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Greco-Slavonic Liturgy of St. Peter

Translated into English by Archpriest John Shaw, Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia

TRANSLATOR'S NOTES

I first heard of this little-known service of the Orthodox Church, not from any bookish or learned source, but from someone who remembered attending it years ago in Turkey.

Several thousand Cossack Old Believers had left Russia in the time of Peter the Great and sought refuge in the domains of the Sultan, where they lived under foreign rule, but in their own communities, more or less autonomous, and free from official meddling in their prayer life.

However, by 1963 these Cossacks had come to be so intermarried that they had difficulty finding spouses not forbidden by their rather strict religious rules. It was then decided to leave Turkey, and a majority went to the then-U.S.S.R. while a smaller group came to the United States. Many of these Old Believers were of the “priestless” type, but there was a significant contingent who accepted Priests and, while in Turkey, had clergy ordained for them by the Greek Orthodox Church. These “priestists” maintained the celebration of the Divine Liturgy according to the old manuscript and early printed books they had carried out of Russia with them when they left. One of these contained several rare or unusual texts for the Divine Liturgy, including the Liturgies of St. James, St. Mark, and St. Peter, in Church Slavonic. Unfortunately, it was confiscated by the Turkish authorities as an item of “historical value” when the Cossacks emigrated, and has not been heard of since.

It was only years later that I learned of a Greek manuscript book, called the Rossano manuscript, containing much the same material as this lost Slavonic one, and came to the conclusion that the two were related. The Rossano manuscript is, or for years was considered, the oldest source for the Liturgy of St. James, which gives it some importance.

This past January (1999), a visiting Serbian liturgist from Belgrade, Dr. Predrag Miodrag, told me with some enthusiasm of the recently discovered Church Slavonic text of the Liturgy of St. Peter in the library of the Hilandar monastery on Mt. Athos. Through the kindness of the Hilandar Center at the University of Ohio, I was able to view this manuscript. Although it belongs to the Serbian rather than the Russian manuscript tradition, I am inclined to believe it is close to the other Slavonic text that was described to me.

There have been various opinions set forth, mostly by non-Orthodox scholars, as to what this Liturgy of St. Peter represents. Thus one can read in the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church that it may have been “only a literary experiment”—i.e., little more than someone’s theoretical jottings as to how such a service might look. But this view borders on the preposterous: why should an “experiment” be made part of books that were used in church for centuries—and translated into other languages? Furthermore, there are still living people who remember and describe celebrations of the Liturgy of St. Peter as mentioned above—and archival descriptions of this service from other centuries are also extant. So it was no mere experiment.

Another very telling detail about the Liturgy of St. Peter is the progressive “Byzantinization” it underwent over the years. Had it not been in occasional use, it would have been left on its library shelf, and not undergone any modification. The text that has come down to us shows slightly more accommodation to Byzantine forms than do the Liturgies of St. James and St. Mark; this accommodation means that this service was celebrated and that a need was felt to “regularise” some points that seemed awkward.

The central prayer of this service is a form of the Roman Eucharistic Canon, based on a form at least as old as any surviving Latin source, but set in a Byzantine structure, and fitted out with a number of prayers that appear to be of Greek rather than Roman origin. Outwardly, the text is much like the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, but differs by not having the Litany of the Catechumens, giving a slightly different text at the Words of Institution, as well as certain differences in the celebrant’s “exclamations” during the Eucharistic Canon and a different selection of Ambon Prayers at the end. Interestingly enough, the Liturgy of St. Peter provides the earliest manuscript source for the text of the Prothesis or Proskomide before the Divine Liturgy.

The explanation one might give for the existence of this text in Greek and Church Slavonic is that a collection of the various Orthodox Eucharistic Liturgies had been made at some time in the Greek-speaking part of the Mediterranean and included the Eucharistic Prayer of the Church of Rome, prior to the latter’s falling away. These Liturgies—those of St. James, St. Mark, and St. Peter—were in use among the Greeks of southern Italy and were brought by monks from there to Mt. Athos in the later Middle Ages. On Athos they were translated into Church Slavonic, doubtless because they were celebrated in those days by at least some of the Greek Athonite monasteries. It was probably from the Slavic monks on Athos that a book containing these various Liturgies fell into the possession, and worship, of the Cossacks and remained part of their liturgical worship until at least 1962 or 1963.

The Eucharistic Canon of St. Peter is of course better known in its other setting, and it forms the basis of the Western Rite in the Orthodox Church. In that case the surrounding structure is Western, but the Canon is the same. Since there were Latin parishes in what is now Albania that remained under the jurisdiction of the Greek Metropolitan of Dyrrachion until the 12th century, or after the Greek Liturgy of St. Peter is attested by the manuscripts, and since communities in the United States have been using this Eucharistic Anaphora continuously from about 1961—we now see that this ancient Roman Canon has never been “out of use” in the Orthodox Church. Although there were intervening centuries when it was not celebrated (by the Orthodox Church) in Latin, it was none the less celebrated in Greek and Slavonic.


