The Divine Liturgy, continued
After the Third Antiphon, there is the Procession at the Entrance of the Word. This is when the priest and deacons process through the iconostas, and the deacon is holding the Gospel book over his head. They processes down the steps and around and back through the Royal doors. (The iconostas is an the icon screen separating the altar area from the area where the congregation sits. There are three doors in it, the Left and Right doors being the deacon doors, and the Center door being the Royal Doors. Only a priest or deacon can go in the Royal Doors).
Elevating the Gospel Book, the deacon sings aloud:
The people respond with:
Come, let us worship and bow down before Christ. Save us, O Son of God. Thou who didst arise from the dead, save us who sing to You, alleluia.
Then, the Entrance Hymn, which changes liturgical season to season. Today's is
Hail, thou portal of God, through which the Creator incarnate emerged, preserving thee sealed; Hail, thou light cloud - who didst bear Christ, the divine rain; hail, thou glorious mount, fertile and undefiled.
Then, the Troparion, which also changes season to season, feast to feast
Let the heavens rejoice and let the earth be glad, for the Lord has conquered with his arm; He has trampled death with death, he has become the first born of the dead, he has saved us from the abyss of hell and has granted great mercy to the world.
And then, the Theotokion, a hymn in honor of Mary, the God Bearer (Theotokos), again, this is a changable part of the litugy.
We praise thee, the mediatrix of the salvation of our race, O Virgin Mother of God; for in the body He assumed of thee, thy Son and our God accepting the passion on the cross, liberated us from destruction, as a lover of mankind.
Next is another of my most favorite parts of the Liturgy, the Prayer of the Thrice-Holy Hymn. This will be my addition tomorrow. Stay tuned!