Commemoration at Proskomedia
by Bishop [now Archbishop] Kyrill
The offering of prosphora with the names of the living and the dead is,
according to church tradition, done prior to the second part of Divine Liturgy "the
Liturgy of the Catechumens," (which begins with Blessed is the Kingdom ... ).
The faithful are to gather towards the beginning of the second part and not at
some other "convenient time." As in our lives there are exceptions to our daily
routine and, so too, there are exceptions to the norm in Church life. Reasons for
tardiness vary. There may be an illness, traffic or long distancesto mention a few.
In such cases a practical approach is to be found.
There are parishes that refuse to accept the offering of prosphora
after the Little Entrance or even immediately at the beginning of the second part of
Liturgy. And there is a good reason for this approach. Firstly, we as Orthodox
Christians participate only when we pay full attention to what is being chanted or
sung and, thusly reap benefit. This is not possible when we occupy ourselves with the
writing of names, exchanging monies and such like. Secondly, it is discourteous
even to our very selves (not to mention Our Lord) when prayers are being offered up to God
for our own welfare and we choose to ignore them by doing something else. Remember, there
is a time and place for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Thirdly, the priest has
to serve liturgy. Often times he is alone and without a deacon or acolytes. When is he to
read all the names and commemorate them? He is unable to do two things at once. As a
courtesy to the priest and care for those to be commemorated, all synodicons and lists
should be brought to the Sanctuary at the time of Proskomedia or, as an exception, before
the Little Entrance. Otherwise, the commemorations due to lack of time may not take place.
Neither should the prosphora tray be brought into the Sanctuary during
the actual Little Entrance. It has nothing to do with that part of Liturgy.
As a rule, no one enters the Sanctuary after the Great Entrance. There
are no exceptions!! The priest is not to be disturbed by requests, announcements or the
like until after the Liturgy! All worldly cares are put asideas is sung in the
We must hold that which is God's in honour. And what is that that?it
is Holy Mother Church, our vessel of salvation!
From the parish bulletin of St. Nicholas Cathedral, Seattle, Washington.