Hierarchical Divine Liturgy

Notes for the Second Deacon

Christopher Kirill Sokolov, Subdeacon
October 2000

Conventions Used in this Text

In this text, three deacons are prescribed. The protodeacon is the senior. The other two deacons are designated as first deacon and second deacon.

The term cathedra refers to the episcopal throne that is usually placed at the High Place. Sometimes, as at the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy before the Little Entrance, the cathedra is placed on a raised platform in the center of the church, known as the episcopal ambon. The term cathedra is sometimes incorrectly used to refer to the episcopal ambon.

Before any major liturgical action, such as an entrance, servers face East, towards the High Place, cross themselves and bow to the High Place. The shorthand used for this action in some rubrics, and in this text, is to pray to God.

Preparation for the service

The clergy must come to the temple long before the bishop arrives, in order to vest and prepare for the service.

The second deacon vests as usual. However, he binds his orarion as at the partaking of communion when performing duties that do not require the intonation of prayers, such as when he bears the tray with the Bishop's vestments and when bearing the towel and basin for the washing of hands.

Procession from the Temple

The second deacon leaves the Altar with all the rest of the clergy. When the Bishop arrives at the foot of the solea for the Entrance Prayers, the second deacon may take the trikerion and the censer from the protodeacon. The first deacon, second deacon, third subdeacon, and book-bearer immediately enter the Altar.

Vesting of the bishop

The second deacon exits the Altar bearing the episcopal vestments at the same time that the first deacon leaves the Altar with two censers. The second deacon stands in front of the bishop with the vestments. The second deacon returns to the Altar with the tray once the first and second subdeacons take the great omophorion from him.

It would be appropriate for the second deacon to ensure at that point that the trikerion and dikerion are lit. If there are two deacons or servitors available, they should bring the trikerion and dikerion out to the subdeacons when the server bearing the mitre leaves the Altar. If not, the second deacon may light the trikerion and dikerion so that they will be ready for the subdeacons as soon as they return to the Altar for them.

The Hours

During the first Trisagion of the Hours, the first and second deacons exit from the Altar to the Ambon with the censers, bow towards the Royal Doors, and at the exclamation by the priest: "For Thine is the Kingdom...," bow to the Bishop together with the reader and the priest. The deacons, having thus received the Bishop's blessing, return to the Sanctuary and cense the Holy Altar, the entire Sanctuary, the Iconostasis; then coming down to the base of the Ambon, they cense the bishop three-times-three, the priest, and the reader. The deacons return to the Ambon and cense the choirs and the people, and proceed to cense the entire temple, one deacon goes to his left, the other to the right side and meet at the western doors (back of the temple) and together proceed to and ascend teh Ambon, cense the Royal Doors, the icons of the Savior and the Theotokos, turn, and cense the Bishop again, but only three times. They then pray to God, turn and bow to the Bishop, and return to the Sanctuary.

At the conclusion of the censing, the first and second subdeacons come forth from the Altar in the usual manner with the second deacon, who has bound his orarion. A towel is draped on the shoulders of the deacon. He carries a bowl and a pitcher of water. (According to some rubrics, the first subdeacon carries the pitcher.) The water should be luke warm with a pinch of rose water added. They exit through the North Door and stand before the Royal Doors, pray to God three times, turn and bow to the bishop and then come to stand before the bishop.

The first subdeacon pours water three times over the hands of the bishop. The protodeacon read the prayer for the Washing of Hands. The first and second subdeacons take the towell off the shoulders of the deacon, over his head, and give it to the bishop who dries his hands and face. The bishop gives the towel back to the subdeacons, who put it back on the deacon's shoulders, over his head. The bishop blesses them, after which the protodeacon kisses his right hand (in practice the protodeacon kisses the bishop's hand last), then the bishop offers his right and left hand to the first and second subdeacons, who kiss his hands. Then he offers his right hand to the deacon carrying the pitcher who kisses his hand. The servers return to the Altar in the usual manner.

The Synaxis

(See Abridged Typicon, p. 94, for full description.)

At the petition of the Great Litany "For our deliverance..." the first and second deacons leave the episcopal ambon and go down the middle - between the rows of priests - to the solea. The first deacon stands at the icon of the Savior, and the second deacon stands to the left of the protodeacon. At the exclamation, the senior priest, protodeacon, and the two deacons, bow to the Bishop. The protodeacon leaves the solea and stands behind the bishop.

