Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Great Lent #25 - 31/03/2011

Holy Qurbana – 12

Prayers of Thanksgiving

Also known as the concluding prayers, the priest thanks the Father on behalf of the congregation for having considered us worthy of partaking in the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. After the prayers of thanksgiving, the faithful are dismissed by saying ‘depart ye in peace and pray for me always’.

How is the Holy Qurbana concluded?

The Qurbana is concluded behind the veil when the priest completes his communion. He concludes by kissing the altar three times saying: “Farewell, O Holy and divine altar of the Lord. Henceforth, I know not whether I shall return to Thee or not…” This reminds that death is always at the door and makes us vigilant in preparing ourselves to meet the Lord whenever the call comes

Compiled From:

1. Samuel, A. Yeshu, H. E. (1967). Anaphora - The Divine Liturgy of Saint James, the first bishop of Jerusalem. New York.

2. Rajan, Mani Rev. Dr. (1994). Queen of the Sacraments. Seminary Publications. Mulanthuruthy.

3. Panoor, Punnose Dr. (1994). A Guide to the Orthodox Liturgy and Faith. Madras.

Great Lent #24 - 30/03/2011

Holy Qurbana – 11


The veil is then opened symbolizing the second coming of our Lord and the Day of Judgment. The priest, carrying the paten in his right hand and the chalice in his left hand, turns counter-clockwise to face the congregation to specially signify the coming of the Lord of judgment. This is in contrast to the usual clockwise turn, which is symbolic of the first coming of our Lord as the Redeemer. The priest then proceeds west in a procession which signifies the anticipated second coming.

The accompanying deacon’s with lighted candles, marvahtso (fans), and bells represent the tumultuous second coming of the Lord with trumpets and accompanied by the angels. (Mathew 25: 31 - “And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together his elect from the four winds…”)

The priest returns to the altar where he sets the paten and chalice on the tablitho.

Great Lent #23 - 29/03/2011

Holy Qurbana – 10

The Lords Prayer (Mat. 5:6)

It is the family prayer of the Church, addressed to the Father in heaven by His little children. It is all inclusive, and can be used for every kind of intention. Every clause is wonderful in its combined depth and simplicity. But its very familiarity makes men repeat it hurriedly without thinking of its meaning in other words, saying it, instead of praying it. This we must avoid.

Elevation of the Holy Mysteries

The priest holds up the sacred mysteries, bells rings, two lighted candles on either side, and fans on either side shaken (Acts 1:10). The deacon calls to watch with fear and trembling, emphasizing the solemnity of the occasion. This commemorates the ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ to heaven.

Hymns of Eucharistic Devotion

The Church commemorates the saints and seeks their intercession through these hymns. The Church venerates the memory of St. Mary, the mother of God, the patron saint of the parish or the saint whose feast is being celebrated. The congregation also intercedes for the departed clergy and the faithful departed through these hymns, based on Psalms:

· “The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree…” Psalms 92:12-14

· “Let Thy priests be clothed with righteousness…” Psalms 132:9-10, 12

· “Just as a father has compassion on his children...” Psalms 103:13, 15

Why is the sanctuary closed again?

It symbolizes that our Lord is now hidden to our bodily eyes and also the age in which the Church awaits the second coming of our Lord.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Great Lent #22 - 28/03/2011

Holy Qurbana – 9

Prayers for the Faithful Departed

The Church believes that the faithful departed are present in the Holy Mass along with the living faithful. St. Peter ascertains that the judgment is for both the living and the dead. Therefore, Jesus Christ preached the Gospel to the departed. “That is why the Good News was preached also to the dead” (1 Peter 4:6). Thus the congregation intercedes for the remission of sins of the faithful departed, so that the Lord may make them worthy of inheriting the heavenly kingdom.

Why is the Sanctuary closed after the above?

The veil is pulled over the sanctuary as a reminder of the time of His redemptive passion, death, burial, and resurrection, when the earth was engulfed in darkness (Luke 23:44, 24:1; Mat 28:1; John 20:1)

The Fracture and Commixture performed by the priest while the sanctuary is hidden: The breaking of the host (bread) signifies the suffering and death of our Lord. The priest breaks the bread and anoints it with the precious blood, signifying that the body and blood of Christ, which are separated in death, were reunited at resurrection. Then the host is lifted signifying our Lords resurrection.

The Seraphic Hymn (While sanctuary is hidden) – “Anpudayonae (Hearken gracious)”: Hymn is based on Isaiah’s vision (Isaiah Ch. 6). It describes the worship of the seraphim and our desire to draw near to our Lord.

