The Sunday of the Holy Cross
Tone 7 / Third Sunday of Lent
Before Vespers, the priest (wearing his phelonion) approaches the Table of Oblation, where the precious Cross, decorated with various flowers and lying on a tray that is covered with an Aer, has been prepared. The Royal Doors and the curtain are closed. Priest: Blessed is our God. Deacon or Reader: Trisagion Prayers. Priest: For Thine is the Kingdom. Then are sung the troparion of the Cross, G/N and the Kontakion. During the singing, the priest censes the precious Cross and then gives up the censer. The priest then makes a prostration, then places the tray with the Cross (covered by the Aer) on his head and carries it to the Holy Table. The priest puts the Cross on the Holy Table on the place of the Gospel Book, which has previously been set upright at the back of the Holy Table. The priest censes three times around the Holy Table. Then the curtain and the Royal Doors are opened and the vigil begins.
Great Vespers: Blessed is the man.
Lord I have Cried, Tone 7, on 10: Octoechos 6; Triodion 4 (Shine, Cross of the Lord); G: Triodion (O Christ our God, of Thine own will); N: Sunday Dogmatic in the tone of the week.
Entry; O Gladsome Light; Prokimenon of the day, Tone 6: The Lord is King.
Aposticha: Octoechos; G/N: Cross (O Lord Who hast helped gentle David).
Troparia: O Theotokos and Virgin x2; Cross (O Lord, save Thy people) x1.
Matins: God is the Lord, Tone 7; Troparia: Resurrection x2; G: Cross; N: Resurrectional Theotokion, Tone 1 (When Gabriel announced to thee).
After each Kathisma: Sessional hymns from the Octoechos.
Blessed are the blameless; Evlogitaria (The assembly of angels was amazed).
Hypakoe; Hymns of Ascents; and Prokimenon, Tone 7.
Matins Gospel 7, John 20:1-10 (§63).
Having beheld the Resurrection; Psalm 50; G: The doors of repentance; N: Guide me in the paths of salvation; Have mercy on me, O God; When I think of the multitude of evil things I have done. Save, O God, Thy people. The Gospel is not brought out for veneration on this day, because the Cross is brought out later.
Canon: Resurrection 4 Glory to Thy Holy Resurrection, O Lord.
Theotokos 2 Most Holy Theotokos, save us.
Cross (in the Triodion) 8 Glory, O Lord, to Thy precious Cross.
Irmos of the Resurrectional Canon, Tone 7.
After Ode 3, Sessional hymns of the Triodion.
After Ode 6, Kontakion (No longer doth the flaming sword) and Ikos of the Cross.
At Ode 9, More Honorable.
Holy is the Lord, our God.
Exapostilaria: Resurrection; G: Cross (Seeing the Precious Cross of Christ); N: Theotokion in the Triodion (All-hallowed Lady).
Praises, Tone 7, on 9: Octoechos 4; Triodion 5 (sticheron: With our voices let us shout; verse: Praise Him with tuneful cymbals; sticheron: Approach and draw waters; verse: Exalt ye the Lord our God; sticheron: O honored Cross; verse: God is our King before the ages; sticheron: With our voices; verse: Arise, O Lord my God; sticheron: The Lord of all has taught us in a parable); G: Triodion (The Lord of all has taught us in a parable); N: Most blessed art thou.
For the rubrics concerning the bringing out of the Cross, see the Triodion, page 348. During the Great Doxology the priest, wearing all his vestments, censes three times around the Holy Table. While the choir sings the concluding Holy God to a slow and solemn melody, the priest takes the Cross with the tray and carries it upon his head out of the Altar through the north door, preceded by two candles, stopping in front of the Royal Doors. When the final Holy God has ended, he says Wisdom! Aright! Then we sing the troparion of the Cross, thrice. The priest places the decorated Cross on an analogion in the middle of the church, and censes around it three times. Then he sings three times: Before Thy Cross, and this is also repeated three times by the people. Then, the priest, clergy, and the people (one by one) venerate the precious Cross. And as the clergy and people venerate the Cross, the choir sings the Stichera in the Triodion, pp 348-350.
After the conclusion of the stichera, the two remaining Litanies and Resurrectional Dismissal; after the Dismissal: G/N: Gospel Sticheron; followed by First Hour.
Hours: Troparion: Resurrection; G: Cross; Kontakion: Cross.
Liturgy of St. Basil the Great: Beatitudes on 10: Octoechos 6; Triodion 4, from Ode 6.
After the entrance: Troparion of the Resurrection; Cross; G/N: Kontakion of the Cross.
Instead of the Trisagion: Before Thy Cross.
Prokimenon, Tone 6: Save, O Lord, Thy people and bless Thine inheritance.
Epistle: Heb. 4:14-5:6 (§311).
Alleluia, Tone 1.
Gospel: Mark 8:34-9:1 (§37).
Instead of It is truly meet: All creation Rejoiceth
Communion Hymn: The light of Thy countenance, O Lord, hath been signed upon us.
Sunday Evening Vespers: As on Cheesefare Sunday.
Lord I have Cried, Tone 7, on 10: Penitential Stichera from the Octoechos 4 (As the Prodigal Son – Triodion, p. 187); Triodion 3 (O Lord, Thou hast stretched out Thine hands); Saint 3(With most pious thought – St. Procopius, February 27); G/N: Theotokion in the Menaion (As thou madest untiring supplication).
Entry; O Gladsome Light; Great Prokimenon, Tone 8: Thou hast given an inheritance to them that fear Thy Name.
During the final repetition
of the prokimenon, the priest closes the royal doors, removes his phelonion and
puts on a dark epitrachilion, and goes out to the
Vouchsafe, O Lord; then the Litany, Let us complete our evening prayer unto the Lord, with the choir singing the responses according to the penitential Lenten melody.
Aposticha: Triodion (Stichera and verses, beginning with In my wretchedness), G/N: Theotokion in the Triodion (The heavenly powers praise thee).
Now lettest Thou Thy servant.
Troparia: O Theotokos and Virgin (with a great prostration); G: O Baptizer of Christ (with a great prostration): N: Plead in our behalf (great prostration); Beneath thy compassion (without a prostration).
Lord, have mercy x40; G/N; More Honorable. In the name of the Lord, father bless. Priest: He that is is blessed. Reader: O Heavenly King, strengthen Orthodox Christians. Then the priest says the prayer of St. Ephrem with 3 prostrations, then the dismissal.
Let it be known: We venerate the precious Cross on Monday and Wednesday during the 1st hour. There is a censing of the Cross with open royal doors, and instead of My steps do Thou direct, we sing Before Thy Cross... and Come, ye faithful.., etc. On Friday this same veneration occurs, not at the 1st hour but after the dismissal of the Typica, after which the Cross is returned to the altar (See September 21st Rubrics).
On these three days on which the Cross is venerated -- on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the Kontakion of the Cross is read at all of the hours and at the Typica, and also at Compline (at Small Compline on Sunday evening and at Great Compline on Tuesday and Thursday evenings just before O Lord of hosts...).
Note: Beginning on the Wednesday of mid-fast, at the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts we add the litany for those preparing for Holy Illumination.