Proskomede - The Service of preparation before the Divine Liturgy

THE PROSKOMEDE

The priest who desires to celebrate the Divine Mysteries must first be at peace with all, have nothing against anyone, and insofar as is within his power, keep his heart from evil thoughts, be continent from the evening before, and be vigilant until the time of divine service. When the time is come, he goes into the temple, in company with the deacon, and together they make three reverences toward the east before the holy doors.

Deacon: Bless, Master.
Priest:  Blessed  is  our  God,  always,  now  and  ever,  and  unto the ages of ages.

Deacon: Amen.
O  Heavenly  King,  O  Comforter,  Spirit  of  Truth,  Who  art everywhere  present  and  fillest  all  things,  Treasury  of  good things and Giver of life: Come and dwell in us, and cleanse us of all impurity, and save our souls, O Good One. Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

O Most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. O Lord, blot out our sins. O Master, pardon our iniquities. O Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities for Thy name's sake.

Lord, have mercy.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Our Father, Who art in the heavens, hallowed be Thy name. Thy  kingdom  come,  Thy  will  be  done,  on  earth  as  it  is  in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts,  as  we  forgive  our  debtors;  and  lead  us  not  into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

Priest:  For  Thine  is  the  kingdom,  and  the  power,  and  the glory: of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

Deacon: Amen.

Then they say:

Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us; for, at a loss for any defense, this prayer do we sinners offer unto Thee as
Master, have mercy on us.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
Lord, have mercy on us; for we have hoped in Thee, be not angry with us greatly, neither remember our iniquities; but look upon us now as thou art compassionate, and deliver us from  our  enemies;  for  Thou  art  our  God,  and  we,  Thy people;  all  are  the  works  of  Thy  hands,  and  we  call  upon Thy name.

Both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

The door of compassion open unto us, O blessed Theotokos, for hoping in thee, let us not perish; through thee may we be delivered  from  adversities;  for  thou  art  the  salvation  of  the Christian race.

Then they approach the icon of Christ and kiss it, saying:

We  worship  Thine  immaculate  Icon,  O  Good  One,  asking the  forgiveness  of  our  failings,  O  Christ  God;  for  of  Thine Own will Thou wast well-pleased to ascend the Cross in the flesh,  that  thou  mightest  deliver  from  slavery  to  the  enemy those  whom  Thou  hadst  fashioned.  Wherefore,  we  cry  to

Thee  thankfully:  Thou  didst  fill  all  things  with  joy,  O  our Savior, when Thou camest to save the world.

Then they kiss the icon of the Theotokos, saying the Troparion:

As  thou  art  a  well-spring  of  compassion,  vouchsafe  mercy unto  us,  O  Theotokos.  Look  upon  a  sinful  people;  show forth,  as  always  thy  power.  For  hoping  in  thee  we  cry "Rejoice!"   to   thee,   as   once   did   Gabriel,   the   Supreme Commander of the Bodiless Hosts.

Then with bowed head the priest says:

Priest: O Lord, stretch forth Thy hand from Thy holy place on   high,   and   strengthen   me   for   this,   Thine   appointed service; that standing uncondemned before Thy dread altar, I  may  celebrate  the  bloodless  ministry.  For  Thine  is  the power and the glory unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Then they make a bow to each choir, and go into the prothesis, saying:

I  shall  go  into  Thy  house;  I  shall  worship  toward  Thy  holy temple in fear of Thee. O Lord, guide me in the way of Thy righteousness;  because  of  mine  enemies,  make  straight  my way before Thee. For in their mouth there is no truth; their heart  is  vain.  Their  throat  is  an  open  sepulcher,  with  their tongues  have  they  spoken  deceitfully;  judge  them,  O  God.
Let  them  fall  down  on  account  of  their  own  devising; according  to  the  multitude  of  their  ungodliness,  cast  them out, for they have embittered Thee, O Lord. And let all them be glad that hope in Thee; they shall ever rejoice, and Thou shalt dwell among them. And all shall glory in Thee that love Thy  name,  for  Thou  shalt  bless  the  righteous.  O  Lord,  as with a shield of Thy good pleasure hast Thou crowned us.

Having come into the sanctuary, they make three bows before the Holy Table and kiss the Holy Gospel and the Holy Table. Then each one takes his sticharion in his hands, and they make three reverences toward the east, while saying to themselves with each:

O God, cleanse me a sinner and have mercy on me.

Then the deacon comes to the priest, holding in his right hand the sticharion with the orarion, and bowing his head before the priest, says:

Deacon: Bless, Master, the sticharion with the orarion.

