The Holy and Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom

The Holy and Divine Liturgy of
St John Chrysostom
 The point of the liturgy is not to become
“relevant” to life, but rather the
reverse, to make life relevant to the
liturgy. On entering the church, we
leave the world behind, and enter a life
in heaven surrounded by the angels and
the saints.
This is where I come to church
The Sydney church, ancient, with a
modern twist
On entering the Church the first thing
we see is the iconostas
On entering the church the priest
says the beginning prayers
 These are prayers in front of the iconostas
 These prayers are said in order to prepare the priest
and the deacon to have to have the proper
disposition in order to celebrate the Liturgy.
 Essentially, we come from the world and enter
heaven, when we come into the Church. WE are
surrounded by icons of the angels and saints, and
thus we need time and a prescribed form in order to
be able to offer the Liturgy.
The Vesting prayers
 These prayers are said while the priests vests himself
to celebrate the Divine Liturgy.
 What are vestments,
 Why do we have them?
 Why the prayers?
 Imperial times
Byzantine Bishop
Byzantine Priest and deacon
Byzantine sub-deacon and server,
holding a byzantine censor.. Note, 12
 Before the Divine Liturgy begins, the priest and a
deacon, if one is serving, begin by preparing the gifts
of bread and wine for use in the service. This
preparation is itself a considerable service. More than
simply setting aside the bread and wine, a very
symbolic ritual has developed.
 Five loaves of bread are used, reminiscent of the five loaves in the
wilderness, from which the masses were fed. During the proskomedia, the
priest cuts out a square called the Lamb from the main loaf of bread
(prosphora). This will be consecrated during the Liturgy of the Faithful to
become the holy body of Christ. He also removes small particles and places
them on the discos (or paten) in commemoration of the Mother of God,
various saints, and the living and departed faithful. The remainder of the
bread is blessed and distributed to parishioners and visitors after the
service; this bread is called antidoron.
 During the Proskomedia, the priest also blesses wine and water, which are
poured into the chalice. Warm water will be added to the chalice after the
 Naturally, the gifts are censed several times during the Proskomedia. The
conclusion of the Proskomedia leads directly into the beginning of the
Divine Liturgy.
If a bishop begins the Liturgy, he begins it by blessing
the four corners of the world
 The deacon (or priest, if no deacon is serving) continues
with the Great Ektenia, so called because it is longer than
most litanies and its petitions touch on the needs of the
world: peace and salvation, the Church, her bishops, her
faithful, captives and their health and salvation,
deliverance from anger and need. It is concluded, as with
most litanies, by calling to the remembrance of the faithful
the witness of the Theotokos and the saints. In light of that
powerful witness, the faithful are charged to commend
their lives to Our Lord Jesus Christ. A closing prayer is
exclaimed by the priest.
 There follow three antiphon. The first two anitphons
are followed by a shorter litany and a prayer. The
third is followed by the small ektenia, which is
followed by the small Entrance, at which is sung, "O
Come, let us worship and fall down before Christ. O
Son of God... save us who sing to You: Alleluia!" "Son
of God" is normally followed by an insertion, such as
"risen from the dead," "wondrous in thy saints," or
"through the prayers of the Theotokos," depending
on the day.
 Only Begotten Son and Word of God, Who willed for
our salvation to be incarnate of the holy Mother of
God and ever virgin Mary, Who did without change
become man and was crucified, O Christ our God,
Trampling down death by death, Who are one of the
Holy Trinity, Glorified with the Father and the Holy
Spirit, save us.
 The hymn is very [theological, composed in honor of
the incarnate Jesus Christ. The hymn also served to
clearly respond to multiple heresies that plagued the
Church such as the meaning of the incarnation,
changelessness of God, resurrection, Trinitarian
The small entrance
page 7
 The origin of these entrances goes back to the early
church, when the liturgical books and sacred vessels were
kept in special storage rooms for safe keeping and the
procession was necessary to bring these objects into the
church when needed. Over the centuries, these
processions have grown more elaborate, and nowadays
are accompanied by incense, candles and liturgical fans. In
the liturgical theology of the Church, the angels are
believed to enter with the clergy into the sanctuary, as
evidenced by the prayers which accompany the various
Deacon carrying the Gospel book ,
during the small entrance
 The deacon carries the Gospel in a way that covers his face.
This represents the coming of the Lord.
 The Priest recites the following prayer:
"O Master, Lord our God, Who has appointed in Heaven
legions and Hosts of Angels and Archangels for the service of
your Glory, grant that with our entrance there may be an
entrance of Holy Angels serving with us and glorifying your
goodness; for to you are due all glory, honor, and worship; to
the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; now and
for ever and ever. Amen
 is a short hymn of one stanza, or one of a series of stanzas.
The word probably derives from a diminutive of the Greek
tropos (“something repeated,” “manner,” “fashion”). The
early tropars were also called sticheron (probably from
stichos, “verse”); but currently the two terms are treated
separately, with different melodies used for each.
 Most troparia are chanted to one of the Eight Tones used
in the Eastern liturgical tradition, though some have unique
melodies to which they are chanted. Sometimes, troparia
will be interpolated between verses of a psalm or other
Historical format
A “kontakion” is a poetic form frequently encountered in Byzantine hymnography. It was probably
based in Syriac hymnographical traditions, which underwent an independent development in Greekspeaking Byzantium. It could best be described as a “sermon in verse accompanied by music”. In
character it is similar to the early Byzantine festival sermons in prose—a genre developed by Isaac
the Syrian—but meter and music have greatly heightened the drama and rhetorical beauty of the
speaker’s often profound and very rich meditation.
