, also the Western Roman ("that it may become to us the Body and Blood of thy well-beloved Son our Lord Jesus Christ"), and in particular in the Ethiopic text of the Liturgy in the Apostolic Constitutions (about the change and Sacrifice), for there at the Consecration there is not even so much reference to the Body of Christ as there is in the Communion Service. But (a) the indefinite expressions concerning the consecration of the Gifts which occur in the Roman, Gallican and Mozarabic Liturgies are undoubtedly defined in other passages of these Liturgies; (for example at the Offertory, or at Communion itself, in the phrase "the union (conjunctio) of the Body of Christ;" for the elements themselves are clearly called "the Body of Christ"). (b) All these Liturgies, not excepting the Liturgy of The Apostolic Constitutions, markedly differ from the Communion Service when they speak about the fruits of Communion. If the Gifts are changed into the Body and Blood of Christ, then it is evident that the Orthodox in receiving the Mysteries ([tain’]) cannot pray that together with them he may be a partaker also of the Body of Christ; it is already given. He therefore prays at once for the fruits of partaking of the Body and Blood, for sobriety of soul, for forgiveness of sins, for sanctification, and asks that the reception of the Body and Blood may not be to him for judgment or condemnation. We see the same in all the Church’s Liturgies. The C. P. B., however, prays for the partaking of the Body and Blood as for something that should follow upon the reception of the sacrament. In this case the Gifts are not at all the same thing to the communicant as the Body of Christ. It may be impossible to call this a direct negation of the belief in the change, but it is also impossible to call it an undoubted and unequivocal expression of it.

It is impossible also to keep out of sight a fact which in this particular case is of importance. In the ancient Church the question of the Eucharist was not a controversial question; and the Church itself did not raise suspicions against any one on the ground of his Eucharistic beliefs. However, the C. P. B. must be regarded as being at variance with the whole Church on this question, and as belonging to a Church which in its symbolical literature and in its catechism confess a doctrine which is clearly protestant. Considering the origin of the document and the epoch to which it belongs, it must be required to exhibit a definiteness on this question no less than the definiteness which liturgical monuments, hailing from the time of controversies about the Holy Trinity, about the wills in the Person of Jesus Christ, etc., exhibit upon these subjects.


In considering whether the rite of Ordinations to the Church’s Ministry in the American Book of Common Prayer can be authorized for congregations of the American Episcopal Church who have joined the Orthodox, first of all there arises the question whether it satisfies those elementary requirements, which every rite must satisfy, if the consecration performed thereby is to be counted as valid ([dbistvitelnim']). This question has already been sufficiently elucidated in the literature concerning the Anglican hierarchy, Russian as well as foreign; and we can claim therefore to have sufficient grounds for a definite answer. The essential parts which in the opinion of the Orthodox Church are unconditionally necessary for the Sacrament of Ordination ([svyaschenstva]), are the laying on of the hands of the bishop, and prayer; these are found in fact in the Anglican rite. Moreover the prayers sufficiently contain that minimum which we must require of them, if we base our demand on the historical and comparative study of those rites of ordination ([posvascheniya]) which have been acknowledged by the Church as adequate.

But if this rite is to be sanctioned for use, it is not enough that it should include the essential exterior elements of the sacrament of ordination. In the case of congregations that have become Orthodox, the rite of ordination ought to express also the Orthodox conception of the Church’s ministry, or at least to presuppose it; it ought not to contain anything discordant with it. The Anglican rite does not satisfy this demand in a sufficient degree. Though it does not contain any clearly-expressed non-orthodox opinions on the hierarchy or the sacrament of ordination, yet it reveals some rather obvious indirect indications and signs of a form of belief distinct from the Orthodox model. We note some external details such as these: the priestly ministry is described as the ministry "of the word (of God) and (of His holy) sacraments"; the preaching of the word of God is systematically placed in the first rank in preference to all other functions, as is shown by the tradition of the Bible (or New Testament) at the time of ordination to all the orders. Such points all show that the rite rests on a different dogmatic ground. These details will appear in a yet clearer light, and further new ones will reveal themselves, which are imperceptible at first sight, if we examine the Ordinal in conjunction with the history of its origin, and compare it with the Catholic Pontifical. On examining the alterations which the Anglican Ordinal made in the method of ordination, and the influences under which the work was done, we see that, when a new rite of ordination was substituted for the Catholic one previously used, the change was not only due to a desire to simplify the complicated Roman Catholic ceremonial and to remove later accretions, it was also the result of a change of belief concerning the priesthood and of a denial of ideas which lay at the root alike of the accretions and in some degree of the ancient parts of the rite.

