When to Say "May their Holy Blessings"

Hey all,

During the Liturgy of the Faithful, there's a part of the Liturgy that's always confused me - the part around when the people respond "May their Holy Blessings...".

What I'm confused about is sometimes we say "May their Holy Blessings...", and sometimes we go straight to "Glory to You O Lord", skipping the first part. Sometimes also Abouna lets the deacon say "Let those who read", and sometimes he cuts him off and says "Those O Lord," or the names of the departed.

Can someone explain the correct order of this part of the liturgy (I believe it's called the Diptych?), and when we should say "May their..." or skip straight to "Glory to..."?

Thank you in advance and God Bless.


  • I would like to first say that each deacon should say or do whatever their chorus leader and their priest agree on saying, and not just say things of their own accord, despite what is proper to say.

    Now, the norm and what is agreed upon to be said all the time is this:
    - Priest prays the Commemoration of Saints
    - Deacon responds with "Let those who read..."
    - Priest prays the Diptych (if he wishes)
    - Deacon says Ⲉⲩⲭⲉⲥ (Commemoration of Patriarchs) and Ⲡⲓⲛⲓϣϯ (Commemorations of Saint) "Kⲉ ⲡⲁⲛⲧⲱⲛ ⲧⲱⲛ..." (believed to be continuation of Ⲉⲩⲭⲉⲥ)
    - People respond with "May their holy blessing..."
    - Priest "Those O Lord..."

    The complication happens when some of the above is skipped, which happens ALL THE TIME. Most churches do not say Ⲉⲩⲭⲉⲥ and Ⲡⲓⲛⲓϣϯ yet abouna says the Diptych for a departed person. When that happens, some "feel" that "may their holy blessings" refers to the departed person who is being commemorated, so why say it?! I don't agree with that, but it's a thought. In addition, "May their holy blessings be with us all, amen." is actually not in the original response but it was approved to be said in that place by the Synod in its June 10, 1995 session. But where did it come from?! Some, including me, believe that it came from the hymn of Ⲡⲓⲛⲓϣϯ el-kebira (the great) since that's what the hymn ends with instead of "ⲕⲉ ⲡⲁⲛⲧⲱⲛ ⲧⲱⲛ."

    So, to deal with the complication above, some agree to only say "May their holy blessings..." when the people respond right after "Let those who read" or Ⲉⲩⲭⲉⲥ and/or Ⲡⲓⲛⲓϣϯ, in which case the thought is that the "holy blessings" refers to the saints that are mentioned. And if abouna says the diptych without any of the hymns after "Let those who read," the people respond with "Glory to you O Lord." 

    This last practice is not ideal or liked since it is a response to an exception to the proper order mentioned above. It also ignores the fact that the Synod has normalized the response as it is now without any exceptions (despite not being originally so).

    Another practice, which I personally like a lot, is for the priest to pray the diptych of any departed individual AFTER "May their holy blessings..."
  • edited August 2021
    I have always wondered if it’s intentional that most books don’t write “May their holy blessings” but rather “May their holy blessing”. Singular. In a sense almost resonating that the blessing, regardless of who it is we refer to, is Christ/the work of Christ in man. Wonder if Coptic is singular or plural …
  • Dear @ShareTheLord,
    You make a very good point.. Thanks for this lovely explanation. In Coptic it is singular..
    Ⲟⲩϫⲁⲓ ϧⲉⲛ Ⲡϭⲥ
  • It's a mistake that i realized and now will be fixing it. It's singular.
  • wow, interesting point about the singular blessing, thanks
  • Thank you minatasgeel and everyone for the clarification!
  • I might be a bit late to this discussion, but in our church "May their holy blessing.." is said only when the deacon hasn't already said it (as part of the Great Ⲡⲓⲛⲓϣϯ). That said, our priests have never said the Diptych in its "proper place"- they say it after the response (almost always May their holy blessing, as we rarely have time to say the regular Ⲡⲓⲛⲓϣϯ, much less the Great one), and the congregation responds with "Lord have mercy" before abouna continues "Those, O Lord/Ⲛⲏ ⲙⲉⲛ Ⲡϭⲟⲓⲥ". 
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