The form generally consists of 18 to 24 metrically identical stanzas called oikoi (“houses”),
preceded, in a different meter, by a short prelude, called a koukoulion (“cowl”). The first letters of
each of the stanzas form an acrostic, which frequently includes the name of the poet. The last line
of the prelude introduces a refrain, which is repeated at the end of all the stanzas.
The main body of a kontakion was chanted from the ambo by a minister (often a deacon) after the
reading of the Gospel, while a choir, or even the whole congregation, joined in the refrain. The
length of many kontakia—indeed, the epic character of some—suggest that the majority of the text
must have been delivered in a kind of recitative, but unfortunately, the original music which
accompanied the kontakia has now been lost.
 Sacred Tradition ascribes the origin of the Kontak to St.
Romanos the Melodist during the 6th century. Certainly,
Romanos' inspired compositions represent the apex of the
Golden Age of Byzantine hymnography. His masterpiece is the
Kontakion for the Nativity of Christ. Up until the twelfth century,
it was sung every year at the imperial banquet on that feast by
the joint choirs of Hagia Sophia and of the Church of the Holy
Apostles in Constantinople. Most of the poem takes the form of
a dialogue between the Mother of God and the Magi, whose visit
to the newborn Child is celebrated in the Orthodox Church on
the 25th of December, rather than on the 6th of January (the
Feast of the Theophany on January 6 celebrates the Baptism of
Christ in the Orthodox Church).
Note, the three choirs
 Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on
 Ἅγιος ὁ Θεός, Ἅγιος ἰσχυρός, Ἅγιος ἀθάνατος,
ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς.
The Trisagion
page 10
 The trisagion is a pious and oft-repeated prayer in the
liturgy. This prayer originated in a miracle which occurred
in Constantinople in the middle of the fifth century.
Emperor Theodosius, Patriarch Proclus, and all the people
were beseeching God on open ground for deliverance
from the destruction which threatened them from violent
earthquakes. They suddenly saw a boy snatched up to
heaven; when he was returned to earth, he reported that
he had heard the angels singing the trisagion. At the
bidding of the Patriarch Proclus, the whole people sang it
with devotion and the terrifying earthquakes ceased.
 The Cherubikon was added to the Divine Liturgy by
the Emperor Justin II (565 – 578)
The Gospel
 The petitions of this litany are similar to those of the
Great Litany, but the augmented repetition of the
words "Lord, have mercy" makes its petitions more
fervent. Here we pray that the Lord will be
compassionate toward us, for life, peace, health,
salvation and the forgiveness of the sins of the
"brethren of this holy and all-venerable temple" (the
parishioners). The last petition of this litany refers to
those who are active and do good works
Cherubic hymn
Page 17
 The Cherubikon, or Cherubic Hymn, is the hymn normally
sung at the Great Entrance during the Byzantine liturgy..
The hymn symbolically incorporates those present at the
liturgy into the presence of the angels gathered around
God's throne.
 The Cherubikon is divided into two parts. The first is sung
by the people before the celebrant begins the procession
with the Gifts, and the second, immediately after the
celebrant has completed the commemorations.
Byzantine priest holding has hands
up and forward for the cherubicon
Preparing for the Great Entrance
I believe in one God
Icon of St Constantine the Great and the Fathers of the First Council of
Nicaea of 325 as holding the Niceno–Constantinopolitan Creed of 381
 This Symbol of Faith was formulated by the First (325
A.D) and the Second (381 A.D.) Ecumenical Councils as
the framework of truths of the Christian believer. It
summarizes the basic dogmas from the vast treasures
of Divine Revelation. The belief in the Holy Trinity is
confessed in the first eight articles; the remaining
four articles refer to the destiny of man related to
God’s desire for salvation
Holy Holy Holy
 th this hymn the worshipers glorify the Holy Trinity: the
Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The hymn originates from the
ecstasy of Isaiah in which he witnesses the angelic order of
Seraphim crying "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts" and
from the vision of the Apostle John in which he saw
worshipers in Heaven exclaiming: "Holy, holy, holy, Lord
God Almighty, Who was, and is, and is to come!" (Is. 6:3,
Rev. 4:8). Through the singing of this prayer, the Church
raises the hearts of the believers to contemplation of the
Lord’s glory and, together with the heavenly powers, to
extol and worship Him.
The eucharistic prayer
 What is the moment of consecration?
 Answer; There is non
 The whole of the consecratory prayer is essential.
The words of Christ, followed by the epiclesis are
 Following the Creed, the priest begins the anaphora, the great
eucharistic prayer over the gifts, so called because of the initial
phrase: "Let us lift up our hearts." The two principal anaphoras in
use in the Eastern Church are those of St. John Chrysostom and St.
Basil the Great.
 After remembering the history of our fall and redemption and the
institution of the eucharistic meal, the priest invokes the Holy Spirit,
asking that he be sent down on the gifts. It is sometimes noted that
this invocation, the epiclesis, is the climax of the change of the gifts
of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, but there is not
total agreement among Orthodox scholars whether the change can
actually be pinpointed to a single moment in the service. It is
certainly true that the prayers of the service treat the gifts as
consecrated and changed after this point.
 Having invoked the Holy Spirit and consecrated the gifts,
the priest commemorates the saints, beginning with the
Theotokos. At this point, the assembled faithful chant the
ancient hymn in honour of the Virgin, "It is truly meet to
bless you, O Theotokos, ever-blessed and most pure, and
the Mother of our God. More honorable than the
cherubim, beyond compare more glorious than the
seraphim, without corruption you gave birth to God, the
Word. True Theotokos, we magnify you."
 The priest prays that the bishop, in whose name he is
celebrating the Liturgy, will be kept in the Orthodox Faith
and preserved in health and years.
 Prayer before communion
 Pg. 33
 Prayer after communion pg. 34
The Holy Eucharist