Rest in Peace and Rise in Glory


Rest in peace - Rise in glory

I am interested in the origin of the response "and rest in glory" to the petition "May s/he rest in peace" which seems to have become almost universal.

As a young server I was told by a keen young Anglo-Catholic curate that as the petition refers to the soul and not the body the response was 'unsound' as the soul does not 'rise'. In my experience the response is popular in Anglican churches but not so much in RC ones. I cannot find it in any RC or traditional A-C liturgical texts (where the response is always a straight 'Amen').

Can anyone direct me to a liturgical text which gives the response "and rise in glory" as opposed to just "Amen"?



Some priests prefer the response: 'And be raised in glory'. After much searching, I have found the original words in an American (Roman) Catholic Online Forum (quoting articles of faith and special prayers memorised over the years), and on a website of the Australian Guild of All Souls, quoting from the Anglican Prayer Book used in the Province of South Africa. No other clues as to origin!
CB (Suffolk)

Fr David Moore - 15/10/09

I wish I could answer where the addition to 'May the souls.........' originated,

I personally when praying aloud 'May the souls....'come in forcefully with AMEN!

I think the the addition of 'Rise in glory' is unnecessary and might be unsound.

I wonder sometimes at extra words and actions creeping into our worship e.g. the making of the sign of the cross when the priest says 'Behold,t he Lamb of God'. Also I notice that many keep their heads down at the elevations.

One last observation.....kneeling seems to have gone out of fashion......many just sit when kneeling used to take place and now adopt the shampoo position. I won't say what we used to describe that position when I was at my Theological College... NB not at 'Seminary' as is now often said. Yet another example of Anglo-Catholics aping the R.C. Church!

David Moore...G.S.S. Warden.

Fr Alan - 28/10/09

The 'rise in glory' response seems to be an unusual example of an Anglican 'use' that is creeping into RC worship. As 'rest in peace' is an abbreviation for 'may the soul[s] of . . . rest in peace' the response must surely be unsound because souls do not rise.

My suspicion is that the 'rise in glory' response originated out of a pastoral desire to pray for the dead without a commitment to the doctrine of purgatory. The response turns a specific prayer for the soul into a more general one for the 'whole person'. In that sense it could be used more widely - but less precisely - by non-Catholic Christians (in fact the only liturgical text I have found it in is the new Methodist Service Book).

Father Alan


Just commenting on Fr Moore's observation about kneeling : some of us, especially Senior Citizens (including Servers), less sprightly than Fr Moore!- do not kneel, simply because we have bad knees (or other joints which would make getting up hard), not because of any doctrinal objection!! Some people also cannot stand for any length of time. Sitting bolt upright does not seem quite reverent, so we adopt the 'Nonconformist' position of sitting with bowed head!- though I entirely agree one should be looking, at the elevations.....


From the St James' Bible:

Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 4 verses.13 -18:

13. But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow
not, even as others which have no hope.
14. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring
with him.
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of
the Lord shall not prevent (go before) them which are asleep.
16. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with
the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds. to meet the
Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
ust commenting on Fr Moore's observation about kneeling - as congregations (and Servers) get older, so do their knees, and some of us cannot kneel simply because of the state of our joints, not through any doctrinal objection!!

Eddie Bestwick - 21/11/09

As a further point in reply:

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Article 11, paragraph 989 states:

'989. We firmly believe, and hence we hope that, just as Christ is truly risen from the dead and lives for ever so after death the righteous will live for ever with the risen Christ and he will raise them up on the last day....'

so the prayer 'Rest in peace and rise in glory' seems consistent both with Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Eddie Bestwick,

Fr. Alan - 25/11/09

I don't think the question is about whether or not "the righteous will live for ever with the risen Christ and [be raised] . . . up on the last day".

It's rather about a specific use of words in the Liturgy: 'Rest in peace and rise in glory'.

'Rest in peace' was traditionally a prayer for the soul in purgatory. The response was simply 'Amen'. Substituting 'rise in glory' (which must refer to the body) turns the prayer into a more general one for the deceased. It's certainly not unsound in itself, but would appear to represent a step away from traditional catholic teaching.

The new response doesn't seem to appear in any authorized liturgy and is largely unknown in the Roman church. It probably originated in a 'middle of the road' Anglican context which was not unwilling to pray for the dead, but did not want to appear committed to the catholic doctrine of 'where' they are and how they might actually benefit from our prayers.