ADDITIONAL COMMUNICATION FROM FR. JOHN SHAW,
 REGARDING THIS LITURGY’S BEING ‘IN CONTINUOUS USAGE’

As concerns "continuous use" of the Liturgy of St. Peter, it is true that I did not mention what evidence I have seen, but it does exist. The various MSS. of this Liturgy clearly did not collect dust on a monastery bookshelf.

There is a steady drift towards greater and greater Byzantinization--so that, first, familiar Byzantine exclamations are inserted into the text, even though they merely paraphrase similar expressions that are already there; then, in the Slavonic version, the "3 antiphons" and other familiar texts are added, to the extent that the worshipper would not even realize this was a special Liturgy, were it not for the absence of the Litany of the Catechumens (replaced by a Prayer of Bowed Heads) and a slightly different form of the Words of Institution.The variable texts added at the end suggest a tendency to use this service when there was a Liturgy for the Repose of Souls. It is part of the Sluzhebnik of Hilandar, and along with the Liturgy of St. James is in the same cover with the 3 more frequent Liturgies. All of this does not suggest that it was viewed as a "museum piece". Besides this, there is evidence that the Liturgy of St. Peter was used beyond the confines of Mt. Athos. I have previously recounted how I first heard of its use among certain Russian Old Believers. I am not sure how regularly and how often a text has to be used to be considered as present or extant. It seems to me that if it is part of the Church's liturgical tradition, that is enough.  

The Translator [Rev. Fr. John Shaw of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia]
August 10, 1999

Overview of the Divine Liturgy of St. Peter

(Slavonic Text)

1. Prayer of Incense at Prothesis

2. Prayer of Prothesis

3. Dismissal of Proskomide

4. Priest: Blessed is the kingdom…

5. Prayer of Entrance

6. Deacon: Wisdom, let us attend.

7. Choir: O come, let us worship…

8. Troparion / Kontakion

9. Salutation, “Let us pray,” First Prayer said by Priest

10. Great Doxology (Gloria in excelsis)

11. Deacon: Let us pray. Priest prays Second Prayer

12. Singing of Trisagion and Prayer of Trisagion

13. Deacon: Let us attend. Priest: Peace be unto all.

14. Epistle and Gospel

15. Litany with Prayer of Fervent Supplication

16. Prayer of Bowed Heads

17. Great Entrance

18. Litany: “Let us complete our prayer unto the Lord, for heaven and earth are full of His glory”

19. Kiss of Peace with texts similar to Liturgy of St. James

20. Eucharistic Dialogue, Preface, Sanctus

21. Eucharistic Canon, close to Roman but with noteworthy differences

22. Exclamation followed by Lord’s Prayer

23. “For Thine is the kingdom,” Prayer of Bowed Heads (embolismus)

24. Prayer before Fraction, “Holy Things for the holy”

25. “One is Holy,” with same text as in Liturgy of St. Mark

26. Agnus Dei and Prayers before Communion

27. Prayer of Thanksgiving after Holy Communion

28. “With fear of God and faith draw near, unto the healing of soul and body”

29. “O God, save Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance”

30. Prayer said secretly during Litany, and Exclamation

31. “Let us depart in peace,” “Let us pray to the Lord”

32. Ambon Prayer (a choice of several is provided)

33. “The blessing of the Lord be upon you,” Dismissal


 

The Divine Liturgy of St. Peter

Prayer at the Offering of the Bread

LIKE a sheep He was led to the slaughter, and as a lamb without voice before His shearers, so opened He not His mouth; in humiliation His judgment was taken away; His generation who shall declare? In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

And at the Mingling of the Wine and Water:

One of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and straightway there came forth blood and water, welling forth the salvation of the world.

Prayer of Prothesis:

O Lord our God, Who didst offer Thyself for the life of the world, look down upon us, and upon this Bread, and upon this chalice, and make this to be Thy pure Body and precious Blood, unto the communion of souls and bodies, for hallowed and glorified is Thy most honourable and majestic name, of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages.

Prayer of the Incense

Holy God, Who restest in the Saints, dwelling in unapproachable light: Thyself, O Master, with Thine accustomed love of mankind, overlook our many sins, and as Thou wast pleased to accept the incense of Zacharias, thus also from the hands of us sinners graciously receive this incense as a savour of spiritual fragrance, and act mercifully towards us. For hallowed and glorified is Thy most honourable and majestic name, of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages.

Or This:

O Master, Lord our God, Who hast granted us Thy humble and unworthy servants to be ministers of Thy holy Altar: cleanse Thou all our transgressions and make us worthy, by the indwelling of Thy Holy Spirit, to glorify and praise Thy thrice-holy name, so that we may enter with a pure conscience, and be granted to complete also Thy Divine service; and accept this incense unto Thy holy and heavenly Altar as a savour of spiritual fragrance. For Thou art our sanctification and illumination, and to Thee do we send up glory, to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

And, censing, the Priest covers the Gifts, saying:

Thy virtue hath covered the heavens, O Christ., and the earth is filled with Thy praise.

