With angels and archangels : the background, form and function of the sanctus in the eucharistic prayer
The origin of the sanctus as a constituent element in the eucharistic prayer is one of the unsolved mysteries of Christian liturgy. In a Prolegomena, certain specific older theories are rejected. The use of the qeduasah in Judaism, from its biblical setting to its use in Jewish liturgy and mysticism is examined, and the continuity of these usages in Christian non-eucharlstic contexts is illustrated. From this wider background, the study examines the setting and function of the sanctus in the anaphoras of East and West to the seventh century, showing that the earliest attestations and the most logical use of the sanctus both originate in Syria and Palestine. In the peculiar Egyptian anaphoral family, it is used within Intercessions, and at Rome it appears to be a late fourth century addition, which was never given a logical setting in the canon missae. Possible origins are the Jewish Synagogue berakot, the Jewish mystical tradition, or some biblically-minded celebrants. But these possible origins are better accounted for when a variety of models for early eucharistic prayers is accepted, rather than the single model of the Birkat ha-mazon. The development of the sanctus in later Eastern and Western traditions is examined, noting the proliferation of angelological speculation in West Syria, the innovatory uses of Luther and Cranmer, and the interesting nineteenth century Reformed usage. In modern anaphoral composition it appears to be a sine qua non. Finally, the sanctus is examined in a wider theological context, defending a variety of logical doxological usages, with more than one position in the anaphora, and possibly wider variations of the biblical/liturgical form.