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A History Of The Mass And Its Ceremonies In The Eastern And Western Church -Rev John O'Brien A.M.

Another strange custom which prevails with the Greeks is the mining of warm water with the chalice after consecration. They mingle a few drops of ordinary water with the wine at the beginning of Mass, as we do, and for the same literal and mystical reasons; but the adding of warm water besides, and that, too, after consecration has taken place, is, to say the least of it, very strange—we were about to say very offensive. There was a spirited discussion about this ceremony at the Council of Florence, for the Latin Fathers severely reprehended it, and were at first fully determined to compel the Greeks to abolish it before the decree for the reunion of the churches would be made out and ratified. Dorotheus, Bishop of Mitylene, however, made so eloquent and satisfactory a defence of the practice that he gained all the Fathers to his side; and as the Pope himself expressed his admiration of the defence, the custom was approved of, and so it is still kept up by the Greeks.

The words employed in adding this warm water suggest its mystic meaning. They are: “The fervor of faith, full of the Holy Ghost. Amen.” This is repeated thrice, and the water is poured in in the form of a cross. Speaking of this ceremony, St. Germanus writes as follows: “As blood and warm water flowed together from the side of Christ, thus hot water poured into the chalice at the time of consecration gives a full type of the mystery to those who draw that holy liquid from the chalice as from the life-giving side of our Lord” (Translation of the Primitive Liturgies, p. 120, by Neale and Littledale; Goar, Euchol. Grœc., p. 148). As the latter-named author gives a full history of this rite, he may be consulted with advantage.








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