Handbook of ROCOR Liturgical Practice:

How does the Deacon comport himself at ‘O Lord save the pious’?

This segment of the Liturgy is served differently at an episcopal and presbyterial service.

At a Hierarchical Liturgy: the Deacon stands at the High place facing the Bishop together with the Subdeacons and other servers, and sings the final kondak with them. As the concluding words of the kondak are being sung, he leads the other servers in turning to the east, makes the sign of the Cross and then turns together with them and bows to the Bishop. He then moves by way of the south side of the Holy Table and takes the Bishop’s blessing, saying softly ‘Bless, Master, the time of the thrice-holy’ and presenting his hands and orar. The Deacon then steps through the Royal Doors and, facing east, exclaims aloud, ‘Let us pray to the Lord’ to which the choir responds, ‘Lord, have mercy’. As the Bishop concludes his portion of the exclamation, the Deacon stands on the centre of the solea, turns slightly towards the icon of Christ and extending his orarion says, ‘O Lord, save the pious’, then immediately makes the sign of the Cross whilst the choir repeats this refrain. He then raises his orarion again and proclaims ‘and hearken unto us’, and again makes the sign of the Cross whilst the choir repeats. Finally, the Deacon extends his orarion once again and slowly exclaims in a loud voice, ‘and unto the ages of ages’ while turning to the people, passing his orarion symbolically over the faithful in an arc and turning back to the east to re-enter the Altar through the Royal Doors, whereupon he immediately proceeds to the High Place, makes the sign of the Cross, bows, turns and bows to the Bishop. He then takes the dikiri (at that stage being held for him by a Subdeacon to the south side of the Holy Table) and presents it to the bishop, and finally returns to the High Place, together with all the servers, for the singing of the Trisagion.

At a Priestly Liturgy: the Deacon stands to the right of the Priest before the Holy Table (in his usual place there) whilst the choir sings the final kondakia. When the choir sings, ‘Now and ever and unto the ages of ages’ (introducing the concluding kondak), the Deacon proceeds to the High Place, makes the sign of the Cross, bows, turns to the celebrating Priest and bows to him, then approaches him and softly asks for a blessing with the words ‘Bless, Master, the time of the thrice-holy’. The Priest blesses the Deacon, who then steps through the Royal Doors as the choir concludes the kondak. He stands on the middle of the solea and waits in silence for the Priest to make the exclamation, ‘For holy art Thou…’ (the Deacon does not introduce this with ‘Let us pray to the Lord’, as he does at a Hierarchical service), and then extends his orarion and says, ‘O Lord save the pious, and hearken unto us’ (without a break between phrases), whereupon he makes the sign of the Cross as the choir repeats the full refrain. The Deacon then says in a louder voice, ‘and unto the ages of ages’, while turning to the people, passing his orarion symbolically over the faithful in an arc and turning back to the east to re-enter the Altar through the Royal Doors, whereupon he immediately proceeds to the High Place, makes the sign of the Cross, bows, turns and bows to the Priest, and returns back to his place.