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An Interpretation of the Holy Liturgy or Soorp Badarak of the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church 

By Rev. Dr. Gorun Shirikian 

Introduction

The Word Liturgy

he word "Liturgy" is a general term, which means, "service" in Greek. But beginning in Apostolic times the word "Liturgy" meant much more than a mere service to the early Christians. "Liturgy" was the name given to the act of taking part in the solemn corporate worship of God, officially organized by the church and offered by and for all the members of the church. This worship is distinguished sharply from the personal prayers of individual Christians or even from the prayers of certain select groups within a church. In the course of time, however, the term Liturgy came to be applied particularly to the performance of the rite, which did our Lord Jesus Christ institute, Himself. Ever since that time "The Liturgy" has been the core of Christian worship and living as expressed in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.

In the Armenian Church the term used to designate the Divine Liturgy is Soorp Badarak, which means Holy Sacrifice, in reference to the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on Mount Calvary, for the atonement of our sins.

The Story of the Institution of the Holy Eucharist and Its Meaning to Christians

Jesus Christ Himself instituted the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist while eating the Passover Meal with His Disciples in the Upper Room at Jerusalem on the Thursday evening preceding His crucifixion.

Eucharist, which means "thanksgiving" in Greek, became the title for the central act of Christian worship. This may have been because at its institution Christ "gave thanks" as is indicated in the following passage: "Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to the Disciples and said,

Take, eat; this is my body.

And He took a cup and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, saying,

"Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."

Or it may have been called the Eucharist because the service is the supreme act of Christian thanksgiving to God. (Mat. 26: 26-29. See also, Mark 14: 22-25; Luke 22: 17-23; Compare with John 6: 55-58.)

Some scholars think that the Last Supper of our Lord was not the Passover Meal as mentioned in the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and [Luke), but that it was a Jewish religious meal of some kind, which conforms to the type, called Chaburah. Within the Jewish congregation there existed small groups of societies of friends bonded together for the purposes of special devotion and charity who often shared with each other common meals with special ceremonies of Breaking Bread such as that of the Last Supper. The reason for thinking that the institution was not at the Passover Meal is the statement made in John 18:28, which places the Passover Day on Friday. "Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiphas to the praetorium. It was early. They, themselves, did not enter the praetorium so that they might not be defiled, but might eat the Passover." Still, the traditional view prevails and the Last Supper is accepted as having been instituted during the Passover Meal eaten by Jesus with His disciples.

After the Lord's Ascension into Heaven, the Disciples stayed in Jerusalem until a severe persecution by the Jews dispersed them. The followers of Christ, according to the Lord's command, came and ate together (broke bread) in His remembrance. Psalm singing, prayers, and readings accompanied these meetings, which were called Agape (Love Feast), from the scripture, modeled on the pattern of contemporary Jewish Synagogue services.

Soon these corporate meal services became the nucleus of Christian worship. By participating in these services and receiving the sacramental Body and Blood of Jesus Christ in the elements of bread and wine, a Christian believed himself to become incorporated into the living Body of Christ and to be assisted in rising spiritually with Him to final Salvation. "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in-him." (John 6: 54-56)

The Church teaches, moreover, that when Christians do this in remembrance of Christ, they bring into a present reality His sacrificial death in which His Body and Blood were offered to God for the expiation and remission of our sins, a sacrifice made once and for all. Because the faithful plead for God's mercy on the basis of that sacrifice, and because that same Body and Blood are present on the altar in each celebration of the sacrament, the Soorp Badarak is called an unbloody sacrifice presented to God. During the centuries following Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection, the Liturgy of the Holy Eucharist changed and developed in various ways until the 12th century AD. Then different churches adopted a set pattern, though all of them are based on the scriptural assertion that Jesus Christ died for our salvation.

Therefore, during this service Christians give their thanks and their offerings to the Heavenly Father for the sacrifice made by His Only Begotten Son for their eternal salvation.

