11 February 2006

Amnesia for Anamnesis

Anamnesis. The memorial prayer of remembrance recalls for the worshiping community past events in their tradition of faith that are formative for their identity and self-understanding. The prayers of anamnesis in the various eucharistic prayers emphasize and make present the saving events of jesus' death and resurrection.

Epiclesis. The invocation of the active presence of the Holy Spirit in the eucharistic prayer so that the bread and wine may become the body and blood of Christ. The presider at the eucharist may extend his/her hands over the gifts at the epiclesis. The term is based on the Greek word that means "to call upon" "to invoke." The epiclesis typically follows the institution narrative, but it precedes the institution narrative in Eucharistic Prayer C (Book of Common Prayer page 371). The Roman Mass did not have an explicit epiclesis, although reform movements have added it. Thomas Cranmer placed the eiclesis prior to the institution narrative in the 1549 Prayer Book, but he replaced it with a rpayer for worthy reception of communion in the 1552 Book of Common Prayer. The epiclesis was not reintroduced in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. Scottish reformers restored the epiclesis, and the Scottish Book of the 1637 included the petition that God the Father would "vouchsafe to bless and sanctify with thy word and Holy Spirit these thy gifts and creatures of bread and wine, that they may be unto us the body and blood of they most dearly beloved Son..." The Episcopal Church followed the Scottish rather thant he English model with respect to the epiclesis. An epiclesis in some form has been included in the eucharistic prayers of the Episcopal Church since the 1789 Book of Common Prayer. The epiclesis in Rite 1 of the Book of Common Prayer is substantially the same as that in the 1789 Book of Common Prayer.


Anamnesis and Epiclesis: "God, we won't forget how you got us here if you'll help us believe what we're doing is meaningful."


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