CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA of 1917:
A question that can only be answered by conjecture is that of the relation between the Roman Canon and any of the other ancient liturgical Anaphoras. There are undoubtedly very striking parallels between it and both of the original Eastern rites, those of Alexandria and Antioch
. Mgr. Duchesne is inclined to connect the Roman use with that of Alexandria, and the other great Western liturgy, the Gallican Rite, with that of Antioch (Origines, 54). But the Roman Canon shows perhaps more likeness to that of Antioch in its formulæ. These parallel passages have been collected and printed side by side by Dr. Drews in his "Entstehungsgeschichte des Kanons in der römischen Messe", in order to prove a thesis which will be referred to later. Meanwhile, whatever may be thought of Drew's theory, the likeness of the prayers cannot be denied. For instance, the Intercession in the Syrian Liturgy of St. James begins with the prayer (Brightman, East. Lit., 89-90):
Wherefore we offer unto Thee, O Lord, this same fearful and unbloody sacrifice for the holy places . . . . and especially for holy Sion . . . . and for thy holy church which is in all the world . . . . Remember also, O Lord, our pious bishops . . . especially the fathers, our Patriarch Mar N. and our Bishop ["and all the bishops throughout the world who preach the word of thy truth in Orthodoxy", Greek Lit. of St. James].
The whole of this prayer suggests our "Imprimis quæ tibi offerimus", etc., and certain words exactly correspond to "toto orbe terrarum" and "orthodoxis", as does "especially" to "imprimis", and so on. Again the Syrian Anaphora continues:
Remember also, O Lord, those who have offered the offerings at thine holy altar and those for whom each has offered [cf. "pro quibus tibi offerimus vel qui tibi offerunt"]. . . . Remember, O Lord, all those whom we have mentioned and those whom we have not mentioned [ib., p. 92]. Again vouchsafe to remember those who stand with us and pray with us ["et omnium circumstantium", ib., 92]; Remembering. . . . especially our all-holy, unspotted, most glorious lady, Mother of God and ever Virgin, Mary, St. John the illustrious prophet, forerunner and baptist, the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, Andrew . . . . [the names of the Apostles follow] . . . . and of all thy Saints for ever . . . . that we may receive thy help ["ut in omnibus protectionis tuæ muniamur auxilio", Greek St. James, ib. 56-57].
The words of Institution occur in a form that is almost identical with our "Pridie quam pateretur" (ib., 86-87). The Anamnesis (p. 89) begins: "Commemorating therefore ["unde et memores"] O Lord, thy death and resurrection on the third day from the tomb and thy ascension into heaven . . . . we offer thee this dread and unbloody sacrifice ["offerimus . . . . hostiam puram," etc.].
It is true that these general ideas occur in all the old liturgies; but in this case a remarkable identity is found even in the words. Some allusions to what were probably older forms in our Canon make the similarity still more striking. Thus Optatus of Mileve says that Mass is offered "pro ecclesiâ, quæ una est et toto orbe terrarum diffusa" (Adv. Parm., III, xii). This represents exactly a Latin version of the "holy Church which is in all the world" that we have seen in the Syrian Anaphora above. The Syrian use adds a prayer for "our religious kings and queens" after that for the patriarch and bishop. So our Missal long contained the words "et pro rege nostro N."after "et Antistite nostro N." (see below). It has a prayer for the celebrant himself (Brightman, 90), where our Missal once contained just such a prayer (below). The treatise "De Sacramentis" gives the words on Institution for the Chalice as "Hic est sanguis meus", just as does the Syrian Liturgy.
There are other striking resemblances that may be seen in Drews. But the other Eastern liturgy, the Alexandrine use, also shows very striking parallels. The prayer for the celebrant, of which the form was "Mihi quoque indignissimo famulo tuo propitius esse digneris, et ab omnibus me peccatorum offensionibus emundare" (Ebner, Miss. Rom., 401), is an exact translation of the corresponding Alexandrine text: "Remember me also, O Lord, thy humble and unworthy servant, and forgive my sins"
(Brightman, 130). The author of "De Sacr." quotes the Roman Canon as saying "quod est figura corporis et sanguinis domini nostri Iesu Christi", and the Egyptian Prayer Book of Serapion uses exactly the same expression, "the figure of the body and blood" (Texte u. Unt., II, 3, p. 5). In the West the words "our God" are not often applied to Christ in liturgies. In the Gelasian Sacramentary they occur ("ut nobis corpus et sanguis fiat dilectissimi filii tui Domini Dei nostri Iesu Christi", ed. Wilson, 235), just where they come in the same context in St. Mark's Liturgy (Brightman, 126). Our Mass refers to the oblation as "thy gifts and favours" (de tuis donis ac datis); so does St. Mark (ib., 133). But the most striking parallel between Rome and Alexandria is in the order of the Canon. The Antiochene Liturgy puts the whole of the Intercession after the words of Institution and the Epiklesis; in Alexandria it comes before. And in our Canon the greater part of this intercession ("imprimis quæ tibi offerimus", "Commemoratio pro vivis", "Communicantes") also comes before the Consecration, leaving only as a curious anomaly the "Commemoratio pro defunctis" and the "Nobis quoque peccatoribus" to follow after the Anamnesis (Unde et momores).
Although, then, it is impossible to establish any sort of mutual dependence, it is evident that the Roman Canon contains likenesses to the two Eastern rites too exact to be accidental; in its forms it most resembles the Antiochene Anaphora, but in its arrangement it follows, or guides, Alexandria.
Before coming to the final definition of the Canon at about the time of St. Gregory, it will be convenient here to consider what is a very important question, namely that of the order of the different prayers.