And he places the veil, saying:

The Lord is king, let the heathen rage; He sitteth upon the Cherubim, let the earth be shaken.

Another Prayer of the Prothesis:

Bless, O Lord our God, this offering, and grant us Thy servants a pure heart and thoughts unconfounded; that we may be found worthy to draw near, and to touch Thy most pure Body and Thy precious Blood; and make us to stand without condemnation before Thee even on the dread day of judgment; wherefore grant us remission of sins, and life eternal. For hallowed and glorified is Thy most honourable and majestic name, of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages.

Here follows the Dismissal of the Prothesis, and the nave is censed.

____________

The Divine Liturgy of St. Peter --

LITURGY OF THE CATECHUMENS

The Deacon intones: Bless, Master.  Priest:

BLESSED is the kingdom of the Father, 
and of the Son, 
and of the Holy Spirit, 
now and ever and unto ages of ages.

Deacon:   In peace let us pray to the Lord.

For the peace from above…

For the peace of the whole world…

For this holy temple…

For our Father and Patriarch… for the honourable Priesthood…

The Priest, meanwhile, says the Prayer of the First Antiphon:

O Lord our God, Whose might is unutterable, Whose glory is inconceivable, Whose mercy is measureless, and Whose love for mankind is inexpressible: look down, O Master, in Thy tender compassion, upon us and upon this holy temple; and deal with us and them that here pray with us, according to the riches of Thy mercies and Thy bounties.

Exclamation:

For unto Thee are due all glory, honour, and worship, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

Choir:   Amen.

The Choir now sings the First Antiphon.

Deacon:            Again and again, in peace…

The Priest says the Prayer of the Second Antiphon:

O Lord our God, save Thy people and bless Thine inheritance; preserve the fullness of Thy Church; sanctify them that love the beauty of Thy house; glorify them in return by Thy Divine power, and forsake not us who put our trust in Thee.

Exclamation:

For Thine is the majesty, and 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 ages of ages.

The Choir sings the Second Antiphon.

Deacon:            Again and again, in peace…

The Priest says the Prayer of the Third Antiphon:

O Thou Who hast given us grace at this time, with one accord to make our common supplications unto Thee, and dost promise that when two or three are gathered together in Thy name, Thou wilt grant their requests: fulfill now, O Lord, the desires and petitions of Thy servants as may be most expedient for them, granting them in this world knowledge of Thy truth, and in the world to come, life eternal.

Exclamation:

For a good God art Thou, and the Lover of mankind, and unto Thee do we send up glory, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages.

Choir:   Amen.

The Choir sings the Third Antiphon. The Priest says the Prayer of the Entrance:

Benefactor of all, and Architect of all creation, receive Thy Church which draweth nigh unto Thee.[1]  Fulfill the requests of all as is expedient for them; lead us all to perfection, and make us worthy of Thy kingdom, by the grace of Thy sanctification gathering us in Thy Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, which Thou hast obtained by the precious Blood of Thine only-begotten Son, with Whom Thou art blessed, together with Thy most holy, and good, and life-creating Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

Deacon:            Wisdom, let us attend.

People (or Choir):  O come, let us worship and fall down before Christ…

The Troparion and Kontakion are now sung.

Priest:   The Lord be with you.[2]

People (or Choir):  And with thy spirit.

Deacon:            Let us pray.

The Priest prays this prayer:

Fill our mouths, we pray Thee, O Lord, with rejoicing, and with Thy praise in joy, through our Lord Jesus Christ,[3] Thy Son, with Whom Thou livest and reignest, O our God, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, unto all ages of ages.

He then begins:

Glory be to God in the highest.[4] And on earth peace to men of good will. We praise Thee, we bless Thee, we worship Thee, we glorify Thee. We give thanks to Thee for Thy great glory. O Lord God, heavenly King, God the Father almighty. O Lord, the only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ. O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, that takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us. That takest away the sins of the world, receive our prayer. That sittest at the right hand of the Father, have mercy upon us. For Thou only art holy, Thou only art the Lord, Thou only art most high, O Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.[5]

Deacon:            Let us pray.

The Priest, inclining, says this Prayer:[6]

Grant unto Thy faithful servants, O Lord, help from heaven by Thy right hand, that they may seek Thee with their whole heart, and obtain those things that they worthily ask.[7] Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son.

Exclamation:

For holy art Thou, O our God, and unto Thee do we send up glory and the Thrice-Holy Hymn, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

The Choir sings the Trisagion.[8]

Prayer of the Trisagion:

O Master, Lord God almighty, Thou Who alone art holy,[9] Who acceptest the Thrice-Holy Hymn from the heavenly Powers, accept also from the mouths of us sinners the Trisagion, granting us to pass this day, and all the time of our lives, without sin.

Deacon:            Let us attend.

