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Divine Liturgy (
In Eastern traditions, those of the Eastern Catholic and Orthodox Churches, the Divine Liturgy is seen as transcending time, and the world. All believers are believed to be united in worship in the Kingdom of God along with departed
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There are three Divine Liturgies in the
The Hierarchical Liturgy. As numbers in a diocese increased dramatically the bishop as presiding over the Eucharistic assembly appointed presbyters as celebrant in the local community (the parish). Still, the Church is understood in Eastern Orthodoxy not in terms of the presbyter, but the diocesan bishop. When the latter is present, he is chief celebrant. Phrases and hymns are also added. The hierarch commemorates his hierarch demonstrating unity with the greater Orthodox community.
When not in conjunction with vespers, the liturgies of John Chrysostom and Basil the Great are structured thus:
The format of Divine Liturgy is fixed, although the specific readings and
While arrangements may vary from liturgy to liturgy, the Divine Liturgy always consists of three interrelated parts:
A typical celebration of the Byzantine Liturgy consists of:
This part of the Liturgy is private, said only by the priest and deacon. It symbolizes the hidden years of Christ's earthly life.
This is the public part of the Liturgy, where 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" followed by the choir singing, "Lord have mercy."
- Second Antiphon
"Only Begotten Son"
- 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)
- Homilies may also be preached while Communion is being prepared for distribution to the people, and before, or after the Dismissal
- 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 baptised 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 by the Choir 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 Fervent Supplication—"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)
Sanctus("Holy, Holy, Holy…")
- The Eucharistic Canon, containing the
Anamnesis(memorial of Christ's Incarnation, death, and Resurrection, and the Words of Institution)
EpiklesisCalling down 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(Αξιον Εστιν) (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
Note that 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 will chant or sing everything except for the sermon.
The faithful preparing to receive Holy Communion. In the foreground are wine and