Preface (liturgy)

In liturgical use the term preface is applied to that portion of the Eucharistic Prayer that immediately precedes the Canon or central portion of the Eucharist (Mass or Divine Liturgy).[1] The preface, which begins at the words, "It is very meet and just, right and salutary" (or a variation thereof) is ushered in, in all liturgies, with the Sursum Corda, "Lift up your hearts", and ends with the Sanctus, "Holy, Holy, Holy, etc."

In the Western liturgies, proper prefaces are appointed for particular occasions. In the various Eastern liturgies there is great variation. Among those who follow the Rite of Constantinople the audible portion of the preface does not change, but the silent prayer said by the priest will differ depending upon whether it is the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom or the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great. Among the Oriental Orthodox Churches the preface will take different forms, depending upon the liturgical rite or the particular feast day.

Roman Catholic form

In the Roman Rite, the preface opens with the following:

Priest: Dominus vobiscum.
People: Et cum spiritu tuo.
Priest: Sursum corda.
People: Habemus ad Dominum.
Priest: Gratias agamus Domino Deo nostro.
People: Dignum et iustum est.

The current English translation has:

Priest: The Lord be with you.
People: And with your spirit.
Priest: Lift up your hearts.
People: We lift them up to the Lord.
Priest: Let us give thanks to the Lord, our God.
People: It is right and just.

Anglican forms

In the 1979 United States edition of the Book of Common Prayer, this dialogue for Rite One, which uses traditional language, is given as

Priest: The Lord be with you.
People: And with thy spirit.
Priest: Lift up your hearts.
People: We lift them up unto the Lord.
Priest: Let us give thanks unto our Lord God.
People: It is meet and right so to do.
Priest: It is very meet, right, and our bounden duty, that we should . . .

Rite Two, in contemporary language, has the form:

Priest: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.
Priest: Lift up your hearts.
People: We lift them to the Lord.
Priest: Let us give thanks to the Lord, our God.
People: It is right to give him thanks and praise.
Priest: It is right, and a good and joyful thing, . . .

Lutheran forms

Among Lutheranism, the preface has many different translations that can be used in the Divine Service. The following is a common form:[2]

Pastor: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.
Pastor: Lift up your hearts.
People: We lift them up to the Lord.
Pastor: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People: It is right to give him thanks and praise.

The following form may also be used, however some responses may vary (noted with a "/"):

Pastor: The Lord be with you.
People: And with thy/your spirit.
Pastor: Lift up your hearts.
People: We lift them up unto/to the Lord.
Pastor: Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People: It is right and just/It is mete and right so to do.

Byzantine Rite form

In the Byzantine Rite, the preface opens with the following:

Greek original English translation[3]
Deacon Ἂς σταθοῦμε καλά· ἂς σταθοῦμε μὲ φόβο· ἂς προσέξουμε νὰ προσφέρωμε τὴν ἁγία ἀναφορὰ μὲ εἰρήνη. Let us stand well; let us stand with fear; let us attend, that we may offer the Holy Oblation in peace.
People Εἰρηνικὴ ἡ ἀγάπη μας, δοξαστικὴ ἡ θυσία μας. A mercy of peace, a sacrifice of praise.
Priest Ἡ χάρη τοῦ Κυρίου μας Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, καὶ ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ Πατέρα, καὶ ἡ ἑνότητα τοῦ Ἁγίου Πνεύματος ἂς εἶναι μὲ ὅλους σας. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God the Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.
People Καὶ μὲ τὸ πνεῦμα σου. And with thy spirit.
Priest Ἂς ὑψώσουμε πρὸς τὸ Θεὸ τὶς καρδιές μας. Let us lift up our hearts.
People Ἔχομε τὴν καρδιά μας στραμμένη στὸ Θεό. We lift them up unto the Lord.
Priest Ἂς εὐχαριστήσουμε τὸν Κύριο. Let us give thanks unto the Lord.
People Ἀξίζει καὶ πρέπει. It is mete and right.
(to worship the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the Trinity one in essence and undivided.)

References

  1. ^ Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Preface" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  2. ^ Lutheran Service Book, 2006 (Concordia Publishing House)
  3. ^ Saint John Chrysostom. "The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom". liturgics. Translated by The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America. St. George Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church. Retrieved 2020-10-28.

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