THE ANAPHORA OR THE CONSECRATION
Anaphora is a Greek word that means “lifting up’. This part of the Liturgy has remained practically unchanged from the time of Christ and the Apostles.
Let us stand aright! Let us stand with fear!
We are being told to keep our faith strong, not to doubt or hesitate with our belief and we must offer the gift of the bread and wine in peace.
Therefore if thou bring thy a gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; Matt. 5:23
Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy ways first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Matt. 5:24
The people and choir reply:
A mercy of peace! A sacrifice of praise!
Our reply states that we are also offering peace as a gift.
From the Epistles of St. Paul, we are commanded to pray for one another. The next petition and response does just that. The priest asks from the Son grace, the Father love, the Spirit fellowship. The people in turn wish the same to the priest.
Priest: The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. 2 Cor. 13:14
Choir: And with your spirit.
The Consecration of the bread and wine is about to take place. First, just as Jesus Christ gave thanks to the Father before giving the bread and wine to the Apostles, we also must give thanks. The priest will silently recite a prayer of thanksgiving. Through this prayer, the priest gives thanks to God, glorifying him and praising Him with the angels. The priest will be thanking God for all gifts received by all people since the beginning of time, and ask God to accept and bless our gift to Him. After this prayer the choir will sing the Triumphal Hymn. This is the same hymn sung by the Jews when they greeted Christ when he entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. “Hosanna” is a Hebrew word meaning ‘GOD SAVE.”
THE TRIUMPHAL HYMN
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! Matt. 21:9
While the choir sings the Triumphal Hymn, the priest continues to recite prayers. This portion will be recalling how Christ gave thanks to God, how the Holy Spirit transformed the bread into the body of Christ, the wine into the blood of Christ. After the reciting of this prayer, the sacred rite has been completed, the offerings have been consecrated.
The priest will then say, just as Christ commanded the Apostles at the Last Supper:
Take! Eat! This is My Body which is broken for you, for the remission of sins. Luke 22:19; Mark 14:22; Matt. 26:26; 1 Cor. li:24
Jesus told His followers that He was giving them His Life and by this would bring them to God the Father. When we receive Holy Communion we are receiving the body and blood of Jesus Christ. We are also allowing Jesus Christ to share His life with us.
The priest will repeat Jesus’ words and lift up the bread and the wine (offering the gifts to God) and say:
Thine own of Thine own we offer unto Thee, on behalf of all and for all.
This means that everything that we have comes from God and we as God’s servants are able to offer a gift to God, from gifts God has given us. The priest will silently pray that God will send down the Holy Spirit upon the bread and wine so they become the body and blood of Christ. While the priest prays, the choir will sing:
We praise Thee. We bless Thee. We give thanks unto Thee, 0 Lord. And we pray unto Thee, 0 our God.
THE HYMN TO THE THEOTOKOS
It is truly meet to bless you, 0 Theotokos, ever-blessed and most pure, and the Mother of our God. More honorable than the Cherubim, and more glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim: without defilement you gave birth to God the Word: true Theotokos, we magnify you.
LITANY BEFORE THE LORD’S PRAYER
This Litany is done to help prepare the faithful for taking part in Holy Communion. We are commending ourselves to God and asking him to forgive our sins and make us worthy to receive Holy Communion, the body and blood of Christ.