Paschal Homily of St John Chrysostom

Ἡ χάρις τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ Θεοῦ καί Πατρὸς καὶ ἡ κοινωνία τοῦ Ἁγίου Πνεύματος εἴη μετὰ πάντων ὑμῶν.

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.

T his blessing, chanted by the clergy at the beginning of the second main part of the Holy Liturgy, commonly known as the Holy Anaphora, is a direct quote of St Paul’s final blessing from his 2nd Epistle to the Corinthians (2 Cor 13:14). Every Divine blessing, in fact every Divine action, is a common act of the Holy Trinity. St Gregory of Nyssa explains that, “every operation which extends from God to the Creation, and is named according to our variable conceptions of it, has its origin from the Father, and proceeds through the Son, and is perfected in the Holy Spirit.” (St Gregory Nyssa, “One Not three Gods”).

St Nicholas Cabasilas explains the meaning of this benediction in an extended passage from his Commentary on the Holy Liturgy: “It (this prayer) procures for us the benefits of the Holy Trinity… and it asks from each of the Divine Persons his special gift: from the Son grace, from the Father love, from the Spirit fellowship.” He goes on to explain that Jesus Christ, through giving Himself as Saviour to us even though we had given nothing to Him, shows us that, “His care of us then is in the truest sense of grace.” He continues: “The Father, through the sufferings of his Son, was reconciled to mankind, and showered His love upon His enemies, so that His goodness to us is given the name of love.”

Furthermore, through His descent on the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit “wished to give to His enemies who had now become His friends the best of Himself… that is why His goodness to men is called fellowship.” He then asks rhetorically: “what need is there to pray for that which we have already received?” and answers himself: “we pray thus in order that we may not lose that which we have received, but may keep it for ever.” Ultimately, every Holy Liturgy is the communion of man in the Grace of the Holy Trinity. the joy and beauty of Pascha.

Source: Lychnos June / July 2016