Fr Alan

Derek Jay - 28/11/09

I dislike the ‘rise in glory’ bit intensely when our choir says it in the vestry after services.

However, my annoyance has prompted me to do a bit of research, with the help of friends on The Ship of Fools website.

I was surprised to find ‘real, serious, anglo-catholic precedent, e.g.
From the *Guild of All Souls or from Arthur Tooth*: Rest eternal grant to them O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon them: May their souls, and the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God rest in peace. May they rise in glory.

Also, /The Treasury of devotion a manual of prayer for general and daily use/ (1863) by Thomas Thellusson Carter "Rector of Clewer, Berks" and founder of the *Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament* has vestry
prayers: ... such as are yet alive may finish their course with joy, and that such as are dead in the LORD may rest in peace and hope, and rise in glory: for the LORD'S sake Whose Death we are now about to commemorate

However, I think it is *theologically unsound* because the original petition refers to the soul and not the body. The soul does not 'rise'.

It is *protestant* in that the 'rise in glory' response may have originated with an Anglican pastoral desire to pray for the dead without a commitment to a doctrine of Purgatory.

It may have become more common because Common Worship has taken it up – so, at least, now prayer for the departed occurs in official C of E
liturgy: That all who with Christ have entered the shadow of death may rest in peace and rise in glory, let us pray to the Lord: (CW Biddings, Responses Epiphany)

Give rest to the departed and bring them, with your saints, to glory
everlasting: R (CM Passiontide)

Methodists also have it: May the souls of the faithful, Through the mercy of God,

Rest in peace and rise in glory. *Amen *

Anglo-Catholics, such as the Jubilee Group have used it: + May the souls of the departed rest in peace. P. AND RISE IN GLORY. AMEN.

By adding 'rise in glory' as a response the prayer was turned into a more general one for the well-being of the departed rather than a specific one for relief of the holy souls.

Because protestants generally believe that the soul is resting until it is reunited with the body (which rises in or to glory), the addition of the 'rise in glory' renders the prayer meaningless if pastorally comforting. However, it makes it into a prayer for the dead person's salvation. A hope that they will be part of the general resurrection and live in the presence of God.

However, it could be said to be *specifically Christian* in that "Rest in Peace" on its own could be said by a non-believer. "RIP" is commonly used on graves by non-believers as a vague acknowledgement that the dead person's troubles are now over.

Maybe we *should be pleased* that the C of E is absorbing some of its catholic heritage. Prayers for the departed are spreading into circles where they have previously been unknown. However, are these petitions accompanied by an understanding that, Purgatory or no, our bodies and souls will not be reunited until the Last Judgment.

Some say that became *fashionable* when Robert Runcie introduced it at Cuddesdon theological college in the late 1960s Cuddesdon was in the process of amalgamating with Ripon Hall and changing from being a 'catholic' college in ethos to a more 'liberal' one).

It was used at the funeral of Diana
<>, Princess of
Wales: "At one with all the faithful, living and departed, may you rest in peace and rise in glory, where grief and misery are banished and light and joy evermore abide.”

However, its use seems to *go back much further* than I previously thought. The phrase "Let thy child *rest in hope* and rise in glory" and similar prayers seem to be a common grave inscription.

In the 18th and 19th century, /Family prayers: collected from the sacred scriptures, the Book of Common Prayer and the works of Bishop Wilson/ by the Right Rev. William Mead D.D., Assistant Bishops of Virginia... “(Wm.
M. Morrison, Alexandria DC, 1834.) a long, long Evening prayer attributed to "Bishop Wilson" ends: And now, O God all-powerful take us, this night under thy protection, preserve us from the powers of darkness and the dangers of the night and by they grace and providence bring us at the last through all the trials and temptations of this world to a blessed end, that we may *rest in hope and rise in glory* through Jesus Christ our Lord and saviour to whom with thee and the Holy Ghost be all honour and glory, world without end, Amen

Assuming that "Bishop Wilson" is Thomas Wilson, Bishop of Sodor and Man from 1697 to 1755, he had a personal prayer: Grant, O God, that I may die in peace, and rest in hope, and rise in glory.

And a pre-Communion prayer: "... as are dead in the Lord, may rest in hope and rise in glory for Thy Son s m sake, whose death we now commemorate..."

