The entire Eucharistic Prayer forms a single and indivisible whole, so that the three main sections of the prayer (Thanksgiving, Anamnesis, Epiclesis) form an integral part of the one act of consecration.
People: It is proper and right to worship the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit: the Trinity, one in essence and undivided.
Priest: It is proper and right to hymn you, to bless you, to praise you, to thank you and to worship you everywhere in your dominion. For you, God, are ineffable and inconceivable, invisible, incomprehensible, ever-existing and existing ever the same: you and your only-begotten Son and your Holy Spirit. You brought us from non-existence into existence and when we fell you again raised us up to heaven and bestowed on us your kingdom which is to come. For all this we thank you and your only-begotten Son and your Holy Spirit, for all which we know and which we do not know, for your benefits manifested and concealed which have been done for us. We thank you for this liturgical service which you deign to accept from our hands, though before you stand thousands of archangels, and tens of thousands of angels, the many-eyed cherubim and the six-winged seraphim who, in flying, soar high. Singing the triumphant hymn, shouting aloud, crying out and proclaiming:
People:Holy! Holy! Holy! Lord of Sabaoth! Heaven and earth are full of your glory! Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!
Priest: With these blessed powers, O master and lover of humankind, we also shout out and proclaim: You are holy, all holy, you and your only-begotten Son and your Holy Spirit! You are holy, all holy, and your glory is magnificent! You loved your world so much that you even gave your only-begotten Son so that he that believes in Him will not perish but will have everlasting life. And He, coming and fulfilling all His mission on our behalf, on the night in which He was sold, or more clearly, on which He gave Himself up for the life of the world, taking bread with his holy, pure and blameless hands, giving thanks, blessing, sanctifying and breaking it, gave it to his holy disciples and apostles, saying:
Priest: Take, eat, this is my body which is broken for you, for the forgiveness of sins!
Priest: And likewise, after supper, He took the cup saying: Drink of this, all of you! This is my blood of the new covenant which is shed for you, for the forgiveness of sins!
In this prayer we thank God for his saving action in history. Adam did not cease to know about God after the fall but his relationship with God was broken. He was no longer able to know God as a person in full communion. Thanksgiving in the Eucharistic prayer is the sign, the presence, the joy, the fullness of knowledge of God, knowledge not knowing about but as meeting, as communion, as unity. The Church is this meeting with God, which has been accomplished in Christ and allows the most bitter of sorrows even over death to be transformed into a song of praise, “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death.” Christ has opened to us the gates of paradise. Adam dances and Eve rejoices. The Cherubim withdraw from the tree of life. This is the day the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad in it. It is here that we become partakers of the divine nature. 2 Pet. 2:4. It is now that human nature is lifted up to heaven, sanctified, and deified. It is here and now that we are able to sing the angelic hymn which the angels eternally sing before the Throne of God. Isaiah 6. We are in the Kingdom of God.
Priest: Therefore, remembering this commandment of salvation and all those things done for us: the cross, the grave, the third-day resurrection, the ascension into heaven, the enthronement at the right hand, the second and glorious coming.
The deacon lifts the diskos in his right hand, and the cup in his left, crossing his arms, right over the left and slightly raises them above the antimens, making the sign of the cross with them.
Priest: We offer you your own of your own, in behalf of all and for all!
People: We praise you, we bless you, we give thanks to you, O Lord, and we pray to you, O our God.
Anamnesis is remembering, a recollection of past events. Here it is a recapitulation of salvation history. Knowledge and acceptance of Christ, faith in Him, communion with Him, following Him – even to the cross and death – is salvation.
Memory is a mysterious gift unique to humankind. Memory is our ability to preserve knowledge within ourselves. There is sorrow associated with memory because in the end, memory is the knowledge of death, the knowledge that all things pass away. But to us alone is given the ability to remember God and through this remembrance to truly live. Here we comprehend this world as belonging to God and remembering the history of salvation we raise it up to Him. The essence of sin is that we have turned away from and forgotten God. It is not simply that we have stopped thinking about God but we have forgotten about our relationship with God as person. By remembering God’s saving action in history we are able to offer back to God all things, with true praise, blessing, thanksgiving, and prayer to God.
Epiclesis means the invocation of the Holy Spirit. It is the descent and operation of the Holy Spirit that re-creates the fallen world.
Priest: "Again we offer you this spiritual and bloodless sacrifice; and we call on you, we pray and humbly supplicate you; send your Holy Spirit on us and on these gifts here offered. (The Deacon says: "Bless the holy bread.") And make this bread the Precious Body of your Christ. (Deacon: "Amen. Bless the holy cup.") And that which is in this cup, the Precious Blood of your Christ. (Deacon: "Amen. Bless them both.") Changing them by your Holy Spirit." (Deacon: "Amen, Amen, Amen.")
The bread and wine are now in very truth the Body and Blood of Christ. They are not mere symbols, but reality, just as Jesus Himself was not a mere symbol of God while he walked on earth but was truly God incarnate. While we insist on this reality, we do not attempt to explain the manner of the change: the Eucharistic Prayer simply uses the neutral term metaballo, to ‘turn about,’ ‘change,’ or ‘alter.’ The mystery remains incomprehensible and ineffable but knowable in so far as we are able to enter into the reality just as the disciples on Mt. Tabor were able to see the transfigured Lord as “much as they were able to bear.”
“The essential act in the celebration of the holy mysteries is the transformation of the elements into the Divine Body and Blood; its aim is the sanctification of the faithful, who through these mysteries receive the remission of their sins and the inheritance of the kingdom of heaven.” Nicolas Cabasilas, Commentary on the Divine Liturgy