Dear Fr Christopher,
Having watched the Divine Liturgy broadcast online through RIK (Cyprus
many times, I
have noticed that immediately after saying By the prayers of our holy
Fathers..., the priest closes the Royal Gate and the faithful exit the
Temple. Is antidoron not distributed by the priest in Cyprus?
With all due gratitude and respect,
Answer to Question 68.
As far as I know all churches distribute antidoron after the service,
but not always by the priest. In village churches where the congregation
is usually small, most priests will distribute the antidoron themselves,
but in large city churches where the congregation is in the hundreds if
not thousands on some feast days, the antidoron is often placed by the
door or just outside and the people help themselves. Ideally the
distribution of the antidoron should be done by the priest but it is
time consuming and very tiring especially during the summer with the
very high temperatures. On the other hand, not giving the antidoron
personally has the negative aspect that the priest doesn't get to meet
his flock. In the majority of cases where the antidoron is placed by the
door for "self service", the priest is pushed for time and needs to
clear the church quickly to prepare the church for the baptisms that
have been booked to immediately follow the Liturgy.
In England and I would assume in Australia also, the Liturgy starts much
later than is does here in Cyprus and finishes near to lunchtime so the
priests can have lunch before they begin the afternoon session of
baptisms and weddings, but in Cyprus (we begin at 6.30am) the Liturgy
finishes between 9.30 – 10.00 leaving time for two baptisms before
lunch, but not much time for the priest to catch a quick coffee break.
With love in Christ