Basil's Liturgy. These Liturgies were based on the most ancient Liturgy, attributed to St. James the Apostle, the first bishop of Jerusalem. Basil the Great, who reposed in A. D, was archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia in Asia Minor. He is called "the Great" because of his great ascetic endeavors and his literary contribution to the Church of numerous prayers and ecclesiastical writings and rules. John Chrysostom was an archbishop of Constantinople. He was called "Chrysostom" in Greek, "the golden tongued" for his unique rhetorical gifts with which he proclaimed the Word of God.
Though he reposed in A. The Liturgy is described by various terms. In Apostolic times the Liturgy was referred to as " breaking bread " Acts , cf. I Cor. In the Liturgy the earthly life and teachings of Jesus Christ, from His Nativity to His Ascension into Heaven, are recalled, as well as the benefits which He bestowed upon the earth for our salvation.
The order of the Liturgy is as follows. First, the elements for the Mystery are prepared, then the faithful are prepared for the Mystery, and finally the very Mystery itself is celebrated and the faithful receive Communion. These three parts are called:. P roskomedia is a Greek word meaning offering. The first part of the Liturgy derives its name from the early Christian custom of the people offering bread and wine and all else that was needed for the Liturgy. Therefore, each small loaf of the bread which is used in it is termed a "prosphora," another word meaning offering.
This bread or prosphora must be leavened, pure, and made of wheat flour. The prosphora must be round and formed in two parts, one above the other, as an image of the two natures of Jesus Christ, divine and human. The wine used in the Mystery must be red grape wine, as this color reminds us of the color of blood.
The wine is mixed with water to remind us of the pierced side of the Savior from which flowed blood and water on the Cross. Five prosphoras are used in the Proskomedia to recall the five loaves with which Christ miraculously fed the five thousand, an event which gave Him the means to teach the people about spiritual nourishment, about the incorrupt, spiritual food which is bestowed in the Mystery of Holy Communion John One prosphora, known as the Lamb, is used for Holy Communion, in accordance with the words of the Apostle: "For we, being many, are one bread and one body, for we are all partakers of that one Bread" I Cor.
The Proskomedia is performed by the priest in a quiet voice at the Table of Preparation when the sanctuary is closed. During its celebration, the Third and Sixth Hours are read. The priest takes the first prosphora and with a small spear makes the sign of the Cross over it three times, saying the words, "In remembrance of our Lord and God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He was taken from prison and from judgment; and who shall declare His generation?
For He was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people was He stricken" Is. This cube-shaped portion of the prosphora, called the Lamb John , is placed on the diskos , a metal plate. Then the priest cuts a cross in the bottom of the Lamb while saying the words, "Sacrificed is the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, for the life of the world and its salvation.
And he that saw it bore record, and his record is true" John In accordance with these words wine is poured into the chalice mixed with water. From the second prosphora, the priest cuts out one portion in honor of the Virgin Mary and places it on the right side of the Lamb on the diskos. From the third prosphora, which is called "that of the nine ranks ," are taken nine portions in honor of the saints, John the Forerunner and Baptist, the prophets, the Apostles, the hierarchs, the martyrs, the monastic saints, the unmercenary physicians, the grandparents of Jesus, Joachim and Anna, the saint who is celebrated that day, the saint to whom the church is dedicated, and finally the saint who composed the liturgy being celebrated.
These portions are placed on the left side the Lamb. From the fourth prosphora, portions are removed for the hierarchs, the priesthood, and all the living. From the fifth prosphora, portions are taken for those Orthodox Christians who have reposed. Finally, portions are removed from those prosphoras donated by the faithful, as the names of the health and salvation of living and for the repose of the dead. All these portions are placed on the diskos below the Lamb. At the end of the Proskomedia the priest covers the bread with a metal asterisk star and then covers the diskos and chalice with special veils, censes the diskos and the chalice and prays that the Lord bless the offered Gifts and remember those who have offered them and those for whom they are offered.
The sacred instruments used and actions performed in the Proskomedia have symbolic meanings. The diskos signifies the caves in Bethlehem and Golgotha; the star, the star of Bethlehem and the Cross; the veils, the swaddling clothes and the winding sheet at the tomb of the Savior; the chalice, the cup in which Jesus Christ sanctified the wine; the prepared Lamb, the judgment, passion, and death of Jesus Christ; and its piercing by the spear, the piercing of Christ's body by one of the soldiers.
