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John A. McGuckin

Subject Religion

Key-Topics liturgy, ritual, sacraments, worship

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405185394.2011.x


The Greek (Septuagintal) biblical word for “lifting up” in the sense of making an offering of prayer or sacrifice, especially that part of sacrificial ritual where the ancient priest took and offered the victim (LXX Lev. 2.14; see also 1 Peter 2.5). In Orthodox usage it is the technical term referring to the solemn and central consecratory prayer of the divine liturgy that culminates in the consecration of the gifts of bread and wine and their sacred transfiguration (some writers use the Latin term transubstantiation ) into the body and blood of the Lord, at the words of Institution and the Epiclesis prayer for descent of the Holy Spirit to effect the change. The Anaphora begins immediately after the Creed, with the invitational words: “Let us attend that we may offer the holy oblation in peace.” It continues with the Preface and Hagios (Sanctus), the Dominical words of institution, the Elevation of the holy gifts, the Epiclesis asking for the descent of the Holy Spirit, and then the intercessory prayers for all the church, especially the Holy Theotokos. It concludes with a blessing: “And the mercies of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ shall be with you all,” which in turn leads into the Litany before the Lord's Prayer, and the common recitation of the Our Father itself, so as to prepare the congregation for Communion. There have been some debates whether the Anaphora alone ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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