I. In the Roman Catholic Church the teaching about ordination developed in such a way that the idea of sacrificial offering attained the first rank in it. This function is the foundation both of the high dignity assigned to the ordained ministers, and of the root distinction between them and laymen (so that character indelebilis expresses precisely the one or the other power with regard to the Eucharistic sacrifice). It was also the foundation of the sacramental teaching of the act of ordination. In the ordination of presbyters this power was also thrown into high relief. It is at this point more than at any other that there has occurred a change of belief in the English Church. The new interpretation of the Eucharist, combined with the denial of its sacrificial character, and entailing the destruction and removal of altars from the churches, and the substitution of tables ([stol']) for them, was followed by a corresponding conception of the nature of the priestly ministry as well, which did not acknowledge in it any function of sacrificial offering. It was this, one may suppose, which led to the reform of the Ordinal. In the new rite we miss not only an imperative formula imparting to the priest "power to offer the sacrifice to God and to celebrate Masses for the living and the dead," but also any mention at all of this power, or even any hint of it, such as is involved, for example, in a mention of the altar or in the expression sacerdotium. Moreover, this must be stated not only concerning the ordination of presbyters (sic) but of deacons and bishops also. Such an omission cannot have been accidental, as is shown by the nature of the views respecting the Eucharist held by Archbishop Cranmer, who was the chief leader of the reform and perhaps the author of the rite, and by his most intimate collaborators. The Anglican rite of ordination was so drawn up as to express a view of ordination which did not include in it power to consecrate and offer the bloodless sacrifice.

2. After the rejection of the Roman Catholic conception of priesthood the way was open for frankly Protestant views on that subject. During the reign of Edward VI in England the influence of the Swiss reformation increased. Cranmer, and the bishops of the same opinion as he, stood in close relation with the protestant workers on the continent; they took counsel with them about church matters, and among others about the revision of the Prayer Book. One of the sources used in the compilation of the Ordinal itself was a project drawn up by one of these reformers, namely Martin Bucer. It is also to be found in his book, De ordinatione legitima ministrorum revocanda. "Three orders of presbyters and curates in the Church" are recognized here, but no material distinction is made between them, and all three have but one form of ordination provided for them. In view of such relations between English reformers and Continental Protestantism which had cut itself off from episcopal organization and the doctrine of hierarchical grace, the question of course, arises, What position does the Anglican Ordinal take up about the doctrine of the degrees in the hierarchy and the sacramental character of ordination ([ordinatsii])? The Anglican Church expresses its point of view about the three orders of Church ministers which it has preserved, in the "Preface" to the Ordinal. On turning to it we find that it is affirmed there as an historic fact that "from the Apostles’ time there have been three orders of ministers in Christ’s Church—bishops, priests, and deacons." But it does not point out the dogmatic meaning of such an organization of the hierarchy, and does not express any recognition of its divine institution. It speaks of the Service of Ordination in the following terms: "That in consequence of the (reverend) estimation in which the said offices ([dolzhnosti]) were always held, "no man might presume to execute any of them" without previous calling, examination, and admittance by lawful authority through prayer with the imposition of hands: i.e. the emphasis is laid, not on the dogmatic necessity of episcopal appointment, but again on the historic fact of the obligation of a lawful admission to them, which depends on the estimation which is due to them, and does not admit of an arbitrary taking upon oneself of these offices ([dolzhnosti]) ("by his own private authority," 1550). Finally, with respect to the future continuance of the hierarchy the statement is made that "To the intent that these Orders may be continued and reverently used and esteemed in this Church (of England or America), no man shall be accounted or taken to be a lawful Bishop, Priest ([presbiterom’]), or Deacon in the Church of England or suffered to execute any of the said Functions (1550, "no man shall execute . . .") except he be called, tried, examined, and admitted thereunto, according to the form hereafter following." Here also we do not find any acknowledgement of the unconditional necessity of the threefold degrees of the hierarchy for the Church; and the obligation of episcopal ordination is asserted, properly speaking, only for the English Church, not in general or for all. Such a limitation of the horizon so as to exclude the theoretical side of the matter and to deal only with the confines of England might, of course, be explained as due to the practical character of the rite, which does not enter into dogmatic principles, and concerns itself only with the organization of its own church; but we cannot exclude, as a possible explanation, the view that the compilers purposefully abstained from judging about matters of principles or unconditional requirements, in order not to condemn the protestant ordinations ([ordinatsii]) on the continent; they preferred to adopt a point of view which was not dogmatic but external and legal.

