The Divine Liturgy ~ The Entrance Prayers

In my last post, I gave an overview of the Divine Liturgy and briefly listed some of the elements.  One commenter pointed out that more Western Rite Liturgies exists.  I list only the ones that are approved for use in the US by the Antiochian Archdiocese.  If you are interested in the Liturgies of the Western Rite there are many good articles available.  As time permits, I will add entries on the Liturgies of the Western Rite.

Today I will look at the Entrance Prayers.  These are the prayers said by the priest and deacon prior to their entrance into the Holy Place for the preparation.  The Bishop will also say these prayers upon his entrance to the church.  In the Romanian tradition, all of the priests that will serve the Liturgy says these prayers in other traditions only the principal celebrant will say them.  The faithful usually do not see, or hear these prayers, as they are said long before they arrive at the church.

The rubrics of these prayers, in the Liturgy Book that I use translated by the Romanian Episcopate begin with these words to the priest:

In preparation for the Divine Liturgy, the priest must be reconciled to all men, have a pure heart and fast from the preceding evening.  When the time comes, the priest and the deacon enter the church, and standing in the center, bow three times toward the Holy Table and begin the prayers.
The usual prayers are then said;
Blessed is our God…

Heavenly King…
Holy God…
Glory to the Father…
All-holy Trinity…
Our Father…

Then this prayer:

Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy on us; we sinners, your servants incapable of response offer you as master this supplication: have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy on us for we hope in you.  Do not be angry with us, do not remember our transgressions, but, being merciful, look on us and deliver us from our enemies.  For you are our God, and we are your people, we are all the work of your hands, and we call your name.
Then go before the Icon of the Savior and say:

We venerate your most pure image, O good one, asking forgiveness for our transgressions, Christ God.  For of your own free will you ascended the cross in the flesh to free us, your creation, from servitude to the enemy.  Therefore, we gratefully cry out to you:  You have filled all things with joy, O our Savior,  you that came to save the world.
The go before the Icon of the Theotokos and say:

O Birthgiver of God, font of mercy, make us worthy of your compassion.  Look favorably on us sinful people.  Again show forth your power, as always, for we hope in you and we cry out to you as Gabriel chief leader of the bodiless hosts once did: Rejoice!
Returning to the center of the Church they say:

Lord stretch out your hand from the heights of your dwelling place and strengthen me for your service which is about to begin, so that, blameless, I may stand before fearful throne and fulfill the bloodless oblation.  For yours is the power and the glory unto ages of ages.  Amen

Entering the Sanctuary through the door on the right they say:

I will enter your house, I will worship toward your holy temple in fear of you.  Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make my way straight before you.
After entering the altar, they go before the holy table, and make two bows.  The priest kisses the Holy Gospel Book, the cross and the holy table and the deacon kisses the edge of the holy table.  The they make one bow more, and go behind the holy table and facing the high place, they say three times:

O God, cleanse me a sinner and have mercy on me.
Then they vest for the Liturgy

Next time the Vesting prayers and a description of the vestments.

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