So what is unique about what you will see here?
- Iconography - this is the "artwork" that is all over the place in our larger parishes (a local Church community). No matter how small or large the parish, there will be an icon of our Lord Jesus Christ and of his mother, the Virgin Mary (often referred to in Greek as the Theotokos meaning the bearer/birthgiver of God - this is in reference to Christ being fully God and Man. We are not saying she gave birth to His divinity or that she is a god.) You will often see us kiss or bow when we approach an icon. We are showing are respect and "venerating" the Lord or the saint which the icon represents. We believe all these saints are alive in Paradise, praying for us.
- Incense - you will notice we use a lot of incense! Incense is very ancient and God instituted the use of it way back in ancient times when he told the Hebrew people how to worship Him. We "lift our prayers as incense" before God and incense also reminds us of the third person of the Trinity - the Holy Spirit.
- Liturgical Worship - our worship is very structured. Again, going back to ancient times this is the way God said he wanted to be worship. He gave the holy Patriarch and Prophet Moses (the same one you may have heard of in relation to the 10 Commandments) instructions on how to be worshiped. Some of the instructions He gave were symbolic; for example, we no longer sacrifice an animal for our sins because the animal symbolized our Lord Jesus Christ and his future sacrifice, which was once and for all.
- Movement - All the above involve a lot of moving around! People may walk up to an icon and venerate it, someone might be lighting a candle or putting one out if it is getting low, the priest might be walking around the entire worship space censing, or any number of things can be going on. Traditionally, temples (Church worship spaces) did not have pews or any type of seat. You came and stood most of the service; if you did sit, it was simply on the ground. Since we are in a sacred worship space, it is best to stand, but it is understandable that you might need to sit, especially if you are pregnant, elderly, or have a physical ailment.