Russian Orthodox Liturgical Resources

Liturgical Handbook
of the Practices of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad
Return to Handbook IndexРусская версия
Handbook of Liturgical Practice of the Russian Church Abroad
Liturgical Question:
Who can or should place and move the eagle rugs (orletsi) during a Hierarchical Service?
Handbook Category: Hierarchical Services (index)

The movement and placement of the eagle rugs (orletsi) belongs by right to the Subdeacons, or in their absence to the other Altar servers. Deacons, Priests and Bishops themselves must never touch these rugs during a Divine Service in progress, out of respect for the purity of the Lamb that is held in their hands; but in all cases, it is absolutely forbidden for a Priest or Deacon to move an eagle rug after he has washed his hands as part of his vesting, or otherwise put on his vestments (if a lesser Divine Service) — since the eagle rugs are, after all, rugs, and lie on the ground and are stood upon, and therefore become dirty; and the washed hands of the Priest and Deacon must be kept clean for the ministration of the Holy Myteries, as well as touching their sacred vestments.

Should a Deacon or Priest by some extraordinary necessity handle an eagle rug after washing his hands or donning vestments, he must immediately go and wash his hands again before he does anything else.

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This Liturgical Handbook is provided as a resource on the liturgical customs and practices of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.

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Liturgical Resources

Full resoures on the liturgical heritage of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad

Altar Servers

'To Serve in My Father's House': a primer on the spiritual nature of service in the Altar