LP017 – “In persona Christi, In persona Ecclesiæ”: Two Eucharistic Formulas considered according to “lex orandi”


Course Information

Professor: Cesare Giraudo, SJ>

Schedule: Thu. III-IV, 2nd sem., 2 cr., 3 ECTS


The formula in persona Christi owes its success to scholasticism, which used the term to define the role of the priest when, in the institutional account, pronounces the very words of Christ. The recognized validity of the anaphora of Addai and Mar–still in use in the Church of Assira of the Orient without those words–invites us not to absolutize the said formula, as if it were the only key to explain transubstantiation.


Through a conjunctural analysis of the anaphora and patristic commentaries the student will be aided:


  • in contextualizing the significance of the formula in persona Christi;
  • in integrating it with the parallel formula in persona Ecclesiae;
  • in taking note that no formula gives us the authority to say that at any specific moment it is Jesus who is speaking;
  • in recognizing that it is the celebrating community that is speaking, represented in eminent measure by the priest who proclaims the anaphora “in the name of the Church that prays with the words of Christ (in persona Ecclesiae orantis sermone Christi)”;
  • in understanding that only by examining the lex orandi is it possible to rediscover the dynamic interaction between the institutional narrative and the epiclesis.


B.D. Marliangeas, Clés pour une théologie du ministère. “In persona Christi, In persona Ecclesiæ”, Paris 1978;


C. Giraudo, “In unum corpus”. Trattato mistagogico sull’eucaristia, Cinisello B. 2007;


Id., “In persona Christi”, “In persona Ecclesiæ”. Formule eucaristiche alla luce della “lex orandi”, in Rassegna di Teologia 51 (2010) 181-195.