The Procession and the Beginning of the Liturgy of the Word

Synaxis or Midday Office

When the altar and the Eucharistic gifts have been prepared, the curtain opens and the deacons lead the priest in a procession around the altar and down into the nave.  The priest offers incense to the main and side altars, the baptismal font, the sacred icons, and all the people.  As the priest makes his way around the church, the faithful come up to him, kiss the hand cross, and say, "Heeshescheer yev zees arachee anmah kareenun Asdoodzo [Remember me, too, before the immortal Lamb of God]. " This is an acknowledgment that during the Divine Liturgy we encounter "the Lamb of God," Jesus Christ himself.  The people ask that the priest pray for them in the presence of Jesus.

The procession marks the beginning of the Liturgy of the Word.  Everything until this point has been a preparation for the Liturgy of the Word and the Eucharist, the two components of the Badarak.  The Liturgy of the Word concerns the Word of God, Jesus Christ.  He comes to his people in the public reading of the Bible, and especially when the deacon solemnly chants a passage from one of the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John).  Every prayer, psalm, hymn, and ritual during this part of the Divine Liturgy is related to Jesus Christ as the Word, the supreme expression of God.  This idea is inspired by the Gospel according to John: "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God" [John 1:1].