The British Orthodox Church

within the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate

THE LITTLE ENTRANCE

The deacons enter the Holy Altar through the lesser doors. The Bishop or Priest gives up the censer. While the hymn O Word Immortal is sung, the Bishop gives one of the presbyters the Book of the Epistles and to another, the book of prophetic writings, while he himself takes his staff in his left hand and in his right hand he takes the Holy Gospels. Preceded by lights and incense thus they make the Little Entrance, going around the Holy Altar from the south side.

If it is one Priest who serves, the Priest puts the Holy Gospels into the right hand of the Deacon, and in his left hand the Book of Epistles, while he himself takes the prophetic writings and holds them on the left side of his breast. Thus he makes the Little Entrance, preceded by lights and the Deacon goes in front of the Priest.

The Little Entrance is performed in this way: they go out of the north door and go as far as the western wall of the church, if this is possible, and they go into the vestibule through its north door. Two deacons go in front with candles, two other deacons follow them with censers, one presbyter follows them with the Prophetic book, another with the Book of Epistles, and lastly the Bishop. They enter the church by the main door in the west wall. Arriving at the analogion, which is on the ambon, in the middle of the church, the Bishop (or Priest) ascends it and puts the book on the analogion. He then takes the Gospel Book and the Epistle Book from the Deacon (or Priest) and also places them on the analogion. All of them go as far as the steps of the soleas and they stand there until the singers finish the troparion

 

O Word Immortal.

O Word immortal of eternal God,
Only-Begotten of the only Source,
For our salvation stooping to the course
Of human life, and born of Mary’s blood;
Sprung from the ever-virgin womanhood
Of her who bare Thee, God immutable.
Incarnate, made as man with man to dwell,
And condescending to the bitter Rood;
Save us, O Christ our God, for Thou hast died
To save Thy people to the uttermost,
And dying tramplest death in victory;
One of the ever-blessed Trinity,
In equal honour with the Holy Ghost,
And with the eternal Father glorified. Amen.

When the choir has finished singing, the Bishop or Priest chants this prayer, facing towards the east:

 

Prayer for Divine Grace

Priest : O God, the Almighty and Glorious Lord, Who hast given to us access to Thy Holy of Holies, by the advent of Thine Only-Begotten Son, our Lord God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, we beseech Thy goodness, seeing that we are full of fear and trembling, when about to stand before Thy Holy Altar. Send down upon us, O Lord, Thy divine grace, and sanctify our souls and bodies and spirits, and change our dispositions for the good, that we may offer unto Thee gifts and offerings to the putting away of our transgressions and for the propitiation of all Thy people. Through the grace and mercies, and love for mankind of Thine Only-Begotten Son, with Whom Thou art blessed unto the ages of ages.

People : Amen.

Then shall all sing the Troparia and Kontakia appointed for the day as the sacred ministers enter into the Holy Altar through the holy doors and stand in their places. The deacons, however, remain on the soleas facing west. The Bishop puts aside his pastoral staff. Then the Bishop or Priest, turning towards the people, shall say :

Priest : + Peace be with you all.

People : And with thy spirit.

Priest : The Lord bless us all and hallow us in the entrance and sacred rites of the divine and spotless Mysteries, giving peace also to the blessed souls with the holy and the just, through His grace and love to man, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

One of the deacons stands in the middle of the soleas and facing the people shall chant the litany :

 

The Litany of the Preparation

Deacon : In peace let us pray to the Lord.

People : Kyrie eleison !

Deacon : For the peace which is from above, the loving- kindness of God, and for the salvation of our souls, let us pray to the Lord.

People : Kyrie eleison !

Deacon : For the peace of the whole world, and the union of all the holy Churches of God, let us pray to the Lord.

People : Kyrie eleison !

Deacon : For the forgiveness of our sins, the remission of our transgressions and that we may be preserved from all affliction, wrath, danger and necessity and the insurrection of our enemies, let us pray to the Lord.

People : Kyrie eleison !

Deacon : Commemorating the most holy, undefiled, blessed and glorious Lady, the Mother of God and Ever- Virgin Mary, with the glorious Prophet Saint John the Forerunner, the Holy Apostles and victorious Martyrs, and all the saints; let us commend ourselves, and one another, and our whole life to Christ our God.

People : Amen.

 

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