This indecisiveness in a question of principle and the legalistic point of view must have facilitated on various occasion subsequently the possibility of the acceptance of the cases of Presbyterian laying on of hands which are well known in English Church history. Similarly also the acceptance of the projects of 1689, by which foreign ministers were to be received either without a new laying on of hands, or at any rate with a special simplified form, while English ministers of Presbyterian appointment were to receive a conditional laying on of hands. We see here an example of that "comprehensiveness" which, in the judgment of the Anglicans themselves, is a characteristic of their denomination—an expedient which endeavours to reconcile different points of view by avoiding direct issues.

The prayers, which occur in the rite of ordination, do not provide what is needed to supplement the vague statement of the "Preface." They state that "God has appointed divers Orders of Ministers in the Church," that Christ "sent abroad into the world His Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Doctors, and Pastors"; but even this last expression quoted from the Epistle does not include absolutely the idea of the Divine Institution of the Orders of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons. It admits equally such an interpretation as was given by Calvin, for instance, to those words of the Epistle. Calvin saw in them a reference to only two kinds of perpetual ministry in the Church—Pastors and Doctors; moreover he assigned the special duties of the Church Ministry, namely, the preaching of the Gospel and the celebration of the sacraments to one grade alone of the two, that is, the Pastors, while he allotted to the Doctors only the interpretation of Scriptures.

The compilers of the rite, it is true, did not adopt Bucer’s form of ordination in full, but compiled a special form for each degree; nevertheless, in composing them they evidently did not attempt to express in any particular or special way the distinction between the degrees, and thus to place beyond doubt the dogmatic meaning of the threefold division of the hierarchy. They did not follow here the example of the Catholic Pontifical; for in it the distinction is at once drawn with complete firmness and exactitude by the comparison of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons with the High Priests, Priests, and Levites of the Old Testament, and with Apostles, seventy disciples, and Deacons of the New Testament. There was formerly a greater similarity between the different rites, arising in part (in the "Examination") from their use of a common source, namely, the project of Bucer; and this attracted attention to itself up to the revision of the Prayer Book in 1662. For till then, for example, the imperative formulas did not include any mention of the office conferred; and one and the same Gospel (S. John x. I-16) was appointed at the laying on of hands both for priests and bishops. The Anglican Ordinal does not express in a sufficient degree, and that presumably by the design of the compilers, the conception of a divinely established ministry divided into three orders; although at the time it was particularly essential that it should affirm such a belief if it held it; consequently it is open to the possibility of being expounded in a protestant sense.

3. It is impossible not to notice in the Anglican rite of ordination, as compared with the Catholic Pontifical, some feebleness in the description given of the effect of grace in the act of ordination. This is clearly the result of the above-mentioned denial of the sacrificial power of the priesthood. This must specially be affirmed with regard to the ordination of deacons. Apart from the petition in the Litany, common to all the degrees, about pouring grace on those who are to be ordained, there is no mention at all of the gift to them of grace or of the Holy Spirit. The prayers only ask on behalf of the candidate for the good qualities necessary for his ministry, while the imperative formula which accompanies the laying on of hands only confers "the power to exercise the office of deacon." In the remaining two rites, it is true, both in the imperative formulas and in the prayers, the gift to the candidate of the Holy Ghost and of grace is brought into view; but there is no special description of that grace as being hierarchical, and as emphasizing the inner distinction of the ordained minister from laymen and the sacramental worth of the act of ordination, such as is found, for example, in the expression of the Roman Pontifical about gratia sacerdotalis. On the other hand, we must not assign to this peculiarity any decisive significance, inasmuch as that hierarchical grace may be taken to be implied in the power to retain and to forgive sin which is bound up with the gift of the Holy Ghost, and is communicated to the priests. At all events one must notice that the American Ordinal displays even less care than the English one to express forcibly the effect of grace in ordination. It has, of course, the Anglican formula for the ordination of Priests ([presbiterskago posvyascheniya]), which accompanies the laying on of hands, and is regarded by the compilers as essential, "Receive the Holy Ghost for the Office and Work of a Priest," etc.; but it offers also the alternative, "Take thou Authority to execute the office of a Priest," etc. This latter formula, which makes no mention of the gift of the Holy Ghost, is not altogether equal in force with the other; as is evident from the fact that in the above-mentioned project of 1689 it was proposed to use similar words in receiving foreign ministers of Presbyterian appointment whom it was thought desirable to exempt from any new laying on of hands.

