William Herbert Freestone.

The sacrament reserved : a survey of the practice of reserving the Eucharist, with special reference to the communion of the sick, during the first twelve centuries online

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London : 28 Margaret Street, Oxford Circus, W.

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Milwaukee, U.S.A. : The Young Churchman Co.

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Late of the House of the Resurrection, CMirfield

A. R. MOWBRAY & CO. Ltd.
London : 28 Margaret Street, Oxford Circus, W.

Oxford : 9 High Street
Milwaukee, U.S.A. : The Young Churchman Co.


[^Jfll rights reserved']


AS no attempt seems to have been made of late to
gather material for a history of the practice of
reserving the Eucharist, the collection published in the
following pages may have some value, in spite of the
fact that the author is a novice in ecclesiology. The chief
aim, indeed, of the book has been to present in convenient
and systematic form passages from readily accessible sources
that refer more or less directly to reservation ; but as the
material has accumulated and fallen into order, certain
deductions have become clear and need to be stated.

Some criticism will doubtless be disarmed if attention be
called here to the limitations and deficiencies of the work.

It seemed, in the first place, inadvisable to pursue the
subject beyond a date at which the custom of the Western
Church had become generally fixed and uniform. By
setting a term to the period surveyed, it was possible
to confine the attention mainly to the conditions under
which reservation was practiced for the sick, without
digressing into the discussion of other purposes for which
the reserved Eucharist was later employed. A landmark
is obviously reached in the Fourth Lateran Council (12 15),
where the most important conclusion about eucharistic
doctrine arrived at in the previous era was definitely
adopted, and, under the term transubstantiation, became
the accepted teaching of the Western Church. It might
naturally be asked why, in a history of clinical communion,
where the practical question arises as to the advisability or
the reverse of employing both species of the sacrament,
the survey is not carried down to the date at which
concomitance was enunciated as de fide. The answer to
this will be found, so the writer believes, in the text of
the book itself. The implication of what was afterwards
defined as concomitance is here shown to be a constant
feature of customs associated with the reserved Eucharist
in primitive as well as in later times ; and the practice of
administering the single species of Bread to the whole and
to the sick had become universal in the West long before
the specific reassertion at Trent of the doctrine implied.

vi Preface

There are two places where the charge of inadequacy
may be anticipated.

One occurs at the section which deals with the place
of reservation. The only plea that can be urged is that
information concerning this point is surprisingly scarce
before the eleventh century. The other is the hiatus
in the history of reservation in the East. Such references
as could readily be found in the Greek Fathers and early
oriental writers have been included, as well as some note
of customs followed by the Eastern Churches in modern
times, but the inaccessibility of whatever intervening
sources may exist prevented the writer from supplying
the missing connection. This omission is probably a
less grave defect than might at first appear, for there
seems to be a general agreement among authorities that
no important modifications have taken place in the
East since the adoption of intinction. Unfortunately,
however, the date at which this mode of communicating
first appeared cannot be ascertained with certainty.

The work was undertaken at the suggestion of the
Rev. Dr. W. H. Frere, C.R., and has progressed under his
supervision. To him the author lies under deep obliga-
tions, but at the same time assumes entire responsibility
for whatever errors may be detected. The Rev. R. H.
Baker, C.R., gave much aid in the early stages of the
book. To Dr. Frere and to the Rev. L. S. Thornton, C.R.,
who most kindly undertook to see it through the press
when the writer was called to service abroad, it is difficult
to express the gratitude which their generosity evokes.

The Rev. F. E. Brightman, D.D., of Oxford ; the
Rev. F. N. Heazell, of Letchworth ; and the Rev. Nerses
G. Sevadjian, of the Armenian Church in Manchester, and
others have kindly furnished valuable information.


House of the Resurrection, Mirfield.
Whitsun Bve, 191 6.

Note. — The author, who had been since January 191 3 a probationer
of the Community of the Resurrection, has not been permitted to see his
work in print. He was reported killed on December 14th, 1916, while
serving as chaplain to the forces on the Macedonian front.



