Rituals and Worship

The Divine Liturgy is marked by beauty and splendor, evoking a sense of awe and wonder. It is said to occur outside of normal time, in the eternity of heaven. Yet the congregation displays a feeling of informality rarely seen in the more ordered masses of the western liturgical traditions. Orthodox Christians stand throughout the service, but they also walk around, pray and make offerings before icons, bow or prostrate themselves, and make the sign of the cross, as they are moved to do so. People arrive late and leave early. While the services can be very long, they can also finish in less than two hours. Throughout its history, Eastern Orthodoxy has conducted services in the local language.

Study Questions:
1.     What are the seven sacraments of the Eastern Orthodox church? How are some performed?
2.     How can all of life be transformed into a sacrament?
3.     What is Basil’s Divine Liturgy? When is it used?
4.     Why is ritual deeply structured?
5.     Describe the three parts of the Divine Liturgy.

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