The veil is opened symbolizing the appearance of our Lord to His disciples after his resurrection several times, before Pentecost.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Great Lent #21 - 27/03/2011

Holy Qurbana – 8

Diptychs (Thubden) – The Great Intercessions

For the living spiritual Fathers who tend the Church

For the living faithful brethren

For the living faithful rulers

Intercession of the Mother of God and Saints

Ø St. Mary – Most revered saint of the church

Ø John the Baptist – The forerunner of Christ (Feast on 7th of January)

Ø St. Stephen – Known as the head of deacons and is the first martyr of the Church. He was stoned to death. Death looming, he saw the heavens open and the Son of God standing at the right hand of God (Acts 7:56). The church commemorated his memory through the feast held on the 8th of January.

Ø St. Peter – Was called to tend the Church by Lord Jesus Christ and is thus known as the chief of the Apostles. He is the foundation of the One Apostolic and Catholic (Universal) Church and was the first Patriarch of the Church of Antioch (Mathew 16:17). He was publicly crucified by the Emperor of Rome. He was nailed to the cross with his head downward, at his own request, symbolically kissing the feet of His Lord (Pollock, 1985).

Ø St. Paul – The greatest evangelist of the church. Originally a persecutor of the Church, he transformed into its most eloquent leader. He was born at Tarsus and was known as Saul. He was finally condemned by the Roman Senate and was beheaded on the same day St. Peter was crucified. His memory is commemorated by the Church on the 29th of June along with that of St. Peter.

Ø St. Thomas – It is traditionally believed that He arrived in Malankara (Kerala) in A.D. 52. It is believed that St. Thomas installed seven crosses in different parts of Kerala and performed several miracles. St. Thomas was martyred at Mylapore, near Madras, India in A.D. 72. His mortal remains were transferred to Uraha (Edessa) in A.D. 394. The feast of St. Thomas is celebrated on July 3rd, presumable the day the mortal remains were transferred to Uraha.

For the departed spiritual Fathers of the Church

For the faithful departed – The names of the departed for whom the Qurbana is said are remembered, after a silent prayer. The priest draws the sign of cross on the right rim of the paten while remembering the names of the departed.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Great Lent #20 - 26/03/2011

Holy Qurbana – 7

Anamnesis or the Sacrificial Memorial

The priest and the people together recall the mystery of the death and resurrection of Christ which is made present in all its saving power, while they look forward to the second coming of Christ, for which this mystery prepares them.

The spoon and cushion are lifted up and placed on the left side of the Thronos (Altar). The priest lifts them over head in his right hand quickly, signifying the second coming of the Lord on the last day, which will be like a flash of lightning. “For just as lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so shall the coming of the Son of Man be” (Matthew 24:27).

Invocation of the Holy Spirit

The consecration is followed by invocation of the Holy Spirit in which the Holy Spirit is called upon to descend upon the gifts. The mystery of the Holy sacrifice is considered to be complete and perfected by the action of the Holy Spirit. The priest waves his hands over the bread and wine with a fluttering motion, signifying the descent of the Holy Spirit. We find the deacon warning the people to stand in awe as the Holy Spirit is descending and hovering over the mysteries. The Holy Spirit is here represented by the dove, flying and hovering over (Mark 1:10). The hands signify the wings of the dove.

This is followed by the thrice repeated earnest prayers of the priest. “Answer me, O Lord” and the people respond with a three fold, “Kurie-elaison” meaning “Lord have mercy”. This reminds us of the repeated prayer of Elijah on Mount Carmel to send down fire from heaven upon the sacrifice - “Hear me, Lord, hear me” (1 Kings 18:36-39). The coming of the Holy Spirit upon the offering is to transform the offerings into the Body and Blood of our Lord.

Great Lent #19 - 25/03/2011

Holy Qurbana – 6

The Eucharistic Prayer

The dialogue between the priest and people which follows is one of the most ancient liturgical formulas found in all liturgies at this point. The people are asked to lift up their hearts and minds to where Christ sits, at the right hand of God the Father, and then to give thanks. Then the congregation breaks with the song of the angels ‘Holy, holy, holy…’ (Isaiah 6: 3) and ‘Blessed is He that cometh…’ (Psalms 118: 26) recalling that the angels are present at this solemn moment, joining their praise to that of the church on earth.

“The people are directed to lift up their heart to heaven, to see heaven not earth, the heavenly altar not the earthly altar, the heavenly priest not the earthly priest, the heavenly Body and Blood, not the earthly bread and wine, the heavenly worshipping host, not the earthly congregation.” (Bishop Pakenham Walsh p. 36)

Celebration of the Holy Qurbana

The priest narrates that which the Lord did, and blesses the bread and wine by making the sign of the cross. Thus, they become the Body and Blood of our Lord. If we allow Him to bless us, just as the ordinary bread is changed to His Body, we ordinary men and women, our ordinary lives, are thus transformed into the vehicle of God’s grace (Jn 2:9). By giving His blood, our Lord has given us everything He has. He makes our whole being His, when He blesses us.