Monday, May 14, 2007

Service for a Beginner Putting on the Rason

Service for a Beginner Putting on the Rason

The priest says ‘Blessed’;[1] Thrice-Holy Hymn; All-Holy Trinity; Our Father; For yours is the Kingdom.

Troparia. Second Plagial Tone.

Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy on us, for deprived of every excuse we sinners offer this supplication to you as Master: have mercy on us.

Glory be to the Father...

Lord, have mercy on us for we have put our trust in you. Do not be exceedingly wrathful with us, neither remember our transgressions but as compassionate look upon us even now and redeem us from our enemies. For you are our God and we your people. We are all the work of your hands and we have invoked your name.

And Now...

Blessed One who gave birth to God, open to us the gate of compassion. May we who hope in you not fall short of our aim; through you may we be delivered from difficult circumstances. For you are the salvation of the Christian people.

Afterwards the present prayer:

Let us pray to the Lord.

We thank you, O Lord our God, who according to your great mercy has delivered your servant (so-and-so)[2] from the vain life of the world and called him to this religious profession. Make him worthy therefore to live worthily in this Angelic way of life. Guard him from the snares of the Devil and preserve his soul and body pure until death; and grant him to become your holy temple. Grant him understanding to hold you always in remembrance and give to him the humility of your commandments; and love, and meekness. Through the intercessions of our exceedingly holy Mistress who gave birth to God, the Ever-Virgin Mary, and all your saints. Amen.

Let us pray to the Lord.

Master, accept your servant (so-and-so)[3] to your salvific yoke and grant him to be enrolled in the flock of your elect. Clothe him with the robe of sanctification. Gird his loin with chastity. Show him to be a struggler for every temperance. Grant that the perfect gift of your spiritual charisms abide in him and in us. Through the intercessions of our exceedingly holy Mistress who gave birth to God, the Ever-Virgin Mary, and all your saints. Amen.

After this he tonsures him in the form of a cross, saying:

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Saying three times the Amen.[4] And he clothes him with the Inner Rason and the Kalymauchion, saying nothing more.

And the Dismissal.



[1] The rubrics here are very concise. The priest puts on his priest’s stole and begins the service—which is ordinarily done separately from any other service—with ‘Blessed is our God...’, after which the reader continues with the standard beginning of a service, the first words of each part of this beginning being given in the rubric. Then the service continues with the following three troparia, all of which are in the second plagial tone.

[2] This would be the person’s baptismal name.

[3] This would be the person’s monastic name, which at this stage might even be the same as his baptismal name.

[4] That is, the priest would say ‘Amen’ after each person of the Trinity.

A Reader’s Comment

(Name Withheld) has left a new comment on your post "Rubrics and Service of the Great and Angelic Monas...":

Very interesting! I've been trying to find a copy of this on the internet for ages. Do you have a copy of the service for tonsuring a Rassophore? BTW I have only just discovered this blogger today - there is certainly a lot of material here. Are you a monk? At which monastery are you based?

Since the service is very short, we have posted it as the next post. Are we a monk? Not a very good one, but a monk. At which monastery are we based? At a monastery we haven’t told anyone about. Curiosity is normal; and, given the Essjay scandal, some scepticism. However, we do not plan to say anything that would give us away.

