The Journey is now coming to an end. Its aim was our reunion with our Lord and Savior through Holy Communion. This aim has been fulfilled. We have received the Divine Mysteries and with them joy, peace, gentleness, love, gladness, calmness, forbearance, faith, hope, goodness, propriety and many other gifts and now carry these home to our family, our work and our whole life. We are now to be witnesses of the new life in Christ. We now offer the final prayers of the Liturgy. We must guard these gifts we have received through humility, prayer, patience, faith and watchfulness. The Priest calls on us to depart in peace and offers a final blessing.
"Let us depart in peace; let us pray to the Lord."
The Priest faces the Holy Icon of Christ prays aloud the "Prayer behind the Ambon (Pulpit)." It is called this because in the ancient Church the ambon was situated in the center and the priest would stand behind the ambon to say this prayer. Now the Ambon is situated differently so the priest now says it in front of the icon of Christ.
Prayer Behind the ambon:
O Lord, Who blessest those who bless Thee, and sanctifiest those who put their trust in Thee, save Thy people and bless Thine inheritance; preserve the whole Body of Thy Church and sanctify those, who love the beauty of Thy Temple. Do Thou glorify them by Thy Divine power, and forsake us not, who set our hope in Thee. Grant peace to Thy world, to Thy Churches, to the Priests, to our Civil Authorities, to the Armed Forces and to all Thy people. For all good giving and every perfect Gift is from Above, coming down from Thee, the Father of Lights; and to Thee we ascribe glory, thanksgiving, and worship, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and for ever, and from all Ages to all Ages.
Congregation responds with:
Blessed be the Name of the Lord, from this time forth, and for ever more. (three times)
This is the final doxology from Psalm 112 v2.
While the above is chanted, Priest re-enters the Sanctuary and proceeding to the "Prothesis" prays inaudibly:
O Christ, our God, Who art Thyself the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets, and hast fulfilled all the dispensation of the Father, fill our hearts with joy and gladness always, now and for ever, and from all Ages to all Ages. Amen.
The Deacon announces:
Let us Pray the Lord.
Exiting from the Royal Doors the Priest blesses and gives the benediction facing the people and saying:
May the blessing of the Lord and His mercy come upon you, through His Divine Grace and Love for mankind; always, now and for ever, and from all Ages to all Ages.
Glory to Thee, O Christ, our God and our hope, glory to Thee.
May Christ, our true God Who rose from the dead, through the intercessions of His most pure and holy Mother; by the power of the precious and life-giving Cross; the protection of the sublime Bodiless Powers of Heaven; the supplication of the honorable glorious Prophet, and Forerunner, John the Baptist; of the holy, glorious, and all-laudable Apostles; of the holy, glorious andvictorious Martyrs; of our venerable and God-bearing Fathers; of the holy and righteous ancestors of God, Joachim and Anna; of Saint(s) (name or names of Saint(s) of day), whose memory we celebrate, and of all the Saints, -- have mercy on us and save us, because He is gracious and loveth mankind. Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, O Lord, Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us."
The Priest then gives an added blessing by saying:
May the Holy Trinity bless you and protect you.
Distributing the Antidoron, the Priest descending to the lower step of the Sanctuary distributes to the Congregation a piece of "Antidoron" (Ἀντίδωρον) saying to each:
The Antidoron is the remaining part of the Prosforo from which the lamb of God was taken. It is a small gift instead of the Communion. Remain after the service and take the Antidoron from the priest's hand which yiu kiss with reverence.
May the blessing of the Lord and His mercy be upon you.
Here is what Saint Nicholas Cabasilas says,
The bread that is distributed as Antidoron has previously been sanctified, for it has been offered to God. All the Christians who have been to Church receive it with reverence in their right curved palm and kiss the priest's right hand, which a short while ago touched and cut Christ the savior's most holy Body; for all of it was sanctified. This is why the Church claims that the celebrant's hand imparts the sanctification to those who touch and kiss it. (P.G. 150, 489 C)
The Antidoron should be distributed in silence while the chanters are chanting holy hymns.
Note: may also be taken home for use during
the week. It is a pious custom for Orthodox Christians to
begin the day, after their morning prayers and before
eating, by consuming a particle of antidoron and drinking
or blessed water.
After the congregation has left, the Priest goes to the Prothesis and consumes the contents of the Holy Chalice, and removes his vestments; for both these acts he recites appropriate prayers.