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:
Which books may be lain upon the Holy Table?
Handbook Category: Icons, Church Adornment and other Practical Matters (index)

The only book ever placed upon the Holy Table is the Gospel book, kept there atop the antimins.

In parishes where multiple Gospel books are employed (i.e. in multiple languages), only one of these should be kept on the Holy Table. The second Gospel book may be lain upon the Holy Table prior to the reading of the Gospel itself, so as to be readily accessible to the Deacon or Priest reading it; but afterwards it should be set aside in a suitable place, leaving only one Gospel book on the Holy Table.

Under absolutely no circumstances whatever are service books, or any other books or papers, to be lain on the Holy Table. A priest not wishing to hold his service book in his hands should position an analoy or other suitable stand at the corner of the Holy Table, to his left, ensuring that it does not touch the Table itself. Upon this may be placed his service books and other necessary papers — though, as being visible to all the faithful, it should never be cluttered.

Only a Bishop will have his service book held for him in the Altar. Priests will either use a stand, or hold their book themselves.

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