Preface - -____ v



I. The Terms Ephodion and Viaticum - - - 3

Communion and the Hour of Death - - 10



II. A. Official Distribution from the Public Celebration

OF the Liturgy - - - - 16

III. S. Private Celebrations of the Liturgy - - 24

IV. C. The Eucharist Reserved Privately - - 32

Private Reservation by the Laity- - "35

V. Private Reservation by Religious - - - 5 1

Use of thk Reserved Eucharist at Consecration of

A Virgin - - - - "59

VI. Private Reservation by the Clergy - - - 61

Use of the Reserved Eucharist at Ordination - 65


VII. a. EuLOGiAE - - - - - - 70

b. Fermentum - - - - - "73

c. Sancta - - - - - 77

d. Communion of the Presanctified - - - 80

e. Consumption of the Remains after the Liturgy - 93

f. Administration to the Dead, and other abuses - 98


VIII. Official Reservation during the First Six Centuries - 105

IX. Official Reservation during the Early Middle Ages - 120

i. The Seventh and Eighth Centuries - - 1 20

ii. The Ninth and Tenth Centuries - - - 131


viii Contents


X. Official Reservation and the Eucharistic Controversies

OF THE Eleventh Century - - - 1 44

i. The Use of Intinction - - - - 144

ii. The Dispute Concerning Intinction - - 152

iii. Effect upon the Methods of Clinical Communion 165

XI. Communion in the Single Species of Wine - - 176

xii. Renewal of the Reserved Eucharist - - - 182

XIII. The Place of Reservation - - - - 188

XIV. The Vessel of Reservation _ . _ - 200

Benediction of the Vessel of Reservation- - 218

XV. The Minister of the Reserved Eucharist - - 220

XVI. The Rite of Clinical Communion - - - 231
XVII. Some Customs of the Eastern Churches in connection

with the Reserved Eucharist - - - 247


The beginnings of the extra-liturgical cultus of the

Eucharist . _ _ - - 256

List of Principal Authorities - - - - 267

Index - - - - - -271



The Terms Ephodion and Viaticum

BY secular authors the word icpoSiou (or more commonly,
the plural form e<p6Sia) is used with the primary
meaning of a supply of provisions for a journey or military
expedition ; and in derivative senses, to express the ideas
of ways and means, support or maintenance.^

But there are instances among the poets and philo-
sophical writers, where ecpoSiov passes from a physical
sense to one of moral, almost of religious significance.
A pious career, for example, is termed the supreme ecpoSioi^^
or goodness is an admirable ecpoSiou for the journey of life. ^
Such a meaning as the word bears in these and similar
contexts would facilitate its transference to the vocabulary
of those who were accustomed to think and speak of their
religion as "the Way." 3

It would be interesting to learn whether in connection
with the pagan mysteries, or under similar influence, the
term acquired any technical sense in which it had become
current by the time that the Christian era opened. Evi-
dence on this point is not forthcoming, but, in any case,
it seems to have been at the stage of development indicated
in the quotations alluded to above that the Church began
to make use of the word and to invest it, as she did so
many other expressions borrowed from the common speech
of the Mediterranean, with a depth and variety of meaning
greater than it had previously borne. Herein lies the

' V. Suicer, Tnesaiirus, s.v.

* Epicharmus, i 52 jihrens, " eiVe^r/s ^los fieyio-Tov ecftoStov" : Menan-
der, 'Y/xv. I, " rj ^prjcrTOTrjs . . . davjxaa-rov e(f)68tov (Sim " (quoted in
Liddcll and Scott, Lex.). Plutarch, ,^or. p. 160 B., " ws p) ftovov toC
^'•^v aA.Aa K0.I Tov d.irodWf(rKeLV Tr)v Tpo(firjV e<f)o8iov ovcrav : of. Seneca,
E/>ist. Ixvii. 3.

3 ^cts xix. 23, and elsewhere. €cf)68iov is not found in the N.T. ;
but in tlie LXX. the term is used for the store that is to be given to a
Hebrew bondsman, when he goes out in the year of release : " €<^oSiov
t(f>o8id(r€i.'i auTOV airb twv Trpo/^drtov aov. k.t.X." (T)euL xv. 14.)


