Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Things Every Orthodox Should Know...

The Little Entrance…
Originally, the Little Entrance marked the beginning of the service, but it is now preceded by various Litanies and Psalms. It was a way of bringing the Gospel Book from where it was kept to the service.  It represents the Christ (as the priest) leading us to the Kingdom of Heaven (the altar).

The Great Entrance….
During the Matins part of the service, the priest prepares the prosphora for communion to the people at the prosthesis (Table of Oblation,  oblation means  the act of offering the Eucharistic elements to God).  In preparation, he has taken a loaf of prosphora and divided it according to the seal into parts for communion. These are placed on the paten or diskos (a plate on a pedestal) and covered with a asterisk (a folding metal cross that represents the Star of Bethlehem at the birth of the Lord)  The Chalice is filled with sacramental wine. All the elements are then covered with a veil.  Moving the chalice and paten to the altar is accomplished at the Great Entrance with the candles and cross in a procession.   The gifts are censed constantly while in motion.

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