Divine Liturgy and the Great Thanksgiving

Divine Liturgy and the Great Thanksgiving

Some of the most profound words of the Divine Liturgy are rarely heard. Standing at the south corner of the altar, the deacon quietly utters to the presiding priest: “It is time for the Lord to act.” This phrase sets the tone for everything in our worship. We are not performing some sort of magical […]

Dressing for Eternity and the Purpose of Vestments

Dressing for Eternity

The sacrificial worship of the old covenant was distinguished by ceremony, beauty, ritual, and blood. And while our sacrifice is now both spiritual and bloodless, the elements of beauty, ceremony, and ritual remain. This should not surprise us, but the tendencies towards both dualism (a suspicion of all things “material”) and iconoclastic minimalism among many […]

Remaking the Temple of the Lord

Remaking the Temple of the Lord

While the temple of the first century was rejected by certain groups of Jews—such as those at Qumran—it was not because they had lost faith in sacrificial religion, but rather because they had lost the temple itself. Herod’s temple was no doubt wondrous in its externals, but the hierarchy was corrupt and the faith had […]

The Birth and Death of Mary

Saved Between the Birth and Death of Mary

Salvation is a journey from birth to death—and then to birth again. The calendar of our Church begins and ends with the story of salvation through Jesus Christ. And in that salvation story, the gateway—from birth to death—is the life of the Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary. The ecclesiastical year begins on indiction, or September 1st, […]

On Earth as in Heaven: The Origins of Orthodox Worship

On Earth as in Heaven: The Origins of Orthodox Worship

While it is true that Orthodox worship serves as a fulfillment of old covenant worship—being fulfilled in and through the risen Christ—the ultimate parallel or comparison that should be drawn is between the Orthodox worship on earth and that which exists in eternity (or, in “heaven”). It is easy to discern the type-fulfillment relationships between […]

The Eucharist of the Servant and Son

The Eucharist of the Servant and the Son

The Eucharistic liturgy, as described in the Didache or “Teaching of the Twelve Apostles” (ca. AD 50-70), contains prayers over the bread and the wine (mixed with water), which read as follows: We thank you, our Father, for the holy vine of David your servant, which you have revealed to us through Jesus your Child. Glory […]