4 The Sacrament Reserved

point of an interesting remark made by St. Gregory
Thaumaturgus in his Panegyric on Origen. He quotes his
own heathen tutor as telling him, at the beginning of a
course of study, that education in the Roman Law would
be his most valuable etpo^iov, whatever public career he
might later choose. " He was," says St. Gregory, " more
inspired than he knew": and he proceeds to relate the
circumstances of his legal studies, and their ultimate effect
in determining the course of his life towards religion. i

Before the close of the first century we find St. Clement
of Rome using the word in a religious sense when he
writes of the ecfyoSta of Christ, in reference to the life of the
Church at Corinth ;2 and from this date onward the remains
of Christian literature illustrate the change into wider and
fuller significance that the term underwent as the conse-
quence of its reception into the language of the Church.

Indeed, we can trace its development within the works
of a single author. Probst 3 selects from the writings ot
St. Clement of Alexandria a number of passages that show,
not only the growth of the religious context of the term,
but also the beginnings of the increasing tendency to apply
it more particularly to that spiritual provision for the way
which a Christian receives in the last stage of his journey.

As with the heathen poets, so with the Christian theo-
logian, virtues are ecpoSia. Charity forms a rich e(p6Siov,4
and so does self-control {eyKpdT€ia).S The religious exer-
cise of contemplation is another form of " food for the

I Oratio paneg. In Origen, 5. "o //.ot dX-qdicrTara rravTiav dTroPef3r]Ke
piyuTTOv ((Tea-dai /xoi €<^o8tov (tovto yap rovvofia ckcivos wvofxaa-ev) • • •
Tr)v iiddria-iv tS>v vd/xwv . . . o /xev ovrto? (hnc^dky^aTO, retVcov et's to.
dvdpioTTLva Tov Adyov. ifxol 8' drexvC)'; vtto tiv6 6eioTep(^ eVtTrvoia
dTro(f)Oi(3d(Tai SoKet Tr]s avrov ii7roA?/r/'ews." {P-^J- x. 1065.)

^ Epist. I.aciCorinth.2. "... rot? ec^oStots Xpio-roG dpKor/xevoi . . ."
Lightfoot {A post. Fathers, pt. i,vol. ii,p. 13) re^d e>. Q^ov, and understood
the phrase to refer to bodily sustenance, citing the letter of Dionysius of
Corinth to the Romans (in Eusebius, H.E. iv. 23) : " €KKXrj(riais re TroAXais
rais Kara 7rao-av ttoXlv i<f)68ia 7re/x7retv." He takes the sense to be the
same as i Tim. iv. 8.

The Latin version (published in Jnecdota CMaredsohna, 1894) rend^ers
the phrase " alimentis Christi" and so establishes the reading €<^. X^iorov.

3 %a}{ramente u. %a\ramentalien, pp. 237, 238.

4 Paedag. II. 7 : " dyaQr^ yap KOvpoTp6<f>os et's Kotvo>viav dydirrj €<^d8iov
l^oiKra irXovcTLov"

5 op. cit. III. 39.

The Sacrament Reserved 5

way," ' while God Himself is spoken of as the e(p6Siov of
eternal life. 2

But Clement also seems to use the word in a more
limited and concrete sense. In describing the stages of the
Christian life, at the end of a passage that speaks of the
privileges of the catechumenate, he adds, " And such as
have been properly brought up in the words of truth, and
have received provision for eternal life (^ecpoSia ^wfjg aiSiov)^
mount up to heaven as on wings. "3 The 'jection following
this sentence deals with the Eucharist, which also seems to
be intended here as the privilege that terminates the period
of instruction and probation. Such an interpretation fits in
most easily with the rest of the context.

But the term continued for some time to be used with
a more general significance. St. Cyril of Jerusalem, in his
lectures to catechumens, calls the Christian Faith by this
name because it is a support and stay for the whole course
of life.4

Still less restricted and definite is the use of the word in
St. Basil's letter to Meletius of Antioch. Here he speaks
in a general way of the e(p6Sia or helps in the present life
and in the life to come ; among which he reckons the
edification that he might receive from an interview with his
correspondent : 5 and, again, in a commendatory epistle, the
address of which has been lost, he declares that the bearer
has chosen a good ecpoSiov for eternity, because he has thrown
in his lot with them that fear the Lord.^

Further instances of the use of e(p6Siov with a more or
less defined religious connotation, or as a general expression

* Sirom. VII. 13. 2 o/>. cit. IV. 6.

