Rest in Peace and Rise in
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"?
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!
Fr David Moore - 15/10/09
wish I could answer where the addition to 'May the souls.........'
I personally when praying aloud 'May the souls....'come in forcefully with
I think the the addition of 'Rise in glory' is unnecessary and might be
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
'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).
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
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
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
so the prayer 'Rest in peace and rise in glory' seems consistent both with
Scripture and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
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.
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
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
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
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
<http://www.bbc.co.uk/politics97/diana/order.html#prayers>, 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,
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
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
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
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
'May the souls of the departed rest in
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.
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