The priest says secretly, i.e. inaudibly, the prayers at the three antiphons which are common to the Liturgies of Ss. Basil the Great and John Chrysostom, during the singing of the antiphons and while the deacon is pronouncing the litanies. (Such is the accepted, universal modern practice in the Orthodox Church, although we know that in ancient times these prayers were pronounced so that the congregation could hear them).
These prayers must not be read after the exclamation, since the exclamation is the concluding phrase of each prayer. It is necessary to understand the importance and the sense of the correct order. Certain difficulties are presented by the order in which these prayers are printed in various editions of the Sluzhebnik. Thus, in the 1822 edition of the Kievo-Pechersky monastery, in the 1894 Moscow Synodal edition, and in that of Holy Trinity Monastery (Jordanville, 1954 and 1982), each of the antiphonal prayers is placed after its corresponding exclamation, which runs contrary to the bond between the prayer and its conclusion. This lack of correspondence had already been noted and corrected in the subsequent editions--the Moscow Synodal edition of 1905 and the Kievan ones of 1907 and 1909 (which are in the author's possession). In these editions, the Prayer of the Antiphon follows after the litany petition, "Calling to remembrance our most holy, most pure..." and the response "To Thee, O Lord"; then follows the Exclamation.
As can be seen, after the third antiphon there follows the exclamation, "For Thou art a good God and lovest mankind...", after which the Royal Gates are immediately opened for the Little Entrance -- without the delay, that would occur in the first instance [i.e. if there were a prayer to be read at this point--Tr.]. This is shown best of all in the "Chinovnik of Hierarchical Service" [bishop's service book], where the secret prayers of the antiphons, the litanies and the exclamations are all placed in logical order. At the same time, it is interesting to note here that during the Great Litany, the bishop reads the Prayer of Prothesis, "O God, our God, Who hast sent the Heavenly Bread...", and after this the Prayer of the First Antiphon, before the exclamation, "For to Thee belongeth all glory...", pronounced by the senior of the concelebrating priests.
Article by Protopresbyter Valery Lukianov
Translation: Fr. John R. Shaw
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