Orthodox Monk

Rubrics and Service of the Great and Angelic Monastic Schema

[Since there has been great interest in our post of October 28, 2005 which contains the text of the vows to the Great Schema, we thought it good to provide the whole service, below. There are still certain omissions which are noted in the translation. —Orthodox Monk]
Rubrics and Service of the Great and Angelic Monastic Schema
The previous evening, all the vestments (garments) of him who is to receive the Great and Angelic Schema[1] which are intended for the purpose are brought and placed in the Holy Sanctuary.
In Orthros,[2] the postulant reads or chants the following canon, of which the acrostic is:
Grant to me who am honoured a good end, O Christ.
...[3]
In the Divine Liturgy.
After the entrance of the Holy Gospel,[4] the priest places the Holy Gospel before the Beautiful Door just in front of the Holy Icon of the Master Christ,[5] also placing upon the Gospel a pair of scissors. He is who going to receive the Holy Schema, standing before the doors of the Church,[6] puts off his head covering and whatever clothing he is wearing, remaining only in his underclothes.[7] The Abbot receives him there and, holding him by the hand and going before him,[8] makes a gesture to him to make—and he makes—one prostration[9] at the time he enters the Church, one in the middle of the Church, one before the Beautiful Doors, one each to the right and left choirs,[10] three each to the Holy Icons of Christ, the Mother of God and the Saint of the Monastery,[11] and one to the Abbot, whose right hand he kisses. The postulant then stands on the Abbot’s left having his arms crossed on his breast.
These things having taken place, after they chant the usual Apolytikion[12] of the Saint of the day and of the Saint of the Monastery, the following Antiphons are chanted [alternately] by the cantors of each of the choirs.
Antiphon 1. Fourth Tone.
Lord, I wished with tears to wipe out the record of my transgressions and to please you during the remainder of my life through repentance but the enemy deceives me and wars against my soul. Lord, before I am completely lost, save me.
Who suffering the buffets of winter and running towards this very harbour is not saved? Or who in pain and throwing himself down in this very infirmary is not healed?[13] Creator of all things and Doctor of the ill, Lord, before I am completely lost, save me.
I am a sheep of your rational flock and to you I flee for refuge, O Good Shepherd. Search me out who has been lost, O God, and have mercy on me.
Glory, And Now.[14] Theotokion.
Blessed Birthgiver of God, preserve your servants from all dangers so that we may glorify you, the hope of our souls.
Antiphon 2. Fourth Tone.
In the mystical fountain of rebirth receiving both adoption as son and redemption, in negligence and in transgressions utterly spending my life, O Good One, I now cry unto you: grant me a fountain of tears of repentance and wash away the stain of my transgressions, all-powerful and most merciful Saviour.
The storm of sins encompasses me, O Saviour, and no longer bearing the tempest I fall down before you, the only Pilot. As to Peter extend to me the hand of your love of Mankind and save me.
Glory, And Now. Theotokion.
Free us from our necessities, O Mother of Christ our God, you who have given birth to the Maker of all things, so that we may all cry unto you: hail, the only protection of our souls.
Antiphon 3. Fourth Tone.
Where is the attachment to the things of the world? Where is the imagination of temporal things? Behold! Do we not see these things to be dust and ashes? Therefore why do we labour in vain? Why then do we not renounce the world and follow behind him who cries out: ‘He who wishes to walk behind me, let him take up my Cross and he will inherit eternal life!’.
Versicle. Come, children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
Come all you who labour and who are burdened down and I will give you repose; take my yoke upon yourselves, and learn from me for I am meek and humble in heart, and you will find repose in your souls.
Versicle. I have wandered as a lost sheep; seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commandments.
I am a sheep of your rational flock and to you I flee for refuge, O Good Shepherd. Search me out who has been lost, O God, and have mercy on me.
Come let us worship and fall down and weep before the Lord who has made us.
Lord, Lord, look down from Heaven and see and visit this vine and restore it which your right hand has planted.
Glory, And Now. Theotokion.
O only pure and unsullied Virgin who has borne God without seed, intercede so that our souls might be saved.
