services celebrated in the Orthodox Church are ancient. They
evolved simply and logically from Old Testament Temple and
synagogue traditions, services, and customs. Above
all else, Orthodox Christian worship is an active
participation in, and personal experience of, the perfect
communion between God and man that is the essence of our
eternal existence in the Kingdom of heaven.
the Divine Liturgy, the Mystery (or “Sacrament”) of the Holy
Eucharist, is our regular, corporate participation in that
eternal reality. The Divine Liturgy is the continuation of the
“Mystical Supper” (referred to in Western Christendom as the
“Last Supper”) which was the first earthly participation in
that perfect communion.
liturgical (worship service) texts, prayers, and rubrics we
use today are identical to those that were common usage in the
universal, undivided Christian Church of the first millennium.
During those first thousand years there was only one
“catholic” (universal) and “orthodox” (right-worshipping)
services were developed during the Apostolic era in the first
century. Existing written archaeological fragments of the
services clearly show how these were compiled (not
composed) between the fourth and seventh centuries, and
have been handed down to us today in their original New
Testament (“koine”) Greek language.
only significant change to Orthodox services from those
first centuries of Christianity is that they have been
translated during the past half century from Koine Greek into
English for use in our parishes today. Prior to that, they
were translated in the tenth century from Koine Greek into
Slavonic (an early Slavic language) for Russian-speaking
peoples by Saints Cyril and Methodios.
the second millennium Christian worship practices and beliefs
have radically changed, and continue to evolve, in the
“Western” (or Latin) churches; viz., the Roman Catholic
Church and her Protestant denominations. As
a consequence, Western Christians may be unfamiliar with
Eastern Orthodox liturgical terminology.
web page is therefore provided to provide easy access to texts
of the services, as well as to explanations of Orthodox
worship and terminology.