The holy eucharist is offered in remembrance of Christ. “Do this in remembrance of Me.” Remembering Christ, and offering all things to God in and through Him, the Church is filled with the presence of the Holy Spirit. At the Divine Liturgy, the Holy Spirit comes “upon us and upon the gifts here offered.” Everything is filled with the Kingdom of God. In God’s Kingdom nothing is forgotten. All is remembered, and is thereby made alive. Thus, at this moment in the Divine Liturgy the faithful, remembering Christ, remember all men and all things in him, especially Christ’s mother, the Holy Theotokos, and all of the saints.
It is important to note here that as the Divine Liturgy is the real presence and power of the unique saving event of Christ for His people in all of its manifold elements and aspects, it is always offered for all who need to be saved. Thus the liturgical sacrifice is offered for Mary and all of the saints, as well as for the whole Church and the entire universe of God’s creation.
Again we offer unto Thee this reasonable worship for those who have fallen asleep in the faith: ancestors, fathers, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, preachers, evangelists, martyrs, confessors, ascetics, and every righteous spirit made perfect in faith.
And especially for our most holy, most pure, most blessed and glorious Lady, Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary.
While the choir sings a hymn to the Theotokos, which often changes during the Church Year according to the various seasons and celebrations, the celebrant incenses the consecrated gifts and continues to ask God to remember John the Baptist, the saints of the day, the departed faithful, the whole Church and the entire world. Following the specific remembrance of the bishop of the given church, the people sum up all of the remembrances with the words: “And all mankind!”
There then follow even more prayers asking God to remember the city, the country, the travelers, the sick, the suffering, the captives, the benefactors of the Church, those who themselves “remember the poor” and all of the people. There is also the provision made at this point in the liturgy for remembering by name persons in need of special mercy from God.
In the Liturgy of Saint Basil, which is generally much longer and much more detailed than that of Saint John Chrysostom the remembrances are very specific and numerous, going on for more than three pages in the liturgical service book.
It is necessary to remember once again that remembrance in the Orthodox Church, and particularly the remembrance of God and by God, has a very special meaning. According to the Orthodox Faith, expressed and revealed in the Bible and the Liturgy, divine remembrance means glory and life, while divine forgetfulness means corruption and death. In Christ, God remembers man and his world. Remembering Christ, man remembers God and his Kingdom. Thus the remembrances of the Divine Liturgy are themselves a form of living communion between heaven and earth (see “Funerals,” above).