Priest:   Peace be unto all.

Response:            And with thy spirit.

Deacon:            Wisdom.

Here follow the Prokeimenon, Epistle, Alleluia, and Gospel [and Homily]. Then the Deacon says the Litany.[10]

Prayer of the Litany:

O Lord our God, accept this fervent supplication from Thy servants, and according to the multitude of Thy mercy have mercy on us, and send down Thy compassion upon us, and upon all Thy people who await the rich mercy that is from Thee.

For a merciful God art Thou, and the Lover of mankind, and unto Thee do we send up glory, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

R. Amen.

Priest:   Peace be unto all.

(R. And with thy spirit.)

Deacon:            Bow your heads unto the Lord.

R. To Thee, O Lord.

Prayer of Bowed Heads:

O Master, Creator of life and Giver of good things, Who givest unto mankind the blessed hope of eternal life, our Lord Jesus Christ: grant us, O Good One,[11] to complete this Divine Liturgy unto our sanctification, and unto the enjoyment of that bliss which is to come.

Exclamation:

That always being guarded under Thy might, we may send up glory unto Thee, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

R. Amen.

LITURGY OF THE FAITHFUL

The Choir now sings the Cherubicon:

LET us who mystically represent the Cherubim, and who sing the Thrice-Holy Hymn unto the Life-creating Trinity, now lay aside all earthly care. V. That we may raise on high the King of all, invisibly upborne by the ranks of Angels, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

And while the Cherubicon is being sung, the Priest says a Prayer for himself, as follows.

No one who is bound by carnal lusts and sensual pleasures is worthy to approach, or to draw nigh, or to minister to Thee, O King of glory, for to serve Thee is a thing great and fearful even to the heavenly Powers. Yet because of Thine unutterable and immeasurable love for mankind, Thou didst become man, yet without change or alteration, and didst become our High Priest, and didst deliver unto us the ministry of this unbloody Sacrifice, for Thou art the Master of all. For Thou alone, O Lord our God, rulest over those in heaven and those upon the earth, art borne upon the throne of the Cherubim, art Lord of the Seraphim and King over Israel; Thou alone art holy and restest in the Saints. I now implore Thee, therefore, Who alone art good and inclined to listen: look upon me, Thy sinful and unprofitable servant, and cleanse my soul and heart of a wicked conscience, and by the might of Thy Holy Spirit enable me, who am clothed with the grace of the Priesthood, to stand before  this Thy holy altar, and to perform the sacred Mystery of Thy holy and pure Body and precious Blood. For unto Thee do I draw nigh, and, bowing my neck, I pray Thee: Turn not Thy countenance away from me, neither cast me out from among Thy children, but graciously vouchsafe that I, Thy sinful and unworthy servant, may offer unto Thee these Holy Gifts. For Thou art He Who offereth and art offered, Who receiveth and art received, O Christ our God, and unto Thee do we send up glory, with Thy beginningless Father, and Thy most holy and good and life-creating Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.[12]

And after the Holy Gifts have been placed upon the Holy Table, the Priest washes his hands, saying:

I will wash my hands among the innocent, and thus will I take my place with those at Thine altar, O Lord, hearing the voice of Thy praise.

And he makes three reverences, saying:

May the Holy Spirit come upon thee, and the power of the Almighty protect thee.

After the Great Entrance, the Deacon says:

Let us complete our prayer unto the Lord, for heaven and earth are full of His glory.

R. Lord, have mercy.[13] (thrice)

Exclamation:

For Thou art a God of humility, mercy, love, and compassion, with Thine only-begotten Son, and Thy most-holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

R. Amen.

Priest:   Peace be unto all.

R. And with thy spirit.

Deacon:            Let us love one another with a holy kiss.

And after the Kiss of Peace, the Deacon says:

In the wisdom of God, let us attend.[14]

The People now say the Creed:

I believe in one God, the Father almighty, | Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. | And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God. | And born of the Father before all ages. | Light of Light, true God of true God. | Begotten, not made, consubstantial to the Father, by Whom all things were made, | Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, | and became incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary | and was made man. | He was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, suffered, and was buried. | And the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures. | And ascended into heaven; sitteth at the right hand of the Father. | And He is to come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead, of Whose kingdom there shall be no end. |  And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, | Who proceedeth from the Father. | Who together with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, Who spake by the Prophets. | And in one Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. | I confess one Baptism for the remission of sins. | And I expect the resurrection of the dead. | And the life of the world to come. | Amen.

Deacon:            Let us stand aright, let us stand with fear, let us attend, that we may offer the Holy Sacrifice in peace.[15]

Choir:   Mercy, peace, sacrifice, and song.[16]

The Priest says this Prayer secretly:

Hallow, O Lord, the Sacrifice brought as an offering to Thee, and be pleased propitiously to accept it from us,[17] through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, with Whom Thou livest and reignest, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, through all the ages of ages.

