My friend Nikolaos was ordained to the diaconate today in the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George in Lynn, MA, by his Eminence, Metropolitan METHODIOS. I thought I would post a description of the ordination service for those who had never seen one. I ask prayers for Deacon Nikolaos, his wife Linda, and their three children. AXIOS! AXIOS! AXIOS!!!
At the end of the Orthros Service (Matins) Nikolaos was led over and presented to the Metropolitan. At this point he was vested in a plain white dalmatic. He receives the blessing and prayer from the Metropolitan, who then ordained him as a sub-deacon. The new sub-deacon was given a white towel, an ewer, and a basin of water; he washed the Metropolitan's hands and then the towel was draped over his head and he was lead to stand in prayer in front of the icon of Christ at the iconostasion. The Divine Liturgy then began.
During this time Sub-Deacon Nikolaos was reciting secretly the Trisagion prayers three times, the Creed, the prayer, "Pardon, remit, forgive, O God, our transgressions, both voluntary and involuntary, whether of word or deed, known or unknown, whether of the day or night, of mind or by mention, forasmuch as Thou art good and lovest mankind," and various other prayers and spontaneous prayers.
The Liturgy Countinued until at the end of the Cherubic Hymn Sub-Deacon Nikolaos was led before the Royal Doors and presented to the Metropolitan who washed his hands, wet his eys, ears, nostrils and lips. His head was then covered with the towel again and he was led to stand before the iconostasion again, this time in front of the icon of the Theotokos.
After the "Axion Estin" of the Divine Liturgy and the blessing "May the Mercies of the Great God and Saviour Jesus Christ be with you all", Sub-Deacon Nikolaos was brought before the Royal Doors with all the clergy lind up on either side. He bowed, and the clergy called "Kelevson" (call forth, command) "Kelevasate" "Kelevson" Despota, To nin prosferomeno soi" Sub-Deacon Nikolaos stood facing the Metropolitan and the altar and read his Statement of Intent in both Greek and English. The Metropolitan Received him throught the Royal Doors, then sat in front of the Holy Table, on the right side. Sub-Deaon Nikolaos was led around the Holy Table by the other clergy three times, each time kissing the four corners of the altar, the Metropolitan's epigonation and hand. While this was done, 3 hymns were sung:
" O Holy Martyrs, who fought the good fight and have received your crowns; entreat ye the Lord that our souls may be saved."
"Glory to thee, O Christ-God, the Apostle's boast, the Martyr's joy, whose preaching was the consubstantial Trinity."
"Rejoice, O Isaiah! A virgin is with child, an d shall bear a Son, Emmanuel, both God and man; and Orient is his name; whom magnifying we call the Virgin blessed."
The Metropollitan then had Sub-Deacon Nikolaos kneel in front of the Holy Table on the right side of the Metropolitan, and only on the Sub-Deacon's RIGHT KNEE, saying, "O Lord, have mercy upon me, a sinner." (The Jesus Prayer). His palms were then placed on the Holy Table in the form of a cross and he placed his brow upon his hands. The Metropolitan placed his hand and stole upon Sub-Deacon Nikolaos's head, the congregation knelt, and the Metropolitan proclaimed:
"The Grace Divine, which always heals that which is infirm, and completes that which is wanting, elevates throught the laying-on-of-hands, Nikolaos, the most devout sub-deacon, to be a deacon; Wherefore, let us pray for him, that the grace of the all-holy Spirit may come upon him."
"Kyrie Eleison" was then chanted continously while the Metropolitan prayed secretly and the priests offered petitions. Then Metropolitan METHODIOS proclaimed: "For Thou art our God, and unto Thee do we ascribe glory, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages."
Fr. Deacon Nikolaos was then presented to the faithful with the proclamation of: AXIOS! (He is worthy!) He was then vested by the Metropolitan. With each piece of vestment (sticharion, orarion, and cuffs) the AXION was proclaimed by the Metropolitan and echoed by the faithful, and then chanted joyfullly by all!
The Divine Liturgy then continued to its conclusion, with the new Fr. Deacon Nikolaos having the honor of being able to call the faithful to draw near to receive the Body and Blood of Christ when the time came for the Eucharist...an honor I am certain he was overwhelmed to be given! AXIOS! AXIOS! AXIOS!
Please keep him and his family in your prayers!