[B-Greek] trapeza

frjsilver at optonline.net frjsilver at optonline.net
Sun Sep 30 21:59:14 EDT 2007


Dear Friends --

Not to be too 'confessional', but just to illustrate some usages of the words under discussion from a Christian Greek POV.  YMMV.

In Christian liturgical Greek, the hAGIA TRAPEZA is the table upon which we deposit the Holy Gifts of Bread and Wine which we have made with our own hands and offered in sacrifice at the QUSIASTHRION, and from which we receive them back as the Body and Blood of Christ.  This is the table of the Lord, the setting of the eucharistic meal.

The QUSASTHRION is another table to the viewer's left (stage right) while facing the Holy Table.  Ideally, the Sacrificial Altar is at some distance, preferably in a separate chapel, originally in a separate building altogether.  This is where the Lamb (the large central cube of bread which will be consecrated for communion) is cut from the offered loaf (PROSFORON) and placed on the holy plate (hAGIOS DISKOS) ;  the wine is poured into the hAGION POTHRION.  Both vessels are brought from the QUSIASTHRION to the hAGIA TRAPEZA in s stately procession about halfway through the Divine Liturgy. 

The hAGIA TRAPEZA is located in the center of TO hIERON (a term borowed from hellenistic Jewish descriptions of the Temple) behind the holy or beautiful gates (ORAIA PULH) of the EIKWNOSTASION, the whole atop the BHMA, usually at least three steps up from the floor of the NAOS.

It's of some value to note that most of these words describe ordinary, everyday items;  in general, their only distinction as liturgical concepts depends on the qualifier hAGIOS.

Does this help?

OY!  I'm SO behind!  I promise to get back to YALLW and PATER hMWN PDQ.

Peace and blessings to all.

Father James

Monk James Silver
Orthodox Church in America

----- Original Message -----
From: John Lupia 
Date: Sunday, September 30, 2007 8:50 pm
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] trapeza
To: Randall Buth , B-Greek 

> 
> --- Randall Buth wrote:
> 
> > John egrapse
> > >The earliest Christian altars (TRAPEZA) were of
> > wood, and identical in form
> > with the ordinary house
> > > tables. The tables represented in the Eucharistic
> > frescoes of the
> > catacombs enable us to obtain an idea
> > > of their appearance. The most ancient, as well as
> > the most remarkable, of
> > these frescoes, that of the
> > > Fractio Panis found in the Capella Greca, which
> > dates from the first
> > decades of the second century,
> > > shows seven persons seated on a semi-circular
> > divan before a table of the
> > same form. The verse from
> > > Acts 6 could mean that deacons served at altars to
> > help assist the priests
> > during liturgy. Lexicons
> > > should give all meanings and cite sources and
> > their dates to inform us of
> > both the synchronic and
> > > diachronic meanings and for the diachronic give
> > dates.>
> > 
> > I would recommend staying away from TRAPEZA as
> > 'altar'. In antiquity tables
> > were for commonly for food, like the couch with
> > seven people around the
> > table that you mention, while altars were for
> > burning offerings. 
> 
> Altars were used for burnt offerings by ancient Near
> and Middle Easterners from pre-biblical times into the
> Jewish tradition of the first century. Christians did
> not follow the Jewish tradition of burnt offerings on
> altars. Do you know of any evidence to show early
> Christians using an altar for burnt offerings?
> 
> A large
> > 'wooden altar' would be a single-use disposable
> > item, burning up on use.
> > Anyway, it would be difficult to think of a
> > "Christian altar" in Acts, where
> > all the tens of thousands of believers [thus, the
> > Greek] were still using a
> > real altar in Acts 21:18-27, even a couple of
> > decades later from Acts 6. 
> 
> The text you cite relates to dietary regulations
> admonishing the converts to abstain from eating
> sacrificed animals, etc. Can you provide evidence to
> show the early church used altars of burnt sacrifices?
> 
> So
> > the lexica are OK as they stand.
> > A TRAPEZA is not a QYSIASTHRION, nor would
> > lexicographers care to mix them.
> 
> I agree that an altar (TRAPEZA) is not always the same
> thing as an altar (QYSIASTHRION). For the former see 1
> Cor 10:21 trapeza kyriou; for the latter see Heb
> 13:10, where the author draws a parallel to the LXX
> use of the word for Noah's altar. So, a QYSIASTHRION
> can be a burnt offering altar, as it clearly is in
> ancient and pre-biblical times and a non-burnt
> offering altar as in the first century church. The
> Eastern Fathers sometimes use the word QYSIASTHRION
> for a church altar, but preferred TRAPEZA. See Lampe. 
> 
> 
> > In the other direction, tables were also made of
> > stone. We have them in the
> > archaeological record in the Land. This was of
> > special benefit to a family
> > because a stone utensil does not become unclean in
> > Jewish halaxa.
> 
> Interesting.
> 
> Best,
> 
> John
> 
> 
> 
> 
> John N. Lupia III
> New Jersey, USA; Beirut, Lebanon 
> http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Roman-Catholic-News/
> God Bless Everyone
> 
> 
> 
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