What do priests do when preparing Holy Communion?
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Holy Communion, also known as Eucharist, is an important part of Orthodox Christianity. In fact, the Divine Liturgy is said to exist for the sole purposes of preparing for and then receiving Holy Communion. However, a process needs to happen in order to transform the wine into the blood of Christ. How is this accomplished? There is a process the priest must go through in order for this to happen. Here is more information about this:
What Orthodox Christians Believe
Orthodox Christians believe that through Holy Communion they are receiving the body (bread) and blood (wine) of Christ.
Here’s what Clement of Alexandria, one of the Church Fathers, has said about it:
Eat my flesh,’ [Jesus] says, ‘and drink my blood.’ The Lord supplies us with these intimate nutrients, he delivers over his flesh and pours out his blood, and nothing is lacking for the growth of his children.
This is something that is traced to the Lord’s Supper. Jesus said in Mark 14:22-25:
22 While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” 23 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. 24 He said to them, “This is my blood of the[c] covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
Priest Prepares the Eucharist During the Divine Liturgy
In Orthodox Christianity, we are essentially following Jesus’s instructions. There is a process that the priests undergo during the service in order for this to happen, though. The process is often referred to as “consecration.:
Before the service begins, the priest makes some initial preparations with the bread and wine that will be used for Holy Communion. He recites special passages relating to Christ and His sacrifices while cutting the bread, and he also prays. The bread and wine will both be consecrated during the service.
The first part of the service is referred to as “The Word” and this is the section where we typically see the Epistle and Gospel readings. The main goal of this part of the Liturgy is to be fed the Word of God. This part essentially prepares us for the next section of the service.
The next part of the Divine Liturgy service is referred to as “The Sacrifice.” In this part, we are sufficiently prepared to accept His Sacrifice because we were fed the Word of God. This part of the service begins with the Cherubic Hymn and ends with Holy Communion. During this part, the wine and bread are consecrated in preparation for Holy Communion.
The last part of the service is focused on offering Thanksgiving, receiving a blessing, and then the service is concluded.
As you can see, the priest prepares the Eucharist throughout the service and while that occurs, the congregation also prepares by participating in the Divine Liturgy. If you have questions, please consult with your priest.
The Religion section on GreekBoston.com was written by Greeks to help people understand some of the traditions of the Orthodox Christian religion, which is a religion practiced by people in countries such as Greece, Russia, United States, and other nations throughout the world. This article is not a substitute for information found in the Holy Bible or by our church fathers, priests, and other clergy members.
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