|This article forms part of the series on the |
|Liturgy of the Preparation|
|Liturgy of the Word|
|Great Litany |
Litany of Fervent Supplication
Litany for the Departed
Litany of the Catechumens
|Liturgy of the Eucharist|
|Cherubic Hymn |
Litany of the Completion
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The central prayer of the Eucharist is the anaphora (Greek for "offering up"), although in the West it is also called the "Eucharistic Prayer", the "Canon of the Mass" or eucharistic canon", or the "Great Thanksgiving".
There are three somewhat overlapping parts to the Eucharistic Prayer: the Thanksgiving, the Anamnesis, and the Epiclesis. But before the prayer can begin, there must be solemn expressions of love and of faith. Unity in love and in faith is needed for our self-offering and communion with God. We first hear: "Let us love one another that with one mind we may confess. Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the Trinity, one in essence and undivided." The "kiss of peace" exchanged by the clergy, and the Symbol of Faith is chanted.
Here is a portion of the prayer from the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom where thanksgiving to God the Father for all that he has done in Christ and the Spirit. We remember all things and are grateful to God. Our remembrance and our thanksgiving take us into the very presence of the Kingdom to the Throne of the Father to sing the Thrice-Holy Hymn with the angelic choirs. (Isaiah 6: 1-5)
- ...It is meet and right to sing to thee, to bless thee, to praise thee, to give thanks unto thee, and to worship thee in every place of thy dominion: for thou art God ineffable, inconceivable, invisible, incomprehensible, ever existing and eternally the same, thou and thine Only-begotten Son and thy Holy Spirit. Thou it was who didst bring us from non-existence into being, and when we had fallen away didst raise us up again, and didst not cease to do all things until thou hadst brought us back to heaven, and hadst endowed us with thy kingdom which is to come. For all these things we give thanks unto thee, and to thine Only-begotten Son, and thy Holy Spirit; for all things of which we know, and of which we know not, and for all the benefits bestowed upon us, both manifest and unseen.
- And we thank Thee for this liturgy which Thou hast found worthy to accept at our hands, though there stand by Thee thousands of archangels and hosts of angels, the Cherubim and the Seraphim, six-winged, many eyed, who soar aloft, borne on their pinions, singing the triumphant hymn, shouting, proclaiming and saying:
- Holy! Holy! Holy! Lord of Sabaoth! Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory! Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!
This narrative culminates in the of the Last Supper, and the words of Christ: "This is my Body ... This is my Blood..."
This section is called the anamnesis or oblation in that it references Jesus' command, at least implicitly, to "do this in memory of me" and states that the gifts of bread and wine are offered to God in memory of Jesus' life, death, resurrection, and second coming. It culminates in the priest or deacon elevating the bread and wine while the priest exclaims: "Thine own of thine own we offer unto thee on behalf of all and for all."
Epiclesis is the Invocation or 'calling down' of the Spirit on the Holy Gifts
- The Orthodox Faith, by the V. Rev. Thomas Hopko