THE RITE OF CONSECRATION OF
ST. NICHOLAS ORTHODOX CHURCH PITTSFIELD, MA SATURDAY, JUNE 8, 2013, 9:30 A.M.
HIERARCHS: HIS EMINENCE ARCHBISHOP NIKON HIS GRACE BISHOP MICHAEL OF NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY CLERGY: PRIEST BARNABAS FRAVEL AND ARCHPRIEST JOZEF PETRANIN PRIESTS FROM THE NEW ENGLAND DIOCESE AND OTHER CLERGY
1304 NORTH STREET PITTSFIELD, MA 01201 CHOIR AND PARISHIONER RESPONSES LED BY TANYA BOGAEVSKAYA
Our altar table was built by the fine craftsman Alexandre Monastyrev
THE BEGINNING OF THE RITE OF CONSECRATION When the time for the holy liturgy draws near the Archbishop (and Metropolitan if present) enter the church which is to be consecrated. ey are vested in all of their episcopal vestments. Over the xhierarchical robes there is placed a strachitza - a special white over-garment that is worn much like an apron to protect the robes. us arrayed they now enter into the Holy Altar along with the priests who are to serve - themselves also wearing similar strachitzas over their vestments.
PREPARATION OF THE TABLE After the Bishop has prayed, he makes the sign of the cross over the con-celebrants on both sides. At this time the deacon brings HolyWater to the Bishop, and the Bishop, taking the krapilla (brush) sprinkles the columns with Holy Water. Then hot wax-mastic is brought, and the bishop sprinkles the wax-mastic with Holy Water. The Bishop takes the vessel containing the wax-mastic and pours it upon the columns in the form of a cross, to the required amount, compassing all four sides of the Altar. He then gives the vessel to the sacristan and sprinkles the columns with Holy Water so that the wax-mastic may harden quickly. The priests assist in this effort by breathing upon the columns where the wax-mastic is until has hardened As the Altar represents The Sepulcher of our Lord Jesus Christ, so the wax-mastic, mingled with fragrant spices, represents the sweet-smelling spice with which Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus anointed the body of our Lord when they laid him in the tomb.
And when this is ﬁnished: Protodeacon: Let us pray to the Lord. Choir:
(reads this prayer, in the hearing of all) O Lord God, our Savior, who creates all things and makes the race of man for salvation: Do thou accept the prayer of us, ine unworthy servants, and enable us, at this present hour, to accomplish without condemnation, the consecration of this church built to y praise in the Name of the Wonderworker Saint Nicholas and to consummate the raising up herein of a holy Altar Table.
For unto thee are due all glory, honor and worship to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.
BLESSING OF THE TABLE WITH HOLY WATER Then the priests bring the top of the Altar Table and the bishop sprinkles it on both sides and lays it upon the columns of the Holy Altar. While this is being done Psalm 144 is chanted:
PSALM 144 Choir: Psalm 144 (Vesperal Tone 8) I will exalt thee, my God and King, / and I will bless y name for ever and ever./ Every day will I bless ee, and will praise y name for ever and ever. / Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, / and His greatness is unsearchable. / One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts. / On the glorious splendor of Thy majesty, and on Thy wondrous works, I will meditate. / Men shall proclaim the might of y terrible acts, and l will declare y greatness. / ey shall pour forth the fame of y abundant goodness,/ and shall sing aloud of y righteousness./ e Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love./ e Lord is good to all, and His compassion is over all that He has made. / All y works shall give thanks to ee, O Lord, / and all y saints shall bless ee! / ey shall speak of the glory of y Kingdom,/ and tell of y great power, / To make known to the sons of men y mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of y Kingdom./ y Kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,/ and y dominion endures throughout all generations. / e Lord is faithful in all His words, and gracious in all His deeds./ e Lord upholds all who are falling, and raises up all who are bowed down. / e eyes of all look to ee, and ou givest them their food in due season. / ou openest y hand, ou satisﬁes the desire of every living thing. / e Lord is just in all His ways, and kind in all His doings. / e Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. / He fulﬁlls the desire of all who fear Him,/ 2.
He also hears their cry, and saves them. / e Lord preserves all who love Him; but all the wicked He will destroy. / My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord, // and let all ﬂesh bless His holy name for ever and ever. And when the Psalm is finished:
Blessed is our God, always, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.
Four putty knives are now brought out to scrape away the excess wax-mastic, which has become hardened As the surfaces upon which it had overflowed are being scraped clean, the choir chants Psalm 23:
PSALM 23 Choir Psalm 23 (Vesperal Tone 8) e Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. / He makes me to lie down in green pastures; / He leads me beside the still waters. / He restores my soul;/ He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake/ Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, / I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; / y rod and thy staﬀ they comfort me. / ou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies/ ou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. / Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. // And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Blessed is our God, always, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.