The Armenian Liturgy and Its Various Parts

Towards the end of the fourth century AD, there were many Liturgies under various names, very similar to one another both in content and meaning. In Armenia alone there were five different texts used in the different centers of the country. One of these texts, which is very close to the St. Basil Liturgy, later dominated the others and gradually displaced them during the fifth and following centuries. The other Liturgies translated originally from Greek texts are lost. One of them, as mentioned above, survived and was used in the Armenian Church after undergoing certain modifications and additions. The Armenian Liturgy now in use was influenced during the tenth century by the Byzantine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and during the eleventh century by the Roman Liturgy. We do not observe any change after 1177 AD, the date when Nerses of Lampron wrote his commentary on the Liturgy. Historically, this is the development of the form of the Liturgy, as we know it today.

The Divine Liturgy now used in the Armenian Church is composed of four different parts: The Preparation,' The Synaxis,' The Sacrifice,' The Last Blessing and Dismissal. Each of the four parts is connected with significant events in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ, which makes it more meaningful to the faithful. With the above concept the Soorp Badarak depicts Jesus' Immaculate Conception, ministry, crucifixion, death, burial, and His resurrection, as the sacramental life story of our Lord.

Part I - The preparation (Badrasdootioon)

1. Uskesdavoroomun -- The Vesting 
2. Luvatzoomun -- The Purification 
3. Nakhamood -- The Accession 
4. Arachaturootioon -- The Prothesis 
As we notice from the above-mentioned headings, this part of the Liturgy is a preparation both on the part of the officiating priest and of the congregation. Because of our human, sinful nature, to engage in a sacred sacrificial service which demands the utmost preparation of body, mind and spirit. The preparations are done,
  • By the donning of protective vestments to repel evil; 
  • By the cleansing of hands, intercession and confession which symbolizes purification of body, mind and spirit; 
  • By chants, prayers and psalmody to gain spiritual endurance and faith; 
  • By incense, prayers and the invocation of the Holy Spirit so that the officiating priest may approach the Holy Altar and the credence to prepare the Arachaturootioon or the Prothesis. The Arachaturootioon includes in its significance the annunciation, the conception and the incarnation of our Lord, Jesus Christ, behind a veil of mystery, through the elements of bread and wine. 
The Preparation part of the Liturgy seems to be a later introduction in the Armenian church and to have been borrowed mainly from the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom after 950 AD, but before 1177 AD. In the Greek Church this part is done privately by the priest before the Liturgy starts. The Armenian church follows the Latin public form of Preparation, so that the congregation may derive spiritual nourishment from it, since both the officiating priest and the congregation participate in the same sacred drama of the life of our Lord, Jesus Christ. The above mentioned headings will be treated separately so as to reveal the symbolic meaning of every act performed during the Preparation.

1. The Vesting -- Lev. 8: 1-9. Ex. 28, 29: 1-10.

While the choir sings the Hymn of Vesting (Khorhourt Khorccn anhas anusgeespen), the celebrant performs this act privately with the help of a deacon. First, he recites, antiphonally, with the deacon, the Psalm of Vesting, then says twelve Der Voghormiahs (Lord have mercy), and a private prayer as follows:

PRIES'I': () Jesus Christ, our Lord, you are clothed with light as with a garment, who didst appear upon earth in unspeakable humility and didst walk about with men, who didst become eternal high-priest after the order of Melchizedec and didst adorn thy holy church. O Lord Almighty, who hath vouchsafed unto us to put on the same heavenly garment, make me, thy unprofitable servant, worthy as this hour when I make bold to approach the same spiritual service of thy glory, so that I may divest myself of all ungodliness, which is a garment of defilement, and that I may be adorned with Thy light. Cast away my wickedness from me and shake off my transgressions that I may be made worthy of the light prepared by Thee in the world to come. Grant me to enter with priestly glory upon the ministry of the Holy Things together with them that have kept the commandments innocently, so that I also may be found prepared for the heavenly nuptial chamber with the wise virgins to glorify Thee. O Christ, Thou didst bear the sins of all, Thou art the holiness of our souls, and unto Thee, O Beneficent God, is befitting glory, dominion and honor, now and always and forever and ever. Amen.

Then the deacon presents to the celebrant the ecclesiastical vestments to be used during the Holy Liturgy in the following order, saying for each vestment,

DEACON: Again in peace let us beseech the Lord. Receive, (our prayers), save (us), and have mercy (upon us).

Then the priest blesses them, making the sign of the cross over them saying,

PRIEST: Blessing and glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and always and forever and ever. Amen.

