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Divine Liturgy (
The Greek Catholic and Orthodox Churches see the Divine Liturgy as transcending time and the world. All believers are seen as united in worship in the Kingdom of God along with the departed
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Three Divine Liturgies are in common use in the
As numbers in a diocese increased dramatically, the bishop who presides over the Eucharistic assembly appointed presbyters to act as celebrants in the local communities (the parishes). Still, the Church is understood in Eastern Orthodoxy in terms not of the presbyter, but the diocesan bishop. When the latter celebrates the liturgy personally, the service is more complex and festive. To demonstrate unity with the greater Orthodox community, the hierarch commemorates the hierarch he is subordinate to or, if he is head of an
The format of Divine Liturgy is fixed, although the specific readings and
The Divine Liturgy consists of three interrelated parts; when not in conjunction with vespers, the liturgies of John Chrysostom and Basil the Great are structured thus:
A typical celebration of the Byzantine Liturgy consists of:
This part of the Liturgy is private, performed only by the priest and deacon. It symbolizes the hidden years of Christ's earthly life.
This is the public part of the Liturgy, in which both catechumens and baptized faithful would be in the nave:
blessingby the priest
Litany, beginning with the priest proclaiming, "In peace, let us pray to the Lord", to which the response is "Lord, have mercy."
- Second Antiphon
- Little Litany
- Third Antiphon
Small Entrance– procession with the Gospel Book
- Entrance hymn
- Hymns commemorating specific
saintsand Scriptural events, as appropriate to the liturgical calendar and local custom
Trisagion, the "Thrice-Holy" hymn (or on certain days, another hymn)
- Litany of Fervent Supplication – "Let us all say with our whole soul and with our whole mind…"
- Litany for the Departed – this is not said on Sundays,
Great Feastsor during the Paschal season
- Litany of the
Catechumens, and Dismissal of the Catechumens
In the early Church, only baptized members who could receive Holy Communion were allowed to attend this portion of the Liturgy. In common contemporary practice, with very few local exceptions (e.g.,
- First Litany of the Faithful
- Second Litany of the Faithful
Cherubikonchanted as spiritual representatives (or icons) of the angels
Great Entrance– procession taking the chaliceand diskos(paten) from the Table of Oblationto the altar
- Litany of Completion – "Let us complete our prayer to the Lord"
- The Kiss of Peace
- Symbol of Faith (the
Sursum Corda("Let us lift up our hearts..." (Greek: "Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας")
Anaphora (Eucharistic Prayer)
- The Epinikios Hymnos or
Sanctus("Holy, Holy, Holy…")
- The Eucharistic Canon, containing the
Anamnesis(memorial of Christ's Incarnation, death, and Resurrection, and the Words of Institution)
EpiklesisThe calling down of the Holy Spiritupon the Holy Gifts (bread and wine) to change them into the Body and Blood of Christ
- Commemoration of Saints and
Theotokion(hymn to the Theotokos)
It is Truly Meet(Ἀξιόν ἐστιν) (on certain days replaced with various hymns in honor of the Mother of God)
- Commemoration of bishop and civil authorities – "Remember, O Lord…"
- Litany of Supplication – "Having called to remembrance all the saints…"
- Bowing of Heads
- "Holy Things are for the Holy"
- Communion Hymn
- "We have seen the true light"
- "Let our mouths be filled with Thy praise, O Lord…"
- Litany of Thanksgiving
- Prayer behind the
- Psalm 33
Almost all texts are chanted throughout the Divine Liturgy, not only hymns but litanies, prayers, creed confession and even readings from the Bible, depending on tradition. In ancient rubrics, and contemporary Greek practice, the sermon, Nicene Creed and the Lord's Prayer are spoken/read, rather than chanted. Slavic traditions chant or sing everything except the sermon.
The faithful preparing to receive Holy Communion. In the foreground are wine and