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Rilian,

It is a situation one should probably see for one's self.

There are two individuals that stand on either side of the Priest and/or deacon. They hold a large rectangular ornate cloth and each end. This is held under the chalice and the plate on which the lamb rests. A altar server holds the chalice (he stands slighty behind the Priest or deacon). The Priest ore deacon takes plate (metal paten?) in one hand and with the other hand dips the lamb in the chalice and the communicant who has appraoched (after a repentance and sign of the cross) steps forward, close to the cloth.

At this point, I have observed two customs. Either the person will make a slight bend action and grab the cloth and place it under the chin or the communicant will simply come very close, so that their is no distance from them and the cloth.

In this way, there is assurance that should the Lord's Body or blood fall, it would fall on the cloth and not on the floor.

I hope I have provided a sufficient explanation!

May God Bless You,
Chels

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How is the Lamb prepared, is it squared like antidoron during the proskomedia?

Andrew

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Andrew,

There are two theories on why the Melkites do this. One is that the French introduced this because they thought the spoon unsanitary and were worried about the Plague. The other is that they picked it up from the Maronites, which sounds more plausible to me.

The Lamb is cut into long rectangles rather than cubes so they can be intincted without the priest or deacon getting his fingers wet with the Precious Blood.

Fr. Deacon Lance


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Andrew,

I am unaware of the answer to that specific question, sorry.

It seems to me that as much as the Melkites are Byzantine, they would like to retain certain things of Syrian tradition. Inticntion seems to be one of those things.

I agree with Deacon Lance (who I thank for being informative, as always).

I hope this helps.

May God's Blessings be upon you!
Chels

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It is often forgotten that they were originally like the Antiochians of the Syrian Rite. However it does not explain why the 2 churches should have a difference in practice as to the way they give Communion. I can't see hygiene being the reason as westerners would have had no real concept of that until very recent times. The question I would ask is why maintian these differences. I cant help but think it is times like this that the Congregation for Oriental Churches shows how ineffectual it can be, that it does not insist on these differences being dropped.

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It seems to me that as much as the Melkites are Byzantine, they would like to retain certain things of Syrian tradition. Inticntion seems to be one of those things.
Was this a retention or re-introduction though? I thought the west Syrian liturgy pretty much fell out of use well before the 18th century.

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No spoon in the Italo-Greek Rite! wink

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Only for babies. The strange thing is they still have the Latin First Communion in the south of Italy.

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Rilian,

I am still very new to many of the litugical-historical aspects of the Melkites.

I can say though, at least in America, the Melkites have always be heavily latinized until recent times, so much of the Traditions can be spoken of as being re-introduced.

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