Kathisma.[15] First Tone.
Your tomb O Saviour...[16]
Hasten to open paternal embraces to me who have prodigally consumed my life; do not overlook a heart which has now become poor, O Saviour, you who look upon the wealth of your mercies which cannot be exhausted. For in compunction I cry to you, O Lord: I have sinned, Father, to Heaven and before you.
This is chanted three times.
Then[17]
The Priest catechizes the postulant, speaking as follows:
Open the ears of your heart, Brother, and hear the voice of the Lord saying: ‘Come to me all who are toiling and who are burdened and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble in heart, and you will find refreshment in your souls.’ Therefore, render now to God with fear and joy the proper answer to each of the questions. Know surely, then, that our Saviour himself is here present, with his most-hymned Mother and his Saints, listening to the words which are coming forth from you; so that, when he comes to judge the living and the dead, he may render to you, not according to what you are about to renounce and profess, but according to whether you guard what you profess. Now, therefore, if you are coming in truth to God, with care answer us what you are about to be asked.
Then the Priest inquires of him, saying:
Question: Why have you come, Brother, falling down before the Holy Altar, and before this holy Brotherhood?
Answer: I desire the life of asceticism, Reverend Father.
Question: Do you desire to be worthy of the Angelic Habit and to be enrolled in the choir of the Monastics?
Answer: Yes, God helping me, Reverend Father.
The Priest:
Truly, you have chosen a good and blessed work, but only if you complete it. Good things are acquired with toil and achieved with pain.
Question: Do you come to the Lord of your free will?
Answer: Yes, God helping me, Reverend Father.
Question: Not from any necessity or violence?
Answer: No, Reverend Father.
Question: Do you renounce the world and the things which are in the world, according to the commandment of the Lord?
Answer: Yes, God helping me, Reverend Father.
Question: Will you remain in the Monastery and in the ascesis up to your last breath?
Answer: Yes, God helping me, Reverend Father.
Question: Will you preserve unto death obedience to the Superior, and to the whole Brotherhood in Christ?
Answer: Yes, God helping me, Reverend Father.
Question: Will you endure every affliction and deprivation of the Monastic life for the sake of the Kingdom of the Heavens?
Answer: Yes, God helping me, Reverend Father.
Question: Will you preserve yourself in virginity and chastity and piety?
Answer: Yes, God helping me, Reverend Father.
And the Catechism is immediately begun by the Priest, as follows:
See, child, what agreements you have given to the Master Christ. Angels are here invisibly present recording this your profession, which is going to be required of you in the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am now narrating, therefore, the most perfect life, in which the way of life of the Lord is shown forth, bearing witness what things it is necessary for you to embrace and what things you must avoid. This renunciation, then, for him who has made it is nothing other than a profession of the cross and death.
Know, then, that from this present day you have been crucified and put to death to the world through the most perfect renunciation. For you have renounced parents, brothers, wife, children, forefathers, relatives, associations, friends, habits, the tumults in the world, cares, possessions, goods, empty and vain pleasure and glory; and you are renouncing not only those things which have just been said, but even your own life, according to the voice of the Lord which says: ‘Whoever wishes to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’ If therefore you truly seek to follow him, and if without lies you ardently desire to be called his disciple, from the present moment prepare yourself not towards ease, not towards freedom from care, not towards sensual pleasures, not towards anything else of those pleasures and enjoyments which are on the earth, but towards spiritual struggles, towards temperance of the flesh, towards purification of the soul, towards mean poverty, towards the good grief, towards all the sorrowful and painful things of that life according to God which brings joy. For you have to hunger and to thirst and to go naked and to be reviled and ridiculed, to be reproached and persecuted and to be tempted in many sorrowful things, in which things the life according to God is characterized. And when you suffer all of these things, ‘Rejoice,’ it is said, ‘for great is your wage in the Heavens.’
