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From the lately-discovered Prayer Book of Bishop Serapion, which can be ascribed with certainty to the middle of the fourth century, we should infer that, with certain exceptions as regards the anaphora of the liturgy, every prayer consistently ended in Amen.
all those appealed to by Abbot Cabrol, the Amen is really a later interpolation. Lastly the common practice of concluding any discourse or chapter of a subject with a doxology ending in Amen seems to have led to a third distinctive use of the word in which it appears as nothing more than a formula of conclusion -- finis .
Augustine expresses it, in virtue of an exceptionally sacred example.
"So frequent was this Hebrew in the mouth of Our Saviour ", observes the Catechism of the Council of Trent, "that it pleased the Holy Ghost to have it perpetuated in the Church of God ". Matthew attributes it to Our Lord twenty-eight times, and St. As regards the etymology, Amen is a derivative from the Hebrew verb aman "to strengthen" or "Confirm". In the Holy Scripture it appears almost invariably as an adverb, and its primary use is to indicate that the speaker adopts for his own what has already been said by another.
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The word Amen is one of a small number of Hebrew words which have been imported unchanged into the liturgy of the Church, propter sanctiorem as St.
Thus we may compare I Paralipomenon, xvi, 36, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from eternity ; and let the people say Amen and a hymn to God ", with Ps., cv, 48, "Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel from everlasting: and let all the people say: so be it" (cf.
also Nehemiah 8:6 ), these last words in the Septuagint being represented by genoito, genoito , and in the Vulgate, which follows the Septuagint by fiat, fiat ; but the Massoretic text gives "Amen, Alleluia ".Again, in the apocryphal but early "Acta Johannis" (ed. But it cannot have been very long before the Amen was in many cases added by the utterer of the prayer. This usage seems to have developed even in public worship, and in the second half of the fourth century, in the earliest form of the liturgy which affords us any safe data, that of the Apostolic Constitutions , we find that in only three instances is it clearly indicated that Amen is to be said by the congregation (i.e.after the Trisagion, after the " Prayer of Intercession ", and at the reception of Communion); in the eight remaining instances in which Amen occurs, it was said, so far as we can judge, by the bishop himself who offered the prayer.On the other hand, in the Churches of the East Amen is still commonly said after the form of baptism, sometimes by the bystanders, sometimes by the priest himself.In the prayers of exorcism it is the person exorcised who is expected to say "Amen", and in the conferring of sacred orders, when the vestments, etc., are given to the candidate by the bishop with some prayer of benediction, it is again the candidate who responds, just as in the solemn blessing of the Mass the people answer in the person of the server.Still we cannot say that any uniform principle governs liturgical usage in this matter, for when at a High Mass the celebrant blesses the deacon before the latter goes to read the Gospel, it is the priest himself who says Amen.