When we examine the Anglican rite in connexion with the history of its origin, and investigate its doctrine of ordination in the chief points where there is ground for presupposing a protestant outlook in the compilers, we are thus brought to the following conclusion. This rite in some respect clearly presupposes a non-orthodox point of view, since it omits an important side of the hierarchical ministry; in other respects, and deliberately, as we must suppose, it does not express clearly the Orthodox conception of the hierarchy, since it uses general and insufficiently defined phrases and formulas. These singularities of the rite are themselves of such a kind, that their fault lies not so much in an open expression of non-orthodox belief as in a tendency due to the circumstances of its origin. The general spirit of conciliation, which characterizes the Anglican Church, and its desire to retain episcopal organization, compelled the compilers, face to face with new views, to observe a discretion in their expressions, and to choose such forms as would not exclude unconditionally and categorically even the old way of thinking. The result of this is a rite, adapted indeed to the expression of new views, but not so absolutely tied to maintaining them, as to admit of no other interpretation.

Taken by itself, apart from the spirit and design of its compilers, it may also include Catholic ideas without involving any particularly sharp contradictions. Supposing the views about sacrifice and the hierarchy which have influenced the rite were removed, and the Orthodox teaching on these subjects was accepted, the insufficiencies of the rite might thereby be corrected, and that which is lacking would be supplied—for example, the views about the power of the priest in the Eucharist; for from the new point of view it would be possible to take it as expressed in the general power "to minister the (holy) sacraments." Also the Orthodox interpretation would be given both to what is now expressed ambiguously and indefinitely—for example, the ideas about the signification of the degrees of the hierarchy, and also to what is expressed with insufficient force—for example, the ideas about the sacramental character of the grace conferred.

But on the other hand, those which we may call latent insufficiencies of the rite—its tendency to leave room for opinions which diverge from the Orthodox form of belief—must not be authorized simply, and with nothing to counteract them, in the hope that they will be neutralized through the adoption of the true conceptions by the new members of the Orthodox Church. In order more faithfully to guard those who use the rite from the effect of the false influences which penetrate it, it would seem expedient not to rest satisfied with the possibility of setting the contents of the rite in a new light. It would be better to remove all possibility of maintaining the old ideas, and directly and firmly to bear witness to the Orthodox conception of ordination, where it differs from the protestant view. One must not, of course, expect of liturgical books a full and exact expression of dogmatic truths; but in this particular case it is permissible presumably to adopt a special standard. When a rite has been compiled with the special intention of adapting it to protestant beliefs, it will not be unreasonable, before admitting it into use, to subject it to special revision in the opposite direction. In case it should be found necessary to authorize for the former members of the Anglican Confession their rite of ordination, it would be desirable to bring into it a clear expression of the idea of the divine institution of the three orders of the hierarchy, of the unconditional necessity of episcopal ordination, and of the power of the priest to offer the bloodless sacrifice.

4. Besides the signs of protestant views about Church ministry shown in the Anglican rite of ordination, there are also further protestant views rather clearly reflected in certain other passages. For example, the question addressed in the examination of the candidate for deacon’s orders: "Do you trust that you are inwardly moved by the Holy Ghost to take upon you this office?" shows signs of having originated in the religious subjectivity of Protestantism. The question addressed to the candidate for the priesthood or episcopate: "Are you persuaded that the Holy Scriptures contain sufficiently all doctrine required of necessity for eternal salvation, and are you determined to teach nothing as required of necessity for eternal salvation but that which you shall be persuaded may be proved and concluded by the Scripture?" expresses the protestant principle which is adopted in the sixth article of the Anglican confession. In the Litany and in the hymns to he Holy Spirit there is found the Western teaching about the procession of the Holy Ghost from the Son. For all these points, of course, there should be no place in an Orthodox order of service.

5. The method of imposition of hands upon priests adopted in the Anglican rite has this particular in common with the Roman Catholic rite, that the priests lay hands upon the candidate as well as the bishop. This ceremony, having probably in view the words of the Apostles about "the laying on of hands of the presbytery," is found in a Gallican documents of the beginning of the sixth century, Statuta Ecclesiae Antiquae; thence apparently it was adopted into the Roman rite, in which it is still used; where, moreover, it form part of that laying on of hands, which together the "outstretching" ([prostertiem]) of hands that follows, is, according to the Roman Catholic theologians, the essential act of the sacrament. (The other laying on of hands, performed by the bishop alone at the end of the solemn action, is a later addition.) This ceremony is also found in several records of Eastern origin, but it was not in general use. Being thus of ancient origin, and consecrated by long usage in the Western Church before the division, this rite is not open to material objections.

6. Among particulars which do not directly concern the dogmatic essence of the sacrament, we notice the absence from the Anglican Ordinal of rites of ordination to the minor church orders, which were rejected from the very first by the Anglican Church, following the example of other protestants.