Rejoice therefore with joy and exult with exultation, for today the Lord God has selected you and set you apart from life in the world, and has set you, as before his face, in the post of the Monastic order, in the service of the angelic life, in the height of the life which imitates Heaven, to worship him angelically, to serve him wholly and completely, to seek those things which are above. ‘For our way of life,’ according to the Apostle, ‘is in the Heavens.’
O the new call! O the gift of the Mystery! You are receiving a second Baptism today, Brother, in the wealth of the gifts of God who loves mankind, and you shall be cleansed of your sins, and you shall become a son of Light, and Christ himself our God rejoices together with his holy Angels over your repentance, slaughtering for you the fattened calf. Walk worthily therefore of your call; rid yourself of the attachment to vain things; hate the desire that draws you towards those things which are below; turn your own ardent desire towards Heavenly things; by no means whatsoever turn back, so that you not become a pillar of salt like the wife of Lot or like a dog returning to its own vomit, and the word of the Lord be fulfilled in you: ‘No one putting his hand to the plough and having turned towards the rear is fit for the Kingdom of the Heavens.’ For the danger for you is not little, having now professed that you will guard all the aforesaid things, afterwards to make little of the profession or even to run back to the previous way of life, or to separate yourself from the Father and the Brothers who are engaged with you in ascesis, or, remaining, to live your days contemptuously. For you will have weightier responsibilities than previously before the unerring tribunal of Christ, as much as you now enjoy more grace. And it would be better for you, as the saying goes, not to vow than to vow and not to render your vows. And, again, do not at all think that in the previous time of your sojourn in this place you have adequately struggled against the invisible powers of the Enemy, but know rather that from now there will succeed to you greater struggles in the battle against him, but that he will in no way prevail against you if he finds you fenced about by a strong faith and love for him who is guiding you and by sincerity in your obedience and humility.
For this reason, put away from yourself refusal to listen, contradiction, pride, strife, jealousy, envy, anger, clamour, blasphemy, secret eating, boldness of manner, special friendship, talkativeness, wrangling, grumbling, whispering, personal acquisition of any miserable thing, and all the other sorts of vice through which the wrath of God comes on those who practice them and the Destroyer of souls begins to take root in those who practise them. Rather, then, instead of those things, acquire these things which are fitting to Saints: friendship, stillness, leniency, piety, meditation on the divine words, reading, keeping of the heart from filthy thoughts, labour according to strength, temperance, patient endurance up to death, and perfect confession of those things which are in your heart to the Father to whom you previously gave your vows, as the divine testaments relate: ‘They were baptized,’ it says, ‘confessing their sins.’
Question: Do you thus profess all these things in the hope of the strength of God and do you agree to persevere in these promises until the end of life, by the grace of Christ?
Answer: Yes, God helping me, Reverend Father.
Then the priest says this prayer.
May the most compassionate and merciful God, he who opens the undefiled inward parts of his searchless goodness to every one who comes forth to him with longing and ardent love; he who says that ‘a woman will forget her offspring before I forget you’; he who also knows your longing; and he who adds his own strength to your intention, towards fulfilment of his commandments—may he take you up and embrace you and protect you and become for you a fortified wall against the face of the enemy, a rock of patient endurance, a beginning of consolation, a provider of vigour, a resource of good courage, a fellow struggler of courage, he who lies down to bed with you, he who rises up with you, he who sweetens and makes merry your heart in the consolation of his Holy Spirit, he who makes you worthy of the portion of our holy and righteous Fathers, Anthony, Euthymios, Savvas and those with them, with whom you will inherit the Kingdom of the Heavens, in Christ Jesus our Lord. To Whom the glory, the rule and the Kingdom and the strength, with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Then the priest seals the head of the Catechumen, blessing with the sign of the cross three times, and, turning to the East,[18] he says the following prayer.
