The British Orthodox Church

within the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate

THE LITURGY OF THE FAITHFUL

Priest : O Master, Creator of life and Giver of all good gifts, Who didst give us the blessed hope of everlasting life, our Lord Jesus Christ, make us worthy, O Good One, to accomplish this divine service to Thee in holiness, so that we may attain unto the enjoyment of everlasting blessedness.

 

Ekphonesis

That being ever guarded by Thy dominion and guided to the light of Thy Truth, we may ascribe glory and thanksgiving unto Thee, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

People : Amen.

The Bishop or Priest, holding his pastoral staff in his left hand and the censer in his right, censes around the Holy Altar, the holy ikons, the clergy and people. If a Bishop is the celebrant, after the incensation he lays aside the censer and his pastoral staff. The deacons leave the Sanctuary by the royal doors bearing a basin and towel. The Bishop washes his hands in the holy doors in view of the people whom he sprinkles with his hands.

The Lavabo

Priest : I will wash mine hands in innocency.

People : So will I compass Thine Altar, O Lord.

The presbyters wash their hands in turn, but do not sprinkle. The deacons re-enter the Sanctuary through the holy doors bearing the basin and towel, which they shall lay by reverently.

 

The Great Entrance

Then the Bishop with the presbyters kisses the Holy Altar, bows slightly to the people, and goes with the presbyters to the Table of the Prothesis. The Bishop in silence gives the diskos with the Holy Bread to the first Priest and the chalice to the second Priest. The first Priest carries the diskos in front of his breast. They shall leave from the north door of the Sanctuary with the deacons proceeding them, bearing lights and incense but the Bishop abides in the Sanctuary, standing in front of the Holy Altar.

If a Priest is the celebrant : after the incensation he shall kiss the Holy Altar, bow to the people and, accompanied by the Deacon, shall go to the Table of the Prothesis, where he shall wash his hands. He gives the diskos to the Deacon, which he shall hold opposite his breast. The Priest takes the chalice and together they make the entrance, preceded by lights and incense. Then shall all sing :

Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
And with awe and reverence stand;
Ponder nothing earthly-minded,
For, with blessing in His hand,
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
Our full homage to demand.
King of Kings, yet born of Mary,
As of old on earth He stood,
Lord of lords in human vesture,
In His Body and His Blood,
He will give to all the faithful,
His own Self for Heavenly Food.

Upon reaching the ambon, the Priest and Deacon pause and facing to the west shall remember all those for whom the Holy Sacrifice is offered, both the living and the departed. Then shall the Deacon chant :

Deacon : May the Lord God remember you all, both now and ever and unto the ages of ages.

People : Amen.

The Priest, with the Deacon, goes to the Holy Altar and they stand before the steps of the soleas, facing east. If the Bishop is the celebrant : the presbyters and deacons go through the Church as far as the steps of the soleas, the other deacons censing the gifts without stopping. All stand before the soleas facing east, the diskos on the right and the chalice on the left, with lights and candles borne on either side of the holy doors. The Bishop leaves the Sanctuary by the holy doors, without his pastoral staff or the censer, and the first presbyter says in a quiet voice :

Priest : May the Lord God remember thine Episcopate in His Kingdom, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Bishop : May the Lord God remember your priesthood and diaconate in His Kingdom, always, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

The Bishop then intones the Prayer of the Offering, looking from the royal doors to the west, but if a Priest be the celebrant he shall face east while reciting this prayer :

 

The Prayer of the Offering

Priest : O Lord, our God, Who didst send forth the heavenly Bread, the food of the whole world, our Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour, Redeemer and Benefactor, blessing and sanctifying us : do Thou Thyself bless this offering

(If the Bishop is the celebrant, he shall here take the diskos from the presbyter and places it in front of the Ark upon the Holy Altar, then turning to the west he continues:) and receive it to Thine heavenly Altar. (He shall here take the chalice from the second presbyter and place it within the Ark upon the Holy Altar. Then the presbyters and deacons enter the Sanctuary by the holy doors and stand at their places. If a Priest is the celebrant, however, he and the Deacon enter the Sanctuary and place the Gifts upon the Holy Altar as indicated.)