R. Amen.

V. The Lord be with you.

R. And with thy spirit.

V. Lift up your hearts.

R. We have them unto the Lord.

V. Let us give thanks unto the Lord our God.

R. It is meet and just.

The Priest prays:

It is truly meet and just, needful and availing for our salvation, that we should always and in all places send up thanks to Thee, O Holy Lord, Father and Ruler of all, almighty, everlasting God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom Angels praise Thy majesty, Dominions bow down in worship, the Powers tremble, the heavens and the heavenly Virtues, and the blessed Seraphim, together worship Thee in exultation, with whom we pray Thee also to accept our voices, saying in prayerful confession:

Exclamation:

Singing the triumphal hymn, shouting, crying aloud, and saying:[18]

People:  Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord of Sabaoth. Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

The Priest prays:

Thee, therefore, most merciful Father,[19] through Jesus Christ Thy Son our Lord, we humbly pray and beseech, that Thou wouldst accept and bless these Gifts,[20] this Offering, this holy and unspotted Sacrifice, which in the first place we offer Thee for Thy Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, that it may please Thee to preserve and govern it in peace and unity[21] throughout the world, together with Thy servants our Patriarch N. and our humility and unworthiness.[22]

Remember, O Lord, Thy servants and handmaidens, N. and N., and of all round about us, whose faith and devotion are known unto Thee, who offer to Thee this Sacrifice of praise for themselves and for their own, for the redemption of their souls and for their hope of health and salvation,[23] and who now pay their vows unto Thee, the eternal, living, and true God.[24]

United in one communion, we honour in the first place the memory of the holy, glorious, and Ever-Virgin Mary, Birth-giver of our Lord, God, and Saviour Jesus Christ,[25] together with Thy blessed Apostles and Martyrs: Peter, Paul, Andrew, James, John, Thomas, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Simon, Thaddaeus, Nilus,[26] Cletus, Clement, Sixtus, Cornelius, Cyprian, Laurence, Chrysogonus, John and Paul, Cosmas and Damian, and of all Thy Saints,[27] through whose prayers and intercessions[28] grant, that we may in all things be defended by the help of Thy protection, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

This oblation, therefore, of our servitude, and of Thy whole people, we beseech Thee, O Lord, graciously to accept, and dispose all our days in Thy peace, to deliver us from eternal damnation, that we may be ranked in the number of Thine elect flock.

Which oblation do Thou, O God, vouchsafe in all respects to bless, approve, ratify, and accept, we beseech Thee, that it may be made for us the Body and Blood of Thy dearly beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Priest removes the veil,[29] and with great reverence takes up the Host, saying secretly:

Who, the day before He suffered, taking bread into His holy and venerable hands, and with His eyes lifted up towards heaven to Thee, almighty God His Father, giving thanks to Thee, He blessed, brake, and gave it to His disciples, saying:

Exclamation:

Take and eat ye of this; This is My Body which is broken for you.[30]

Secretly:

In like manner, after He had supped, taking the Chalice in His holy and venerable hands, again giving Thee thanks, He blessed, and gave it to His holy disciples, saying:

Exclamation:

Drink this, all of you, for this is the Chalice of My Blood, of the new and eternal testament, the mystery of faith, which is shed for you and for many for the remission of sins.

Again the Priest covers the Holy Gifts, and says secretly:

As often as ye do these things, do them in remembrance of Me.

Wherefore, O Lord, we Thy servants, as also the holy people of Thy Christ, calling to mind the blessed Passion of our Lord and God, His Resurrection from hades and His glorious Ascension into heaven:

Exclamation:

Thine own of Thine own we offer unto Thee, in behalf of all, and for all.[31]

The Priest prays secretly:

We offer unto Thy most excellent Majesty, of Thy gifts bestowed, a pure Sacrifice, a holy Sacrifice, an unspotted Sacrifice,[32] the Holy Bread of eternal life, and the Chalice of everlasting salvation.[33]

Upon which vouchsafe to look with a propitious and serene countenance, and to accept them, as Thou wert pleased to accept the gifts of Thy just servant Abel, and the sacrifice of our Patriarch Abraham, and that which Thy high priest Melchisedek offered to Thee, a holy Sacrifice, a pure Oblation.

And, kissing the Holy Table, he says secretly the following Prayer:

We beseech Thee, almighty God:[34] command these Gifts to be carried up by the hand of Thy holy Angel to Thine altar on high, in the sight of Thy Divine majesty, that as many of us as receive a holy Portion of the Body and Blood of Thy Son at this altar, may be filled with every heavenly grace and blessing, through our Lord Jesus Christ.[35]

Here the departed are commemorated. Then, bowing his head, the Priest continues silently:

Also to us sinners Thy servants, confiding in the multitude of Thy mercy, vouchsafe to grant some part and fellowship with Thy holy Apostles and Martyrs: with John, Stephen, Matthew, Barnabas, Ignatius, Alexander, Marcellinus, Peter, Felicitas, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucy, Agnes, Cecilia, Anastasia, Barbara, Juliana, the all-glorious Forty Martyrs, and with all Thy Saints, into whose company we beseech Thee to admit us, not in consideration of our merits, but pardoning our offences, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

And again removing the veil, he takes up the Host and makes the sign of the Cross with It over the Holy Chalice thrice, saying:

By Whom, O Lord, Thou dost always create, sanctify: Amen. Quicken: Amen. Bless: Amen.