The arrangement of all the portions in a certain order on the diskos signifies the entire Kingdom of God, whose members consist of the Virgin Mary, the angels, all the holy men who have been pleasing to God, all the faithful Orthodox Christians, living and dead, and, in the center its head — the Lord Himself, our Savior. The censing signifies the overshadowing by the Holy Spirit, whose grace is shared in the Mystery of Holy Communion. So powerful is the Church's intercession that even the righteous have been known to appear in dreams to those still living to ask the Church's prayers.
In view of the great spiritual benefit bestowed upon those commemorated during Divine Liturgy, we should be conscientious in giving the names of those dear to us — and all those in special need of prayer — to be read at she Proskomedia. Most churches provide special printed slips of paper usually located near the candle counter for this purpose.
For longer lists of names commemorated regularly, it is recommended to use a booklet.
THE EUCHARISTIC PRAYER
How should one write out commemoration slips or booklets to be read at the Proskomedia? Separate lists should be made for the living and departed; these should be clearly marked at the top, either "For the health and salvation of the servants of God Proper Christian names received at baptism should be used, no nicknames or shortened forms: i.
Whether a booklet or a slip of paper is used, care should be taken that it is clean and neat, reflecting a reverent attitude towards the holiness of the liturgical commemoration. Papers should not be crumpled or full of messy erasures. Booklets with loose pages or broken staples should be replaced.
The writing should be legible; it should not be so small, or the names written so close, as to be difficult to read; those with poor handwriting should print or ask someone's assistance. The priest should be allowed to concentrate on prayer, not on retrieving loose pages or deciphering illegible script. At the Divine Liturgy only members of the Orthodox Church are commemorated, since the particles placed on the diskos represent the Holy Church, the body of Orthodox believers.
Separate lists should be kept of non-Orthodox to be commemorated with appropriate prayers. Lists and booklets should be regularly updated, i. It is best to designate "newly-departed" in pencil which can more easily be erased after the 40th day. Clergy should be given their proper title: not simply "Father Ecclesiastical titles may be abbreviated: Metropolitan — Met. Commemoration slips should be handed in at the candle counter as early as possible, preferably at the preceding vigil service. Once the Liturgy of the Catechumens has begun it is more difficult for the priest, particularly it he serves without a deacon, to read the commemorations, although strictly speaking he may do so up to the time of the Great Entrance.
T he second part of the Liturgy is called the Liturgy of the Catechumens because the catechumens, those preparing to receive Holy Baptism, are allowed to participate in its celebration. By making the sign of the Cross with the Gospel over the Holy Table, the priest begins the Liturgy with a solemn exclamation that reveals the key to the entire celebration:.
THE ORDER OF MASS
Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Choir: Amen. With these words the priest announces the goal of the divine service about to begin: the strengthening and expansion of the Kingdom of God brought to the world by Jesus Christ, to the Glory of the only one true God, worshipped in the Holy Trinity.
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The word "Amen" means "so be it" in Hebrew. The deacon, standing on the ambo , the raised area in front of the altar, and facing the Holy Doors, symbolizes the angel who encourages us to pray. He begins with the petition for peace, without which prayer is impossible.
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Deacon: In peace let us pray unto the Lord. For the peace from above and for the salvation of our souls, let us pray to the Lord. For the peace of the whole world, for the good estate of the holy churches of God, and for the union of all, let us pray to the Lord.
For this holy temple, and for those who enter with faith, reverence, and fear of God, let us pray to the Lord. For this city, for every city and country, and for the faithful dwelling in them, let us pray to the Lord. For seasonable weather, for abundance of the fruits of the earth, and for peaceful times, let us pray to the Lord. For travelers by land, by sea and by air; for the sick and the suffering; for captives and their salvation, let us pray to the Lord. For our deliverance from all affliction, wrath, danger and necessity, let us pray to the Lord. Calling to remembrance our all-holy, immaculate, most blessed, and glorious Lady Theotokos and ever-Virgin Mary with all the Saints, let us entrust ourselves and each other, and all our life unto Christ our God.
