Thursday, April 9, 2009

St John of San Francisco's Rules for Acolytes

Here is my translation of St John of Shanghai and San Francisco's Rules for Acolytes:
1. In order to serve in the altar one must take a blessing from the priest; or, at a hierarchal service, from the bishop.

2. One must come to church before the beginning of the service.

3. Entering the altar, one must cross oneself facing the Holy Table and make three full prostrations on normal days, or bows from the waist on Sundays and Feasts of the Lord.

4. Those who are not serving are forbidden to enter the altar.

5. Only those intending to serve may enter the altar.

6. Ties should be removed before vesting in the sticharion.

7. After removing the sticharion one must neatly fold it or hang it in its place.

8. In the altar one must not converse, laugh, or run around the church; moreover one may not eat during the service.

9. All readers and acolytes must wear a sticharion. In order to remove the sticharion, one must receive a blessing from the priest; or, at a hierarchal service, from the bishop.

10. Acolytes must remove their sticharion when communing of the Holy Gifts, except for readers.

11. One must not touch the Holy Table or Table of Oblations.

12. One must not walk around the church during the reading of the Gospel, Apostle, and from the exclamation “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ” until the exclamation “May the mercy of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ be with you all.”

13. One’s hands must be clean before putting on the sticharion.

14. No items not relating to Divine services should be kept in the altar or vestry.

15. It is not permitted to sit while wearing a sticharion.

16. Before exiting with the candle and ripidia acolytes must cross themselves before the icon behind the Holy Table and bow to the bishop or priest standing before the Holy Table. Upon reentering in the altar the acolyte must do the same as he did before exiting.

17. One should remember that the altar is a most holy place, and one needs to stand in it with special reverence, and passing by the High Place in the altar one must cross oneself, and follow the service attentively.

18. During the “I believe” and the “Our Father” all acolytes go onto the ambon for the general singing.

19. During the Communion of the clergy all acolytes stand reverently in the altar, and before the sermon they all go onto the ambon to listen.

20. Those who violate the “Ecclesiastical rules for acolytes” must stand on the left kliros until the conclusion of the service.
Photograph: St John with the future Bishop Peter (Loukianoff) of Cleveland. See the latter's memoir of St John here.


aaronandbrighid said...

Wow, it seems like a pretty tight ship! I was particularly interested to see St John had a standard punishment prescribed. Of course, I believe the acolytes at my parish follow most of these, though I don't know how attentatively they follow the services!

Kevin P. Edgecomb said...

Very useful! Most are common sense, of course. Others are instructive. I'll see about implementing these with our bishop and priest.

A "pretty tight ship" would be a good thing, particularly to introduce now, for the coming week, and to make it permanent.

I pray that the Lord bless our Father-Deacon "Felix Culpa" for his many kindnesses to us.

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