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An Ektenia (from Greek : ἐκτενής, romanized: ektenés; literally, "diligence"), often called by the better known English word litany, consists of a series of petitions occurring in the Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic liturgies. The prevalent ecclesiastical word for this kind of litany in Greek is Συναπτή (synaptê), while ektenia is the word preferred in Church Slavonic (ектенїѧ ekteniya).
A litany is normally intoned by a deacon, with the choir or people chanting the responses. As he concludes each petition, the deacon raises the end of his orarion and crosses himself; if there is no deacon serving, the petitions are intoned by a priest.During many litanies the priest says a prayer silently; after the last petition of the litany, the priest says an ecphonesis which, when a silent prayer is said during the litany, is the final phrase of that prayer.
When there is no priest present during the canonical hours, the litanies are not said; rather, the reader replaces them by saying "Lord, have mercy," three, twelve, or forty times, depending on which litany is being replaced.
The main forms of the litany are:
The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts contains the litanies found in the other forms of the divine liturgy, a few being altered for the context of the presanctified. One unique litany during this service is the Ektenia for Those Preparing for Illumination (i.e., for those catechumens in the final stages of preparation for baptism on Pascha).
There is also a special form of litany called a lity (Greek: Λιτή/Litê; Slavonic: Литїѧ, Litiya)which is intoned at great vespers, consisting of several long petitions, mentioning the names of numerous saints, to which the choir responds with "Lord, have mercy," many times.
Vespers is a sunset evening prayer service in the Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Eastern Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran liturgies of the canonical hours. The word comes from the Greek ἑσπέρα ("hespera") and the Latin vesper, meaning "evening". It is also referred to in the Anglican tradition as evening prayer or evensong. The term is also used in some Protestant denominations to describe evening services.
Divine Liturgy or Holy Liturgy is the Eucharistic service of the Byzantine Rite, developed from the Antiochene Rite of Christian liturgy which is that of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. As such, it is used in the Eastern Orthodox, the Byzantine Catholic Churches, and the Ukrainian Lutheran Church. Although the same term is sometimes applied in English to the Eucharistic service of Armenian Christians, both of the Armenian Apostolic Church and of the Armenian Catholic Church, they use in their own language a term meaning "holy offering" or "holy sacrifice". Other churches also treat "Divine Liturgy" simply as one of many names that can be used, but it is not their normal term.
The Byzantine Rite, also known as the Greek Rite or Constantinopolitan Rite, is the liturgical rite used by the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Greek Catholic Churches, and in a modified form, Byzantine Rite Lutheranism. Its development began during the fourth century in Constantinople and it is now the second most-used ecclesiastical rite in Christendom after the Roman Rite.
The Antimins, is one of the most important furnishings of the altar in many Eastern Christian liturgical traditions. It is a rectangular piece of cloth of either linen or silk, typically decorated with representations of the Descent of Christ from the Cross, the Four Evangelists, and inscriptions related to the Passion. A small relic of a martyr is sewn into it.
The word "Alleluia" or "Hallelujah" literally means "Praise the Lord".
Litany, in Christian worship and some forms of Judaic worship, is a form of prayer used in services and processions, and consisting of a number of petitions. The word comes through Latin litania from Ancient Greek λιτανεία (litaneía), which in turn comes from λιτή (litê), meaning "supplication".
Easter Vigil, also called the Paschal Vigil or the Great Vigil of Easter, is a service held in traditional Christian churches as the first official celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus. Historically, it is during this service that people are baptized and that adult catechumens are received into full communion with the Church. It is held in the hours of darkness between sunset on Holy Saturday and sunrise on Easter Day – most commonly in the evening of Holy Saturday or midnight – and is the first celebration of Easter, days traditionally being considered to begin at sunset.
In the Byzantine Rite of the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Eastern Catholic Churches, Orthros (Greek or Oútrenya is the last of the four night offices, which also include vespers, compline, and midnight office. In traditional monasteries it is held daily so as to end immediately following sunrise. In many parishes it is held only on Sundays and feast days. It is often called matins after the office it most nearly corresponds to in Western Christian churches.
The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts is a Byzantine Rite liturgical service which is performed on the weekdays of Great Lent wherein communion is received from Gifts that are sanctified (consecrated) in advance, hence its name; this Divine Liturgy has no anaphora.
In Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic churches, an entrance is a procession during which the clergy enter into the sanctuary through the Holy Doors. The origin of these entrances goes back to the early church, when the liturgical books and sacred vessels were kept in special storage rooms for safe keeping and the procession was necessary to bring these objects into the church when needed. Over the centuries, these processions have grown more elaborate, and nowadays are accompanied by incense, candles and liturgical fans. In the liturgical theology of the Orthodox Church, the angels are believed to enter with the clergy into the sanctuary, as evidenced by the prayers which accompany the various entrances.
Acolouthia in the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches, signifies the arrangement of the Divine Services, perhaps because the parts are closely connected and follow in order. In a more restricted sense, the term "acolouth" refers to the fixed portion of the Office. The portions of the Office that are variable are called the Sequences. While the structure and history of the various forms of the Divine Office in the numerous ancient Christian rites is exceedingly rich, the following article will restrict itself to the practice as it evolved in the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire.
Antiochene Rite or Antiochian Rite designates the family of liturgies originally used in the Patriarchate of Antioch.
The Euchologion is one of the chief liturgical books of the Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic churches, containing the portions of the services which are said by the bishop, priest, or deacon. There are several different volumes of the book in use.
The Liturgy of Saint Basil or, more formally, the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great, is a term for several Eastern Christian celebrations of the Divine Liturgy (Eucharist), or at least several anaphoras, which are named after Basil of Caesarea. Two of these liturgies are in common use today: the one used in the Byzantine Rite ten times a year, and the one ordinarily used by the Coptic Church.
A memorial service is a liturgical solemn service for the repose of the departed in the Eastern Orthodox Church and those Eastern Catholic Churches, which follow the Byzantine Rite.
The Gospel in Christian liturgy refers to a reading from the Gospels used during various religious services, including Mass or Divine Liturgy (Eucharist). In many Christian churches, all present stand when a passage from one of the Gospels is read publicly, and sit when a passage from a different part of the Bible is read. The reading of the Gospels, often contained in a liturgical edition containing only the four Gospels, is traditionally done by a minister, priest or deacon, and in many traditions the Gospel Book is brought into the midst of the congregation to be read.
Eastern Orthodox worship in this article is distinguished from Eastern Orthodox prayer in that 'worship' refers to the activity of the Christian Church as a body offering up prayers to God while 'prayer' refers to the individual devotional traditions of the Orthodox.
The Ambon or Ambo is a projection coming out from the soleas in an Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic church. The ambon stands directly in front of the Holy Doors. It may be either rounded or square and has one, two, or three steps leading up to it.
The Lity or Litiyá is a festive religious procession, followed by intercessions, which augments great vespers in the Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic churches on important feast days. Following a lity is another liturgical action, an artoklasia, and either of these terms may be used to describe both liturgical actions collectively.
A liturgical book, or service book, is a book published by the authority of a church body that contains the text and directions for the liturgy of its official religious services.