“If the significance of time is to be found in relationship and love, it follows that true time is not simply that which is assessed mechanically by the clock or the calendar. True time is living, personal, existential, measured not by mere succession but by intention. True time is kairos rather than chronos, characterized not by the predetermined swing of the pendulum but by unpredictable yet decisive moments of opportunity, moments of disclosure filled with meaning when clock time stands still and when eternity breaks in.” – Metropolitan Kallistos Ware (from The Inner Kingdom)
The Service of Kairos is the first of three Sacred Preparatory Services in the order of the Divine and Holy Liturgy. Theologically, the Greek word Kairos refers to a section of time set apart for worship. Kairos is the moment where our time and the divine meet, the immeasurable present, the eternal now.
Along with sacred time, we also worship within sacred space. Part of this space includes the iconostasis, where the icons serve as windows into the holy realm. The priest venerates the icons in order to show our deep respect and great love for the holy ones depicted.
First, the icon of Christ, the Life-Giver, the Word of God, who is before all ages and who entered our time and became flesh and dwelt among us.
Second, the Theotokos, the beginning of our salvation, for it was she who gave birth to our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. She became the gate for God to enter into our space and time.
John the Baptist is also venerated, for he is the Forerunner, the last of the Prophets to proclaim the coming of Christ.
The Archangel Gabriel is venerated as the one who announced the Incarnation to the Virgin Mary.
To the left of the Theotokos, the priest venerates the icon of the Transfiguration. This spot is always reserved for the icon of the saint or Feast after which the specific church is named.
Finally, the priest venerates the icon of the Archangel Michael, chief commander of all the bodiless powers.
The priest then prays for strength to celebrate the forthcoming service and asks Christ to have mercy on us and save us. After bowing and asking forgiveness, he enters the sanctuary to begin vesting.
Sacred time continues. In it, “we make ourselves available so that the Lord can open us and sanctify us, and touch our hearts and our souls and make us holy.” And, as the icons remind us, we are not alone but rather are joined by the Saints and the angelic orders in thanksgiving and praise of the One divinity, worshipped in three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.
“The time is always right to make a beginning of a way of life that will lead to salvation. To prove this, the great Paul says, “Behold, now is the accepted time (kairos), behold now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2). “Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us do the works of light. Let us walk honestly as in the day” (Romans 13: 12-13). He does not mean that one particular hour or day is the acceptable time, but the whole period after the manifestation of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ.” – Saint Gregory Palamas, Homily 42
Psalm One (as chanted in the video)
“Blessed is the man that hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners, not sat in the seat of the pestilent. Alleluia.
But his will is rather in the law of the Lord and in His law will he meditate day and night. Alleluia.
And he shall be like the tree which is planted by the streams of the waters, which shall bring forth its fruit in its season; and its leaf shall not fall, and all things whatsoever he may do shall prosper. Alleluia.
Not so are the ungodly, not so; but rather they are like the chaff which the wind doth hurl away from the face of the earth. Alleluia.”
Video produced by Efstratios Papageorgiou
Written by Michael Gavalas
Sheet Music for the Psalm chanted in the video (source: St. Anthony’s Monastery Divine Liturgy Music Project)