Anaphora (ἀναφορά, used in the Sept., Ps 50:21, meaning "that which goeth up on the altar;" comp. Heb 7:27; 1Pe 2:5).
1. In the sense of "lifting up" anaphora came to be applied to the celebration of the holy eucharist, whether from the "lifting up", of the heart which is required in that service, or from the "oblation" which takes place in it — probably the latter.
In the liturgical diction of the Copts, which has borrowed much from the Greeks, the word anaphora is used instead of liturgy to designate the whole of the eucharistic service and the book which contains it; but more commonly its use is restricted to that more solemn part of the eucharistic office which includes the consecration, oblation, communion, and thanksgiving. It begins with the Sursum corda, or rather with the benediction which precedes it, and extends to the end of the office, thus corresponding with the preface and canon of Western rituals.
The general structure of the anaphorae of Oriental liturgies is thus exhibited by Neale (Eastern Church, 1, 463):
The Great Eucharistic Prayer
1. The Preface. (Sursum eorda.) 2. The Piayer of the Triumphal Hymn. (Preface.) 3. The Triumphal Hymn. (Sanctus.) 4. Commemoration of our Lord's Life. 5. Commemoration of Institution.
6. Words of Institution of the Bread. 7. Words of Institution of the Wine. 8. Oblation of the Body and Blood. 9. Introductory Prayer for the Descent of the Holy Ghost. 10. Prayer for the Change of Elements.
The Great Intercessory Prayer
11. General Intercession for Quick and Dead. 12. Prayer before the Lord's Prayer. 13. The Lord's' Prayer. 14. The Embolismus.
15. The Prayer of Inclination. 16. Elevation of Host. 17. The Fraction. 18. The Confession. 19. The Communion. 20. The Antidoron, and Prayers of Thanksgiving.
Different parts are variously developed in different liturgies, and even the order is not always preserved. In the existing Nestorian liturgies the general intercession is placed before the invocation of the Holy Ghost, and other minor variations are found.
It is in the anaphorae that the characteristics are found which distinguish different liturgies of the same family. In the introductory or proanaphoral portion of the liturgies there is much less variety. Thus, when the liturgy of Gregory Theologus or of Cyril is used, the proanaphoral portion is taken from that of St. Basil. The Ethiopian Church has twelve liturgies, which have the introductory portion in common. The numerous Syro-Jacobite liturgies all take the introductory portion from that of St. James; the three Nestorian from that of the apostles. SEE CANON; SEE COMMUNION.
2. The word is sometimes used in liturgical writings as equivalent to the chalice-veil, and has found its way in this sense, corrupted in form (nuphir), into the Syrian liturgies (Renaudot, Lit. Orient. 2, 61).