This study comprises the third volume, in order of appearance, of a projected six-volume History of the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, vol. II of which, The Great Entrance, appeared as OCA 200 in 1975 (2nd ed. 1978). And vol. IV, The Diptychs (OCA 238), in 1991. This volume covers that part of the Byzantine eucharist from the end of the anaphora up to Holy Communion. The rites from Holy Communion to the end of the liturgy will be studied in vol. VI of the series, The Communion, Thanksgiving, Dismissal, and Recessional Rites, presently in preparation.
Employing the methods of Comparative Liturgy, Taft locates his study of the Byzantine tradition within the broader context of liturgical history. The analysis of each liturgical component of the Byzantine precommunion and the respective accompanying formulas is accompanied at each step by an analysis of the pre-Byzantine evidence in the patristic and historical sources, and of later developments in the context of the relevant related traditions. Consequently this book provides a veritable encyclopedia of material concerning the precommunion rites across the traditions of East and West, making it of interest to students of liturgy in general.