Tuesday, June 13, 2006

First Liturgy as Deacon

As soon as we told Father Andrew (of St. Vasilios, Dn. Virgil's spiritual father in Boston) about Virgil's upcoming ordination, he insisted on the privilege of having the new deacon serve his first Liturgy as a deacon at St. Vasilios. So Sunday there was the ordination, Monday was driving back, and Tuesday found us at St. Vasilios for Liturgy.
Fr. Andrew censes the iconostasis before the beginning of Liturgy.
Fr. Andrew blesses Dn. Virgil before they start the Liturgy.
Dn. Virgil offers the petitions before Christ.
The deacon beseeches Christ on behalf of the Church.
The further petitions are offered before the Theotokos.
Dn. Virgil and I have been attending St. Vasilios, his parish assignment, on many Sundays throughout the past two years.
Dn. Virgil receives the Gospel book from Fr. Andrew during the Small Entrance.
As the deacon raises the Gospel book, the clergy chant, "Come, let us worship and bow before Christ. Save us, O Son of God who arose from the dead, we who sing to You: Alleluia!" which the congregation repeats.
"Σοφία. Πρόσχωμεν!" Before the reading of the epistle, the deacon proclaims: "Wisdom. Attend!"
In the Orthodox Church, only clergy read the Gospel within the usual celebration of the Liturgy.
For the Great Entrance, the Gifts are carried by the clergy. When there are many people in the altar, the altar boys precede the Gifts with fans (exapteriga), candles, and a cross; additional deacons precede with candles, and additional priests follow the Gifts with the spear or spoon (used during the prothesis). Here, Fr. Andrew censes as Dn. Virgil and Fr. Costin process bearing the Gifts. [N.B. I could not take any more pictures during the Great Entrance because I was too in awe—it was almost too beautiful for me to breathe.]
Before they commune, the clergy, one by one, stand before the people and ask forgiveness for their sins and bow from the Royal Gates.
The clergy commune in the altar before the Gifts are offered to the people. They stand at the left of the altar, receive the Body in their hands, consume it as they walk around the altar, and approach from the left to drink the Blood from the cup. In this picture, Dn. Virgil is consuming the precious Body.
Because it is the Body of Christ, Dn. Virgil makes sure to take every particle from the antimension before the Gifts are offered to the people.
The congregation says additional prayers of preparation for Communion as the chanters sing, "Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise Him in the highest. Alleluia."
In the Orthodox Church, the Body and Blood are placed together in the cup, and the congregants commune with a spoon. Here, Dn. Virgil holds the veiled cup and brings it to the Royal Gates.
"With fear of God, faith, and love, draw near!" Dn. Virgil invites the people to commune of the Body and Blood.
The servant of the Lord, Deacon Virgil, offers the holy Gifts to the holy people of God. Fr. Andrew held the bowl of antidoron and Fr. Costin held the communion cloth (to ensure that no particle of the Gifts is dropped); these duties are usually given to acolytes, but it was a moving symbol of their love for Dn. Virgil
The clergy and people give thanks to God.
Fr. Andrew and Dn. Virgil lead the prayers of dismissal.
As the clergy pray, the cantors sing softly, "Unto the one who blesses us and sanctifies us with God's grace, Lord, keep him in Your care, many years unto him."
The recently ordained deacon is accepted here, too, with the acceptance and blessing: "AXIOS!" By our cries of 'Axios,' we are giving approval as members of the faithful, saying, "Yes, we agree that this person be ordained to serve God, the Church, and us. We will accept his prayers and his blessings. We will accept his ministry."1
Fr. Andrew congratulates Dn. Virgil, while Fr. Costin beams. Awwww.
After the congregation departed for the coffee hour, the clergy remain in the altar to consume the rest of the Gifts and remove their vestments.
Before I realized just how long the post-liturgical altar things would take, I enjoyed the beautiful iconography of the church. This is the icon of Christ, Pantokrator (the ruler of all) at St. Vasilios.
Fr. Andrew, Dn. Virgil, and Fr. Costin. We managed to capture our clergy and take pictures after the coffee hour, provided by Philoptochos. (Philoptochos is everywhere, taking care of us!)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you considered opening a Flickr account to house all of these? :)

Tue Jun 13, 12:56:00 PM CDT  
Blogger Mimi said...

Beautiful! Thank you so much.

Tue Jun 13, 01:09:00 PM CDT  
Blogger Alicia said...

(I don't know if you get notification of new posts, so you may not see this...)

9 March 2007

I followed a link from Mimi to you, because when I was confirmed in the RCatholic church, I chose Magdalena as my patron. That was 22 yrs ago, and I have been a Melkite Catholic for the last 10 years ... Orthodox in spirit, but making a bridge to the west.

I so enjoyed this particular post, because I vividly remember when my own husband was ordained a deacon. What a wondrous thing! I will hold you in my prayers, for you make at least as great a gift to God as Dn. V does.

I am also appreciating your Lenten reflections, and I shall stop by again to read more.

Many years!

Fri Mar 09, 06:34:00 PM CST  

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