Liturgical Handbook of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad
When does the Deacon re-enter the Altar after introducing the Priest’s prayer before the amvon?
Category: Diaconal Services and Rubrics

If the Liturgy is being celebrated by a Priest (i.e. without a Bishop), the Deacon intones the introduction to the Prayer Before the Amvon in the customary way: standing on the amvon before the icon of the Saviour and saying ‘Let us pray to the Lord’. He then turns to his left, facing north, and holds his orar aright, pointing towards the Royal Doors, and so remains during the prayer. Once the Priest has finished the prayer, the Deacon again faces eastward, crosses himself, and re-enters the Altar; he proceeds immediately to the north side of the Holy Table via the High Place, kneeling there to awaiting the blessing of the Priest to consume the Holy Gifts.

If it is an Hierarchical service, the introduction of the prayer by the Deacon is undertaken in the same way. However, since the Bishop remains in the Altar and it is he, not the Priest, who blesses the Deacon to consume the Gifts, the Deacon may, after saying ‘Let us pray to the Lord’, immediately cross himself and re-enter the Altar via the south door, going to the north side of the Holy Table to kneel and take his blessing while the prayer is being read by the Priest.

It should be noted that this latter custom is not universal in the Church Abroad, and in some dioceses it is the custom that, even at an Hierarchical service, the Deacon will remain on the amvon, facing north with his orar aloft (as at a Priestly service). This is a matter of local custom and the Ruling Bishop should be approached to ask what he blesses in the local temple.

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