EUCHARIST AS THE SOURCE OF COMMUNION

 

Holy-Eucharist-IconEUCHARIST AS THE SOURCE OF COMMUNION:

A BIBLICO-LITURGICAL STUDY ON THE BASIS OF SYRO-MALABAR QURBANA

Rev Sr. Rosejoe CMC  MTh

 

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

Communion is the fundamental nature of the Catholic Church. It is because Church is a community founded by a God who is the communion of Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.  The Triune nature of God is the source and summit of the experience of communion in the Church. In a society of diversity and where divisions rule the message of communion is particularly important. As members of the Catholic Church we are to be the prophets of communion in the society. We are inspired and strengthened for this by the most important action of the Church, the Holy Qurbana, which is the celebration of communion. This study is an attempt to find out the reality of communion celebrated and experienced in the liturgy of the Church.

Since liturgy is the celebration of the Salvation history and the Scripture, the description of the same, this study begins with the Scripture. According to the Scriptures God created the world in perfect communion. But it was lost by the selfishness of man and the world became a place of chaos. God takes initiative to repair the damages in the relation made by man and thus the Scripture is the history of relations. The first chapter is intended to describe the Old Testament events of communion. There are mainly four important events of communion in the Old Testament. They are Passover, Covenant, Sacrifices and the Feast of Atonement. Each one of these is narrated and the elements of communion which they bring out are mentioned. The study of these incidents of communion is surely done with a Eucharistic mind and they are proved as foreshadows of the Eucharist.

The Second chapter analyzes some important New Testament passages which convey the theme of communion and have the Eucharistic connotation. Two texts from the letters of St. Paul and three passages from the Gospel according to St. John are taken for discussion. Their study proves that New Testament is the fulfillment of the Old Testament events of communion.

The third chapter is dedicated to the study of the Holy Qurbana of the Syro-Malabar Church. Qurbana is explained as the celebration of the communion and this communion is portrayed as experienced in three dimensions. It expresses the communion between God and man, among believers themselves and between earthly and heavenly beings. The important factors of the theology of the Eucharistic communion are given as a conclusion from the liturgical analysis of the subject.

The study of the Holy Qurbana in this article is limited to its prayers which convey the theme of communion. The gestures, signs and symbols of the Holy Qurbana are explained only in a limited manner.

CHAPTER ONE

EPISODES OF COMMUNION IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

0.INTRODUCTION

The four distinctive events of communion which we see in the Old Testament are Passover, Covenant, Sacrifices and the Feast of Atonement. The study of these four elements of the Old Testament is the subject matter of this chapter. Each of the four themes will be discussed with a special focus on communion which those events aimed at.   While analyzing the themes our eyes will be opened to the fact that all these events were preparations for and pre-figurations of the Eucharistic Communion which was accomplished through the Christ event.

The Passover feast contains within itself, the sign and promise of redemption. It was a rite of remembrance. The ‘memory’ was embodied not only in thoughts but also in the rituals of the Passover feast and it joined them together as a community. Covenant is the basis of the relationship between God and Israelites and among Israelites themselves. The blood of the covenant marked the Israelites as God’s people.

Israel is a people who were joined together by the sacrifices. Sacrifice confirms the presence of God among his people and it enables Israel to establish communion with God and enter into a compassionate relation with Him. It also enables the person who is condemned by sin or impurity to restore his or her communion with the community. The Feast of Atonement which was an yearly celebration helped them to restore their identity as God’s own people. All these events in the Old Testament foreshadow the New Testament events of salvation.

1. PASSOVER: ENTRY INTO COMMUNION

Passover is one of the greatest feasts of the Jews. The term Passover comes from the Hebrew word ‘Pasch’ which means to ‘pass’ or to ‘leap over’.[1]The feast of Passover is the celebration of the liberation of the Israelites from the bondage of Egypt and of their entry into the Promised Land. Thus it becomes the proclamation of the love of God and the salvation which God brought forward for His people.[2] It marks the beginning of the covenant relationship between God and His people.

1.1. Origin of Passover Celebration

The twelfth chapter of Exodus gives the feast of Passover a historical setting. It narrates the details of the observance of the feast as God’s command to Moses and Aaron. There are two celebrations which served as the basis of Passover Feast. One was celebration of the ‘passage’ of the angel of death over the houses of the Israelites and the second was that of the unleavened bread.[3] Passover was originally a spring festival of the nomadic people or shepherds and it brought together the whole family.[4] According to the law, this rite was to be commemorated every year. It was at first a family celebration and the head of the family presided over it.[5] It consisted of a banquet in which a lamb was slain and eaten. It was done on the evening of the full moon in the month of Nisan and the blood of the lamb was smeared on the doorposts of houses. The meat was roasted and consumed with bitter herbs and unleavened bread. The meal was taken by families or groups.[6]

            There are scholars who are of the opinion that it is after their settlement in the Promised Land that the Israelites combined the feast of Passover with the feast of the unleavened bread which was originally a harvest festival.[7] According to Joseph Naduvilezham, during the reign of Josiah the celebration of Passover was transferred from the family to the Temple and it emerged as a pilgrimage feast.[8] But we see differences of opinion among scholars regarding the cultic banquet. Joseph Erambil is of the opinion that the meal was eaten at the sanctuary. “The act of killing of the lamb is to be performed at the sanctuary and the banquet also is to be eaten at the sanctuary.”[9] At the same time Naduvilezham is of the opinion that “the meal remained still a family rite.”[10] Any way there are references in the Scripture favoring both arguments (Deut 16, 7; Ex 12, 46).

1.2. Elements of Passover Celebration

The Passover celebration “re-enacted God’s saving work with its whole impact even for the future course of salvation history.”[11] The words and actions in the Passover celebration refer to the past, present and future life of Israel with Yahweh. In celebrating the feast each generation of Jews involved themselves in the original events.[12] Thus the celebration contained those elements which helped them to experience God’s saving work.

1.2.1.Signing with Blood

“And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, where in they shall eat it” (Ex 12, 7). In the Old Testament the ‘blood’ was the sign of the life.[13] The ritual blood is one of the characteristic elements of the Passover celebration. The Blood of the sacrificed lamb was smeared on the doorposts of houses of the Israelites. “It was a means of protection, a means of remembrance and a means of salvation for them.”[14]The first-born of the Israelites were saved by the blood and it marked them as a separate group or a particular nation.The killing of the lamb at the Passover celebration became the proclamation of the fact that the Israelites were saved by the blood of the lamb.[15] Marking with blood was a ritual which was intended to protect their lives and habitation from the hostile powers.[16] D.J. McCarthy says: “in the actual context of the overall Old Testament attitude towards blood and rite, it must be seen as marking off the chosen people, signifying their holiness in the basic sense of separation for the divine.”[17]

1.2.2. Narration of God’s Salvation History

Since the actual event of Passover took place in Egypt, Jewish people have been observing annually that experience of deliverance. There developed a ritual in the Passover celebration in which a Jewish boy seated at the Passover table asks the father certain questions. The boy asks, “why is this night different from all other nights?” Then the father recites all the wonderful events that led up to the Passover deliverance from the Pharaoh.[18] Thus the Jewish people kept alive the salvation history age after age and it bound them together as a community. It made them thankful towards God who delivered them and formed them as a community.[19]

1.2.3.The Manner of the Celebration

The Scripture gives clear directives for the celebration. People are to be cleansed themselves before participating in the celebration (Num 9, 14). “The sacrificed lamb must be roasted entirely, and what is left after eating at the banquet must be burned before the next day. The participants ate the meal standing and dressed for a journey. Only the circumcised could eat the Passover meal (Ex 12, 43-49).”[20]

1.3. Characteristics of Passover Celebration

All were supposed to join the Passover celebration at the same hour and there had to be at least ten persons in a group. It shows the communitarian and social dimension of the feast. By celebrating it the Israelites re-lived the exodus event and thus it became a national feast. Following are the main characteristics of the Passover celebration (Ex 12, 43-49).

1.3.1. A Feast of Communion

The Jewish Passover was a feast of communion in two dimensions: 1) communion with God, 2) communion with fellow ones. It was the feast of communion with God because they celebrated it for obeying the command of Yahweh. And it was a remembrance of the Lord’s saving act of Israel from Egypt with His strong hand. “This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord; throughout your generation you observe it as a perpetual ordinance” (Ex 12, 14). Secondly Passover feast was a feast of communion with the fellow beings in the sense that it has a social dimension. It was not a personal celebration, but a celebration of the whole Israel community.[21] It was the Lord’s command that, “the whole congregation of Israel shall celebrate it” (Ex 12, 47). Also it was a feast of a chosen people.  No outsiders were permitted to participate in it. “. . . No foreigner shall eat of it, but any slave who has been purchased may eat of it after he has been circumcised; no bound or hired servant may eat of it” (Ex 12, 43-45). The celebration takes place in the family and it also shows the communion of family members. Even today, “wherever there is a Jewish family there the mother and children gather around the table and the father directs the traditional and time- hollowed ritual.”[22]

1.3.2.Participation in the Communion of Generations

The Jewish feast of Passover is three dimensional. It is related to the past, present and future. Israel is seen as a community which is already redeemed and yet expecting the future redemption. “The Pesah –Service reflects the striving for continual participation in the redemption of the past and the intense longing for the future deliverance. Thus the salvific past, the salvific present and the salvific future are all blended into a unity in the Pesah celebration.”[23] This characteristic relates the community to the whole generations which experienced the deliverance in the past, which presently experience it and which expect the deliverance and makes the communion of the generations possible. 

1.3.3.Communion through ‘Remembrance’

The Passover meal is a feast of remembrance. God remembered Israel and Israel is remembering God. For Israel this remembrance is more than a mere memory. In the bible the use of the word ‘God remembered’ or ‘making remembrance in front of God’ has special meaning. Here remembrance means that, while God remembering something it will be made present before him.[24] In the same way while we make memory in front of God it is always creative and effective.[25] So while Israel remembers God’s saving act they experience God’s love and providence. In another words through this loving remembrance there happens a communion; a communion of God with his people and people with their God.

The memories of the past were kept alive by the ritual ceremonies in the Passover celebration. The specific ritual of the recital of the redemptive work of God which is included in the celebration makes the Jewish people self- conscious and strongly united.[26] By the celebration brings the people to the past experience of redemption and its memory makes that experience present.[27]

“In the sense of Sacred Scripture the memorial is not merely the recollection of past events but the proclamation of the mighty works wrought by God for men. In the liturgical celebration of these events, they become in a certain way present and real. This is how Israel understands its liberation from Egypt: every time Passover is celebrated, the Exodus events are made present to the memory of believers so that they may conform their lives to them.”[28]

1.4. Passover as Foreshadowing of Eucharist

Christ was the fulfillment of the lamb slain in Egypt on the Passover night. “The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn 1, 29). Here John the Baptist introduces Jesus as the Paschal lamb. The Eucharist is the fulfillment of the prophecies contained in the Jewish Passover. Christ is the true Paschal Lamb. St. Paul, while writing to Corinthians, says: “…For Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed” (1Cor 5, 7). The sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross was at the same hour when the paschal lambs were sacrificed at the temple and by this He proved that He is the True Paschal Lamb.[29] Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa writes:

“From the very night of the Exodus out of Egypt, God contemplated the Eucharist and thought of giving as the true lamb. God says: ‘when I see the blood, I will pass over you. (Exod 12, 13), that is to say, I shall save you not destroy you. At this point, the Fathers of the Church wondered what the Lord saw over the Jews’ houses that was so precious to make him ‘pass over’ and tell his angel not to destroy them, and their answer was: he saw the blood of Christ, he saw the Eucharist”![30]

The Eucharist in the Church took the place not only of Passover and of Unleavened bread, but of all the Old Testament sacrifices and feasts. It is through the redemptive work of Christ, namely His death and glorification that the world was redeemed and the reconciliation of mankind with God was actualized.[31] Thus the Jewish Passover which celebrates the redemption of the people of God can be seen as foreshadow of the Eucharist.

2. COVENANT: CELEBRATION OF COMMUNION

Covenant concept is so fundamental in Old Testament theology. “The covenantal idea was a special feature of the religion of Israel.”[32]It is the basis of the relationship between God and Israelites and Israelites among themselves. “It gave them a consciousness of oneness with God and a unity among themselves.”[33]N. Lohfink defines covenant as follows, “The covenant, a central concept in the Bible and in Christian theology, designate the relationship between God and his people by analogy with privileged relations that men establish with each other by contract.”[34]The essential parts of a covenant are the following. A clear definition of the parties involved, a legally binding set of provisions that stipulates the conditions of their relationship, the promise of blessings for obedience, and the condition for obtaining those blessings.[35]

The Scripture is divided into two sections and they are known as Old Testament (Covenant) and New Testament ( Covenant) and it shows the fact that the idea of covenantal relationship between God and man is so basic and predominant in the Scriptures.[36]Through the covenant, Yahweh takes charge of the protection of Israel and He holds their interests as His own. It points to the fact that the covenant leads to the experience of communion.[37] The Hebrew word for covenant is ‘berit’ and the relationship which this word designates among men is “one of mutual belonging or community relationship; similar to the blood relationship by which all members of a family are ‘one bone and one flesh’ (Gen 29, 14).”[38] The principal aims of berit are peace and gracious mercy or loving kindness. C. D. Cruz Fernandes, defines berit as “an obligation by which two individual men or two groups enter a relationship of community, kinship or mutual possession- through different means which express union.”[39]

It is by the Sinai Covenant that the Israelites became Yahweh’s special possession and a holy nation.[40] The analysis of the Sinai Covenant brings out the characteristics of the Covenants in the Old Testament.

2.1. A Relationship of Unique Intimacy between God and the People

            Israel is the inheritance of Yahweh because God has chosen Israel and made a covenant with them.[41] This caused a relationship of unique intimacy between God and the people. God’s covenant with Israel consists of the same elements as the profane berit namely commitment, peace and gracious mercy.[42] “The berit relationship between Yahweh and Israel makes Yahweh, God of Israel, and Israel, God’s people.”[43] This truth is emphasized by the repeated statement: “I will be their God and they will be my people” (Ex 19, 5-6; 20, 2; Deut 5, 6; 29, 11-12). “For the Levites, a tribe with no territory of their own, the inheritance is Yahweh (Deut 10, 9). This becomes later, the characteristic of the whole people (Jer 10, 16; Ps 16, 4).”[44]

Yahweh wants to be with Israel. The desire of Yahweh for the communion with Israel is evident from the covenant. “And it is clear from the economy God uses to implement His initiative. His long conversation with Moses points to this fact: ‘The Lord came down upon Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain; and the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up’ (Ex 19, 20).”[45]Yahweh encounters Moses at the ‘Tent of  the Meeting’ (Ex 33, 7-11) and this name of the meeting place holds the experience of communion.[46] “Yahweh, by mighty deeds, has presented himself to the people of Israel, establishing a relationship between himself and the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”[47]

Yahweh who came to the people of Israel at Mount Sinai defined His relationship with the people as: ‘I am Yahweh, your God, who brought you forth from the land of Egypt’.[48] Ten Commandments were given then as an outline of the response of the people to this redemptive commitment of God. These commandments defined their relationship to Yahweh and the community. “The first four commandments set forth the principles guiding Israel’s relationship to Yahweh. The last six commandments set forth the principles guiding Israel’s relationship to the covenant community and, both indirectly and directly, to the whole family of humankind because of the prior relationship with Yahweh.”[49] The presence of Yahweh in the holy places, namely in the tent, ark of covenant and temple which were amidst the people is another example of God’s love and concern for Israel.[50]

2.2. A Relationship of Unique Intimacy among the People

Covenant made the people a community. The whole people, without the distinction of family, tribe and clan became a communion in the service of God, who brought them to a spiritual union. It is the loyalty to this unifying God what made the people consider their fellow Israelites as brothers.[51] The various laws, given to Israel regarding things lost, give a family experience to the people. In Deuteronomy Chapter 22 we read: “You shall not see your brother’s ox or his sheep go astray, and withhold your help from them; you shall take them back to your brother…” (v.1-4). Again regarding money lending we read: “To a foreigner you may lend upon interest, but to your brother you shall not lend upon interest” (Deut 23, 20). As a covenanted people, Israel has God as their Father and therefore the people of Israel become brothers and sisters of God’s family.[52]

2.3.The Ratification of the Covenant

The Covenant at Sinai is ratified with two symbolic rites. Those rites were capable of building up communion between God and the people of Israel and among the people themselves. We see these two rites at the conclusion of the Sinai Covenant as conflated traditions in Exodus, chapter 24.[53]

2.3.1.Ceremonial Meal

The first tradition of the conclusion of the Sinai Covenant is seen in Ex 24, 1-2; 9-11. “It was a regular custom to ratify treaties and solemn agreements between God and man and between man and man with a common meal, symbolizing a sharing of joy and a union.”[54] The above mentioned passage describes that Moses together with Aaron, Nadab, Abihu and seventy of the elders are asked by the Lord to go up to Him. They went up and saw His glory and splendor and it is written in verse 11 that “they beheld God, and ate and drank”. This meal became sacred “because it externalizes the faith of the participants that God is the source of life and joy that binds them together . . .”[55] This sacred meal sealed the covenant and the communion between God and the people and among the people themselves made experiential. “The admittance into the presence of Yahweh and the ceremonial meal there indicated that the weaker partner was taken into the family circle of the stronger.”[56] D.J. McCarthy says: “The Sinai Covenant was never conceived according to the treaty form, but it was a relationship based on various symbolic rites enacting union.”[57]

2.3.2.Blood of Covenant

The second tradition describing the sealing of the Covenant is seen in Ex 24, 3-8.[58] Moses offered a sacrifice that sealed the Covenant between God and the people of Israel. “And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against altar. Then he took the book of covenant and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said “All that the Lord has spoken we will do and we will be obedient” (Ex 24, 8). And Moses took the blood and threw it upon the people and said: “Behold the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words” (Ex 24, 6-8).  The covenant between God and Israel was sealed by this sacrifice and Israelites were made a community or a ‘people of God’.’[59] “As the result of the covenant, the People of God came into existence.”[60] For Jews the blood was the source of the life (Gen 9, 4; Deut 12, 23) and they considered the pouring of blood as the sign of love.[61] During the ceremony of sacrifice, the same blood is sprinkled on altar and on the faithful, making them experience that God and the people share the same life, and also there forms a spiritual family relationship between God and the faithful.[62] 

2.4. Covenant: The Pre-Figuration of the Eucharist

The words of Jesus, “This chalice which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood” (Lk 22, 20), can be understood only in the context of the Sinai Covenant.[63] According to Pope Benedict XVI, the Sinai Covenant rested on two elements: i) On the “blood of the covenant” and ii) On God’s word and Israel’s promise of obedience.[64] But the promise of obedience was repeatedly broken by the people and God handed His people over to exile and the Temple to destruction. Thus the hope for a New Covenant, which is irrevocable and inviolable, was arisen. Remembering the words of St. Paul (Phil 2, 7-8), Pope says: “This obedience, now located at the very root of human nature, is the obedience of the Son, who made himself a servant and took all human disobedience upon himself in his obedience even unto death, suffered it right to the end, and conquered it.”[65] Jesus, being the perfect man and God, acted not only as God toward man, but also as man toward God and thus established the New Covenant irrevocably.[66] As we partake in the Eucharistic Blood of Christ we become the people of God.[67] Thus we see that “the Covenant which Jesus established is a supreme fulfillment of the Covenant of Sinai.”[68]

3. SACRIFICES: EXPERIENCE OF COMMUNION

To facilitate and strengthen the unity and stability of a particular community, religious activities and worship play an important role.[69] The quest in man for the communion with God is the basis of all religious activities and so religion becomes a place of sacrifices and sacred meals which enables man to be in table fellowship with God.[70] There are material similarities between the sacrificial system of the Israelites and other peoples. But the Israelites made it distinct by giving a new meaning to it, which was determined by the religious experience and faith of the people.[71] The various cultic celebrations of the Israelites gathered the scattered people into a community and provided for them the exclusive experience of community self-identification.[72] Thus sacrifice was the primary source of identification and unification of the People of God.

The word ‘sacrifice’ is derived from two Latin words: sacrum facere and it means to make sacred.[73] “Sacrifice can be seen as a material, visible gift offered to God to signify our love to God. That gift is our human way of expressing our adoration, thanksgiving, contrition for sins, and our trustful petition for forgiveness of sins and for other graces.”[74] According to J. Erambil, “among Israelites sacrifice was an act whereby an authorized person of the community changes a material in such a way as to withdraw it from profane use, places it within the sacred sphere and thus dedicates it to God as an expression of adoration and self-surrender to him; and God accepts and sanctifies it and makes it a means to enter into communion with man.”[75]

3.1.Different Kinds of Sacrifices

In the Old Testament there are different kinds of sacrifices: 1) Holocaust or Burnt Offerings 2) Peace Offering or Communion Sacrifice 3) Expiatory Sacrifices.

