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served this ritual's aims effectively. Already in the fourth century, the liturgy comprised a series of processions, or Entrances, and showings.11 In the First Entrance, the people joined the celebrant, the deacon carrying the Gospel, and the clergy carrying candles as they entered the church. They proceeded from the narthex through the nave. The laity occupied the nave and aisles, while the clergy proceeded to the apse. After greeting the crowd, the celebrant ascended the throne in the apse, then began the Liturgy of the Word, a series of scriptural readings interspersed with the chanting of psalms and sermons. Although assigned to different spaces in the church, the laity had a remarkable degree of access to the rites. Readers processed along the solea, a reserved passageway that jutted out into the nave. As the deacon processed with Gospel in hand, throngs of laypeople reached across the solea to touch it, eliciting for one observer the image of waves lapping on a peninsula. The Liturgy of the Word concluded when the unbaptised Christians were dismissed, and the doors of the church closed. Until this moment, however, all congregants witnessed the clergy and celebrants' actions in full view. Whatever barriers demarcated reserved spaces, they were never high enough to obstruct any sight-lines among the laity.

For the baptised, that openness extended to the second part of the liturgy, known as the Great Entrance or Entrance of the Mysteries. In this procession, the faithful prostrated themselves as deacons led the procession with candles and incense, followed by a deacon carrying an elaborate fan, with which to keep flies away from the sacrament. More deacons followed holding the veils to cover the ceremonial chalices and patens. Next came the full chalices and patens, and the great veil to be spread over all the gifts, once transferred from the place of preparation to the altar.12 Throughout this part of the liturgy, the altar remained visible.

The laity's power to behold the eucharist and be transformed by that gaze was not lost on preachers at this time. Sermons delivered to new converts not only instructed the neophytes on how to take communion, but also on what to see as the eucharistic preparations unfolded before their eyes. Only by gazing more intently on the preparations might new converts confront how alien, or even plain, the bread and wine appeared at first. Neophytes were advised to superimpose a different set of mental images to situate both

11 My summary is based on T. F. Mathews, The early churches of Constantinople, esp. 127, 138-75, a magisterial discussion of the movements and processions that characterised the early rites at Constantinople.

12 On liturgical vessels, see M. M. Mango, Silver from early Byzantium; fan at 147-53.

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