Orthodox Christian Worship Questions

Hello, everybody. I have a couple of fairly simple questions about Orthodox Christian worship that I hope any Orthodox Christians (or other well-informed people on this site) would be able to answer for me. I put them all together so as to not deluge this forum with several new threads at once, and because I see these questions as being fairly easy to answer and not likely to involve much discussion beyond an explanation of what Orthodox Christians do and possibly why, if anybody would like to add that to their explanation for extra credit:D

I’m not looking for a debate here, and I really am just interested in learning about another faith tradition, so I intend no disrespect with any of these questions.

Anyway, my questions are as follows:

  1. What position do Orthodox Christians typically pray in? On their knees or prostrating themselves in some other way? In their churches, do they frequently or always face east when praying?

  2. Do Orthodox Christians have an equivalent to daily Mass. If so, would they call it (if speaking English) daily Mass or something else?

  3. How do members of one Orthodox Church view members of another Orthodox Church? Would they see themselves as different parts of one larger Church, or in another way entirely? Would a Russian Orthodox traveler, for instance, go to a Greek Orthodox Church to receive Communion and pray if he were on a business trip and there wasn’t a Russian Orthodox Church nearby, or would cultural/language barriers make that awkward?

Thanks in advance to anyone who answers. I appreciate any information anyone can provide. :thumbsup:

I did try to look up some answers online, but I wasn’t sure of the accuracy of the info I was getting off Google…

Our usual posture for prayer is standing, whether private or corporate prayer. There are occasions when we pray while prostrating, such as during the Canon of St. Andrew of Crete during Lent, and during Kneeling Vespers at the beginning of Lent. Our direction of prayer should ordinarily be toward the east, and churches are supposed to face that direction if possible. When creating my icon corner for example I made sure it was on an eastern wall of the house.

We usually don’t have Divine Liturgy daily (although it’s possible) but if we do it would simply be called the same thing, and said celebrating the feast or saints on the calendar for that day. I imagine this would be occur more often in monasteries than parish churches. During the week days we often do celebrate other services however such as Vespers.

All Orthodox view one another as fully Orthodox and in the same communion as they are. We are encouraged to visit one another’s parishes, regardless of jurisdiction, and may partake of the sacraments there as would any member. It is advised though to speak to the priest beforehand so he knows that you’re Orthodox, prepared for communion, and to expect you. I doubt the experience would be awkward since the liturgies celebrated in each jurisdiction are basically the same and one could follow what’s happening without knowing the language persay. Orthodoxy is united sacramentally and dogmatically, not administratively.

Thank you for your answer:D It provided a nice amount of detail while not being confusing for an outsider like me, and it is hard to be both informative and not confusing.

Standing seems like a much more convenient and comfortable default position than prostrating. :thumbsup:

It makes sense that a daily Divine Liturgy would be said more commonly in a monastery than in a regular parish.

Speaking to the priest beforehand would seem to be a good idea, and I think I understand what you mean about the liturgy not being awkward even if the language is different.

Dcointin pretty much hit the nail on the head.

I suppose the one word of warning regarding your third question would be just as there are non-Catholic groups who call themselves Catholic, there are also non-Orthodox groups who cause themselves Orthodox. One is not Orthodox by virtue of attending a Church that calls itself Orthodox.

Hey Nine:


Hey quick question? Does the Orthodox liturgy also consist of Liturgy of the Word (OT reading, Psalm, NT letter, one Gospel) & Liturgy of the Eucharist? Is the priest the only one allowed to read the Gospel? What about altar servers? Boys only?

Sort of. The public part of the divine liturgy is divided up into the liturgy of the catechumens and the liturgy of the faithful. The liturgy of the catechumens contains an epistle reading and a gospel reading. The psalms are not read, but are instead sung antiphonally. The divine liturgy typically does not have an old testament reading (this is usually done at vespers if there is an assigned old testament reading). The liturgy of the faithful is the eucharistic part of the liturgy, so named because in ancient times, the faithful would be the only ones allowed to remain.

Altar servers are usually boys. I’ve heard of some parishes having girl altar severs, but I don’t think this is allowed normally, if at all. In the old world, it is actually not uncommon to have fully grown men serve as altar servers.

Thanks! Well the Psalm is sung as well,but at times it is read if there is no choir…:frowning:

In addition to the Antiphons, there are psalms and partial psalms throughout the service. The Communion Hymn, for example, is as often as not a psalm. Plus there are also psalms which are read and sung during the Vespers service.

Thanks for answering, Nine-Two, and I’ll definitely keep your word of caution in mind. It’s sad that people go around calling themselves something they are not. :frowning: It’s not very honest of them.

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