3.1.1.Holocaust or Burnt Offerings

Holocaust is a ritual act of adoration. It is offered at purification (Lev 12, 6; 14, 19), at consecration of Nazirites and priests (Num 10-14; Lev 9), at the time of supplication, atonement and thanksgiving.[76] Following is the procedure of holocaust or burnt offerings. The person offering the holocaust lays his hands on the animal to be offered and thus shows that the ‘victim’ is his own. The animal is killed and its blood is poured round the altar. Then the animal is skinned and cut up into pieces and burnt.[77]

The important element of Burnt Offering is the complete burning of the things sacrificed. It indicates the total submission of man to God. Another important aspect of holocaust is that the victim of the sacrifice is offered to God as a gift and it symbolizes man’s total dependence on God.[78] The burning of the victim does not mean that it is destroyed. But it is the expression of total dedication to God and the community gives reverence to God through this sacrifice.[79]

3.1.2.Peace Offering or Communion Sacrifice

In Peace offering the animal is divided into three parts. “One part is burnt on the altar; another was given to the priest and the rest was eaten by the person or persons who brought the animal for the ceremony.”[80] This sacrifice is the symbol of the relationship between Yahweh and man. The most important characteristic of this peace offering is that “Yahweh is regarded as the host and the offerer the guest at the Lord’s Table.”[81] The eating by the man portion given to him, shows that he is admitted to the table of God. This aspect of meal gave the sacrifice the name ‘communion sacrifice’.[82] This meal enables the worshipper to be sacramental related to God and his fellow beings.[83] This sacrifice was offered after victory, as motives of gratitude to God, petition, praise etc.[84]

3.1.3.Expiatory Sacrifices

The purpose of the Expiatory Sacrifice is “to re-establish the covenant with God when it has been broken by the sin of man.”[85] There are mainly two kinds of expiatory sacrifices. They are: i) Sin-offering and ii) Guilt-offering.[86] In Sin- offering blood had a very important role because Israelites considered blood as life itself.[87] “Blood signified the flow of life between God and man.”[88] The pouring of the blood of the victim on the altar was a powerful plea for restoration of the life with communion with God.

“Guilt-offering was a sacrifice on behalf of private individuals in reparation for guilt against Yahweh or against another man. The victim in this sacrifice is a ram.[89] We see references to this kind of sacrifices in Lev.5, 14-26 and 7, 1-6.

3.2. Sacrificial Meal

While offering sacrifices the Israelites partially burned or ate the sacrificial elements. This gesture was the expression of a deep experience of communion. At the time of Holocaust or Burnt Offering, the whole victim is burnt and “God is thought to share the food of His faithful.”[90] When Peace Offering or Communion Sacrifice is done the victim is shared between God and man. Thus man is taking part in the sacred meal with God. Sometimes the sacrificial food and drink are reserved to the Levites as we see in Lev 6, 26, 29 and 7, 6. But there are occasions when the sacrificial food is shared by all the participants (Deut 12, 6-7; Lev 7, 15-16).[91] “This sacrificial meal signifies a most cordial and friendly relationship between man and Yahweh (Deut 12, 18-19). It is an expression of Israelites’ joy and peace with their God.”[92]

3.3. Sacrifices: Fore-taste of the Eucharist

The sacrifice, which Christ established by shedding His own blood is the fulfillment of all other sacrifices. The incarnation of Jesus and His ministry in the world can be seen as a self-offering to God the Father.[93] The sacrificial character of the Eucharist is made clear by St. Paul while comparing the table of the Lord with the table of the demons by using sacrificial terms of communion. By comparing the cup of the Lord and the cup of the demons St. Paul proves that the Eucharistic meal was a sacrificial banquet.[94] “The table of the Lord is contrasted with the table of the demons through the medium of the sacrificial system of the Old Testament, of which it is a fundamental principle that to eat of the offerings is to have communion with the altar (I Cor 10, 18).”[95]“The Eucharist is thus a sacrifice because it re-presents (makes present) the sacrifice of the cross, because it is its memorial and because it applies its fruit…”[96] Because of this fact, the Second Vatican Council also teaches that Eucharist is a real sacrifice.[97]

4. ATONEMENT: RECTIFICATION OF COMMUNION

Scriptures present the real tragedy of humanity as the losing of communion with God and among human persons.[98] So the Feast of Atonement was installed by Yahweh to restore the communion of man with Yahweh and fellow beings.

For the Israelites the Day of Atonement was the most solemn day of all holy days. It is also known as YomKippur and is celebrated now by the Jews on 10th of the Thishiri.[99] We get a clear idea about this feast from the book of Levites. Lev 23, 26-33 gives a correct and divinely authorized mode of observance of this holy ceremony: “The Lord spoke to Moses, saying:  Now, the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall be a holy convocation for you: you shall deny yourselves and present the Lord’s offering by fire; and you shall do no work during that entire day; for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement on your behalf before the Lord your God.  For anyone who does not practice self-denial during that entire day shall be cut off from the people. And anyone who does any work during that entire day, such a one I will destroy from the midst of the people.  You shall do no work: it is a statute forever throughout your generations in all your settlements.  It shall be to you a sabbath of complete rest, and you shall deny yourselves; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening you shall keep your sabbath.”

4.1.The Ritual of the Feast of Atonement

The ritual of the Feast of Atonement is described in Leviticus chapter 16. Coulson Shepherd writes about it in detail in his book ‘Jewish Holy Days’ and it can be summarized as follows. The high priest enters the holy of holies in the temple. He sacrifices a bullock and the second goat, then sprinkles the most holy place, the veil, the altar, and cleansed them from all defilement. The lots had been cast upon the two goats. The one upon which the lot fell is sacrificed unto the Lord as a sin offering. The priest presents the other one before the Lord and lays his hands upon its head, confessing over it the sins of the congregation. The goat is directed to a land which is not inhabited and it bears away all the sins of the people. That goat is called the scapegoat.[100] These rituals were performed yearly and hence Israel, after the misdeeds of the previous year, gets back its esteemed position as a “holy people” and once more regains its designated status as God’s people in the midst of the world.[101]

            Pope Benedict XVI mentions that according to rabbinic theology, the idea of the covenant is prior to the idea of the creation of the world and supplies its inner motive.[102] The universe was created to have a covenantal relation between God and man. “The cosmos was created, not that there might be manifold things in heaven and earth, but that there might be a space for ‘covenant’, for the loving ‘yes’ between God and human respondent.”[103] It is through the Feast of Atonement that every year the covenantal relationship, which is the inner meaning of the world, is restored from the disruption by the sin.[104]

Actually, in all kinds of sacrifices atonement is a common factor which leads the worshipper to the reconciliation with God. “The purity of sacrifice corresponds, in fact, to the purity of the notion of the reconciliation which it implies. And this in turn depends on the conception of alienation from God which makes us want to be reconciled with Him.”[105]

4.2. Role of Blood

Blood, which was considered as the principle of life had vital importance in the sacrificial ceremonies of the Old Testament. The sprinkling of the blood gave them the experience of the deliverance from slavery and acquisition by God.[106] Clearly the only basis of true atonement was blood. “For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you for making atonement for your lives on the altar; for, as life, it is the blood that makes atonement” (Lev 17, 11).[107]At the time of the celebration of the Feast of Atonement, the High Priest sprinkles all the important places in the Temple with blood and proves the expiatory power of blood. Blood was the bearer of God’s life and it restored man to a state of friendship with God.[108]

4.3. Feast of Atonement: Prototype of the Christ Event

The famous Suffering Servant Song of Isaiah presents Jesus both as priest and the victim.[109] In chapter 53 of Isaiah we read as follows: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (v.6). “Yet it was the will of the Lord to bruise him; he has put him to grief; when he makes himself an offering for sin…” (v.10) “… yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”(v.12). All these verses include the whole ritual of the Feast of Atonement and make this feast the prototype of the Christ event. Jesus’ blood sets up a new bond of friendship with the new chosen People. This blood is shed for the forgiveness of sins (Mt. 26, 28).[110]

CONCLUSION

The four elements of the Old Testament which are discussed above are all about relationship. They form the nutshell of the Old Testament and describe how God wants to be in communion with man and the means which He uses for the same. At the same time they narrate the struggle both God and man take to restore and keep the communion which have been broken by sin. The Israelites relive the redemptive act of Yahweh through the Passover feast which is the celebration of memories. Covenants made them a community having active relationship with Yahweh and the fellow men. They experienced the warmth of the communion through the sacrifices. The Feast of Atonement helped them to renew the experience of communion every year. 

As we have seen these Old Testament elements are the types of the New Testament events of salvation and communion. These various allusions to the Eucharist in the Old Testament make us aware of the unique place of the Eucharistic Sacrifice in the salvific plan of God. The study of the above Old Testament themes points to the fact that the new Pasch of the New Testament is superior and perfect because Christ, the perfect man and the perfect God acts in it as the victim and the offerer. The communion brought about by Christ the sole victim is experienced through the Eucharist which is the most profound action of the community of believers with Him.

CHAPTER TWO

FULFILLMENT OF COMMUNION IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

0. INTRODUCTION

The whole salvation history right from the Genesis, is a story of relationship. The first chapter was an overview on the Old Testament events by which both God and His people had mutual indwelling. The history of mankind is filled with infidelity which continuously broke down the relationship between them and God their Creator. But the faithfulness of God made the reunion possible and experiential. The New Testament history reveals this faithfulness of God that He gave His only Son for the salvation of the human kind. This chapter is an attempt to pinpoint the fact that the Old Testament shadows of communion are fulfilled in Jesus. This is made by explaining two texts from St. Paul and three texts from St. John. The Eucharist which is the Paschal meal of the Christian Passover becomes the centre and source of communion. This fact is revealed by the apostles by using the words of Jesus and different imageries.

St. Paul, basing on the Last Supper, describes the Eucharistic meal as the fulfillment of Old Testament covenants and sacrifices. His teachings on the single loaf as the basis of communion and Eucharistic meal and the means of communion lead us to understand the Eucharistic theology as the theology of communion. The fourth Gospel has mainly three passages with Eucharistic connotation. They are also dealt with in this chapter and they give Jesus the colour of the sacrificial lamb which was sacrificed for the sins of the world. The nature of the union which was accomplished by the redemptive work of God through Jesus is made clear by the imagery of the vine and branches. Again the prayer of Jesus for the disciples reveals the mind of God regarding the mutual immanence. Communion of believers is expressed there as the participation in the Trinitarian communion. Paul’s letters are the Oldest Christian documents we have. So in this chapter we discuss the Pauline passages first.

1. PAULINE CONCEPT OF COMMUNION

The two important passages where St. Paul discusses on the theme ‘Eucharistic communion’ are 1Cor 10, 16-22 and 1Cor 11, 17-34. There were particular contexts which compelled Paul to give the teaching on Christian way of living the communion. The uniqueness of the New Covenant by Jesus and the Eucharistic meal is well described by Paul in these passages. The study of the texts clearly proves that the New Testament is the fulfillment of the Old Testament communion events.

1.1. The First Passage (1Cor 10, 16-22)

The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ?  Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.  Consider the people of Israel;  are not those who eat the sacrifices partners in the altar?  What do I imply then? That food sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything?  No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.Or are we provoking the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?” (1Cor 16-22).

1.1.1. The Context of the Passage

The Christian community at Corinth had a complex nature because of the different category of people who formed it. There were a quite number of Jews and also pagans, rich and poor and people with different social status. Naturally there was diversity of problems in the Corinthian church since the issues in the community were dealt with different viewpoints. In a letter which they sent to Paul through Stephanas and others Corinthians wanted to get advices for a series of problems which were present in the community.[111]  During Paul’s third missionary journey, while he was in Ephesus, he was informed of the different problems which were burning in the Corinthian community. He came to know that there were factions in the community. Another issue was the meat offered to idols.[112] This is the particular situation which made Paul to write the above passage to advice and console them. He wanted the Church at Corinth to have a basic understanding of the life in Christ and Christian community.[113]

1.1.2. Lessons of Communion in the Passage

The analysis of the above passage brings out the fact that Eucharistic meal is the experience of communion between God and man and among the members themselves. Thus it becomes the fulfillment of the Old Testament images of communion.

1.1.2.1. Single Loaf as the Symbol of Unity

St. Paul says that the sharing of one bread makes the believers united to Christ and they become one body. Because they participate in one life source, the body of Christ. “Sharing the one life source, the loaf that is the body of Christ, believers are constituted a body whose diversity is rooted in an organic unity.”[114] It is because of their joint participation with Christ that they become one body. Didache compares the unity of believers with that of the unity of the grains which are changed into the bread. “As this broken bread was once scattered on the mountains, and after it had been brought together became one, so may thy Church be gathered together from the ends of the earth unto thy kingdom…”[115]  The unity of the believers in one body, in Christ, is a union which has no parallel.[116]  “. . . the oneloaf, which when shared constitutes the onebody out of many persons. The body of Christ is the people who are united in table fellowship with him. Since it is Christ’s loaf, when people receive it, they are united into one body.”[117]

When Paul says that “because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread,” its implication goes beyond the unity of a single loaf. “For Paul to be able to say that all Christians, whether of Corinth or Ephesus or Jerusalem, all partake of one and the same bread, there must be a numerical unity to it transcending the mere oneness of a single loaf and even the specific unity of ‘bread’.”[118] The Bread refers to the real body of Christ and the unity of the church goes beyond the act of breaking a ‘single’ bread. This unity is effected by the sacramental union of the believers with the body of Christ. When we participate in the bread which is the body of Christ, we become the body of Christ.[119] “We become united among ourselves in the highest degree because we are identified collectively and individually with the unique body of risen Christ. We are identified with the substantial and individual Christ who gives us life.”[120] Pope John Paul II writes: “In the mystery of the Eucharist Jesus builds up the Church as a communion, in accordance with the supreme model evoked in his priestly prayer: “Even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they may also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me’ (Jn 17, 21).”[121]

1.1.2.2. Communion through the Sacrificial Meal

Paul stresses the sacrificial aspect of the Eucharist in order to make the Corinthians aware of their fault, namely the participation in the pagan worship. By eating the bread and drinking the cup, the believers are drawn to an intimate union with Christ, because it this sacred meal is His Body and Blood. It is from this Eucharistic communion the fellowship of believers who are united in Christ becomes a reality.[122] Paul shows through an analogy that the “attendance at the Lord’s Supper is to commune with Christ, the object of Christian worship, and to join in fellowship with all who attend it.”[123] In verse 18, he compares Eucharist with the sacrifice of Israel and that of pagans and concludes that eating the Eucharistic bread and drinking the cup is participation in the sacrificial meal.[124] In every sacrifice there is a victim and eating of the victim and in the Eucharistic sacrifice eating the bread and drinking the cup is as real as the eating of the victim in the Jewish temple.[125] As the sacrificial meal united God and the offerer in the Old Testament, Eucharist the New Testament sacrificial meal unites intimately the participant and Christ and this union with God makes him become one spirit with Him.[126]

            The word ‘communion’ which is used for the participation in the body and blood of Christ confirms the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist and affirms the intimate union which results from it. The result of communion has a double nature, a union between Christ and the recipient and a union among the participants themselves. This union strengthens the unity of the church and it completes the effects of baptism.[127] “Baptism incorporates the Christian into the body of the Risen Lord; the Eucharist in which each communicant receives the body of Christ strengthens and cements this union.”[128] L. Cerfaux says that “we participate in the death of Christ to attain a life which destroys our dead and sinful body and makes us live in communion with the risen Christ, who will never die again and who has made us die with him to sin once and for all, that we might live to God.”[129]

 1.2. The Second Passage (1 Cor 11, 23-26)

“For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread,  and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”  In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1Cor 11, 23-26).

1.2.1. The Context of the Passage

Another problem in the Corinthian community was the abuses in the liturgical assemblies and in the celebration of Lord’s Supper.  In the Apostolic church, Lord’s Supper was usually preceded by agape. Gradually this fraternal meal lost its spirit and the members made distinctions among themselves and it caused division in the community (1Cor 11, 18). The poor was excluded and the rich made the occasion a place for eating and drinking (1Cor 11, 21). They did not eat the Lord’s Supper, but had their own. Thus they not only degenerated the sacred rite but also made division in the community.[130] “The faithful gathered together in little groups, taking their meal without bothering about each other, in such a way some did not have enough while others became fuddled.”[131] This was the context where Paul recollected the institution of the Eucharist.

1.2.2. Analysis of the Passage

The passage under consideration contains various elements which confirm that Eucharist is the fulfillment of the different experiences of communion in the Old Testament.

1.2.2.1. Communion through the Blood of the New Covenant

The hour in which Eucharist was instituted had a profound experience of redemption. Jesus was immolated for the redemption of all from the clutches of sin and to assure salvation for all. Eucharist is a covenantal sacrifice which was sealed by the blood of Christ. All covenants are made with an intimate relationship with the victim sacrificed. In the Old Testament Moses sealed the covenant by taking the blood of the victim and sprinkling it upon the people. He said, “Behold the blood of covenant which is the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words” (Ex 24, 8). Paul states that a new covenant and a new relationship is created by the blood of Christ and by one’s own participation in the bread and in the cup one can have this new existence.[132] “The words and actions [of Jesus] laid foundation for the new messianic community, the people of the new covenant.”[133] “It is a new covenant in being the fulfillment of the covenant promises of God in the Old Testament exemplified in the sacrificial system (Eph 2, 12).”[134]

The sacrifice which Moses offered to God sealed the covenant between God and people and thus they became a ‘nation’ and a ‘people of God’. It was a pre-figuring of the New Testament sacrifice. Jesus, at the time of Last Supper, took the cup and said: “Drink all of you from this, for this is my blood of the covenant. . .”  (Mt 26, 28).[135] Thus God sealed the new covenant with the blood of Christ.[136] Through the sacrifice of the New covenant we are also made a community, a people of God.[137]Blood refers to the death of Jesus and thus ‘cup’ refers to the sacrificial death of Jesus which sealed the new covenant. Those who drink from the cup receive the effects of the new covenant.[138] “Thus the passage indicates that the last Supper of the Lord constitute a body of believers who receives the meal as his followers and who receive the cup as indication of conscious participation in the benefits of the new covenant.”[139] The union with the Lord in the Eucharist is thus a religious reality. Those who partake in the body and blood of Christ are really and almost physically related to God. They are personally related to God as the Old Testament people was with their God through the sacrifices.[140]

While narrating the institution of the Eucharist Paul states Jesus’ words as, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood” (1Cor 11, 25). So there are two elements in the cup, the blood of Christ and the covenant for the blood in which it is sealed.[141]The mention of the [covenant] in the blood presumes the blood to be really present in the cup, all the more so since the allusion is to the old covenant concluded in the blood of victims through Moses…”[142] Thus the Eucharist is a real sacrifice of the blood for the remission of the sins and for the communion between God and man.

1.2.2.2. Communion through the Handing Over of Tradition

Paul received the mystery from the Lord and handed over it. He says that “For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you…” (1Cor 11, 23). Paul received it from the Lord through the community and he, as their pastor, instructed the community about the Lord’s Supper.[143] So those who receive this tradition, receives it from the Lord and participate in the communion of the Lord and His people. In the Old Testament, during the Passover feast the narration of the salvific intervention of God in the history of Israel became an instrument of communion among the people.[144] So also here the handing over of the tradition to generations becomes a means of communion.

