p. 378 Canon XXVIII.
Since we understand that in several churches grapes are brought to the altar, according to a custom which has long prevailed, and the ministers joined this with the unbloody sacrifice of the oblation, and distributed both to the people at the same time, we decree that no priest shall do this for the future, but shall administer the oblation alone to the people for the quickening of their souls and for the remission of their sins. But with regard to the offering of grapes as first fruits, the priests may bless them apart [from the offering of the oblation] and distribute them to such as seek them as an act of thanksgiving to him who is the Giver of the fruits by which our bodies are increased and fed according to his divine decree. And if any cleric shall violate this decree let him be deposed.
Similar blessings of fruit, and particularly of grapes, are found in more recent rituals as well as in the ancient Greek Euchologions and the Latin Rituales. In the Sacramentary of St. Gregory will be found a benediction of grapes on the feast of St. Sixtus.
Cardinal Bona says (De Rob. Liturg., Lib. II., cap. xiv.), that immediately before the words Semper bona creas, sanctificas, etc., if new fruits or any other things adapted to human use were to be blessed, they were wont in former times to be placed before the altar, and there to be blessed by the priest; and when the benediction was ended with the accustomed words “Through Christ our Lord,” there was added the following prayer: “Perquem hæc omnia, etc.,” which words are not so much to be referred to the body and blood of Christ, as to the things to be blessed, which God continually creates by renewing, and we ask that they may be sanctified by his benediction to our use.
But in after ages when the fervour of the faithful had grown cold, that the mass might not be too long, they were separated and yet the prayer remained which, as said to-day over the consecrated species alone, can hardly be understood.
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