Entrance Hymn from the Divine Liturgy2018-07-02T20:01:18+00:00

Entrance Hymn from the Divine Liturgy

Δεῦτε προσκυνήσωμεν καὶ προσπέσωμεν Χριστῷ.

Come, let us worship and fall down before Christ

 

This hymn is the entrance hymn used in most Sunday and weekday Holy Liturgies of the Church Calendar (different hymns are used on the major feast days). It is called an entrance hymn because it is chanted as the priest, holding the Holy Gospel in an elevated position, enters the Sanctuary to complete the Little Entrance.

Nowadays, the Little Entrance is more of a symbolic procession, as it begins where it ends (in the Sanctuary). However, up until the 7th century, the Holy Liturgy itself would begin with the entry of the Bishop and people into the Church. This hymn, largely made up of verse 6 of Psalm 94 (Come, let us worship and fall down before him) was chanted triumphantly as the clergy and laity entered into the Church. Psalm 94 is the third of three psalms used as antiphonal hymns at the beginning of the Divine Liturgy (this is why they are known as the three antiphons) which the Fathers have interpreted as prophetically referring to the saving works of Jesus Christ, primarily His sacrifice on the Cross and His Resurrection. As a chorus to this entrance hymn, on Sundays we chant “Save us Son of God who rose from the dead”.

St Nicholas Cabasilas explains in his Commentary on the Divine Liturgy: “The sacrifice commemorates the death, resurrection and ascension of our Lord, since the precious gifts are changed into the very body of the Saviour. Those acts which precede the sacrifice recall the events which took place before his death, his coming, his first appearance and his perfect manifestation.” In referencing this particular hymn, he interprets that it “is like an encounter before the Lord who draws near and appears; that is why it is chanted while the Book of Gospels is brought in and shown, since it represents Christ. It is particularly clear that the prophet sang this hymn with the coming of Christ in mind, so full is it of joy and gladness; he is overflowing with this joy himself and invites others to share in it with him.”

 

Source: Lychnos June 2018 / July 2018