Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Images from Russia and the Byzantine Liturgy

Just prior to the news of the election of Metropolitan Kirill, I thought it would be of interest to share some of the liturgical scenes going on in Russia surrounding this event, and attach to them some explanations from one of our Eastern Catholic readers, as a means of further exploring the treasures of the Byzantine liturgical tradition.

"The bishop is reciting commemorations at the "Transfer of the Gifts or Great Entrance". He would be singing: "May the Lord God remember in His Kingdom [N.N.] always, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages." He is holding the chalice covered with a small veil. There are priests holding blessing crosses to the north and south of the holy doors and the trikirion and dikirion held by subdeacons, as well as subdeacons holding ripdia [fans] over the diskos. We see in the foregound two subdeacons. The one on the north is the candle bearer and the one on the south is the staff bearer [crozier]. The staff is not visible from our perspective but he should have it in this procession. Notice the icon on the analogion of the Baptism of Christ. The apodosis [leave taking] of the Feast of the Baptism is today."

"The completion of the opening of the antimension [yellow cloth] and the bishop is making the sign of the cross over it with the sponge which is used for wiping particles from the diskos into the chalice after the fraction and before communion, and again following communion. The bishop will kiss the sponge and then place it on the upper right side of the antimension. He does this at the ekphoneses [doxology] of the Litany for the Catechumens: "That with us they also may glorify 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." The cloth under the antimension is iliton which is unfolded completely during the Litany of Fervent Supplication [following the Gospel and homily]. The antimension is consecrated and contains relics, and is signed and dated by the bishop who consecrates it. It and the ilition function much like the corporal. The antimensia today usually depicit the deposition of Christ from the cross; His being laid in the tomb and around the edge is often written the troparion: "The noble Joseph having taken Thy most pure Body down from the Tree and wrapped It in pure linen and covered It with spices, laid It in a new tomb."

"The bishop is blessing with the trikirion [a triple branched canle symbol of the three persons of the most Holy Trinity] and the dikirion [a double branched candle symbol of the two natures in the one person of Christ] following the deposition of the unconsecrated holy gifts upon the holy table. The bishop says nothing at this blessing but the choir/assembly responds: "Eis polla eti, despota". [Many years, master.] He is wearing the small omophorion which originally was a folded great omophorion [pallium]."

"At the Trisagion when the clergy sing the second "Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us." the bishop makes the sign of the cross with the dikirion [a double branched candle symbol of the two natures in the one person of Christ] over the gospel book."

Source: http://www.mospat.ru/index.php?page=43983

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