What your church is like

So far I’ve been to two Eastern Catholic churches. One was small, Ukrainian Catholic, but the liturgy was mostly in English. There was an iconostasis but it didn’t cover the whole altar like in some other churches (I’m not sure if it’s still called an iconostasis?), there was lots of incense, and some candles. There were no pews but chairs near the walls. I’ve also been to another Ukrainian Catholic church, it’s very large, has pews, and it has large icons of Jesus and the Theotokos but no iconostasis. It was just built though so I don’t know if any changes would be made in the future.

I’m wondering, what does your church look like? pews, or no pews? is there an iconostasis, or not? does it use incense? what are the icons like? etc.

I’m just curious :slight_smile:

A Ruthenian Church near me is small, has a full Iconostasis, and candles, a few pews in the back. Very Traditional, and it looks like a small church you would find in Russia:thumbsup:! The Icons also look traditional. I haven’t been to a liturgy yet, so I can’t speak on the incense.:highprayer::shrug:

There’s a Ukranian Byz Church in my town, it’s actually very big gold and traditional on the outside with a copper rust top.

Dear bros and sisters,

While I agree 100% that Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches
are, usually, breath-takingly beautiful, and they ARE,
let’s remember that the beauty, while important, isn’t the ONLY thing that counts.

What I mean is, the spirituality and concern for neighbor has to be present equally, too.
In 1917, just a couple of months before Lenin and his evil thugs seized power in
Holy Russia, the Russian Orthodox bishops were gathering for meetings,
in the midst of a war where millions of Russians were being slaughtered,
and in the midst of a collapsing economy where millions more Russian civilians, members of their own church, were starving, and millions more, because of this bad situation, were FALLING by the millions for Lenin’s godless propaganda,
and these bishops reportedly did not even consider these issues but were debating whether they should extend the length of their ceremonial robes (which also are beautiful).

Not at all to knock the beauty of an eastern Church building and ceremonial robes,
nor the beauty of our western Cathedrals like Notre Dame in Paris, etc.,
but the real beauty is more the spiritual than the aesthetic/artistic/architectural.
Just to put that out there, I know we all probably already realize it.
Love to all of you,

I belong to a Byzantine Catholic church. The Divine Liturgy is mostly in English with a few of the hyms in Slovak. We have all pews, large iconostasis, and the priest uses lots of incense. Very traditional. LOTS of icons, too of Christ, the Theotokis, various saints, ie Sts Cyril and Methodius ,Basil, one of the Resurrection, one of the Nativity. Lots of candles

I am not an Eastern Catholic, but if you like I can offer a description of a Byzantine (Ruthenian) Catholic church in my state that I’ve visited.

The exterior of the church is eligant and beautiful, stone with a dome of gold-colored tiles. Inside it has pews and uses votive candles. The pews have kneelers but no one seems to use them. There is an iconostasis made of stone pillars and gold metalwork and several large icons, but you can see between the pillars and bars and icons to the sanctuary (if that is the proper term in an Eastern church) beyond, especially though the gate-thingy (I don’t know what the proper term is), which is shaped like two gold saraphim. The liturgy is in English with a few lines of what I took to be Church Slavonic, though I’m not sure.

I go to a rather large Latin Rite church, Holy Family in Rockford, Illinois. The building is rather modernistic, built in 1974, The seats (pews) are in a sort of semi-circle with the platform in mostly full view of everyone in the building. The Tabernacle is a golden box right behind the altar. The candle showing Jesus is present is above and slightly to the left of the Taber nacle. There are 6 masses per weekend beginning with 2 vigils on Saturday night, 3 masses on Sunday morning and a mass on Sunday night. To the left of the Altar as you are facing it is a large crucifix hanging on the wall and to the right on the wall are statues of the church’s "patrons’ The Holy Family (Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus). At the back of the sanctuary as you leave to go to the narthex are two rooms used for confessions. They also have an overflow room with a television monitor on the wall. This room can be used when there are large crowds for a mass on holidays or for “crying room” for parents with babies. All masses are in English but are very reverent. There are three priests on staff, the senior pastor and two parochial vicars.

I don’t know what the deal is about having a “full” iconostasis. I’ve been to an Orthodox parish where you can see through the iconostasis.


While I appreciate the comment on importance of the “inner beauty” of the church’s souls, probably didn’t need to dig at our Orthodox brothers & sisters. I’m sure it wasn’t meant that way, it just came across that way.

A photo of my Russian Greek-Catholic parish (sorry - a bit grainy and out of focus).

Italo-Greek Church

Easter Italo Greek Church

Very interesting.

I’ve heard a certain protege of Fr. Alexander Schmemann argue that the iconostasis as a full “icon wall” can actually be considered a liturgical abuse. An icon screen that the faithful can actually see through, he claimed, is more appropriate. I do not remember the basis of his claim.

Wow!!! Would love to see that in person some day. Sadly, I won’t be getting out to California any time soon. :stuck_out_tongue:

Tradition, perhaps? While I was still living in Arizona, I frequented an Antiochian parish where one could see through the iconostasis. In fact, the iconostasis didn’t have either the Deacon Doors or the Royal Doors! :eek::slight_smile:

It has been the trend for some time now for some Orthodox chuches to have more open iconoststases. Many leave the royal doors open all the time and others remove the doors complely.

I would not expect this from Russians though.


This is my church OCA the Iconistasis is rather modern but Father insisted it go above his head. we leave the Royal doors open through the divine liturgy but close them during other liturgies. since this pic was taken an icon of the nativity and an icon of the ressurection have been added to either wall to the side of the altar and soon they’re putting up Icons of the four hierarchs in the altar.

I believe this is the book you referred to

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