Amidst the glories of the Russian Church on YouTube I ran across this simply stunning video of His Beatitude, Kyrill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia serving a hierarchical Presanctified Divine Liturgy.
The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, is celebrated in Eastern Orthodox Churches on weekdays during Lent. Instead of consecrating the Eucharist at this liturgy, an extra Host (also known as a “Lamb” in the Eastern Church) upon which the Precious Blood is also poured and it is reserved in a special tabernacle on the altar. This is because a “regular” liturgy is not allowed on weekdays as it is festal in character. So, the Presanctified Liturgy is held on weekdays with a pre-consecrated Eucharist. You can read more here on OrthodoxWiki: Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts
In the video you will se the beginning of the Liturgy, which is identical to Vespers (the evening daily service), the Great Censing by deacons during the singing of Lord I Call to Thee as well as the little entrance with the Gospel book and singing of Gladsome Light. The video moves on through the singing of Lord I Cry to Thee with the patriarch censing around the altar, ending with the patriarch giving Communion.
Aside from the obvious visual beauty, there is a deep sense of calm in the music and attitude of those serving this Liturgy. Even with the Patriarch, bishops, many priests and lots of deacons there is a pervading sense of calm and peace which pervades this service. Presanctified Liturgy is one of my favorite services of the Church year, so it’s always nice to see them done well and on a grand scale.