Let us pray to the Lord.
You who are the Master the Ruler of All, the most high King of Glory; you who are with your living and enhypostatized Word and with the Spirit of Truth that proceeds from you; you who are the Lord of all Creation both visible and invisible; God who is seated on the Cherubim and who is hymned unceasingly with the thrice-holy voice by the Seraphim; you on whom attend thousands of thousands and myriads of myriads of hosts of Angels and Archangels—you are the light that enlightens every man that comes into the world, supplicated by the Holy Ever-Virgin Mary who gave birth to God, and all the Church in Heaven of the First-Born in Jerusalem. Look down with gracious eye upon the humility of your servant (so-and-so)[19] who has agreed and confessed utterly before many witnesses. Join to the charism granted to him from his forbears of adoption as son and your Kingdom through Holy Baptism, this unique and Angel-like profession, unshaken, founded on the hewn and spiritual rock of faith in you.
Make him strong in the power of your strength and clothe him in the panoply of your Holy Spirit, for the battle is for him not towards flesh and blood but towards the world-rulers of the darkness of the present Age, towards the spirits of evil. Gird his loin with the power of truth, clothe him with the breastplate of righteousness and exultation, and shoe his feet in the preparation of the Gospel of peace. Make him wise to take up the shield of Faith, with which he will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the Evil One, and to receive the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Holy Spirit, which is your word. Share in the unspeakable sighs of his heart. Number him together with your elect, so that he become a vessel of election, a son of light and of the day, of wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, redemption.
Make him into an harmonious instrument, a delightful harp of the Holy Spirit, so that from now putting off with progress the old man, which is being corrupted according to the pleasure-loving deception of the multiform snake, he may put on the new Adam, who is created according to God in holiness and righteousness. Grant him a sure foundation to bear always the marks of the Cross of Christ in his body, through which marks the world is crucified to him and him to the world. Form him to walk in true virtue and not in eye-pleasing, and in piety, brotherly love and obedience. As he is keeping vigil, working, sleeping, awakening, grant him the grace to mirror you angelically in psalms and hymns and spiritual odes in a pure heart, and to worship you the only living and true God, for the sake of his unspeakable joy.
For yours in the Kingdom and the reign and the authority, and to you is due all glory, honour and worship, to the Father and to the Son and to your Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the Ages of Ages. Amen.
And, turning, the priest says this other prayer over the head of the postulant.[20]
Let us pray to the Lord.
Holy Lord of Hosts, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ bless your servant (so-and-so)[21] whom you have called to your spiritual bridal-chamber and make him wholly worthy to be your holy servant. Make him wise, and pour out on him the grace and understanding of your ruling Spirit. Grant him strength in the war against the invisible enemy, put down with your great power the rebellions of the flesh. Grant him to please you in unceasing praise and doxology, in appropriate hymns, in acceptable prayers, in right counsel, in a humble heart, in the practice of life and meekness and truth. Make him utterly worthy to please you in meekness, in love, in perfection, in knowledge, in courage, and to offer to you hymns and doxologies and prayers in the odour of a fragrant smell. Perfect his life in holiness and righteousness, so that having that continuous and spotless union which is with you, he may be found worthy of your heavenly Kingdom.
Through the Grace and compassion and love for Mankind of your only-begotten Son, with whom you are blessed, with your all-Holy and good and life-giving Spirit, now and ever and to the Ages of Ages. Amen.
Then, extending his hand towards the Holy Gospel and addressing himself to him who is being made a monk, the priest says:
Behold! Christ is here invisibly present. Look! For no one is forcing you to come to this Schema. Look! For you of your own free will wish the pledge of the Great and Angelic Schema.
Answer: Yes, Reverend Father, of my own free will.
And after he has agreed, the priest says to him:
