Russian Orthodox Liturgical Resources

Liturgical Handbook
of the Practices of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad
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Handbook of Liturgical Practice of the Russian Church Abroad
Liturgical Question:
Do we kneel or make prostrations in the Altar on Sundays? (We see in some places that clergy make prostrations during the anaphora of the Liturgy on Sundays, etc.)
Handbook Category: Prostrations, Bows and Kneeling (index)

While in other jurisdictions and parts of the Church, differing interpretations of the ecumenical canon against kneeling on Sundays are applied and differing practices result, in the Church Abroad this injunction is applied universally and categorically. There are absolutely no prostrations made on Sundays (including their eves), during any portion of the Divine Liturgy. Where a prostration might be made on another day, on Sundays a low bow from the waist is made instead.

This explicitly includes during the anaphora and prayers of the epiclesis / consecration of the Holy Gifts. On Sundays, no prostration is made at these moments. Similarly, during a weekday Hierarchical Liturgy the Bishop will normally kneel before the Holy Table, beneath the aer, during the Creed; but on Sundays he does not, instead bowing from the waist and laying his head upon his hands on the Table.

The sole exception to this rule is when the Precious Cross is in the centre of the temple (e.g. during the Feast and afterfeast of the Exaltaton of the Cross); before the Cross, when it is thus ‘elevated’ to the central position in the church, we make three prostrations, even if it be a Sunday.

Liturgical Resources

Full resoures on the liturgical heritage of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad

Altar Servers

'To Serve in My Father's House': a primer on the spiritual nature of service in the Altar