The Divine Liturgy in Scriptural Quotations

NO eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him. (1 Cor 2:9)

He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, (2 Pet 1:4) marked with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of his glory. (Eph 1:13-14)

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Cor 3:18)

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. (1 Cor 13:12)

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” (Ps 13[14]:1) I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God. (Job 19:25-26)

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. (1 Jn 3:2)


The Little Entrance, before the reading of the Gospel in the Divine Liturgy

“Stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.” (2 Thess 2:15) The Little Entrance, before the reading of the Gospel in the Divine Liturgy.


SO then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. (2 Thess 2:15)

Test everything. Hold on to the good. (1 Thess 5:21) What you heard from the Apostles, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. (2 Tim 1:13) Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. (Eph 4:14)

Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God, who came into the world to save sinners — of whom I am the worst. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (Jn 3:16)


SEEK first his kingdom and his righteousness (Mt 6:33). Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus, (1 Thess 5:17) saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. (Luke 18:13) Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Eph 5:19-20)

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise — the fruit of lips that confess his name, (Heb 13:15) giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. (Col 1:12)


HOW can I repay the LORD for all his goodness to me? (Ps 115[116]:12)

You have no need of my goodness. (Ps 15[16]:2 LXX) We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty. (Lk 17:10) The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love. (Ps 147:11) The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. (Ps 50[51]:17)

He took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ (1 Cor 11:25)

I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord. (Ps 115[116]:13)


Celebrating the Orthodox Divine Liturgy, on the occasion when relics of St Seraphim of Sarov came to the Monastery of St Augustine of Hippo and St Seraphim in Trikorfo Fokidas, Greece

“I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord.” (Ps 116:13) Celebrating the Orthodox Divine Liturgy, on the occasion when relics of St Seraphim of Sarov came to the Monastery of St Augustine of Hippo and St Seraphim in Trikorfo Fokidas, Greece


I LOOKED, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. (Apoc 7:9)

WHO may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? (Ps 23[24]:3) “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (Mt 7:21)

And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. (1 Jn 3:23)

Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart. (Ps 23[24]:3-4) Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Ps 51:10) Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. (Mt 5:8)

First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. (Mt 5:24) I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord” — and you forgave the guilt of my sin. (Ps 31[32]:5) I wash my hands in innocence, and go about your altar, O Lord. (Ps 25[26]:6) Then will I go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. (Ps 42[43]:4)


Elder Ephrem, Abbot of the Vatopaidi monastery, affectionately greets a fellow monk

“And this is his command: to love one another as he commanded us.” (1 John 3:23) Elder Ephrem, Abbot of the Vatopaidi monastery, affectionately greets a fellow monk


SUDDENLY the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come. (Mal 3:1)

Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in, (Ps 23[24]:9) a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek, (Ps 109[110]:4) a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven; (Heb 8:1) he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. (Heb 9:12)

For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. (Heb 9:24) Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. (Heb 7:25)

Lord, remember me when you come in your kingdom. (Lk 23:42)


I PRAY to you, O Lord, in the time of your favour. (Ps 68[69]:13)

An angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel’s hand. (Apoc 8:4)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. (Heb 12:1)

Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven. (Lam 3:41)

All my grandfather’s descendants deserved nothing but death from my lord the king, but you gave your servant a place among those who eat at your table. So what right do I have to make any more appeals to the king? (2 Kgs [2 Sam] 19:28) So he said to them, … “I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” (Jn 16:23-24)

I POUR out my complaint before him; before him I tell my trouble. (Ps 141[142]:2) For my soul is full of trouble and my life draws near the grave. (Ps 87[88]:3) Do not be far from me, trouble is near and there is no one to help. (Ps 21[22]:11)

All night long on my bed I looked for the one my heart loves; I looked for him but did not find him. I will get up now and go about the city, through its streets and squares; I will search for the one my heart loves. So I looked for him but did not find him. (Cant 3:1-2)

Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! (Lk 24:5-6) It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon. (Lk 24:34)

FOR you who revere my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. (Mal 4:2) Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down) or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart. (Rom 10:6-8)

“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him.” (Jn 6:51, 56)


SOVEREIGN Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel. (Lk 2:29-32)

For this is what the Lord has commanded us: “I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 13:47)

Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. (Ps 125[126]:2-3)

Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him. (vv5-6)

St Ambrose: In the Eucharist, Christ comes down into his Garden

THE Church, guarding the depth of the heavenly mysteries, repels the furious storms of wind, and calls to her the sweetness of the grace of spring, and knowing that her garden cannot displease Christ, invites the Bridegroom, saying: “Arise, O north wind, and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, and let my ointments flow down. Let my Brother come down to His garden, and eat the fruit of His trees.” (Song 4:15; 5:1)

The herb garden at Lewes Priory. © Ian Yarham, Geograph. Licensed for reuse.