Priest: For unto Thee are due all glory, honor, and worship: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages. In this litany the various petitions made of the Lord are made in the order of their relative importance to the Church. According to the teaching of the Savior, we may not offer God any gifts if we remember that our " brother hath aught against " us Matt. John We pray "for this holy temple," which is the principal sacred object of the parish and should be the object of special care on the part of each parishioner.
We pray that the Lord will preserve it from fire, theft, and other misfortunes and so that those who enter it will do so with sincere faith, reverence, and the fear of God. The deacon concludes the litany by asking the faithful to entrust themselves and their whole life to Christ, to which we all respond: "To Thee, O Lord. After the Great Litany, Psalms and , which are called antiphons , are chanted. In the ancient Church these psalms were chanted " antiphonally " — that is, with the verses alternating between two choirs. Bless the Lord, O my soul!
Blessed art Thou, O Lord! Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits. Who forgiveth all thine iniquities, Who healeth all thy diseases. Who redeemeth thy life from corruption, Who crowneth thee with mercy and compassion. Who fulfilleth thy desire with good things, thy youth is renewed like as the eagle's.
The Lord is compassionate and merciful, long-suffering and of great goodness.
The Liturgy of the Blessed Apostles
These Psalms describe the blessings bestowed on us by God for which we should bless the Lord. Originally the Old Testament composer of these beautiful songs had in mind mostly the earthly blessings of the Lord. But in the light of the New Testament, considering all that Jesus Christ did for us, these Psalms acquire a special meaning.
The antiphons are separated by small litanies:. Deacon: Again and again in peace let us pray unto the Lord. Calling to remembrance our all-holy, immaculate, most blessed, and glorious Lady, Theotokos and ever-Virgin Mary with all the Saints, let us entrust ourselves and each other and all our life unto Christ our God.
Priest: For Thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory: of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Praise the Lord, O my soul! Put not thy trust in princes, in sons of men in whom there is no salvation. When his breath departs he returns to his earth: on that very day his plans perish. The Lord setteth the prisoners free, the Lord maketh wise the blind, the Lord raiseth the fallen, the Lord loveth the righteous. The Lord preserveth the sojourners, He adopteth the orphan and widow; but the way of the wicked he bringeth to ruin.
The Lord will reign forever: thy God, O Zion, unto all generations. The following hymn, attached to the second antiphon, is dedicated to the Son of God:. Now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. O only begotten Son and immortal Word of God, Who for our salvation didst will to be incarnate of the Holy Theotokos and ever-Virgin Mary, Who without change didst become man and wast crucified, Who art one of the Holy Trinity, glorified with the Father and the Holy Spirit: O Christ, our God, trampling down death by death, save us!
By His crucifixion, He with His death conquered death, "trampling down death by death," as one of the three Persons of the Holy Trinity, and is glorified equally with the Father and Holy Spirit. While the choir sings, the priest silently prays in the altar: "O Lord our God, save Thy people and bless Thine inheritance; preserve the fullness of Thy Church; sanctify those who love the beauty of Thy house; glorify them in return by Thy divine power; and forsake us not who hope in Thee… O Thou who hast bestowed on us these common and united prayers, and dost promise that when two or three are gathered together in Thy name, Thou wilt grant their requests, fulfill even now the requests of Thy servants as is expedient for them, and in the world to come, life eternal.
Same as above. Priest: For Thou art a good God who lovest mankind, and unto Thee do we send up glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages. The next third antiphon, called the Beatitudes, is taken from the Sermon on the Mount see Matt. The Beatitudes indicate the spiritual qualities necessary for a Christian: humility of spirit spiritual poverty and contrition concerning our sins, meekness when drawing near the righteousness of God, purity of heart, compassion for our neighbor, seeking peace in all situations, patience amid every temptation, and a readiness to endure dishonor, persecution, and death for Christ; trusting that, as a confessor for Him, and through such ascetic struggles, we can expect a great reward in Heaven.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.
