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Thanksgiving

After the com­mu­nion of the peo­ple, the cel­e­brant bless­es them with the words: 0 Lord, save Thy peo­ple and bless Thine inher­i­tance. The peo­ple sing in response:

We have seen the True Light! We have received the Heav­en­ly Spir­it! We have found the True Faith! Wor­ship­ing the Undi­vid­ed Trin­i­ty, Who has saved us.

The cel­e­brant then bless­es the faith­ful with the eucharis­tic chal­ice in which the gifts not received are still present, as he takes them to the table of obla­tion where the youngest mem­ber of the cler­gy con­sumes them. Dur­ing the removal of the con­se­crat­ed gifts the peo­ple sing:

Let our mouths be filled with Thy praise O Lord, that we may sing of Thy glo­ry; for Thou hast made us wor­thy to par­take of Thy Holy, Divine, Immor­tal and Life-cre­at­ing Mys­ter­ies. Keep us in Thy holi­ness, that all the day we may med­i­tate upon Thy right­eous­ness. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

A litany of thanks­giv­ing is then sung to the Lord with prayers of grat­i­tude that he has blessed his peo­ple with par­tic­i­pa­tion in the “heav­en­ly and immor­tal mys­ter­ies.” The prayers also ask God to keep the whole day “per­fect, holy, peace­ful and sin­less;” that through the recep­tion of Holy Com­mu­nion, God would “make straight our path, strength­en us all in Thy fear; guard our lives, make firm our steps. …”

The songs and prayers fol­low­ing Holy Com­mu­nion in the Divine Litur­gy, as all parts of the holy ser­vice, pre­sup­pose that the mem­bers of the Church are par­tak­ing in the eucharis­tic mys­ter­ies and are receiv­ing the gifts of Christ’s Body and Blood. The offer­to­ry, the anapho­ra, the epik­le­sis, the remem­brances, the Our Father, and the com­mu­nion itself all affirm the active par­tic­i­pa­tion of the faithful.

Thus it is obvi­ous from the text of the Divine Litur­gy as it is always served in the Ortho­dox Church that the recep­tion of Holy Com­mu­nion on the part of the peo­ple is a reg­u­lar and nor­mal part of the litur­gy and the life of Chris­tians. It is not to be reserved for spe­cial days or sea­sons, but is to he done prayer­ful­ly and care­ful­ly at all times when the Divine Litur­gy is celebrated.

It may hap­pen that all mem­bers of the Church are not pre­pared to receive Holy Com­mu­nion at the Divine Litur­gy. It is even rea­son­able to expect that this will often be the case, giv­en the present con­di­tions of life and the great num­ber of peo­ple who are just nom­al­ly Chris­tians. How­ev­er, be that it may be, it must be very force­ful­ly affirmed, with­out any reser­va­tions or doubts, that the prayers, hymns and actions of the Divine Litur­gy of the Ortho­dox Church pre­sup­pose the reg­u­lar and nor­mal par­tic­i­pa­tion of all of the peo­ple in Holy Com­mu­nion; and that the fail­ure on the part of the faith­ful to receive the Holy Mys­ter­ies of Christ is to deprive the Divine Litur­gy of its essen­tial mean­ing and purpose.