Liturgical Handbook of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad
If a priest has been granted the right to wear a head covering (i.e. a kamilavka), at what points is it worn, and when is it removed, during the service of the Divine Liturgy?
Category: Divine Liturgy

A clergyman who has the right to wear a head covering in the temple, whether by obedience (e.g. the klobuk of an Hieromonk or black kamilavka of an Hierodeacon) or by ecclesiastical award (e.g. the purple skufia or kamilavka of a Priest, the purple kamilavka of a senior Protodeacon), wears it as part of his prescribed vesture at all appointed times. It is not left aside for the sake of convenience, which is laxity and an indignity against his office.

Such appointed head coverings are worn at the following points during the Divine Liturgy:


  • At the Greeting of the Bishop (if an Hierarchical service), and throughout the entrance prayers whether or not a Bishop be present (except for the moments within these prayers where it is removed).
  • After vesting, the kamilavka is again donned just before the Liturgy begins. It is normally not worn within the Altar during any preparatory works prior to the beginning of the Liturgy (and it is never worn during the Proskomedia; and whenever commemorations are made at the Table of Oblation, during the Proskomedia or after it, the head is always uncovered for this purpose — removing the kamilavka to make commemorations as prosfora are brought in on behalf of the faithful, for example, and then returning it to the head once they are completed).
  • The kamilavka remains on the Priest’s head throughout the first parts of the Divine Liturgy. It is removed for the reading of the Holy Gospel: after the chief celebrant pronounces ‘Peace be upon you all’ prior to the Gospel reading, all Priests remove their kamilavkas and hold them in their left hands during the reading (they are not set aside). As soon as the Gospel reading concludes, the kamilavkas are again returned to the head.
  • The kamilavka is removed by all Priests (and set aside, thereafter remaining off) at the time of the reading of the Prayer of the Cherubic Hymn. It should be noted that a more recent custom of removing the kamilavka earlier, as the antimins begins to be unfolded, is not the practice of our Church. It remains worn throughout the litanies that accompany the unfolding of the antimins (e.g. the Litany of Fervent Supplication, that for the Catechumens, etc.), and after the exclamation ‘That being guarded by Thy Dominion…’, immediately before the prayer of the Cherubic Hymn is read, then the kamilavka is removed and set aside.
  • If a special prayer is read after the Litany of Fervent Supplication (e.g. the prayer for the cessation of civil strife), all uncover their heads for this prayer, and re-cover them at its conclusion.
  • The kamilavka remains off throughout the remainder of the Divine Liturgy. It is returned to the head only after the Holy Gifts have been moved to the Table of Oblation and the exclamation ‘For Thou art our sanctification…’ has been pronounced, immediately before the Priest goes forth to pronounce the Prayer Before the Amvon (which is done wearing the kamilavka), and thereafter remains on through the conclusion of the Divine Service.
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