The British Orthodox Church

within the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate

THE LITURGY OF THE CATECHUMENS

 

The Prayer of the Trisagion

Priest (bowing down) : O merciful and pitiful, long-suffering and most gracious and true Lord : look upon us from Thy holy dwelling-place, and attend to our supplications, preserving us from every temptation, whether of the devil or of man. Withhold not Thy grace from us, nor allow us to be chastened beyond what we can bear : for we are not able to conquer our adversities alone, but Thou art able, O Lord, to overcome them all. Save us, O God, from the tribulations of this life, according to Thy goodness; that we, approaching with a pure conscience unto Thy Holy Altar, may blamelessly offer unto Thee, together with all the heavenly powers, this thrice-holy hymn, well pleasing to Thee and may be counted worthy of life everlasting.

 

Ekphonesis

For Thou art holy, O Lord our God, and Thou dwellest and restest in the saints, and unto Thee we ascribe glory and this thrice-holy hymn, to the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages !

People : Amen.

 

The Trisagion

All : + Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy and Immortal, Who was born of the Virgin : have mercy upon us !

+ Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy and Immortal, Who was crucified for our sake : have mercy upon us !

+ Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy and Immortal, Who arose from the dead and ascended into heaven : have mercy upon us !

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, both now and ever, and unto the

ages of ages. Amen.

When the Trisagion is concluded, the Bishop or Priest standing in the holy doors and facing towards the people shall bless them with these words :

Priest : + Peace be with you !

People : And with thy spirit.

 

The Alleluia

People : Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia !

While this is sung, with verses from appointed psalms, the Bishop or Priest accompanied by the concelebrants leave the Holy Altar by the holy doors and proceed to the ambon in the middle of the church. The Bishop holds his pastoral staff in his left hand and sits, surrounded by his presbyters. The deacons stand on the eastern side of the ambon, two by two, looking west. When the Alleluia is concluded there shall follow:

 

The Pauline Epistle

Reader : Paul, the Servant of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and the Apostle who was called and chosen to preach the Gospel of God. A reading from the (First/Second) Epistle to ….. May his blessings be upon us. Amen.

Deacon : Let us attend !

The reader reads from the Pauline Epistle. When he has finished:

Reader: The grace and peace of the Lord be with us all. Amen

People : Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia !

Deacon : Let us attend ! Wisdom !

 

The Catholic Epistle

Reader: A lesson, my beloved brethren from the Catholic Epistle of our teacher …. His blessings be upon us. Amen.

The reader reads from the Catholic Epistle. When he has finished:

Reader: Do not love the world, nor anything in it; for the world and its lustful desires will pass away. Those who perform the will of God abideth forever.

People : Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia !

 

The Praxis

Reader : From the Acts of our fathers the apostles, may their holy blessing be with us all. Amen.

The reader reads from the Acts of the Apostles. When he has finished :

Reader: May the Word of the Lord grow and spread, be mighty and firmly held in the Holy Church of God. Amen

People : Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia !

 

The Synaxarion

Reader : The ….. day of the blessed Coptic month of ….. according to the Era of the Martyrs. [From 1st-14th of the Month] May its receiving … [From 15th-30th of the Month] May its passing … be blessed for us and may God return it upon us year upon year so that we may dwell in peace and security and our sins forgiven through the mercies of our God, my fathers and my brother. Amen. A reading from the Chronicles of the Saints and Martyrs.

The Ordination
of the Patriarch and Bishops
shall take place at this point.

 

Prayer before the Gospel

Priest : Shine into our hearts, O Lord, the Lover of Mankind, the incorruptible light of Thy divine knowledge and open the eyes of our mind to the understanding of the preaching of Thy Gospel; instill in us also the fear of Thy blessed commandments, that, trampling underfoot all desires of the flesh, we may follow a spiritual way of life, both meditating upon and doing all that is well-pleasing unto Thee.

People : Amen.

Deacon : Wisdom !

Stand aright ! Let us listen to the Holy Gospel !

Prelude to the Gospel

(if read by a Metropolitan or a Bishop)

Deacon: Stand up in the fear of God and listen intently to the Holy Gospel being read by His Grace the beatified Abba Seraphim, the Metropolitan of Glastonbury. May the Lord of Heaven confirm him on his seat for many years and peaceful decades, and let the enemies of the Church submit instantly at his feet. Grant him an age of peace and tranquillity and grant us grace and mercy through his prayers and supplications.

A glorious chapter from the Gospel according to St. N, the Evangelist, may his blessings be with us all. Amen.

If a Metropolitan or Bishop is present and, whether or not he is the reader, the following is read after the appropriate verses from the Psalms shown in the Katamaros.