THE FOUR WOODEN DOWELS AND FOUR STONES Four wooden dowels are then brought and laid upon the Holy Table. The bishop sprinkles them with Holy Water and places each one in a corresponding column so that it might affix the table top to its pedestal. This is reminiscent of the days of old when the bishops actually "constructed" the Altar Table on the spot. To further accomplish this task; four stones are brought with which to drive in these pegs. The bishop, having taken one of the stones, and the rest of the officiating clergy taking the others, make firm the Holy Table by “nailing” in the dowels. Afterwards, according to custom, the stones are placed under the Holy Table. This affixing of the table to the altar with four nails also helps to commemorate the nailing of our Lord onto the cross. The stones thus used are not thrown away but are placed under the table where they will stay. And when the Holy Table is established a rug is immediately spread before the Royal Doors and a cushion is laid in place (the Royal Doors being open). And when the bishop has come out of the Altar and stands on the rug:
Protodeacon: Again and again, on bended knees, let us pray to the Lord. Choir:
Lord, have mercy, (three times)
And facing the people, the bishop kneels on the cushion (the priests and deacons who are with him, likewise kneel in the Altar) and reads in a loud voice this prayer:
O God who art without beginning and eternal; who calls all things into being from nothingness; who dwells in light unapproachable, and has the heavens for y throne and the earth for y footstool; who gave a law and a pattern unto Moses; and inspired Bez'alel with the spirit of wisdom, and enabled them to complete the perfect 4.
building of the tabernacle of y covenant, in which ordinances of divine worship were instituted, which were images and types of the true; Who bestowed upon Solomon breadth and greatness of heart, and thereby raised up the temple of old; and upon y holy and all-praised Apostles, renewed the service in the Spirit, and the grace of the true tabernacle; and through the same, O Lord of Hosts, ou didst plant y holy churches and ine altars in all the earth, wherein the sacred and bloodless sacriﬁces may be oﬀered unto ee; and Who now has been graciously wellpleased that this temple should be founded to y glory in the name of Saint Nicholas, and to the glory of ine Only-Begotten Son, and of y All Holy Spirit: Do ou, yself, O immortal and generous King, call to remembrance y compassions and y mercies, which are from everlasting, and abhor not us who are deﬁled by a multitude of sins, neither annul y covenant because of our impurity; rather do ou disregard now our iniquities and transgressions, and strengthen us with the grace and inspiration of y life-giving and Holy Spirit, that without condemnation, we may accomplish the renewal of this temple, and fulﬁll the consecration, herein, of this altar, that in it we may bless ee in Psalms and hymns, and through the mystical services we may always magnify y deep loving-kindness. Yea O Master, Lord our God, the hope of all the ends of the earth, hear us sinners who make our supplications unto ee, and send down y all-holy, and adorable and almighty Spirit, and sanctify this church, and this altar. Fill it with the light everlasting; elect it for y dwelling-place; make it the abode of y glory. Adorn it with y divine and heavenly gis. Appoint it for a haven for the storm-tossed, for a healing of passions, for a refuge for the weak, for an expelling of evil spirits. Let ine eyes be open upon it day and night, and let ine ears be heedful of the prayer of those who, in the fear of ee and in all reverence, shall enter this Church with devotion, calling upon ine all-honorable and adorable name; that whatsoever they shall ask of ee, ou will hear it in heaven above, and will show mercy and be gracious unto them. Preserve it indestructible even unto the end ohe ages, and show forth the Holy Altar herein, the Altar of y holy things, through the power and eﬀectual operation of y Holy Spirit. Glorify it above the mercy-seat according to the law; that the divine, holy services celebrated thereon may attain unto y holy, most-heavenly, and super-substantial Altar, and obtain for us the grace of y most-pure overshadowing; for we trust not in the service of our unworthy hands, but in ine unspeakable goodness.
And when the prayeris finished the bishop stands, and goes into the Altar to the Holy Table.
Protodeacon: Help us, save us, have mercy on us, raise us up, and keep us, O God, by thy grace. Choir:
Protodeacon: For the peace from above and for the salvation of our souls, let us pray to the Lord. Choir:
Protodeacon: For the peace of the whole world, for the welfare of God’s holy churches, and for the union of all, let us pray to the Lord. Choir: Lord, have mercy, (as above aer each petition) Protodeacon: for His Beatitude, the Most Blessed Metropolitan Tikhon, and for the work of his hands; for His Eminence, the Most Reverend Archbishop Nikon, for his Grace Bishop Michael, for the honorable priests and deacons who are with him, let us pray to the Lord. Protodeacon: at He will sanctify this holy temple, and this altar that is in it, through the descent and operation of the Holy Spirit, let us-pray to the Lord. Protodeacon: For this God protected land, the President of our country, for all civil authorities, and for those men and women who are serving within the armed forces, let us pray to the Lord.
