The Orthodox church is full of musical traditions that are unique to the faith. About 75 percent of Orthodox church services involve congregational singing. Organs and other instruments are traditionally not used, but some churches do feature them. In many cases, a small choir leads the congregation in a cappella harmony. The level of congregational response and the style of the music varies widely from parish to parish. Some people say the constant singing can feel like an escalator ride.
Tradition is a key part of the Orthodox faith and practice. It is not merely a set of dogmas or practices, but a living history of God’s salvation and the life of the Holy Spirit. Through it, Orthodox Christians become sons of God, walking in the Divine light.
The Liturgy is a traditional Christian service that includes readings and prayers. It begins with a prayer of the veil, followed by the Psalm and the Long Litanies, prayers for peace, the ecclesiastic hierarchy and the congregation. After these prayers, the priest chants the Gospel, and a sermon is often given after. The liturgy also includes prayers of fervent supplication, or “Lord, have mercy,” and a kiss of peace.
The Orthodox church uses color as a way to express different moods. The Lenten season has been marked by color changes in many parishes. During this time of reflection, children can be introduced to the significance of the different colors through church services and discussions.
Punctuality in the Orthodox church is an important virtue. Many of these churches believe in the importance of being on time. Many of the Orthodox churches also do not allow anyone to arrive late for services. The norm is for worshippers to arrive for the morning service at around 9:30. It is important to be punctual in Orthodox churches because this is considered an act of respect.
Mysterion (sacrament) of the Holy Spirit
For the orthodox church, the Mysterion (sacrament of the Holy Spirit) is the most important of the sacraments. It sanctifies humankind and reveals his saving work as a sacrament. The word sacrament comes from the Greek word sacramentos, meaning “a remembrance.” The word sacrament is a metaphorical term used by the church to refer to an act of grace or mercy that is performed by God through Christ. The sacraments offer the grace of Christ through the merits of his Passion and Death.