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Author Topic: Beauty in Orthodox Worship  (Read 447 times) Average Rating: 0
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Oleg Anishchenkov
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Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Russian Orthodox Church (The Moscow Patriarchate)
Posts: 21

« on: August 21, 2011, 12:44:56 PM »

Our Orthodox worship is strong on beauty. We fill the walls and even the ceilings of our churches with icons, the stories and heroes of Christian history. We illuminate these images with candles and oil lamps, and the light shimmers from the glossy paint and gold backgrounds. Our clergy and altar servers wear vestments of different colours of brocade, highlighted with gold and embroidered.

     People who visit an Orthodox service are immediately struck by the visual beauty, but that’s not the only sense affected. The whole service is sung and chanted, so the words of our prayers are framed with music. Incense rises from golden pots of incense. We taste the Eucharistic bread and wine, venerate icons, touch the hem of the priest’s vestment, and greet each other with a holy kiss. This is a very rich sensory experience, touching every one of the five senses.

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Faith: Greek Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Metropolis of San Francisco
Posts: 2,367

« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2011, 12:49:08 PM »

Very true.
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Jurisdiction: GOAA
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« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2011, 01:43:32 PM »

I have heard prayer described as 'raising the heart and mind to God'- and I've got to say, the beauty of Orthodox churches and worship certainly helps do that.

He will come again with glory to judge the living and the dead. His kingdom will have no end.
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Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Ukrainian Orthodox (EP)
Posts: 203

« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2011, 02:53:10 PM »

Oleh, have you read pseudo-Dionysius and his comments of the theology of beauty: how everything that is beautiful draws us to the Creator, the source of all true beauty.
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« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2011, 03:24:39 PM »

I certainly agree about beauty, however, it does tend to be in the mind of the beholder.

I'm not too huge on Byzantine-style iconography, although I treasure the theology they portray.

And iconstases I quite honestly find a bit tacky most times, although again, I do appreciate their theological importance.

And much incense I've smelled in Orthodox Churches often faintly reminds me of formaldehyde...

But yes, beauty in worship is utterly essential!
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