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:
At the Little Entrance of a Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, in what manner do the clergy re-enter the Holy Altar?
Handbook Category: Hierarchical Services (index)

Following the fourfold blessing by the Bishop on the cathedra with the dikiri and trikiri (during which time the clergy sing ‘O come, let us worship and fall down…’), the Subdeacons, following the Deacons, lead the Bishop through the ranks of priests to the amvon, which he ascends (the Subdeacons here, as always when the Bishop ascends or descends the cathedra or amvon, actively assist him by taking his elbows in their hands to provide stability, as the vestments he is wearing make this difficult). The Priests follow behind the Bishop, the senior-most immediately behind him and the others in rank (thereby reversing the order in which they were standing at the cathedra, so that the senior-most Priests end up immediately at the foot of the amvon and the others behind them in their two rows running east to west).

From atop the amvon the Bishop blesses in two directions with the dikiri and trikiri as the singing continues, then turns to the iconostasis, gives up the trikiri and venerates the small icons on the Royal Doors before entering the Altar. During this time, the clergy remain at the foot of the amvon and neither ascend it nor re-enter the Altar. Only once the Bishop has entered the Altar do the Priests follow him, ascending the amvon and entering through the Royal Doors. Those on the right-hand side kiss the icon on the right as they enter, those on the left kiss the icon on the left.

Upon entering the Holy Altar the Priests move immediately to the sides, leaving space around the Holy Table which the Bishop is censing. They remain at the sides of the Altar during the censing; after the Bishop exits through the Royal Doors to cense the iconostasis and the people, the Priests move forward together to kiss the Holy Table, then stand in their appointed places.

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