The uppermost stage was reserved for the deacon who sang the gospel (facing the congregation); for promulgating episcopal edicts; reciting the names inscribed on the diptychs (see Diptych); announcing fasts, vigils and feasts; reading ecclesiastical letters or acts of the martyrs celebrated on that day; announcing new miracles for popular edification, professions by new converts or recantations by heretics; and (for priests and deacons) preaching sermons, - bishops as a general rule preaching from their own throne.
They are, however, in no sense evangelicals in the Western sense; for they observe rigorous fasts, reverence icons, and believe implicitly in the efficacy of the multiplication of crossings, bowings and prostrations.
The numerous fasts of the national church prescribe a fish diet on many days in the Fishing.
The new temple heralded a new future; the mournful fasts commemorative of Jerusalem's disasters would become feasts; Yahweh had left the Temple at the fall of Jerusalem, but had now returned to sanctify it with his presence; the city had purged its iniquity and was fit once more to become the central sanctuary.
It is worn, too, on the vigils of fasts, Ember Days and days of intercession, on the Feast of Holy Innocents (if on a week-day), at litanies, penitential processions, and at other than solemn benedictions and consecrations.
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