In Search of the Spirit: The Epiclesis in Early Eucharistic Praying and Contemporary Western Liturgical Reforms

Doctoral Dissertation


The widespread “recovery” of the pneumatic epiclesis in contemporary Western eucharistic praying can be attributed to the combined influence of a number of factors, especially the confluence of liturgical, ecumenical, and pastoral concerns. Although the location and language of the epicleses incorporated into Western eucharistic prayers during the last half century have varied, many of these pneumatic invocations were influenced at some stage of their development by early models (and often early Eastern models) of eucharistic praying. This study explores the theological and textual connections among ancient and modern epicleses, primarily through analysis of a selection of epicletic texts in contemporary Western eucharistic prayers and the theological principles that shaped themÌ¢âÂ"principles derived in part from perceptions of the role played by the Spirit inherited from traditions ancient and modern. This study demonstrates how liturgical scholarship on the Spirit’s role in early liturgical prayers and texts conducted during the twentieth century contributed to the language and pneumatology of contemporary eucharistic prayers in the Western Christian tradition and considers how more recent studies of these ancient sources may suggest ways to articulate and incorporate a more expansive understanding of the connections between the Holy Spirit and the Eucharist into the euchological repertoire of various ecclesial traditions in the future. Contemporary Western Prayers analyzed in this study include the eucharistic prayers of the Missale Romanum (1970-2002) of the Roman Catholic Church, the Book of Common Prayer (1979) of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America, The United Methodist Book of Worship (1992), the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)‘s Book of Common Worship (1993), the Church of England’s Common Worship (2000), and Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006) of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada.


Attribute NameValues
  • etd-07222011-162304

Author Anne Catherine McGowan
Advisor Maxwell E. Johnson
Contributor Paul F. Bradshaw, Committee Member
Contributor Nathan D. Mitchell, Committee Member
Contributor Maxwell E. Johnson, Committee Chair
Degree Level Doctoral Dissertation
Degree Discipline Theology
Degree Name PhD
Defense Date
  • 2011-06-29

Submission Date 2011-07-22
  • United States of America

  • epiclesis

  • eucharistic prayer

  • worship

  • liturgy

  • anaphora

  • Eucharist

  • Holy Spirit

  • University of Notre Dame

  • English

Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

Departments and Units


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