Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Byzantine Subdiaconal Ordination in California

On December 31st, St Peter Eastern Catholic Church in Ukiah, California, welcomed His Grace Benedict Aleksiychuk, the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Bishop of Chicago, to celebrate the ordination of one of the church’s native sons, Philip Gilbert, to the orders of candle-bearer, reader, cantor, and subdeacon. We are very happy to share these pictures of this event with our readers, and to offer our congratulations to Mr Gilbert, to his family and to the whole community of St Peter - Mъногая и благая лѣта! There is a video of the ordination part of the ceremony at the bottom of this post; you can see other videos which cover the entire ceremony on the parish’s Facebook page.

The ordination was celebrated after Matins and the hierarchical vesting of the bishop, during which he is repeatedly incensed by the deacons.

The ordinand is led to the bishop, who says a prayer over him, after which he is given a lighted candle; he then recites the trisagion prayers and some troparia.

He receives the clerical tonsure...
...and is vested in the short phelonion, the old vestment of a reader. This is the same garment that a priest wears, but cut very much shorter; the bishop says to the ordinand, “son, the order of reader is the first step of the Holy Orders” or “of/to the priesthood.”

The newly ordained reader intones the chant which precedes the Epistle, called the prokeimenon, the Epistle, and the Alleluia.

The short phelonion is removed, and the ordinand is vested in the sticharion, the modern vestment of the reader (and all the other servers), and another prayer is read over him.

After the prayer, the bishop announces “Blessed be God. Behold, the servant of God Philip is ordained to the order of reader for the holy church of St Peter, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Axios!” (Greek for “worthy”, sung at all ordination rites.) He is then vested in the crossed stole known as the orarion, and another prayer, ordaining him to the subdiaconate, is read over him.

The deacon chants a litany with various intentions for the newly ordained man, for his duties and his eternal salvation.

The procession with the Gospel book during the Divine Liturgy.
The subdeacon is given a bowl and ewer of water and a towel, with which he washs the bishop’s hand, and then he stands before the icon of Christ until the Great Entrance.

The deacon incensing before the procession of the Great Entrance.
Video of the ordination part of the ceremony.

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