Small Entrance


Altar BoysAt this point of the service you will see the altar boys coming out of the north door with candles or lanterns and following them the priest and the deacon carrying the Gospel book. This is called the small entrance. When you see this, you are being joined with a multitude of angels visually represented by the altar boys candles. Then, together with these angelic hosts, we welcome the Lord's entrance into the world and into our hearts.

Historically the Divine Liturgy began with the entrance of the Gospel book which was kept in a separate room or vault in the portico of the church, which contained all the valuables that were to be used in the Church during the Services.  Amongst these valuables, of course, was the Book of the Gospels "Evangelion."  This room or vault, was known as the "Skevofilakion", a composite Greek word meaning the guarding-pace of the implements or articles. These books were also hand copied and very valuable. This was changed in the 7th century and the Gospel was kept on the altar, signifying a more secure period for the Church.


Small EntranceThe deacon carries the Gospel in a way that covers his face. This represents the coming of the Lord.

The Priest recites the following prayer:

O Master, Lord our God, Who hast appointed in Heaven legions and Hostsof Angels and Archangels for the service of Thy Glory, grant that with our entrance there may be an entrance of Holy Angels serving with usand glorifying Thy goodness; for to Thee are due all glory, honor, 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.  Amen."

During the Divine Liturgy we are joined with a multitude of angels who come down from Heaven who partcipate with us in the celebration. This is just like they came to Bethlehem at the time of the birth of Jesus Christ. Saint John Chrysostom testifies to this He says, "The had gathered around me escorting me to the small entrance. And something more awesome: I was deemed worthy to be carried up and to be offered their help to perform the Entrance: Next, I saw them surrendering the Holy Table, bowing their heads with great respect then again standing in silence and at times chanting liturgical hymns together with the chanters, escorting them in such melody..."


Facing the Sanctuary, the Priest blesses and says:

Blessed is the Entrance of Thy Saints: always, now and for ever and from all Ages to all Ages.  Amen.

                EntranceAt the completion of the resurrection hymn for this day the deacon raises the Gospel and says,

Wisdom, Let us stand aright.

The congregation sings,

O come, let us worship and fall down before Christ, Save us, O Son of God who rose from the dead, to You we sing: Alleluia

The deacon then places the Gospel on the Altar, on top of the Holy Antimension. Wisdom refers to the Gospel book, which is Jesus Christ, who is the true wisdom. The phrase "stand aright" refers to the faithful. It is as if we are saying like at the time of the nativity of Christ, Behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. Those in attendance can live in the miracle of angelic presence. They can be captured in the ecstasy of the soul.


Following, the Resurrection hymn is sung along with hymns for the saint honored that day and the proper hymn or Kontakion for that feast period or day.


Back to Antiphons       Continue to Trisagion