The Holy Qurbana (Eucharist)
Our Lord instituted the Sacrament, in which is provided sacramental means of holy communion between Christ and His members that they may share in the benefits of His eternal life and atoning death.
In the scripture we read of Breaking of Bread (Acts. 2:42) the Eucharist -thanksgiving (1 Cor.14:16) it is also called the Liturgy (worship of God) Communion - the holy union with Jesus, Holy Sacrifice, because it sets forth sacramentally the sacrifice of Christ's death and the Holy Mysteries -- because only the faithful used to be permitted to be present, and not the un-baptised or those who were living in open sin.
In Syriac it is called 'Sauthopooso' - meaning uniting because we become partakers of the Body of Christand becomes one with Him. Also 'Qoorbo'- Sacrifice, 'Rose - Mysteries; this was given in the Upper room as a mystery., 'Gmiroos Gmirvoso - perfection of perfections.
No sacrament is perfect without Holy Qurbana (Zalge) The Mystery of love and peace. By this we are united with Christ, and we are reconciled with each other at the Table of the Lord. (1 cor.19:21) (Viaticum - our spiritual food in this world and protector in our journey to the everlasting bliss. the early Church insisted that dying persons should partake of the Holy Qurbana.
In Jerusalem, in the house of Markose (now the Monastery of St.Mark, in the possession of Syrian Orthodox Church ) on the night before He suffered, our Lord took (LAHMO) leavened bread gave thanks and broke it and gave to the apostles saying - "Take eat; this is my body which is given to you, and He took a cup of wine mingled with water - and said this is my Blood, of new Covenant which is shed for you and for many for the remission of sins. Do this in remembrance of me.
According to our lord's commandment from early days, the Holy Communion was the chief act of worship. The first Christians continued in the breaking of bread. A careful study of the words uttered by the Son of God, brings us to a sure footing.
He did not say - This represents my body, but -THIS IS MY BODY. Neither did He say, Take this bread and it will become my body to those who receive it with faith - nor Take this bread and it will help you to spiritual communion with me. But explicitly He said- "this is my Body'. This is the only way in which the church understood our Lord's words. Note the teaching of St.Paul in 1 Cor.10:16, 11:29.
Nobody can explain HOW the bread and wine becomes the body and Blood, any more than we can explain How the divine and human were one in the Child in the manger. We cannot explain the real presence of God-made man either at Bethlehem or at the Altar.
The consecrated bread and wine becomes the Body and Blood of our Lord, when the priest according to the command of Christ, and exercising the powers of Christ's priesthood has consecrated the bread and wine, as did Christ.
That which is on the Altar is true Body and Blood of our Risen Lord - the body he took of the Holy Mother of God and the blood which he shed for our redemption. He who has ascended to His glory is still in this way present with us, in us and we in Him.
The Real Presence
It is not a matter of imagination. The reality is not brought by our faith; it is brought about by God's creative word and the power of the Holy Spirit. As it was at the time of conception of the Son of God by the Holy Virgin, the Holy Ghost comes down upon the bread and wine and the power of the Most High overshadows them and that which is present is holy, the Son of God,in His body and Blood.
Thus in the Eucharist under the appearance of the bread and wine, the Lord Christ is contained, offered and received. (All Christians adhered to the true doctrine of Real Presence, from Apostolic times up to the Protestant Reformation) PROMISE see Jn. 48-59 and INSTITUTION Mat. 26: 26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Lu. 22: 19,20; 1Cor. 11:23-29
The matter in the Holy Qurbana is bread and wine. The bread should be made of wheat flour, because our Lord used it and had been used all these centuries. (Synod of Carthage)
It should be leavened bread. "other notable customs, peculiar to the East is the use of leavened Bread as it was in the West for centuries."
The wine must be made from grapes, and it must be proportionally mixed with water.(apostle's teachings) Mar Hebraeus says, regarding the mixing of water, that on the Cross, blood and water ran from our Lord's side.
St. Paul has explicitly stated that it "the Body" ---- St. Ephrem says - you partake with complete faith the BODY of our Lord. You do not in the least doubt that it is the "LAMB" you are partaking. The Body of Christ and the Blood of Christ are mingled with our Body and Blood. This is beyond explanation. "He by His abundant Grace enters into us completely."
The Authority to offer Holy Qurbana is vested in Bishops, the successors of Apostles, and they delegate the authority to the priests at Ordination.
We believe that the "whole Church" - those assembled, and those beyond the veil - are present at the time of offering of Qurbana.
How to receive.
The non-baptised, the lapsed to heretics, the excommunicated are not allowed to communicate.
Inter-communion only with those Churches that are one in Faith with the Holy Church.
Children are allowed to communicate
The word Qurbana has its origin from the Syriac word 'Kurbono'.In the Old Testament of the Syriac Bible, the word 'Kurbano' is used to represent words like 'offering' and 'sacrifice'. As there is no proper word for translating it into different languages
The Holy Qurbana is based on the service done by our Lord before his disciples during 'The Last supper' using bread and wine. The Lord himself was the chief celebrant. The Bishops and Priests became the celebrants later.
While the early Christians did not have a fixed day or time to gather for worship, the practice of coming together on the morning of the first day of the week evolved during the course of time. The worship also changed with the times. Our present form of worship reminds us of the sacrifice of our Lord on the cross ,His resurrection and His second coming. It symbolizes the worship by heavenly angels as described in the books of Isaiah and Revelations.
Through the Holy Qurbana, we remember the sacrifice of our Lord on the Calvery. In Romans 12:1. St. Paul says "So then, my brothers, because of our God's great mercy to us I appeal to you: Offer yourself as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him. This is the true worship you should offer." The Holy Qurbana is our living sacrifice.
The Holy Qurbana is an important Sacrament instituted by our Lord. We are connected to him by his body and blood through this sacrament. It was done by the sacrifice of lambs during the Old Testament days as the forerunner of the sacrifice that was to be fulfilled in Holy body of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God.
The songs and prayers reveal eternal truths. Every act during the Holy Qurbana, the dress of the priest, every word that is uttered, the colors used and the things that are used, all has its own significance and reminds us of the experiences of heaven. The Holy Qurbana delights all our senses and engages our body , mind and heart. When we witness the Holy sacrifice of our Lord with body, mind and soul as a thanks offering, we submit ourselves as the 'Living sacrifice' .
We believe in the real presence of our Lord in the bread and wine.It is literally not the body and blood. Just as the heat remains in the iron after heating without change in form, the bread and wine becomes the Body and Blood of our Lord by His presence. It is a "Great Mystery' and is beyond the power of human reasoning.
The name for leavened bread in the Syriac Bible is 'Lahamo' and for unleavened bread 'Patheera'. The bread used during 'passover' was unleavened bread. But the bread which our Lord broke with his disciples at the Sehion Mansion has been described in the Bible by using the word 'Lahamo'. Mark 14:22 , Mathew 26:26. So the bread used in the Holy Qurbana is made only out of leavened bread.
The bread and wine is received only after mixing. In John 13:26 we see Jesus dipping in the dish before he gave it to his disciples. The bread and wine are mixed together during the fraction and co mixture ceremony. It is not given separately.
During the Old Testament period, the object of sacrifice used to cut into pieces.Our Lord broke the bread to pieces after giving thanks and gave it to his disciples. Mathew 26:26, Luke 22:19. We read about the apostles assembling together to break bread. The name given to the service was 'the service of breaking the bread'. 1 Cor. 10:16
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