“Let my Brother come down to His garden, and eat the fruit of His trees.” The herb garden at Lewes Priory, founded in the 11th century. © Ian Yarham, Geograph. Licensed for reuse.

For it has good trees and fruitful, which have dipped their roots in the water of the sacred spring, and with fresh growth have shot forth into good fruits, so as now not to be cut with the axe of the prophet, but to abound with the fruitfulness of the Gospel.

Lastly, the Lord also, delighted with their fertility, answers: “I have entered into My garden, My sister, My spouse; I have gathered My myrrh with My spices, I have eaten My meat with My honey, I have drunk My drink with My milk.”

Understand, you faithful, why He spoke of meat and drink. And there is no doubt that He Himself eats and drinks in us, as you have read that He says that in our persons He is in prison. (Mt 25:36)

Wherefore, too, the Church, beholding so great grace, exhorts her sons and her friends to come together to the sacraments, saying: “Eat, my friends, and drink and be inebriated, my brother.” (Song 5:1)

What we eat and what we drink the Holy Spirit has elsewhere made plain by the prophet, saying, “Taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed is the man that hopeth in Him.” (Ps 33:9)

St Ambrose of Milan (c. 330 – 4 April 397). On The Mysteries IX. Source.


THE Lord tends me as a shepherd, and I shall lack nothing.

In a place of green grass, there he has made me dwell: he has nourished me by the water of rest. He has restored my soul: he has guided me into the paths of righteousness, for his name’s sake.

Yea, even if I should walk in the midst of the shadow of death, I will not be afraid of evils: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, these have comforted me.

Thou has prepared a table before me in presence of them that afflict me: thou hast thoroughly anointed my head with oil; and thy cup cheers me like the best wine.

Thy mercy also shall follow me all the days of my life: and my dwelling shall be in the house of the Lord unto length of days.

Psalm 22(23) LXX. Modified from Brenton

Ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally

Today is the feast of St James, brother of the Lord, and first bishop in Jerusalem.

IF any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

James 1:5


O BENEFICENT King eternal, and Creator of the universe, receive Thy Church, coming unto Thee through Thy Christ:

fulfil to each what is profitable; lead all to perfection, and make us perfectly worthy of the grace of Thy sanctification, gathering us together within Thy holy Church, which Thou hast purchased by the precious blood of Thy only-begotten Son, and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,

with whom Thou art blessed and glorified, together with Thy all-holy, and good, and quickening Spirit, now and ever, and to all eternity. Amen.


THOU who art the only-begotten Son and Word of God, immortal; who didst submit for our salvation to become flesh of the holy God-mother, and ever-virgin Mary;

who didst immutably become man and wast crucified, O Christ our God, and didst by Thy death tread death underfoot;

who art one of the Holy Trinity glorified together with the Father and the Holy Spirit, save us.


LET all mortal flesh be silent, and stand with fear and trembling, and meditate nothing earthly within itself:—

For the King of kings and Lord of lords, Christ our God, comes forward to be sacrificed, and to be given for food to the faithful;

and the bands of angels go before Him with every power and dominion, the many-eyed cherubim, and the six-winged seraphim, covering their faces, and crying aloud the hymn,

Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

Liturgy of St James. Source.


HE whom thou didst bear in the flesh, O Virgin Mother, this same did James proclaim as God of all, O Pure Lady, shining forth from the Father.

At Matins on the Feast of St James, October 23. Source.

Open our eyes to the Gospel

SHINE into our hearts, O Master, who lovest mankind, the pure light of thy divine knowledge, and open the eyes of our minds to a spiritual understanding of thy gospel message.

Fix within us reverence for thy blest commandments, that, treading down fleshly desires, we might attend to our spiritual duties, both thinking and doing everything pleasing to thee.

For thou art the illumination of our souls and bodies, Christ God, and unto thee do we ascribe the glory, with thy Father who is without beginning, and thy all-holy and good and life-giving Spirit, now and for ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, at the Little Entrance, before the reading of the Gospel. Source.


The Little Entrance

The mercy of peace, the sacrifice of praise

JUDE, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James, To those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ: Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.

Jude 1-2


An Orthodox bishop serving the Divine Liturgy

Every time the minister says “Peace be unto all”, he gives peace so that men might be reconciled not only among themselves, but also with God.


