ANAMNESIS

ANAMNESIS This term, which originally meant memory, commemoration, in liturgical use assumed the technical meaning of a commemoration of the great moments of Christ’s saving passion, in reference to the charge given to the disciples at the Last Supper according to 1 Cor 11:24-25 and Lk 22:19 Whenever you do this, do it in memory of me. With K. Rahner Petit dictionnaire de thologie catholique, fr. ed. 1970, 24, we can technically define anamnesis as: a celebration that makes present an event of salvation history, so as to take hold of the hearts and minds of those participating in the rite. The oldest surviving liturgical formulary, that of the Apostolic Tradition, had already clarified the two essential moments of this salvific work death and resurrection so as to directly link them to the offering of the bread and chalice as thanksgiving eucharistia, that we might be admitted to the fulfillment of a priestly service i`erateu,ein, a term somewhat weakened in the Latin rendering, ministrare. The Roman canon, attested from the late 4th c. by Ambrose’s De Sacramentis IV, 27, also mentions the descent into hell and the glorious ascension. Some see a Syrian origin in these developments, as with the reference to the passion rather than the death. In any case, it was in fact in Syria that these formularies had their greatest development. The old Mesopotamian anaphora of the apostles Addai and Mari evoked this great, terrible, holy, living and divine mystery of the passion, death, burial and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In the last decades of the 4th c. the compiler of the Apostolic Constitutions substituted a long anaphora for the sober scheme of the Apostolic Tradition, unfolding all of the steps of the economy of salvation, beginning with creation. The account of the institution of the Eucharist ends with the Pauline declaration: Every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord, until he comes. The formula of the anamnesis continues: Mindful of his passion, death, resurrection from the dead, return into heaven and future second coming, when he will reappear with glory and power to judge the living and the dead, rendering to each one according to his works, we offer to You, King and God, in conformity with your commandment, this bread and this chalice; we thank you, through them, for considering us worthy to stand before you and exercise the priesthood Apos. Con. VIII, 38. The emphasis given here to the eschatalogical perspective is also found in the various recensions of the Jerusalem anaphora of St. James, and subsequently in all the Syriac and Egyptian anaphoras, as well as in some Spanish Post Pridie’s. A more or less explicit response to Christ’s instruction to renew the essential acts of his last meal in his memory eivj th.n evmh.n avna,mnhsin, the formularies that have been called anamnesis in fact rather late risk focusing our attention too exclusively. In fact it is the entire eucharistic rite, and more particularly the great prayer in the form of thanksgiving eucharistia the anaphora as it is understood in Eastern liturgies which constitutes the memorial, in all the semantic richness of the biblical Hebrew terms azkarah and zikkaron. The first designates the sacrificial offering of flour, oil and incense, that the priest will burn on the altar as a memorial Lev 2:1-2. The latter term characterizes the passover celebration: This day shall be for you a memorial Ex 12:14. The resonances of this Passover memorial have been continually enriched, now encompassing the whole breadth of the plan of salvation. The fact is certainly not without significance that the Greek liturgical tradition has preferred the term qusi,a literally: what goes up in smoke to indicate the sacrificial character of the eucharistic celebration, and that Syrian Christians would call it corban, i.e., oblation. The anaphoras of Alexandria St. Mark, Gk, and St. Cyril, Coptic, Jerusalem St. James and its Syrian derivatives and Cappadocia St. Basil of Caesarea and its various recensions were elaborated within the global perspective of this plan of salvation, beginning from the work of creation and moving, through the various stages of the old covenant, toward its decisive manifestation in the incarnation of Christ and his sacrificial offering on the cross, which accomplished his passing-over pascha to the Father, the firstfruits of what will be definitively fulfilled by the ecclesial community at the time of the final coming see Second Coming of Christ. It is thus the whole formulary of the anaphora that should be considered an anamnesis in the full sense of the word. The patristic commentaries, esp. those in Greek, love to draw out the vastness of these perspectives. In the West, until the contemporary liturgical reform, attention has generally been given to those aspects of the anamnesis referring to Christ, whereas the biblical conception of the memorial as an actuation of the plan of salvation, at least in its most characteristic moments, has been too little emphasized. During and since the Middle Ages, deplorable translations have been derived from it which have weighed heavily on the sacrificial interpretation of the Eucharist. It will remain one of Odo Casel’s greatest merits, even if some of his interpretations are not entirely convincing, to have collected and commented on the principal patristic and liturgical evidence. DACL 1, 1880-92; O. Casel, Das Mysterienged¤chtnis der Messliturgie im Lichte der Tradition: JLW 6 1926 113-204 Fr. tr. 1962; J.M. Hanssen, Institutiones liturgicae de ritibus orientalibus, III, Rome 1932, 1316-1322; C. Giraudo, L’eucaristia per la Chiesa, Rome-Brescia 1989; LTK3  1,589-593; 4,338-339; B. Neunheuser, Memoriale, in Liturgia, eds. D. Sartore, A.M. Triacca, C. Cibien, Cinisello B. 2001, 1163-1179.Andrew Bayer Announces Anamnesis North American Tour – EDMTunes travelquaz

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