The Anaphora of the Apostles Addai and Mari

King Agar receiving the Mandilion from Thaddeus

King Agar receiving the Mandilion from Thaddeus
Encaustic painting.
Saint Catherine’s Monastery, Mount Sinai
Date: after 944 A.D.

The Anaphora, or Elevation, is the part of the Divine Liturgy where the gifts of bread and wine are offered to God the Father and are sanctified by the Holy Spirit, Following the Anaphora is the Epiklesis, the prayer for the Holy Spirit to come down and change the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ.

The Anaphora and Epiklesis are essential parts of the earliest liturgies. Although the words used vary, the basic form has changed little from the time of the Apostles. One of the most ancient examples of the Anaphora is found in the Nestorian liturgy of the Chaldean Church. Although there are other antiquarian Anaphoras in existence, this Anaphora is unique in that it alone is in liturgical use today. It is thought that its current form comes from 3rd century Edessa, a town in upper Mesapotamia, an area which today is the nation of Turkey.

The Anaphora of the Apostles Addai and Mari is interesting both because of its antiquity, and because of its association with the seventy disciples of Christ. One of the seventy was named Thaddeus, and was sent by Thomas the Apostle to Edessa. Addai is the Syriac name of Thaddeus, and Mari was a convert and associate of Addai. Together, Mar Addai and Mar Mari were apostles to Syria and Persia. It is said that Thaddeus/Addai brought with him to Edessa the Holy Mandylion, a cloth imprinted with the image of Jesus.

The structure of the Anaphora should be familiar to anyone who has participated in the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. It has three basic parts: the Sanctus, the Intercessions, and the Epiklesis. It is unique in that it does not contain the words of institution, something that is a fixture in later liturgies, and featured most prominently in the Western Rite. It is also interesting in that the Epiklesis is not so much an invocation of the Holy Spirit upon the gifts, but rather within the community.


—      The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God the Father and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, now and at all times and for ever and ever.

—      Amen.

—      Let your hearts be on high.

—      To thee, the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Israel, the glorious King.

—      The offering is being offered to God the Lord of all.

—      It is meet and right.


Worthy of praise from very mouth

and thanksgiving from every tongue

is the adorable and glorious

Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,

who created the world in his grace

5      and its inhabitants in his loving-kindness,

and redeemed the sons of men in his mercy,

and dealt very graciously with mortals.

Thy majesty, o my Lord, a thousand thousand heavenly beings

and myriad myriads of Angels adore

10     and the hosts of spiritual beings, the ministers of fire and of spirit,

glorifying thy Name

with the Cherubim and the holy Seraphim, ceaselessly

crying out and glorifying

and calling to one another and saying:

15     Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty:

the heavens and the earth are full of his glory.

Hosanna in the highest! Hosanna to the Son of David!

Blessed is he who has come and comes in the Name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest!

20    And with these heavenly hosts we give thee thanks, o my Lord,

we also thy unworthy, frail, and miserable servants,

because thou hast dealt very graciously with us in a way which cannot be repaid,

in that thou didst assume our humanity

that thou mightest restore us to life by thy divinity,

25    and didst exalt our low estate,

and raise up our fallen state,

and resurrect our mortality,

and forgive our sins,

and acquit our sinfulness,

30    and enlighten our understanding,

and, our Lord and God, overcome our adversaries,

and give victory to the unworthiness of our frail nature

in the overflowing mercies of thy grace.

And for all thy benefits and graces towards us

35     we offer thee glory and honour and thanksgiving and adoration

now and at all times and for ever and ever. R/ Amen.

Do thou, o my Lord, in thy manifold and ineffable mercies

make a good and gracious remembrance

for all the upright and just fathers

40    who were pleasing before thee,

in the commemoration of the body and blood of thy Christ,

which we offer to thee upon the pure and holy altar,

as thou hast taught us,

and make with us thy tranquillity and thy peace

45    all the days of the age,

that all the inhabitants of the world may know thee,

that thou alone art God the true Father,

and thou didst send our Lord Jesus Christ thy Son and thy Beloved,

and he, our Lord and our God,

50    taught us in his lifegiving Gospel

all the purity and holiness of the prophets and apostles

and martyrs and confessors

and bishops and priests and deacons,

and of all the children of the holy catholic Church,

55    those who have been signed with the sign of holy Baptism.

And we also, o my Lord, thy unworthy, frail, and miserable servants,

who are gathered and stand before thee,

and have received by tradition the example which is from thee,

rejoicing and glorifying

60    and exalting and commemorating

and celebrating this great and awesome mystery

of the passion and death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

And let thy Holy Spirit come, o my Lord,

and rest upon this offering of thy servants,

65    and bless it and sanctify it

that it may be to us, o my Lord,

for the pardon of sins and for the forgiveness of shortcomings,

and for the great hope of the resurrection from the dead,

and for new life in the kingdom of heaven

70    with all who have been pleasing before thee.

And for all thy wonderful dispensation which is towards us

we give thee thanks and glorify thee without ceasing

in thy Church redeemed by the precious blood of thy Christ,

with open mouths and unveiled faces

75    offering glory and honour and thanksgiving and adoration

to thy living and holy and life-giving Name,

now and at all times and for ever and ever.



English translation: A. GELSTON, The Eucharistic Prayer of Addai and Mari, Clarendon Press, Oxford 1992, 48-55