Protodeacon: For this city, for every city and country, and for the faithful dwelling in them, let us pray to the Lord.
Protodeacon: For our deliverance from all aﬄiction, wrath, danger, and necessity, let us pray to the Lord. 6.
Protodeacon: Commemorating our most holy, most pure, most blessed and glorious Lady, eotokos and Ever-virgin Mary with all the Saints, let us commend ourselves and each other, and all our life unto Christ our God.
For Holy art ou, O our God, who rests upon the precious martyrs who have suﬀered for ee, and unto ee do we ascribe glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.
BLESSING WITH RED WINE AND ROSE WATER Then a pitcher filled with warm water is brought to the bishop, along with pitchers of red wine and rose water.
Protodeacon: Let us pray to the Lord. Choir:
The bishop, with bowed head, says this prayer over the water and wine:
O Lord our God, Who sanctiﬁed the streams of Jordan by y redeeming manifestation, do ou, the same Lord, send down now also the grace of y Holy Spirit, and bless this water and wine, unto the sanctiﬁcation and completion of this, ine altar. For blessed art ou unto ages of ages. Amen.
After the prayer the bishop pours the warm water three times in the form of a Cross upon the Holy Table, saying:
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
New, clean, white towels are brought. And the bishop, taking one of them, blesses his concelebrants to take the others, and together they wipe down the Holy Table with them as the choir chants Psalm 84:
PSALM 84 Chor: Psalm 84 (Vesperal Tone 2) How lovely is y dwelling place, O Lord of Hosts! My Soul longs, yea faints, for the courts of the Lord; / My heart and ﬂesh sing for the joy to the living God. / Even the sparrow ﬁnds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, / Where she may lay her young, at y altars, O Lord of Hosts, my King and my God. /Blessed are those who dwell in y house, ever singing y praise!/ Blessed are the men whose strength is in Thee, in whose heart are the highways of Zion. / As they go through the valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; / the early rain also covers it with pools. / ey go from strength to strength; the God of gods will be seen in Zion. / O Lord God of Hosts, hear my prayer; give ear O God of Jacob! / Behold our shield, O God; look upon the face of ine anointed! / For a day in y courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. / I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than dwell in the tents of wickedness. / For the Lord God is a sun and shield; He bestows favor and honor./ No good thing does the Lord withhold from those who walk uprightly.// O Lord of Hosts, blessed is the man who trusts in ee! And when the Holy Table has been washed and wiped, The bishop says:
Glory to our God unto ages of ages.
CLEANSING THE HOLY TABLE The Bishop takes from the Sacristan the red wine mingled with rose-water and pours it liberally upon the Holy Table, thrice, in the form of a Cross, and they wet the Holy Table abundantly stretching forth their hands; and with this same mixture the Bishop sprinkles the Antimension that is to be consecrated. And as he does this, he says at each sprinkling:
ou shall sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed; ou shall wash me, and l shall be whiter than snow.
As the Holy Altar Table is being vigorously washed with the wine and rose water it is wiped down with natural sea sponges. During this time the choir' chants verses from Psalm 5 1.18-19:
PSALM 5 Choir: Psalm 5:18-19 (Vesperal Tone 6) Fill me with joy and gladness; / Let the bones which ou hast broken rejoice. / Hide y face from my sins, and blot out all of my iniquities./ Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. / Cast me not away from y presence, / and take not y Holy Spirit from me. / Restore to me the joy of y salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. / en I will teach transgressors y ways, and sinners will return to ee. / Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, ou God of my salvation, / and my tongue will sing aloud of y deliverance. / O Lord, open my lips and my mouth shall show forth y praise. / For ou hast no delight in sacriﬁce; / were I to give a burnt oﬀering ou would not be pleased. / e sacriﬁce acceptable to God is a broken spirit; / 9.
a broken and contrite heart, O God, ou will not despise./ Do good to Zion in y good pleasure; / rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, / then will Thou delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; // then bulls will be oﬀered upon y Altar. Then the Sacristan brings the sponges. The Bishop takes one sponge, and his concelebrants the others; and they wipe the Holy Table with the sponges. Then they spread the Antimension if they are to be consecrated at the upper edge of the Holy Table.
ICONS OF THE EVANGELISTS PLACE ON THE ALTAR When the Holy Table has been wiped dry, icons of the four evangelists are now appended with a small amount of Wax-mastic over the places where the dowels have been set as the priests sing the following Troparion in Tone 3 for each:
Priests: (Troparion, Tone 3) O holy Apostle and Evangelist (Matthew | Mark | Luke | John) intercede with the merciful God / to grant our souls remission of our sins. The bishop now removes his strachitza, as do all ofthe concelebrating clergy.
