The Liturgy of the Eucharist Begins
As the Liturgy of the Word concludes and the Eucharist begins, the priest takes off his crown and slippers following God's command: "Do not come near; put off your shoes from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground" [Exodus 3:5]. Just like Moses at the burning bush, the priest prepares himself to come into the presence of God .
The Eucharist is the sacrament of the Lord's Body and Blood, offered exclusively to those who have made a life commitment to God and sealed it in baptism. St. Paul says as much when he warns that, "Any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself" [1 Corinthians 11:20]. This is why at this point in the Divine Liturgy the deacons dismiss the unbaptized and others who have not committed themselves fully to the Church, saying, "Let none of the catechumens, none of little faith and none of the penitents or the unclean draw near to this divine mystery" .