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If the development of the consecratory epiclesis comes close on the heels of the pneumatological controversies, affirmations of the consecratory character of the words of institution appear much earlier. Irenaeus of Lyons, e.g., says: eum qui ex natura panis est, accepit, et gratias egit, dicens: Hoc est meum corpus.’ Et calicem similiter, qui est ex ea creatura, quae est secundum nos, suum sanguinem confessus est  Adv. haer. IV, 17, 5: PG 8, 1023; see also V, 2, 3: PG 8, 1125-1126. Ambrose, Riverside Metro Map commenting on the words of institution, says: Quid dicamus de ipsa consecratione divina ubi verba ipsa Domini Salvatoris operantur? Nam sacramentum istud, quod accipis, Christi sermone conficitur Ipse clamat Dominus Jesus: Hoc est corpus meum.

Ante benedictionem verborum caelestium alia species nominatur; post consecrationem corpus significatur. Ipse dicit sanguinem suum. Ante consecrationem aliud dicitur; post consecrationem sanguis nuncupatur. Et tu dicis: Amen, hoc est: verum est De Myster. IX, 52, 54: SC 25, 125, 127, Riverside Metro Map and: Quomodo potest, qui panis est, corpus esse Christi? Consecratione. Consecratio autem quibus verbis est, cuius sermonibus? Domini Iesu. Nam et reliqua omnia quae dicuntur in superioribus, a sacerdote dicuntur. Laudes Deo deferuntur, oratio petitur pro populo, pro regibus, pro coeteris. Ubi venitur ut conficiatur venerabile sacramentum, iam non suis sermonibus utitur sacerdos, sed utitur sermonibus Christi. Ergo sermo Christi conficit sacramentum Vides ergo quam operarius sit sermo Christi De Sacram. Riverside Metro Map IV, 4: SC 25bis, 82. Augustine follows the same doctrine when he says: Panis ille quem videtis in altari, sanctificatus per verbum Dei, corpus est Christi. Calix ille, immo quod habet calix, sanctificatus per verbum Dei, sanguis est Christi Serm. 227: PL 38, 1099, and Tolle verbum, panis est et vinum. Adde verbum, et jam aliud est. Et ipsum aliud, quid est? Corpus Christi et sanguis Christi. Tolle ergo verbum: panis est et vinum; adde verbum et fiet sacramentum Sermo 6, de sacramento altaris ad infantes 2: PL 46, 834-835. In the East, the main testimonies are those of Gregory of Nyssa Orat. catech.: PG 45, 96-97 and John Chrysostom Hom. I de proditione Judae 6: PG 49, 381-382.

In both East and West, affirmation of the consecratory character of the words of institution does not necessarily rule out the consecratory nature of the epiclesis: this is affirmed by both Gregory of Nyssa and John Chrysostom and, in the liturgical praxis itself, by the Alexandrian anaphora of St. Mark and the anaphora of Serapion, which have an epiclesis before the institution: Truly heaven and earth are full of your glory, by the manifestation of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ: grant, O God, that this sacrifice too may be filled with your blessing through the coming of your most Holy Spirit Anaph. Marci Evang.: H¤nggi – Pahl, Prex Eucharistica, 112; cf. Anaph. Serapionis, ibid., 130. The Roman Canon, in both its Ambrosian and Gregorian forms, contains a pre-institutory epiclesis ibid., 450, 465. Though the Holy Spirit is not mentioned, its action of transforming the oblation into a spiritual rationabilem reality receives sufficient attention. Thus, even where the words of institution are considered the consecratory element of the anaphora, the epiclesis is always associated with them. The existence of epicleses in other sacramental celebrations is attested by Tertullian, who speaks of the sanctification of the baptismal water through the Holy Spirit De Bapt.

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