Bishop: Blessed is our God, always, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Choir:
Then the Sacristan brings the Holy Chrism. The Bishop, taking the wand anoints the Holy Table in the form of a Cross. The Protodeacon says, for the Holy Table and for the Antimension.
Protodeacon: Let us. attend. The Bishop makes upon the Holy Table three Crosses, one in the middle, and one on each side, a little lower down, saying three times at each:
Alleluia (ree times)
The Bishop also makes three Crosses on the Antimension with the Holy Chrism, as was on the Holy Table. And when this is completed, Psalm 132 is read:
PSALM 132 Reader 1:
Behold, what is so good or so pleasant, as for brethren to dwell together in unity? lt is like the myrrh upon the head that ran down upon the edge of his garment. It is like the dew of Hermon that descends upon the mountains of Sion; for there the Lord Commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.
Then the Bishop says:
Glory to ee O Holy Trinity our God, unto the ages of ages.
Then the Bishop gives the Holy Gospel and the Cross to the Priests, and distributes the tapers in the Altar to those present and coming forth from the Altar to the Ambon, to the laity. Then the Bishop reenters the Altar; and preceeded by the Priests, the Bishop goes forth from the Altar through the Church doors for the Holy Relics, taking his Staff at the Holy Doors, and says:
Let us go forth in peace! The bishop then comes out through the Royal Doors and stands before the relics, which are atop a small table in front ofthe icon of Savior on the iconostasis. He takes up the censer and censes the Holy Relics three times, while the choir sings the following troparion:
TROPARION, TONE 4 (ALL SAINTS) Choir: As with tine porphyry and royal purple. / y Church has been adorned with ine martyrs blood shed throughout the world. / She cries to ee, O Christ God: / Send down y bounties on ine people, // grant peace to y habitation, and great mercy to our souls. 11.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages, Amen.
KONTAKION, TONE 8 Choir: e universe oﬀers ee the God-bearing martyrs / as the ﬁrst-fruits of creation, O Lord and Creator. // rough the eotokos and their prayers establish y Church in peace. The protodeacon says the little litany in front of the Holy Relics.
Protodeacon: Again and again, in peace let us pray to the Lord. Choir:
Protodeacon: Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and keep us, O God, by y grace. Choir:
Protodeacon: Commemorating our most-holy, most pure, most blessed, and glorious Lady, eotokos and Ever-virgin Mary with all the Saints, let us commend ourselves and each other, and all our life unto Christ our God . Choir:
For holy art ou, O our God, who rests upon the precious martyrs who have suﬀered for ee, and unto ee do we ascribe glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.
Protodeacon: Let us pray to the Lord. Choir:
The bishop removes his miter and prays:
O Lord our God, faithful in y words, and steadfast in y promises; Who has enabled y holy Martyrs to ﬁght the good ﬁght and to fulill the course of godliness, and to keep the faith of the true confession: Do ou yself, O Mostholy Master, be entreated by their prayers, and grant unto us, ine unworthy servants, to have a portion and inheritance with them; that being imitators of them, we also may be counted worthy to obtain the good things which await them. rough the mercy and love for mankind of ine Only begotten Son, with whom ou art blessed, together with y Most-holy, Good and Life-creating Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.
Peace be unto all.
Protodeacon: Bow your heads unto the Lord. Choir:
O Lord our God, through the prayers of our most-pure sovereign Lady, the eotokos, and of all y Saints, direct the works of the hands of us, ine unworthy servants, and count us worthy, that in all things, we may prove acceptable unto y goodness. Blessed and most-gloriied be the majesty of y kingdom: of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.
The bishop then takes the censer and censes the Holy Relics three times, and giving up the censer he takes the Diskos (on which the Relics are placed and covered with an aer over the star) and sets it upon his head, awaiting the Procession.
ORDER OF PROCESSION • Cross A • Banners • Candles & processional lamps • lcon of St. Nicholas • Choir • Metropolitan's staﬀ and miter • Priests and Holy Gospel • Subdeacons with the Trikiri & Dikiri • Protodeacon and deacons censing the Holy Relics • Fan-bearers holding the Ripidi over the Holy Relics • Archbishop Nikon who carries the Holy Relics • e Faithful Upon leaving the sanctuary, everyone makes a counter-clockwise Procession around the Church, much like on Holy Pascha. As they do, the doors of the church are shut. The choir sings the following Troparia:
TROPARIA TONE 3
Choir: O Good One, who founded y Church upon the rock of faith, / direct aright our petitions in it. / Accept the people who cry to ee in Faith, // “Save, us, O our G o d , save us!" ,
TONE 3 O Lord, the conﬁrmation of those who set their hope on ee, // conﬁrm y Church, which ou has a c q u i r e d by y p r e cious blood.
