Center and Heart of Orthodoxy

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“Among Orthodox believers we do not observe primarily a docile submission to the Church’s hierarchy, nor a tendency to make an assiduous study of the word of God. The distinctive characteristic of Orthodoxy is to be found in an ardent desire for an immediate contact with the heavenly world. Furthermore this is not a desire for an individual contact, but for a universal churchly contact, not something in the written language of theory and reflection, but something living, real, direct. Consequently the center and heart of Orthodox religious life is the worship of God in church. Orthodox Christians are not over-worried by the absence of preaching, nor, and this  is really regrettable, with contradictions between life and practice and the commandments of the Lord; but without the Church of God, without the Church’s worship, life becomes empty. Lack of concern for the Church, and its worship, its singing, is considered among the Orthodox as  a sure sign of lack of religious fervour, as the renunciation of Orthodoxy. In church the believer is aware of being surrounded by the inhabitants of heaven, a faith which the prayers of the liturgy themselves express. ‘When we are it the church of thy glory, we feel that we are in heaven.'”

Serge Chetverikov
from The Tradition of Life, Romanian Essays in Spirituality and Theology

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6 thoughts on “Center and Heart of Orthodoxy

  1. Nathan, If you would read news from the Diocese of Dalmatia (in Croatia) and read the “love” the Catholics there have for Orthodox you might change your tune.

    It seems as though I am not the only one who speaks of the ideal and not the actual.

  2. Frankly, in your initial illustration, you have spoken the ideal not the actual. Orthodoxy does not have the market cornered on love. In fact, I have been dismayed by the lack of love and overabundance of judgement, accusation, and mean spirited personal attacks from Orthodox people. To the contrary the Roman Catholics I have encountered are the opposite. May I suggest that it may defeat the purpose of your article to make such a blanket critique while talking of love.

  3. The Orthodox Christian Church tends to be the most beautiful of all the Christian churches. Its peerless beauty can have a heavenly effect on its worshipers.

    Indeed, the icons, candles, chandeliers, incense, and other spiritual items that one “experiences” in the Orthodox Church provide a worshiper with a feeling of being in heaven.

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