John A. McGuckin
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liturgy, ritual, sacraments, worship
The word derives from the Greek for “Lamb” (Slavonic: Agnets ) and signifies the central square of bread that is cut and lifted out of prosfora (altar) loaves at the eucharistic liturgy of preparation ( Proskomide ). It is also referred to as the “Seal” in this early part of the preparations, since it is stamped with the letters IC XC NIKA, or “Jesus Christ Conquers.” The separation of the Amnos from the prosfora, by the priest's liturgical knife (Lance), is accompanied by the recitation of the “lamb-related” sacrificial verses of Isaiah 53.7. In the Proskomide the Lamb is placed centrally on the Diskos (paten) and, like the wine in the chalice, it is veiled until the time of the consecratory prayers of the Anaphora, when it is sanctified so as to become the Holy Eucharist. By extension, therefore, the “Lamb” is shorthand for the Eucharist itself, especially as used to connote the very presence of the Lord in the Mystery. The term originates from the words of John the Forerunner (Jn. 1.29, 36; see also Rev. 5.2). ( 2008 ) The Orthodox Church: An Introduction to its History, Doctrine and Spiritual Culture . Oxford : Wiley-Blackwell , pp. 288 – 300 . ( 1987 ) The Orthodox Church . London : Penguin , pp. 286 – 95 . ... log in or subscribe to read full text
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