3 op. cit. I. I : " oi 8c evT/oa^evres yvr]crio}<s TOis ttJs a/Vr/^etas Aoyois
((fioSia (u)rj<; d'iSiov kajSovres ti's ovpavov TTTepovvTai." Here are memories
of Isa. xl. 31, and of Ps. ciii. 5 ; the latter having eucharistic associations.

'^ Homil. Catech. v. 21 : " . . . e'xe'i' Te Tavri\v [sc. ti/v Trto-rtv] ecpoSiov
fv TravTi Tw xpov(^ ttjs ^ojtjs /cat irapa ravrr^v aAAr^v /j-rfKiTL 8€^a(rdai. . . .
{T.G. xxxiii. 521.)

5 6/>isf. {Ivii) adMelet : "'Ei Se Kara^uoOeirjfiev rats crats 7rpocr€V)(^aU, ew?
ea-fxev €7ri yrj^ Kal rrjs Kar 6(f>6aXiJ.ov<; avvTv^ia<;, Kal Trap' auTiJs ttJ? ^w(ttjs
(fxDvrj'i XafStlv (jxpeXifxa SiSdyfiara, 1^ i(f>68ia tt/dos T£ rhv evea-rwra aiwva Kal
Tov fieAAovTO, TOVTo dv jxtyuTTOv Twv dyadCiv fKptvafiiv. . . ." {T'.G.
xxxii. 408.)

^ Epist. ccxlix. : " 'Aya^bv yap avT(^ e<^oSiov irphs tov ecjie^rj^ al^ua,
TYjv jncTa Twv <f>ol3ovfuvu)v rhv Kvpiov dyadyjv SLayuyyrfv c^eAe^aTO." (P.G.
xxxii. 929.)

6 The Sacrament Reserved

for the means of grace are to be found scattered throughout
the writers of the patristic period. ^ It is applied figuratively
to baptism by St. Cyril of Jerusalem, 2 and St. Gregory
Nazianzen uses the verb €(f)o§id^(io for the act of baptizing a
dying man. 3 In regard to the use of the term for baptism,
it is possible that at first no other form of ecpoSiov was con-
ceded to the catechumen v/ho died before his time of
probation was complete. By baptism he would receive
remission of sin^-; he would be gathered into the ark of
salvation. So indispensable a sacrament would not be
denied to any who were stricken down in the period
of preparation (provided that their conduct had been
satisfactory) ; and baptism may generally have been
deemed to be all that was necessary in order to secure
the salvation of the catechumen. At all events, when
the case of dying energumens (or possessed persons) was
discussed in council at Elvira (c. 300), a distinction was
made between those who were still in the catechumenate
and those who had been baptized. The latter were to
receive the communion, but for the former baptism alone
was held to sufBce.4 The same council also declared
that if a person baptized by a deacon should die without

' e.g. Basil, de Spirit. Sana. 66 : Euseb. H.E. viil. 10, etc. For
other instances cf. Bright, Qanons of the first four General Ccuncilsy pp.
51, 52.

"" Horn, in "Baptism. 5. {P.G. xxxi. 432.)

3 Orat. xl. II. (P.G. xxxvi. 372.)

^ Can. 37. " De energumenis non baptizatis. Eos qui ab immundis
spiritibus vexantur, si in fine mortis fuerint constituti, baptizari placet : si
fideles fuerint, dandam esse communionem." (Hefele-Leclercq, Hist, des
Conciles, I. pt. l, p. 241.) Clinical baptism, without mention of com-
munion, is referred to again in Can. 33. This sacrament may be
administered, in case of need, by a layman, but it must be perfected, if
the sick man recovers, by the laying on of the bishop's hands (and
communion). Normally, as is well known, the newly baptized and
confirmed (infants and adults alike) received the Eucharist at the earliest
possible moment after their initiation into the Christian Society. (Justin M.
jipol. I. 65.) For the communion of infants immediately after baptism,
cf. Cyprian, de lapsis, 25. Augustine thinks it necessary to salvation that
they should be communicated, Serm. clxxiv. 6, 7, in P.L. xxxviii. 944 ;
contra Julian, op imperf. in T.L. xlv. 1154 ; de peccat. mer. i. 20, 24, 34.
Passages sometimes quoted from this father, in which the opposite view
seems to be urged or admitted, e.g. contra duas epist. Telag. i. 22, 40 {T.L.
xliv. 570), are dealt with in the notes of the Benedictine editors oi eAugustini
Opera, on de peccat. mer. i. 20, 26.