1.2.2.3. Eucharist as the Source of Unity in Space and Time

St. Paul writes, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1Cor 11, 26). These words proclaim the fact that Eucharist is the link between the Lord who sacrificed Himself and the Lord who is to come at the end. The sacrifice and the presence of the Lord is continued in the world through the Eucharist until His return. Thus we see that Eucharist is the source of unity in space and time.[145] “It is a reminder and reiteration of the Last Supper and it is at the same time the joyous anticipation of the eternal Messianic repast in the kingdom of the Father. . .”[146]

1.3. Fulfillment of the Old Testament Episodes of Communion

For Paul Eucharist is the Christian fulfillment of the Jewish Passover feast. The words of Jesus, “Do this in memory of me” appears twice in Paul, where as Mathew and Mark do not have it and Luke has only once. So the insistence of Paul on the recalling and repetition of the command alludes to the Passover feast in which the recollection and the repetition of the original Passover meal was an important factor.[147] “. . . the sequence over the cup (v 25) confirms the paschal image. Whereas Mathew and Mark have ‘This is my blood of the covenant,’ Paul (and Lk) have this cup is the new covenant in my blood.”[148] Ratzinger says that “Jesus becomes man in order to give himself and to take the place of the animal sacrifices, which could only be a gesture of longing, but not an answer.[149]

2. JOHANNINE CONCEPT OF COMMUNION

In the Gospel according to St. John we come across the theme of communion mainly in three passages. They are 6, 56; 15, 4-5 and 17, 20-23. John uses the Greek expression ‘μένειν’ to denote communion and this word is of great theological significance for him. The meaning of this term is ‘to remain in’.[150] John uses this term to describe the nature of the relationship between God and the believers in which the salvation is realized. According to John, the Christian mode of existence is a “relationship to the divine persons. It is an existence in relation to God and Christ. It is a ‘being in God and in Christ.”[151]

2.1.Communion through the Partaking in the Body and Blood (Jn 6, 51-58)

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”  The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.  Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink.Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.  Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me.  This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever “(Jn 6, 51-58).

      Though the passage which mentions the communion is verse 56, this verse is related to the verses which precede and follow it. There is seen a gradual development of thought from verse 51. In v. 51 Jesus says that it is ‘for the life of the world’ that He gives His flesh. Coming to v.53, it is stated that unless we eat the flesh and drink the blood, we will have ‘no life in Him’. In the next verse Jesus promises that whoever eats His flesh and drinks His blood, ‘will have eternal life’ and He will raise him up at the last day (v.54). In vv.55-56 the meaning of flesh and blood is explained.[152]

The flesh and blood of Christ are really food which produces real life. “The flesh and blood of Christ are truly food and drink to those who receive them because by means of them a complete and reciprocal indwelling of Christ and the believer is attained.”[153] This idea of faith is very close to the idea of κοινωνία in St Paul (Gal 2, 19-20) and it indicates a personal relationship of faith.[154] Through eating the flesh and drinking the blood Jesus unites Himself to the believer and he lives through Him. It is the only way to be in perfect communion with Jesus.[155] “The man [who] eats and drinks ‘abideth’ (the tense is continuous; it denotes more than a fleeting contact) in Christ. There is the closest possible relationship so that the eater is in Christ and Christ is in him.”[156] Pope John Paul II has made it clear as follows:  ‘We can say not only that each of us receives Christ, but also that Christ receives each of us in an abiding sublime friendship.”[157]

2.1.1.Eucharistic Connotation of the Passage

The passage under consideration has a Eucharistic connotation. The last part of the verse 51 could be seen as the beginning of the Eucharistic section. R. Schnackenburg says that “it is a deliberate transition to the Eucharistic section. . . The flesh of Jesus which was given up to death is offered and received in the Eucharist.”[158] There are various interpretations for this passage. There is a spiritual interpretation which holds the view that it is referring to the faith in the heavenly bread in person i.e., spiritual communion with Jesus’ flesh and blood.”[159] Today most of the scholars are of the opinion that this passage was not part of the original discourse but was added later during the final editing of the Gospel.[160] Thus it “introduces sacramental ideas and places the whole metaphorical discourse, and even the sign of the multiplication of bread (6, 1-13), in a sacramental perspective.”[161]

            According to R.E. Brown, there are two indications in the passage itself which show its Eucharistic connotation. The first one he mentions is the stress on the eating of Jesus’ flesh and drinking of His Blood. Because in the Scripture tradition, to eat one’s flesh is a metaphor for hostile actions and drinking of the blood was considered as dreadful action and was forbidden by God’s law. So the words of Jesus to eat His body and drink His blood can refer only to Eucharist.[162] The second indication is seen in verse 51: “the bread that I shall give is my flesh for the life of the world.”[163] “In verse 53 Jesus appears as the Son of Man whose flesh and blood are life-giving. Here he is the exalted Lord of the Church who gives bread of life in the sacrament of Eucharist. Through the eating and drinking of the body and blood the believers have intimate communion with Jesus in his humanity. . .”[164]Ratzinger says that God became bread for the world first of all in the incarnation of the Logos. But a further step was needed beyond the incarnation and that was Jesus’ act of giving Himself up to death and the mystery of the Cross.[165]According to Ratzinger it is made clearer in verse 53, where Jesus says that He will give us His blood to drink. He says:“These words are not only manifest allusion to the Eucharist. Above all they point to what underlies the Eucharist: the sacrifice of Jesus, who sheds his blood for us, and in so doing steps out of himself, so to speak, pours himself out, and gives himself to us.”[166] It is the characteristic of the fourth Gospel that while narrating the salvation history, it emphasizes on the death of Christ for ‘life’ and not on the death of Christ for ‘sin.’[167]

2.1.2. Life as the Result of Communion through the Eucharist

From the analysis of the passage it is clear that to have an enduring life one has to eat the flesh and drink the blood of Christ. The promise of life is a reality for the one who partake in the Eucharist “because the flesh and blood of Jesus is the reliable and real food for eternal life.”[168] The relation between Christ and the believer who receives the Eucharist is similar to the relation of God the Father with Christ. As Christ has His life from the Father and is sustained by the Father, so also the believer has his life from Christ and is sustained by Him.[169] “The believer who shares in flesh and blood of Jesus will have eternal life because he shares in Jesus’ life-giving relationship with the Father.”[170] A comparison between verses 54 and 56 shows clearly that to have eternal life is to be in close communion with Christ. It is a matter of Christ remaining in the believer and the believer in Christ.[171] R. Schnackenburg puts it in the following way:

“. . . the obtaining of life promised to the recipient of the Eucharist takes place through the enduring union with the divine bearer of life. The only purpose of the association with Jesus achieved through the sacramental communion is to bring the recipient into the sphere of God’s life [v.57]. The sacramental doctrine is now being extended: it is not eating and drinking itself which is important, but the personal union with Jesus which it brings about. The sacramental link becomes a personal union”.[172]

The one who abides in Christ should have the life because Jesus himself is Life. “Jesus is life because he has the life giving powers of God (cf. Jn 11, 25) . . .”[173]

2.1.3.The Uniqueness of the Communion

The union which is achieved through the Eucharistic communion is “a most personal union with God, a mutual immanence, a reciprocal impenetration: God remains in us and we in Him.”[174] This is the most intimate union conceivable between God and man. This reciprocal union which is based on the immanence of the believer in Christ and the immanence of Christ in the believer is the uniqueness of the union. In the human sphere there is no counterpart to such mutual permeation without surrender of personality.[175] It does not mean, as it does for some of the Hellenistic writers, an impersonal inclusion or absorption into the divine, conceived pantheistically. Nor does it mean an ecstatic possession by a divine afflatus. It involves a real community of being, a sharing of life. It is a personal relation with a living God, mediated through a concrete historical personality in whom the relation is original and perfect.[176]

For John there is no life apart from the union with the Son who is the life and therefore to abide in the Son means to live by Him. So the mutual abiding of God and man means to have the permanent life giving principle from the divine source and the initial act of this life giving principle is the divine begetting.[177]

2.2. Vine and Branches: Symbolic Expression of Communion

(Jn 15, 1-5)

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.  He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing” (Jn 15, 1-5).

It was the custom of the Old Testament prophets to use the imagery of vine to express the special concern of Yahweh to His people (Is 5, 1-7; Jer 2, 21; Ezek 15, 1-8).[178] This imagery is used by St. John and it further clarifies the lessons of communion in chapter six. This parable explains the nature of the reciprocal union between Christ and the believer. As every branch is separate and at the same time is integral part of one vine, so also is the relation between God and men and among men themselves. This unity is an aspect of eternal life because when there is a common source of life there will be a common manner of its expression. “As the central life of the vine appears in all the branches and makes them fruitful, so genuine eternal life imparted by Christ will unify his people.”[179]

2.2.1.The Eucharistic Significance of the Parable of the Vine

Scholars are of the opinion that the parable of the vine has a Eucharistic significance. A branch which is separated from the vine can bear no fruits and it is useless. So the branches are to be in the vine and get life from there. According to C.K. Barret, John places a remote allusion to Eucharist in the image of the vine.[180]

R.E. Brown makes a comparison between 15, 1-17 and 6, 51-58. This shows the close similarity in the expressions. He makes the comparison as follows:

“…15:5 with its ‘He who remains in me and I in him’ echoes 6:56: ‘The man who feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.’ In 15 it is implied that life comes to the branch through the vine; so in 6:57 we hear: ‘The man who feeds on me will have life because of me.’ In 15:13 Jesus speaks of one’s laying down his life for those he loves; in 6:51 he says: ‘The bread that I shall give is my own flesh for the life of the world…”[181]

In this comparison the Eucharistic significance of the imagery of vine is clear. Also the importance of bearing fruits is stressed in the parable. The only other place in the Gospel which refers to bearing fruits is Jn 12, 24 and there we see the mention of the dying of the seed for bearing fruits. This motif of death of Jesus is part of all the accounts of the institution of the Eucharist. Also the lesson of communion with Jesus is important in the parable and in the Eucharistic discourse.[182]

            Ratzinger clearly explains the Eucharistic background of the parable of the vine. He mentions that the parable of the vine was spoken in the context of Jesus’ Last Supper. “It is hard to believe that in his discourse on the vine he is not tacitly alluding to the new wine that had already been prefigured at Cana and which he now gives to us-the wine that would flow from his passion, from his ‘love to the end’” (Jn 13, 1).[183]  According to Ratzinger, “Eucharist points us toward the fruit that we, as branches of the vine, can and must bear with Christ and by virtue of Christ.”[184]

2.2.2.The Theme of Communion in the Parable of the Vine

The words of Jesus that “He who abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit” (15, 5b) have the same sense of the passage which describes about communion (Jn 6, 51-58).[185]“No branch bears fruit in isolation. It must have vital connection with vine. So to abide in Christ is the necessary prerequisite for the Christian.”[186]The main theme in this parable is the relation between Christ and the believer, and this relation is patterned on the communion of Father and Son.[187] “The vine signifies Jesus’ inseparable oneness with his own, who through him and with him are all ‘vine’, and whose calling is to ‘remain’ in the vine.”[188] St Augustine clearly explains this idea in his Commentary on the Gospel of St. John as follows:

“Abide in me, and I in you.” They are not in Him in the same kind of way that He is in them. And yet both ways tend to their advantage, and not to His. For the relation of the branches to the vine is such that they contribute nothing to the vine, but from it derive their own means of life; while that of the vine to the branches is such that it supplies their vital nourishment, and receives nothing from them. And so their having Christ abiding in them, and abiding themselves in Christ, are in both respects advantageous, not to Christ, but to the disciples. For when the branch is cut off, another may spring up from the living root; but that which is cut off cannot live apart from the root.”[189]

When Jesus presents Himself as vine, the intimacy of communion which is expressed by it is greater than any other metaphor. To ‘remain’ in Jesus is more than simply believing in Him and it points to a life which is in association with Jesus. The verb Μείνατε, which is in the aorist tense, means ‘to step into union with me’.[190] Jesus is the life giving vine and to have life one has to remain in Him as a branch on a vine. The passage that follow the parable of the vine and branches makes it clear that to remain on the vine is symbolic of love.[191]“To ‘remain’ in Jesus is also to remain in his love, just as Jesus throughout his life remained in the Father’s love… to “remain” in Jesus further entails keeping the commands of Jesus, as he kept his Father’s commands and remained in his love.”[192]

2.3. Characteristics of Communion (Jn 17, 21-23)

“I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one,  I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. “(Jn 17, 21-23).

There are two dimensions for the unity which St. John explains in his Gospel. There is a vertical dimension which is based on the relationship between Jesus and the Father and there is a horizontal dimension where the relationship is among the members of the believing community. This unity shall not be considered as happening through the natural solidarity of man or as created by some institutional structure. But it is based on the revelation of the Father in Christ and it is Jesus who brings the disciples into a community with God.[193] Jesus makes this communion possible through the sharing of the ‘glory’ which Jesus had from the Father. “… the culmination of that new unity would be sharing the  “glory” that Jesus had with the Father from the beginning. This verse makes it clear that the foundation of that relationship between Jesus and the Father is their mutual love. …”[194] The analysis of the above passage leads us to the following characteristics of communion.

2.3.1.Modeled after Trinitarian Communion

The unity of believers is not a matter of unanimity. It also does not mean that the members lose their identity. But it is modeled after the unity of the Father and the Son. R. E. Brown puts it as follows:

“…The Father is active in the Son-it is the Father does his work [Jn 14.10] and apart from the Father the deeds of the Son are meaningless, and indeed would be impossible; the Son again is in the Father, eternally with him in the unity of the Godhead, active alike in creation and redemption. The Father and Son are one and yet remain distinct. The believers are to be, and are to be one, in the Father and the Son, distinct from God, yet abiding in God, and themselves the sphere of God’s activity” [Jn14.12].

John expresses very clearly the relationship between the Father and the Son. First of all it is an intimate and inseparable union. Jn. 1, 1 says: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Here the phrase ‘with God’ is a Greek pros which means “in company with,” “dwelt with.” It shows the inseparable union between father and Son. “And the Word was God” i.e. not separable from God himself.[195] In Jn. 10, 30 Jesus declares that “I and Father are one.” We can see similar declarations in Jn 14: “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn. 14, 9). “… so that they may be one, as we are one” (Jn 17, 11). “Because of this mutual residing, the words and acts of Jesus are the words and acts of the Father. The works alone that he does are enough to demonstrate this relationship.”[196] St Augustine, in his homily on the gospel of St. John speaks about this intimate and inseparable union: “But when He added, ‘And the saying which ye have heard is not mine, but the Father’s who sent me,’ let us not be filled with wonder or fear: He is not inferior to the Father, and yet He is not, save of the Father: He is not unequal in Himself, but He is not of Himself.”[197]

Secondly it is a dynamic union. “My Father is working still, and I am working” (Jn 5, 7). “The union between the Father and Son is manifested in an activity which though its proximate agent is the Son, is in reality that of the Father.”[198] It is clear in Jn 14, 10:  “Do you not believe that I am in Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works.” “The works of Jesus point to the union between the Father and the Son which results from possessing the same life which they tend to communicate to others.”[199]

            Thirdly it is a relationship of mutual love. In Jn 15, 19 we read that, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love.” “The Father loves the Son, and shows him what He Himself does” (Jn 5, 20). Out of this mutual relationship of love they are sharing life and activities. In other words everything the Son has is that of Father and everything the Father has is that of the Son.[200]

Thus the mutual remaining of the Father and the Son involves a mutual love which establishes a community of life and activity between the Father and the Son which manifests itself in the Son’s obedience to the will of the Father and in his imitation of the works of the Father so that the works and glory of the Father are revealed to men and shared by them through the Son. Hence Jesus could say this that “who he has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn 14, 9).[201]

Mutual indwelling of persons determines the nature of the relation of the believers. There is a slight difference between the two verses of Jesus’ prayer, which expresses the nature of the communion of the believers to the Trinity. In v. 21 we read as: As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us,  so that the world may believe that you have sent me while v. 23 says: “I in them and you in me”. In the first incident the believers come in to union by participating in the koinonia of the Trinity. And in the second it is through their union with the Son and it emphasizes the mediatorial role of Christ. It means that the unity is possible only through the accomplished redemptive action of God in Christ.[202]

Since the relationship of the community is modeled after the Trinitarian union, they are demanded of some vital and organic unity. Because the communion between the Father and the Son is more than a moral union and it is the life which the Father gives to the Son which makes their union unique. Since the Christians receive that life, they shall be in communion with one another and with the Father and the Son.[203]

2.3.2. Communion between God and Believers

The union between the Father and the Son is shared by those who believe in Christ.In that day you will know that I am in my Father and you in me, and I in you” (Jn 14, 20). This union of Father and Son with the believer is the result of the mutual sharing of love. “He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him” (14, 21). “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him and we will come to him and make our home with him” (14, 23). And the relation of Christ to the Father is the basis, origin and exemplar of our relation to God.[204] “The Church is in the communion with the Father . . . by the Holy Spirit of the one who, having fully communed with our humanity in his Incarnation, has been raised to bring us into communion with his Trinitarian life.”[205] To be in Christ means to be in God and those who are in God share the same divine life in common and it makes them one.[206] Through Eucharist one becomes united in Christ. “Fellowship with Christ is leading to a fellowship with the Father and fellowship with one another in Christ. This is the essence of Christianity.”[207] Thus as M. Vellanickal concludes “. . . Christian existence is ‘possessing God.’ It is a fellowship with the Father and with the Son, a fellowship of life, a mysterious immersion of our inner most being into the divine stream, invisible and hidden, yet supremely hidden.”[208]

2.3.3.Communion among the Believers

The union of believers with the Father and the Son demands the communion of believers.  The communion among the believers is the result of the sharing of the same life in Christ. In Jn 15, 5 we read that, “I am the vine, you are the branches.” This symbol of vine contains the “idea of a vital unity in which every separate branch is still an integral part of the one vine.[209] Another specialty of the unity among the believers is that it should be in the model of the union between Father and Son.  “…they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (Jn 17, 22-23). The union reaches its climax in the complete union among believers with the indwelling of the Father and the Son. “The purpose of this unity is the maintenance of a convincing testimony before the world to the revelation of God in Christ and his love for the disciples.”[210]

2.3.4. Communion through the Sharing of ‘Glory’

In Jn 17, 22 we read as: “The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them that they may be one even as we are one.” By the sharing of the divine glory to the disciples Jesus leads them to the perfect unity. But the precise nature of the ‘glory’ given to the believers is not clear from the text. There are various interpretations regarding this text. According to J.H. Bernard, it is the glory of the Incarnate Word, the manifestation of the Divine Nature in man.[211] Word Biblical Commentary gives the opinions of the different scholars on this theme. The ‘glory’ is interpreted by Bultmann as the name of God and the words of God given to Jesus, by which He is known and confessed as the Redeemer. Lagrange sees it as the incarnate glory, which is His divine glory, at once veiled and revealed in His ministry. Glory is explained by Schnackenburg as the divine life which is the eternal life brought by Jesus, anticipating its fullness in the world to come. Barrett, at the same time sees glory as the unity with the death and resurrection of Jesus form which life flows.[212] All these interpretations point to the fact that ‘glory’ is a gift of the Son which leads man to the participation of the unity within the Godhead.[213]

            Ratzinger says that unity is the result of the ‘glory’ that the Son gives. “Unity can only come from the Father through the Son. It has to do with the “glory” that the Son gives: with his presence, granted through the Holy Spirit, which is the fruit of the cross, the fruit of Jesus’ transformation through the death and resurrection.”[214]

CONCLUSION

The Old Testament history is the narration of the relation between God and His people. Covenant was the medium through which this relation was maintained. It enabled the Israelites to experience the presence of God among them and as a result a communion among themselves. This experience of the mutual indwelling was perfected by the Son, when He became man and dwelt among us. The words and deeds of Jesus, especially those which redeemed man from different kinds of bondages, proved that He is the One who perfects the Old Testament images of communion. The institution of the Eucharist and His passion, death and resurrection fulfilled all the Old Testament communion experiences. The above analyzed texts of St. Paul and St. John clarify the intimacy of the communion which the redemptive acts of Jesus brought about both between God and man and among men themselves.

Today the Church continues this mission of communion through Eucharist, which Jesus instituted for the same purpose. Eucharist nourishes the reciprocal union between God and man and the community. The whole activity of the Church is the continuation of this communion attained through the Eucharist. Thus the greatest desire of Jesus for the communion between God and man and between men is being fulfilled.

CHAPTER THREE

CELEBRATION OF COMMUNION

IN THE SYRO-MALABAR QURBANA

0. INTRODUCTION

Eucharistic celebration is the heart of the Church and in fact the Church is a Eucharistic community. It is through the lawful and fruitful celebration of the Qurbana that the Church remains. It is the celebration of the communion which was prefigured in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New Testament. Through the prayers and actions the experience of communion is celebrated in the Syro-Malabar Qurbana. Mainly we see three levels of communion in the Qurbana. They are communion between God and believers, communion among believers and communion between earthly and heavenly beings. In this chapter these three elements are studied, analyzing the text of the Syro-Malabar Qurbana. The important prayers of each rite which express the theme of communion are analyzed here.