7. There is also a considerable number of departures from ancient ritual in detail, for which it is not always possible to find an intelligible reason; altogether these do not make the Anglican rite a production of any high merit. For example, no useful purpose is served by the omission, amongst other ancient features of the rite, either of the confession of faith made by the candidate for the episcopate, or of the imposition of the Gospel Book on his head at the time of ordination.

8. There is need in places of some touching-up and further adaptation to Orthodox ways of the language of the rite, for it shows signs in places of a protestant character, for example, when it uses the term "congregation" instead of "church."


The sufficiency in general and in essence of the Form of the Sacrament of Baptism which is found in the C. P. B. is assumed by the fact that the validity of Anglican baptism is acknowledged by the Orthodox Russian Church. But a word may be said about certain particulars, which, in the opinion of the Russian Church, have no bearing on the question of the validity of the sacrament. The service arose through a revision of the Roman Catholic office made in a protestant spirit. This origin entailed upon it several particulars, partly of a protestant and partly of a Catholic character: these arose either through tendencies which were clearly inconsistent with Orthodoxy, or through an arbitrariness which, having regard to ancient practice, is without sufficient justification. The following are the chief particulars of a protestant character.

I. Exorcism is omitted by both the American and British adherents of Anglicanism, in common with the reformers. This omission arises in the case of the reformers from their general dogmatic view that the children of Christian parents are, as such, already in union with God, so that the baptism itself is only a manifestation of what grace had previously determined.

2. Permission is given, but only in the American edition of the book, to omit the ceremony of signing the cross on the forehead of the newly-baptized, if a special request for this is made. This an ill-advised concession to the anti-ritualistic prejudices of the reformers. Instead of having a mere clause in the rubric to the effect that the "Church knoweth no worthy cause of scruple concerning the same," it would be preferable to omit the rubric altogether.

3. The anointing with holy oil is omitted, which is performed in the Catholic Church by the priest immediately after baptism, but has not amongst the Catholics sacramental significance. This is of importance from the Orthodox point of view, inasmuch as in the Orthodox Church it is to this anointing, accompanied by the recitation of a certain formula, that the significance of the sacrament of oil-anointing (confirmation) is attached.

4. It is not easy from the Eastern-Orthodox point of view to accept the strange permission, given only in the American book, that parents of the child may be sponsors—apparently both of them at the same time. Such a practice is discordant with ancient custom; and it is hardly possible to shew any serious ground for it.

Among the particulars derived from Catholicism the following deserves notice:

5. The permission to use affusion in baptism, as being a method of performing the sacrament fully equivalent to immersion in all cases without exception. In the first editions of the Anglican Prayer Book, in the public baptism of infants immersion was prescribed as the rule, while affusion was allowed only for delicate children. But the custom which prevailed in the Roman Catholic service brought about subsequently an alteration in the rubric and the sanction of affusion. In practice this appears to be the only use customary in England and America. The deviation of the Western Church in this respect from ancient practice, as is well known, has no satisfactory justification.


The service of confirmation performed by the bishop for children on attaining years of discretion corresponds to the Roman Catholic confirmation. It lacks, however, the anointing with holy oil and the recitation of the formula, "I sign thee with the sign of the Cross, and confirm thee with the oil (chrismate) of salvation, in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost," and has merely a laying of hands on the candidates, and prayer that the Holy Spirit may strengthen them and increase His gifts in them, that they may be defended by heavenly grace and increase in the Holy Spirit, and that the Holy Spirit may continually abide in them. The laying on of hands was the outward sign of the descent of the Holy Spirit on the baptized in the time of the Apostles, according to the evidence of the book of the Acts of the Apostles; but the use of holy oil, in the East instead of laying on of hands, in the West on a level with it, is clearly of such antiquity that the grounds for it also may be ascribed to Apostolic tradition. This omission of anointing, together with the omission of the Catholic formula, entirely harmonizes with the dogmatic theories of the Anglicans, which deny to confirmation the significance of an effectual sacrament.

From the Orthodox point of view the following points are indispensably necessary (I) The introduction of Oil-anointing, as being a separate sacrament, in contrast with the protestant view of confirmation; (2) The performance of it immediately after baptism, with the preservation of the right of the presbyter to perform it, in contradistinction to Catholic usage, which has made it necessary to postpone confirmation to a later time, since the bishop cannot administer it in every separate case immediately after baptism. Naturally the administration of Oil-anointing to infants must carry with it also the introduction of the practice of infant Communion.

