An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Form (Sacramental)

In sacramental theology, the words of prayer that express the meaning of the sacrament and the matter used in the sacrament. The words and the matter of the sacrament constitute a valid sacrament when used with appropriate intent by an appropriate minister. At the eucharist the form is the Great Thanksgiving that is said in the consecration of the bread and wine. The BCP notes that in an emergency any baptized person may administer baptism according to the following form, “I baptize you in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” This form is joined to the ministration of water (BCP, p. 313). The sacramental form may be understood in terms of the minimum words required for the sacrament to be valid. It is not a particular verbal formula as such. For example, the BCP provides a variety of forms for the Great Thanksgiving at the eucharist. See Matter (Sacramental).

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.