Music for the Ordination Services

In preparation for the episcopal ordination of Fr. Kurt Burnette on December 4, 2013, the Council of Hierarchs of the Byzantine Catholic Metropolia of Pittsburgh approved texts and music for the services associated with episcopal ordination and enthronment. (Portions of this music are also used in the wedding service, and so should be learned by all cantors.)

During the procession of the candidate around the holy table

When the candidate for ordination is taken in procession around the holy table, three hymns are sung twice each (once by the clergy in the sanctuary, and once by the faithful in the nave).

(listen to recorded example)

(listen to recorded example)

(listen to recorded example)

This irmos should not be sung too slowly! Listen to the Slavonic version for comparison.

"Lord, have mercy" at the imposition of hands

Immediately after the ordaining bishop lays hands on the candidate and says the prayer of ordination, the assisting clergy sing "Lord, have mercy" three times, using a melody from page 159 of the Bokshai Prostopinije:

(listen to recorded example)

or a traditional melody from the Galician tradition:

(listen to recorded example)

In the ordination services for a priest or deacon, the cantor and people immediately repeat this response, using the same melody sung by the priests. In the ordination of a bishop, the faithful do not repeat this response.

Responses to the bestowal of vestments and instruments of office

When the bishop (or for an episcopal ordination, the presiding bishop) gives each vestment or instrument to the newly-ordained and exclaims, “Axios!” (Greek for He is worthy), the clergy in the sanctuary, then the faithful in the nave, sing “Axios!” three times using one of the following two melodies. (The faithful should use the same melody as the clergy.)

(listen to recorded example)

(listen to recorded example)

Since this is done for each vestment or insignia article, the melodies will usually be alternated. But the cantors should always respond using the melody sung by the clergy.

When the final instrument is bestowed (the ripidion for a deacon, the liturgikon for a priest, or the crown for a bishop), the clergy and then the people respond by singing “Axios!" to this melody:

(listen to recorded example)

At the enthronment of a bishop, the first or second melody is sung by the clergy, then the faithful, when the bishop is escorted to his throne and the presiding bishop exclaims, “Axios!”

The third melody is sung by the clergy, then the faithful, when the bishop is given his pastoral staff and the presiding bishop exclaims, “Axios!”