Priest : In Thy goodness and love for us all, remember those who offer it and those for whom it is offered, and preserve us without condemnation in this ministry of Thy Divine Mysteries. For holy and glorified is Thine honourable and majestic name, of Father, Son and Holy Ghost; both now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

People : Amen.

As the Bishop or Priest censes the offering, all shall sing :

Rank on rank, the Host of Heaven,
Spreads its vanguard on the way,
As the Light of light descendeth,
From the realm of endless day;
That the powers of hell may vanish,
As the darkness clears away.
At His feet, the six-winged Seraphs,,
Cherubim with sleepless eye,
Veil their faces to the Presence,
As with ceaseless voice, they cry,
Alleluia, Alleluia,
Alleluia, Lord Most High.

A Deacon receiving a blessing, shall go out of the northern door of the sanctuary and standing before the holy doors and elevating his orarion, he chants:

Deacon : Wisdom ! Let us attend !

 

The Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed

People : We believe in One God; the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in One Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-Begotten Son of God, begotten of His Father before all ages; Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten, not made; being Consubstantial with the Father; by Whom all things were made; Who, for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven; and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man. And was crucified under Pontius Pilate, He suffered and was buried. And the third day He rose again according to the scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father. And He shall come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead; Whose Kingdom shall have no end.

And we believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord, the Giver of Life, Who proceedeth from the Father, Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, Who spake by the Prophets.

And we believe One Holy Catholic and ApostolicChurch; we acknowledge One Baptism for the remission of sins; and we look for the resurrection of the dead; and the life + of the world to come. Amen.

Priest : O God and Master of all, make us, though unworthy, worthy of this hour, that freed from all guile and hypocrisy, we may be united together by the bond of peace and love. Let us find strength in the holiness of Thy divine knowledge, through Thine Only-Begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom Thou art blessed, together with Thy most holy, good and life-giving Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

People : Amen.

Deacon : Let us stand aright ! Let us stand piously, in the fear of God and with compunction of heart !

Priest : For Thou art the God of peace, mercy, love, infinite compassion, and love to mankind, and Thine Only-Begotten Son, and Thine All Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

People : Amen.

Priest : + Peace be with you all.

People : And with thy spirit !

 

The Kiss of Peace

Deacon : Let us greet one another with a holy kiss !

People : I will love Thee, O Lord, my strength; the Lord is my foundation, and my refuge, and my deliverer.

The Bishop or Priest kisses the edge of the diskos, the Ark and the Holy Altar, after which the Holy Gifts shall be veiled. The concelebrant presbyters do likewise, then they kiss the hand of the Bishop and one another. The deacons do the same thing, standing on the soleas, and then they shall pass the Peace to the people.

The Ordination
of the Chanters, Readers, Subdeacons, Deacons, Priests and Hegoumen
shall take place at this point.

 

Deacon : Let us bow our heads unto the Lord !

People : To Thee, O Lord !

Priest : O only Lord and merciful God, on those who bow their heads before Thy Holy Altar, and who beg of Thee spiritual gifts, send down Thy good grace, and bless us with every spiritual blessing, which cannot be taken away, O Thou Who dwellest on high and yet regardest the lowly.

For praised and worshipped and glorified is Thy most holy name, of Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.

The Deacon, looking through the holy doors towards the Holy Altar, chants:

Deacon : Master, bless !

Priest : The Lord shall bless, and shall minister with all of us in His grace and love to men. The Lord shall bless, and make us worthy of standing before His Holy Altar, always, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Blessed be God, Who blesseth and sanctifieth all of us in our presence at and celebration of His spotless mysteries, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

People : Amen.