1. EXPRESSIONS OF THE COMMUNION IN THE QURBANA TEXT

Eucharist is the centre of Christian existence and it is experienced as a celebration of Communion. In Eucharist “God does indeed give us the manna that humanity is waiting for, the true ‘bread of heaven’-the nourishment we can most deeply live upon as human beings. . . . Eucharist is revealed as man’s unceasing great encounter with God, in which the Lord gives himself as the ‘flesh . . .”[215] The Eucharist excels all other sacred rites because it is through this most sacred action that the Church attains all the good things. It “is the final goal of every human endeavor. For in it we obtain God Himself, and God is united with us in the most perfect union.”[216] So God – man communion is the ultimate result of the celebration. “The Eucharist is the efficacious sign and sublime cause of that communion in the divine life and that unity of the People of God by which the Church is kept in being.”[217]  It is the Church who is the covenant people of the New Testament who are eligible for the celebration and experience of the Eucharist. Thus it presupposes the unity of the believers. Again as the celebration of the Eucharistic liturgy is extended to heavenly reality, the communion of heavenly and earthly beings is also celebrated there. Thus the communion made effective by the Eucharist has many faces.

1.1. Communion between God and Believers

1.1.1. Introductory Rite

1.1.1.1. Puqdankon: “Your Commandment”

The Syro-Malabar Qurbana begins with the following statement by the Celebrant:  “Let us begin this Qurbana in accordance with the command given to you.” The reply of the people is, “We do this in accordance with the command of Christ.”[218] The Syriac words for these prayers are: Puqdankon which means “Your Commandment” and Puqdaneh Da-Mesiha, translated as “the commandment of Christ.” Puqdankon expresses two dimensions of communion: firstly it is an expression of Man’s communion with God, secondly communion among the believers. Only the first dimension is dealt with here in this section and the other will be explain later.

This formula of prayer makes it clear that the liturgical assembly is a gathering in accordance with the commandment of Christ, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Lk 22, 19; 1Cor 11, 23-26). They are a community united to the person of Christ and the prayer said by the priest can be “interpreted as asking the assembly as to their readiness to be united to Christ and fellowmen, and to be reconciled with the Church the mystical body of Christ.”[219]

            Also wherever we gather in His name there He promised His presence, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them” (Mt 18, 20). Thus there is the presence of God where the believers are gathered according to His command. The Constitution on the scared Liturgy says as follows, “To accomplish so great a work, Christ is always present in His Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations. He is present in the sacrifice of the Mass, not only in the person of His minister, ‘the same now offering, through the ministry of priests, who formerly offered himself on the cross,’ but especially under the Eucharistic species.”[220]

1.1.1.2. Angel’s Hymn

The Syro-Oriental Churches use the Angelic hymn, “Glory to God in the highest” for the solemn beginning of the liturgical services.[221] It is a symbol which leads the liturgical assembly to the historical situation and event of Incarnation. It celebrates the fulfillment of the promises of God given to the Old Testament people. He became man in order to be with man. While remembering this mystery of incarnation in the liturgical context it becomes an experience of divine presence. That is, God is with His people. So it is a moment of experience of God – man communion.

We see in the Scripture that those were the moments, in which man experience the redemptive presence of God, which were presented as the moments of the revelation of the divine glory (Ex 16, 6-7; Num 14, 22).[222] “And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth” (Jn 1, 14). The Church instructs her children to be united with Christ through the repetition of the Angelic hymn, “Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth, peace and firm hope to men in all times forever and ever”,[223] which was recited at the time of Incarnation. The Church is not a community of believers alone, but it is a community which experiences the presence of God.[224] It is this communion which is the way to the future glory of the believers.

1.1.1.3. Peace be with Us

During the celebration of the Qurbana on several occasions the assembly is reminded of peace. The proclamation of the deacon, “Let us pray: Peace be with us” is repeated 17 times in the Qurbana.  And three times the priest says “Peace be with you.”

Peace is Christ himself, and while celebrating the Eucharist the priest and the deacon remind the faithful of the living presence of Christ with the people. “For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us” (Eph 2, 14). Narsai interprets ‘peace’ as Christ.

“‘Peace be with you,’ says the priest to the children of the Church, for peace is multiplied in Jesus our Lord who is our peace. ‘Peace be with you,’ for death is come to naught, and corruption is destroyed through a Son of our race who suffered for our sake and quickened us all. . . . ‘Peace is with you,’ for the God Lord has been reconciled to you by the death of His Son who suffered on the cross for our sake. . . . ‘Peace be with you,’ because you have been united-the people and the peoples- and the barrier has been broken down by the Jesus who destroyed all enmity. ‘Peace be with you for new life is reserved for you by Him who became a first-born unto all creatures in life incorruptible. ‘Peace be with you,’ because you have summoned to the Kingdom aloft by Him who entered first to prepare a place for us all.”[225]

“Peace is the name of Christ who made all to be at peace, for it is He that has made peace between earthly and heavenly beings.”[226] The greeting of the priest envisages communion with Christ, the peace. The acclamation of the deacon means that the following prayer would help us to have communion with Christ, the peace.

The glory in heaven and the peace on earth can be understood as parallel realities. “In the new Dispensation inaugurated at incarnation both heaven and earth become the abode of God realized though His presence. A new relationship is established between heaven and earth. The salvation belonged to heaven, now belongs also to the earth thanks to incarnation.”[227]

1.1.2. Liturgy of the Word

1.1.2.1. Gospel Procession and Reading

There are various processions in the liturgy which symbolize the communication between God and man. “The important processions in the East Syriac liturgy between sanctuary and bema, are celebrations of the salvific movements between heaven and earth. They commemorate God’s coming down into our midst and our going up into heaven.”[228] Gospel is the symbol of Jesus. Gospel procession indicates the coming of the Lord in the midst of the people and it is clear from the prayer before taking the gospel lectionary: “O Christ, splendour of glory of your Father and image of the person (qnoma) of Him who begot you; you did manifest yourself in a human body like ours and did illumine the darkness of our mind by the light of the gospel.. . .”[229] Again, while taking the gospel the priest says, “O Christ, light of the world and life of all; Glory be to the Eternal mercy which sent you to us, forever. Amen.”[230]

After the proclamation of the Gospel the people reply, ‘Glory be to Christ our Lord.’ This reply is closely related to the thought that the Gospel is the symbol of Jesus.[231] Thus the people experience the Jesus’ presence in midst of them.

1.1.2.2. The Dismissal Rite

The dismissal Rite points to the urgent need of celebrating communion in the Eucharist. During this rite three groups of people are dismissed: Whoever has not received baptism, Whoever has not received the sign of life, whoever does not receive the Qurbana.[232] When there are no catechumens present or if it is not advisable to use a formula of dismissal the following or a similar formula can be used: “Let those who have been baptized and seal of life, now stay with devout attention, in order to participate in the holy mysteries.”[233] Narsai instructs clearly that the unbaptized, everyone those who has not received sign of life and everyone those who do not receive the Eucharist shall not partake in the mysteries.[234] The third group requested to go out is the people who are not receiving the communion. The culmination of Eucharistic celebration happens in the communion. The prime motive of the Eucharistic celebration itself is the forgiveness of sins through the Body and Blood of Christ. Celebrating Eucharist without communion is in fact considered to be a kind of desacralisation. And the communion is an authentic expression of the body united to the head. The celebration becomes perfect and complete only when the faithful become united to Christ through Eucharistic communion. This is why the Church sends out the people who are not receiving the communion.[235] So this rite not only reminds the importance of the Eucharistic communion but also points to the communion of God and man which takes place in the Eucharistic celebration.

1.1.3. Rite of Preparation for Anaphora

1.1.3.1. Anthem of the Mysteries

The anthem of the Mysteries contains the experience of God. “The body of Christ and his precious Blood are on the altar. Let us all approach Him with reverence and love, and let us sing his praises with the angels: Holy, holy, holy, holy Lord God.”[236] Narsai says, “In that hour let us put away from us anger and hatred, and let us see Jesus who is being lead to death on our account. On the paten and in the cup He goes forth with the deacon to suffer.”[237] The second part of the anthem is the expression of the presence of the God with the people- “The might Lord is with us; Our God is with us; as also our helper, the God of Jacob.”[238]

1.1.3.2. Approaching the Altar

The celebrant is approaching the altar with the conviction that it is the place of the presence of God almighty and that he is unworthy to approach it. Still with great hope he is approaching the altar for himself and for the community who are expecting the communion with God. Thus it becomes the meeting place between God and man. Experiencing the presence of God, the priest prays, “. . . offer before you these holy, glorious, life giving and divine mysteries of the body and blood of your Christ that I may administer to your people, the sheep of your flock, remission of their debts, forgiveness of their sins, the salvation of their souls, the reconciliation of the whole world and the peace and tranquility of all the Churches.”[239]

Narsai explains the mind of the celebrant who approaches the altar. “Trembling and fear for himself and for his people, lie upon the priest in that dread hour. . . . The awful King mystically slain and buried, and the awful watchers, standing in fear honor of their Lord!”[240]

The celebrant kisses the altar several times with ardent love, knowing that he is in the divine realm. “He kisses the altar in the middle, on the right and left sides as it is the throne of God Almighty: The Father is seen seated in the middle of the altar, the Son is on the right side (represented by the Gospel Lectionary) and Holy Spirit on the left (represented by the Cross).”[241]

1.1.4. The Anaphora

Anaphora forms the central part of the Eucharistic liturgy. “According to the understanding of all Eastern Churches, the bread and wine which we offer in the Eucharistic celebration is changed to the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ by the end of its central part which we call Qudasa or Anaphora.”[242] So the most sublime act which man can perform on earth is the celebration of the Eucharist. Moreover, the anaphoral part of the liturgy makes possible the communion of God and man an experience in reality. The Anaphora of Addai and Mari contains a deep awareness of the presence of God. The prayers in the anaphora are addressed to God.[243]

1.1.4.1. Pauline Salutation

The Qudasa begins with Pauline Salutation, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and love of God the Father, and the fellowship of Holy Spirit be with us all now and always and forever and ever. Amen.”[244] This Pauline salutation is explained as:

“the grace which our Lord has given us by His coming, may it give us confidence before His Majesty: ‘the love of the Father,’ who sent us the Son, who is from Him, may it open to us the door of mercy in the day of His coming: ‘the communion of the Holy spirit,’ of which we have been made worthy, may it sanctify us and purge from us the filth of our offences.”[245]

It can be seen as the proclamation of the salvific presence of the most Holy Trinity. By this salutation we publically confess that the Holy Trinity is giving itself to the humans completely in Jesus.[246] This prayer gives the awareness to the community that by the help of the Holy Trinity they are now being taken to the divine realm and are acting in the supernatural sphere.[247]

1.1.4.2. Second G’hanta

The second G’hanta prayer proclaims the presence of God and his angels. In this G’hanta the priest ask to the community to lift up their minds on high. Thus in the presence of the heavenly Father they become one with the heavenly beings.[248] In the heavenly experience the priest says, “O My Lord, thousands of those on high bow down and worship your majesty. Myriads upon myriads of holy angels, host of spiritual ministers of fire and spirit glorify your name; and with the holy cherubim and the spiritual seraphim they offer worship to you.”[249]

At the time of the qanona[250] which comes in the end of the second G’hanta, the priest invites the assembly to join with the heavenly beings in praising God.[251] The community who also experiences the heavenly joy joins the priest and with grateful heart sing, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty. Heaven and earth are full of his praises. Hosanna in the highest; hosanna to the son of David. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.”[252]

When the glory of God reveals on the earth we join the heavenly beings and thus become the part of the heaven. And as the earth is filled with His glory the heavenly Church and earthly Church become one. God came down to the earth and our nature entered into the heaven. In other words the earth became heaven when God came to the earth.[253]

1.1.4.3. Third Kusappa (Supplication)

“. . . How dreadful is this place, for this day I have seen the Lord face to face and this is none other than the house of God. And now, O Lord, let your grace upon us, and purify our uncleanness and sanctify our lips and mingle, o my Lord, the voices of our feebleness with the hallowing of the seraphim and of archangels.”[254]

It is a prayer of person who is a sinner called by God to the sanctuary to see God face to face.[255] It is the expression of the inner feelings of a man who encounters God. The words of the prayer are taken from Is 6, 5 which is the reaction of the prophet while encountering God.

Narsai comments on this prayer as: “the bright (-robed) priest, the tongue of the Church, open his mouth and speaks in secret with God as familiar. He recounts the glory of that incomprehensible Divinity, which is the cause of intelligible and sensible beings, which cannot be comprehended or searched out or scrutinized, which cannot be known by corporeal beings. . .”[256]

1.1.4.4. Third G’hanta Prayer

The awareness of the presence of God is so strong here. In the Old Testament God was present in the places in special way, wherever He revealed himself and was worshiped. He was present over the cherub of the Arch of Covenant (Ex25, 22; Num 7, 89), in the Tent of meeting (Ex 40, 34), and in the Jerusalem temple (1King 8, 10; 9, 3; Ps 20, 3; 42, 3; Is 8, 18).[257]

This prayer describes the salvation history which was accomplished in Christ and gives thanks and praise to Him. The institution narrative, which is inserted to this third G’hanta divides the prayer into two sections.[258] In the first part of the prayer we see as follows:

.” . . we give you thanks, O Lord, and we bless God the Word, hidden offspring from your bosom, who, being in your likeness and splendor which is from you and the image of your being, thought this not robbery to be your equal, but emptied himself and took the likeness of a servant and became man perfect with a rational and intelligent and immortal soul with a mortal human body. . .”[259]

It is clear that while remembering all these saving acts in the Holy Qurbana, they are re-enacted among the community in the liturgical time and space.

The second part which comes after the Institution Narrative, is the proclamation of the fact that the memorial of Jesus’ salvific action is celebrated today in accordance with the commandment of Christ and it brings the faithful to the divine experience by bestowing on them the gifts which cannot be described and thanked for by them. The celebrating community is made heirs of the Kingdom.[260]

1.1.4.5. Institution Narrative

The Institution Narrative is the commemoration and fulfillment of the Old Testament Covenant. The covenant relationship between God and the people was the centre of the Jewish liturgy. In the New Testament the new covenant which was sealed by the blood of Christ becomes the centre of the liturgy. By this God became our God and we became His people. The nucleus of the covenant is this communion between God and man.[261] This covenant is renewed by the new Passover meal, the Holy Qurbana.  The Vatican II Decree on the Liturgy states:

“The renewal in the Eucharist of the covenant between the Lord and man draws the faithful and sets them aflame with Christ’s insistent love. From the liturgy, therefore, and especially from the Eucharist, grace is poured forth upon us as from a fountain,  and the sanctification of men in Christ and the glorification of God, to which all other activities of the Church are directed as toward their end, are achieved with maximum effectiveness.”[262]

As the animal in the Old Testament holocaust was killed and the blood was separated from the flesh to denote the perfect immolation, so also in the Qurbana we proclaim separately the Institution Narrative on the bread and cup to confess the perfect immolation of Christ.[263] “Through His death, Christ our High Priest abolished the barriers between God and man and made us a kingdom of priests. We have access into the holy place through the blood of Christ (Eph 2, 13-22; Colo 1, 20). It is our participation in the life of Christ, through the Spirit . . .”[264]

1.1.4.6. Fourth G’hanta prayer

The central theme of the fourth G’hanta is the making of the commemoration. Commemoration was not an intellectual exercise in the Jewish context. It was the act of making present what they experienced in the past and so it was a confirmation that the love and the redemptive acts of God is continuing. Commemoration is an act of God and not of man. Man asks God to commemorate and thus asks God to perform on behalf of man. That which God commemorates becomes real. The past and the present are joined together in the commemoration.[265] Thus the fourth G’hanta as the commemoration of the body and blood of Christ makes the whole salvific acts present at the altar.

1.1.4.7. Epiclesis

“O my Lord, May your Holy Spirit come down. And dwell in this Qurbana of your servants and bless it and sanctify it that it may be to us, O my Lord, unto the pardon of debts, remission of sins and the great hope of resurrection from the dead and new life in the kingdom of heaven with all those who have found favor in your presence.”[266]

The Epiclesis in Qurbana have three parts: 1) dwelling of the Holy Spirit on the Mysteries 2) Making the mysteries Body and Blood and 3) The spiritual benefits for the those who receive it.[267] We proclaim the death of the Lord during the Institution Narrative, and His resurrection in the Epiclesis.[268] Gabriel Qatraya[269] says: “And after the priest recites and blesses bread and wine through the grace of Holy Spirit who over shadows, they become henceforth the body and blood of Christ not in nature but in faith and effect.”[270] The communion of the liturgical assembly with the Risen Lord through the remission of debts is the purpose of the celebration and this fact is made clear in the prayer of Epiclesis.[271] It is a very important moment of the God man communion. The coming of the Holy Spirit and sanctification of the oblation are for our sanctification.

Narsai comments on the Epiclesis as follows:

“He summons the Spirit to come down and dwell in the bread and wine and make them the Body and Blood of King Messiah. To the Spirit he calls, that He will also light down upon the assembled congregation, that by His gift it may be worthy to receive Body and Blood. The Spirit descends upon the oblation without change (of place), and causes the power of His Godhead to dwell in the bread and wine and completes the mystery of our Lord’s resurrection from the dead.”[272]

Deacon’s announcement, “In silence and reverence you stand and pray. . .”[273] shows the importance of the realities going to take place. “It is the command of the priesthood which prepares the entire people that everyone stands with great attention before God at this fearful and awesome hour.”[274] The words of Qatraya again show the importance of the epiclesis: “After the overshadowing of the grace the priest does not sign over the mysteries because the mysteries have been perfected by the dissolving of death.”[275]

1.1.4.8. Doxology

Doxology is the conclusion of the Qudasa. The celebrant, though unable to render thanks and worship for the wonderful gifts, tries to glorify God for the ineffable gifts[276] saying, “Offering glory, honor, thanksgiving and worship to your living, holy and life-giving name now always and forever. Amen.”[277] Thus the anaphora is concluded with the words of thanksgiving and honor for the indwelling of God Almighty among his people through the Eucharistic celebration.

1.1.5. Rite of Preparation for Communion

After the Anaphora the precious and life giving Body and Blood of Christ are in the midst of the people. The following actions and prayers clearly show this reality.

1.1.5.1. Incensing

Incensing provides for the remission of sins and thus serves as the medium for communion. “Just as the sweet smelling incense destroys the bad smell in the air, so too the sins and debts and their evil effects are destroyed with the incensing rite in the liturgy.”[278] There is an elaborate rite of incensing in this context. First of all the priest incenses himself and then the deacons, the community, the altar and the Holy mysteries upon it. J. Chittilappilly beautifully describes the communion happens through the incensation,

“While incensing of the priest, the deacon and the people is for their purification, the incensing of the altar is to unite those present with the altar, with the mysteries and above all with Christ our Lord who is offered in the sacrifice, the source and spring of reconciliation. So, through the incensation the whole liturgical assembly, the celebrant, the deacon, the faithful are prepared for reconciliation through the salvific love of Christ, and are united to the holy mysteries on the altar.”[279]

 1.1.5.2. Rite of Fraction

The priest kisses the altar, then bows, takes with both hands the Host and raises it and while looking on it says, “Glory to and worship to your Majesty always and forever. For this living and life-giving bread which came down from heaven gives life to all the world from end to end. Those who eat it do not die; those who receive it are saved by it and are pardoned by it and live by it forever.”[280] In this prayer “we confess openly the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ and His real presence under the species of the Holy Eucharist.”[281]  The response of the people which follows it also proclaims the real presence of God in the Eucharist. While raising the Holy Host, the community becomes aware of the presence of heavenly beings. The heaven becomes present in the sanctuary.[282]

1.1.5.3. Karozutha of Reconciliation

The karozuth of reconciliation has the Pauline salutation as the introduction which is the proclamation of the communion of God with the people. The litany starts with the deacon’s proclamation. Though its main intention is the reconciliation among the faithful, we can see also the expressions of God-man communion. The prayer starts as follows, “with reverence and respect let us all approach the mysteries of the precious Body and Blood of our Savior. . . .”[283] About this Qatraya says, “Through this proclamation the priesthood teaches us on the sublimeness and greatness of the mystery. Henceforth we shall not look on the bread and wine according to the order of the nature . . .”[284]

The following prayer in the litany clearly shows the God-man communion which happens through the Eucharist. “Let us receive the holy Oblation and be sanctified by the Holy Spirit.”[285] The kušapa of the priest during the karozutha underlines the communion with Jesus Christ achieved through the mysteries of Body and Blood. “. . . so that we may be perfect witnesses of your glory, pure sanctuaries in your honor, holy temples fit for your habitation; that we, united to the Body and Blood of your Christ . . .”[286] It is clear from this prayer that, the one who receives the Body and Blood of Christ becomes the holy temple or pure sanctuary of God.

