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As I'm sure many of you have noticed, the way each priest celebrates the liturgy and other services is a little different. For the clergy and others, would you please share your particular customs that you like to do and where you learned them from?

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I serve the classical ROCOR/Russian way; that is, the Royal Gates remain shut until the Little Entrance, are closed again after the Gospel/Homily, open for the Great Entrance. After the Great Entrance, the Royal Gates and curtain close, the curtain is drawn at the start of the Creed. The Gates open for Communion of the Faithful and remain so until the end of the Liturgy. I came across Ukrainian Catholic Rubrics circa 1948, which prescribed this form of serving as well. I don't have them at the present, but I recall the Congregation for Eastern Churches(I think) decreed that in churches where the practice of serving with open Royal Gates existed, this could continue, but forbade it's introduction in those churches where it didn't occur.(For all I know, this decree may no longer be in force).
I learned this way of serving at St. Tikhon's and later Holy Trinity in Jordanville. Naturally, during Bright Week, the Gates and Deacons Doors remain open. Also, during the Paschal period, I open the Gates for "Blessed is the Kingdom and the triple "Christ is Risen!" This coming Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning, I will do Vespers, Matins, and Liturgy as during Bright Week. Is this the usual Byzantine Catholic usage? My parish uses Carpatho Rusyn plain chant, but almost exclusively in English. It is an OCA parish and even the very old don't speak Slovak or "po-nashomu".

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I can't speak for Byzantine Catholic but as for Ukrainian Catholic, which is similar, most churches leave the Royal gates open throughout the whole liturgy. For Presanctified, they are opened for Blessed is the kingdom, closed directly afterwards, opened at joyous light and left open for the the rest of the time. When vespers is served (which is rare, unfortunately) they're opened at joyous light and left open for the rest of vespers, which is the Carpatho Rusyn practice as well, at least for Vespers. The only Ukrainian Catholic church I'm aware of that follows the rubrics with opening and closing the Royal doors is St. Elias. Where I'm from, even the Orthodox churches don't close and open the doors as prescribed, with the exception of the Serbian one. The OCA parish near me, interestingly, leaves the deacons doors open for all forty days, which is a Rusyn practice.

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Yes, I served in the Serbian church about seven years. The gates would be open for "Blessed is the Kingdom", that's the only major difference between them and ROCOR. Also, when my son chanted, Matins preceded the liturgy, so the gates were opened when I censed the church during the Great Doxology.
As for St. Elias, they appear to be more traditional than some ROCOR churches grin.I wouldn't mind a Ukrainian Orthodox parish like that.

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Father, I have one more question for you. At the beginning of the Divine Liturgy, how do you cense the church? One thing I've noticed is that every priest will cense the church a different way. Do you cense during the hours, or does your choir sing an opening hymn?

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I cense at the conclusion of the hours. The chanter sings "O, Heavenly King," unless it's during Festal seasons in which case it would be "Christ is Risen," or whatever else applies. This, I understand, is a Carpatho Rusyn practice.
In ROCOR, I censed during the sixth hour, with the Serbs, at the Great Doxology, since liturgy followed immediately. I always cense the whole church, but a nearby Ukrainian priest senses only from the Iconostasis. He has people suffering from Black Lung disease, that's why he does that.

Last edited by Fr. Al; 06/19/18 08:33 PM. Reason: Spelling

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