"O, come let us worship and fall down before Christ…”
In the early centuries of the Church, the procession with the Gospel book into the altar was the first movement of the Divine Liturgy. For a period, in Constantinople and in old Rome, the bishop, the clergy, and the faithful would process to a church for Divine Liturgy. Arriving at the church where the Liturgy was to be celebrated, the bishop, with the Gospel, and clergy would process into the altar and the people into the nave singing “O, come let us worship and fall down before Christ…” When the Gospel had been placed on the altar and the people were gathered in the nave, worship began.
We no longer process to the church for the Liturgy, and the Little Entrance is no longer at the very beginning of the Divine Liturgy, but occurs after the Great Litany, the 3 antiphons and the Little Litany. Nonetheless, the theological significance of the Little Entrance remains. As the Gospel book is lifted up by the deacon before the royal doors and the priest prays that the holy angels might accompany the faithful as they enter into worship, we are reminded that “He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things” (Eph 4:10). Christ, the Incarnate God, has become our eternal High Priest, has entered the tabernacle not made by hands and abides for us in the presence of God. “Christ, then, is the celebrant of the Liturgy in which we participate when we come to Church. He brings us up into heaven with him so that we may eat and drink with him – may feed on him – in his Kingdom.”1
But what does it mean, for us and for God, that we seek communion with Christ, that we worship?
Read more: Vol II - Worship (opens in a new tab)
Hieromonk Herman (Majkrzak) in “The Little Entrance in History, Interpretation and Practice,” 21. Academia.edu. Accessed 9/6/2022. ↩