So far as the protestant significance of the service of confirmation is concerned, i.e. the conscious affirmation by children of the views made on their behalf at the time of baptism by the sponsors, this service in one or other form could be preserved and authorized for use in connection with the first confession before receiving the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ. But in that case it should not preserve features which might give it, from the external point of view, the appearance of a solemn action connected with the descent of the Holy Spirit; and several expressions in the prayers, borrowed from the Catholic rite, as well as the laying on of hands itself, should be recognized as out of place.


The Roman Catholic rite of the solemnization of matrimony was subjected in the Anglican Prayer Book to some revision, but its fundamental features and the principal parts of its contents were there preserved. The American Episcopal Church, however, at the time of the revision of the Anglican Prayer Book in 1789, found it necessary for some reason or other to go in this matter further than its mother Church had done, and to insert fresh modifications. Of the two principal parts, which make up the ceremony of marriage in the Roman Catholic Church, and with which the contents of the Anglican rite correspond, the celebratio and the benedictio matrimonii, only the first part is taken over in the American Prayer Book. It consists (after the priest’s address) of (I) the declaration of consent by the parties, (ii) the promise to be loyal one to another, (iii) the betrothal of the bride with a ring, (iv) the prayer of the priest, (v) the declaration that the parties are man and wife, and (vi) a short formula of blessing. Even in this part abbreviations were made, as, for example, in the address of the priest. The second part of the rite, containing the psalm (cxxvii or lxvi) and the prayers of blessing, is entirely omitted. The Roman Catholic theologians, as is well known, regard the essence of the solemn action of marriage as the making of a contract, effected by a voluntary declaration of consent, and ratified by the priest; accordingly they ascribe the efficacy of the sacrament to the first part, which corresponds more with our betrothal. But the Orthodox Church, besides such consent, reckons also as essential to the sacrament the Church’s blessing of the marriage bond. Turning to the American rite, we find that several elements of blessing are preserved in it: first in the prayer said after the bridegroom has placed the ring on the finger of the bride, where the priest prays to God, "Send Thy blessing upon these Thy servants whom we bless in Thy Name; that, as Isaac and Rebecca lived faithfully together, so they may surely perform and keep the vow and covenant betwixt them made (whereof this ring given and received is a token and pledge), and may ever remain in perfect love and peace together"; again, in the short concluding formula of blessing in the name of the Holy Trinity, the desire is expressed that the Lord "may fill them with all spiritual benediction and grace that they may live together in this life..." Consequently, even in its present form, the rite may be held to satisfy the absolutely indispensable requirements for the validity of marriage. But at the same time it is impossible not to acknowledge, that the abbreviation made in the American book seriously mars the service. The idea of the Church’s blessing of the marriage union in fact receives its full expression in the second part, which corresponds to our "final nuptial benediction," namely, that part which is performed properly at the altar (the espousals being held in the middle of the church), and has long been joined with the Liturgy—a connection which is presupposed also in the Anglican Prayer Book. Its prayers (four in number), especially the last, express more fully than the short prayers of the first part the benediction and grace which are necessary for those joined in marriage. Therefore it is impossible not to express the wish that in the American Prayer Book at least the English rite in its fullness may be again restored.


together with sacramental confession, and accompanied with the remission of sins, is not found in Anglicanism. The daily morning and evening service is preceded by an admonition made to those present by the officiant, that they should confess their sins; but subsequently only a General Confession in a fixed form is recited after the minister by those present, and thereupon is read the declaration of absolution or remission of sins.


Some, Grafton for example, would like to perceive in the rite of the "Visitation of the Sick" something corresponding to the sacrament of unction. This rite certainly cannot be the equivalent of unction: it is ordinary prayer "for the sick." Among other things it is interesting to note that in the English edition there occurs the prayer absolving from sins, "Our Lord Jesus Christ," which might come into the rite of confession and of unction, if it should be required to revive such a rite in Anglican worship. But this prayer is cancelled in the American edition: thereby the American rite is still further removed from unction than even the English rite.


