In 313 AD the Emperor Constantine proclaimed Christianity to be the state religion of the Roman Empire. The effects on the Church both positive and negative. The Church was free to come out into the open and preach the Gospel publicly in its own buildings. The only model for the new buildings was the Roman forum or town hall, a long rectangular building with an apse containing a raised platform at one end. The altar was placed on the chord of the apse and the celebrant and other sacred ministers sat behind it. Congregations were much larger and the services took on the nature of a public function. In secular society it was customary to burn incense before the emperor and high officials. It now seemed appropriate to burn it before the Gospel and sacred ministers as recognizing the presence of Christ. What had formerly been the synaxis or ministry of the word, now became the mass of the catechumens, attended by enquirers and those preparing for baptism who were ejected before the eucharist proper began. The Mass of the Faithful became longer and increased in ceremonial with an increasing emphasis on the eucharistic offering.. The prayers of the deacon often echoed those of the priest which may be the beginning of the tradition in the Eastern Orthodox Church where the priest offers his own liturgy behind the closed doors of the iconostasis while the prayers of the people are led by the deacon.
O Beneficent King of Eternity, and Maker of the whole Creation, accept thy Church approaching thee through thy Christ; fulfil that which is profitable to each individual; bring all to perfection; and make us worthy of thy saving grace, gathering us together in thy holy Church, which thou hast purchased by the precious blood of thine only-begotten Son, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Priest: Peace be with you all.
People: And with thy spirit.
he gospel procession consisted of the crucifer, torchbearers, thurifer, subdeacon carrying the book. At the appointed place the deacon takes the thurible and censes the book three times before reading the Gospel.
The holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to...
Deacon: Let none of the catechumens, let none of the uninitiated, let none of those who are not able to join with us in prayer remain. Recognize one another. Close the doors. Let all stand upright.
Priest: O God of all people, and merciful Lord, unworthy as we are, make us worthy of this hour; that, purifying ourselves from all guile and hypocrisy, we may be united with one another in the bond of peace and love, being strengthened by the sanctification of thy divine knowledge, through thine only-begotten Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, with whom Thou art blessed, now and for ever, world without end. Amen.
Deacon: Let us salute one another with a holy kiss. Let us bow down our heads before the Lord.
Priest: O Thou, the only Lord and merciful God, who dwellest on high and lookest down upon the lowly, send thy gracious favour upon those who bow their necks before the holy altar, desirous of thy spiritual gifts, and bless us all with every spiritual and inestimable blessing; for thy most holy name is to be praised, and worshipped, and glorified, O God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, now and for ever, world without end. Amen.
Deacon: Let us stand decently, let us stand devoutly, let us stand with the fear of God and contrition: let us attend to the holy service, so as to offer unto God a peace offering.
Priest: The love of the Lord and Father, the grace of God the Son, and the fellowship and gift of the Holy Ghost be with you all.
People: And with thy spirit.
Priest: Lift up your hearts
People: We lift them to the Lord.
Priest: Let us give thanks unto the Lord.
People: It is meet and right so to do.
Priest: It is very meet, right and our bounden duty, that we should praise thee, sing hymns to thee, bless thee, worship thee, glorifythee, and give thanks to thee, the Creator of the whole visible and invisible creation, the treasure of eternal blessedness, the fountain of life and immortality, the God and governor of the universe: to whom the heaven and the heaven or heavens sing praise, even all their host; the sun and the moon, and the whole choir ofstars; the earth and the sea, and all that is therein; Jerusalem the heavenly assembly, the Church of the first-born written in heaven; the spirits of just men and prophets; the souls of martyrs and apostles; angels, archangels, thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers, and fearful dynasties; and the many-eyed cherubim, and seraphim with six wings, who with twain cover their faces, and with twain their feet, and with twain they fly, crying to one another with never ceasing voices, and uninterrupted shouts of praise: singing with a loud voice to the triumphal hymn of thine exalted glory, crying aloud and saying:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of osts; heaven and earth are full of thy glory; hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.
Holy art thou, O eternal King, the Lord and giver of all holiness; holy is thine only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom thou madest all things; and holy is thy Holy Spirit, who searcheth all things, even the depths of thee, O God. Holy art thou, the ruler over all, the Almighty and good God, terrible and full of compassion, and sympathizing greatly with the work of thine hands: Thou that formedst man from the earth after thine own image and similitude, and gavest him the enjoyment of Paradise; and when he had fallen by transgressing thy commandments, thou didst not, O gracious God, forsake and abandon him, but didst correct him as a merciful father, recall him by the Law, and instruct him by the Prophets: and at last didst send thine only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, into the world, that, by his coming, he might renew and revive thine image: who came down from heaven, and, being incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, conversed with mankind, and dispensed all things to the salvation of our race. And when he, who had no sin, was about to suffer a voluntary and life-giving death upon the cross for us sinners, in the same night that he was betrayed, or rather rendered up himself, for the life and salvation of the world,
He took bread into his holy and immaculate hands, and looking up to heaven, and presenting it to his God and Father, he gave thanks, sanctified, and brake it; and gave it to us, his disciples and apostles saying, Take, eat, this is my body, which is broken and given for you, for the remission of sins.
