Before he can serve Communion, a Russian Orthodox priest must put on proper garments. When he puts on the first garment he recites, "My soul rejoices in the Lord. He has dressed me in garments of salvation and put upon me the vestments of joy. Like a bridegroom he has placed the miter upon me and like a bride He has surrounded me with adornment.” When he puts on the stole he says, "Praise be to God who has poured out his grace upon His priests like precious ointment upon the head.  Next he puts on the waistband and recites, "He has girded me with strength and made my way irreproachable.”  Then he puts on the cuffs that reach from wrist to elbow and says, "Thy right arm was glorified in strength. O Lord. Thy right arm has shattered the enemy.”  Then the left arm: “Thy hands have created me and formed me; teach me that I may know thy commandments.” Finally, he puts on the outer vests and prays.  Those of us who partake of communion must also make preparation, but it is spiritual and silent. We must put on the garments of humility and reverence and thanksgiving. Only then are we ready for Communion.


J. Michael Shannon is professor of preaching at Cincinnati Bible College in Cincinnati, OH.