Liturgical Handbook of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad
When does the Bishop enter or depart the Altar through the Royal Doors?
Category: Hierarchical Services

This is a question for which there are differing answers within the Church Abroad, as varying practices have become more common in different parts of the world. However, in this Diocese we uniquely maintain the older practice, wherein a Bishop enters or exits the Altar via the Royal Doors only when he is vested in the mantia or in full vestments. If the Bishop arrives at the temple quietly, i.e. without a Greeting, and therefore enters the temple only in his ryassa, he will not enter the Altar through the Royal Doors (which therefore should not be opened for him); instead, he will enter via the south Deacon’s door, or depart via the same.

This is to maintain the dignity of the Royal Doors in their liturgical function. The Bishop has the right to enter through them in ways and at times that other clergy do not; but he, nevertheless, must be liturgically clad in order to do so.

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