Presanctified Liturgy: A Gift of Great Lent
A Presanctified Liturgy (or Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts) is an evening service that incorporates many of the characteristics of Vespers (such as some of the psalms and hymns) and offers Holy Communion. There is no consecration of the Eucharistic gifts during Presanctified Liturgy, instead gifts sanctified during the previous Divine Liturgy are used. Most churches offer a Presanctified Liturgy on Wednesdays during Lent, with some larger churches also having a Presanctified Liturgy on Fridays.
The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts is one of the great masterpieces of Orthodox piety and liturgical creativity. It reveals in its form and content the central Christian doctrine and experience, namely that our entire life must be spent in prayer and fasting in order that we might enter into communion with Christ who comes at the end, as “a thief in the night.” It tells us that all of our life, and not only the time of Great Lent, or one day of the Fast, is completed with the Presence of the Victorious Christ who is risen from the dead. It witnesses to the fact that Christ will come at the end of the ages to judge the living and the dead and to establish God’s Kingdom “of which there will be no end.” It tells us that we must be ready at His coming, found watching and serving, in order to be worthy to “enter into the joy of the Lord.”