A general defect in the C. P. B., which is of importance from the Orthodox point of view, and affects the Communion in particular, is seen in the absence from the Anglican service of any confession of faith in a living and real bond existing between the earthly and heavenly parts of the Church. If the Christian by his very faith must acknowledge himself "a fellow citizen with the saints," and an indubitable part of the majestic and living building built upon the prophets and apostles, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone (Eph. ii. 19-22); if he must remember continually that "he has come to the heavenly Jerusalem and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and Church of the first born which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect" (Heb. xii. 22, 23); then of course the Christian man must feel and acknowledge all this with particular clearness and sensitiveness, so to speak, at the moment when he stands in prayer, when all his whole mind and heart must ascend from earth to heaven. It is for this reason that the Orthodox worship is so filled with passages expressing this continual acknowledgment of the living bond between the earthly and the heavenly members of the Church. In thanking God for "the Church of the first-born" and for "the spirits of just men made perfect" the Orthodox expects to find sympathy from them, and asks for their help; while he on his side considers himself bound to shew love and spiritual help to all the departed who need such help. Hence the continual prayers for the dead, which the Orthodox feels to be just as natural and inevitable an outcome of his love as prayers for the living. The C. P. B., however, in praying for others, prays only for the living, as though the dead were already beyond the Church’s range. In the offertory prayer, for example, while there is a somewhat detailed enumeration of the different classes (but classes only) of the living members of the Church, there is only the weakest and most timid reference made to the existence of the heavenly members of the Church, and to our interest in the,. "And we also bless Thy holy Name for all Thy servants departed this life in Thy faith and fear, beseeching Thee to give us grave so to follow their good examples, that with them we may be partakers of Thy heavenly kingdom." For the Orthodox this edificatory reference to their examples is, of course, insufficient; for he believes in a living and real intercourse with the heavenly members of the Church. The protestant dogma of the Anglicans in this respect imparts a clearly protestant character to their daily services, even on Festivals, as well as to the Litany, and to the Anglican rite of burial.

I. There is nothing in the actual contents of "Daily Morning and Evening Prayer," together with the collects, which change according to the season, which is open to any particular objection on the positive side from the Orthodox point of view, unless the addition of the Filioque to the Creed is taken into account. But at the same time, while the recourse in prayer to the Most Holy Mother of God, to the Angel Hosts, and to the illustrious saints, the glorification and invocation of them, forms an essential part of Orthodox and Catholic worship, these things are entirely foreign to Anglican worship. It is absolutely necessary that there should be introduced into this worship some such prayers (or hymns) in one or another form and degree.

II. The Anglican Litany in itself (apart from the Filioque) does not present anything contrary to Orthodox belief or Orthodox devotion. For it consists of petitions which partly have a place (so far as the ideas are concerned) in Orthodox worship also, in the Litia and Ektenia. But examining it in connection with its origin, and comparing it with the Roman Catholic Litany from which it was derived, again under Lutheran influence, we clearly discern its protestant character, in that it does not contain the invocation of the Mother of God, of the spiritual Hosts and the Saints, who occupy a very prominent place amongst the Catholics, and even had a place (like prayers for the dead) in the first edition of 1544, though only in an abbreviated form in the shape of an invocation of saints en bloc, without particularizing names. In case of any full restoration of Orthodox beliefs, it would be timely and expedient to bring in again both the invocations and the prayers, as being characteristic of this kind of devotion.

III. Again, the prayers and psalms which occur in the Rite of Burial do not in themselves contain anything non-orthodox. But this rite, taken altogether, is very short in comparison with the Orthodox and Catholic rites, and bears an entirely protestant character, in view of the complete absence in it of prayers for the dead. The abbreviations effected in adapting from the Latin rite were chiefly directed to their removal. The dogma and liturgical practice of the Orthodox Church, which agree in this case with the Catholic Church, necessarily require a supplementing of the rite with these prayers, and, further, the introduction in general of prayers for the dead, and the offering for them of the bloodless sacrifice.

IV. The rite of consecration of churches or chapels, though it does not include anything directly non-orthodox, bears nevertheless some clear marks of that fundamental difference in the view of the Eucharist which distinguishes our Church from Anglicanism. Our church (or altar or Antimins) differs not only from ordinary habitable buildings, but also from buildings intended for public prayers (oratories, prayer-houses, and the like), because the church is marked out in a special sense for the offering of the bloodless sacrifice. Therefore there exists in the Church, besides the rite of consecration or blessing of an oratory or house of prayer, a separate rite also for the consecration of a church. The Anglicans, however, have nothing to say about either sacrifice or altar; it is therefore not necessary for them to consecrate any buildings for the offering of the sacrifice. Their rite, in fact, speaks only of Common Prayer, preaching, the reading of the Word of God, and performance of sacraments as ministrations ([treb']); and further, the Eucharist is enumerated among them only in the capacity of a ministration for communicants (see especially the prayer, "Regard, O Lord," which prays for the effectiveness of all the rites to be performed in the consecrated church). The church is not specially consecrated for the Eucharist, as is quite clearly shown in the rite, by the rubric about Communion "if it is to be administered at that time," which implies that it may be omitted even at the consecration itself. Therefore the Anglican rite could only be approved in Orthodox practice as a rite for blessing prayer-houses; in addition to this there would have to be a separate rite for the consecration of a church.

