Before you get started with your first Orthodox church service, you’ll want to learn a little bit about what to expect. Let’s discuss Iconostasis, Sacred space, and Prayers and Rituals. Then we’ll move on to the actual service itself. After you learn about these three key elements, you’ll be well prepared to lead your own service. And when you do, you’ll be sure to leave feeling more spiritual afterward.
The iconostasis is an important architectural feature of an Orthodox church. It is a screen adorned with icons, and it separates the sanctuary from the nave, or congregation, area. Icons were used in Christian churches from ancient times, and the iconostasis is not only aesthetically pleasing, but has a profound spiritual and liturgical significance. Read on to learn more about icons on the iconostasis and its role in Orthodox worship.
The Archangel Michael is the most common icon of this type, and is often displayed on the doors of the deacons. Angels mystically participate in Orthodox worship on earth, and this icon represents the leader of angels. The Greek letters on the Archangel Michael’s halo are the same as the letters “Altas”, which stand for “Archangel of the Lord.”
During an orthodox church service, the altar and the sanctuary are separated by the iconostasis. The iconostasis derived from the ancient practice of placing icons on the low wall of the sanctuary before it was built, but in time it became a permanent standing wall. The iconostasis can be elaborate or very simple. During the service, there are three entrances, the Deacon Doors on either side of the center entrance, and the Royal Door. Sometimes, curtains are placed over the Altar to conceal it during the service.
This structure has a profound influence on how worshipers experience the sacred space. The high altar bar predetermines the loci, or direction of sight, of those attending the service, reducing their acoustic involvement. Worshipers’ paths are redistributed as a result, creating the main drama of attendance. The trajectory of visitors synchronizes with the perimeter of the church. The high altar bar has a profound effect on the way the audience perceives the sacral space.
The prayers of the Orthodox Church start with the blessing of the kingdom. Those who attend the service should be early to give themselves ample time to pray and prepare. The priest will then call the people to the back of the church to make room for the next set of prayers. The priest will then lay his right hand on the head of the Candidate. The prayer is followed by the blessing of the bread. There are different types of prayers for different kinds of services.
The priest prays to the Lord, the God of truth, His Only-begotten Son, the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Orthodox Church. He gives thanks to the Lord for preserving his people and establishing the new commonwealth. These prayers are meant to encourage Orthodox Christians to continue the work of God. They are composed of many parts that should be prayed before the service begins. The order is simple and effective.
In the Orthodox church, the main focus of a service is the Eucharist. This is the time when the priest, assisted by the deacon, prepares the bread and wine for the liturgy. This service has grown to be a full-fledged ritual, complete with symbolism. Although different Orthodox churches may have slightly different rituals, the outline of each service is similar.
Arrive early. Those arriving late may want to observe the rituals as they unfold. If there are certain events taking place during the liturgy, they are not allowed to enter until after the priest has censed the icon. People also shouldn’t enter the church during the Anaphora prayers or the blessing of the kingdom. Guests should enter the church quietly. While they’re waiting, they should avoid talking with the congregation, and they shouldn’t sit in the social hall or kitchen until the end of the service. This will rob them of the blessing. Afterwards, they should bow and bless themselves.
The Divine Liturgy is the central part of an orthodox church service. The Liturgy begins with a prayer by the priest. The priest wears vestments that indicate his role as a priest. Before the Liturgy begins, the priest prepares the bread and wine. Members of the congregation make the leavened loaves of bread and wine. The elements are then brought to the priest before the service, where the names of people are remembered.
The main point of the Liturgy is that it unites the whole Church. It is not a private act of personal piety, prayer service, or sacrament, but the official action of God’s Church. At its core, the Divine Liturgy is a celebration of Christ’s Resurrection and communion with God the Father. As such, it is not a penitential or mournful action, but a mystical manifestation of God’s eternal kingdom.