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:
How many additional prosphora are required on the oblation table when a Bishop serves?
Handbook Category: Hierarchical Services (index)

When a Bishop celebrates the Divine Liturgy, he is not able to make his personal commemorations of the living and the departed prior to the service, during the Proskomedia, as this is done by the Priest before his arrival and the Bishop is himself situated on the cathedra in the middle of the temple from the beginning of the Liturgy. Thus the Bishop makes his personal commemorations just before the Great Entrance, after the prayers of the Cherubic Hymn, while the Deacon is completing the second half of the censing before the Entrance.

In order to provide for the Bishop’s commemorations, it is necessary that prior to the service an extra prosphora (in addition to the five used in the rite itself) is set out for the Bishop, and kept untouched until the time comes for his commemorations. This will normally be a larger prosphora, similar in size to that used for the Lamb. It is set aside on its own small plate when the Proskomedia is served, and kept there. When the time comes for the partial uncovering of the gifts prior to the Great Entrance, this additional prosfora is brought forward and placed next to the small plate on which remain the prosfora for the living and the dead, from which the Bishop will draw additional particles before also removing particles from his own prosfora. If multiple Hierarchs are concelebrating, an additional prosphora is thus prepared for each of them, each upon its own plate with a small spear beside it.


Photograph showing a Bishop making commemorations from the personal prosphora set for him on the table of oblation.


After the commemorations are complete and the Great Entrance has taken place, the Bishop’s prosphora is never cut up for distribution, nor is it used for the Bishop’s zapivka at the Liturgy (at which other prosfora are prescribed to be given to the Bishop); rather, it is wrapped up in paper by an Altar server, as customary, and given to the Bishop at the conclusion of the Liturgy (he then takes this to his kellia and partakes of it over the coming days).

NOTE: In some places two prosfora are provided for each Bishop, for him to make commemorations of the living from one and the departed from another; but in our ROCOR practice the Bishop generally makes these both from a single large prosphora.

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