Take the scissors and give them to me.
He then takes the scissors from the Holy Gospel and places them in the hands of the Abbot, who gives them into the hands of the priest, who leaves them on the Holy Gospel, from which place the brother takes them again. And this having taken place three times, the priest says:
Behold! From the hand of Christ you are receiving this. Look then to whom you are coming, with whom you are joining, and whom you are renouncing!
And taking the scissors from the hand of the Abbot, the priest says:
Blessed is God who wishes all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth, he who is blessed to the Ages of Ages.
He then tonsures him in the form of a cross,[22] saying as follows:
Our brother (so-and-so) is shorn in the hair of his head, in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Let us say on his behalf the ‘Lord have mercy’.
And there is sung by the brothers the ‘Lord have mercy’ three times.
Then the typikaris[23] enters into the Sanctuary, takes the garments found there since the evening before and gives them one by one to the priest; the latter takes each one of the garments and blessing it gives it to the Sponsor,[24] who then vests the newly-tonsured monk with the garment while the cantors chant for each one of the garments the ‘Lord have mercy’ (three times).
1.
Giving the himation (zostikon),[25] the priest says:
Our brother (so-and-so) is clothed with the tunic of righteousness and exultation of the Great and Angelic Schema, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Let us say on his behalf the ‘Lord have mercy’.
2.
Giving the Schema[26] the priest says:
Our brother (so-and-so) receives the napkin of the Great and Angelic Schema, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Let us say on his behalf the ‘Lord have mercy’.
3.
Giving the polystaurion,[27] the priest says:
Our brother (so-and-so) receives the analavon, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Let us say on his behalf the ‘Lord have mercy’.
4.
Giving the belt,[28] the priest says:
Our brother (so-and-so) is girded in his loin with the power of the truth, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Let us say on his behalf the ‘Lord have mercy’.
5.
Giving the pallion,[29] the priest says:
Our brother (so-and-so) receives the pallion of the Great and Angelic Schema, for a garment of incorrupt ion and modesty in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Let us say on his behalf the ‘Lord have mercy’.
6.
Giving the footwear, the priest says:
Our brother (so-and-so) is shod with the sandals in preparation of the Gospel of Peace, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Let us say on his behalf the ‘Lord have mercy’.
7.
Giving the kalymauchion,[30] the priest says:
Our brother (so-and-so) is covered with the kalymauchion of guilelessness, for a helmet and hope of salvation, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Let us say on his behalf the ‘Lord have mercy’.
8.
Giving the veil,[31] the priest says:
Our brother (so-and-so) is clothed with the veil of guilelessness of the Great and Angelic Schema, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Let us say on his behalf the ‘Lord have mercy’.
9.
Giving the mandya,[32] the priest says:
Our brother (so-and-so) receives the mandya of the Great and Angelic Schema, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Let us say on his behalf the ‘Lord have mercy’.
After these things, the following troparia[33] are chanted by the cantors:
Be clothed with the tunic of salvation, be girded with the belt of chastity, receive the sign of the Cross, arm your intelligible feet with the weapons of temperance and you will find repose for your souls.
My soul rejoices in the Lord for he has clothed me with the himation of salvation and he has enclosed me with the tunic of happiness; as a bridegroom he has placed a mitre upon me and as a bride he has adorned me with adornments.
Then the priest says the following prayers:
Let us pray to the Lord.