Likewise after supper he took the cup, and having mixed it with wine and water, looking up to heaven, and presenting it to thee his God and Father, he gave thanks, sanctified, and blessed it; and gave it to his disciples, saying, Drink ye all of it; This is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed and given for you and for many, for the remission of sins. Do this in remebrance of me.
Wherefore, in remembrance of his life-giving passion, his saving cross, and death, and burial, and resurrection on the third day from the dead, of his ascension into heaven, and sitting at the right hand of thee his God and Father, and of his second and terrible advent, when he shall come with glory to judge the quick and the dead, and render to every man according to his works; we sinners offer to thee, O Lord, this awful and unbloody sacrifice: beseeching thee, that thou deal not with us after our sins, neither reward us according to our iniquities; but that of thy clemency and ineffable love towards mankind, thou wouldst supersede and blot out the hand-writing that is against us thy suppliants, and grant unto us thine heavenly and eternal favours. For thy people and thy Church make their supplications before thee, O merciful Lord.
Have mercy upon us, O God, after thy great nercy, and send down thy Holy Ghost upon us, and upon these gifts which are here set beforethee: that, by descending thereon, he may sanctifyand make this bread the holy body of thy Christ, and this cup the precious bloodof thy Christ: so that to all who partake thereof, they may avail to the remission of sins and eternal life, to the sanctification of soul and body, to the bringing forth of the fruit of good works, to the confirmation of thy holy church, which thou hast founded upon the rock of faith, that the gates of hell may not prevail against it.
Remember also, O Lord, our holy fathers and brethren in the same, and the bishops who rightly divide the word of thy truth in all the world.
Remember, O Lord, every city and country, with those of the true faith who dwell therein; and be mindful of their peace and security.
Remember, O Lord, all Christians who travel by land or by water, or sojourn in foreign lands; and our fathers and brethren who are in chains and imprisonment, in captivity and banishment, who are condemned to work in the mines, and live in misery and bitter servitude.
Remember, O Lord, the sick and afflicted, and such as are vexed with unclean spirits; and make hast, O God, to heal and deliver them.
Remember, O Lord, every Christian soul labouring under calamity or distress, and standing in need of thy divine mercy and protection; and be mindful of the conversion of those who are in error.
Remember, O Lord, our fathers and brethren who labour for us, and minister unto us, for thy holy name's sake.
Remember, O Lord, for good: have mercy upon all, O Lord: be reconciled to us all: give peace to the multitudes of thy people: remove all occasions of scandal: make wars to cease: stop the violence of heresies: and grant us thy peace and love, O God our Saviour, who are the hope of all the ends of the earth.
Remember, O Lord, to send us temperate weather, moderate showers, gentle dews, and a fruitful harvest: and to crown the year with thy goodness: For the eyes of all wait upon thee, and thou givest their food in due season. Thou openest thy hand, and fillest all things living with plenteousness.
Remember, O Lord, all those who bring forth the fruit of good works in thy holy churches; and those who are mindful of the power, the widow, the fatherless, the stranger and the destitute; and all who desire to be remembered in our prayers,
Furthermore, O Lord, vouchsafe to remember those who have this day offered these oblations upon thy holy altar, and those for whom every one has offered or has in mind; as well as those whose names have just been read before thee,
Remember also, O Lord, according to the greatness of thy mercy and compassion, me thy humble and unprofitable servant, with the deacons that compass thine holy altar; and grant them a blameless life, keep their ministry spotless, and purchase for them good degrees; that we may find mercy and favour with all the saints, who, from the beginning of the world, have pleased thee in their several generations, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs, and every just spirit made perfect in the faith of thy Christ.
Remember, O Lord, the God of spirits and of all flesh, those true believers whom we have commemorated, from the righteous Abel unto this day. There do thou give them rest in the land of the living, in the delights of Paradise, in the bosom of our holy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; whence sorrow, grief, and lamentation, have fled away; and establish them in thy kingdom, where the light of thy countenance overlooks them, and shines continually. And dispose the end of our lives, O Lord, in peace, so that they may be Christian, and acceptable and sinless, and gather us beneath the feet of thine elect, when thou wilt, and as thou wilt, so it be only without shame and offence; through thine only begotten Son, our Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ; for he alone has appeared without sin upon the earth: and with him and thy most holy, good, and quickening Spirit, thou art blessed and glorified, now and for ever, world without end. Amen
Priest: Peace be with you all. People: And with thy spirit.
Deacon: Let us again and again and continually pray to the Lord in peace. Let us pray for the precious gifts brought and consecrated to the Lord God. Let us pray that the Lord our God, having received them upon his holy, supercelestial, intellectual, and spiritual altar, for a sweet-smelling savour, nay send down upon us the divine grace, and the gift of his most Holy Spirit.
