Sanctuary Service

Altar Positions Processions Crosier

Altar Positions:

For the sake of maintaining order in the Sanctuary during the services of the Divine Liturgy, the below system has been implemented. On any given service, there are four deacons serving the altar in the sanctuary. They are assigned a number (1-4), which defines their role and where they should stand. It is based on the following diagram:

Below are the roles for each position

Position 1 - Leading Servant (Subdeacon)
  • Prepares the Sanctuary for the Liturgy
  • Presents the bread offerings (if no other clergy is present)
  • Flips the pages of the Euchologion for Abouna
  • Distributes the Deacon Responses
  • Places and removes the Prospherine (if no other clergy is present)
  • Bundles the altar coverings
Position 2 - Confession Servant
  • Holds the wine cruet in the Offertory
  • Chants "One is the Holy Father..."
  • Holds the cross at the East side, facing west, and chants "Saved. Amen..."
  • Chants the Deacon Confession
  • Assists Abouna in hand washing
  • Assists in washing the Holy Vessels
  • Prepares the candles for Deacons 1 and 2 at the appropriate time
Position 3 - Procession Servant
  • Serves in Vespers
  • Performs all processions (Pauline, Praxis, Gospel)
  • Chants "In the wisdom of God..." from the door of the altar, holding the Cross
  • Chants "Greet one another..." from the East side of the altar, holding the Cross
  • Holds the gospel during the Absolution
  • Prepares the candles for Deacons 3 and 4 at the appropriate time
Position 4 - Censer Servant
  • Serves in Vespers
  • Cleans and prepares the Censer
  • Adds charcoal to the censer at the appropriate times
  • Presents and retrieves the censer at the appropriate times
  • Holds the water cruet in the Offertory
  • Retrieves the papers with the names of the Departed
  • Holds the candle next to the Blood during the Distribution


During the Holy 50 Days and other occasions that include a Procession around the Church, the following system is used:

Position 1: Holds the Processional Cross
Position 2: Holds the Icon of the Feast
Position 3: Holds the Second icon, if there is one!
Position 4: Holds the Incense


In the presence of His Eminence the Metropolitan Abba Youssef, a Subdeacon will be assigned to hold the Crosier (Bishop's Serpent Staff). The below is a rough guide: