Singing the Conclusion of the Divine Liturgy

The conclusion of the Divine Liturgy consists of the thanksgiving after Holy Communion, and the dismissal. This article explains how to lead the singing during the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy, and covers pages 84-93 of our Divine Liturgies book.

The hymn of thanksgiving

The Divine Liturgies book contains three settings of the hymn, "May our mouths be filled", labelled A, B, and C.

Here is the A setting:

Listen

Here is the B setting:

Listen

Here is the C setting, which is sung at Divine Liturgies for the faithful departed. It is somewhat more difficult than the other two, but can be breathtaking when sung. Remember to sing each phrase on a single breath.

Listen

As we will sing below, these three melodies correspond to settinsg of "Blessed be the name of the Lord."

The responses for the short litany-prayer than follows are the usual ones.

The Ambon Prayer

When the priest exclaims, "Let us go forth in peace", the people's respond use the same melody as the usual "Lord have mercy":

The priest then announces the ambon prayer ("Let us pray to the Lord"), and the faithful respond with a special melody for "Lord, have mercy":

after which the priest chants the ambon prayer, and the faithful respond "Amen." Listen to the litany of thanksgivign and the Ambon Prayer.

NOTE: there are several special blessings and other ceremonies which may be held at this point in the Divine Liturgy, immediately after the Ambon Prayer. Just remember: if the deacon or priest unexpectedly intones, "Let us pray the the Lord!", the appropriate response is:

Lord, have mercy

The final blessing

The final blessing is itself a dialog: the faithful bless God ("Blessed be the name of the Lord"), and the priest in turn calls down God's blessing upon them.

The DIvine Liturgies book has four settings of "Blessed be the name of the Lord"; three of them correspond to the settings for "May our mouths be filled", and are intended to be used together. A fourth setting of "Blessed be the name of the Lord" is traditionally used on feast-days.

Also, note that the liturgical books state that "Blessed be the name of the Lord" is sung three times. However, in two of the musical settings (A and B), only a portion of the hymn ("now and forever" is sung three times; the entire hymn is not repeated. In the other two settings, the entire hymn ("Blessed be the name of the Lord, now and forever") is sung three times.

Here is the A setting of "Blessed be the name of the Lord"; compare it to the A setting of "May our mouths be filled" above.

Listen

Here is the B setting of "Blessed be the name of the Lord"; compare it to the B setting of "May our mouths be filled" above.

Listen

Here is the C setting of "Blessed be the name of the Lord." It is traditionally used on feast days, particularly when mirovanije (anointing with blessed oil and distribution of blessed bread) is celebrated on a major feast.

Listen

Here is the D setting of "Blessed be the name of the Lord", which is sung at Divine Liturgies for the faithful departed. Compare it to the C setting of "May our mouths be filled", above.

Listen

There is no strict rule that "May our mouths be filled" and "Blessed be the name of the Lord" must be sung to the same melody. Instead, this is simply a way to create a musical thread running through the service. No matter which version is sung, it should have a certain liveliness, solennnity, and drive. Never let this hymn drag!

The priest immediately gives the blessing, and the faithful respond "Amen" with the usual melody.

The Dismissal

The priest praises God once more ("Glory to you, O Christ God our hope, glory to you") and the people praise the Trinity, then sing "Lord, have mercy..." three times, and ask the priest for God's blessing. In doing so, they use a special melody which resembles a psalm tone, but starts on mi, not do. This gives the response a bright, joyful sound.

Listen

During the forty days of the Paschal season, this hymn is replaced with "Christ is risen", sung to the same melody:

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Fnaly, the priest imparts God's blessing, and the faithful respond with the long Amen:

The Divine Liturgy has ended.

Many years

On special occasions, the priest may call for the singing of a special chant by announcing:

To (Name), grant, O Lord, many years.

and the people respond by asking God to do so, with the hymn "God grant him (or her, or them, as appropriate) many years!" The priest may choose to honor only one person or group in this way, or may intone "To (Name), grant, O Lord, many years!" Each time, the faithful sing, "God grant him (or her, or them) many years!" Finally, when the priest makes no further announcements, the people conclude the chant: ".... in health and happiness, God grant him (her, them) many years!"

The Divine Liturgies book provides three different settings for Many Years. Here is the A setting; remember that the first part is sung for each group or person honored, and the second part is sung once at the end.

Listen

Here is the B setting. Traditionally, it may be harmonized in many parts, ex tempore.

Listen

Here is the C setting.

Listen

 

Eternal memory

When the Divine Liturgy is sung for the faithful departed, the priest may call for the singing of a special chant by announcing:

In blessed repose, grant, O Lord, eternal rest to your departed servant(s), (Name or Names), and remember him (or her, or them) forever.

and the people respond by asking God to do so by singing "Eternal memory, eternal memory, blessed repose and eternal memory." Is is not human memory that we ask for the departed, but remembrance by God in his mercy.

The Divine Liturgies book provides two different settings for Eternal Memody. Here is the A setting.

Listen

Here is the B setting.

Listen

Either melody may also be used for singng the same hymn in Church Slavonic:

Vičnaja pamjat', vičnaja pamjat, blaženni pokoj, vičnaja jemu (or jej, or jim) pamjat'.

Note that "jemu" corresponds to "him", "jej" to "jer", and "jim" to "them." Listen to Eternal Memory in Slavonic.