From: Steve Puluka (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Thu Oct 07 1999 - 22:34:33 EDT
<x-flowed>Context of prayer
The Anaphora is the offering portion of the Divine Liturgy where the Bread
and Wine are offered to God and become the Body and Blood of Christ. This
prayer text is from a portion of the Anaphora called the Amamnesis
The full paragraph which the text in question ends is:
Remembering, therefore, this salutary command, and all that was done in our
behalf: the cross, the tomb, the resurection on the third day, the ascension
into heaven, the sitting at the right hand, the second and glorious coming
again. We offer to you yours of your own, in behalf of all and for all.
About ten years ago I received as a gift from our Metropolitan Steven a copy
of a wonderfull book by the Very Rev. Basil Shereghy "The Divine Liturgy of
St. John Chrysostom" from the Byzantine Seminary press 1971. I read and
marked up this book and have used it for classes on Liturgics over the
Revisited this worn text what to my surprise to I find on page 175.
"The concluding words of the Anamnesis clearly prove that the Divine Liturgy
is also the sacrifice of the Church. The priest, having said the prayer and
crosing his arms with the diskos in the right hand and taking the chalice
into his left, elevates both of them and making the sign of the cross
horizontally, exclaims: "We offer to You Yours of Your own, in behalf of all
and for all."
In order to understand the real meaning of this exclamation it is necessary
to return to the original Greek text. The translations into other
languages, including Old Slavonic, do not render the precise implication of
the original wording. In the original Greek the exclamation sounds: TA SA
EK TON SON SOI PROSFEROMEN KATA PANTA KAI DIA PANTA. We gain the true
meaning of this sentence by examining the referential context of the
pronouns used. After such a reconstruction the first part would read as
"We offer to You, O God, Your gifts taken from Your gifts." It is
altogether incorrect to attribute to this text an interpretation according
to which the expression "Yours of Your own" would be understood "Your gifts
from Your people." The pronoun EK means not from (somebody), but "out of"
something, it denotes origin or source.
Similarly, the second part of the sentence is often misinterpreted. "In
behalf of all and for all" does not refer to the people, as many liturgists
interpret. If it would refer to the people, then the Greek word PANTA would
be grammatically incorrect. In that case it would read PANTAS. The
expression "in behalf of all and for all" refers to all the benefits of
Christ given to us as the price of our Redemption previously enumerated in
the Anamnesis. A verbal translation would read "because of this and for
everything." The whole phrase, therefore, could be paraphrased in the
We offer to You, O God, Your gifts in recognition for everything
accomplished by Christ for our salvation and in gratitude for all that.
The words of this offering prayer are actually of biblical origin. In the
Old Testament, King David, in offering thanks giving declared, "Who am I,
and what is my people, that we should be able to promise thee all these
things? All things are thine; and we have given thee what we received of
thy hand", (1 Chron 29:14) so now in the New Testament the Priest, in behalf
of the people, offers God the sacrifice that is His Son's.
Unfortunately, Father Basil is not longer with us to elaborate more on this
interpretation. However, the following works are footnoted for this
Pelesh, Julian, , Pastyrskoje Bohoslovije, Viden, 1885-P. 497
Solowij Meletius, Bozestvenna Liturhija, Roma, 1964, p. 347
Henry A.M., Christ in His Sacraments Theology Library vol 6, 1954 P. 142-143
De Meesster Pl., La Divine Liturgie de S. John Chrysostom Rome 1925 p.340
Patristic references still to come.
Adult Education Instructor
Byzantine Catholic Archeparchy of Pittsburgh
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