Priest: Blessed is our God always, now and ever, and unto the ages  of  ages.  Then  the  deacon  goes  to  one  side  of  the sanctuary, puts on the sticharion, praying thus:

Deacon:  My  soul  shall  rejoice  in  the  Lord,  for  He  hath clothed me in the garment of salvation, and with the vesture of  gladness  hath  He  covered  me;  He  hath  placed  a  crown upon me as on a bridegroom, and He hath adorned me as a bride with comeliness.

And  then  kissing  the  orarion,  he  places  it  on  the  left  shoulder.  Then  putting  the epimanikia on the hands, with the right cuff he says:

Deacon: Thy right hand, O Lord, is glorified in strength; Thy right  hand,  O  Lord,  hath  shattered  enemies,  and  in  the multitude   of   Thy   glory   hast   Thou   ground   down   the adversaries.

And with the left, he says:

Deacon: Thy hands have made me and fashioned me; give me understanding and I will learn Thy commandments.

Then, going to the prothesis, he prepares the holy things. The holy diskos he places on the left side; the chalice, that is, the holy cup, on the right ; and the rest ( the spoon and the spear, etc.) with them.

Then  the  priest  vests  himself  thus:  taking  the  sticharion  in  the  left  hand,  and  bowing thrice  toward  the  east,  as  mentioned  before,  he  signs  it  with  the  sign  of  the  Cross, saying:

Priest:  Blessed  is  our  God,  always,  now  and  ever,  and  unto the ages of ages. Amen. My soul shall rejoice in the Lord, for He hath clothed me in the garment of salvation, and with the vesture  of  gladness  hath  He  covered  me;  He  hath  placed  a crown  upon  me  as  on  a  bridegroom,  and  He  hath  adorned me as a bride with comeliness.

Then taking the epitrachelion and signing it, he puts it on, saying:

Priest:  Blessed  is  God  Who  poureth  out  His  grace  upon  His priests,  like  unto  the  oil  of  myrrh  upon  the  head,  which runneth  down  upon  the  beard,  upon  the  beard  of  Aaron, which runneth down to the fringe of his raiment.

Then taking the zone and girding himself he says:

Priest: Blessed is God, Who girded me with power, and hath made my path blameless, Who maketh my feet like the feet of a hart, and setteth me upon high places.

Then the cuffs, in the manner described. Then taking the epigonation, if he have it, and having blessed and kissed it, he says:

Priest:  Gird  Thy  sword  upon  Thy  thigh,  O  Mighty  one,  in Thy  comeliness  and  Thy  beauty,  and  bend  Thy  bow,  and proceed  prosperously,  and  be  king,  because  of  truth  and meekness and righteousness, and Thy right hand shall guide Thee  wondrously,  always,  now  and  ever,  and  unto  the  ages of ages. Amen.

Then taking the phelonion, and having blessed and kissed it, he says thus:

Priest: Thy priests, O Lord, shall    be    clothed    with righteousness,  and  Thy  saints  with  rejoicing  shall  rejoice, always, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Then having gone to the prothesis, they wash their hands, saying:

I will wash my hands in innocency and I will compass Thine altar,  O  Lord,  that  I  may  hear  the  voice  of  Thy  praise  and tell  of  all  Thy  wondrous  works.  O  Lord,  I  have  loved  the beauty  of  Thy  house,  and  the  place  where  Thy  glory dwelleth. Destroy not my soul with the ungodly, nor my life with men of blood, in whose hands are iniquities; their right hand is full of bribes. But as for me, in mine innocence have I  walked;  redeem  me,  O  Lord,  and  have  mercy  on  me.  My foot  hath  stood  in  uprightness;  in  the  congregations  will  I bless Thee, O Lord.

Then making three reverences before the table of oblation, each says:

O God, cleanse me a sinner and have mercy on me.

Priest:  Thou  hast  redeemed  us  from  the  curse  of  the  law  by Thy  precious  Blood.  Having  been  nailed  to  the  Cross  and pierced  with  a  spear,  Thou  hast  gushed  forth  immortality upon mankind. O our Savior, glory to Thee.

Deacon: Bless, Master.

Priest:  Blessed  is  our  God,  always,  now  and  ever,  and  unto the ages of ages.

Deacon: Amen.

Then the priest takes a prosphoron in his left hand, and in his right hand the holy spear, and making therewith the sign of the Cross thrice over the seal of the prosphoron, he says:

Priest:  In  remembrance  of  our  Lord  and  God  and  Savior, Jesus Christ.