The Little Entrance

(See A Subdeacon's Manual, p. 12, for full description of the Entrance.)

The first and second deacons take censers duringthe entrance. The deacons with censers stand between the Solea and the protodeacon with the Gospel. When the clergy begin to sing "Come, let us worship..." the deacons cense the Gospel, then cense toward teh Bishop as he slowly bows down toward the Holy Gospel. When the protodeacon turns and proceeds towards the Altar, the deacons with censers preceed him. One of the deacons puts his censer away and the other gives his censer to the protodeacon who in turn gives it to the Bishop.

The Trisagion

The Prokeimenon

At the High Place, before the Epistle, the bishop exclaims, "Peace be to all." The first and second subdeacons then remove the Great Omophorion, bringing it over the head of the bishop and presenting it to him for venration. They then place it in the outstretched arms of the second deacon.

The Gospel Reading

The second deacon with the great omophorion draped across his arms precedes the dikerion through the north door. As he passes the center of the solea, in front of the Royal Doors, the First Deacon (who read the Epistle) leads him through the Royal Doors. The second deacon stands to the south of the Holy Table, while the first deacon stands to the north of the Holy Table. When the reading of the Gospel begins, both deacons kiss the Altar, get blessings from the bishop, and put the Omophorion and Epistle Book in their places.

During the exchange between the Bishop and protodeacon before the Gospel reading, the second deacon intones "Wisdom! Attend! Let us hear the Holy Gospel" before the Bishop gives the blessing.

Litany of Fervent Supplication

This litany is offered by the first deacon. When the petition, "Have mercy on us, O God..." is said, all servers, including deacons, subdeacons, readers, Altar boys, etc., go to the High Place, pray to God, turn and bow to the bishop. After the words of the next petition, "...for our lord, the Right Reverend..." all the clergy sing "Lord, have mercy," three times and the servers pray to God, turn, bow to the bishop and return to their places.

If there is no Litany for the Departed, the second deacon bows to the Bishop, exits through the north door to the solea and offers the Litany of the Catechumens.

The protodeacon and the first deacon stand (side by side) under the arch of the Royal Doors facing the people and the protodeacon says: "all you who are Catechumens, depart." The second deacon says: "Catechumens depart." The first deacon says: "All you who are catechumens depart." The second deacon, who is on the solea doing the litany, says, "Let no Catechumen remain, but let us who are in the faith, again and again, in peace pray to the Lord."

The first deacon begins the censing for the Great Entrance. At this time the second deacon offers the second Litany of the Faithful. At the conclusion of the Litany, the deacon enters the Altar and bows to the Bishop.

The Cherubic Hymn and The Great Entrance

While the bishop is washing his hands, the protodeacon and (the second) deacon hold the Small Omophorion up so that it forms a kind of bridge under which the bishop walks as he reenters the Altar. They then place the omophorion on the bishop.

The protodeacon removes the miter from the bishop's head and places it on a tray on top of the great omophorion. The second deacon leads in the Entrance with the miter and the great omophorion laid on the Hierarchical Service Book. He immediately re-enters the Altar through the Royal Doors and stops at the northwest corner of the Altar. He stays there until the protodeacon takes the mitre and gives it to the Bishop and the deacons are blessed by the Bishop.

The Anaphora

After the Consecration of the Gifts, the protodeacon turns to the Bishop and says: "Remember us, holy Master" and all the deacons approach the Bishop with the oraria held by the three fingers of their right hands and bow their heads.

The Bishop blesses them with both hands and says: "May the Lord God remember you in His Kingdom.." The protodeacon and all the deacons say: "Amen," and move away.

The second deacon offers the Litany Before the Lord's Prayer and the exclamations following the Our Father. See Abridged Typicon, p. 108.


(See Abridged Typicon, p. 109ff., for full description.)

Note that the Deacons exchange the kiss of peace with each other before receiving communion.

After the Bishop completes the Thanksgiving Prayers, all the clergy (and servers) come forth and receive blessings from the Bishop, usually greeting him with the feast.

The Dismissal and the Unvesting of the bishop and exit from the temple

See Abridged Typicon and A Subdeacon's Manual.