Liturgy and Icon

Liturgy and Icon

There is an important connection between our liturgical services and holy icons. In many ways, it’s difficult to imagine how our Liturgy could subsist without icons. They are an irrevocable part of the life of the Church. Ouspensky notes (Theology of the Icon, vol. 1, p. 8): It is absolutely impossible to imagine the smallest liturgical rite in the Orthodox Church without icons. […]

The Victory of God

The Victory of God

The victory of God is not a schizophrenic victory over himself; it is a victory over death and its author, the devil. It is a great reconciliation; the warm embrace of the prodigal son. During both Great Lent and Holy Week, Orthodox Christians hear some of the most deeply profound words ever uttered. And through these hymns, readings, […]

The World Turned Upside Down: The Service of the Bridegroom

The World Turned Upside Down

Once the forty days of Great Lent are complete, the Orthodox Church enters into Holy Week, a time of intense reflection and joyful sorrow. Beginning with the Saturday of Lazarus, and the triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday), the next three nights are marked by one of the most beautiful services of the […]

Book Preview: The Orthodox Church in the Arab World (700–1700)

On Behalf of All - Book Preview

Forthcoming from Northern Illinois University Press is The Orthodox Church in the Arab World (700–1700): An Anthology of Sources. Edited by Samuel Noble, a doctoral candidate in religious studies at Yale University, and Alexander Treiger, associate professor in the Department of Classics and Program in Religious Studies at Dalhousie University (Halifax, Nova Scotia), this new work […]

The Temple Cult and Early Christian Worship

The Temple Cult and Early Christian Worship

The Judaism of the first century was a religion almost entirely centered around the sacrificial worship of the temple. Faithful pilgrims traveled many miles from all around the diaspora to worship at the temple several times a year, and the temple was central to their faith and piety. While various forms of post-Christian Judaism today […]

The ‘Kinesthetic’ Worship of the Orthodox Church

The Kinesthetic Worship of the Orthodox Church

In a recent post, Donald Miller—post-evangelical author of Blue Like Jazz—admits to not being much of a church-goer. Music and sermons don’t really do it for him, you see, as he is a ‘kinesthetic’ learner or a person who learns by ‘doing.’ There are also auditory and visual learners, who primarily learn by hearing and […]

Early Christian Worship and the Bones of Martyrs

Early Christian Worship and the Bones of Martyrs

In the Apostle’s Creed (an early Roman baptismal statement of faith) a person confesses belief in “the communion of saints.” While this creed is not widely used in the East, it is important that we understand the communion of saints as a matter of both ontology and incarnation—it is related to the essence or ‘being’ […]

The Lamps of the Wise

The Lamps of the Wise

Despite the invention of both electricity and modern light bulbs, oil lamps remain a key aspect of Orthodox worship. Much could be said about the physical arrangement of these lamps in our churches as well their symbolic meaning and significance. Of their literal place in our churches or home prayer corners, this has been Christian […]

Our Prayers Arise as Incense

Our Prayers Arise as Incense

Since the very beginning, the right worship of God has always involved incense. From before Israel’s foundations, to the ministry of the temple, to the earliest days of the apostolic Church, incense has continued to be an important, prophetic, and transformative aspect of our heavenly worship. It’s is important to worship because incense is a […]