Liturgical Handbook of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad
When is zapivka to be prepared by the Altar servers?
Category: Divine Liturgy

The preparation for the zapivka of both the clergy and the faithful (that is, the cutting up of the bread, the preparation of jugs of wine mixed with water, etc.) should be undertaken during quiet moments during the first half of the Divine Liturgy — for example, during litanies or other moments where Altar servers do not have other tasks to perform. It should always be done quietly and with as little movement as possible.

In all cases, the preparations for zapivka must be complete before the conclusion of the Litany prior to ‘Our Father’, during which any remaining prepared items should be taken out of the Altar and presented to the Sisterhood or whomever may be responsible for making them ready for the faithful in the Nave. Zapivka prepared for the clergy (including a serving Bishop) should also be concluded by this point, and taken to their places and left there. After the litany before ‘Our Father’ no further preparations should take place in the Altar.

It is too frequently observed that servers put off this task until the clergy are themselves readying to make their communion of the Divine Gifts, but this is completely inappropriate: at this time, there should be no activity whatsoever in the Holy Altar, and any servers who may remain within it (most should already have departed the Altar) should be absolutely still and silent so that the clergy can receive Holy Communion without any distraction.

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