V. The rite of the Institution of Ministers into parishes or churches was evidently compiled under the influence of hierarchical views (in the church sense). The idea of sacrifice and sacrificial office, it is true, is not expressed in it, but it speaks of "sacerdotal function, sacerdotal relation," and of the promise of Jesus Christ that He would be till the end of the world "with ministers of Apostolic succession," etc. Therefore the adaptation of this rite to Orthodox practice does not present difficulties; though it might be advantageous to add prayer to the Mother of God, and to the Saint (among others) in whose name the parish church is dedicated, etc. The preservation of the rite, therefore, for Orthodox Americans is quite desirable.

VI. There is nothing noticeable which is open to objection the dogmatic side in the "Prayers and Thanksgivings upon several occasions" which are contained in the American Prayer Book, being partly common to it and the English book, and partly peculiar to it alone. These prayers are the following:—A Prayer for Congress, A Prayer to be used at the Meetings of Convention (naturally this would be unnecessary), For the Unity of God’s People, For Missions, For Rain, For Fair Weather, In Time of Death and Famine, In Time of War and Tumults, For those who are to be admitted into Holy Orders, For Fruitful Seasons, in the Time of great Sickness and Mortality, For a Sick Person under Affliction, For Malefactors after Condemnation.

Thanksgivings:—The Thanksgiving of Women after Childbirth, For Rain, For Fair Weather, For Plenty, For Peaceful Deliverance from our Enemies, For Restoring Public Peace at Home, For Deliverance from great Sickness and Mortality, For Recovery from Sickness, For a Child’s Recovery from Sickness.

The same may be said of the services placed after the rite of burial:—The rite of the Churching of Women, Forms of Prayer to be used at Sea, A Form of Prayer for the Visitation of Prisoners, A Form of Prayer and Thanksgiving for the Fruits of the Earth in Autumn, Family Morning and Evening Prayers.

The examination of the "Book of Common Prayer" leads to the general conclusion that its actual contents present very little comparatively that clearly contradicts Orthodox teaching, and therefore would not be admissable in Orthodox worship. But this conclusion comes not from the fact that the book is actually Orthodox, but merely from the fact that it was compiled in a spirit of compromise, and that, while skilfully evading all more or less debateable points of doctrine, it endeavours to reconcile tendencies which are really contradictory. Consequently both those who profess protestantism and their opponents can alike use it with a quiet conscience. But worship which is so indefinite and colourless (in its denomination bearing) cannot, of course, be accepted as satisfactory for sons of the Orthodox Church, who are not afraid of their confession of Faith, and still less for sons who have only just joined the Orthodox Church from Anglicanism. If it were, their prayer would not be a full expression of their new beliefs, such as it ought essentially to be.

The committee, after reviewing these "Observations," allowed in general the possibility that if Orthodox parishes, composed of former Anglicans, were organized in America, they might be allowed, at their desire, to perform their worship according to the "Book of Common Prayer," but only on condition that the following corrections were made in the spirit of the Orthodox Church. On the one hand everything must be removed from the Book that bears a clearly non-Orthodox character—the Thirty-nine Articles of the Anglican Confession, the Catechism with its protestant teaching about the sacraments, the Filioque, the idea of the sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures as the sole source of the teaching of the Faith, etc. On the other hand, there must be inserted into the text of the prayers and rites contained in the Book those Orthodox beliefs which it is essentially necessary to profess in Orthodox worship—into the rite of the Liturgy, the profession of belief in the change of the Holy Gifts into the Body and Blood of Christ, and of belief in the sacrificial significance of the Eucharist; into the rite of ordination ([khirotonii]), the belief in the divine establishment of the ministry with its distinction of degrees, and the recognition of the distinctive right of the priest to offer the bloodless sacrifice. Into all the services in general prayers must be inserted addressed [sic] to the Blessed Mother of God, to Angels and Saints, with the glorification and invocation of them (direct), also prayers for the dead (especially in the Liturgy and the Burial Service). There must be included in liturgical practice, and put into the Book, the missing rites for the sacraments of penance, oil-anointing and unction, and the rite of consecration of churches (as distinct from the consecration of a house of prayer); and finally there must be introduced the cult of sacred images. But since the detailed changes in the "Book of Prayers," and, generally speaking, in Anglican liturgical practice together with the compilation of new prayers and even of entire rites can be carried out only on the spot, in America, in correspondence with existing demands and conditions, it is found desirable to send the "Observations" themselves to the Right Rev. Tikhon, the American Bishop. They will thus serve in the negotiations as materials for the determination in detail of the conditions on which Anglicans disposed to Orthodoxy can be received. As regards the reception of clergy from Anglicanism the committee has proposed (pending a final judgment of the question by the Church) to offer those who join a new conditional ordination.

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