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:
When does the Priest elevate his hands while praying or making an exclamation?
Handbook Category: Divine Liturgy (index)

As a matter of course, the Priest does not elevate his hands during the reading of prayers or when pronouncing exclamations — they are kept at his sides, and at the conclusion he makes the sign of the Precious Cross over himself and the customary slight bow.

The Priest elevates his hands only at the following specifically-appointed places in the Divine Liturgy (note: if it be a concelebrated Liturgy between multiple priests, only the chief celebrant raises his hands at these points; concelebrant Priests do not):

  • During the opening prayers before the beginning of the service (‘O Heavenly King…’, ‘Glory to God in the Highest…’, ‘O Lord, Thou shalt open my mouth…’).
  • During the threefold recitation of the Cherubic Hymn.
  • [Only if serving with a Deacon: While saying ‘Thine own of Thine own…’ as the Deacon elevates the Diskos and Chalice.]
  • During the threefold recitation of the Prayer of the Third Hour.
  • At the exclamation before the Our Father (‘And vouchesafe, O Lord…’).

At no other points does the Priest have his hands elevated for prayers or exclamations.

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