And immediately he thrusts the spear into the right side of the seal, and cutting he says:

Priest: He was led as a sheep to the slaughter.

And into the left side:

Priest: And as a blameless lamb before his shearer is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth.

And into the upper side of the seal:

Priest: In His lowliness His judgment was taken away.

And into the lower side:

Priest: And who shall declare His generation?

And the deacon, gazing reverently at this Mystery, holding his orarion in his hand, says at each of these incisions:

Deacon: Let us pray to the Lord.

After the prosphoron has been cut on all four sides he says:

Deacon: Take away, Master.

The priest having thrust the holy spear obliquely into the right side of the prosphoron, takes away the holy bread, saying:

Priest: For His life is taken away from the earth.

And the priest having laid it inverted on the holy diskos, the deacon says:

Deacon: Sacrifice, Master.

And the priest sacrifices it cruciformly, while saying:

Priest: Sacrificed is the Lamb of God, that takes away the sin of the world, for the life and salvation of the world.

And  the  priest  turns  upward  the  other  side  which  has  the  sign  of  the  Cross.  and  the deacon says:

Deacon: Pierce, Master.

And the priest, piercing also in the right side with the spear, says:

Priest: One of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true.

The deacon, taking wine and water, says to the Priest:

Deacon: Bless, Master, the holy union.

And receiving the blessing upon them, he pours wine together with water into the holy chalice.

The priest takes a second prosphoron in his hand and says:

Priest: In honor and remembrance of our most blessed Lady, the   Theotokos   and   Ever-Virgin   Mary,   through   whose intercession  do  Thou,  O  Lord,  receive  this  sacrifice  upon Thy most heavenly altar.

The priest takes out a particle and places it on the right side of the holy bread, near its center, saying:

Priest:  At  Thy  right  hand  stood  the  queen,  arrayed  in  a vesture of inwoven gold, adorned in varied colors.

Then taking the third prosphoron, he says:

Priest:  Of  the  honorable  glorious  Prophet,  Forerunner  and Baptist John.

And taking out the first particle, he places it on the left side of the holy bread, making the beginning of the first row, and then he says:

Priest: Of the holy glorious prophets: Moses and Aaron, Elias and Elisseus, David and Jesse; of the holy Three Children, of Daniel the Prophet, and of all the holy prophets.

And taking a particle, he places it below the first , in the proper order, then he says:

Priest:  Of  the  holy  glorious  and  all-praised  Apostles  Peter and Paul, and of all the other holy apostles.

Priest:  Of  our  fathers  among  the  saints,  the  holy  hierarchs: Basil   the   Great,   Gregory   the   Theologian,   and   John Chrysostom;  Athanasius  and  Cyril  of  Alexandria;  Nicholas of  Myra  in  Lycia;  Michael  of  Kiev;  Peter,  Alexius,  Jonah, Philip  and  Hermogenes  of  Moscow;  Nicetas  of  Novgorod; Leontius of Rostov; and of all the holy hierarchs.

And taking a fourth particle, he places it near the first particle, making the beginning of the second row. He then says:

Priest:  Of  the  holy  Apostle,  Protomartyr  and  Archdeacon Stephen;   the   holy   Great-Martyrs   Demetrius,   George, Theodore  the  Tyro,  Theodore  Stratelates,  and  of  all  holy martyrs;   and   the   martyred   women:   Thecla,   Barbara, Cyriaca, Euphemia and Parasceve, Catherine, and of all the holy martyred women.

Taking a fifth particle, he places it below the first which is at the beginning of the second row. Then he says:

Priest:  Of  our  holy  and  God-bearing  fathers:  Anthony, Euthymius,   Sabbas,   Onuphrius,   Athanasius   of   Athos, Anthony and Theodosius of the Caves, Sergius of Radonezh, Barlaam  of  Hutyn,  and  of  all  the  holy  fathers;  and  of  the holy   mothers:   Pelagia,   Theodosia,   Anastasia,   Eupraxia, Febronia, Theodula, Euphrosyne, Mary of Egypt, and of all the holy mothers.

Taking out a sixth particle, he places it below the second particle, in completion of the second row. Then he says:

Priest: Of the saints and wonderworkers, the Unmercenaries: Cosmas  and  Damian,  Cyrus  and  John,  Panteleimon  and Hermolaus, and of all the holy unmercenaries.

