The Liturgy: A Sacramental Encounter

liturgy and icons

Icons and Architecture

Icons and architecture serve as artistic reflections of the liturgy, hymns, and sermons. They preserve the sacred relationship between God and the world, inviting believers to a sacramental encounter through prayer and worship.

Candles and Communal Solidarity

The lighting of candles before icons signifies the unity of Orthodox Christians as they enter the church. Each lit candle represents the connection and solidarity of believers, forming the living Body of Christ. It is this sense of community that accompanies the faithful as they enter the church.

The Mystical Image of Cherubim

Inside the church, the community of believers becomes a mystical image of Cherubim. They join together to chant the thrice-holy hymn to the life-giving Trinity. This experience reveals the ultimate mystery to which all are called, connecting them to a world beyond themselves and heaven itself.

The Light of the Kingdom

The light emanating from icons symbolizes the light of the kingdom. In liturgy, Orthodox Christians encounter this divine light firsthand. Through the Resurrection of Christ and the communion, they experience the illumination of Christ’s grace, reinforcing their faith in the true light.

Liturgy and the Church’s Life

Orthodox spirituality emphasizes the connection between the Divine Liturgy and all aspects of life. Even the administrative life of the Church reflects the order and values encountered in liturgical worship. The meal table in monasteries, an extension of the altar table, demonstrates how sanctification permeates creation. Saint Maximus the Confessor speaks of a “cosmic liturgy” offered by the whole world through the sacrificial Lamb of Revelation.

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