Thus, after blessing the Saghavard (Helmet), he puts it on his head saying,

PRIEST: Put, O Lord, upon my head the helmet of salvation to fight against the powers of the enemy, by the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, unto whom is befitting glory, dominion and honor now and always and forever and ever. Amen.

The Saghavard or the helmet, which is a highly ornamented crown made of hard material with a small metal cross on the top, symbolizes the virtue of hope which encourages us to defeat the enemy and gain salvation. (The Saghavard is then removed for practical reasons until the end of the Vesting.)

Then the celebrant puts on the Shabeeg (Alb), saying,

PRIEST: Clothe me, O Lord, with the garment of salvation and with a robe of gladness and gird me with this vestment of salvation by the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, unto whom is befitting glory, dominion and honor now and always and forever and ever. Amen.

The Shabeeg, or the Alb, which is made of plain white linen with richly embroidered sleeves and collar, extends to the feet of the celebrant, symbolizing the virtue of innocence or purity. It is a vestment of joyfulness and salvation, illustrating regeneration into a new life as baptism regenerates our inner self.

Then he puts on the Poroorar (Stole), saying,

PRIEST: Clothe my neck, O Lord, with righteousness and cleanse my heart from all filthiness of sin, by the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, unto whom is befitting glory, dominion and honor now and always and forever and ever. Amen.

The Poroorar, or the Stole is made of the same material as the cape and is a sleeveless ventral stole which extends to the feet of the celebrant and symbolizes the Christian virtue of obedience and righteousness.

Then he puts on the Kodee (Girdle), saying,

PRIEST: May the girdle of faith encircle me round about my heart and mind and quench all vile thoughts in them. May the power of thy grace abides in them at all times by the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, unto whom is befitting glory, dominion and honor now and always and forever and ever. Amen.

The Kodee or the Girdle, which is usually made of the same material as the cape and has a buckle or attached ribbons to be fastened around the waist of the celebrant, symbolizes the virtues of chastity, holiness and strength. (Luke 12:35).

Then he puts on the Pazban (Maniple) on his right hand saying,

PRIEST: Give strength, O Lord, to my right hand and wash away all my filthiness that I may be able to serve Thee in health of soul and body. By the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, unto whom is befitting glory, dominion and honor now and always and forever and ever. Amen. (Ex. 15: 6-7).

The same is repeated while putting it on the left hand. The Pazbans or the Maniples, which are worn by the celebrant on his arms between the elbow and wrist, symbolizes the virtue of penance or sorrow and the labor and hardship awaiting the celebrant before he receives the rewards at the end.

Then he puts on the Vagas (Amice), saying,

PRIEST: Clothe my neck, O Lord, with righteousness and cleanse my heart from all filthiness of sin by the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, unto whom is befitting glory, dominion and honor now and always and forever and ever. Amen.

The Vagas or the Amice is a richly embroidered, stiffened piece of material which is placed around the neck of the celebrant and symbolizes the virtues of cleanliness and justice with which to repel the attacks of Satan. It also symbolizes the obedience to Christ, which the celebrant displays by taking Christ's task and cross on his shoulders. (Mat. 11:29-30, Eph. 6: 10-12). It is a constant reminder that we must fight evil all the time. (Eph. 6: 11-17).

Then he puts on the Shoorchar (Cape), saying,

PRIEST: In Thy mercy, 0 Lord, clothe me with a radiant garment and fortify me against the influence of the evil one, that I may be worthy to glorify Thy glorious name. By the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, unto whom is befitting glory, dominion and honor now and always and forever and ever. Amen.

The Shoorchar or the Cape, which is a full and ample semi-circular vestment used during the Liturgy, the reading of the Gospel, or other ceremonious events, symbolizes the virtue of faith, a shield against the attacks of Satan.

After being appareled with the Sacred Vestments, the celebrant says,

PRIEST: My soul shall rejoice in the Lord for He hath clothed me with raiment of salvation and with a robe of gladness. He hath put upon me a crown as upon a bridegroom and hath adorned me like a bride with jewels, by the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, unto whom is befitting glory, dominion and honor now and always and forever and ever. Amen.

Then he inserts the Tashgeenag (Handkerchief) beneath the girdle at his left side, saying.

PRIEST: Cleanse my hand, O Lord, from all filthiness of sin, by the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, unto whom is befitting glory, dominion and honor now and always and forever and ever. Amen.

