Any veneration is performed according to church rank and seniority. First come the clergy – older, then younger. When the clergyman (bishop or priest) who is highest in rank completes venerating the icon, the Gospel or the Cross, he ascends to the ambon and bows from the waist to the people, saying the words: “Christ is among us” (if it is a bishop, he blesses the people with the sign of the cross and these words). Everyone in the church bows down to the ground, without making the sign of the cross, answering: “He is and will be”. After that, the younger clergymen (priests, deacons and readers) venerate the icon in pairs, followed by the people in the church – first men, then maidens and women.
The order of veneration is as follows: approaching the icon, the two parishioners make the sign of the cross and bow to the ground, saying the specific prayer for the feast day, then again they make the sign of the cross and bow to the ground saying the specific prayer. For example, on the feast days of the Most Holy Theotokos: “The Most Holy Mother of God, save us”, and on the feast day of St. Nicholas: “Holy hierarch of Christ, Nicholas, pray to the Lord for us”. Then the parishioners cross themselves, fold their arms crosswise on the chest (with the right arm over the left arm) and with their hands making the sign of the cross, they reverently kiss the icon. Usually in these cases, standing next to the icon is someone from the clergy who points a candle to the spot where the icon should be kissed. The first to kiss the icon is the parishioner standing on the right, who is usually the elder of the two parishioners. After kissing the icon, the worshipers again cross themselves and bow to the ground before the icon, saying the above-mentioned prayer, and then, without crossing themselves, they bow to the ground in front of the bishop or priest standing to the right of the icon, with the words: “Forgive me for Christ’s sake, honourable father” or “holy lord” (if bowing to a bishop). Then, again without crossing themselves, they bow to the ground to each other, with each person on the right hand side of the other. At the same time when bowing, the parishioner on the right (who kissed the icon first) says: “Christ is among us” and the parishioner on the left says: “He is and will be”. In the period from the Bright Resurrection of Christ to the end of Holy Pascha, instead of the above “greeting – answer”, we instead say the Paschal greeting: “Christ is Risen!” – “Truly He is Risen!”. This also applies to the clergy.
This same order is observed with the reverent kissing of the holy Gospel, when on Saturday evening it is carried to the middle of the church for veneration. Only here, there are some differences. When approaching the holy book, the worshiper crosses himself and utters the prayer: “With fear and love I approach You, Christ, and I believe Your words“, before completing the first ground bow. Before the second ground bow, they cross themselves and utter: “With the fear of committing a sin and with love for salvation’s sake”.
Then, having crossed themselves, they reverently kiss the right foot of the crucified Savior depicted on the Gospel, saying the Jesus prayer. After that, they again cross themselves and
bow to the ground, uttering: “I believe, Lord, in Your holy Gospel. Christ God, help me and save me”. Then they bow to the ground to the priest and each other.