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Russian Orthodox Divine Liturgy: Guide for Altar Servers

Russian Orthodox Divine Liturgy: Guide for Altar Servers

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Archpriest Stavros Rousos
Pantokrator Press
1995, Softover, 36pp., English & Slavonic

I will wash my hands among the innocent,
And I will go around your altar, Lord, to hear the voice of your praise
And tell of all your wonderful works.
Lord, I have loved the beauty of your house,
And the place of the dwelling of your glory.

General Instructions for Altar-Servers

To be in the Holy Altar is to be near God. Quiet must be maintained, not only in our speech but in our movement. Dignity and respect must be evident in every action. Our discipline stems from our belief in God and our desire to serve Him. Therefore, directives from the Priest, Deacon or Senior Altar-Server are to be followed immediately, without question. There should never be any arguments or disobedience in the Altar.

The Altar-Server, as a servant of God, must command respect as well as show it. The other young people in the Church look upon him as an example of how they should dress and act in Church. The faithful of the Church demand of the Altar-Server exemplary (above average) conduct within and out of the Church building and services. Sneakers are not acceptable in the Altar. Collared-Shirts should be neat; ties are preferred, but not mandatory. Jewelry (alarm-watches, rings, etc.) should be left outside the Altar. Earrings will not be tolerated. Please do not bring any candy, gum, food or playthings into the Altar.

While serving in the Altar, servers should not gaze out into the Church to "see who is there"; during processions or entrances servers should not smile, but rather maintain a serious and prayerful appearance; servers should never touch the Altar or the Chalice and pass in front of the Holy Altar Table; while passing behind the Holy Altar Table the server crosses himself mindful that the "High Place" and the Altar Table are the most sacred parts of the Church.


Among the many responsibilities are: the cutting of the Antidor (Holy Bread), the ringing of the Bells at the appointed times; the opening and closing of the curtain; the preparation and care for the Censer; the preparation of the Warm Water; the Entrances and Gospel Reading with the candles and fans; the preparation of the "after-communion" wine; the placing and removal of the table for the "after-communion" wine; opening and closing of the Deacon Door for the priest or deacon; the attentiveness to the prayers of the Divine Services; the assistance to the priest and deacon, as necessary.

Table of Contents

General Instructions for Altar-Servers

An Outline Guide to the Divine Liturgy with Graphics and Explanations
The Text of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom
The After-Communion Prayers
A Glossary of Liturgical Terms used by Altar-Servers

Holding fast to their tradition, we sinners fall before you,
The eternal God, and we implore you, O Compassionate:
Fill this House, which has been built to sing your praise, with your glory,
And declare this Altar here to be a Holy of Holies, so that we,
As we stand before it, as before the dread throne of your kingdom,
May worship you without condemnation,
Offering up supplications for ourselves and for all your people
And offering to your loving-kindness the sacrifice with out shedding of blood,
For pardon of sins voluntary and involuntary, guidance in life,
Establishment of a good way of living, fulfilment of all justice.
For blessed is your all-holy Name, of Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
Now and for ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.