1.1.6. Rite of Communion

The climax of God-man communion is reached in the rite of Communion. It is the actualization of Jn 6, 55-56, “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day;  for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink.Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.” The community becomes united to Christ through the Eucharist. St. Paul speaks of this communion as follows, “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ?” (1 Cor 10, 16).

The prayer of the priest before receiving the Holy Communion explains the effects of the Holy Communion. “O Christ, hope of all mankind, sanctify our bodies by your scared Body, and pardon our offences by your precious Blood and purify our conscience with the hyssop of your compassion, Lord of all forever.”[287] The ‘Body’ sanctifies our bodies, pardons our offences, and purify our conscience, thus we become one with the Holy One. St. Ephrem describes this union as follows: “Christ’s Body has newly been mingled with our bodies, His Blood too has been poured out into our veins, His voice is in our ears, His brightness in our eyes. In His compassion the whole of Him has been mingled in with the whole of us.”[288]

Prayer of the priest before drinking the cup, expresses the communion of man with the heavenly bridegroom.“For the guest at your banquet, heavenly bridegroom, you have prepared the chalice of your precious Blood.”[289] The prayer of the priest while distributing the Eucharist to the community conveys the message of communion of God and man. “The Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ be unto the remission of sins and life everlasting.”[290] Sin and death are hindrances for man to the union with God. Both these are destroyed by the Eucharist and God becomes one with His own. It is clear from the above prayers. “Our participation (communion) in the holy mysteries is the symbol of our communion which we will have with Him in the kingdom.”[291] “The Holy Spirit enters the faithful sacramently through Holy Communion. The Holy Spirit does the same work, which he did in the human Body of Jesus, also in the bodies of faithful. He transforms them all into Spirit-bodies.”[292]

1.1.7. Rite of Conclusion

The concluding prayers express the continuing interior presence of God with the faithful. It also expresses the hope of the perfect communion at the eschatological banquet.

1.1.7.1. Purifying the Scared Vessels

The prayer during the purification of the Sacred Vessels enumerates the effects of the Holy Communion. They are the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the joy in seeing Jesus in His second coming and the blessing to glorify God in heaven with the just.[293] The prayer is as follows: “In us who have taken your Body exteriorly, may your virtue dwellinteriorly and may we greet you with the gladness and we shall give glory to you with the hymn ‘trice holy’ in company of the just who fulfill your will, O Christ, hope of mankind, Lord of all, forever.”[294] 

 1.1.7.2. Tešbohta: Thanksgiving of the People

There are three prayers of the thanksgiving known as Tešbohta said by the community. This Syriac word means glory and these prayers are intended to glorify the Holy Communion. All these three prayers contain mainly the expectation for the eschatological glory.[295]

1.1.7.3. Thanksgiving by the Celebrant

The two thanksgiving prayers by the celebrant also contain the sense of thankfulness for the gifts of the Body and Blood. Thus they express the communion which was made possible by the Eucharist. In the first prayer we see as follows: “. . . you have made the weak nature of the sons of mortal men worthy to bless your name with the angels, and to be made partakers in the mysteries of your gifts. . .”[296]  Second prayer also share the same feeling. “. . . made us worthy to receive his allhallowing Body and precious Blood. . .”[297]

1.1.7.4. Sealing Prayer

In the Huttama the promise of Jesus is remembered. “This he promised in his life–giving preaching, saying to the blessed community of his disciples: ‘Amen, amen I say to you: whoever eats my Body and drinks my Blood remains in me and I in him and I will raise him up on the last day and he will not be condemned, but will pass on from death to everlasting life.”[298]

Qatraya says about the final blessing as follows: “The blessing with which the priest blesses the people while standing at the door of sanctuary symbolizes the overshadowing of the graces of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles after the Lord had ascended to heaven . . .”[299] According to different commentators, the sealing prayer denotes not only the Ascension and Pentecost but also the redemptive mysteries which are active in us till we attain the eternal life in heaven with Christ.[300]

The sealing prayer makes us bound to act according to the gifts which we received. “. . .the Eucharistic celebration is a treaty between God and man. A treaty becomes valid through the signing or sealing of the parties. Once the treaty is sealed, the parties are bound to abide by its stipulations.”[301] Thus we are called to live a life which is in accordance with the communion with God.

1.2. Communion of the Believers

St. Paul writes: “Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread” (1Cor 10, 17). By the Eucharistic communion not only we receive Christ, but Christ Himself receives us to His Body. “. . . all who eat the one broken bread, Christ, enter into communion with him and form but one body in him . . .”[302] Thus the Eucharistic communion has both horizontal and vertical dimensions. The Qurbana, besides a being a central act of the “Body of Christ’, is also the centre of social life. It is the society, the assembly of the people of God that offers the Qurbana. It is both a sacrifice and a real Agape, the breaking of the bread of the children of God; it is the ever-renewed Paschal meal. Hence we may affirm that Qurbana is also a social action par excellence. [303]

           This section of the chapter is an attempt to point out the prayers and rites in the Syro-Malabar Qurbana, which celebrate the communion of the believers.

1.2.1. Introductory Rite

 1.2.1.1. Puqdankon: “Your Commandment”

Puqdankon is also an expression of the communion of believers. We read in 1Cor 11, 23 as follows, “For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you. . .” The Apostle received the Eucharistic tradition from the hands of the Lord and handed over it to the believers. So while we accept this tradition and celebrate it according to the command of the Lord we are not only coming to communion with God but also to the generations of the believers.

The St. Thomas Christians had the social custom of asking permission of the assembly when someone does something in the name of the assembly. The Puqdankon is a recollection of such custom.[304] “The Qurbana, besides being the central act of the ‘Body of Christ’, is also the centre of social life. It is the society the assembly of the people of God that offers the Qurbana.”[305] So it clearly expresses the communion between believers.

1.2.1.2. Salutations

There are repeated salutations like, ‘our Father in heaven’ and ‘Lord our God’[306]  It is important to note the use of the term ‘our’ in the prayers. It clearly shows that Qurbana is not a personal celebration but has a communitarian nature. The unity of the believers is a pre- requisite for the celebration.

1.2.1.3. Prayer before the Onitha d’Qanke

The prayer before the Onitha d’Qanke, “. . . we, your people, and sheep of your pasture. . .”[307] describes the community as a chosen people and expresses the communion between them. Again the community is presented as the folk of the pastures of Christ.

1.2.2. Liturgy of the Word

1.2.2.1. Surraya

“The heavens show forth the glory of God: let us celebrate the feast of Saint/Mar N. with hymns of the Spirit.”[308] In the Surraya there is the provision to remember the importance of the day. Thus if there is commemoration of a saint, we remember him/her there. Thus it becomes the celebration of the communion of believers which is going beyond the limits of the earthly church.

1.2.2.2. Karozutha

Karozutha is another occasion where we have the expression of the communion among the believers. The prayers like:  “Let ‘us all’ stand up with joy…. Have mercy on us”[309], “For the peace, harmony and stability of the whole world and of all Churches we beseech you”[310], “For our country and for all countries and for the faithful that dwell therein we beseech you”, “For the health of our Holy Father, Pope (N) head of the entire Church of our Lord Bishop (or Archbishop) (N) and all their fellow-ministers, we beseech you”[311] are the expressions of the fact that the community is one body in Christ and their eagerness to pray for the others.

1.2.2.3. Dismissal Rite

During this rite, three groups of people were dismissed. Among these three groups unbaptized is the first one. According to Narsai, “Only her children and her sons, the baptized and signed, does she allow to enjoy communion in these adorable Mysteries which she performs.”[312] Qatraya also reminds that the persons who repent on their sins and those who have not received the sign of life go back and shall not enter the holy place. He also emphasizes the purity of the soul and body for the participation of the mysteries.[313]

The Basic Eucharistic theology of our Church is well maintained in the dismissal rite. It is baptism which makes a person the official member of the Church and by it he is incorporated into the communion of believers. Again there is a possibility for the baptized to commit sin and get away from the communion. “The Church being primarily the Eucharistic community, the Eucharist is at the centre of her life. Hence those who act against the ways of the Church are by the very fact out of the Eucharistic celebration.”[314]

1.2.3. Rite of Preparation for Anaphora

1.2.3.1. Anthem of the Mysteries

The second part of the Anthem of the Mysteries is a beautiful expression of the communion of the believers. There the remembrance begins with Blessed Virgin Mary and all the Apostles and St. Thomas the Apostle of our Church. Then all the martyrs and saints are remembered together with all the faithful who are departed. The fact that the communion of believers includes all the baptized, whether alive or dead is expressed in these prayers.

1.2.3.2. Proclamation of Faith

Proclamation of the faith by the community expresses their communion. They proclaim the same faith with one mind. “Since the profession of faith is the summary of faith is the summary of the mystery of salvation, it is becoming that it is proclaimed immediately before the Anaphora, the central part of the enactment of the mystery of salvation in the Eucharistic celebration.”[315]The divine and the human realities co-exist in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. So true and firm faith is needed to understand and experience the mystery.[316] “The Eucharistic celebration is the occasion when the believing community as one body professes its faith and thanks God for the salvation.”[317] The words of Narsai regarding the recital of the creed are note worthy. He says: “the Church confesses according to the confession of the Fathers, and she employs their confession also at the time of Mysteries. At the time of the Mysteries her children thunder forth with their Faith, reciting it with mouth and heart, without doubting.”[318]

1.2.3.3. Deacon’s Proclamation Prayer

“Let us pray for the memory of our Fathers, the Patriarchs and Bishops, all priest and deacons, young man and virgins, all our parents, brothers and sisters, all sons and daughters, all the faithful rulers that love Christ, for all who have departed from this world in true faith. And remember all prophets, martyrs and confessors of this place and of every place. May God who will crown them at the resurrection of the dead grant us, with them, firm hope, together with a participation and life and inheritance in the kingdom of heaven.”[319]

This proclamation of the deacon manifests the real nature of the Church as the community of believers. The deacon announces the names of the members of the Church according to their rank and relation to the community and asks the community to remember them.[320] G. Qatraya says that praying for the memory of the Fathers and Bishops “indicates the spiritual love that commands us to honor and pray for our fathers who have labored, toiled and struggled for the true faith…”[321] Again he says that we pray for all the members of the Church who are in different ranks “in order to show that the fullness of spiritual love is preserved in the Church.”[322]

1.2.4. The Anaphora

1.2.4.1. Exchange of Peace

At the very beginning of Anaphora there is the exchange of peace among the members of the celebrating community is one of the most beautiful expressions of communion. The peace which is the Risen Lord, comes to the people through the hands of priests and deacons. The exchange of peace is the expression of unity of the members in the liturgical assembly in the Risen Lord. Thus there shall not be anything which is against the spirit of communion among the members.[323] “Those who are to be united into the risen body of the Lord in the Eucharistic communion, can never remain alienated through enmity, contention, hatred and the like during the Qurbana celebration.”[324] Narsai says:

“Peace is the name of Christ who makes all to be at peace, for it is He that has made peace between earthly and heavenly beings. Blessed is he that makes his heart peaceful at the hour of Mysteries, for all his debts and hateful deeds shall be forgiven to him. Here we should call to mind the saying of our lord in which He strictly admonishes us about hatred: ‘If you remember,’ He says, ‘that thy brother keepth hatred in his heart, leave thine offering and go, pacify him, and then offer.”[325]

The sharing of peace is the proclamation of the love and unity among the members of the Eucharistic community. It denotes that all those who are participating in the liturgy become the one body of Christ. Theodore comments that it is through the sharing of peace that the love and the unity of the hearts are expressed.

“Owing to the fact that we received one new birth of baptism, through which we are joined as if into one natural close union, and owing to the fact that all of us partake of the one food in which we receive the same flesh and blood and became more strongly united in the single body of baptism . .  . it is right that the rite of giving peace should be performed before we draw near to the sacrament and to the service, as it is in it that we make our profession of mutual concord and love to one another.”[326]

 Jesus’ commandments also remind us the need of the love and forgiveness among the believers, “So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift” (Mt 5, 23-24). It shows the importance of the reconciliation. And the second one is the new commandment of love, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13, 34-35). The love commandment reminds of the need of loving one another in offering the Holy Qurbana. Thus all these demand the spirit of love and unity among those who are gathered for offering the Holy Sacrifice.

1.2.4.2. Diptychs

            The diptychs contains the names of those dead and the living. “For all patriarchs, bishops, priests, deacons and for all classes of clerics who by death have departed from the society of the Church . . .for all children of the church that are found worthy to receive this offering in your sight; for all your servants and handmaids . . .”[327]

While the deacon reads out the names the community remembers the dead. It shows that the dead also are the part of the Church and they benefit from the Eucharistic celebration. “That at this hour that they read the book of the living and the dead is to show that the mysteries of our salvation are perfected for the sake of the living and the dead. And that the living and the dead together are in need of these which are mystically performed by us.”[328]

1.2.4.3. Dialogue Prayer

“Towards you God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob O, glorious king.”[329] The community proclaims through this prayer that their God is the same God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and this expands their communion to the community too. “It is in communion with who believe in God and in Jesus that we offer Qurbana.”[330]

1.2.4.4. Third G’hanta Prayer

            “As we have been commanded, O my Lord, we also your weak frail and miserable servants are gatheredtogether . . .”[331]

“Following Our Lord’s command, from the very beginning of the life of the Church, the believers gathered ‘to break the Bread’ (Acts 2, 42-47).”[332] In other words it is the breaking of the bread that gathered them together from the very beginning of the Church. It began with Christ and His disciples and is continued through our age that we too participate in the communion of the faithful throughout the ages.

1.2.4.5. Institution Narrative

“This is my Body which is broken for you . . . this is my Blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many. . . when you are gatheredtogether in my name, do in remembrance of me this that I have done.”[333] It is in the Church, in the communion of the believers that the commemoration of the unique sacrifice of Christ is made.[334] The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:

 “The Eucharist is also the sacrifice of the Church. The Church which is the Body of Christ participates in the offering of her Head. With him, she herself is offered whole and entire. She unites herself to his intercession with the Father for all men. In the Eucharist the sacrifice of Christ becomes also the sacrifice of the members of his Body. The lives of the faithful, their praise, sufferings, prayer, and work, are united with those of Christ and with his total offering, and so acquire a new value. Christ’s sacrifice present on the altar makes it possible for all generations of Christians to be united with his offering.”[335]

1.2.4.6. Fourth Kussapa

This prayer is a great expression of the communion of believers, especially the communion between the living and the dead. It begins with praying for the head of the universal Church and ends with the unworthy personality of the celebrant himself.[336]

In the intercessions, the Church indicates that the Eucharist is celebrated in communion with the whole Church in heaven and on earth, the living and the dead, and in communion with the pastors of the Church, the Pope, the diocesan bishop, his presbyterium and his deacons, and all the bishops of the whole world together with their Churches.[337]

1.2.4.7. Fourth G’hanta

Even though the important element of the fourth G’hanta is the anamnesis, it contains also notes of communion. It makes remembrance of Blessed Virgin Mary and all the just and righteous fathers and all other members of the church according to their position. The community which is present in the celebration of the Eucharist is mentioned as “…your weak, frail and miserable servants who have gathered together in your name, and who stand before you at this time and have received by tradition the example which is from you…”[338] The community is those gathered in the name of God and those who received the celebration through tradition. Thus the horizontal line of the continuation of the tradition enables the community to be the part of the whole historical church. “It is this unbroken chain of tradition that helps the Church to unite her action with the action of Christ.”[339]

1.2.5. Rite of Preparation for Communion

1.2.5.1. O, Christ Peace

“O Christ, Peace” is the prayer of the communion among the faithful and the communion in the world. It is indeed a prayer for cosmic harmony. The prayer emphasizes the theme of reconciliation, “. . . establish, O Lord, you peace and tranquility in the four corners of the world and especially in the holy Catholic Church.”[340]

1.2.5.2. Rite of Fraction

The prayer of the faithful during the rite of fraction includes the message of the communion among the believers. The bread which has come down from heaven is the source of the eternal life and as believers the community is allowed to participate in that life-giving bread. The partaking in the one and the same bread makes them enter a unity in Christ.[341] Again in the prayers of the rite of fraction “the relation between the local Church and the Churches in other places are clearly and publically expressed.”[342] We read in the prayer as follows, “May they may be unto us, O my Lord, for the pardon of offences and forgiveness of sins and for the great hope of the resurrection from the dead and for the new life in the kingdom of heaven, to us and to the holy church of Christ our Lord, here and in all place, now and always forever and ever.”[343]

1.2.5.3. Reconciliation among the Community Members

The karozutha in preparation of the Holy Communion includes prayers which foster the relationship of the community. Holy Qurbana is explained there as the sacrament which helps the community to become one body in the Church of Christ through the eating of the Body and drinking of the Blood.[344] St. Paul emphasized the need of unity among the believers for the partaking in the Eucharist (Cor 10, 16-22; 11, 17-34). So the community is asked to abstain from all those elements which hinder the communion of the believers. The prayer is as follows: “In the hope of penance, turning from our iniquities, and grieving for our sins, let us ask mercy and forgiveness from God, the Lord of all, while forgiving our brethren their faults.” “Let us purge our conscience of dissensions and contentions” “Let us purify our souls from anger and enmity”[345]

1.2.6. Rite of Communion

The invitation of the deacon to participate in the Holy Communion is as follows: “My brethren the Church invite you: ‘receive the Body of the Son and drink from His chalice with faith in the kingdom of heaven.”[346] It is the Church who invites her children to participate in the banquet. It is the climax of the experience of communion. The believer becomes one with God and his fellow beings. “Holy Communion, because by this sacrament we unite ourselves to Christ, who makes us sharers in his Body and Blood to form a single body.”[347]

The rite of communion of the celebrant stresses the horizontal dimension of communion. In the tradition of the Church there was a custom, that the main celebrant also receives communion from another priest. It shows that we encounter and receive the Lord through the mediation of another one.[348] Calf describes, “The general rule in communion rites right up through the Middle Ages, in both East and West, was that communion is not just taken, not even by the clergy, but given and received. For communion is that at once a ministry and a gift and a sharing, and as such is administered to the communicant through the hands of the another.”[349] Thus the horizontal communion is inevitable for the vertical communion. Again Calf states, “Eucharistic communion is not just the sacrament of one’s personal communion with the Risen Lord. It is rather the sacrament of our communion with one another in the one Body of Christ, a body at once ecclesial and Eucharistic.”[350]

1.2.7. Rite of Conclusion

1.2.7.1. Purifying Sacred Vessels

The partaking in the Eucharist makes us able to be in communion with all the just who do the will of God, as the prayer during the purification of the Sacred Vessels points out. “Make us who have received your Body from the paten and drunk your Blood from the chalice, worthy to sing your praises with the thief in paradise, in company with the just who do your will, O Christ, hope of mankind, Lord of all, forever. Amen.”[351]

1.2.7.2. Sealing prayer

The community is called as the ‘blessed people of God’ and the ‘sheep of the pastures of Christ’ in the sealing prayer of the Holy Qurbana. “…and upon you, his people, the sheep of his flock, may he pour his blessings…”[352] It signifies the status of the believers as God’s own people and their mutual relationship as the brothers and sisters in Christ.

There is the prayer in the huttama of Sundays and feast days, that asks the Lord to bless and preserve the community. “May he bless our congregation and preserve our assembly and make our people glorious who have come and gladdened by the participation in his glorious, life-giving and divine mysteries.”[353]

1.3. Communion between Earthly and Heavenly Beings

Liturgy, as the celebration of the mysteries pertaining to heaven and earth, is a meeting place of heavenly and earthly beings. In the liturgy we celebrate the Paschal Mysteries of Christ and it is founded in the Immanent Trinity. Hence when we celebrate the Sacrifice of Jesus it becomes the essential part of the heavenly liturgy.[354] “Christian worship is to be seen in its vertical relationship, between heaven where the hymn of praise is unceasingly sung and the earthly community where praise of God is sung for the eternal life realized in her through Christ.”[355] The Second Vatican Council narrates this fact as follows:

“In the earthly liturgy we take part in a foretaste of that heavenly liturgy which is celebrated in the holy city of Jerusalem toward which we journey as pilgrims, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God, a minister of the holies and of the true tabernacle; With all the warriors of the heavenly army we sing a hymn of glory to the Lord; venerating the memory of the saints, we hope for some part and fellowship with them; we eagerly await the Saviour, Our Lord Jesus Christ, until He, our life, shall appear and we too will appear with Him in glory.”[356]

There are various moments in the liturgical celebration where we experience this communion of heavenly and earthly beings. The important texts of the Holy Qurbana which contain this fact of the communion are dealt with in this section.

1.3.1. Introductory Rite

1.3.1.1. Glory to God

At the beginning of the Holy Qurbana the hymn of the angels announcing the birth of Jesus is sung by the congregation. By this hymn the angels join the community and become one with the congregation. By this hymn the community is foretasting the heavenly celebration for which they are waiting for.[357]“This idea of the congregation on earth joining the angelic hosts in heaven in praising God is to be found throughout the east Syrian liturgy. The whole Eucharistic liturgy begins with the angelic hymn.”[358]

 1.3.1.2. Our Father

The qanona of the ‘Our Father’ includes mention of the angels praising God and it clearly states that it is angels and men together that cry out Holy.[359] This also attests the fact that the Eucharistic celebration on earth is not a celebration of the human community alone, but is an adoration given by heavenly and earthly beings together to God Almighty, the power and glory of whom is filled on earth and heaven. The grandeur of the liturgical celebration of the Church is explicit here.[360]

1.3.1.3. Prayer before the Onitha d’ Qanke

The prayer which is recited before the Sanctuary anthem contain the thoughts of the communion between heavenly and earthly beings. In the first prayer which is allotted to Sundays and ordinary feast days we see as follows: “. . . we, your people, and the sheep of your pasture, with thousands of cherubim who sing “alleluia”, to you and tens of thousands of seraphim and archangels who sing to you “holy” . . .”[361] Again in the second prayer  which is prescribed for the feast days of our Lord and other important feasts we see: “. . . and glorious chair of your lordship, where the cherubim, your servants sing an alleluia to you unceasingly, and seraphim glorify you singing ‘holy’ inceasingly; we knell in fear and worship in awe. . .”[362]

            Here the liturgical assembly that sings Psalms and praises joins the heavenly congregation.[363] The community sees that thousands of Cherubs and Seraphims and Arch angels cry out ‘alleluia’ and ‘holy’ while standing the around the divine Throne. The feeble human community tries to adjoin their praises with them and thus becomes a communion.[364]

G. Qatraya comments that “the ‘onitha d-qanke (stands for) the mystery of the praises of the heavenly congregation who on seeing these things sent up new praises to the Lord of all.”[365]

1.3.2. Liturgy of the Word

The trisagion in the Liturgy of the Word expresses the communion of heavenly and earthly beings. According to G. Qatraya, “the qānonā, the trisagion (qaddišā) stands for the mystery of the sanctification by the angels who were accompanying him throughout his dispensation as blessed Mathew said, ‘the angels approached and were serving him.”[366] Commenting on this J. Mathew says, “Here in this commemoration of the whole dispensation completed through Christ, we find the presence of Holy angels throughout the celebration.”[367] The congregation sings trisagion with the angels and so the earthly liturgy is conveyed as the heavenly liturgy. This hymn defines God as holy, mighty and immortal.[368] “In acclaiming God to be holy, we join the heavenly angels who always praise God with the hymn: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts’ (Is 6, 3). Holy Qurbana is the participation in the heavenly liturgy, eternally present before the throne of God.”[369] The opened Madbaha is the symbol of the opened heaven which Isaiah saw in the vision. There angels and human beings glorify God using the same hymn.[370]

1.3.3. Rite of Preparation for Anaphora

1.3.3.1. Anthem of the Mysteries

The verses of the Anthem of the mysteries show that it is a hymn jointly sung by the earthly and heavenly beings. We see in the hymn as: “let us all approach Him with reverence and love, and let us sing his praises with the angels: Holy, holy, holy, holy Lord God.”[371] According to Thimothy II, the repetition of this hymn three times indicates that the priests and the believers join the angel to adore God.[372] G. Qatraya gives the following interpretation to this hymn.

“The ‘onithā d-raze represents the mystery of the ineffable praises which the holy angels and the souls of the just sent up at the time when they (= the souls of just) entered paradise with the soul of our Lord. Or it is the mystery of the praises of angels and saints at the time of the passion of our Lord when they saw the earth trembling, rocks splitting apart, the Sun darkening, the curtain of the temple tearing itself and the dead raising up.”[373]

1.3.3.2. First Kussapa

The first Kussapa is Christ centered and has an eschatological character. There the priest prays that “. . . we may find grace and mercy in your sight and be made worthy to sing your praises with the hosts of angels.”[374] Thus the prayer clearly expresses the fact that the Eucharistic celebration enables the believers to join the heavenly beings to glorify God in the eschatological time.[375]

1.3.4. The Anaphora

There are various prayers in the Anaphora which manifest the earthly-heavenly communion. “A special characteristic of the Anaphora is that it conceives of the liturgy as participation in the Heavenly Worship of the angels. The Church celebrates the liturgy in union with these heavenly hosts.”[376]

1.3.4.1. Second G’hanta Prayer

            The second G’hanta prayer includes beautiful expressions of the communion of the earthly beings to the heavenly beings. It is addressed to God the Father and it remembers His creative action. The heavenly beings are said to be incessantly adoring and praising Him. “…O my Lord, thousands of those on high bow down and worship your majesty. Myriads upon myriads of holy angels, host of spiritual ministers of fire and spirit, glorify your name; and with the holy cherubim and the spiritual seraphim they offer worship to your Lordship…”[377] We see that the prayer is concluded with a request to the congregation to join the heavenly choir and sing praise to the Father.[378] Thus the assembly together with the heavenly beings become a single community and praise Him.[379] When our prayers are joined to that of angels they become more powerful and acceptable. The presence of the heavenly beings in the earthly celebration of the Eucharist gives the hope to the human beings that they could join the heavenly celebration with the heavenly beings after the earthly life.[380]

1.3.4.2. Sanctus

T. Elavanal says that, “as part of Eucharistic prayers, the Sanctus was always sung as a sign of the participation of the earthly community in the heavenly worship of God. It was in agreement with Jewish theology that it was through the recitation of Qedushah that the community joins the angels on high in declaring the glory of God.”[381] The focal point of the Sanctus is that the Church is in the experience of the participation of the heavenly praises. So the Christian worship can be understood as the anticipation of the heavenly worship.[382]

Anonymous Author commenting on the Sanctus speaks of the meeting of the earthly and heavenly choirs,

“. . . This means, heaven and earth have been already made one Church; neither heaven is heaven nor earth is earth because the time and space composite have been dissolved; for heaven is the heaven of earth and earth is the earth of heaven . . . wherefore heaven and earth become one, and there is neither heaven nor earth; and we were already constituted with the spiritual ones.”[383]

 1.3.4.3. Third Kussapa

The Kussapa prayer with the following verses contain the spirit of the communion between heavenly and earthly beings. “…and now, O Lord, let your grace upon us, and purify our uncleanness and sanctify our lips and mingle, o my Lord, the voices of our feebleness with the hallowing of the seraphim and of archangels. Glory be to your mercies who have associated the earthly with spiritual beings.”[384]

The presence of the heavenly beings and their hymns make the celebrant aware of his unworthiness and the sanctity of the sanctuary. He is asking for the mercy of God because He is the One who with His generosity allowed to mingle the earthly ones with the heavenly ones. [385]

1.3.4.4. Third G’hanta

Third G’hanta begins with the statement that, “And with these heavenly hosts we give you thanks, O Lord.”[386] It re-affirms that the liturgy is expressing the communion of earthly and heavenly beings.

1.3.4.5. Deacon’s Announcement

The announcement of deacon after the third G’hanta mentions about the presence of Seraphims at the Throne. “. . . Pray and meditate on the things that are performed at this moment. The seraphim stand in owe before the glorious throne of Christ; . . . together with the priest and the people, the seraphim glorify and sing praises, in loud unending hymns, to the Body that is prepared and chalice that is mixed.”[387]

1.3.5. Rite of Preparation for Communion

The second part of the hymn of the faithful during the rite of fraction is as follows: “His ministers who do his will, the cherubim, the seraphim and the archangels, stand with reverence and awe before the altar and watch the priest who breaks and divides the Body of Christ unto the forgiveness of sins. . . .”[388] This prayer also highlights the presence of the heavenly beings at the celebration of the Eucharist and their communion with the earthly assembly. “The Church’s road leads from the earthly to the heavenly Jerusalem . . . The Church which approaches the heavenly city is gathering for a festival in which a countless number of angels, citizens of the heavenly city, and the souls of just men made perfect, take part.”[389]

2. THEOLOGY OF EUCHARISTIC COMMUNION

2.1. The New Covenant: The Way to the Eucharistic Communion

            The basis of the Eucharistic communion is the New Covenant which was sealed by the Blood of Christ. The Covenant between God and the Old Testament people was ratified with the blood of the lamb and they became God’s own people. This shedding of blood becomes a type of the New Testament covenant which God would establish through the offering of His Son.  “The covenant of the Old Testament sealed in bloody sacrifice implicitly reveals . . .  the role of Christ’s new covenant sealed in his sacrifice on the cross.”[390] The Blood of Christ is the offering for the sins of the world and it cannot be repeated as the Old Testament sacrifices. Once and for all it is the atonement for the sins and it fulfilled all the Old Testament sacrifices. This New Covenant is unique in its nature because the victim and the offerer is the same. So there is an inseparable connection between the Last Supper, the Cross and the Eucharistic celebration. The victim and offerer in these three phases of sacrifices is the same and only the manner of the offering is different. The Eucharistic celebration “is the unbloody (sacramental) representation of the bloody sacrifice of Jesus Christ initiated symbolically (prophetically) at the Last Supper and completed physically (realistically) on the cross.”[391] Thus the New Covenant initiated at the Last Supper, sealed and perfected on the cross and reenacted in the Eucharist becomes the way to the deeper communion for the believers who are participating in it.

2.2. Eucharistic Communion Presupposes the Partaking in the Body and Blood of Christ

Eucharistic communion becomes an experience through the partaking in the Body and Blood of Christ. Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you” (Jn 6, 53). This stress on the eating of His Body and drinking of His Blood is remarkable. He presents His body as the real food and Blood as the real drink (Jn, 6, 55). Here Jesus insists on the genuine value of His Flesh and Blood as food and drink.[392] The participation in this banquet of His Body and Blood results in eternal life and mutual indwelling. According to the liturgical text of the Syro-Malabar Church the reception of the Holy Communion is a must. Those who are not worthy to receive the communion are sent out of the church at the end of the Liturgy of the Word. The remaining community is expected to receive the communion.[393] Thus the Eucharistic communion presupposes the eating and drinking of Christ’s Body and Blood. “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him” (Jn 6, 56).

2.3. Eucharistic Communion Perfects the Effects of the Sacraments

The Eucharistic communion perfects the effects of the other sacraments. Baptism is the first step of a person into the communion or the entry into the community of the ‘people of God’. The communion initiated in the Sacrament of Baptism is nourished by the Eucharistic communion. “The baptismal life of the members of the mystical Body is matured in a par-excellent way at the celebration of the sacrament of the Eucharist. . .”[394] Thus those who have become the members of the Church through baptism are expected to come together in the assembly for the Eucharistic celebration and get nourishment from the table of the Lord. “The Eucharistic Communion is the symbolic food of the immortal life initiated by baptism.”[395] The analysis of all other Sacraments also will confirm the fact that in a way they are all oriented towards the communion which is perfected at the Eucharistic celebration.

2.4. Vertical and Horizontal Dimensions of Eucharistic Communion

The Eucharistic Communion is two dimensional in its nature. The communion which results from the participation in the Eucharist first of all brings the believers into union with God. The whole Trinity is invisibly present at the altar. The Eucharistic Communion opens “successive doors to us, by which we first of all enter into Christ’s heart and then, through him, into the heart of the Trinity itself.”[396] This vertical dimension of communion leads us to a fellowship with the Father and with the Son in the Holy Spirit. It causes a mysterious immersion of our being into the Divine stream.[397]

The Syriac word for the communion is šawtaputha. It is the same word which denotes the communion in Holy Trinity, communion in Eucharist and communion in marriage. According to the East Syriac tradition the sanctification in the Eucharistic is leading to šawtaputha. “Establishment of the šawtaputha in the model of the Trinitarian šawtaputha is the important goal of the East Syriac Qurbana. The whole Eucharistic liturgy is oriented towards the communion.”[398]

There is a horizontal communion which results from the Eucharistic Communion. “In fact the Eucharistic celebration begins with the celebration of horizontal communion. It is a celebration by a united community.”[399] The community who partake in the same Bread and Cup becomes a communion. The nature of the communion attained by the assembly is that of the Trinitarian communion.  The Syro-Malabar Qurbana intends to establish a communion after the model of the Trinitarian communion. “Repeated exhortations on the need of fraternal communion reveal the concern for the horizontal šawtaputha.”[400] It is the remembrance (dukhrānā) of the whole members of the Church both living and dead which enables the celebration of the horizontal communion.[401]

2.5. Eucharistic Communion as the Foretaste of the Eschatological Communion

The Celebration of the Eucharist is the proclamation of the Parousia. Jesus has affirmed the eschatological aspect of the Lord’s Supper and made explicit the role of the Apostles at that time. In the Gospel of Luke we read, “. . . that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Lk 22, 30). All the evangelists categorically affirm the eschatological nature of the Eucharist.[402] “The Eucharistic communion helps us to transcend the earthly space-time and enables us to participate in the heavenly space-time.”[403] In the Eucharistic meal the participants experience now what they will enjoy fully in the future. The heavenly blessings and the grace which the Eucharistic celebration gives is the anticipation of the heavenly glory. The Second Vatican Council speaks about the heavenly orientation of the Eucharist as follows,

“At the Last Supper, on the night He was betrayed, our Saviour instituted the eucharistic sacrifice of His Body and Blood. This did in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the Cross throughout the ages until He should come again, and so to entrust to His beloved Spouse, the Church, a memorial of His death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a paschal banquet in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.”[404]Thus there is a new hope and a new vision of life to come in the Eucharistic Communion.

CONCLUSION

The analysis of the Syro-Malabar Qurbana made it clear that the communion is celebrated in it. The New Testament people are a privileged group who are experiencing the communion with its entire flavor. Even though the Old Testament people had many events which kept them in communion with their God, they were only shadows of the real experience. The redemptive actions of God through His Son made the communion an eternal experience and the people are invited to join it. Today we experience this communion which was brought about by New Covenant of Christ which was sealed by His blood, in the celebration of the Holy Qurbana. The above study of the text of the Holy Qurbana proves that it is the means to experience the communion. The prayers of the Qurbana which are analyzed in this chapter facilitate our communion experience. The study proves that the communion achieved there has two dimensions. It has a vertical dimension which unites the believers with God and a horizontal dimension which enables them to be in communion with the fellow beings. Also the celebration of the Holy Qurbana gives us the assurance of the perfect communion between God and man and among men themselves at the eschatological banquet.

GENERAL CONCLUSION

The Church as a communion has to be the messenger of unity in the world. The Church can take up that task since she is a community who prays for, and experiences the fruits of communion in her life. It originated in communion and lives in it and is forwarding to its perfection. The history of the Church right from the creation of the world gives us the hope of maintaining the divine nature of communion as its characteristic.

Although there are incidents of the breach of communion in the Old Testament period there are also initiatives from God to resolve the issue. Thus we had gone through the four important episodes of communion which served the people to be ‘His people’. The Passover celebration was actually the selection and redemption of a people for God. They were protected and united by the blood of the lamb. The people of Israel handed over the story of their redemption to the generations by commemorating the incident every year. Covenants were another way which God made use to be with His people and to unite them. The basic elements of Covenant helped the people to be united among themselves and with God. The two rites which were used to ratify the covenant, namely the Ceremonial Meal and the ‘Blood of Covenant’ gave them the experience of communion, joy and sharing. There were different kinds of Sacrifices in the Old Testament period which were intended to maintain the relationship between God and people and among people themselves. They include Holocaust, Peace Offering and Expiatory Sacrifices. These Sacrifices made experiential their communion both with God by burning half of the victim, and with one another by sharing the other half between them. There was also the Feast of Atonement which was intended to rectify the communion. The role of blood was important in this celebration too. All these events were shadows of the real experience of communion.

            God’s promise of the redemption was realized by the Incarnation of the Son. The New Testament period fulfilled all the images of communion in the Old Testament. Jesus, the victim and the offerer, accomplished the redemptive acts of God and the Salvation History entered a new era. Jesus offered His Body and Blood as the life-giving food and drink and thus made the New Covenant at the Last Supper. It was perfected at the cross and thus fulfilled all the promises of God. The Body and Blood of Christ became the real food for the eternal life and it united man with God. Since all take part in one and the same Bread their mutual indwelling also was realized. Thus the communion was fulfilled by the Body and Blood of Christ.

            Jesus commanded to commemorate the Sacrifice of His Blood in the assembly of the believers. Thus Holy Qurbana became the celebration of the communion. It unites the believers to the experience of communion. The communion which the faithful experience is three dimensional, namely communion with God, with heavenly beings and among themselves. The celebration of the Holy Qurbana make this experience real which culminates in the reception of the Holy Communion. Qurbana ends with an eschatological hope of perfecting this communion in the eternal world to come. As in the vision of Isaiah the Church is expecting to adore and glorify God in heaven with thousands of Cherubs and myriads of angels praising God.

            The study of the Syro- Malabar Qurbana has made it clear that the Qurbana gives a great importance both to the vertical and horizontal communion. The Qurbana in fact invites the liturgical assembly to transcend the celebration accomplished through signs and symbols. The prayers and actions in the Qurbana have the ultimate goal of communion with god and communion with fellow beings.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

AMIOT, F., The Key Concepts of St Paul (New York, 1965).

ARANGASSERY, L., Ecclesial Dimensions of East Syrian Liturgy  (Kottayam, 1990).

ATHAPILLY, S., “Theological Dimension of the Anaphora of Addai and Mari” in B. PUTHUR ed., Studies on the Anaphora of Addai and Mari (Kochi, 2004).

AUGUSTINE, Homilies on the Gospel of St. John, NPNF 1-07, P. SCHAFF ed., (New York, 1886).

BARRET, C. K., The Gospel according to St John: An Introduction with Commentary and Notes on the Greek Text (London, 1978).

BEASLEY-MURRAY, G. R., John in D. A. HUBBARD – G. W. BARKEReds., Word Biblical Commentary Vol. 36, (Dallas, 2002).

BERNARD, J. H., The Gospel according to St. John  in A.H. MCNEILE ed.,  A Critical and Exegetical Commentary (New York, 1929).

BRIEND, J., “Passover” in Encyclopedia of Christian Theology, Vol. 3 (New York, 2005).

BROWN, R. E. et al. eds., New Jerome Biblical Commentary (Bangalore, 2007).

BROWN, R. E. – FITZMYER, J.A. – MURPHY, R.E., The Jerome Biblical Commentary (London, 1968).

BROWN, R. E., The Gospel According to John I-XII (London, 1966).

BROWN, R. E., The Gospel According to John XIII-XXI(New York, 1970).

CANTALAMESSA, R., The Eucharist Our Sanctification (Mumbai, 1998).

Catechism of the Catholic Church (Theological Publications in India for Catholic Hierarchy in India, Bangalore, 2012).

CERFAUX, L., The Christian in the Theology of St Paul (New York, 1967).

CHALACKAL, S.,  Visudha Qurbana Visudha Janathinu (Mal.), (Thrissur, 2011).

CHITTILAPPILLY, J., Mdabbranuta: The Divine Dispensation of Our Lord in the Holy Qurbana of the East Syrian Tradition (Kottayam, 1999).

CLEMENTS, R. E. – BLACK M. eds., New Century Bible Commentary: The Gospel of John (London, 1986).

Didache 9:4 (Trans. C. H. Hoole) http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/didache-hoole.html (access, 28.1.2013).

DURHAM, J. I., Exodus in Word Biblical Commentary, Vol. 3, D. A. HUBBARD – G. W. BARKER (Dallas, 2002).

ELAVANAL, T., The Memorial Celebration: A Theological Study of the Anaphora of the Apostles Mar Addai and Mari (Kottayam, 1989).

EPHREM, “Hymns on Verginity” in S. P. BROCK, Luminous Eye (Oxford, 1989).

ERAMBIL, J., The Eucharist and Human-Christian Existence (Muringoor, 2005).

Expositio II = anonymi auctoris exposition offciorum ecclesiae Georgio Arbelensi vulgo adscripta. Accedit Abrahae Bar Lipheh interpretation officiorum, R.H. CONNOLLY, ed. & trans., CSCO, series secunda, syri 91-92, Roma 1913-1915.

