We do not arbitrarily bow to the Bishop throughout the Liturgy at each occasion that his name is mentioned. There are prescribed moments when we bow to the Bishop; apart from these, we do not.
To clarify, when the Bishop is on the cathedra in the middle of the temple and his name is mentioned in the Litanies, the clergy and servers do not turn and bow to him; they remain in their appointed places, praying as prescribed. Similarly, when standing around the Holy Table, when the Bishop’s name is mentioned the concelebrant clergy do not turn and bow to him.
The appointed places where the clergy do bow to the Bishop at the Liturgy are as follows:
- At the Litany of Fervent Supplication, at the petition where the Hierarchy are commemorated and the lower third of the antimins is unfolded, the Deacons within the Altar and all servers go to the High Place, cross themselves and turn to face the Bishop. They, together with all the Priests around the Holy Table sing a threefold ‘Lord, Have Mercy’ as the celebrant Bishop’s name is mentioned, which is then repeated by the choir; and following this, all (including the Priests) turn to the East, make the sign of the Cross, then turn and bow to the Bishop who in turn blesses them, and then they return to face the Holy Table (and the Deacons and servers depart the High Place).
- Whenever the Bishop is about to bestow the Peace upon the faithful, he first bestows it upon those in the Altar; at this all should slightly bow towards him, as is always done when a priest or Bishop bestow the Peace upon us.