The Awe-Full Great Entrance
...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 6:06 PM [+]
This originally found in the book previously mentioned, but tracked back through a book by Taft (devoted entirely to the Great Entrance and thus titled) and finally to Theodore of Mopsuestia of the late 4th Century. In it, Theodore is describing the Great Entrance of his time. (It should be noted that Theodore is a somewhat controversial character and you can read a brief account of that here.) However, that seems rather irrelevant if one is interested in the Liturgical topic addressed here, I think.
It is the deacons who bring out this oblation...which they arrange and place on the awe-inspiring altar, a vision...awe-inspiring even to onlookers. By means of the symbols we must see Christ who is now being led out and going forth to His passion, and who, in another moment, is laid out for us on the altar...and when the offering that is about to be presented is brought out in the sacred vessels , the patens and the chalice, you must think that Christ our Lord is coming out, led to His passion...by the invisible host of ministers...who were also present when the passion of salvation was being accomplished...
And when they bring it out, they place it on the holy altar to represent fully the passion. Thus we may think of Him placed on the altar as if henceforth in a sort of sepulcher, and as having already undergone the passion. That is why the deacons who spread linens on the altar represent by this the figure of the linen cloth of the burial...[and afterwards] they stand on both sides and fan the air [aer] above the the Holy Body so that nothing will fall upon it. They show by this ritual the greatness of the Body lying there...which is holy, awe-inspiring, and far from all corruption...a Body that will soon rise to an immortal nature...
It is evident that there were angels beside the tomb seated on the stone...and now too shouldn't one depict as in an image the similitude of this angelic liturgy?...[the deacons] stand around and wave their fans...because the Body lying there is truly Lord by its union with the Divine nature. It is with great fear that it must be laid out, viewed, and guarded. These things take place in complete silence because, although the liturgy has not yet begun, still it is fitting to watch the bringing out and deposing of such a great and wonderful object in recollection and fear and a silent and quiet prayer, without saying anything...and when we see the oblation on the altar as if it were being placed in a kind of sepulchre after death, a great silence falls on those present. Because that which is taking place is awe-inspiring, they must look on it with recollection and fear, since it is suitable that now, by the liturgy...Christ our Lord rise, announcing to all the participation in ineffable benefits.
We remember therefore the death of our Lord in the oblation because it makes manifest the Resurrection and the ineffable benefits.