Order for the Taking out of the Cross
Before the beginning of the Vigil, the priest (wearing his phelonion) and deacon, in his vestments, go to 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. The deacon gives the censer to the priest, who censes the precious Cross and then returns the censer to the deacon. Priest: Blessed is our God. Deacon or Reader: Trisagion Prayers. Priest: For Thine is the Kingdom. Then are sung the troparion of the Cross, Glory… Both now…and the Kontakion. During the Singing, the priest makes a prostration, then he places the tray with the Cross on his head and carries it to the Holy Table, preceded by candle-bearers and the deacon who censes the Cross. 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 deacon gives the censer to the priest, and then the priest and the deacon cense three times around the Holy Table. The priest returns the censer to the deacon, who then censes the priest three times. A lighted candle is set before the cross. Then the curtain and the Royal Doors are opened and the vigil begins.
After the Gospel Reading: The priest holds up the Gospel, as usual, during the singing of “Having Beheld the Resurrection…”, but the Gospel is not brought out for veneration, but return to the back of the Holy Table, where it was before the reading. The priest remains in the Alter during the prayer “O Lord, save Thy people…”
During the stichera of the Praises, the officiating priest puts on all his vestments, as at the Liturgy. While the choir sings the Great doxology, the deacon gives the censer to the priest, and they cense three times around the Holy Table, whereon the precious Cross has been placed; they cense the Cross from the four sides. The priest gives the censer to the deacon. While the choir sings the concluding Holy God… to a slow and solemn melody, the priest makes a prostration, takes the Cross with the tray and, placing it upon his head, proceeds around the Holy Table and out of the Altar through the north door, preceded by candle-bearers and the deacon who censes the Holy Cross. The priest stops in from of the Royal Doors, facing to the east, and when the final Holy God…has ended, he raises up the Holy Cross and, making the sing of the Cross with it, says “Wisdom! Aright!”
Then we sing the troparion of the Cross, thrice.
The priest proceeds to the center of the Church and places the Cross on a table or analogion specially prepared for it. The deacon gives the censer to the priest, and they cense the Cross from the four sides of the table, going around it three times. The priest gives the censer to the deacon, who then censes the priest three times. Then the clergy sing three times: Before Thy Cross… and this is also repeated three times by the choir and the people.
Meanwhile, the priest makes two prostrations in front of the Cross and kisses it, after which he makes another prostration. The Cross is then venerated by the other clergy in order of rank and by all the faithful, each making two prostrations before venerating the Cross and one after.
During the veneration of the Cross, the choir sings the appointed stichera.
On the Apodosis
After the conclusion of the Liturgy, the priest comes out from the sanctuary with the censer, preceded by the deacon with a candle. He goes to the center of the Church, where the Cross is resting on a table, and he censes the precious Cross on all four sides, thrice. The priest then returns the censer to the deacon. During the singing of the troparion of the Cross; Glory… Both now…, and the kontakion of the Cross, the priest puts the Cross on his head, he carries it into the sanctuary, the deacon going in front and censing the Cross. Then the priest places the Cross on the Holy Table. The deacon hand the censer to the priest, and then the priest and the deacon cense the Cross on all four sides. The priest then returns the censer to the deacon, who censes the priest three times.
Tone 1: O Lord, save Thy people and bless Thine inheritance. Grant Thou victory unto
Orthodox Christians over their enemies, and by the power of Thy Cross do Thou preserve
Kontakion of the Cross / Third Sunday of Lent
Tone 7: No longer doth the flaming sword
guard the gate of
extinction hath come upon it, even the Tree of the Cross. The sting hath been taken from
death, and the victory from hades. And Thou, my Savior, didst appear unto those in
hades, saying: Enter ye again into
Kontakion of the Cross / Exaltation
Tone 4: O Thou Who wast lifted up willingly on the Cross, * bestow Thy mercies upon
the new community named after Thee, O Christ God; * gladden with Thy power the
Orthodox Christians, * granting them victory over enemies; * may they have as Thy help
the weapon of peace, the invincible trophy.