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Order Of Vesting

The Divine Liturgy Order of Vesting is a beautiful ceremony performed by some priests in the Russian Orthodox Church prior to Liturgy. It is included here only for reference and forms part of the discussion on priestly robes in the Vestments page.

The Divine Liturgy Order of Vesting

Commencement

After the Entrance prayers, the clergy enter the sanctuary by the south (right) door, bow reverentially to the Holy Table three times, kiss the Gospel, the Cross and the Holy Table. Then they begin to vest themselves with the sacred robes.

The priest and the deacon take the robes and bow three times to the High Place, saying:

"O God, cleanse me, a sinner, and have mercy on me."

Deacon

Holding the surplice and the stole in his right hand the deacon approaches the priest, bows his head and says:

"Master, bless the robe and stole."

Giving the blessing, the priest says:

"Blessed is our God, always, now and for ever, and to the ages of ages."

and the Deacon says:

"Amen."

The deacon kisses the cross depicted on the robe, and reverentially puts on the robe, saying:

"My soul shall rejoice in the Lord, for He has clothed me with the garment of salvation; He has covered me with the robe of gladness; He has set a crown on me as on a bridegroom; and as a bride is adorned with jewels, so has He adorned me."

Then he takes the stole and, having kissed the cross depicted on it, places the stole on the left shoulder. After kissing the cross on the cuffs, the deacon puts them on the right hand and reads:

"Thy right hand, O Lord, has been glorified in power. Thy right hand, Lord, has shattered the enemies. In the greatness of thy glory, hast Thou crushed Thine adversaries."

on the left hand:

"Thy hands have made me and fashioned me. Give me understanding and I shall learn Thy commandments."

Vesting of the Priest

Holding the robe in the left hand, the priest bows three times to the High Place and blesses the under-chasuble:

"Blessed is our God, always, now and for ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen."

Putting on the under-chasuble, he reads the same prayer as the deacon:

"My soul shall rejoice in the Lord..."

He also kisses the cross on the under-chasuble. (Generally, the priest blesses every sacred robe he puts on and kisses the cross depicted on it). Putting on the surplice, the priest reads:

"Blessed is God, Who pours out His grace upon His priests, as precious ointment upon the head, that runs down the beard, the beard of Aaron, that runs down to the hem of his garment."

After the surplice the priest, provided he has been blessed to do this, puts on the epigonation and the club. While doing this, he reads:

"Gird Thy sword upon Thy thigh, O Mighty One, in Thy comeliness and in Thy beauty. Go forth and prosper and reign, for the sake of truth and meekness and righteousness, and Thy right hand shall guide Thee wondrously, always, now and for ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen."

Then, putting on the girdle, he reads:

"Blessed is God, Who girds me with strength and makes my way blameless. He makes my feet like hind's feet, and sets me secure on the heights."

Putting on the cuffs, the priest reads the same words as the deacon:

"Thy right hand, O Lord, has been glorified in power. Thy right hand, Lord, has shattered the enemies. In the greatness of Thy glory, hast thou crushed Thine adversaries. Thy hands have made me and fashioned me. Give me understanding and I shall learn Thy commandments."

Putting on the chasuble, the priest reads:

"Thy priests, O Lord, shall clothe themselves with righteousness, and Thy Saints shall rejoice with joyfulness, always, now and for ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen."

The full liturgical vestment is also demanded for such services as Easter Vigil, Easter Vespers, Good Friday Matins before carrying out of the Shroud, Good Saturday Matins; 1 August and the 14 September Matins; Matins of the Elevation of the Cross week (before carrying out of the Venerable and Vivifying Cross). However, the accompanying prayers are not read except before Easter Matins, as in this last case the priest is preparing to serve the Divine Liturgy as well. Likewise, the prayers are not read before the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts (only "Let us pray to the Lord" before each robe).

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