And taking up the Holy Chalice, and signing with it over the Diskos, he says secretly:

And bestow upon us all these good Things. By Him, and with Him, and in Him, is to Thee, God the Father almighty, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honour and glory.

Exclamation:

Through all the ages of ages.

People: Amen.

The Priest exclaims:[36]

As we have been instructed by Divine teaching, and commanded by our Saviour’s precepts, we presume to say:

People:[37]            Our Father, Who art in heaven, 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 evil.

Exclamation:

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 ages of ages.

People: Amen.

Priest:   Peace be unto all.

People: And with thy spirit.

Deacon:            Bow your heads unto the Lord.

The Priest says:

Deliver us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, from all evil, past, present, and to come, and at the intercession of the blessed and glorious Birth-giver of God and Ever-Virgin Mary, Thy blessed and glorious Apostles Peter and Paul, and of all Thy Saints, grant[38] peace in our hearts, that assisted and protected by Thy mercy, we may be delivered from our sins, and be found secure from all disturbance, through our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom Thou livest and reignest, O our God, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

Exclamation:

Through all the ages of ages.

R. Amen.

The Priest says this Prayer:

Attend, O Lord Jesus Christ our God, from Thy holy dwelling-place, and from the throne of the glory of Thy kingdom, and come to sanctify us, O Thou that sittest with the Father on high, and art here invisible present with us, and vouchsafe with Thy mighty right hand to impart unto us Thy most-pure Body and precious Blood, and through us to all the people.

Deacon:            Let us attend.

The Priest elevates the Host, saying:

Holy Things for the holy!

People: One is Holy, the Father; One is Holy, the Son; One is Holy, the Spirit, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, Amen.[39]

The Deacon and Clergy say:

O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.

Prayer Before Communion:

With soul defiled and lips unclean, with base hands and earthen tongue, wholly in sins, mean and unrepentant, I beseech Thee, O Lover of mankind, Saviour of the hopeless and Haven of those in danger, Who callest sinners to repentance, O Lord God, loose, remit, forgive me a sinner my transgressions, whether deliberate or unintentional, whether of word or deed, whether committed in knowledge or in ignorance. And if I have sinned in thought, forgive me all, as One good and loving unto mankind, slow to wrath and great in mercy, through the prayers of the holy Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary. Vouchsafe me to receive without condemnation Thy holy and most pure Gift, unto the remission of sins and life eternal, unto forgiveness of mine evil shortcomings and the illumination of Thy commandments. For to Thee is due all glory, honour, and worship, to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

And the Priest dividing up the Holy Bread, communes, saying secretly:

Let not these Thy Holy Things, O Master, be for us unto sin, but unto the remission of sins and the purification[40] of soul and body.

Likewise taking the Chalice, the Priest communes, saying secretly:

Let Thy Holy Body, O Lord, be unto life for me, and this Thy precious Blood unto remission of sins, and at Thy righteous judgment vouchsafe me a place at Thy right hand, and may this Eucharist be for me unto joy and the healing of my soul.

The Priest says aloud:

With fear of God, and faith, draw near.

And after all have communed, the Priest, censing the Holy Gifts, says:

Be Thou exalted above the heavens, O God, and Thy glory above all the earth.

After censing, he says:

Blessed is our God:

Always, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

People: Let our mouths be filled with Thy praise, O Lord, that we may hymn Thy glory, for Thou hast vouchsafed us to partake of Thy holy, Divine, immortal, and life-creating Mysteries. Keep us in Thy holiness, that we may meditate on Thy righteousness all the day long. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Deacon:            Let us attend. Having partaken of the Divine, holy, most-pure, immortal, heavenly, life-creating, fearful Mysteries, let us worthily give thanks for all these things unto the Lord.[41]

Deacon:            Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and keep us, O God, by Thy grace.

Deacon:            Asking that the whole day may be perfect, holy, peaceful, and sinless, let us commit ourselves and one another, and all our life unto Christ our God.

And the Priest says:

May this Communion, O Lord, we beseech Thee, purge us from every stain of flesh and spirit, and make us to be partakers of the good things of heaven. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom Thou livest and reignest in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, through all the ages of ages.

Exclamation:

For Thou art our sanctification, and unto Thee do we send up glory, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

R. Amen.

Priest:   In peace, let us depart.

Let us pray to the Lord.

