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Commemoration at Proskomedia

An Instruction

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 distances—to 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 aside—as is sung in the Cherubic Hymn.

We must hold that which is God's in honour. And what is that that?—it is Holy Mother Church, our vessel of salvation!

Bishop Kyrill

From the parish bulletin of St. Nicholas Cathedral, Seattle, Washington.