Taking out a seventh Particle he places it at the top, making the beginning of the third row, then says:

Priest: Of the holy and righteous Ancestors of God, Joachim and Anna; of Saint(s) N. (N.) whose temple it is and whose day it   is;   of   the   holy   Equals-of-the-Apostles   Great   Prince Vladimir,  and  of  all  the  saints,  through  whose  intercession do Thou visit us, O God.

And he places the eight particle below the first, in the proper order. Then he says:

Priest:  Of  our  father  among  the  saints,  John  Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople.

If  his  liturgy  is  chanted;  but  if  that  of  St.  Basil  the  Great  be  chanted,  he  is commemorated. Then taking out a ninth particle, he places it at the end of the third row, completing it. Then taking a fourth prosphoron, he says:

Priest:   Remember,   O   Master,   Lover   of   mankind,   the Orthodox  episcopate  of  the  Russian  Church;  our  lord  the Very  Most  Reverend  Metropolitan  N.,  First  hierarch  of  the Russian  Church  Abroad;  Archbishop  or  Bishop  N.,  (whose diocese  it  is); the honorable priesthood, the diaconate in Christ and  all  the  priestly  order  (if  in  a  monastery:  Archimandrite  or  Abbot  N.) and  all  our  brethren  whom,  in  Thy  compassion,  Thou  hast called into Thy communion, O All-good Master.

And taking out a particle, he places it below the holy bread. Then he commemorates those that are in authority saying:
Priest:  Remember,  O  Lord,  those  who  are  in  authority,  and in the armed forces.

Then he commemorates those that are living, by name, and at each name he takes out a particle saying:

Priest: Remember, O Lord, N. Then taking out a particle, he places it below the holy bread.

Then taking a fifth prosphoron, he says:

Priest: In commemoration and for the remission of sins of the most holy patriarchs; of Orthodox and pious kings and pious queens; and of the blessed founders of this holy temple (if it be a monastery: this holy monastery).

Then he commemorates the departed, by name: the bishop that ordained him (if he be among  the  departed),  and  others,  whomsoever  he  will.  At  each  name  he  takes  out  a particle, saying:

Priest: Remember, O Lord, N.

Finally he says:

Priest:  And  of  all  our  Orthodox  fathers  and  brethren  who have  departed  in  the  hope  of  resurrection,  life  eternal,  and communion with Thee, O Lord, Lover of mankind.

And he takes out a particle. Thereafter he says:

Priest:  Remember,  O  Lord,  also  mine  unworthiness,  and pardon    me    every    transgression,    both    voluntary    and involuntary.

And he takes out a particle, And taking the sponge, he gathers the particles together on the diskos below the holy bread, so that they be secure, and none of them fall off. Then the deacon, taking the censer and having placed incense therein, says to the Priest:

Deacon: Bless the censer, Master. Let us pray to the Lord.

And the priest says the Prayer of the Censer:

Priest: Incense do we offer unto Thee, O Christ our God, as an  odor  of  spiritual  fragrance;  accepting  it  upon  Thy  most heavenly altar, do Thou send down upon us the grace of Thy Most Holy Spirit.

Deacon: Let us pray to the Lord.

The priest, having censed the asteriskos, places it over the holy bread, saying:

Priest:  And  the  star  came  and  stood  over  where  the  young Child was.

Deacon: Let us pray to the Lord.

The priest, having censed the first veil, covers the holy bread and the diskos, saying:

Priest:  The  Lord  is  King,  He  is  clothed  with  majesty;  the Lord is clothed with strength and He hath girt Himself. For He  established  the  world  which  shall  not  be  shaken.  Thy throne  is  prepared  of  old;  Thou  art  from  everlasting.  The rivers have lifted up, O Lord, the rivers have lifted up their voices.  The  rivers  will  lift  up  their  waves,  at  the  voices  of many   waters.   Wonderful   are   the   surgings   of   the   sea, wonderful  on  high  is  the  Lord.  Thy  testimonies  are  made very  sure.  Holiness  becometh  Thy  house,  O  Lord,  unto length of days.

Deacon: Let us pray to the Lord. Cover, Master.

And the priest, having censed the second veil, covers the holy chalice, saying:

Priest:  Thy  virtue  hath  covered  the  heavens,  O  Christ,  and the earth is full of Thy praise.
Deacon: Let us pray to the Lord. Cover, Master.

Then the priest, having censed the veil, i.e., the aer, covers both the holy diskos and the holy chalice saying:

Priest:  Shelter  us  with  the  shelter  of  Thy  wings,  and  drive away  from  us  every  enemy  and  adversary.  Make  our  life peaceful, O Lord, have mercy on us, and on Thy world, and save our souls, for thou art good and the Lover of mankind.

