The Nestorians and their Rituals/Volume 2/Chapter 23

CHAPTER XXIII.

OF THE CHURCH.

"The visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men, in which the pure Word of God is preached, and the Sacraments be duly ministered according to Christ's ordinance in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same.

"As the Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch, have erred; so also the Church of Rome hath erred, not only in their living and manner of ceremonies, but also in matters of faith."—Article XIX.

§ 1. "The term 'Church' imports a congregation, and an assembly met together to unite in acts of celebration. … The name 'Church,' as we have said, has this signification, for Christ does not call material foundations and stones a 'Church,' but the congregation which believe on Him." See Appendix B., Part III., c. 8.

§ 2. "Blessed art thou, O Church, for behold the commemoration of thy sanctification has been celebrated: for the Father has had pleasure in thy sons and daughters, and the Son has renewed thy foundations, and the Holy Ghost the Comforter has descended and sanctified thee by His grace, and set up within thee priests to preach the true faith, and has delivered unto thee His sacraments as a pledge of the forgiveness of thy children. Therefore confess and worship the Messiah, the King, who has magnified thee." From the service for the first Sunday of the Sanctification of the Church; from the Khudhra.

§ 3. "Thy Church possesses a heavenly treasure and great wealth, O our Saviour, in those sacraments and ordinances which Thou hast given us. She keeps these, and preaches the great Book of Thy Gospel, and the adorable wood of Thy cross, the emblem of Thy humanity. Great are the sacraments of her salvation." From the Khudhra, for the third Friday of the Sanctification of the Church.

§ 4. "To Thy Church, O our Saviour, which through faith and love, the fruits of Baptism, followed Thee perfectly, Thou didst first disclose the Persons of Thy glorious Godhead, and through her has been made known to the spiritual congregations a perfect teaching of the mystery of Thy Trinity. May that faith, O Lord, which by Thy grace was committed unto her through Thy Gospel be kept undefiled." From the service for the first Friday of the same commemoration.

§ 5. "Great and unlimited praise do the spiritual choirs offer up on the feast of thy sanctification, glorious and holy Church. The saintly priests cry out and say in thee, Holy, Holy, Holy, art Thou, O Lord, whose glory rested upon thee, and who gave thee in pledge His sacraments." From the fourth Sunday of the same commemoration.

§ 6. "Christ, Who affianced His Church through His precious blood, and by His baptism sanctified and saved it by His grace, and made it an abode and place of refuge for all who believe in Him, we pray Him to have mercy upon us." From the service for the first Sunday of the same festival.

§ 7. "Come, all ye of the household, that we may be among the guests at the sanctification of Thy holy Church, the affianced Bride of Jesus the High Priest, the heavenly Bridegroom, who in His pity gave to her His precious body and blood, and spread out upon her the beauty of His celestial glory, and committed to her the pledge of a new life in the waters of baptism, and has promised her a delectable abode in heaven that she may exult therein with her children born of the Spirit, and praise Him for having exalted her in every place, and humbled before her all names, and built up her walls." From the same.

§ 8. "The holy Church confesses Thee, O Jesus Christ, Son of the Lord, and perfects Thy sacraments, and exults in Thy cross, longs for Thee, waits for Thee, and supplicates Thy greatness to exalt her with Thee unto heaven when Thou shalt come at the last day." From the same.

REMARKS.

With respect to the last paragraph of this article little need to be said. On this subject see Appendix B, Part IV., c. 6, which concludes with the following declaration: "Therefore the Westerns have changed the faith and the canons, and not the Easterns."

I quote the following extract on the perpetuity of the Church of Christ, on account of its singularity, it being the only instance in which the testimony of the Roman patriarchate is adduced. "Rome says that the Church shall continue from generation to generation, and shall not be overcome by kings or emperors." From the service appointed in the Khudhra for the third Sunday of the "Sanctification of the Church."