O Lord our God who are faithful in your promises and unrepenting in your charisms and unspeakable in your love for Mankind; who have called your creature by a holy calling; and who have led your servant (so-and-so) to your spiritual life—grant him a becoming life, a virtuous and irreproachable mode of life, so that living a way of life of sanctification, he may maintain without stain that Schema that he has put on in your strength, being clothed with righteousness by the tunic, bearing about in himself the mortification of body and chastity by the belt, having placed the helmet of salvation by the veil, being adorned utterly with the Cross and Faith by means of the analavon, so that he might proceed on the way of peace and salvation by the sandals, that he might become fearful to adversaries, invincible to enemies, alien to every pleasure and shameful desire, trained in obedience, participating in temperance, aiming for the canon of asceticism, so that in psalms and hymns and spiritual odes, he might glorify your most honourable and most dignified Name, walking in the footsteps of the great Prophet Elias and of St John the Prophet and Baptist. So that, having arrived at the measure of perfection, he finish the road, he keep the faith, and he be clothed with the incorrupt ion of the Angels, and be numbered in your holy flock, and attain to the presence at your right, and hear the blessed voice: ‘Come, blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom which has been prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’ Of which make us also inheritors in your goodness, O God.
For you are a God of mercy, compassion and love for Mankind, and to you we send up glory, to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and always and to the Ages of Ages. Amen.
The priest.
Peace to all. Let us bow our heads to the Lord.
And, continuing, this prayer:
Lord our God, lead your servant (so-and-so) into your spiritual court and number him together in your rational flock; cleanse his habit of thought from carnal desires and from the empty deceptions of this life; and grant him to recall unceasingly the goods which are stored up for those who love you, and for those who crucify themselves in their life for the sake of your Kingdom.
For you are the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls, and to you we send up glory, to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and always and to the Ages of Ages. Amen.
...[34]
Then the newly tonsured monk is brought to one of the choir stalls in the left choir while the appropriate kontakion[35] is being chanted, after which, instead of the Thrice-Holy Hymn, the following is chanted:
As many as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. Alleluia.
The Reading from the Apostle
Prokeimenon: The Lord is my light and my salvation.
Versicle: The Lord is the defender of my life.
The reading is from the Epistle of Paul to the Ephesians.
(Eph. 6, 10 - 17.)
Alleluia.
Versicle: This poor man called out and the Lord heard him.
The Gospel.
The Reading is from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew.
(Matt 10, 37 - 11, 1.)
Then the priest gives the Cross and the komvoschoinion[36] to the newly tonsured monk saying:
The Lord said: ‘If anyone wishes to follow after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and let him follow me.’
Then the priest gives him the lighted candle saying:
The Lord said: ‘Let your light thus shine before men so that they see your good works and they glorify your Father who is in the Heavens.’
Have mercy on us o God according to your great mercy, we beseech you hear and have mercy.
Lord have mercy (three times).
Again we pray for the remission and forgiveness of sins of the servant of God (so-and-so).
Lord have mercy (three times).
For you are a God who is merciful and a lover of Mankind and to you we send up glory, to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and always and to the Ages of Ages. Amen.
Note: At the time of Holy Communion, the first to communicate is the newly tonsured monk, led by his Sponsor and without removing the covering of his head.
...[37]
Prayer for the Removal of the Veil said by the Priest:
O most merciful Lord, who has granted to your servant (so-and-so) by means of the taking up of the Monastic Habit the veil for a helmet of the hope of salvation, preserve irremovable this grace from his head, securing and cherishing the ruling part of his intellect unshaken from adverse assaults; so that stamping on the head of the most wicked serpent which has been allowed to seize his heel, he raise his intelligible eyes to you the fearsome and only head of all things.
For you are the enlightenment and sanctification of our souls, and to you we send up glory, to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and always and to the Ages of Ages. Amen.
Peace to all.
Let us bow our heads to the Lord.
And this prayer silently:
Bless, sanctify and set a guard from every harmful influence visible and invisible about him who has inclined his head to you, the head of fire, the invisible and only wise God.
Aloud:
For yours in the Kingdom and the authority and the power, and to you we send glory, honour and worship, to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the Ages of Ages. Amen.
Glory, And Now. Lord have mercy. (Three times.) Bless and Dismissal.






