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Liturgical Texts

Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom - The entire Divine Liturgy as a web page
Divine Liturgy in Microsoft Word Format - Download the Divine Liturgy in Microsoft Word
Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great - Complete text of the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil the Great
The Presanctified Liturgy - Complete text of the Presanctified Liturgy
Akathist Service to the North American Saints - Complete text of Akathist Service
Memorial Service for the Departed - Liturgical Text of Memorial Service for departed (also found under Prayer Information)
Preparation for Communion - Information on preparing for Holy Communion
Preparation Prayers for Communion - Prayers to prepare for Holy Communion
Prayers of Thanksgiving after Communion - Prayers for after Holy Communion
Altar Server Handbook - The pamphlet that all altar servers should know
Prayer Book for Priests - A collection of prayers
Praying The Liturgy - By A Monk of the Orthodox Church
Marriage Text with Commentary on the rite of Marriage - By Fr. Vladimir Borichevski
Text of the Baptism and Chrismation Service - Introduction by Fr. Andrew Harrison
The Orthodox Funeral Service - Introduction by Rt. Rev. Alexander Schmemann
Service For Welcoming New Members - Text for new members service
Music - Examples of Tone one through Tone 8
Canon Of Repentance - Translated by Vladimir S. Borichevsky, Archpriest

Basic Information on the Divine Liturgy

The word Liturgy means public service. Divine Liturgy then means a public service offered to God. The Orthodox Church uses four styles of Divine Liturgies. They are all rooted in the Liturgy that was written and used in Jerusalem known as the Liturgy of St. James. In the fourth century, St. Basil revised the Liturgy of St. James by composing and adding special prayers. This Liturgy is used 10 times a year mostly during fasting periods. The Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom is a further 4th century revision and is used on regular Sundays throughout the year. The Pre-sanctified Liturgy is used only on weekdays during Great lent. The Liturgy of St. James is celebrated by a Bishop in cathedrals dedicated to St. James once a year on the feast of St. James. The prayers composed for these Liturgies not only cover and expand prayers taught by Jesus Christ but they also describe His work of salvation. Participating in the Liturgy is not only prayerful; it is also a learning experience.

The Translation

This is a preliminary translation based on the 1967 translation published by Orthodox Church in America. The scriptural references have been checked with the Original Greek New Testament and the Septuagint Old Testament. His Grace Bishop Job has approved trial usage of this Liturgy at St. Luke Church.

Attendance - A Privilege

Orthodox Christians should attend Liturgy every Sunday and on all major feast days of the year. Since attendance is considered a wonderful privilege every effort should be made to be present when the Liturgy begins. The Orthodox Church sees itself as the one great family of Christ, which embodies both the living and the departed. By participating in the Divine Liturgy you will enter this glorious company of the Saints. This idea of a family gives freedom and tolerance while contributing toward the warmth, spontaneity and corporate spirit of the liturgy.

Holy Communion

For Orthodox Christians, partaking of Holy Communion is the most sacred of all acts. It is the sign that they have formally accepted the Orthodox Faith through baptism and/or Holy Chrismation (confirmation). In addition Orthodox Christians prepare to receive Holy Communion by following established periods of fasting throughout the year and by partaking in the sacrament of confession. It is for this reason that only Orthodox Christians may receive Holy Communion ...and they do not participate in any sacraments of other Christian bodies.

Under the authority of the Priest here at St. Luke parish, those who wish to partake of Holy Communion must fast from all food and drink from midnight the night before. They are also are encouraged to partake of private confession frequently but not less than once a year. For those who receive communion each Sunday, communal confession is offered for preparation five times a year during Lenten periods. The Pre-communion Prayers (Click Here for Prayers Before Holy Communion) and Thanksgiving Prayers (Click Here for Prayers of Thanksgiving Following Holy Communion) prayers are encouraged. Visitors who are in good standing of another Orthodox parish are welcome to receive Holy Communion but as a courtesy should let the priest know.

Click Here for information on preparing for Holy Communion.

A Candle - Your Offering

Upon entering the church, Orthodox Christians light a candle before an icon as a reminder to let the light of Christ shine in us. As Christ said in the Sermon on the Mount. , "You are the light of the world… Let your light so shine before others that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven." (Matt. 5: 14, 16) Candles are also burned as a prayer offering and for the commemoration of the departed who are with Christ. A donation is made for the candle in an amount determined by the person. They then venerate the icon of the season, say their own private prayers, and join the congregation in worship. They stand, sit, or kneel and cross themselves, stand or sit, as the moment requires.

Click Here for information on Why We Light Candles.

External Expressions

At this point, it should be made clear that gestures and attitudes in the Church are the expressions of personal feelings. For this reason individual expressions remain with the individual and are not firmly regulated for each and every case. Orthodox Christians may cross themselves, kneel, venerate an icon, or stand depending upon their personal feelings during the Liturgy. With regards to kneeling in the Church, Church history and Orthodox tradition tell us that at the beginning of Christianity everyone participated in the Liturgy daily, not on Sundays only. During the daily Liturgies they knelt, but not on Sundays. The First Ecumenical Council in 325 A.D. decreed that Sunday is the great day dedicated to the Resurrection of Our Lord, and Christians should pray standing and not kneeling. However, the general practice during the following centuries was for participants at Liturgy to kneel at least during the consecration of the Holy Gifts, when the choir sings: We praise You..." and during the Lord's Prayer. The church especially prohibits kneeling from Easter to Pentecost; this is a season of great joy and happiness.

Celebrants at the Liturgy

The celebrant at the Divine Liturgy is a Bishop. When not present he is represented by the priest. On special occasions, bishops and priests officiate together. Deacons, sub deacons, acolytes and readers usually assist them. A deacon may not officiate the Liturgy alone.


The Orthodox Liturgy is always sung. The responses are given by specially trained cantors, choir directors, choirs, or by the entire congregation. The ancient practice of the Church was that the entire congregation sang the responses. Singing in an Orthodox Church is considered prayer transformed into poetry and music. For this reason the Holy Fathers and Church Canons condemned the use of elaborate music or instrumental music in the Liturgy.

The Ten Commandments of Congregational Singing

  1. You shall sing!
  2. You shall sing with your heart, with all your soul and with all your might!
  3. You shall sing fearlessly, ignoring the possible wondering glances of your neighbors. They would like to sing with you if they had the nerve, and they will sing with you if you continue!
  4. You shall sing joyfully, as it is written by the prophet Isaiah; "Sing, O heaven, be joyful, O earth and break forth into singing, O mountains!"
  5. You shall sing reverently, for music is prayer!
  6. You shall not be afraid to sing, for although an individual may pray in prose or even in wordless silence, a congregation must sing!
  7. You shall not resist new melodies, for it is written in the book of Psalms:" O sing unto the Lord a new song!"
  8. You shall not mumble the melody, but shall sing it out loud, even if with occasional mistakes.
  9. You shall not hesitate to sing together with the trained chanters. They want you to join them!
  10. You shall not forget the words of the Psalmist: I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live!