The Tashgeenag or the Handkerchief, which is made of a piece of linen, is used to dry the celebrant's fingers after washing his hands or the chalice to symbolize the virtue of purity as well as the cleanliness of heart and mind expected of the celebrant.

Thus, the priest covers his sinful individuality by the Sacred Vestments, symbolizing the Christian virtues, which make him worthy to appear before the royal presence of God at the Holy Altar and to perform the awful sacrifice for the atonement of our sins. While the celebrant is vesting inside, the members of the congregation should engage themselves with prayers and meditations asking God to vest them also with 'the Christian virtues mentioned above.

2. The Purification -- Luvatsoom

Since the performance of the Holy Eucharist represents the sacrificial death of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the celebrant and the congregation participate in it by prayers, repentance and contrition in the likeness of Christ's suffering. St. Cyprian wrote, "The sacrifice which we offer to God is the Passion of our Lord, Himself."

The priest who celebrates the Holy Sacrifice and those who participate in it must (a) be at peace with all men, (b) abstain from unchristian behavior and (c) be sober and vigilant.

The officiating priest enters into the church from the south side vestry accompanied by the deacon(s) and the acolytes.

When the celebrant reaches the center chancel, a deacon or a server approach him with a bowl and a cruet previously placed on the edge of the center of the Bema. He washes his hands, antiphonally reciting Ps. 26:6-12, as follows:

PRIEST: I will wash mine hands in innocence; so will I compass thine altar, O Lord:

DEACON: That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works.

PRIEST: Lord, I have loved the habitation of Thy house, and the place where thine honor dwelt.

DEACON: Gather not my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloody men:

PRIEST: In whose hands are mischief and their right hand is full of bribes.

DEACON: But as for me, I will walk in mine integrity: redeem me, and be merciful unto me.

PRIEST: My foot standeth in an even place: in the congregations will I bless the Lord.

By this ceremony of purification the necessity of incarnation and of the coming of Christ to this world is sacramentalized. The occasion of His coming is the sinfulness and the impurity of man. Therefore, the necessity on our part of repentance and holy living is stressed. The act is symbolic and not utilitarian. Some scholars thought in the past that this act was originally performed because the priest's hands were soiled while handling the offerings presented to the church by the parishioners before the services. This act of cleanliness as a symbolic measure was required both of the celebrant and the participants alike in the western churches.

The priest then says the following prayers of intercession and recites a public confession.

PRIEST: Receive, O Lord, our supplications through the intercession of the Holy Mother of God, the Immaculate Mother of Thine Only Begotten Son, and through the supplications of all Thy Saints. Hear us, O Lord, and have mercy, forgive, expiate and remit our sins. And make us worthy to laud and glorify Thee with Thy Son, and the Holy Spirit, now and always and forever and ever. Amen. Then turning to the congregation says, I confess before God and the Holy Mother of God, and before all Saints and before you, fathers and brethren, all the sins I have committed. For I have sinned in thought, word and deed, and with every sin that men commit. I have sinned, I have sinned, I pray you, entreat God for me to grant forgiveness.

This part of the Purification was introduced into the Armenian Church Liturgy during the 13th century, following the Latin tradition. The washing of hands has its origin in earlier times, and is first mentioned as being performed in Jerusalem (348 AD).

Following the public confession of the officiating priest, a priest or a deacon recites the following absolution in the name of the congregation,

PRIEST: May God Almighty have mercy upon thee, and grant the forgiveness of all thy transgressions, past and present; and may He deliver thee from sins to come, and may He confirm thee in every good work, and give thee rest in life to come, Amen.

In turn then the priest prays and forgives the congregation in the following manner:

PRIEST: May God, who loveth men, deliver you also, and may He remit all your sins. May He give you time for penitence and time to do good work. May He guide your future life, through the grace of the Holy Spirit, the mighty and merciful, and unto Him be glory forever, Amen.

With the above explanation, it becomes evident that the rituals of vesting and purification are the necessary preparations to qualify the celebrant for the sacred office of performing the Holy Liturgy.

3. The Accession (Nakhamood)

The celebrant, accompanied by the deacon(s) and the acolytes then goes to the altar from the northern stairs to prepare the Prothesis or the Oblation (Arachaturootioon), saying Psalm 43 antiphonally with the deacon(s) in the following order:

PRIEST: I will go unto the altar of God, unto God Who giveth joy to my youth.

