Christ is invisibly present among us.
All things in the church are to be done with order, in a spirit of humility.

We're to show respect for the holiness of the place in which we serve, especially behind the iconostasis. No one is permitted to enter the Holy Place without a blessing from the priest. All things are done with a blessing. Note: Whenever a hierarch is present, you'll approach him to be blessed. The priest doesn't bless when a hierarch is present.

  • Chanters - Chanting is a ministry. You should receive a blessing before approaching the Chanter's stand. Sometimes it isn't possible to do that before the service. When you arrive, approach the door on the south side of the iconostasis (on the right) and await a blessing.

  • Altar Servers - This, too, is a ministry. You already have a blessing to enter the Holy Place. Make three metanias (small prostrations) in front of the Royal Doors. Then, enter through the door on the south side. 
    Fold your garment neatly and approach the priest to be blessed. Come up to the edge of the Holy Table and await a blessing. You may then put on your robe. You should also wait to receive a blessing before removing your robe at the end of the service.

  • Epistle Readers - Likewise, this is a ministry. As such, it requires a blessing from the priest.

How to read the Epistle

The voice, too, should not be languid, nor feeble, nor womanish in its tone, such a tone of voice as many are in the habit of using under the idea of seeming important. It should preserve a certain quality and rhythm, and a manly vigor. For all, to do what is best suited to their character and sex, that is, to attain to beauty of life. This is the best order for movements, this is the employment fitted for every action.

In speaking of the voice, I certainly think it ought to be plain and clear. That it should be musical is a gift of nature, and isn't to be won by exertion. Let it be distinct in its pronunciation and full of a manly vigor, but let it be free from a rough and rustic twang. See, too, that it does not assume a theatrical accent, but rather keeps true to the inner meaning of the words it utters.

- St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan (4th century), On the Duties of the Clergy

Reading should be done with respect, reverence, and humility. This will help you prepare:

  • Be familiar with the instruction from holy Fathers.
  • Read the passage ahead of time.
  • Read at a conversational pace, not too fast, not too slow.
  • Be mindful of those listening and how you come across to them. 
  • Relax and breathe normally.
  • Articulate words and syllables. 

Here are the rubrics covering the movements of the Reader, what is said, and when it is said, and what you do.

(During the chanting of the Trisagion, come forward and stand next to the table that has the Epistle book on it. Please note that in absence of a Deacon - his portion is done by the Priest.)

Deacon: With Strength!
(That's your cue to walk to the middle of the Nave and face the Holy Table. Stand at the base of the solea.)

Deacon: Let us attend!

Reader: (Facing the Holy Table, recite the Prokeimenon, but only the verse. Don't say, Prokeimenon, Tone #.... followed by the verse. Occasionally, there are two verses. In that case, read both of them.)

Deacon: Wisdom!

Reader: The reading is from..... (Announce the Epistle lesson.)

Deacon: Let us attend!

Reader: (Turn to face the people and read the Epistle. Intone the end of the Epistle reading, if you can. That's the signal to the priest the reading has concluded. Close the book. Turn to face the Holy Table and wait for a blessing from the priest.)

Priest: Peace be to thee, the reader.

(Step toward the Priest. When he places his hand on the Epistle book, kiss his hand. Place the Epistle book back on its table and return to your seat.)