The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts is a service unique to the Byzantine Rite. It is celebrated during the Great Fast, and provides the faithful with the opportunity to receive Holy Communion on those days when then the Eucharistic Sacrifice is not celebrated. The word ‘presanctified’ indicates that the ‘gifts’ (the Body and Blood of Christ) which are distributed at the service are those consecrated at a previous celebration of the Divine Liturgy.
The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts is celebrated on the Wednesdays and Fridays of the Great Fast and the first three days of the Holy Week. This service is not celebrated on Saturday or Sunday (the regular Eucharistic days in the Byzantine tradition) or on the one great feast which falls during the Fast: the feast of the Annunciation (Mar 25). On these days, the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom or of Saint Basil is celebrated, and the celebrant consecrates additional Gifts to be distributed during the following week at the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts.
The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts is a combination of the Vespers and a service of Holy Communion. The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts is not normally combined with any other service. This service allows the faithful to break their fast on the strictest fasting days of Lent with the reception of Holy Communion. It is held in the evening because the traditional fast continues until sunset.
Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts