Altar Servers

Serving in the Holy Altar is a very special privilege and honor. The altar is a place where Christ is always present both spiritually and physically in the amnos, or consecrated bread, that is kept there constantly. Wherever Christ is present, the angels are also present, praising Him and ready to serve Him in whatever way is needed.

When in the altar, the altar server too is surrounded by these invisible angels and even more,  he also represents them in a visible way. It is his duty to serve the priest in any way that might be needed. The robes that he wears represents the glory of the angels and of heaven; the sash that crosses his back represents the wings of angels; the candles that he carries during the entrances represent the light of God which follows wherever he is; and when he processes with the priest during the Small and Great Entrances he represent the angels escorting Christ. 

 

 

Altar Groups for Spring 2023

 

 

The Altar groups for Spring of 2023 have been posted. Please click the download button below or CLICK HERE to download the groups and schedule.

 

Remember to be on Time - Honor our Lord.
9:50 unless you are a leader. Leaders 9:40 to prepare the Antidoron

 

Altar Server Guidelines


As an Altar Server, you are very privileged because you are here to serve Christ. The sanctuary is holy ground, the 'Ήoliest of Holies" and the place of sanctification. Your behavior, your attitude and your service should reflect "fear of God, faith in God and love of God." Neither laymen nor women are permitted to enter the Sanctuary, except in cases of urgent need, and then only with special permission.  As an Altar Server you have received such permission. This is a very special privilege.

Rules and Regulations


1. ΒΕ ΟΝ ΤΙΜΕ: Be in the Sanctuary at least 10 minutes before the start of the Divine Liturgy. This is a must! Ιf you rely on transportation to get here, you must insist that you leave early enough to be here at the proper time. Sunday Divine Liturgy begins at 10:00am, and you need to be here no later than 9:50am. This is important!


2. ΒΕ STILL AND ΑTTΕΝΤΙVΕ: Do not wander in the preparation area or the restroom or any other area during the service. Be attentive to the clergy and your duties. Stand straight and do not lean on walls. Stay attentive at the line between the granite and tile.


3. ΒΕ PROPERLY DRESSED: Altar Servers must wear neatly pressed pants, a white shirt (plain colors are a\so acceptable) and a tie. Your hair should be cut and neatly combed. Your hands and fingernails should be clean and your shoes polished. Wear dark socks. Νο short, tshirts, polo shirts, tennis shoes or sandals are permitted.


4. ΒΕ QUIET: The captain of the Altar Server team should direct with hand signals. Altar Servers should avoid speaking or whispering, or moving about as much as possible. When not engaged in an assigned duty, stand attentive facing the Altar.


5. DO ΝΟΤ WALK ΙΝ FRONT OF ΤΗΕ ALTAR: Only the clergy- bishops, priests and deacons - are allowed to stand or walk in front of the Holy Altar.


6. PREPARE ΤΟ RECEIVE COMMUNION: Come prepared to receive Holy Communion when you serve as an Altar Server. Do not eat or drink anything before Communion is served.


7. RESPECT ΤΗΕ CLERGY: Bend and kiss the hand of the priest or the deacon whenever you hand him something, or when they return something to you.


8. FOLLOW DIRECTIONS: Follow the direction of the team captain. Do not \eave the Sanctuary until you have received permission from your team captain.


9. RESPECT VOUR ROBE: Hang up your robes and belt with respect when finished, after Liturgy.


10. RESPECT ΤΗΕ HOLINESS OF ΤΗΕ CHURCH: You are an example and a role model for all the younger youth in the church. Be strong in your faith and know it well.

Duties of an Altar Server During the Divine Liturgy

 

  1. Get up early like you would on a school day so you can be on time (9:30 for captain and 9:50 for others). Make sure you are properly dressed. Honor the fast before receiving Communion.
  2. When you enter the Cathedral, light a candle and venerate the icons ίn the narthex. Enter down the right aisle of the nave and into the entry door behind the chanters. Say a prayer and make your cross when entering the sanctuary.
  3. Upon entering the sanctuary, select a robe that fits and comes down to the top of your shoes along with the appropriate length belt. Then neatly fold these and present them to the priest or the Bishop ίf he is present, to be blessed. Say, "Father, bless the robe and the belt," or "Master" instead of "Father" if presenting to the Bishop.
  4. Before the beginning of the Liturgy, the captain will cut the bread that is to be blessed for use as antidoron.
  5. At the beginning of the liturgy, the captain should start (light) a new charcoal for censer.
  6. After the choir completes the singing of the hymn 'Ό Monogenes Yios... " ('Όnly Begotten Son... ") the captain of the group assigns two boys with lίghted candles for the Small Entrance. They go before the deacon (or priest) who carries the Gospel book, bow in the center of the Solea and take a position on either side of the Royal Doors. The captain should have the censer ready for the priest when he enters the sanctuary for censing.
  7. During the reading of the Epistle, three altar boys are to prepare themselves with the candles and cross for the Gospel reading. They will go before the deacon to the pulpit and stand on either side of it, or, if the priest is to read the Gospel, then they will go out, bow in the center of the Solea, and take a position on either side of the royal doors. Ιf a deacon reads the Gospel, then when he's done the Altar Servers lead him over to the Royal Doors where they will take up a position on each side of ίt while the deacon enters the Altar area.
  8. When the Cherubic Hymn begins, the captaίn should have the censer ready for the priest. He then assίgns the candles, fans, cross and censer for the Great Entrance. The candles lead, followed by the fans and the cross. The person with the censer wίll walk backwards in front of the deacon or priest, censing the gifts carried by the clergy. When you they arrive back at the front, the Altar Servers split and take up a place on either side of the Royal Doors. Once the clergy has entered the sanctuary, the Altar Serνers bow ίn the center, and enter the sanctuary through the side doors; censer fίrst, followed by the cross, the two fans and finally the two candles. The censer should go through the left (north) door and stand next to the altar, ready to be handed to the priest.
  9. The consecration of the Gifts begins whe11 the deacon or priest lifts the Star from the Paten. Be very attentive. When the priest raises the Gifts, all should prostrate themselves (unless ίt is the period between Pascha and the Ascension). When the priest stands, all stand back up. The captain should be ready to hand the censer to the priest. An altar boy should then be assigned to bring the antidoron to the altar for a blessing.
  10. After the Creed, one altar boy prepares the Zeon {boiling water for Holy Communion).
  11. After the Lord's Prayer {Our Father... ) when the priest says, "Proskomen, ta Agia tis Agiis" ('Ίet us attend, the Holy Gifts for the holy people of God") one Altar Server brings the Zeon to hand to the deacon or priest.
  12. After the clergy partake of Holy Communion and the Chalice is prepared, the Altar Servers leave the Sanctuary to receive communion and then to assist in distribution to the congregation. The Altar Servers should be the first to receive Communion and should be prepared to partake. Then they will assist in serving Communion by holding the cloth for the priest or holding the antidoron.
  13. When communion is completed and the priest returns to the sanctuary, the captain or whoever he assigns should have the censer ready for the priest to cense the gifts.
  14. After the next set of petitions, prepare to exist with the priest through the north door when he goes to deliver the sermon, and sit quietly in the first row. When the priest is finished and returns to the sanctuary, quietly and orderly return through the north door into the sanctuary as well.
  15. lf there is a memorial service {and the captain should check at the beginning of the service to find out if there are any special services or processions), after the priest says the prayer in front of the icon of Christ, one Altar Server should be assigned to light a candle on the table on the Solea, and others take out two candles and the censer and stand on either side of the table.
  16. After the dismissal prayers and any announcements, the assigned Altar Server takes the antidoron out to the Solea to be distributed by the priest.
  17. The captain should prepare hot water for the cleansing of the chalice. Another Altar Server is assigned to extinguish all the candles on the altar.
  18. The others should assist in clean up. The captain is responsible to see that the area where the antidoron is prepared is spotless and clean. Once the distribution of the antidoron is complete, empty the bowl and tray and put any left over antidoron in small sandwich bags. You can cut up any partial loaves as well. Ask the clergy how many they need and the rest can be given to the Altar Servers or taken to the social hall to give to parishioners to take home. Sweep up all crumbs from the floor and put ALL crumbs into a sandwich bag for proper disposal in an area where no one will walk. Do ΝΟΤ put crumbs in wastebasket. Fold cloths and put into the bowl. Empty the water kettle and put out all the candles eχcept for the small oil candle on the Altar. Clean the charcoal and burnt incense out of the censer. Polish the cross, fans and brass the Zeon holder. Make sure the floor is clean of all incense and any other debris. Check to see that the robes are all hung up properly along with the belts.
  19. When all the antidoron has been distributed and the area cleaned, all Altar Servers must carefully and neatly hang their robes and belts. Νο one is to leave early or to remove their vestments until finished. This is a team effort.
  20. Make your cross and exit reverently, thanking the Lord for being able to serve Him in this way.

Duties of the Altar Group Captain

  1. The captain should be the first one to arrive. 
  2. When arriving in the Cathedral, make sure that the candles are lit and that everything is ready for the Divine Liturgy.
  3. Prepare the antidoron and assign who is to cut it up. This should just be one person.
  4. Help and instruct new Altar Servers in their duties.
  5. Check the oil in the candles.
  6. Light a new charcoal in the censer during the Doxology, just before Liturgy begins.
  7. Ensure that there is water in the water heater. 
  8. Be near the priest at all times during the Divine Liturgy, standing near the censer stand. You are responsible for assigning specific duties to the Altar Servers.
  9. Ensure that all Altar Servers not assigned to a specific duty stand on the line between the tile and the granite.
  10. The captain should be the last one to leave. Check to see that everything has been put back into its proper place (especially the robes), that all the candles are extinguished and that the area where the antidoron is cut is clean and orderly.

The following tasks are ones which you will need to assign:

Α. Carrying candles during the Small and Great Entrances.

Β. Carrying the fans during the Srnall and Great Entrances.

C. The carrying of the cross during the Entrances.

D. Who will handle the censer during the service.

Ε. The cutting of the bread for antidoron.

F. Who will hold the antidoron during Communion and at the end of the service.

G. Carrying the Zeon to the Altar table.

Η. Holding the cloth for the priest and deacon during Communion.

I. Taking antidoron to Sunday School and the attendance list to the Sunday School office.

Duties during the service
Doxology - Start a new charcoal in censer
Small Entrance - North Door - two candles precede Deacon with Gospel. Bow at center of Solea and stand on either side of Royal Doors. After Priest enters Sanctuary, bow at center and return through north doors. Have censer ready when reading of Epistle begins.
Gospel Reading - North door - two candles and the cross. Candles always go first. Go to Ambo and when deacon finishes go to stations on either side of the Royal door. At conclusion of Gospel bow and reenter through both doors. Have censer ready at conclusion of Gospel.
Great Entrance - North Door - Candles Cross, Cherubs and censer. When Priest gives signal exit and walk slowly down the right aisle to back of Nave and then up center aisle. Take positions on either side of Royal Door. After Priest enters Sanctuary bow and renter through both doors.
Turn up heat on water
During the consecration (When Priest lifts up the Chalice and Paten) prostrate yourself facing Altar. After consecration have censer ready for Priest. Bring Andidoro to Altar for blessing while Deacon finishes censing.
After Lord’s Prayer pour boiling water (Zeon) into container and bring to Altar.
After Priest and Deacon receive communion prepare to exit to assist in serving communion and distribute Andidoro. Take tray of Andidoro to Sunday School along with attendance sheet to Sunday School office.
After communion is complete return to Sanctuary. Afte Decon finsihes petitions prepare to exit with Priest through North door when he goes to deliver sermon and sit quietly in the front row. When priest is finished and as soon as he begins to return to the Sanctuary, quietly and orderly return through North door to Sanctuary.
If there is a Memorial (Leader should check at the beginning of service to find out about any special services or processions) After Priest gives Prayer in front of icon of Christ, one altar boy is assigned to light candle on table on Solea and others take out two candles and the censer and stand on either side of the memorial table.
After the Dismissal prayers and any announcements take out the Andidoro for distribution by the Priest.
Do not disrobe until you are given permission by your group leader.
Hang up robes and belts carefully.
Make you cross when you leave the sanctuary and when you leave the Nave of the Cathedral.

Clean up
The Leader is responsible to see that the area where the Andidoro is prepared is spotless clean.
Once the distribution of the Andidoro is complete then the lead altar boy should empty the bowl and tray and put any left over Andidoro in small sandwich bags (Cut up partial loaves). Ask clergy how many they need and the rest can be give to altar boys or taken to the Social hall to give to parishioners to take home for use during the week. Sweep up all crumbs from the floor and put ALL crumbs into a sandwich back for proper disposal in an area where no one will walk. Do not put crumbs in wastebasket. Fold cloths and put into bowl.
Put out all candles.
Make sure the floor is clean of all incense and any other debris. Check to see that the robes are all hung properly along with the belts.
Make cross and exit reverently thanking the Lord for being able to serve Him in this way.