ou established the heavens with wisdom in the beginning, / ou set the earth upon the waters! / Now establish me on the rock of y commandments, O Christ,// for none is holy but ee, O only Lover of mankind!
ine creating command established and sustains the earth in empty space! / Establish y Church, O Christ, on the rock of y commandments, // O only gracious Lover of manl As the procession continues, the church is sprinkled with Holy Water on each side. When the Procession comes in front of the main doors of the church, they stop before the doors so that the choir may sing these Troparia:
TROPARIA TONE 4 Choir: O holy Martyrs, / who have fought the good ﬁght and have received your crowns; / Entreat ye the Lord, / that He will have mercy on our souls (twice)
TONE 4 Choir: Glory to ee, O Christ, God, / the Apostles boast, / the Martyrs’ joy, // whose preaching was the consubstantial Trinity. 16.
Some of the choir now enters into the vestibule and, closing the doors behind them, face towards the west. While this is accomplished the Bishop takes from his head the Diskos with the Holy Relics and sets it on the table prepared in front of the church doors. He makes three prostrations before the Holy Relics, puts on his miter and blesses the priests. Then the protodeacon brings the censer to the Bishop. And the Bishop, taking it censes the HoilyRelics three times, and also the Holy Gospel, the cross, and the icons, on the right and on the left, and also the Clergy. And after the censing, the protodeacon takes the censer from the bishop and censes the bishop three times.
Blessed art ou always, O Christ our God, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. ( om inside the church answers)
Li up your gates, O ye princes; and be ye lied up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of Glory shall enter in.
(inside the church answers)
Li up your gates, O ye princes; and be ye lied up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of Glory shall enter in. (inside the church answers)
Protodeacon: Let us pray to the Lord. Choir:
The bishop's mitre is removed, and he says this prayer in a loud voice:
O God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who art blessed forever, Who through the veil of His ﬂesh hath renewed for us an entrance into the Church of the ﬁrst-born. Who are written in heaven, where is the abode of them that rejoice, and the voice of gladness: Do ou yself; O Master who lovest mankind, look upon us, y sinful and unworthy servants, celebrating the renewal of the honorable temple of St. Nicholas, according to the pattern of y most-holy Church, that is, of our own body, which ou hast vouchsafed us, by the all-praised Apostle Paul, to call y church and members of y Christ; and do ou establish it immovable unto the end of the age, and glorifed in ee. And count us worthy that, without reproach, we may oﬀer in it praises and doxologies unto y glory, and to y Only-Begotten Son, and unto y Holy Spirit, with understanding, and with all emotion; and that those who worship ee in the fear may show themselves worthy of y divine gis; and that these prayers oﬀered up by us and by all, y people unto ine loving-kindness, may be acceptable unto y goodness: rough the prayers of our holy. Most-pure Sovereign Lady, the eotokos and Ever-virgin Mary. For holy art ou, O our God, who rests on the Saints, and unto ee do we ascribe glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.
Peace be unto all.
Protodeacon: Bow your heads unto the Lord. Choir:
O Master, Lord our God, who hast appointed in heaven orders and hosts of Angels and Archangels for the service of y glory: Grant that with our entrance there may be an entrance of holy Angels, serving with us and glorifying y goodness.
For unto ee are due all glory, honor and worship: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.
Then the bishop takes the Diskos with the Holy Relics and signs the doors of the church with the form of the cross, sayng:
e Lord of Hosts, He is the King of Glory! 19.
And while the choir sings this for the last time, the table is removed and the bishop sets the Diskos with the Holy Relics upon his head, he and the clergy now enter the church, followed by the congregation. As they do the Choir sings:
TROPARION TONE 4 Choir: As ou has shown forth the splendor of the ﬁrmament on high, O Lord, / and the beauty of the Holy habitation of y glory here below/ Establish it forever, / and accept our petitions continually oﬀered to ee / in it through the eotokos, // ou Who are the Life and the Resurrection of all men.
HOLY RELICS ANOINTED AND PLACED IN ALTAR The bishop now enters the sanctuary through the Royal Doors, sets the Holy Relics upon the Altar Table itself makes three prostrations before the Relics, puts on his miter and censes the Relics and the clergy. ln return, the protodeacon takes the censer from the bishop and censes him three times. After the Biship prays and blesses his concelebrants, he then takes aer and the star from atop the Diskos. The Holy Chrism (Myron) is brought and the bishop anoints the Holy Relics. They are then placed inside of the chest which is sealed with wax-mastic. The Relics are anointed with the Holy Chrism as for burial, in token of the close bond between the Martyrs and Christ. The Relics of the Saints, which remain incorruptible on earth, assure the faithful of the special prayers for us on the part of the Saints, thus honored with immortality of body until the coming of the kingdom of glory (Rev. 6: 9-10). The chest with the Holy Relics is now placed down through an opening in the top of the Altar Table, into the inside of the central column, that arises inside of the Altar. Then the Bishop lays the prepared particles in the Antimension having first anointed inside a little pouch in the center ofthe Antimension with the Holy Chrism, and makes them fast with wax-mastic with a special small paddle. Then the priests bring the. first cover – the white strachitza – and the bishop sprinkles it with Holy Water inside and out, and places it upon the Holy Table. The ends of this cover are cinched and tied to keep it in place. This first cover is 20.
