The importance of Contact Consecration at presanctified IS the infants (and the rare individual unable to take solids)...
This is an excerpt from an article by the late Bishop Basil
Krivoschein, referred to on the "Typikon" list:
"It would seem that the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts would have
one and the same meaning both for the Greeks and Russians.
"The people like that service and many do attend it, especially if it
is celebrated in the evening, as it should be, although this "daring
novelty" still meets up with strong objections and is not widely
practiced, except among the Orthodox in the West.
"But even if there are no observable differences in the celebration of
the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, which could impact upon the
spiritual experience of the people, still there are some serious
theological differences, although not officially formulated, which
underline the actions and words of the celebrants behind the
"Here (to the great surprise of many lay people and even the clergy
that do not even suspect it) arises the question: does the wine in
the chalice, during the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, change
into the Lord's Precious Blood, as it does during the Liturgies of
John Chrysostom and Basil the Great, or does it remain what it was,
except that it was blessed and sanctified?"The Russian Liturgy, since the time of Peter Mogila in any case,
answers in the negative: the wine is not changed.
is demonstrated by the fact that the celebrant partaking of the
presanctified Body of Christ, which was intinctured with the Precious
Blood sanctified at the Liturgy of Chrysostom or Basil the Great,
drinks from the chalice without pronouncing those words, which he
would when partaking during a "full" Liturgy.
"Furthermore, if he is celebrating without a deacon and would later
consume the remaining Gifts by himself, he does not drink from the
chalice. The deacon that would consume the remaining Gifts at the end
of the Liturgy never drinks from the chalice even when he receives
"To drink from the chalice is viewed as an impediment towards
consuming the remaining Gifts, as is explained in the "Notes
concerning certain procedures for the celebration of the Liturgy of
the Presanctified Gifts," which go back to the time of Peter
Mogila: "If the priest is celebrating alone . . . he does not drink
from the chalice until the end of the Liturgy. Even though the wine
is sanctified by the placing of the particles (of the sacred Body),
it is not transubstantiated into the Divine Blood, since the words of
institution were not pronounced over it as occurs during the
Liturgies of Ss. John Chrysostom and Basil the Great.""This same opinion is expressed in the Russian Church's practice of
not admitting infants to communion during the Liturgy of the
Presanctified Gifts since, because of their age, they are unable to
swallow a particle of the Body of Christ and the wine is not
considered to have been changed into the Precious Blood."The Greek practice, as indicated in the service books, although not
too clearly, presumes what appears to be completely different
Concerning the Liturgy of the Presanctified
Gifts it briefly states: "The priest partakes . . . of the Sacred
Gifts just as during the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom." Meaning
that, as he drinks from the chalice he says: "The precious and sacred
Blood of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ is given to me...""Thus, what is in the chalice is considered to be Christ's Blood.
is supported by the practice of drinking from the chalice three
times, just as at the Liturgies of Chrysostom and Basil the Great,
which would not have been of much significance if this was said just
about wine and not the Sacred Blood.
"After all this, the celebrant consumes the Sacred Gifts as during the
usual Liturgies."As for the theological explanations, we can find these in the
Byzantine liturgists beginning with the 11th century: during the
placement of the particle of the Body of Christ into the chalice the
wine changes into the Precious Blood of the Lord through contact with
His Body."Thus, there are two different "theologoumena" on this subject --
and the Church has never issued a final, conciliar definition.
But perhaps that is best:
In Orthodoxy, we speak of "the Holy *Mysteries*", and we accept the
idea that some things are mysterious, and beyond our ken. At the very
least, it is good for our humility...