2148 Michelson Dr, Irvine, CA 92612

Blessed is the Kingdom

Fol­low­ing the proth­e­sis the priest (or dea­con) incens­es the altar, the icons and the entire church.

Incense is offered to God

The Priest cens­es through­out the entire Church

While incens­ing the altar table he recites lines which con­fess the full­ness of Christ’s pres­ence, in the grave, in death, in par­adise, at the right hand of the Father, “fill­ing all things, Thy­self uncir­cum­scribed.” He also recites Psalm 51: “Have mer­cy on me, O God.”

After the incens­ing, the cler­gy pray O Heav­en­ly King, beg­ging for the pres­ence of the Holy Spirit.

They recite the angel­ic salu­ta­tion: “Glo­ry to God in the high­est and on earth peace, good will towards men.”

The roy­al doors of the iconos­ta­sis are opened and the Litur­gy begins.

The first excla­ma­tion of the Divine Litur­gy reveals the key to the entire celebration:

Blessed is the King­dom of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spir­it, now and ever and unto ages of ages.

With these words the cel­e­brant announces the source and the goal of the divine ser­vice of the Peo­ple of God, the very con­text and con­tents of the entire litur­gi­cal action. It is the King­dom of God brought to the world by Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and mys­ti­cal­ly reign­ing already in the faith­ful dis­ci­ples of Christ by the pres­ence and pow­er of the Holy Spirit.

The King­dom of God is eter­nal life in com­mu­nion with God in lov­ing obe­di­ence to his divine will. It is life in union with the Blessed Trin­i­ty; life lived toward the Father, through the Son, in the Holy Spir­it. It is the life which Christ has giv­en to men by his incar­na­tion, cru­ci­fix­ion, res­ur­rec­tion and glo­ri­fi­ca­tion. It is the life to be lived already in this world by the Peo­ple of God.

To bless the King­dom of God means to love it as one’s most pre­cious pos­ses­sion. The response of the peo­ple to the procla­ma­tion of bless­ing by the priest is with the word Amen, which means so be it. This is the solemn affir­ma­tion that indeed the bless­ing of God’s King­dom is fit­ting and prop­er. It is the offi­cial con­fir­ma­tion that this King­dom is indeed the “pearl of great price” for the faith­ful, which once hav­ing found it, they will love it and serve it and desire to have it for­ev­er (Lk 13:14).

Only the Divine Litur­gy and the oth­er sacra­ments and ser­vices of the Church which were orig­i­nal­ly inte­grat­ed into the eucharis­tic cel­e­bra­tion, such as bap­tism, chris­ma­tion and mar­riage, begin with the solemn bless­ing of the King­dom of God.