Priest : Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will to men. (Thrice)

O Lord, open Thou my lips, and my mouth shall shew forth Thy praise. (Thrice)

Let my mouth be filled with Thy praise, O Lord, that I may set forth Thy glory, and Thy majesty all the day long. (Thrice)

Then bowing slightly on both sides to the concelebrants, the Bishop or Priest shall say :

Priest : O magnify the Lord with me, and exalt His name together.

People : The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee.

If a single Priest serves with a Deacon, the Priest goes through the holy doors from the Holy Altar onto the soleas, and looking toward the people he chants this, then bowing as the people respond he turns back to the Holy Altar.

If a Bishop is the celebrant, the other presbyters say to him :

Priests : Remember us also, holy Master.

Bishop : May the Lord remember you in His kingdom, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

Priests: Amen.

If presbyters concelebrate, they say to the principal celebrant :

Priests : Remember us also, Father.

Celebrant : May the Lord remember us in His heavenly kingdom, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

Priests : Amen.

While the presbyters pray the Deacon shall say :

 

The Third Litany

Deacon : In peace let us pray to the Lord !

People : Kyrie eleison !

Deacon : Save us, have mercy on us, be gracious unto us and protect us, O God, by Thy grace.

People : Kyrie eleison !

Deacon : For the peace that is from above, the love of God and the salvation of our souls, let us pray to the Lord.

People : Kyrie eleison !

Deacon : For the peace of the whole world, for the unity of all the holy churches of God, let us pray to the Lord.

People : Kyrie eleison !

Deacon : For those who bear fruit and do good deeds in the holy churches of God, who remember the poor, the widows, the orphans and the strangers, and those who are in need; and for all those who have asked us for our prayers, let us pray to the Lord.

People : Kyrie eleison !

Deacon : For those who are in old age and infirmity, the sick, the distressed and all who are vexed by unclean spirits and their speedy healing from God and their salvation, let us pray to the Lord.

People : Kyrie eleison !

Deacon : For those who lead their lives in virginity, purity and asceticism, and in honourable marriage, and those that carry on their struggle in the caves and dens and holes of the earth, our holy fathers and brothers, let us pray to the Lord.

People : Kyrie eleison !

Deacon : For Christians who journey by land, sea or air, for strangers, for our brethren who are in bonds and exile, imprisonment and bitter slavery, and for their peaceful return, let us pray to the Lord.

People Kyrie eleison !

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

People : Kyrie eleison !

Deacon : For temperate weather, gentle showers, pleasant dews, abundance of fruits, fulness of a good season and for the crown of the year, let us pray to the Lord.

People : Kyrie eleison !

Deacon : For our fathers and brethren, who are present and pray together with us in this holy hour and at all seasons, their diligence, labour and zeal, let us pray to the Lord.

People : Kyrie eleison !

Deacon : For every Christian soul in affliction and distress, needing the mercy and succour of God, for the conversion of the erring, the health of the sick, the deliverance of the prisoners, the rest of those who have departed before us, and for all our fathers and brethren, let us pray to the Lord.

People : Kyrie eleison !

Deacon : That our prayer may be heard and be acceptable before God, and that His abundant mercies and compassion may be sent down upon us, let us pray to the Lord.

People : Kyrie eleison !

Deacon : Commemorating the most holy, spotless, exceedingly glorious, blessed Lady, the Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary, together with all the saints, and that we may obtain mercy through their prayers and intercessions, let us pray to the Lord.

People : Kyrie eleison !

Deacon : For the proposed, precious, heavenly, ineffable, spotless, glorious, fearful, awesome, divine Gifts and the salvation of the priest who stands by and offers them, let us supplicate the Lord our God.

People : Kyrie eleison ! Kyrie eleison ! Kyrie eleison !

