The Anaphora: Part III

So in this week’s little liturgical lesson, let’s look at the final section of the great Eucharistic Prayer which is the high point in the dramatic flow of the liturgy.

  • After the proclamation of the ‘Mystery of Faith’, the celebrant having remembered what Jesus did at the last supper, the celebrant continues the prayer with…’Therefore..’ or ‘And so…
  • This reminds us that what we are doing at each Eucharist, we are doing because something else happened. this because this happened.
  • This last section of the prayer reminds us of what the ‘this’ is. Sometimes called the whole ‘Christ event’, we are reminded of his death, his resurrection and his ascension. But there is an event yet to come, that is his coming again. If you read the New Testament you will find many references to this mystery in the future.
  • And then we ask the same Spirit who transforms the bread and wine to transform us and unite us.
  • The prayer comes to its climax with what is called a ‘doxology’ – the clue is in the word, at least in the original Greek: ‘doxa’ means glory. So the prayer ends with us glorifying God with a hymn of praise.
  • You will notice that during the doxology the celebrant and assistant raise the bread and the chalice. Remember it’s called an ‘elevation’. It’s sometimes called the ‘greater elevation’.
  • Then, there is the great AMEN said or sung by all the people. It’s a climax of the prayer. It’s the great YES of the whole congregation. St John Chrysostom (d. AD 407)  who was Archbishop of Constantinople said once that when the prayer ended, the cry of the people shouting Amen could be heard the other side of the river Bosphoros…
  • Unfortunately we are kneeling or sitting at this point, which generally makes our Amen a bit muffled….