The Calvinist Archbishop Ussher attributed: ‘Thou didst undergo burial, and rise in glory, and raise up Adam together with thee, by thy almighty hand’ to a Greek Prayer in his "Answer to a Jesuit's Challenge" of 1656

In the "Visitation of the Sick." In /The clergyman's companion containing the occasional offices of the Protestant Episcopal Church, with prayers suitable to be used by the clergy of the said church in the discharge of their parochial duties/ (1885) by Thomas Whittaker of New
York: "... let him die in peace, and rest in hope, and rise in glory through ... "

/ /

/Ritualism Romanism And The English Reformation/ (Bampton Lectures of
1857) by William Edward Jelf attributes the words: ‘...and that such as are dead in the Lord may rest in peace and hope, and rise in glory’ to the Treasury of Devotion.

/The Christian doctrine of prayer for the departed/ (1875) by Frederick George Lee, Vicar of All Saints Lambeth: May he rest in peace and rise in glory

At Wickwar church in Glos. is a monument to Mr. John Purnell: Here lyeth a rare example of much goodness, Mr John Purnell, late of the Pool-House, in this parish, who died August the 16th, 1726, aged 46. He was a zealous member of the Church of England, a loving husband, a tender father, a kind relation, a generous friend, always acceptable to the rich, and liberal to the poor. Injury s between others he easily reconciled, his own as readily forgave. A blessed peacemaker, j He was through the whole course of his life a sincere Christian, without ostentation, and a lover of all mankind, without desire of praise.
Reader, go thou and do likewise, *that thou mayest rest in peace, and rise in glory*."

Derek Jay, Bristol


What you don't ever seem to get is 'rise in glory' as a response to 'rest in peace' in the way that has come commonplace nowadays.

Prayers that someone may 'rest in peace and rise in glory' (in one sentence as it were) appear to originate in texts from a high church Anglican context (or a 'folk' Christianity one) where prayer for the dead is not (as it would be to puritans and evangelicals) a sign of 'popery'.

There also seems to be a big gap in time between the examples quoted and the appearance of 'rise in glory' as the usual response to 'rest in peace' in Anglican churches today.


(And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. 1 Peter 5:4 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 1 Corinthians 15:43-45)

Andrew Bowyer - 27/7/10

I always thought “may they rest in peace”, even in Roman Catholic usage, referred ultimately to the whole person, despite the obvious element of intercession for the holy souls in purgatory.

I should have thought this was a welcome reassertion of the doctrine of the resurrection of the body, in the face of the widespread (even in Catholic circles) neo-Platonic belief that our souls are the “real” essence of persons, who in this way survive bodily death. This reductionist belief undermines all Christian teaching about the ultimate goodness and validity of the physical creation – and, not least, makes the Resurrection narratives somewhat anomalous and superfluous, if in fact we do not in any sense rise with our bodies.

I began to use a version of it myself in public prayer – “May they rest in peace and come to a joyful resurrection” – quite off my own bat, before I realised there was any formal tradition to it. Of course, this is the way in which the Holy Spirit has very often led the Church to a fuller expression of beliefs she already implicitly held.

Andrew Bowyer, Lancashire

Andrew Mays - 10/10/10

A few years ago I was a member of the altar party at a chapter mass. After Mass, in the sacristy we prayed "May the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace" and the altar party replied "and rise in glory". We were all then forcibly rebuked by the priest with "souls do not rise in glory".
Andrew R Mays


The phrase must at least date back to 1824:

FR - 25/1/13

F. W. Dillistone's 'The Life of Joe Fison' [Bishop of Salisbury 1963 -1972] concludes 
"Joe's own last word might have been the phrase which he taught others to add to the traditional prayer: 
'May the souls of the departed rest in peace:' 
And rise in Glory." 

Joe Fison began as an Evangelical, both studying and teaching at Wycliffe Hall, but was strongly impressed by his early experience of the Ethiopian Church, and later by the thinking of Berdyaev, Buber and Tillich. Through his ministry, particularly in Cambridge and Salisbury, he influenced generations of Anglican ordinands. 

I think it is very likely that he is responsible for the popularity of the "rise in glory" response in MOTR parishes which in the 1960s were probably just beginning to regularly use the 'rest in peace' formula. 
F. R.

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