The Sacrament Reserved 7

receiving confirmation (and so, implicitly, communion), he
is nevertheless to be thought of as saved, by virtue of his
faith confessed in baptism, i

But these are exceptional instances. As the same series
of canons clearly shows,^ the Eucharist was normally given
in the hour of death, and so e(p6<'^iov soon came to bear the
restricted and definite meaning of the last communion.
At the Council of Nicaea (a.d. 325), the custom of giving
the Eucharist to the dying was referred to as well estab-
lished and of long standing. " Concerning the dying, let
the ancient and canonical rule still be kept, that none
be deprived at the hour of death of the last and most
necessary icpoSiov . . . and, after due examination, the
bishop is to give the Eucharist to every one who asks for
it at the end." 3

To this canon St. Gregory of Nyssa alludes in the
Canonical Epistle addressed to Bishop Letoius of Melitene,
wherein he gives rules for dealing with eight classes
of penitents. " And," he writes, " if the penitent lies
dying before he has fulfilled his allotted term of penance,
the mercifulness of the Fathers bids him partake of the

* Can. 77. " De baptizatis qui nondum coniirmati morluntur. Si
quis diaconus regens plebem sine episcopo vel presbytero aliquos baptiza-
verit, episcopus eos per benedictionem pcrficere debebit ; quod si ante de
sacculo recesserint, sub fide qua quis credidit poterit esse Justus." (Hefele-
Leclercq, o/>. at. p. 261.)

^ Can. 32. "... cogente tamen infirmitate necesse est presbyterem
communionem praestare debere ; et diaconum si ei jusserit sacerdos. . . ."
(Hefele-Leclercq, oj>. cit. p. 238.)

3 Can. 13, " Trepl 8e twv e^oSevovrwv 6 TraAatbs koI KavoviKo^ vofio's
<^vXa)(dy](r€TaL Koi vvv, coare et t6s i^oSevoi, rov TcXevraiov Kal dvajKai-
ordrov i<f)o8[ov p.-q 0.77 ocrrepda- 6 at. el 8k diroyvco(r6el<i Kal Koti'wv/as -rrdXiv
TV)(^u)v (TrdXiv) iv tois (wfriv i^erairOfj, fierd rwt; koli'ojvovvtioi' ti/9 €v\rj>;

flOVlJS €(TT(i). KaOokoV 8k Kttl TTepl TTaVTOS OUTtl'OCTOUl' i^o8eVOl'TO^ aLTOVVTO<i

Tov jXiro.a-y^f.Lv evxo.pirrTLa<;, 6 eVicTKOTro? /xera SoKt/xacrta? eVtSoTon" For
crtSoTco, some versions have as the final clause /^leTaStSdrco tt/s 7rpo(T(f)opd?.
It has been doubted on very insufficient grounds, whether icfi. here neces-
sarily means the sacrament ; there is really no ambiguity in the text
(Bright, Canons, pp. 50 ff.). References to this canon are frequently
made by later Synods, e.g. Concil. Aurant. (Orange, a.d. 441), Can. 3 :
" Qui recedunt de corpore, poenltentia accepta, placuit sine recon-
ciliatione manus impositione eis communicari : quod morientibus
sufficit consolationi secundum definitiones patrum, qui hujus modi
communionem viaticum nominarunt." (Hefele-Leclercq, oj>. cit. II. pt. I,
p. 436.)