The Priest says the Ambon Prayer:

Almighty God and Knower of hearts, we who by the communion of Thy Divine, most pure, immortal, and life-creating Mysteries have become partakers of Thy Divine nature, pray Thee: turn not away from us, cast us not off, forsake us not, but in all things grant that which is needful, healing the sick, delivering those in temptations, consoling in troubles, aiding in virtues and patience, making every good gift to abound, fulfilling all entreaties for those things that are profitable in this present life. And grant us[42] and all Thy people Thine immortal and heavenly kingdom.

For Thou art the Giver of every good thing, and to Thee do we send up glory, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

R. Amen.

Prayer of Dismissal:[43]

Blessed is the Lord our God, by Whom we have been deemed worthy to receive His most pure Body and precious Blood. May He bless and keep us all, and make us worthy of His heavenly kingdom, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

R. Amen.

Another Ambon Prayer, for the Repose of Souls

O Master, Lord God almighty, Who dost at no time reject Thy servants and despisest not the souls of them that pray to Thee: give rest to the souls of Thy servants, all the Orthodox Christians, in the paradise of consolation, in the land of the pious, overlooking their sins, whether committed in knowledge or ignorance. Grant them that place of sweetness; unite us with them in joy, and preserve us in the remission of sins, through the prayers of our most pure Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, [the holy and heavenly angelic Powers, the holy John, Prophet and Forerunner and Baptist; the holy and glorious Apostles],[44] and all the Saints who have been well-pleasing unto Thee from all ages.

For Thou art He that blesseth and sanctifieth all, and unto Thee do we send up glory, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

R. Amen.

Prayer of Dismissal for the Repose of Souls

Blessed is the Lord our God, by Whom we have been deemed worthy to receive His most pure Body and precious Blood. May He bless and keep us all, and grant rest to those who have departed this life before us, in the bosom of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

R. Amen.

Another Ambon Prayer for the Repose of Souls

O God of spirits and of all flesh, Who takest of Thine own unto Thine own, Who hast said, All souls are mind, and Who callest them and keepest them until the day of resurrection: Thyself, O Master, deliver the soul of Thy servant N., whom Thou hast taken to Thyself, from every action of the contrary power; set as guides for him Angels of peace; propitiously grant him to see Thy countenance; overlook his misdeeds in this life, whether voluntary or involuntary; make him worthy of the portion of Thy Saints and establish him in the bosom of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Thy righteous ones, whence grief, distress, wailing, and gnashing of teeth are fled away; and for us arrange all things as is good and pleasing to Thee.

For a good God art Thou, and lovest mankind, and to Thee do we send up glory, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

R. Amen.

The Priest says the Prayer in the Diaconicon, “O Christ our God, Who art Thyself the fulfillment of the law and the prophets…”

People: I will bless the Lord at all times… (and the rest of Psalm 33)

Priest:   The blessing of the Lord and His mercy come upon you, through His grace and love towards mankind, always, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

R. Amen.

NOTES
(THE GREEK AND SLAVONIC PHRASES ARE PROVIDED ONLY IN THE PRINTED EDITION)

[1] In the Slavonic: “Receive those who in Thy Church draw nigh unto Thee.”

[2] In the Slavonic: “The Lord is with us.”

[3] Slavonic: “In the joy of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

[4] It would appear that the Priest begins and the People (or Choir) continue.

[5] In the Greek text, “Kyrie eleison” three times, “Christe eleison” three times, and “Kyrie eleison” three times are added after the Great Doxology. Something similar is found in the Ambrosian or Milanese Rite.

[6] This prayer, beginning “Praetende, Domine,” in the original Latin, is in the fully Western setting of this Rite the Prayer of Bowed Heads (super populum) for the Saturday after the Third Sunday of Great Lent (see Old Sarum Rite Missal, p. 91).

[7] Slavonic: “That they may seek of Thee with their whole heart those things that are needful.”

[8] It is worthy of note that the version of the Western Liturgy approved by the Holy Synod of Russia in 1870 inserted the Trisagion “as a reminder of our unity with the Eastern Church” following the Great Doxology—as in the Liturgy of St. Peter.

[9] Greek: “Who alone art holy and restest in the Saints.”

[10] Only the cues for these litanies are provided in the manuscripts. In the Slavonic Hilandar MS (HM.SMS.332) the cue “Have mercy upon us, and the rest” appears. It is worthy of note that the Litany of Fervent Supplication appears in some medićval Western manuscripts, where it has a form similar to that in the earlier Church Slavonic sources, i.e.: V. Let us all say: R. Lord, have mercy. V. From all our heart, and all our mind, we beseech Thee: R. Lord, have mercy. These first two petitions have been joined into one in modern editions of the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. 

[11] Slavonic: “O good Lord.”

[12] This Prayer and the formula for the washing of hands which follows are in the Greek text, but lacking in the Slavonic.

[13] Only this cue is given, but by implication the entire Litany is to be said. The same form of the first petition is also found at this point in the Liturgy of St. Mark.

[14] In the Codex Rossanensis, the Priest then exclaims, “The doors, the doors!” before the Creed.

