The Liturgies We Use

We have four eucharistic liturgies that can be used in our Church, each named after the saint to whom the anaphora (eucharistic prayer) is attributed. These four liturgies have different purposes and are used at different times in our liturgical calendar. The calendar follows a one-year cycle from September 1 through August 31, so we have a consistent and predictable flow to the year.

1. The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom
St. John Chrysostom was the archbishop of Constantinople. His is the most common anaphora as it is used on most Sundays, feast days, and weekdays.

2. The Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great
St. Basil was the Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia. This solemn liturgy of his is served 10 times per year: during the Sundays of the Great Fast (Lent) and on the Vigils of such feasts as Theophany (Jesus’ baptism) and Pascha (Easter).

3. The Presanctified Liturgy of St. Gregory Dialogus
St. Gregory was a Pope of Rome. (He’s recognized in the Latin Church as St. Gregory the Great or Pope Gregory I.) His Liturgy is a communion service held during the weekdays of the Great Fast, especially Wednesdays, Fridays, and the first half of Great Week. There is no consecration in the Presanctified Liturgy. The Holy Gifts that are distributed were reserved from the previous Sunday, where they had been sanctified at the eucharistic liturgy of St. Basil.

A variation of the Presanctified Liturgy is used for a Deacon’s Typika service to allow communion previously consecrated in a Liturgy to be distributed by a deacon when a priest isn’t available.

4. The Divine Liturgy of St. James the Apostle and Brother of the Lord
St. James the Just was the patriarch and bishop of Jerusalem. His liturgy is the most primitive of all the eucharistic liturgies of our Church; it is, therefore, the most similar in structure to the anaphoras and Qurbanas of the ancient Oriental Orthodox Churches. It is rarely served outside the monastic tradition.