To the Very Reverend and Reverend Presbyters and Deacons of the Orthodox Church in America.
At the Spring 2017 Meeting of the Holy Synod of Bishops, the following two decisions were made regarding liturgical practice:
- To remove the interpolation “Making the change by thy Holy Spirit” from the Epiclesis in the Anaphora of St. Basil. The deacon’s three-fold Amen, together with a low bow or prostration, is now to come immediately after “…shed for the life of the world.”
- To clarify, in accordance with the ancient, universal tradition of the Church, that at the Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, when the presanctified Lamb has been placed into the chalice, the wine mixed with water truly becomes the Precious Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Consequently, priests and deacons celebrating or communing at the Presanctified Liturgy are to commune of the holy chalice in precisely the same manner and with the same words as they would at the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom or of St. Basil the Great. And a priest or deacon who must later consume the Gifts is still to partake of the chalice, as doing so in no way constitutes a breaking of the eucharistic fast.
Both of these decisions are reflected in the new Hieratikon published by St. Tikhon’s Monastery Press with the blessing of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon.
For further details and some history of both of these matters, please see the attached document.
Yours in Christ,
Archbishop of Washington Metropolitan of All America and Canada