|What is the proper demeanor when the gifts are presented at the Great Entrance?|
Father Chris, please explain the proper demeanor and respect to show when presenting the gifts [at the Great Entrance]?
The acknowledgement of the presentation of the Gifts during the Great Entrance is a recognition that what is offered comes from the people of God (the congregation). In the early church, the gifts were actually prepared in an outside room or building called the “Skevophilakion” or Gift House. Here, the people would offer their gifts to the Church of their tithes, wheat, wine, oil, bread, other offerings (including money). The Clergy would choose from among the best bread and wine offered, and prepare the “gifts” for the Eucharist. Then, these gifts would be processed into the Church for the offering at the Liturgy.
Today, the gifts are prepared on the Table of Oblation, on the left side of the Altar. In order to remind us that these gifts are from the offering of ourselves to God, we process these gifts around the congregation. Bowing one’s head is an appropriate gesture of respect which was done instead of a full prostration on Sundays, in honor of Christ’s Resurrection. (During the weekday liturgy, a full prostration or kneeling is an appropriate gesture at the Great Entrance.) It is customary, when the gifts are processed around, to follow the liturgical procession—in other words, facing the “action”. One can still keep one’s head bowed, while facing the procession as it moves around the Church.