FERNANDES, C. D. C., The Eucharist: The Paschal Mystery and the New Covenant (Bangalore, 1985)

FERNANDEZ, E., The Bread that We Break (Bombay, 1981).

FLANNERY, A. ed., Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, Vol. 1 (Mumbai, 2010).

GAEBELEN F. E. et al. eds., The Expositors Bible Commentary, Vol. 9 (Michigan, 1984).

Instruction for Applying the Liturgical Prescriptions of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches (Kottayam, 1996).

JBRIEND, J., “Passover” in Encyclopedia of Christian Theology, Vol. 3 (New York, 2005).

KOCHUPARAMPIL, J. ed., Parisudha Qurbana: Kraisthava Jeevithakendram (Mal.), (Changanassery, 2006).

KYSAR, R., John’s Story of Jesus (Philadelphia, 1984).

LOHFINK, N., “Covenant” in Encyclopedia of Christian Theology, Vol. 1 (New York, 2005).

LUSSIER, E., Living the Eucharistic Mystery (New York, 1976).

MANGATT, G., Suviseshabhashyam (Mal), A. MEKKATTUKUNNEL ed. (Kottayam, 2010).

MANIYATTU, P., “East Syriac Theology of Eucharist” in P. MANIYATTU, ed., East Syriac Theology: An Introduction (Satna, 2007).

MANIYATTU, P., Heaven on Earth: The Theology of Liturgical Spacetime in the East Syrian Qurbana (Rome, 1995).

MANIYATTU, P.  “Theology of Syro- Malabar Qurbana” in A. MEKKATTUKUNNEL, ed., Mar Thoma Margam (Kottayam, 2012).

MANNOORAMPARAMPIL, T., Syro-Malabar Sabhayude Qurbana Oru Padanam (Mal.) Vol. 1 (Kottayam, 2004).

MANNOORAMPARAMPIL, T., Syro-Malabar Sabhayude Qurbana Oru Padanam (Mal.) Vol. 2 (Kottayam, 2003).

MATHEW, J. Structure and Theology of East Syriac Qurbānā according to Gabriel Qatraya: A Liturgical and Theological Analysis of Gabriel Qatraya’s Commentary on the Office of the Mysteries (Kottayam, 2012).

McCARTHY, D. J., “Blood” in Interpreters’ Dictionary of Bible (Nashville, 1976). McCARTHY, D.J., Treaty and Covenant (Rome, 1978).

MEKKATTUKUNNEL, A., Syro Malabar Holy Qurbana the Ineffable Gift (Chicago, 2013).

MERTON, T., The Living Bread (London, 1976).

MONTAGUE, G. T., The Living Thought of Saint Paul: An Introduction to Pauline Theology through Intensive Study of Key Texts (Milwaukee, 1966).

MORRIS, L., The Gospel According to John (Michigan, 1981).

NADUVILEZHAM, J., The Theology of the Paschal Lamb in Ephrem of Nisibis (Kottayam, 2000).

NAICKANPARAMPIL, M., Faith and Life in St. John, (Bangalore, 2011).

NARSAI, The Liturgical Homilies, Vol. VIII (trans. R. H. Connolly, J. A. Robinson ed.,Cambridge, 1909).

NICHOLAS, C., The Life in Christ (trans. C. J. De Catanzaro, 1974).

NUBIOLA, R., Union with God through the Eucharist (Anand, 1987).

ORR, W. F. – WALTHER, J. A., 1 Corinthians: A New Translation, Introduction with Study of the Life of Paul, Notes and Commentary (New York, 1976).

PATHIKULANGARA, V., Qurbana: The Eucharistic Celebration of the Chaldeo-Indian Church (Kottayam, 2007).

PAUL II, J., EcclesiadeEucharistia (Vatican, 2003).

PAUL II, J., Mane Nobiscum Domine (Carmel International Publishing Centre, Trivandrum, 2004).

PETERSON, E. The Angels and the Liturgy: The Status and the Significance of the Holoy Angels in Worship (trans., R. Walls, London 1964).

QATRAYA, G., Commentary on the Eucharist (trans. in J. Mathew, Structure and Theology of East Syriac Qurbānā , Kottayam, 2012).

RATZINGER, J., Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration (trans. A. J. WALKER, Milan, 2008).

RATZINGER, J., Jesus of Nazareth: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection (trans. The Vatican Secretariat of State, California, 2011).

SCHNACKENBURG, R., The Gospel According to St John (trans. C. HASTINGS – F. McDONAGH – D. SMITH, London, 1980).

SHEPHERD, C., JewishHoly Days: Their Prophetic and Christian Significance (New Jersey, 1981).

SIMPSON, J. G., “Eucharist,” in J. HASTING ed., Hasting’s Dictionary of the Bible (New York, 1996).

TAFF, R., Beyond East and West: Problems in Liturgical Understanding (Washington, 1984).

Taksa of Syro-Malabar Qurbana (Ernakulam, 1989).

The Holy Bible: The New Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition (Theological Publication in India, Bangalore, 2005)

THEKKEKKARA, M., The Face of Early Christianity: A Study of the Pauline Letters (Bangalore, 1988).

THEKKEMURY, J., Qurbana: Ente Ormaykkayi (Mal.), (Ernakulam, 2010).

THEODORE OF MOPSUESTIA, Commentary on the Sacrament of Eucharist (trans.  A. Mingana, Cambridge, 1933).

TILLARD, J. – M. R., “Communion” in Encyclopedia of Christian Theology Vol. 1 (New York, 2005).

TRAIL, R., An Exegetical Summary of 1 Corinthians 10-16 (Dallas, 2008).

VELLANICKAL, M., Church: Communion of Individual Churches (Mumbai, 2009).

VELLANICKAL, M., Divine Sonship of Man in the Bible (Kottayam, 1999).

VELLANICKAL, M., Studies in the Gospel of John (Bangalore, 1982).

VINCIE, C., Celebrating Divine Mystery: A Primer in Liturgical Theology (Collegeville, 2009).

“Covenant Essay,”http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id=163065 (access 20.12.2012).

“The Importance of the Covenant,” http://www.presenttruthmag.com (20. 12.2013).


[1] J. ERAMBIL, The Eucharist and Human: Christian Existence (Muringoor, 2005) 17. Hereafter, ERAMBIL, The Eucharist and Human: Christian Existence.

[2] ERAMBIL, The Eucharist and Human: Christian Existence, 17.

[3] C. VINCIE, Celebrating Divine Mystery: A Primer in Liturgical Theology (Collegeville, 2009) 64-65.

[4] J. BRIEND, “Passover” in Encyclopedia of Christian Theology, Vol. 3 (New York, 2005) 1198. Hereafter, BRIEND, “Passover.”

[5] ERAMBIL, The Eucharist and Human: Christian Existence, 18.

[6] J. NADUVILEZHAM, The Theology of the Paschal Lamb in Ephrem of Nisibis (Kottayam, 2000) 31. Hereafter, NADUVILEZHAM, The Theology of the Paschal Lamb.

[7] NADUVILEZHAM, The Theology of the Paschal Lamb, 31.

[8] NADUVILEZHAM, The Theology of the Paschal Lamb, 32.

[9] ERAMBIL, The Eucharist and Human: Christian Existence, 18.

[10] NADUVILEZHAM, The Theology of the Paschal Lamb, 32.

[11] C. D. C. FERNANDES, The Eucharist: The Paschal Mystery and the New Covenant (Bangalore, 1985) 30. Hereafter, FERNANDES, The Eucharist: The Paschal Mystery and the New Covenant.

[12] ERAMBIL, The Eucharist and Human: Christian Existence, 17.

[13] S. CHALACKAL, Visudha Qurbana Visudha Janathinu (Mal.), (Thrissur, 2011) 23. Hereafter, CHALACKAL, Visudha Qurbana Visudha Janathinu.

[14] NADUVILEZHAM, The Theology of the Paschal Lamb, 92.

[15] NADUVILEZHAM, The Theology of the Paschal Lamb, 36.

[16] BRIEND, “Passover,” 1198.

[17] D.J. McCARTHY, “Blood” in Interpreters’ Dictionary of Bible, 115, quotedbyC. D. C. FERNANDES, The Eucharist: The Paschal Mystery and the New Covenant, 74.

[18] C. SHEPHERD, JewishHoly Days: Their Prophetic and Christian Significance (New Jersey, 1981) 25. Hereafter, SHEPHERD, Jewish Holy Days.

[19] J. THEKKEMURY, Qurbana: Ente Ormaykkayi (Mal.), (Ernakulam, 2010) 18. Hereafter, THEKKEMURY, Qurbana: Ente Ormaykkayi.

[20] ERAMBIL, The Eucharist and Human: Christian Existence, 18.

[21] CHALACKAL, Visudha Qurbana Visudha Janathinu, 25.

[22] SHEPHERD,  Jewish Holy Days, 23.

[23] NADUVILEZHAM, The Theology of the Paschal Lamb, 91.

[24] THEKKEMURY, Qurbana: Ente Ormaykkayi, 30.

[25] THEKKEMURY, Qurbana: Ente Ormaykkayi, 32.

[26] SHEPHERD, Jewish Holy Days 26.

[27] NADUVILEZHAM, The Theology of the Paschal Lamb, 90.

[28]Catechism of the Catholic Church, No.1363(Theological Publications in India for Catholic Hierarchy in India, Bangalore, 2012). Hereafter, CCC.

[29] NADUVILEZHAM, The Theology of the Paschal Lamb, 99.

[30] R. CANTALAMESSA, The Eucharist Our Sanctification (Mumbai, 1998) 11. Hereafter, CANTALAMESSA, The Eucharist Our Sanctification.

[31] NADUVILEZHAM, The Theology of the Paschal Lamb, 100.

[32] “The Importance of the Covenant,” http://www.presenttruthmag.com (20. 12.2013). Hereafter, “The Importance of the Covenant.” 

[33] ERAMBIL, The Eucharist and Human: Christian Existence, 29.

[34] N. LOHFINK, “Covenant” in Encyclopedia of Christian Theology, Vol. 1 (New York, 2005) 371.

[35] “Covenant Essay,”http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id=163065 (access 20.12.2012).

[36] “The Importance of the Covenant.”

[37] M. VELLANICKAL, Church: Communion of Individual Churches (Mumbai, 2009) 88. Hereafter, VELLANICKAL, Church: Communion of Individual Churches.

[38] FERNANDES, The Eucharist: The Paschal Mystery and the New Covenant, 113.

[39] FERNANDES, The Eucharist: The Paschal Mystery and the New Covenant, 115.

[40] E. FERNANDEZ, The Bread that We Break (Bombay, 1981) 53. Here after, FERNANDEZ, The Bread that We Break.

[41] VELLANICKAL, Church: Communion of Individual Churches, 88.

[42] FERNANDES, The Eucharist: The Paschal Mystery and the New Covenant, 115.

[43] FERNANDES, The Eucharist: The Paschal Mystery and the New Covenant, 116.

[44] VELLANICKAL, Church: Communion of Individual Churches, 88.

[45] VELLANICKAL, Church: Communion of Individual Churches, 89.

[46] VELLANICKAL, Church: Communion of Individual Churches, 88-89.

[47] J. I., DURHAM, Exodus in Word Biblical Commentary, Vol. 3, D. A. HUBBARD – G. W. BARKER, eds., (Dallas, 2002) 298. Here after, DURHAM, Exodus in Word Biblical Commentary.

[48] DURHAM, Exodus in Word Biblical Commentary, 299.

[49] DURHAM, Exodus in Word Biblical Commentary, 299

[50] FERNANDES, The Eucharist: The Paschal Mystery and the New Covenant, 117.

[51] VELLANICKAL, Church: Communion of Individual Churches, 89.

[52] VELLANICKAL, Church: Communion of Individual Churches, 90.

[53] FERNANDES, The Eucharist: The Paschal Mystery and the New Covenant, 117.

[54] ERAMBIL, The Eucharist and Human: Christian Existence, 216.

[55] E. LUSSIER, Living the Eucharistic Mystery, 11, as quoted by ERAMBIL, The Eucharist and Human: Christian Existence , 216.

[56] FERNANDES, The Eucharist: The Paschal Mystery and the New Covenant, 118.

[57] D.J. McCARTHY, Treaty and Covenant, 15, as quoted by C. D. C. FERNANDES, The Eucharist: The Paschal Mystery and the New Covenant, 118.

[58] FERNANDES, The Eucharist: The Paschal Mystery and the New Covenant, 118.

[59] R. NUBIOLA, Union with God through the Eucharist (Anand, 1987) 37. Here after, NUBIOLA, Union with God through the Eucharist.

[60] A. MEKKATTUKUNNEL, Syro-Malabar Holy Qurbana: The Ineffable Gift (Chicago, 2013) 97. Hereafter, MEKKATTUKUNNEL, Syro-Malabar Holy Qurbana.

[61] CHALACKAL, Visudha Qurbana Visudha Janathinu, 34-35.

[62] VELLANICKAL, Church: Communion of Individual Churches, 88-90.

[63] MEKKATTUKUNNEL, Syro-Malabar Holy Qurbana, 97.

[64] J. RATZINGER, Jesus of Nazareth: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection (trans. The Vatican Secretariat of State, California, 2011)131-132. Hereafter, RATZINGER, Jesus of Nazareth: From the Entrance into Jerusalem.

[65] RATZINGER, Jesus of Nazareth: From the Entrance into Jerusalem, 132.

[66] RATZINGER, Jesus of Nazareth: From the Entrance into Jerusalem, 133.

[67] MEKKATTUKUNNEL, Syro-Malabar Holy Qurbana: The Ineffable Gift, 98.

[68] ERAMBIL, The Eucharist and Human: Christian Existence, 29.

[69] ERAMBIL, The Eucharist and Human: Christian Existence, 254.

[70] VELLANICKAL, Church: Communion of Individual Churches, 88.

[71] NADUVILEZHAM, The Theology of the Paschal Lamb, 28.

[72] ERAMBIL, The Eucharist and Human: Christian Existence, 254.

[73] FERNANDEZ, The Bread that We Break, 101.

[74] NUBIOLA, Union with God through the Eucharist, 33.

[75] ERAMBIL, The Eucharist and Human: Christian Existence, 173.

[76] ERAMBIL, The Eucharist and Human: Christian Existence, 173.

[77] FERNANDEZ, The Bread that We Break, 101.

[78] FERNANDEZ, The Bread that We Break, 102.

[79] ERAMBIL, The Eucharist and Human: Christian Existence, 174.

[80] FERNANDEZ, The Bread that We Break, 103.

[81] ERAMBIL, The Eucharist and Human: Christian Existence, 174.

[82] VELLANICKAL, Church: Communion of Individual Churches, 88.

[83] ERAMBIL, The Eucharist and Human: Christian Existence, 216.

[84] ERAMBIL, The Eucharist and Human: Christian Existence, 174.

[85] NADUVILEZHAM, The Theology of the Paschal Lamb, 34.

[86] NADUVILEZHAM, The Theology of the Paschal Lamb, 34.

[87] FERNANDEZ, The Bread that We Break, 104.

[88] NADUVILEZHAM, The Theology of the Paschal Lamb, 36.

[89] NADUVILEZHAM, The Theology of the Paschal Lamb, 34.

[90] VELLANICKAL, Church: Communion of Individual Churches, 88.

[91] ERAMBIL, The Eucharist and Human: Christian Existence, 178.

[92] ERAMBIL, The Eucharist and Human: Christian Existence, 178.

[93] NADUVILEZHAM, The Theology of the Paschal Lamb, 41.

[94] ERAMBIL, The Eucharist and Human: Christian Existence, 181.

[95] J. G. SIMPSON, “Eucharist,” 245, as quoted by ERAMBIL, The Eucharist and Human: Christian Existence, 181.

[96] CCC, No. 1366

[97] A. FLANNERY, ed., “Lumen Gentium,” No. 28 in Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, Vol. 1 (Mumbai, 2010).

[98] J. – M. R. TILLARD, “Communion” in Encyclopedia of Christian Theology, Vol. 1 (New York, 2005) 325.

[99] September or sometimes early in the October.

[100] SHEPHERD, Jewish Holy Days, 64.

[101] RATZINGER, Jesus of Nazareth: From the Entrance into Jerusalem, 77.

[102] RATZINGER, Jesus of Nazareth: From the Entrance into Jerusalem, 78.

[103] RATZINGER, Jesus of Nazareth: From the Entrance into Jerusalem, 78.

[104] RATZINGER, Jesus of Nazareth: From the Entrance into Jerusalem, 78.

[105] T. MERTON, The Living Bread (London, 1976) 38.

[106] NADUVILEZHAM, The Theology of the Paschal Lamb, 36.

[107] SHEPHERD,  Jewish Holy Days, 64.

[108] NADUVILEZHAM, The Theology of the Paschal Lamb, 37.

[109] RATZINGER, Jesus of Nazareth, 81.

[110] NADUVILEZHAM, The Theology of the Paschal Lamb, 50-51.

[111] R.E. BROWN, et al. eds., New Jerome Biblical Commentary (Bangalore, 2007) 799. Hereafter, BROWN, New Jerome Biblical Commentary.

[112] M. THEKKEKKARA, The Face of Early Christianity: A Study of the Pauline Letters (Bangalore, 1988) 99. Hereafter, THEKKEKKARA, The Face of Early Christianity.

[113] BROWN, New Jerome Biblical Commentary, 799.

[114] BROWN, New Jerome Biblical Commentary, 2808.

[115] Didache 9:4 (Trans. C. H. Hoole) http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/didache-hoole.html (access, 28.1.2013).

[116] R. TRAIL, An Exegetical Summary of 1 Corinthians 10-16 (Dallas, 2008)33.Hereafter,TRAIL, An Exegetical Summary of 1 Corinthians.

[117] W. F. ORR – J. A. WALTHER, 1 Corinthians: A New Translation, Introduction with Study of the Life of Paul, Notes and Commentary (New York, 1976) 252. Hereafter, ORR – WALTHER,

1Corinthians.

[118] G. T. MONTAGUE, The Living Thought of Saint Paul: An Introduction to Pauline Theology through Intensive Study of Key Texts (Milwaukee, 1966) 111. Hereafter, MONTAGUE, The Living Thought of Saint Paul.

[119] MONTAGUE, The Living Thought of Saint Paul, 111.

[120] F. AMIOT, The Key Concepts of St Paul (New York, 1965) 198. Hereafter, AMIOT, The Key Concepts of St Paul.

[121] J. PAUL II, Mane Nobiscum Domine No.18 (Carmel International Publishing Centre, Trivandrum, 2004).

[122] R. E.BROWN- J.A. FITZMYER-R.E. MURPHY, The Jerome Biblical Commentary (London, 1968) 269. Hereafter, BROWN- FITZMYER- MURPHY, The Jerome Biblical Commentary.

[123] TRAIL, An Exegetical Summary of 1 Corinthians, 32.

[124] BROWN- FITZMYER- MURPHY, The Jerome Biblical Commentary, 269.

[125] F. AMIOT, The Key Concepts of St Paul, 197.

[126] L. CERFAUX, The Christian in the Theology of St Paul (New York, 1967) 334. Hereafter, CERFAUX, The Christian in the Theology of St Paul.

[127] AMIOT, The Key Concepts of St Paul, 198.

[128] BROWN- FITZMYER- MURPHY, The Jerome Biblical commentary, 269.

[129] L. CERFAUX, The Christian in the Theology of St Paul, 332.

[130] THEKKEKKARA, The Face of Early Christianity, 111.

[131] AMIOT, The Key Concepts of St Paul, 193.

[132] THEKKEKKARA, The Face of Early Christianity, 112.

[133] J. PAUL II, EcclesiadeEucharistia, No. 21 (Vatican, 2003). Hereafter, EcclesiadeEucharistia.

[134] F. E. GAEBELEN et al. eds. The Expositors Bible Commentary , Vol. 9 (Michigan, 1984) 259. Hereafter, GAEBELEN, The Expositors Bible Commentary.

[135] R. NUBIOLA, Union with God through the Eucharist (Anand, 1987) 37. Hereafter, NUBIOLA, Union with God through the Eucharist.

[136]GAEBELEN, The Expositors Bible Commentary, 259.

[137] NUBIOLA, Union with God through the Eucharist, 37.

[138] ORR – WALTHER, 1 Corinthians, 252.

[139] ORR – WALTHER, 1 Corinthians, 252.

[140] CERFAUX, The Christian in the Theology of St Paul, 335.