DEACON: Judge me, () God, and plead my cause.

PRIEST: O, deliver me from an ungodly nation, and from thc unjust and deceitful man.

DEACON: For Thou art thc God of my strength, why hast Thou cast me off? And why do I go sorrowful, whilst my enemy afflicteth me?

PRIEST: Send forth, O Lord, Thy light and Thy truth. Let them lead me; Let them bring me unto Thy holy hill, and to Thy tabernacles.

DEACON: Then will I go unto the Altar of God; unto God Who giveth joy to my youth.

PRIEST: To Thee, O God my God, I will confess with praise.

DEACON: Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, the salvation of my countenance and my God.

PRIEST: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

In the accession the priest approaches the altar to assume his priestly duty, imploring God to make him worthy of the holy office which no man is himself bold enough to assume, chanting the following prayer.

PRIEST: In this abode of holiness and this place of praise, in this dwelling of angels and this temple of the expiation of men, and before these resplendent holy symbols agreeable to God, and this Holy Table. We bless and glorify Thy holy, wondrous and triumphant Resurrection. And together with the heavenly hosts we offer praise and glory unto Thee with the Father, and with the Holy Spirit, now and always and forever and ever, Amen.

The congregation's preparation should be the same. They should approach the Holy Liturgy with a purified body, mind and spirit, through prayers, contrition and the confession of sins.

4. The Prothesis (Arachaturootioon)

After the above prayer the curtain of the altar closes and the celebrant starts to prepare the Prothesis on the altar. But before we proceed to explain the mystery of Prothesis, let us investigate the meaning of the altar. The Armenian word for the altar is khoran, which means the tent or tabernacle where the Ark of the Covenant was placed, symbolizing the presence of God. (Ex. 25:8-9). Altar is derived from the Latin words Altus, high, and Ara, elevation. It is the place where the holy sacrifice was offered (Ex. 25). It must be consecrated before its use as a sacramental table and must be built of stone. (Deut. 27: 5-7). (Also, for references to tabernacles, see Ex. 25:9, 40:34; Num. 9:18; II Ch. 8: 13). If it is impossible to build a solid stone altar, a consecrated stone must be placed at the forward edge of the table in the center where the chalice rests. During the early centuries wooden altars, were common, but after 517 A. I), they were prohibited in the West. In the Armenian Church, Catholicos Hovham of Otsoon (717-728) explicitly forbade the use of altars other than those made of stone.

If there are no altar facilities, according to the requirements of the Armenian Apostolic Church, a Vem Kar (a consecrated piece of stone) may be used, just large enough that the chalice may rest upon it.

In the Prothesis the celebrant does two things. First, he receives in the name of God the offerings made by the faithful and brought to him by the deacon. He then presents them to God the Father as the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, who was Himself sacrificed for the sake of the salvation of mankind.

During the early centuries, the people used to offer bread and wine, oil for the sanctuary lamp, incense and the first fruit of their orchards. Bringing an offering was also an indication that the donor would communicate that day.

This custom continued in European countries until the 13th century and in the Armenian Church it existed until quite recently in the donating of flour for the Maas (antidoron) and the Neshkhar (wafer) and of wine for the altar. The amount of the Liturgy's oblation was taken from the large quantity offered and the rest was kept to be distributed to the poor and the needy. In Urban areas, a money offering replaced the above mentioned gifts. The offering of the fruit and the other products of the earth, however, had no direct bearing on the Holy Sacrifice. The people donated them as an act of thanksgiving to God with the expectation that God would bestow His blessing on their fields and orchards to make them fruitful, and would spare them from natural calamities such as drought, hail, etc.

The custom of offering bread and wine is mentioned both by Tertullian and Cyprian and the Spanish Council of Elvira, held during the 4~th century, made specific comments about the existing tradition. In the meantime, the Third Canonical Epistles of St. Basil give ample interaction concerning the above-mentioned practice in the East.

During the Prothesis the curtain is drawn, symbolizing the incarnation of Jesus Christ in the womb of the Holy Mother of God. This is the beginning of His life, which later He offered upon the Cross-, a life-giving food for the church. The church, in its turn, through the invocation of the Holy Spirit over the offerings, presented to the Father, asks Him to transform them into the sacramental Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. The faithful believe that God will bestow upon the church heavenly blessings, strengthening her in a new life and leading her into eternal life through her partaking of that spiritual food as Holy Communion.