[15] This exclamation by the Deacon, and the Choir’s response, are lacking in the Slavonic.

[16] The text here given in Greek is the same one found in the pre-Nikonian Slavonic text of the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.

[17] Thus in the Slavonic; the Greek has instead, “Through it, receive us propitiously.”

[18] This Exclamation is in the Greek Codex Rossanensis, but not in the Paris manuscript or in the Slavonic, where it appears that the full Preface is to be intoned by the Priest, as of old in the Western Rite.

[19] The Greek text here has <only in printed edition>, which is virtually identical to the original Latin “clementissime Pater,” one who judges in mildness and clemency, and not according to the letter of the law. The Slavonic <only in printed edition> can be interpreted as “Father of mildness,” but is obviously a translation of the above.

[20] Slavonic: “To receive our prayer as spotless, Amen. And to bless these Gifts, Amen. This Offering, Amen. And this holy Table of Sacrifice, Amen.”

[21] Here the Slavonic adds “and freedom.”

[22] The Slavonic adds, as an Exclamation, the passage from the Liturgies of St. John Chrysostom and St. Basil the Great, “Among the first remember, O Lord, our Bishop N., whom do Thou grant unto Thy holy churches in peace, safety, honour, health, and length of days, rightly dividing the word of Thy truth.”

[23] Thus in the Slavonic; the Greek has “for their hope, salvation, and deliverance.”

[24] Slavonic text: “Whom we bring in prayer to Thee, the eternal, living, and true God.”

[25] Here the Codex Rossanensis inserts the angelic salutation <only in printed edition> while the Paris manuscript and the Slavonic instead insert, from the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, the Exclamation “Especially for our most holy, most pure and glorious Lady, the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary.”

[26] This name is peculiar to the Greek text. Nilus <only in printed edition> the Elder, called the Ascetic, was a staunch friend and defender of St. John Chrysostom, and reposed around AD 430.  Nilus the Younger was a Greek monk of South Italy, who reposed in 1004 AD. <note by editor: This may also be a transposition of the name "Linus">

[27] The list of names in the Slavonic version is somewhat different from the Greek: “Peter and Paul, Andrew, James, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Simon, Judas, Thaddaeus, Matthew, Thomas, Mark, Luke, Linus, Clement, Laurence, Chrysogonus, John, Paul, Cornelius, Cyprian, Cosmas and Damian, Hilarion, Martin, Gerasimus, Ambrose, Gregory, Benedict, Anthony, Nicholas, Basil, and all Thy Saints…”

[28] Where the traditional Latin text has “precibus et meritis,” the Greek has <only in printed edition> and the Slavonic <only in printed edition> – both of which mean “by their prayers and intercessions.”

[29] The Slavonic text mentions the chalice veil, but the Greek does not. “Host” here corresponds to the Greek word anaphora.

[30] The Slavonic adds “for the remission of sins.”

[31] Here the Greek, but not the Slavonic text, calls for the Choir to sing “We hymn Thee, we bless Thee,” as in the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom.

[32] Thus in the Greek and Latin. The Slavonic says only <only in printed edition>, “a pure Sacrifice,” omitting the next two appositives.

[33] The sense of both the Greek and the Slavonic is that of an inexhaustible well, a source that never comes to an end.

[34] Here, in the Slavonic text, there is a space left. At this point the Synodal text of 1870 inserts the Epiclesis from the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom: “Mitte Spíritum Sanctum Tuum super nos et super hćc Tua dona oblata…” However, the 14th century Byzantine commentary on the Divine Liturgy by Nicholas Cabasilas interprets the text as it here stands, as constituting a full Epiclesis already.

[35] Here the Rossano manuscript calls for the insertion of “Among the first, remember, O Lord, our Archbishop N.,” as in the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. The Paris manuscript and the Slavonic do not have this.

[36] The Rossano manuscript here inserts “Let us pray” and “Kyrie eleison” three times before the introduction to the Lord’s Prayer. But the Paris Greek manuscript, and the Slavonic, give the text as above.

[37] In the Paris manuscript it is the Priest who says the Lord’s Prayer, then the People respond “But deliver us from evil.” The Rossano manuscript agrees with the Slavonic, as above.

[38] Here the Slavonic and Paris manuscript add “O Lover of mankind.”

[39] Here the Slavonic and the Paris manuscript add “O Lover of mankind.”

[40] Slavonic: “enlightenment of soul and body.”

[41] Note the slightly different wording of the petition, according to the Rossano manuscript.

[42] Here the Slavonic says “us,” while the Greek has “those with me,” – i.e., either “this congregation” or else “those who have concelebrated with me.”

[43] By analogy with the Liturgies of St. James and St. Mark, where a similar text occurs, it would appear that this prayer originally was used as the final Dismissal. However, in the MSS., there are also rubrics suggesting it came to be used as an alternative Ambon Prayer, or as the Prayer in the Diaconicon.

[44] Inserted phrases (in brackets) are in the Greek but not the Slavonic.

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