Blessed are you when men shall revile you and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in Heaven. As the Beatitudes are ending, the priest comes out with the deacon, who carries the sacred Gospel through the north door onto the ambo. The priest prays that He, Who in heaven appointed the armies of angels and the heavenly hosts to minister His glory, may now order these same celestial powers to serve with us in this entry into the holy altar.
This entrance with the Holy Gospel reminds us of the first appearance of Jesus Christ to the world, when He came to begin His universal preaching. The candle which the altar boy carries at this time in front of the Gospel signifies John the Forerunner who, prepared the people to receive the Messiah.
The deacon standing by the Royal Doors, raises the sacred Gospel aloft and proclaims:. Deacon: Wisdom! This exclamation reminds the faithful that they must stand upright in the literal meaning of the Greek word orthi, which means correctly or straight and be attentive, keeping their thoughts concentrated. They should look upon the Holy Gospel as upon Jesus Christ Himself, Who has come to preach, and they should faithfully sing , "O come, let us worship The troparia and kontakia short commemorative hymns for Sunday or the feast are then chanted, while the priest prays that the Heavenly Father who is hymned by the Cherubim, and glorified by the Seraphim, might receive from us the angelic hymn the Trisagion , forgive us our sins, and sanctify and grant us the power rightly to serve Him.
The conclusion of this prayer is uttered aloud:. Holy God! Holy Mighty! Holy Immortal! Have mercy on us thrice. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Have mercy on us. The hymn originates from the ecstasy of Isaiah in which he witnesses the angelic order of Seraphim crying "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts" and from the vision of the Apostle John in which he saw worshipers in Heaven exclaiming: "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was, and is, and is to come!
Following the Trisagion, the Epistle for the day is read. The faithful are prepared for the attentive hearing of the Epistle by the exclamations , "Let us attend! During the reading of the Epistle, a censing is performed as a symbol of the Grace of the Holy Spirit by which the Apostles proclaimed to the entire world the teachings of Jesus Christ.
We should respond both to the censing and to the exclamation of the priest, " Peace be unto all! The priest precedes this reading with the prayer: Illumine our hearts with the incorruptible light of Thy knowledge, O Master, Lover of mankind, and open the eyes of our mind to the understanding of Thy Gospel teachings. Implant in us also the fear of Thy blessed commandments, that, trampling down all lusts of the flesh, we may pursue a spiritual way of life, being mindful of and doing all that is well-pleasing unto Thee….
One of the earliest names for the Eucharistic celebration is the breaking of the bread Lk ; Acts , Before receiving Holy Communion, the celebrant and assembly acknowledge their unworthiness to receive so great a gift. The celebrant receives Holy Communion first and then the people come forward. Those who receive Holy Communion should be prepared to receive so great a gift. They should fast except for medicines for at least one hour before receiving the Eucharist and should not be conscious of having committed serious sin.
Because sharing at the Eucharistic Table is a sign of unity in the Body of Christ, only those in communion with the Catholic Church may receive Holy Communion. To invite others present to receive Holy Communion implies a unity which does not exist. Those who do not receive Holy Communion still participate in this rite by praying for unity with Christ and with each other.
The people approach the altar and, bowing with reverence, receive Holy Communion. People may receive the Body of Christ either on the tongue or in the hand. The priest or other minister offers the Eucharist to each person saying, "The Body of Christ. The unity of voices echoes the unity the Eucharist brings. All may spend some time in silent prayer of thanksgiving as well. The Communion Rite ends with the Prayer after Communion which asks that the benefits of the Eucharist will remain active in our daily lives. The Liturgy of the Eucharist begins with the preparation of the gifts and the altar.
As the ministers prepare the altar, representatives of the people bring forward the bread and wine that will become the Body and Blood of Christ. The celebrant blesses and praises God for these gifts and places them on the altar, the place of the Eucharistic sacrifice. In addition to the bread and wine, monetary gifts for the support of the Church and the care of the poor may be brought forward. We are an apostolic group of men whose prophetic mission is to assist the church in her efforts to form Christian communities whose center of life is the Eucharist. We work in partnership with committed lay men and women in promoting knowledge and love of the Eucharist through our Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing and the Life in the Eucharist movement.
By our life of communal prayer, fellowship, and ministry, we seek to give witness to the transforming power of the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the table of mercy. As the Holy Father reminds us,.