What to Expect
One thing you may notice when you visit us is that Orthodox worship engages all five senses.
This is because God made these senses, and He called them “good”. So for Orthodox Christians, worship is not a dry or passive event. The burning candles and oil lamps, the colors of the vestments and the form and placement of the icons, the music of the choir, the fragrance of the incense, the taste of the Bread and Wine, these all work to focus our entire being on the worship of the Living God.
The Divine Liturgy
While we recommend that who are attending an Orthodox service for the first time come to Vespers (usually Wednesday or Saturday evenings), the Divine Liturgy is the culmination of our worship; it is the place where Earth and Heaven meet and where we become the physical dwelling place of God.
This short video explains a bit more about what the Divine Liturgy is and why the communion that it facilitates is so beautifully important in the life of a Christian.
This longer video gives an in depth look at the movements of the Divine Liturgy, offering commentary from the Holy Fathers of the Church on what is happening at each point.
If you are coming from a western background, all of this action may seem very strange and make you feel uncomfortable at first. Many of the people at St. Nicholas are converts and have also experienced these same feelings. Before very long though, you will very naturally begin to participate.
We could answer questions all day long, but very little about the Faith is actually communicated in words; it is an experiential encounter with the living God. As you’ll see when visiting, Orthodox Christian worship is entirely about God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit:
Orthodox Christian worship is entirely about God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit:
Sight: Images of Christ and of the Scriptures surround you in icon form.
Sound: The hymns are not about “I” or “me” (unless it is in a repentant form, usually during Great Lent), but about Christ and those who have offered their entire life to Him.
Taste: The Eucharist – bread and wine – is His holy Body and Blood.
Touch: We venerate (kiss) images of Christ and those who have offered their entire life to Him.
Scent: One of the strongest memory-inducers, various fragrances of incense are burned depending on the festal season and carry our prayer to Christ (Psalm 141:2).
So, as Philip said to Nathaniel: “Come and see!”