One Mystery Explored, pt 2

Our first visit to an Orthodox Church service

So I mentioned the church we visited is about an hour’s drive away in a city we don’t know too well. Overcoming the hurtle of finding our way there was a big one. Yay, Google Maps! Jeff studied the aerial topography closely as well as the street names, exits, and turns. Aspie husbands rule. When we got off the freeway, he exclaimed several times, “Oh, that (building, street, etc.) is what it looks like!”

We landed, with just a few minutes to spare. One cool thing is that the church is right next door to a Greek Orthodox Church, who use the Eastern Rite service. The parishioners often attend each other’s service, especially when there is a visiting Bishop or other notable. How neat.

A nice older lady was walking in at the same time. Blessed be God, she was the deacon’s wife! Susan got us the bulletins (coolest church bulletins I ever saw…more on that later) and the hymns-of-the-day sheets and sat down with us. Then she pulled out the service booklets from under the pews and explained how to follow along. Was I ever relieved!

A bell rang, literally. Off we went! I compared the liturgy afterwards in coffee hour to a trolley ride. Hop on and hold on tight until the very end. The priest got a chuckle out of that.

You see, for those of you from a non-bells-and-smells background, the Divine Liturgy is an all-engrossing hour and half experience. Bow, kneel, cross yourself, sit down, stand up. Repeat. Sing and sing and sing some more! I have a short attention span during my normal life, unless I am deeply interested in something. I admit to trailing off occassionally during the singing to follow what the priest and deacons were doing or just gazing at the icons. [There were only a few icons up front on the walls…something we need to ask about…cause there was no kissing them during the service.] BUT I stuck with the liturgy pretty closely, kinda like going for a group hike. I wanted to keep up, even if I didn’t know what was going on.

Jeff stuck with it amazingly well. When we went forward with the others to receive the blessing (instead of communion), we got the bonus “blessed bread” which everyone munched on their ways back to the pews. Nifty…like snack time in Sunday school.

All in all, we had a positive first Divine Liturgy. I was worried the incense would make me sneezy (had one awful experience previously with incense). It was lightly burned, rather pleasant, really.

We have yet to discuss what to do next. There are many changes afoot for us…


3 Responses to “One Mystery Explored, pt 2”

  1. 1 kristinsdottir July 17, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    I am so happy that you were blessed with a good experience, Anna! Yippeee! Glory to God! I am sending prayers your way. God bless!

  2. 2 Christine July 17, 2008 at 8:33 pm

    It is so different from other services. At our church the place is filled with incents and the hymes which we call “sharagan”. It’s basically translates to our sacred music. You can listen to one of our most beautiful ones at this link below. This always brings me to tears. I have also dreamed that one day I would sing a solo of this in church. It’s called Der Voghormiah which translates to Forgive Me Lord.

    OK, I do have another one that will make your hair curl which is Sourp Sourp which translates to Holy Holy. The girl who is singing this died unfortunately at a very young age.

    I guess I take it for granted because that is all I have known in my life but you posting this has helped me to appreciate what I have in my life when it comes to my church.

    Look forward to hearing more about your experience.


  3. 3 Anna-Paraskeva July 26, 2008 at 2:43 am

    WOW! So I read of YOUR first visit to an Orthodox church on the SAME day I am celebrating the 16th anniversary of OUR FIRST!!! Well I think that’s just absolutely the COOLEST thing!!!

    Seeing your tags made me chuckle too… Asperger’s … autism … and Jane Austin!!! LOL! and of course Orthodoxy! I will be tagging your blog! Come by and “see” me on Orthodox Circle!

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"I can't say I don't believe in your God, but I don't believe He meant the world to be as it is." ~Nicholas Higgins. North and South.

"I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you are licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what." No idea where that last quote came from, but I like it!

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