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Epiklesis

After the ele­va­tion of the eucharis­tic gifts to the Father, the cel­e­brant of the Divine Litur­gy prays for the Holy Spir­it to come upon them, and upon all of the peo­ple, and to change (or as the Litur­gy of St. Basil says, to show) the bread and wine offered in remem­brance of Christ to be the very Body and Blood of the Lord.

The prayer for the com­ing of the Holy Spir­it is con­sid­ered by the Ortho­dox to be an essen­tial part of the Divine Litur­gy. It is called the epik­le­sis, which means lit­er­al­ly the call­ing upon or the invo­ca­tion.

The Ortho­dox Church believes, as it prays, that the Holy Spir­it is always “every­where and fills all things.” The invo­ca­tion of the Holy Spir­it at the Divine Litur­gy is the solemn affir­ma­tion that every­thing in life which is pos­i­tive and good is accom­plished by the Spir­it of God. Cre­ation, sal­va­tion, eter­nal glo­ri­fi­ca­tion; the entire work of God in mak­ing and sav­ing the world is accom­plished by the pow­er of the Holy Spir­it. He is the one who dwelt in Jesus mak­ing him the Christ. He is the one by whom Christ was incar­nate of the Vir­gin Mary. He is the one who led Christ to the cross as the inno­cent Vic­tim, the one who raised him from the dead as the tri­umphant Victor.

He is the one who guar­an­tees the indwelling of God with men in the Holy Com­mu­nion of the Church and in the life of the King­dom to come.

Again we offer unto Thee this rea­son­able and blood­less wor­ship, and we ask Thee, and pray Thee, and sup­pli­cate Thee: Send down Thy Holy Spir­it upon us and upon these gifts here offered. And make this bread the pre­cious Body of Thy Christ.

And that which is in this cup, the pre­cious Blood of Thy Christ.

 

Mak­ing the change by the Holy Spirit.

That these gifts may be to those who par­take for the purifi­ca­tion of soul, for remis­sion of sins, for the com­mu­nion of the Holy Spir­it, for the ful­fill­ment of the King­dom of Heav­en; for bold­ness towards Thee, and not for judg­ment or condemnation.

In the Ortho­dox Church­es of the Slav­ic tra­di­tion, the Prayer of the Third Hour is added to the epik­le­sis. It is a prayer ask­ing the Lord to send the Holy Spir­it to the Church right now as he did “at the third hour” to his holy apos­tles and dis­ci­ples on Pen­te­cost. This prayer was added to empha­size the neces­si­ty of the Holy Spir­it in the sacra­men­tal action of the Divine Litur­gy, and to affirm that noth­ing at all may be done in Christ with­out the spe­cif­ic inter­ven­tion of the Spir­it of God.