THE people respond to the minister, “The mercy of peace, the sacrifice of praise.”

Jesus Christ himself confirms the word of the Prophet: “I desire mercy and not sacrifice,” which means that God, rather than another sacrifice, prefers and wants from people fellow-feeling and a loving attitude between them. …

St Isidore of Pelusium interprets the “the mercy of peace, the sacrifice of praise” with which the people reply as follows: he sees it not only as love and concord between men, but also as an inseparable union with God himself.

“Thou didst grant peace to us, that there may be concord among us; but grant unto us, that we may be one together with thee; having peace by the grace of the Holy Spirit, may we be inseparable from thy love”.

That is, every time the minister says “Peace be unto all”, and he says it many times during the course of the Divine Liturgy, he gives peace so that men might be reconciled not only among themselves, but also with God.

First with God, and then afterwards among themselves. Because, if we do not make our peace with God, we cannot have peace among ourselves.

Metropolitan Dionysius of Servia and Kozani, “The Divine Liturgy”. Source.


“The Mercy of Peace”, by Maxim Berezovsky (1745-77)

Priest. Let us stand aright, let us stand with fear, let us attend, that we may make the Holy Offering in peace.
Choir. The mercy of peace, the sacrifice of praise.
Priest. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Choir. And with thy spirit.
Priest. Let us lift up our hearts.
Choir. We lift them up unto the Lord.
Priest. Let us give thanks unto the Lord.
Choir. It is meet and right to worship the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit: the Trinity, one in essence, and undivided.
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord of Sabaoth; Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory: Hosanna in the highest, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.



AT the prayers of the Mother of God, make peaceful the lives of us who cry to you: Merciful Lord, glory to you!

At Vespers on Monday Evening. Source.

Be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors

LIFT up your gates, ye princes; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the king of glory shall come in. Who is this king of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is this king of glory.

Psalm 23:9-10 LXX


The Cherubic Hymn
Old Bulgarian Chant, sung by the Optina Choir.

WE who stand as mystical images of the Cherubim,
and sing unto the Life-Giving Trinity the thrice-holy hymn,
let us now lay aside all earthly cares
that we may receive the King of all,
attended beyond our sight by angel hosts.
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.


THIS mystery turns earth into heaven for you.

Just prise open the gates of heaven, and peer within (or rather, not of heaven, but the the heaven of heavens), and you will see there what I am talking about.

For what I shall show you lying here on earth, is there the thing more precious than everything else.

What is most revered in royal palaces is not the walls, or golden roofs, but the physical person [lit. body] of the King, sitting on the throne. The physical person of the King is the most revered thing in heaven too.

But this is what you are now permitted to see on earth!

I am not showing you angels, or archangels, or the heavens or the heaven of heavens, but I am showing you him, the Master of them all.

Do you see, how you are looking, on earth, at what is more precious than everything else?

And not just seeing it, but getting to touch it. And not just getting to touch it, but eating it.

St John Chrysostom, Homilies on St Paul’s Letters to the Corinthians, No. XIV (on 1 Cor 10:14). My translation, from Migne. Compare CCEL.

I will love thee, O Lord, my strength

I WILL love thee, O Lord, my strength.

The Lord is my firm support, and my refuge, and my deliverer; my God is my helper, I will hope in him; he is my defender, and the horn of my salvation, and my helper.

I will call upon the Lord with praises, and I shall be saved from mine enemies.

The pangs of death compassed me, and the torrents of ungodliness troubled me exceedingly. The pangs of hell came round about me: the snares of death prevented me.

And when I was afflicted I called upon the Lord, and cried to my God: he heard my voice out of this holy temple, and my cry shall enter before him, even into his ears.

Psalm 17:1-6 (LXX)


An altar and priest in an Orthodox church

“And when I was afflicted I called upon the Lord, and cried to my God: he heard my voice out of this holy temple.”


WHO is he that will not bless thee, Panagia, Virgin? Who will not raise a hymn in honour of thy son, born without the pangs of childbirth?

For he that beyond time shone forth from the Father as his only-begotten Son, this same came forth from thee, the pure Lady, enfleshed in a manner that cannot be told.

He is by nature God and yet became by nature man for our sakes, not divided into two persons, but made known in two natures without mingling. Make petition to him, O reverend Lady, in all things blessed, that he have mercy upon our souls.

I WILL love thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my firm support, and my refuge, and my deliverer.

MY God is my helper, I will hope in him.
I will call upon the Lord with praises.
He heard my voice from his holy temple.