reminiscent of both the white garment that was placed upon us after our baptism (the “Robe of Righteousness”), as well as our Lord's burial shroud as He was laid in His tomb. The cord reminds us of how Christ was bound and led before the High Priest after His arrest. This cover remains on the Holy Table, for as long as the church remains standing. While these things are being accomplished, that is to say vvhile the Altar Table is vested with the first covering and girded with the cord, Psalm 132 is chanted.
PSALM 132 Reader 1: Lord, remember David, and all his trouble: how he swore unto the Lord, and vowed unto the Almighty God of Jacob; I will not enter my house or get into my bed; I will not give sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids until I ﬁnd a place for the Lord, a dwelling place for the mighty One of Jacob. Lo, we heard of the same at Ephratha, and found it in the wood. Let us go to His dwelling place; Let us worship at His footstool. Arise, O Lord, into y resting place; ou and the ark of y strength. Let y priests be clothed with righteousness, and let y saints shout for joy. For y servant David's sake turn not away the presence of y Anointed. e Lord made a faithful oath unto David, and He shall not shrink from it; One of the sons of y body shall I set upon y seat. If your sons keep My covenant and My testimonies which I shall teach them; their children also shall sit upon y rone. For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation: is is My resting place for evermore. Here I will dwell, for I have desired it. I will abundantly bless her provisions, and satisfy her poor with bread. Her priests I will cloth with salvation, and her saints will shout for joy. ere I will make a horn to sprout for David: I have prepared a lamp for My anointed. His enemies I will clothe with shame, but upon Himself His crown will shed its luster. Now the priests bring forth the second, or “outer” cover which is brighter and more elaborate than the ﬁrst. It is sprinkled with Holy Water inside and out and placed upon the Altar Table. is cover called an "inditia” symbolizes the Glory of God. e double vesting of the altar indicates its double signiﬁcance: as the tomb of Christ and the throne of God. And when this is finished:
Glory to our God, unto ages of ages.
Then the priests bring and place the Antimens, the Gospel Book. the Tabernacle, the precious cross, the candlesticks with unlighted Candles, upon the Holy Table, and all these things are sprinkled with holy water And while all these things are being accomplished, Psalm 92 is chanted:
PSALM 92 Reader 2: e Lord reigns, He is robed in majesty, the lord is robed, He is girded with strength. e world is established; it shall never be moved; y throne is established from on old; ou are from everlasting; e ﬂoods have lied up, O Lord, the ﬂoods have lied up their voice, the ﬂoods have lied up their roaring. Mightier than the thunder of many waters, mightier than the waves of the seas, the Lord on high is mighty! y decrees are very sure; holiness beﬁts y house, O Lord, for evermore. Bishop: Choir:
Blessed is our God, always, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. .. .
BLESSING OF THE HOLY TABLE The bishop then directs that the Table of Oblation be sprinkled with Holy Water and that the coverings and various liturgical utensils are arranged appropriately and sprinkled with Holy Water as well. The protodeacon brings the censor to the bishop and the bishop censes the Holy Table, from each of its four sides, the Table of Oblation, and the rest of the Altar's interior The protodeacon leads him, holding a candle. As the bishop censes the entire church, two priests follow him. One sprinkles the walls with Holy Water while the second, holding the vessel of Holy Chrism, anoints them with the wand in the form of a cross. During this time the choir sings (repeat as needed):
TROPARION TONE 1 Choir: O Lord, save y people/ and bless ine inheritance Grant victories to the Orthodox Christians/ over their adversaries/ and by virtue of y Cross // preserve y habitation.
TROPARION SAINT NICHOLAS TONE 4 Choir: In truth you were revealed to your ﬂock as a rule of faith, an image of humility and a teacher of abstinence; your humility exalted you;/ your poverty enriched you./ Hierarch Father Nicholas, / entreat Christ our God// that our souls may be saved! Bishop:
(Entering the Altar)
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen. Choir:
And the protodeacon takes the censer and censes the Bishop three times. Then he says the little litany in front of the Holy Table, to the left side of the Bishop.