Then, taking the censer, the priest censes the prothesis, saying thrice:

Priest: Blessed is Our God Who is thus well pleased, glory to Thee.

And the deacon says each time:

Deacon:  Always,  now  and  ever,  and  unto  the  ages  of  ages. Amen.

Both bow reverently
Then taking the censer, the deacon says:

Deacon:  For  the  precious  gifts  offered,  let  us  pray  to  the Lord.

Priest: O God, our God, Who didst send forth the Heavenly Bread, the food of the whole world, our Lord and God, Jesus Christ,  the  Savior  and  Redeemer  and  Benefactor  Who blesseth  and  sanctifieth  us:  Do  Thou  Thyself  bless  this offering,  and  accept  it  upon  Thy  most  heavenly  altar.  As Thou  art  good  and  the  Lover  of  mankind,  remember  those that  offer  it,  and  those  for  whose  sake  it  was  offered;  and keep   us   uncondemned   in   the   ministry   of   Thy   Divine Mysteries. For hallowed and glorified is Thy most honorable and majestic Name, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

And after this he pronounces the dismissal there, saying:

Priest: Glory to Thee, O Christ God, our hope, Glory to Thee.

Deacon: Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

Lord, have mercy. 9 Bless.

Priest: (if it be Sunday) May Christ our true God, Who rose from the  dead,.  (if  not)  May  Christ  our  true  God,  .  through  the intercession  of  His  most  pure  Mother;  of  our  father  among the saints, John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople; (if the Liturgy of Basil the Great be celebrated, he says: Basil the Great, Archbishop of Caesarea  in  Cappodocia;)  and  of  all  the  saints,  have  mercy  on  us and save us, for He is good and the Lover of mankind.

Deacon: Amen.

After the dismissal, the deacon censes the holy offerings. Then he goes and censes the holy Table round about cruciformly, saying secretly:

Deacon: In the grave bodily, but in Hades with Thy soul, as God; in paradise with the thief, and on the throne with the Father  and  the  Spirit  wast  thou  Who  fillest  all  things,  O Christ the Inexpressible.

Then  the  50th  Psalm:  Have  mercy  on  me,  O  God.  during  which,  having  censed  the sanctuary and the whole temple, he enters again into the holy altar, and having again censed  the  Holy  Table,  and  the  priest,  he  puts  aside  the  censer  in  its  place,  and approaches  the  priest.  And  standing  together  before  the  Holy  Table,  they  bow  down thrice, while praying secretly and saying:

O  Heavenly  King,  O  Comforter,  Spirit  of  Truth,  Who  art everywhere  present  and  fillest  all  things,  Treasury  of  good things and Giver of life: Come and dwell in us, and cleanse us of all impurity, and save our souls, O Good One.

Glory  to  God  in  the  highest  and  on  earth  peace,  good  will among men. (Twice)

O  Lord,  Thou  shalt  open  my  lips,  and  my  mouth  shall declare Thy praise.

Then the priest kisses the Holy Gospel and the deacon the corner of the Holy Table.

After this , the deacon, bowing his head to the priest, and holding his orarion with three fingers of his right hand, says:

Deacon: It is time to act for the Lord. Master, bless.

The priest signing him with the sign of the Cross, says:

Priest:  Blessed  is  our  God,  always,  now  and  ever,  and  unto the ages of ages.

Deacon: Pray for me, master.

Priest: May the Lord direct thy steps.

Deacon: Remember me , holy Master.

Priest:  May  the  Lord  God  remember  thee  in  His  kingdom, always, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

Deacon: Amen.

Having bowed, he goes out by the north door, because the royal doors are not opened until the Entry. And standing in the usual place, directly before the holy doors, he bows reverently, thrice, saying secretly:

Deacon:  O  Lord,  Thou  shalt  open  my  lips,  and  my  mouth shall declare Thy praise.

Immediately the deacon begins the Divine Liturgy with "Bless, Master."

Be  it  known:  If  a  priest  serve  without  a  deacon,  the  words  of  the  deacon  in  the Proskomede,  and  during  the  Liturgy  before  the  Gospel,  and  his  response:  Bless, Master, and Pierce Master, and: It is time to act, . are not said, but only the Ecteniae and the Order of the Prothesis. If many priests concelebrate, in the performance of the Proskomede only one priest may serve and say what is set forth; but of the rest of the celebrants, none shall say the proskomede separately.

Category: Divine Liturgy
Added: Oct 25, 2009
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