8 The Sacrament Reserved

hallowed elements, that he may not be sent forth empty on
his last long journey." ^

As an ecclesiastical term, viaticum (the equivalent of
e<p6(^iov) is naturally of later date ; but as soon as Latin
became the common speech of the Western Church, the
word was bound to acquire the definite technical meaning
that had come to be affixed to the older term. Indeed, in
ecclesiastical usage, viaticum (because of its later appearance)
seems always to mean the Eucharist : evidence for the
existence of any earlier or wider use, or more general
application, corresponding to that which we have noted in
connection with ecpoSiov, does not appear to exist. ^ The
term occurs frequently in the decrees of councils that rein-
forced or modified the Nicene directions as to the right even
of the lapsed, if penitent, to the comfort of communion at
the last. We may here note that De rAubespine,3 followed
by other writers, contended that where the word communio is
used (instead o^ viaticum) in early conciliar material concerned
with the discipline of the dying, we are to understand a
reference to some rite that restored a penitent in extremis to
the communion or fellowship of the Church. According
to this interpretation, a form of absolution was employed
in these cases, and so the administration of the Eucharist
as viaticum was actually less general than it would appear
to have been. This contention may be taken as wholly

As to the disciplinary conditions at first attached to the
administration of viaticum we have no detailed information.
By the time of St. Cyprian a regular penitential system had
developed, but it is not possible to form more than a general
notion of it from perusal of his writings. 5 The rigour that

^ Epist. Canon. ^dLetoium. <^. "... ei Se ns p) 7rA?;pajo-as rbv xpovov
Tov Ik tQ>v Kavdvwi/ d(f)opi(riJbevov i^oSevoi tov fScov, neXevei yj tioi' Trarepwv
cfiiXavdpMTria fjueT(W)(6i'Ta tcov aytacr/xaTcov fxy Kerov tov €(jio8iov Trpos rr/v
€<rxaTr/v €KetV7/i' Kal jxaKpav aTToSry/xiav €K7reix(f>6'i]vai.^' (^•^* ^'^^- ^3^v
Other paragraphs of this letter contain further allusions to the policy laid
down at Nicaea,

2 A full list of the various meanings acquired by the term maticum in
the Middle Ages is given by Ducange, Gloss, s.v.

3 " De Feteribus Ecclesiae Ritibus,'' f:^ii\m. (Helmstadt, 1672.)

4 Frank, 'Bussdisciplin, pp. 739, 745, 889, 896-903 (cited by Hefele-
Leclercq, op. cit.).

5 cf. Epist. viii. 3, etc. (Bright, Canons, pp. 53, 54).

The Sacrament Reserved 9

prevailed in this matter in the times of the earlier persecutions
can hardly have surpassed, even if it rivalled, the severity
that marks the canons promulged at Elvira. The text of
the first of these has been amended to give this sense :
" If an adult Christian has been guilty of idolatrous sacrifice,
he may not receive communion, even on his death-bed." ^
Thus, twenty-five years before Nicaea the custom of fortify-
ing the dying with the Eucharist was recognized, and the
administration of viaticum was prohibited where sentence of
utter excommunication had been pronounced. Most later
councils took a more merciful view and allowed any sincere
penitent in articulo mortis to receive the sacrament, on the
understanding that, in case of recovery, whatever part of the
penance still remained to be performed should be duly
worked out.^

' Can. I . " Placuit inter eos {leg. nos). Qui post fidem baptism!
salutaris adulta aetate ad templum idoli idollaturus {leg. idolatraturus)
accesserit et fecerit quod est crimen capitale, quia est summi sceleris, placuit
nee in finem eum communionem accipere." (Hefcle-Leclercq, cp. cit. I.
pt. I, p. 221. cf. also Dale, SytiodofShira, pp. 93, 96, 108, etc.)

^ e.g. Ancyra (a.d. 314) ; can. 6, cf. can. 4, 5 ; Nicaea (a.d. 325),
can. 13, etc. At a later date (a.d. 374) the milder attitude was taken
at Valentia, can. 3 ; [at the Gallican Synod (? Concil. Leptinense, a.d.
743) that promulged the canons once referred to " iv. Carthage," can.
77, 78 : " Poenitentes qui in infirmitate viaticum Eucharistiae acceperint
non se credant absolutos sine manus impositione, si supervixerint."]

Online LibraryWilliam Herbert FreestoneThe sacrament reserved : a survey of the practice of reserving the Eucharist, with special reference to the communion of the sick, during the first twelve centuries → online text (page 1 of 30)