[1] Schema means habit, hence ‘Great and Angelic Habit’.
[2] In the West, Orthros is known as matins.
[3] We omit at this time the canon of Orthros, as being of secondary importance, and continue at the Divine Liturgy. A ‘canon of Orthros’ is an organized set of troparia (see below) sung with the nine Odes as an integral part of Orthros. The canon of Orthros of the Tonsure to the Great Schema would be integrated by the Typikaris (see below) into the other canons prescribed in the Menaion to be sung at same place in Orthros on the day in question.
[4] This is the usual Small or Lesser Entrance of the Divine Liturgy.
[5] The Icon of Christ referred to is the one immediately to the right of the Beautiful Doors on the Iconostasis, as we look East from the congregation towards the Sanctuary. (All Orthodox Churches are oriented so that they face East.) Ordinarily the Gospel is placed on a reading stand in front of the Icon, with the scissors on the Gospel. At the time of the actual service of tonsure it is moved to the front of the Solea, positioned as though the priest will read from it.
[6] This could very well be the entrance from the narthex to the liti, the liti being the inner narthex between the narthex and the main part of the church.
[7] That is, he would remove his monastic garments from any previous tonsure or novitiate and remain in his underclothes.
[8] I.e. the Abbot and the postulant do not walk side by side but the Abbot goes a little ahead holding the postulant by the hand.
[9] This is a ‘great prostration’ to the floor.
[10] All directions are given as we look East from the congregation towards the Sanctuary.
[11] The Icons of Christ and the Mother of God would normally be those on the Iconostasis to the right and left of the Beautiful Doors. The Icon of the Saint of the Monastery might be elsewhere.
[12] The apolytikion is a short hymn.
[13] We have changed the punctuation a little here.
[14] I.e. the one choir chants ‘Glory be to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit...’ and the other choir completes with ‘...both now and ever and to the Ages of Ages.’ The Theotokion is a short hymn to the Mother of God, the one prescribed for this occasion following immediately.
[15] A type of hymn originally sung during breaks in the recitation of the Psalter.
[16] This is an instruction that the following hymn should not only be in the First Tone but should also follow exactly the melody of the better-known hymn whose opening words are as given.
[17] Up to here we have translated the previously untranslated part of the service (with the omission indicated). What follows is now the original translation of the Vows, unchanged, after which we continue anew at Then the priest says this prayer. with the previously untranslated remainder of the service.
[18] Up to now, the priest, who is vested for the Divine Liturgy and who ordinarily will be the main celebrant, has been facing West towards the congregation (and towards the postulant, here called a catechumen) from the Solea, the step just outside the Sanctuary in front of the Beautiful Doors. The rubric indicates that he now turns towards the altar without going inside the Sanctuary.
[19] Here the name that the catechumen has borne until the present hour is commemorated. [Footnote in original text.]
[20] The priest turns to face the congregation, laying his hands on the postulant’s head.
[21] Here the monastic name is given. [Footnote in the original text.]
[22] That is, he cuts a lock of hair from each of the front, the back, the left side and the right side of the head.
[23] The typikaris is the monk whose service it is in the Monastery to oversee the proper execution of the Church services.
[24] Apart from the Abbot and the celebrating priest (who could be the same person), there is also the Sponsor just as there is in the Baptism of a child. It has been the Sponsor’s duty to prepare the postulant for tonsure. In some but not all cases the Abbot is the Sponsor.
[25] This is the so-called inner rason.
[26] This is the scapular.
[27] This is a braided cord with many braided crosses that is worn over the shoulders and the chest and back. It hearkens back to the habit as described in the Institutes by St John Cassian. It is also called the analavon.
[28] The belt was given as a sign of his oath to the soldier in Late Classical times; it is also attested in the Bible in the case of St John the Baptist as a sign of the ascetical life, in particular chastity.
[29] This is the so-called outer rason which is normally worn by the monk over the preceding garments whenever he is in public.
[30] This is the distinctive brimless hat of the monk.
[31] This is the veil that goes over the kalymauchion. In Russian practice, but not Greek, the veil and the kalymauchion are inseparably joined.
[32] This is the cape.
[33] Troparion (pl: troparia) is the generic term for a one-verse hymn.
[34] Here we omit rubrics for a tonsure outside the Divine Liturgy.
[35] The kontakion is a type of short hymn. In what follows, it is implicit that the tonsure is integrated into the Divine Liturgy that is being celebrated, so that the Thrice-Holy Hymn that is being replaced with the Paschal troparia is the Thrice-Holy Hymn of the Divine Liturgy. Similarly, the readings from the Apostle and the Gospel given here are those of the Divine Liturgy. Normally the readings given here would be the second readings, the first readings from the Apostle and the Gospel in the Divine Liturgy being those prescribed for the day.
[36] This is the knotted Orthodox prayer rope.
[37] Here we omit the rubrics for the greeting of the newly-tonsured monk by the members of the congregation at the end of the Divine Liturgy.