Deacon:      Let them exult him in the congregation of his people and bless him in the assembly of the elders, for he has made their families like unto a flock, the righteous shall behold and rejoice. The Lord has sworn and will not repent, thou art a Priest forever, after the order of Melchisezek. The Lord is at thy right hand, O our Pontiff the thrice-beatified His Holiness Pope Abba Shenouda the third, and your partner in the Apostolic Ministry, His Grace Abba Seraphim, the Metropolitan, may the Lord safeguard the lives of you both. Amen. Alleluia !

 

Everyone stands to hear :

 

The Holy Gospel

Deacon : TheReading of the Holy Gospel according to Saint ….

People : Glory to Thee, O Lord, glory be to Thee !

The Deacon intones the Holy Gospel, facing towards the west. When he has finished there is sung :

People : Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia !

After this singing, the Bishop instructs the people, sitting on his cathedra and holding his staff but if the Bishop desires, someone else may preach. When the Bishop has completed his instruction he arises from his place, together with the presbyters, and taking the Holy Gospels in his right hand and holding his staff in his left hand, he enters the Sanctuary by the holy doors. The other presbyters follow him bearing the other sacred books.

People : Glory to Thee, O Lord, glory be to Thee !

The Book of the Gospels is laid upon the Holy Altar and the other sacred books are reverently laid down. The Bishop puts aside his pastoral staff. The deacons remain outside on the soleas and, turning towards the people, one of them shall chant :

 

The Second Litany

Deacon : Let us all pray :

People : Kyrie eleison !

Deacon : O Almighty Lord, God of our fathers, we beseech Thee to hear us.

People : Kyrie eleison !

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

People : Kyrie eleison !

Deacon : For the salvation and succour of our most holy Father Abba SHENOUDA, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and his brother in the Apostolic ministry our father IGNATIUS ZAKKA, Patriarch of Antioch; for Abba SERAPHIM, Metropolitan of Glastonbury and for every Episcopate rightly dividing the Word of Truth; with the honourable Presbytery, the Diaconate in Christ, the Brotherhood of Monks, and all the Christ-loving People, let us pray to the Lord.

People : Kyrie eleison !

Deacon : For our Most Gracious Sovereign Lady Queen ELIZABETH, and all the Reigning House, with her whole Court and Council, let us pray to the Lord.

People : Kyrie eleison !

Deacon : That we may be delivered from all affliction, wrath, danger, necessity, bondage, bitter death and our iniquities, let us pray to the Lord.

People : Kyrie eleison !

Deacon : For the people here present, who expect the rich and abundant mercy that is from above, we beseech Thee, be compassionate and have mercy !

Then the Bishop or Priest, coming to the holy doors and turning towards the people, shall make the sign of the cross over them :

Priest : O Lord, save Thy people and + bless Thine inheritance.

People : Kyrie eleison !

Deacon : Visit Thy world in mercy and loving-kindness, we beseech Thee, O Lord.

People : Kyrie eleison !

Deacon : Exalt the horn of Christians, through the power of the precious and life-giving Cross, we beseech Thee, O Lord.

People : Kyrie eleison !

Deacon : O God of many mercies, hear us who cry unto Thee and have mercy, we beseech Thee, O Lord.

People : Kyrie eleison !

Deacon : That the rest of this day may be perfect, holy, peaceful and sinless, let us pray to the Lord.

People : Kyrie eleison !

Deacon : For an angel of peace, a faithful guardian both of body and soul, let us pray to the Lord.

People : Kyrie eleison !

Deacon : For pardon and remission of our sins and transgressions, let us pray to the Lord.

People : Kyrie eleison !

Deacon : For such things as are good and healthful to our souls, and for peace to the world, let us pray to the Lord.

People : Kyrie eleison !

Deacon : That we may accomplish the remainder of our lives in peace, let us pray to the Lord.

People : Kyrie eleison !

Deacon : That the end of our lives may be Christian, painless and without shame, and that we may answer well before the awesome judgement seat of Christ, let us pray to the Lord.

People : Kyrie eleison !

 

Ekphonesis

Priest : For Thou art the good tidings and the illumination, the Saviour and the Guardian of our souls and bodies, O Father, with Thine Only-Begotten Son and Thine All-Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

People : Amen.

Priest : Commemorating our all-holy, spotless, and most glorious Lady, the Mother of God, and ever-virgin Mary, with all the martyrs and righteous saints, let us commend ourselves and one another, and our whole life to Christ our God.

People : To Thee, O Lord !

Prayer for Illumination

Bishop : O God, Who hast sounded into our ears Thy divine and salutary words, illuminate the souls of us sinners to the understanding of that which hath been read before, so that we may not only be seen to be hearers of spiritual things, but doers of good works, following after faith, without guile, of blameless life and guiltless conversation.

 

Ekphonesis

In Christ Jesus our Lord, with Whom Thou art blessed, with Thy most holy, good and life-giving Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

People : Amen.

Deacon : Let none of the Catechumens, let none of the uninitiated, let none of those who are not able to join with us in prayer remain. The doors ! Stand aright ! Let us pray to the Lord !

 

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