The Divine Liturgy of Saint Germanus of Paris

The Divine Liturgy of Saint Germanus of Paris


August 1996

Explanatory Note

The basis of the Divine Liturgy given here, often referred to as the Gallican Liturgy, is attributed to Saint Germanus (Germain) of Paris, a leading bishop and liturgist of the Church of Gaul during the sixth century. As with other liturgies which are given identifies under the names of leading hierarchs of the local churches during the first millennium of Christianity, this ascription is not meant to indicate authorship, but rather is a name given to honor one who assisted in the development of an already existing liturgical tradition. The Gallican Rite had its roots in the growth of the Church of Gaul during the third and fourth centuries, deriving its markedly Eastern character from the many settlers from Greece and Asia Minor moving into southern Gaul at the time. The rite continued to develop through the Merovingian period of French history, and Saint Germanus appears to have been the foremost influence in this process. Since the reforms imposed by Charlemagne in the ninth century, the Gallican Rite has been suppressed by the papal authority in favor of the rite then celebrated at the papal court in Rome, although elements of it persisted for hundreds of years, particularly at St. Denis. The restoration of the Gallican Rite for liturgical celebration by the Orthodox Catholic Church of France is indeed fitting and represents its spirit and mission in the re-establishment of the orthodox practice which existed in the Western Church prior to the Great Schism.

Byzantine Orthodoxy has been the stronghold, guardian, and defender of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church through the centuries. Quite naturally, approbation for the re-introduction of the liturgy of Saint Germanus into the family of Orthodox rites was sought from patriarchs and bishops throughout the Orthodox world. During its period of restoration from 1874 to the present this rite has been blessed for use by the Holy Synod of Russia, subsequently the Patriarch of Moscow and AU Russia; The Synod of Bishops of the Russian Church Outside of Russia, (particularly by the recently canonized Saint John Maximovich of Shanghai and San Francisco); and the Patriarchate of Rumania. It is our hope that this Rite will provide Western Orthodox Christians in North America the same fullness of liturgical worship which is so dear to the faithful in the French Church, and a living example to a restored Orthodox witness in the Western World.

This booklet is a translation and adaptation of the rite of the Eglise Catholique Orthodoxe de France, as restored and developed from ancient sources by Eugraph and Maxime Kovalevsky. It was prepared by Father Francis DesMarais, pastor of the Western Orthodox Community of St. Gregory of Rome in Albany, New York, and Prof. William Carragan, a plainsong scholar and a contributing editor of the Anton Bruckner Collected Edition, Vienna.


The priest, vested fully or with only a stole, assisted by an acolyte with thurible, prepares the Gifts at the table of preparation (prothesis).

Priest. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given ; and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace; his kingdom shall have no end.

Through the prayers of the Theotokos, O Lord, have mercy on us.

He takes the bread with his left hand and says:

Blessed X are they who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.

He takes the spear in his right hand and traces a cross on the Lamb three times, saying :

Behold the Lamb of God, X who takes away the sins of the world.

He cuts the bread into cubic form :

The Lamb has been sacrificed.

He has redeemed men from all the nations.

He has made us kings and priests for our God, and we shall reign with him on earth.

He places the bread on the paten and pierces it with the spear.

And the soldier pierced his side with a spear.

He pours wine into the chalice:

And from out of his side came forth blood and water.

By his wounds we have been healed.

Come and I shall show you the Bride, who has the Lamb for her spouse.

He blesses water and pours it into the chalice in the form of a cross:

O God, who wonderfully created X and yet more wonderfully X restored the dignity of human nature: grant that through the mystery of this Xwater and this wine, we may share in the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity.

He passes the tower (asterisk), pall, and veils through the rising incense in the form of a cross, and places the tower over the lamb on the paten, saying:

First in the Virgin’s womb, then in the cave, then in the tomb have you rested, O Creator of heaven and earth. Now condescend to abide in us, O Savior of humankind.

He covers the Gifts with three veils. one each on the chalice and paten, and a larger one over both:

The Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.

Let us rejoice and be glad, and let us give him glory.

For the wedding feast of the Lamb draws near, and his Bride, the Church, is in readiness;

She is arrayed in fine linen, dazzling and pure, made ready through the virtues of the saints.

Through their prayers, O Lord, be mindful of my bishop, of your people, and of me, your unworthy priest. Amen.

He censes the Gifts and says.

O Lord, make our offerings rise before your face as a pleasing fragrance, for the salvation of the whole world, through your love and mercy for humankind, O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, our God, who are blessed and who live, reign, and triumph unto ages of ages. Amen.

The Entrance

Deacon. Arise ! Let us attend in silence !

The clergy move in procession, the deacon carrying the gospel book, during the singing of the Prælegendum. As they approach the sanctuary, the clergy invoke in a low voice the presence of the choirs of heaven and the Holy Spirit:

Deacon. Let us pray.

Priest. O Lord, our God, who has appointed armies of angels to serve your majesty in the heavens, grant that our entrance into the Holy of Holies be one also kith your incorporeal spirits, so that together with us they may celebrate and glorify your unbounded goodness. To you be glory unto ages of ages.

Deacon. Amen. Bless the entrance, father.

Priest. Blessed X be the entrance of the saints.

The deacon opens the sanctuary doors. The celebrants enter the sanctuary and the deacon places the gospel book on the altar. The clergy kiss the book and then the altar, saying:

Clergy. Hail, Word of Life eternal! Hail, Throne of the Most High !

The priest kisses the antimension and prays:

Priest. Through the prayers of the saint whose relic is present here, have mercy on us, O Lord.

He raises his hands:

Priest. O heavenly King, O Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, who are in all places and fill all things, the treasury of good things and the giver of life : Come and abide in us, cleanse us from every stain, and save our souls, O Good One.