The substances used for the Holy Sacrifice in the Armenian Church are unleavened bread--called Neshkhar (wafer) and unmixed wine. The unleavened bread represents the bread used during the Last Supper when this sacrament was instituted by Jesus Christ during the Passover Dinner (Ex. 12:8). The unmixed wine symbolizes the unmixed divine nature of Jesus Christ and the integrity of His sacrificial dedication for the atonement of the sinful world.

It is interesting to note here that in the Roman Catholic Church unleavened bread is used and a few drops of water are added to the wine to indicate the divine and human nature of Jesus Christ. In the Orthodox Churches, leavened bread and mixed wine are used (water is added twice during the Holy Liturgy, once cold water and then warm). The meaning of the cold water is the same as in the Catholic rite. The warm water symbolizes, according to the Orthodox Church, a fervent faith in Jesus Christ, and the water-mixed blood, which came out from the side of Jesus when a Roman soldier pierced His side with a spear. (John 19:31-34).

Until the 10th century both leavened and unleavened bread were used in the West. After the Great Schism of 105at AD between the Roman and the Orthodox Churches, the Orthodox insisted on leavened bread and the Romans on the unleavened; but for the latter, it was not as a dogmatic requirement but as an act of indicating loyalty to the Western position. Some eastern churches followed the example set by the Orthodox Church while the Armenian and the Maronite churches clung to their old tradition. Before the Great Schism, a large wafer was used, as is the custom in the Armenian Church, and the communion was given by fraction, but later this custom was changed and the smaller individual wafers were introduced in the West.

The blessing, or the preparation of the Prothesis, is performed in the following sequence of prayers: a form of pre-consecration of the bread and the wine to become spiritual food through the invocation of the Holy Spirit. Thus, while the choir sings the melody, the deacon takes the chalice from the northern niche of the altar and places it on the table.

Then approaching from the left side of the celebrant, he offers him' three wafers of which one is to be selected, and says,

DEACON: Again in peace let us beseech the Lord, receive (our prayers), save (us), and have mercy (upon us).

Then the celebrant responds with,

PRIEST: Blessing and glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and always and forever and ever, Amen. Making the sign of the cross over the wafer, he then places the wafer on the paten, saying, In remembrance of our Lord, Jesus Christ, Who is seated, on the throne not made with hands. He accepted death on the cross for mankind. Bless, praise and exalt Him forever.

Then the deacon will offer the wine from the right side of the celebrant, saying,

DEACON: Again in peace we beseech the Lord. Receive, save, and have mercy.

Again, the celebrant responds with,

PRIEST: Blessing and glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and always and forever and ever. Amen. (Making the sign of the cross over the wine). Then, taking the wine he shall pour it crosswise into the chalice, saying, In remembrance of the redeeming economy of our Lord God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, through the fountain of Whose blood flowing from His side all creatures have been renewed and made immortal. Bless, praise and exalt Him forever.

Then he will say the following prayer of St. John Chrysostom on the Prothesis.

PRIEST: 0 Lord our God, who didst send our Lord, Jesus Christ, the heavenly bread, the food of the whole world, to be Saviour and redeemer and benefactor, so as to bless and to sanctify us. (Crosses himself) do Thou O Lord, bless now also (makes the sign of the cross over the Prothesis) this presentation and receive this upon Thy heavenly altar. Be mindful, beneficent and ever loving as Thou art both of them that offers it and of them for whom it is offered. Keep us without condemnation in the priestly ministration of Thy divine mysteries; for holy and glorious is the most honorable majesty of the glory of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, now and always and forever and ever, Amen.
 

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. Then the celebrant will cover the chalice with the veil, reciting Psalm 93. At this point, the deacon will approach the celebrant holding the extreme end of the censer chain in his left hand and with the right hand holding the chain a few inches above the censer, saying

DEACON: Bless Lord (Orhnia Der); censing three times while the celebrant recites the words of annunciation in the following prayer,

PRIEST: The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee,

Each time makes the sign of the cross over the gifts. The entire action is repeated three times.
 

Part II - The Synaxis - Continue >
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