While the Deacon says this litany the Bishop or Priest shall silently pray:

 

Prayer for Forgiveness

Priest: O Lord and Master, Thou Who dost visit us with mercies and loving-kindness, and hast freely given us, Thy humble and sinful and unworthy servants, boldness to stand before Thine Holy Altar and to offer to Thee the awesome and unbloody sacrifice for our sins and for the ignorance of the people; look upon me, Thine unprofitable servant, and blot out my sins by Thy tender mercy. Cleanse my lips and heart from all pollution of flesh and spirit, remove from me every unseemly and foolish thought, and make me fit, by the might of Thine all-holy Spirit, for this Liturgy. Receive me by Thy goodness, approaching to Thine Holy Altar; and vouchsafe, O Lord, that these gifts, brought to Thee by my hands, may be acceptable, condescending to my weaknesses. Cast me not away from Thy Face, neither abhor Thou mine unworthiness: but pity me according to Thy great mercy, and according to the multitude of Thy loving-kindness pass by my transgressions: that I, coming blamelessly into the presence of Thy glory, may be counted worthy of the protection of Thine Only-Begotten Son, and of the illumination of the most Holy Ghost; and may not, as a slave of sin, be rejected, but, as Thy servant, may find grace and mercy and remission of sins before Thee, in this world, and in that which is to come. Yea, Almighty Master, Omnipotent Lord, hear my supplication; for Thou art He Who workest all in all, and we seek in all things after the succour and assistance that is from Thee and Thine Only-Begotten Son, and the good and quickening and consubstantial Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Priest : O God, Who through Thy great and ineffable love for mankind didst send Thine Only-Begotten Son into the world, that He might turn back again the sheep that had gone astray; turn not away us sinners who take hold of Thee in the fearful and unbloody sacrifice: for we trust not in our own righteousness but in Thy good mercy, by which Thou redeemest to Thyself our race. We supplicate and beseech Thy goodness that this Mystery instituted for our salvation, may not be for condemnation to Thy people, but for the blotting out of sin, for the renewal of souls and bodies, and for Thy pleasure, O God and Father, in the mercy and love to men of Thine Only-Begotten Son and the Holy Ghost, with Whom Thou art blessed, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen

During this prayer the Bishop or Priest shall unveil the Holy Gifts :

 

The Prayer of the Veil

Priest : We render thanks unto Thee, O Lord our God, for that Thou hast given us boldness to enter into Thine holy place, the new and living way which Thou hast consecrated for us through the veil of the flesh of Thy Christ. We therefore, to whom it hath been vouchsafed to enter into the place of the tabernacle of Thy glory, and to be within the veil and to behold the Holy of Holies, fall down before Thy goodness. Master, have mercy upon us: since we are full of fear and dread, when about to stand before Thine Holy Altar and to offer this awesome and unbloody sacrifice for our sins and for the ignorances of the people. Send forth, O God, Thy good grace and hallow our souls and bodies and spirits, and change our disposition to piety, that in a pure conscience we may offer unto Thee the mercy of peace, the sacrifice of praise.

When the Deacon’s prayers shall be finished, the Bishop or Priest shall conclude in a loud voice :

 

Ekphonesis

Through the mercy and love to men of Thine Only-Begotten Son, with Whom Thou art blessed, together with Thy most-holy and good and life-creating Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

People : Amen.

Then, turning towards the people, the Bishop or Priest shall exclaim :

Priest : + Peace be with you !

People : And with Thy spirit.

Deacon : Let us stand with piety ! Let us stand with the fear of God and compunction of heart; let us attend to the holy Anaphora, to offer the holy oblation to the Lord our God.

The deacons enter the Holy Altar by the lesser doors, and taking the ripidia, they fan the holy gifts.

People : A mercy of peace, a sacrifice of praise.

Priest : Having uncovered the veils of enigmas which mystically surround this holy rite, do Thou make them gloriously manifest to us : and fill the eyes of our understanding with incomprehensible light. Having cleansed us, in our poverty, from every pollution of flesh and spirit, make us worthy of this fearful and awesome ministration.

 

Ekphonesis

For Thou art the God of exceeding tender mercy and to Thee we ascribe all glory and thanksgiving to the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

 

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