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 the clergy greet the celebrating Hierarch after the reception of Holy Communion, in the Altar?
Handbook Category: Hierarchical Services (index)

While in some other practices it is commonplace for all clergy (and Altar servers) to greet the celebrating Hierarch during the Divine Liturgy, after the reception of Holy Communion and zapivka, by approaching him at his place to the side of the Holy Table to exchange greetings, etc., we do not have this custom in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. To the contrary, following the receipt of Holy Communion, the Bishop will move either to the table of oblation or some other place prepared for him, where he will consume his zapivka and have all the post-Communion prayers read to him by a Subdeacon (or he will read them quietly to himself). Under no circumstances should the Bishop be interrupted during these prayers, or after them, for conversation; rather, all other clergy who are not occupied with preparing the Holy Gifts for the Communion of the faithful should also quietly read their thanksgiving prayers; and when these are done we remain in silence before the Gifts.

We do not greet or converse with the Hierarch until the end of the Liturgy.

The only occasion on which we come up to the Hierarch in the Altar, to greet him and take his blessing, is at the end of the All-night Vigil service, after the benediction at the end of Matins: at this stage, all clergy and servers, in order of rank, greet the Bishop with the feast/day, asking for his blessing only.

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