Priest. O God, X open my lips.

Clergy. And my mouth shall announce your praise.

Priest. O God, X make speed to save me.

Clergy. O Lord, make haste to help me.

All cler. Glory be to the Father, X and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as in the beginning, so now and for ever, unto ages of ages. Amen.

When the Prælegendum is completed, the deacon intones in a loud voice:

Deacon. Let us attend !

Priest. The Lord be always with you.

All. And with your spirit.

The Trisagion

The server presents the thurible to the priest, who blesses it, saying :

Priest. X May the Lord enkindle the fire of his love and the flame of eternal charity.

The celebrant takes the thurible and intones the Trisagion. While the choir continues, the celebrant censes the altar on four sides and then gives the thurible to the deacon, who censes the icons, assembly, and clergy.

Priest. X Agios o Theos !

Choir. Agios ischyros

X Agios athanatos,

All. eleison imas.

Choir. X Sanctus Deus ! Sanctus fortis ! Sanctus immortalis,

All. Miserere nobis.

Choir. Holy God ! Holy mighty ! Holy immortal,

All. have mercy on us.

The priest, facing the altar, raises the gospel book, makes the sign of the cross with it, and proclaims:

Priest. Blessed X be the Holy Trinity, the undivided Unity, eternal, immortal, invisible, to whom be honor and glory unto ages of ages. Amen.

Kyrie eleison

The Hymn

The hymn proper to the season is then sung. Unless specified otherwise in the Proper, this is the Canticle of Zachary (Benedictus Dominus) during Advent and Lent, the Gloria in excelsis from Christmas to the last Sunday of Epiphany and from the first Sunday after Easter to the Sunday within Ascension Octave, and the Beatitudes or the Troparion of the day (if it was not sung at Lauds) after Pentecost.

The Collect of the Day

The priest prays the collect of the day, as appointed in the Proper. All respond.


All. Amen.

The Old Testament Reading

The first lector bows to the altar and then says to the priest in a moderate voice :

Lector. Father, your blessing.

Priest. X May the shadow and darkness of death disperse, and may the light of the Most High illumine our understanding.

Lector. A reading from the Book of…

The Gradual

The gradual of the day, as appointed in the Proper, is sung by the choir. During the singing of the gradual, the second lector presents the Book of Epistles to the priest and asks his blessing as follows. If the lector is the precentor. he remains at the ambo.

The Epistle

Lector. Father, your blessing.

Priest. May the Lord X be blessed by the mouths of his apostles.

Lector. A reading from the Epistle…

The Canticle from the Book of Daniel

(Benedictus es, Domine)

During the singing of the canticle the priest says the following prayer in a low voice:

Priest. Father of our Lord, source of all knowledge and wisdom, in your infinite goodness you have spoken to us many times and in diverse manners through your servants, the angels and the prophets; and, in the fullness of time, you deigned to speak through your own Son, revealing to the Church through him, your inseparable Word, the mysteries hidden even from the gaze of the four living creatures who, now moved to the utmost by your outpouring of love for mankind, never cease to sing to you and adore you. Grant, we beseech you, that our unworthy and weak voices may join with theirs in saying : Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty.

1. You are most blessed, O Lord, God of our fathers, worthy to be praised and glorified for eternity.

2. And blest is your Name, honorable and holy, worthy to be praised and glorified for eternity.

3. You are most blest, in the sacred temple of your glory, worthy to be praised and glorified for eternity.

4. You are most blest, reigning on the throne of your lofty kingdom, worthy to be praised and glorified for eternity.

5. You are most blest, seated up on the cherubim, gazing in to the depths, worthy to be praised and glorified for eternity.

The Alleluia

The alleluia and verse of the day, as appointed in the Proper, are sung by the choir. During this chant the priest gives the Gospel Book to the deacon.

The Gospel

The gospel procession forms and moves to the ambo, the deacon holding the gospel book at head height, while the following is chanted.

Deacon. Agios, Sanctus, Holy, Lord God Almighty,

All. Who was, who is, who shall come

Deacon. Father, your blessing.

Priest. X May Jesus, our God, the First and the Last, living unto the ages of ages, who the keys of death and hell, grant you a pure heart and pure lips and a voice like a loud trumpet to announce the Word, seated to impure spirits. Open our ears, O Lord, that we may understand what the Spirit says to the Church. Amen.

The deacon censes the gospel book

Deacon. Arise! Let us attend in silence. Let us listen to the Holy Gospel !

The priest blesses the assembly

Priest. The Lord be always with you.

All. And with your spirit.

Deacon. A reading from the holy Gospel according to Saint N.

All. Glory to you, O Lord.

The deacon solemnly chants the gospel. At the end of the reading:

All. Praise to you, O Christ.

The deacon kisses the gospel book and extends it to all clergy present to venerate, and then places it on the altar. On Sundays and solemnities the following (“Aius”) is sung during the return procession :

All. Holy, holy, holy and mighty is the Lord God, the One who was, who is, who shall come. Let every race, every tongue, every people, every nation exalt him.

For he has made of us priests and kings, and we shall reign with him on the earth.

To him be glory, unto ages of ages. Amen.

The Homily
The Litany
(attributed to Saint Martin)

Deacon. Let us say with all our heart and mind, and with all our spirit :

Lord hear us, and have mercy on us.

All. Kyrie X eleison.

Deacon. For the peace from on high, for peaceful times, for the holy Church throughout the world, and for the union of all, let us pray to the Lord.

All. Kyrie X eleison.

Deacon. For all Orthodox patriarchs, our bishop Germain, and all bishops, priests, and deacons; the clergy and all the faithful, let us pray to the Lord.