[141] AMIOT, The Key Concepts of St Paul, 196.

[142] AMIOT, The Key Concepts of St Paul, 196.

[143] THEKKEKKARA, The Face of Early Christianity, 112.

[144] SHEPHERD,  Jewish Holy Days,  25.

[145] AMIOT, The Key Concepts of St Paul, 200-201.

[146] AMIOT, The Key Concepts of St Paul, 200-201.

[147] MONTAGUE, The Living Thought of Saint Paul, 116-117.

[148] MONTAGUE, The Living Thought of Saint Paul, 116-117.

[149] J. RATZINGER, Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration (trans. A. J. WALKER, Milan, 2008) 269. Hereafter, RATZINGER, Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism.

[150] M. VELLANICKAL, Studies in the Gospel of John (Bangalore, 1982) 126. Here after, M. VELLANICKAL, Studies in the Gospel of John.

[151] VELLANICKAL, Studies in the Gospel of John, 126.

[152] GAEBELEN, The Expositors Bible Commentary, 78.

[153] C. K. BARRET, The Gospel according to St John: An Introduction with Commentary and Notes on the Greek Text (London, 1978) 299-300. Hereafter, BARRET, The Gospel according to St John.

[154] G. R. BEASLEY-MURRAY, John in D. A. HUBBARD – G. W. BARKER, eds.,Word Biblical Commentary Vol. 36, (Dallas, 2002) 93. Hereafter, MURRAY, John in Word Biblical Commentary.

[155] R. SCHNACKENBURG, The Gospel According to St John (trans. C. HASTINGS-F. McDONAGH-D. SMITH, London, 1980) 60. Hereafter,  SCHNACKENBURG, The Gospel According to St John.

[156] L. MORRIS, The Gospel According to John (Michigan, 1981) 380. Hereafter, MORRIS, The Gospel According to John.

[157]EcclesiadeEucharistia, No. 22.

[158] SCHNACKENBURG, The Gospel According to St John, 55.

[159] SCHNACKENBURG, The Gospel According to St John, 56.

[160] BROWN, New Jerome Biblical Commentary, 962.

[161] SCHNACKENBURG, The Gospel According to St John, 56.

[162] R.E. BROWN, The Gospel According to John I-XII (London, 1966) 284-285. Hereafter, BROWN, The Gospel According to JohnI- XII.

[163] BROWN, The Gospel According to John, 284-285.

[164] VELLANICKAL, Studies in the Gospel of John 18-19.

[165] RATZINGER, Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism, 268-269.

[166] RATZINGER, Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism, 269.

[167] MURRAY, John in Word Biblical Commentary, 93.

[168] SCHNACKENBURG, The Gospel According to St John, 63.

[169] MURRAY, John in Word Biblical Commentary, 94.

[170] M. NAICKANPARAMPIL, Faith and Life in St. John, (Bangalore, 2011) 88. Hereafter, NAICKANPARAMPIL, Faith and Life in St. John.

[171] BROWN, The Gospel According to John I-XII, 292.

[172] SCHNACKENBURG, The Gospel According to St John, 63.

[173] NAICKANPARAMPIL, Faith and Life in St. John, 89.

[174] VELLANICKAL, Studies in the Gospel of John, 129.

[175] SCHNACKENBURG, The Gospel According to St John, 63-64.

[176] VELLANICKAL, Studies in the Gospel of John, 130.

[177] M. VELLANICKAL, Divine Sonship of Man in the Bible (Kottayam, 1999) 103.

[178] G. MANGATT,  Suviseshabhashyam (Mal.), A. MEKKATTUKUNNEL ed. (Kottayam, 2010) 869.

[179] GAEBELEN, The Expositors Bible Commentary, 167.

[180] BARRET, The Gospel according to St John, 298-299.

[181] R.E. BROWN, The Gospel According to John XIII-XXI (New York, 1970) 673. Hereafter, BROWN, The Gospel According to John XIII-XXI,

[182] BROWN, The Gospel According to John XIII-XXI, 673.

[183] RATZINGER, Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism, 261-262.

[184] RATZINGER, Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism, 261-262.

[185] BROWN, New Jerome Biblical Commentary, 976.

[186] MORRIS, The Gospel According to John, 380.

[187] MURRAY, John in Word Biblical Commentary, 271.

[188] RATZINGER, Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism, 260.

[189] AUGUSTINE, Homilies on the Gospel of St. John, NPNF 1-07, P. SCHAFF ed., (New York, 1886) 455. Hereafter, AUGUSTINE, Homilies on the Gospel of St. John.

[190] MURRAY, John in Word Biblical Commentary, 272.

[191] BROWN, The Gospel According to John XIII-XXI, 672.

[192] MURRAY, John in Word Biblical Commentary, 273.

[193] BROWN, New Jerome Biblical Commentary, 979.

[194] BROWN, New Jerome Biblical Commentary, 979.

[195] R. E. CLEMENTS – M. BLACK, eds., New Century Bible Commentary: The Gospel of John (London, 1986) 84.

[196] R. KYSAR, John’s story of Jesus (Philadelphia, 1984) 69. Hereafter, KYSAR, John’s story of Jesus.

[197] AUGUSTINE, Homilies on the Gospel of St. John.

[198] M. VELLANICKAL, Studies in the Gospel of John, 131.

[199] M. VELLANICKAL, Studies in the Gospel of John, 131.

[200] KYSAR, John’s story of Jesus, 74.

[201] VELLANICKAL, Studies in the Gospel of John, 132.

[202] MURRAY, John in Word Biblical Commentary, 302.

[203] BROWN, The Gospel According to John XIII-XXI, 776.

[204] VELLANICKAL, Studies in the Gospel of John, 132.

[205] J. –M. R. TILLARD, “Communion” in Encyclopedia of Christian Theology 1 (New York, 2005) 329.

[206] J. H. BERNARD, The Gospel according to St. John  in A.H. MCNEILE, ed., A Critical and Exegetical Commentary (New York, 1929) 576. Hereafter, BERNARD, The Gospel according to St. John.

[207] VELLANICKAL, Studies in the Gospel of John, 90.

[208] VELLANICKAL, Studies in the Gospel of John, 93.

[209] GAEBELEN, The Expositors Bible Commentary, 167.

[210] GAEBELEN, The Expositors Bible Commentary, 167.

[211] BERNARD, The Gospel according to St.  John, 577.

[212] MURRAY, John in Word Biblical Commentary, 301.

[213] MURRAY, John in Word Biblical Commentary, 301.

[214] J. RATZINGER, Jesus of Nazareth: From the Entrance into Jerusalem, 95-96.

[215] RATZINGER, Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism, 270.

[216] N. CABASILAS, The Life in Christ, IV, 10. 26: SCh 355, 270. 288 as quoted in Instruction for Applying the Liturgical Prescriptions of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches (Kottayam, 1996) 47-48.

[217]CCC, No. 1325.

[218]The  Syro-Malabar Qurbana: The Order of Raza (Trivandrum, 1989) 1. Hereafter, The  Syro-Malabar Qurbana.

[219] L. ARANGASSERY, Ecclesial Dimensions of East Syrian Liturgy  (Kottayam, 1990) 17. Hereafter, ARANGASSERY, Ecclesial Dimensions of East Syrian Liturgy.

[220] A. FLANNERY, ed., “SacrosanctumConcilium,”  No. 7 in Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, Vol. 1 (Mumbai, 2010). Hereafter, “SacrosanctumConcilium.”

[221] ARANGASSERY, Ecclesial Dimensions of East Syrian Liturgy, 19.

[222] T. MANNOORAMPARAMPIL, Syro-Malabar Sabhayude Qurbana Oru Padanam (Mal.) Vol. 1 (Kottayam, 2004) 77. Hereafter, MANNOORAMPARAMPIL, Syro-Malabar Sabhayude Qurbana,Vol. 1.

[223]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 1.

[224] MANNOORAMPARAMPIL, Syro-Malabar Sabhayude Qurbana, Vol. 1, 82.

[225] NARSAI, The Liturgical Homilies (trans. R. H. Connolly, J.A. Robinson, ed., Cambridge, 1909) 8. Hereafter, NARSAI, The Liturgical Homilies.

[226] NARSAI, The Liturgical Homilies, 9

[227] ARANGASSERY, Ecclesial Dimensions of East Syrian Liturgy, 23.

[228] P. MANIYATTU, “Theology of  Syro-Malabar Qurbana” in A. MEKKATTUKUNNEL, ed., Mar Thoma Margam (Kottayam, 2012) 258.

[229]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 18.

[230]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 18.

[231] MANNOORAMPARAMPIL, Syro-Malabar Sabhayude Qurbana, Vol. 1, 314.

[232]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 26.

[233]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 26.

[234] NARSAI, The Liturgical Homilies, 3.

[235] PATHIKULANGARA, Qurbana, 186.

[236]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 29.

[237] NARSAI, The Liturgical Homilies, 3.

[238]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 31.

[239]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 33-34.

[240] NARSAI, The Liturgical Homilies, 7.

[241] PATHIKULANGARA, Qurbana, 208.

[242] PATHIKULANGARA, Qurbana, 218.

[243] MANNOORAMPARAMPIL, Syro-Malabar Sabhayude Qurbana, Vol. 2, 169.

[244]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 37.

[245] NARSAI, The Liturgical Homilies, 11.

[246] PATHIKULANGARA, Qurbana, 222.

[247] PATHIKULANGARA, Qurbana, 223.

[248] MANNOORAMPARAMPIL, Syro-Malabar Sabhayude Qurbana, Vol. 2, 147.

[249]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 38.

[250]Qanona means “Antiphon.”

[251] J. CHITTILAPPILLY, Mdabbranuta: The Divine Dispensation of Our Lord in the Holy Qurbana of the east Syrian Tradition (Kottayam, 1999) 189. Hereafter, CHITTILAPPILLY, Mdabbranuta.

[252]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 38.

[253] MANNOORAMPARAMPIL, Syro-Malabar Sabhayude Qurbana, Vol. 2, 164.

[254]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 38-39.

[255] MANNOORAMPARAMPIL, Syro-Malabar Sabhayude Qurbana, Vol. 2, 171.

[256] NARSAI, The Liturgical Homilies, 13.

[257] MANNOORAMPARAMPIL, Syro-Malabar Sabhayude Qurbana, Vol. 2, 169.

[258] PATHIKULANGARA, Qurbana, 222.

[259]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 40.

[260] PATHIKULANGARA, Qurbana, 228.

[261] MANNOORAMPARAMPIL, Syro-Malabar Sabhayude Qurbana, Vol. 2, 20.

[262] “SacrosanctumConcilium,”  No. 10.

[263] PATHIKULANGARA, Qurbana, 229.15.

[264] T.  ELAVANAL, The Memorial Celebration: A Theological Study of the Anaphora of the Apostles Mar Addai and Mari (Kottayam, 1989) 114-115. Hereafter, ELAVANAL, The Memorial Celebration.

[265] MANNOORAMPARAMPIL, Syro-Malabar Sabhayude Qurbana, Vol. 2, 293.

[266]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 44-45.

[267] MANNOORAMPARAMPIL, Syro-Malabar Sabhayude Qurbana, Vol. 2, 343.

[268] PATHIKULANGARA, Qurbana, 232.

[269] The translation of the Commentary on Eucharist of Gabriel Qatraya used in this chapter is that of  Jean Mathew in J. MATHEW, Structure and Theology of East Syriac Qurbānā according to Gabriel Qatraya: A Liturgical and Theological Analysis of Gabriel Qatraya’s Commentary on the Office of the Mysteries (Kottayam, 2012) 22-42. Hereafter, Mathew, Structure and Theology of East Syriac Qurbānā.

[270] G. QATRAYA, Commentary on the Eucharist, No. 56 (trans. in J. Mathew, Structure and Theology of East Syriac Qurbānā , Kottayam, 2012) 33. Hereafter, QATRAYA, Commentary on the Eucharist.

[271] PATHIKULANGARA, Qurbana, 233.

[272] NARSAI, The Liturgical Homilies, 20.

[273]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 44.

[274] QATRAYA, Commentary on the Eucharist, No. 63.

[275] QATRAYA, Commentary on the Eucharist, No. 71.

[276] PATHIKULANGARA, Qurbana, 233.

[277]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 45.

[278] PATHIKULANGARA, Qurbana, 165.

[279] CHITTILAPPILLY, Mdabbranuta, 228.

[280]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 47.

[281] PATHIKULANGARA, Qurbana, 240.

[282] MANNOORAMPARAMPIL, Syro-Malabar Sabhayude Qurbana, Vol. 2, 343.

[283]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 50.

[284] QATRAYA, Commentary on the Eucharist, No. 73.

[285]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 51.

[286]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 51.

[287]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 54.

[288] EPHREM, “Hymns on Virginity,” 37:2 in S. P. BROCK, Luminous Eye (Oxford, 1989) 105.

[289]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 54.

[290]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 56.

[291] QATRAYA, Commentary on the Eucharist, 83.

[292] PATHIKULANGARA, Qurbana, 253.

[293] MANNOORAMPARAMPIL, Syro-Malabar Sabhayude Qurbana, Vol. 2, 542.

[294]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 57.

[295] MANNOORAMPARAMPIL, Syro-Malabar Sabhayude Qurbana, Vol. 2, 545-547.

[296]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 59.

[297]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 59.

[298]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 60.

[299] QATRAYA, Commentary on the Eucharist, No. 85.

[300] MANNOORAMPARAMPIL, Syro-Malabar Sabhayude Qurbana, Vol. 2, 562.

[301] PATHIKULANGARA, Qurbana, 265.

[302]CCC, No. 1329.

[303] PATHIKULANGARA, Qurbana, 152.

[304] PATHIKULANGARA, Qurbana, 152.

[305] PATHIKULANGARA, Qurbana, 152.

[306]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 2.

[307]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 8.

[308]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 14.

[309]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 21.

[310]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 21.

[311]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 22.

[312] NARSAI, The Liturgical Homilies, 2.

[313] QATRAYA, Commentary on Eucharist, No. 41.

[314] PATHIKULANGARA, Qurbana, 186.

[315] PATHIKULANGARA, Qurbana, 206.

[316] PATHIKULANGARA, Qurbana, 206.

[317] MEKKATTUKUNNEL, Syro-Malabar Holy Qurbana: The Ineffable Gift, 81.

[318] NARSAI, The Liturgical Homilies, 6.

[319]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 33.

[320] PATHIKULANGARA, Qurbana, 207.

[321] QATRAYA, Commentary on the Eucharist, No. 53

[322] QATRAYA, Commentary on the Eucharist, No. 54

[323] PATHIKULANGARA, Qurbana, 211.

[324] PATHIKULANGARA, Qurbana, 211.

[325] NARSAI, The Liturgical Homilies, 9.

[326] THEODORE OF MOPSUESTIA, Commentary on the Sacrament of Eucharist (trans.  A. Mingana, Cambridge, 1933) 92.

[327]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 36.

[328] QATRAYA, Commentary on the Eucharist, No. 60.

[329]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 37.

[330] MEKKATTUKUNNEL, Syro-Malabar Holy Qurbana,, 78.

[331]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 42.

[332] MEKKATTUKUNNEL, Syro Malabar Holy Qurbana, 40.

[333]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 40.

[334] MEKKATTUKUNNEL, Syro Malabar Holy Qurbana, 42-43.

[335]CCC, No. 1368.

[336] PATHIKULANGARA, Qurbana, 230.

[337]CCC, No. 1354.

[338]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 44.

[339] ELAVANAL, The Memorial Celebration, 141.

[340]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 45.

[341] J. KOCHUPARAMPIL ed., Parisudha Qurbana: Kraisthava Jeevithakendram (Mal.) (Changanassery, 2006) 124. Hereafter, KOCHUPARAMPIL ed., Parisudha Qurbana,

[342] PATHIKULANGARA, Qurbana, 244.

[343]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 49.

[344] KOCHUPARAMPIL ed., Parisudha Qurbana, 126.

[345]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 50.

[346]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 55.

[347]CCC, No. 1331.

[348] P. MANIYATTU, Heaven on Earth: The Theology of Liturgical Spacetime in the East Syrian Qurbana (Rome, 1995) 259. Hereafter, MANIYATTU, Heaven on Earth.

[349] TAFF, Beyond East and West, 102.

[350] R. TAFF, Beyond East and West: Problems in Liturgical Understanding (Washington, 1984) 102. Hereafter, TAFF, Beyond East and West, 102.

[351]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 57.

[352]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 61.

[353]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 60.

[354] MATHEW, Structure and Theology of East Syriac Qurbānā, 287-289.

[355] ELAVANAL, The Memorial Celebration, 103.

[356] “SacrosanctumConcilium,”  No 8.

[357] MANNOORAMPARAMPIL, Syro-Malabar Sabhayude Qurbana, Vol. 1, 83.

[358] ELAVANAL, The Memorial Celebration, 101.

[359] ELAVANAL, The Memorial Celebration, 101.

[360] MANNOORAMPARAMPIL, Syro-Malabar Sabhayude Qurbana, Vol. 1, 97-98.

[361]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 8.

[362]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 9.

[363] ARANGASSERY, Ecclesial Dimensions of East Syrian Liturgy, 93.

[364] MANNOORAMPARAMPIL, Syro-Malabar Sabhayude Qurbana, Vol. 1, 166.

[365] QATRAYA, Commentary on the Eucharist, No. 7.

[366] QATRAYA, Commentary on the  Eucharist, No. 13.

[367] MATHEW, Structure and Theology of East Syriac Qurbānā, 293.

[368] MANNOORAMPARAMPIL, Syro-Malabar Sabhayude Qurbana, Vol. 1, 223.

[369] MEKKATTUKUNNEL, Syro Malabar Holy Qurbana, 57.

[370] MANNOORAMPARAMPIL, Syro-Malabar Sabhayude Qurbana, Vol. 1, 231.

[371]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 29.

[372] MANNOORAMPARAMPIL, Syro-Malabar Sabhayude Qurbana, Vol. 1, 439.

[373] QATRAYA, Commentary on the Eucharist, No. 47.

[374]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 34.

[375] PATHIKULANGARA, Qurbana, 209.

[376] S. ATHAPILLY, “Theological Dimension of the Anaphora of Addai and Mari” in B. PUTHUR ed., Studies on the Anaphora of Addai and Mari (Kochi, 2004) 130.

[377]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 38.

[378] PATHIKULANGARA, Qurbana, 226.

[379] MANNOORAMPARAMPIL, Syro-Malabar Sabhayude Qurbana, 147.

[380] MANNOORAMPARAMPIL, Syro-Malabar Sabhayude Qurbana, 309.

[381] ELAVANAL, The Memorial Celebration, 101.

[382] ELAVANAL, The Memorial Celebration, 103.

[383]Expositio II, 55; syr. Text, 58, as quoted by MANIYATTU, Heaven on Earth, 112-113.

[384]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 39.

[385] PATHIKULANGARA, Qurbana, 227.

[386]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 39.

[387]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 42.

[388]The Syro-Malabar Qurbana, 48

[389] E. PETERSON, The Angels and the Liturgy: The Status and the Significance of the Holoy Angels in Worship, viii, as quoted by Mathew, Structure and Theology of East Syriac Qurbānā, 293.

[390] ERAMBIL, The Eucharist and Human: Christian Existence  17.

[391] ERAMBIL, The Eucharist and Human: Christian Existence, 64.

[392] M. VELLANICKAL, Studies in the Gospel of John, 54.

[393] PATHIKULANGARA, Qurbana, 253.

[394] ERAMBIL, The Eucharist and Human: Christian Existence, 281.

[395] P. MANIYATTU, “East Syriac Theology of Eucharist” in P. MANIYATTU ed., East Syriac Theology: An Introduction (Satna, 2007) 306. Hereafter, MANIYATTU, “East Syriac Theology of Eucharist.”

[396] CANTALAMESSA, The Eucharist Our Sanctification,  45.

[397] M. VELLANICKAL, Studies in the Gospel of John, 130.

[398] MANIYATTU, “East Syriac Theology of  Eucharist,” 302.

[399] MATHEW, Structure and Theology of  East Syriac Qurbānā, 249.

[400] MANIYATTU, “East Syriac Theology of  Eucharist,” 302.

[401] MATHEW, Structure and Theology of  East Syriac Qurbānā, 250.

[402] ERAMBIL, The Eucharist and Human: Christian Existence, 283.

[403] MANIYATTU , East Syriac Theology of Eucharist, 307.

[404] “Sacrosanctum Concilium,” No. 47.

Pin It

Comments are closed.