Let us pray for the peace and tranquility of the whole world, and of the holy churches of God; for those who have made these oblations, and for those whom every one has offered, or has in his mind; and for all the congregation here present, both men and women.
For the remission of our sins and the propitiation of our souls; and for every soul labouring under calamity and distress, and standing in need of the mercy and protection of God; and for the conversion of those that are in error, the healing of the sick, the deliverance of the captives, and the repose of our fathers and brethren who have already fallen asleep; let us pray earnestly and say, Lord have mercy.
People: Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy. Christ have mercy. Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy. Lord have mercy.
Deacon: Praying for the unity of the faith, and for the communion of his most holy and adorable Spirit, let us commend ourselves, and one another, and our whole life, to Christ our God.
People: Remit, pardon, and forgive, O God, all our offences, voluntary and involuntary, in deed and in word, in knowledge and in ignorance, by night and by day, in mind and in thought. Forgive us all, as thou are good and merciful to mankind:
Priest: Through the grace, and mercy, and compassion of thine only begotten Son.
O God, the Father of our Lord and God and Saviour, Jesus Christ; O Lord, great in name, happy in nature, and bountiful in goodness, the God and governor of all things, who art blessed for ever: Thou that sittest upon the cherubim and art glorified by the seraphim, in whose presence stand thousands of thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand of angels, and the hosts of archangels: as thou has received the gifts, oblations, and sacrifices offered to thee for a sweet-smelling savour, and of thy goodness hast vouchsafed to sanctify and consecrate them by the grace of thy Christ, and the descent of thy most Holy Spirit; even so sanctify, O Lord, our souls, and bodies, and spirits: and examine our thoughts and try our consciences, and put from us every evil imagination, every impure thought, every filfthy lust, every improper notion, all envy and pride, and hypocrisy, all falsehood, all deceit, all worldly anxiety, all covetousness, all vain-glory, all sloth, all malice, all wrath, all anger, all remembrance of injuries, all blasphemy, and every motion of the flesh and spirit that is contrary to thy holy will.
And grant us, O Lord, thou Lover of mankind, with freedom and without reproach, with a pure heart and contrite mind, without confusion of face and with sanctified lips, boldly to call upon thee, our holy God and Father, which art in heaven, saying,
Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Deacons: Let us bow down our heads unto the Lord. People: To thee, O Lord, we bow.
Priest: We thy servants, O Lord, bow down our heads unto thee, before thy holy altar, in expectation of thy rich mercies. Send down upon us, O Lord, thine abundant grace and benediction, and sanctify our souls, and bodies, and spirits, that we may be worthy to become communicants and partakers of thy holy mysteries, for the remission of our sins, and for everlasting life. Amen.
Deacon: Let us attend in the fear of the Lord.
Priest: Holy things for holy persons.
People: There is one holy, one Lord Jesus Christ, to the glory of God the Father; to whom be glory for ever and ever.
I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall be ever in my mouth. I will glory in the Lord: let the humble hear and rejoice. Proclaim with me the greatness of the Lord; let us exult his name together.
Deacon: Let us sing in the presence of Christ
Singers: Taste and see that the Lord is gracious.
The Priest says this prayer before communion.
O Lord our God, the bread of haven, the Life of the Universe, I have sinned against heaven and before thee, and am not worthy to partake of thine immaculate mysteries. But, as thou art a merciful God, make me worthy by thy grace to partake without condemnation of thy holy body and precious blood, to the remission of my sinse and everlasting life. Amen.
And when the Priest gives the bread to the people he says: The Body of Christ.
And he that receives, answers: Amen.
And when he gives the cup he says: The Blood of Christ.
And he that receives, answers: Amen.
After all have communicated, the Priest says:
Glory be to our God, who has sanctified all. Blessed be the name of the Lord for ever and ever.
Deacon: Let us give thanks, O Christ our God, that thou hast deemed us worthy to partake of thy body and blood, for the remission of our sins and for everlasting life. Keep us blameless, we beseech thee, even as thou art good and merciful to mankind.
People: We give thanks unto thee, O Lord.
Priest: O God, who of thy manifold and unspeakable love to mankind, dost condescend to the weakness of thy servants, and hast vouchsafed to make us partakers of this heavenly table, condemn not us sinners in the participation of thine hallowed mysteries, but keep us good Lord, in the sanctification of thy Holy Spirit; that, being made holy, we may obtain part and inheritance in the light pof thy countenance, with all the saints who have pleased thee from the beginning; through the mercies of thine only-begotten Son, our Lord, and God, and Saviour Jesus Christ, with whom thou art blessed, together with thy most holy, good, and quickening Spirit, now and for ever, world without end. Amen.
Priest: O God, great and wonderful, look upon thy servants, who bow down their necks unto thee. Stretch forth thy mighty hand, which is full of blessings, and bless thy people. Protect thine heritage, that we may always and continually glorify thee, the only living and true God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, now and for ever. For unto thee belong glory, honour, worship and thanksgiving, now and for ever, world without end. Amen.