Protodeacon: Again and again, in peace let us pray to the Lord. Choir:
Protodeacon: Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and keep us, O God, by thy grace. Choir:
Protodeacon: Commemorating our most holy, most pure, most blessed, and glorious Lady, the eotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary with all the Saints;Iet us commend ourselvesand each other, and all our life unto Christ our God. Choir:
Protodeacon: Let us pray to the Lord. The bishop removes his miter and, standing before the Holy Table, reads this prayer:
O Lord of Heaven and earth, Who with ineﬀable wisdom hast founded y holy Church and, according to the model of the service of the angels in heaven, hast appointed the order of the priesthood on earth. Do ou, O compassionate Master, accept also us who now are praying, not as being worthy to ask such things, but that the exceeding excellence of y goodness may be manifested; for ou hast not ceased to be gracious to mankind in many ways. And as the greatest of y beneﬁts, ou bestowed upon us the coming in the ﬂesh of ine Only-Begotten Son, who was made manifest on earth, and having shone the light of salvation unto them that were in darkness, He oﬀered Himself up as a sacriﬁce for us, and became a propitiation for the whole world, making us partakers of His resurrection; and having ascended into heaven, He clothed His Disciples and Apostles as He had promised, with power from on high, that is, with the Holy Spirit, Who is worshiped and almighty, Who proceeds from ee, our God and Father, through whom they became mighty in deed and word,
administered baptism unto the adoption of sonship, built churches, established altars, and instituted the canons and laws of the priesthood. And we sinners, observing their traditions, fall down before ee, the Eternal God, and we pray ee, O Deeply-compassionate One: Do ou ﬁll with y divine glory this temple erected to y praise; and show forth this Holy Altar raised up in it as the Holy of Holies; that we who stand before it, as before the dread throne of y Kingdom, may serve uncondemned, sending up petitions for us and for all y people, and oﬀering the bloodless sacriﬁce to y goodness, unto the remission of sins both voluntary and involuntary, unto the governing of our life, unto the attainment of a good course of life, and the fulﬂling of all righteousness. For blessed be y most holy name: of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.
Peace be unto all.
Protodeacon: Bow your heads unto the Lord. Choir:
We thank ee, O Lord God of Hosts, for as ou hast poured out grace on y holy Apostles, and on our Venerable Fathers, so ou hast graciously vouchsafed to extend this even unto us sinners, y useless servants, for the sake of y great love of mankind. erefore, we pray ee, O Most-merciful Master: Do ou ﬁll with glory, and holiness and grace this Holy Altar, that the bloodless sacritices which shall be oﬀered on it may be transfomed into the Most-pure Body and precious Blood of our Great God anf Savior, Jesus Christ, ine Only-Begotten Son, unto the salvation of all y people and our unworthiness. For ou art our God, a God Whose nature it is to show mercy and to save, and unto ee do we ascribe glory, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.
At the conclusion of this prayer there is brought to the Bishop a candle, which he himself lights. It is from this one candle that all other candles within the temple are now lighted. The Bishop places this first-lighted candle in the High Place, directly behind the Holy Table
Protodeacon: Let us pray to the Lord; Choir:
O Lord our God Who hast given this glory also unto the holy Martyrs that suﬀered for ee, that their relics should be sown in all the earth, in y holy temples, and should bring forth fruits of healing: so ou yself, O Holy Master, Who art the Giver of all good things, trough the prayers of the Saints Whose relics ou hast graciously permimtted to be place in this, y most-honorable Altar, count us worthy, and condemn us not, so that we might oﬀer up unto ee on this Holy Altar the bloodless sacrihce. And grant unto us all petitions which are unto salvation, vouchsaﬁng also to the relics therein of those who have suﬀered for y holy name, the gi of working miracles, through them, for our salvation.
For ine is the kingdom and the power, and the glory: of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, unto ages of ages.
Protodeacon: Again and again, on bended knees, let us pray to the Lord. Choir:
With everyone in attendance kneeling, the bishop reads this prayer:
O Lord our God, who by y word alone didst create the world, leading it into existence, and Who ineﬀably gave it various forms; Who didst set y Spirit hovering above it, and Who didst pour forth the light of the sun upon it for its renewal; Who didst inspire Moses, y servant, to add unto ine exceedingly good creation a certain special praise, and to say that ou didst see the light, that it was good, and did call it "day;" which, also, seeing even this most radiant sun that every day renews creation, we glorify ee, the Sun of the true day, and y light that does not set; Who, through y Son, hast commanded us to renew our nature by y Holy Spirit, that through His gis the righteous may shine like the sun. We pray ee, and we make supplication unto ee, the Father of the Word, our Lord and our God, forasmuch as through ine ineﬀable love for mankind, and through y boundless mercy, creation and the ancient covenant (which was the image of the New Covenant) received renewal in y 27.
divine revelation of yself on Mount Sinai, and in that wondrous bush that burned, and in the tabernacle of assembly, and in that exceedingly beautiful temple of Solomon: With merciful eyes do ou look upon us y sinful and unworthy servants who abide in this house like unto heaven, the praise of the universe, the true altar of ine ineﬀable glory, and send down upon us. ine inheritance. y Most-holy Spirit. And, according to the divine David, renew a right spirit in our hearts, and with y governing Spirit establish us. And grant unto them that rule over us victories over enemies both visible and invisible, and unto us peace and concord. And give remission of sins unto them that have diligently completed this building through renovation and beautiﬁcation, and the consecration of this Holy Temple by y word, granting unto them such petitions as are unto salvation. Stir them up to the fulﬁlling of y commandments; grant unto them the renewal of the gi of ine All-Holy Spirit, that standing un-condemned they may worship ee, the only True God, and Jesus Christ Whom ou hast sent: rough the prayers of the eotokos, the Saint Nicholas, Wonderworker of Myra and Lycia, and of all y Saints.
LITTLE LITANY At the conclusion of this prayer; the Little Litany is said:
Protodeacon: Help us save us have mercy upon us, raise us up and keep us O God, by y grace. Choir:
(aer each petition )
Protodeacon: Commemorating our most pure, most blessed, and glorious Lady, eotokos and Ever-virgin Mary, with all the Saints, let us commend ourselves and each other, and all our life unt Christ our God. Choir:
For holy aret ou, O our God, Who rests upon the holy and Precious Martyrs who have suﬀered for ee, and unto ee do we ascribe glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages and ages.
Then The Bishop goes with his staff to the place where he usually is vested (to the cathedra in the middle of the church if there is such a place). If there be no vesting place, he stands on the ambo in front of the Altar, and the priests stand on either side, according to rank. When the Bishop has stood there and prayed, he blesses those present. And the Protodeacon says the litany:
Protodeacon: Have mercy on us O God according to thy great goodness, we pray thee, hearken and have mercy. Choir: Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy (aer each petition)
Protodeacon: Again we pray for His Beatitude, the Most Blessed Tikhon, and for the work of his hands, for his Eminence the Most Reverend, Archbishop Nikon, and for all our brethern in Christ.
Protodeacon: Again we pray for the blessed and ever-memorable most holy Orthodox Patriarchs, for the founders, builders, and benefactors of this holy Church, for all of our fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters, the Orthodox believers who have gone before us in the hope of the resurrection, who here, and in all the world, lie asleep in the Lord. Protodeacon: For this God protected land, the President of our country, for all civil authorities, and for all of those men and women who are serving in our Armed Forces. Protodeacon: Again we pray for the blessed and ever-memorable most holy Orthodox Patriarchs, for the founders, builders, and benefactors of this holy Church, for all of our fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters, the Orthodox believers who have gone before us in the hope of the resurrection, who here, and in all the world, lie asleep in the Lord. Protodeacon: Again we pray for mercy, life, peace, health, salvation, visitation, pardon and forgiveness of sins for the servants of God_____, our brethren of this holy temple. Protodeacon: Again we pray for those bear fruit and do good work in this holy and revered temple, for those who labor and those who sing, and for the people present, who await î‚Šy great and rich mercy. Bishop: For î‚Šou art a merciful God, and the Lover of mankind, and unto î‚Šee do we ascribe glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Choir:
Then the sacristan brings to the bishop a cross upon a tray. And the bishop takes the cross, and standing on the same vesting place (or on the ambo before the altar), he blesses three times with the cross, on four sides: to the east, and the west, and the south, and the north. And the protodeacon censes opposite the cross three times on each side, and as he passes over to each side, he says:
Protodeacon: (Let us pray to the Lord.) Let us all say. Choir:
After the blessing
Protodeacon: Wisdom. And the Bishop, layng the cross upon the sacristan’s tray, goes (if he has been standing upon the vesting-place) to the ambo, bearing his staff and saiying:
Most-holy eotokos, save us! More honorable than the Cherubim and more glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim; without deﬁlement you gave birth to God the Word, true eotokos, we magnify you. Glory to ee, O Christ our God and sure hope, glory to ee! Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen. Lord, have mercy; Lord, have mercy; Lord, have mercy. Most Blessed, Master Bless! May Christ our true God, through the prayers of His Most-Pure Mother, of the Holy and all laudable Apostles, of the Holy New Martyr Elizabeth, of the Holy Fathers of the Palestine Desert, and especially through the intercession of the Wonderworker Saint Nicholas and of all the Saints, have mercy on us and save us, for as much as He is good God, and loveth mankind.
Choir: During the liturgy the Prokeimena, Allelulia and Communion verses of the consecration and of the church are used: The Epistle Reading: Hebrews 9:1-8 Gospel Reading: St. John 10:22-27
At this point we proceed with the celebration of the Divine Liturgy.