Litya Service to bless Bread or Kolyva offered in honor of a Saint

Commonly used to bless Phanouropita (St Phanourios' Bread)

The bread or kolyva is placed in front of the Icon of Christ on the templom (_eikonostasion_) with a lit candle in it.

If the blessing is to take place during the Divine Liturgy, immediately after the Prayer behind the Ambon the choir chants the Apolytikion and Kontakion of the Saint:

Apolytikion (Troparion). Tone 4.

A heavenly song of praise is chanted radiantly upon the earth; the company of Angels now joyfully celebrateth an earthly festival, and from on high with hymns they praise thy contests, and from below the Church doth proclaim the Heavenly glory which thou hast found by thy labors and struggles, O glorious Phanourios.

Glory ... Both now ...

Kontakion. Tone 3.

Thou didst save the Priests from an ungodly captivity, and didst break their bonds by Divine power, O godly-minded one; thou didst bravely shame the audacity of the tyrants, and didst gladden the orders of the Angels, O Great Martyr. Wherefore, we honor thee, O divine warrior, glorious Phanourios.

Priest: Let us pray to the Lord.

Choir: Lord, have mercy.

The priest then stands in the midst of the Beautiful Gates, turned slightly towards the Icon of Christ, and censes the bread or kolyva as he says the following:


O Lord, Jesus Christ, the Heavenly Bread, the munificent Bestower of the food that abideth unto eternity, the Giver of good things, Who through Elias didst cause miraculous sustenance to gush forth, the Hope of the hopeless, the Help of the helpless, and the Salvation of our souls: Bless these gifts and those who have offered them unto Thee, to Thy glory and in honor of the [Name of the Saint]

Grant, O Good One, unto those who have prepared these gifts [names may be inserted here] all Thine earthly and Heavenly good things. Gladden them in joy with Thy countenance, and show them the paths to salvation. Be swift to fulfill the requests of their hearts and their every wish, guiding them to the doing of Thy commandments, that in gladness and rejoicing they may forever hymn and glorify Thy most honorable and majestic Name, by the intercessions of the Most blessed Theotokos, of the holy, glorious [Name of the Saint] and of all Thy Saints. Amen.

The Choir then chants "Blessed be the Name of The Lord..." (Psalm 33), with sweet melody, and the rest of Divine Liturgy.

But if the blessing is to take place outside of the Divine Liturgy, the order is as follows:

Priest: Blessed is our God, always, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.

Reader: Amen.

Priest: O Heavenly King ....

Reader: Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal : have mercy on us Thrice.

All-holy Trinity, have mercy on us. Lord, cleanse us from our sins. Master, Pardon our iniquities. Holy God, visit and heal our infirmities for thy Name's sake.

Lord, have mercy Thrice.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Our Father, who art in the heavens, hallowed be thy Name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation. but deliver us from the Evil One.

Priest: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Reader: Amen.

The Apolytikion and Kontakion of the Saint are chanted, followed by the Prayer, and the Priest concludes with the Short Dismissal.

Although some have seen this service only in relation to the Great Martyr and Wonderworker Phanourios, in fact, it is the tradition to offer either bread or Kolyva in this way for any Saint to whom the faithful wish to beseech intercessory prayers, especially on the day of the Saint's commemoration.

Edited slightly from a text kindly provided by St. Gregory Palamas Monastery, Etna, CA 96027-0398

Additional Information:

Recipes for Phanouropita (St Phanourios' bread), both fasting and non-fasting

Recipe for Kolyva - Boiled wheat with sugar, fruit and/or nuts

Life of St Phanourios