Pray the Ancient Way

The Orthodox Church is the Church founded by Jesus Christ and described in the pages of the New Testament. Although many denominations make similar claims, the Orthodox Church has a unique historical and theological claim of unbroken continuity all the way back to Christ and His twelve apostles. The first major Bishops of the Church are the Patriarchs of Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, and Constantinople, and they are still Orthodox today. Incredible as it seems, for over twenty centuries the Orthodox Church has continued in her undiminished and unaltered faith and practice. 

Prayer is vital part of the Orthodox Christian life embodying our ancient faith and practice. The Divine Liturgy is the primary worship service of the Church in which we celebrate the Eucharist. When Christ instituted the Eucharist (or the Lord's Supper), he told his apostles, "This do in remembrance of me." The apostles fulfilled this command celebrating the Eucharist regularly. They founded churches and appointed bishops who also celebrated this sacrament, making use of an unwritten traditional Eucharistic service. In the 4th century, St. Basil the Great, on the basis of this ancient church tradition, wrote the Divine Liturgy. We still use this Liturgy 10 times a year. Later in the 4th century, St. John Chrysostom shortened the ancient liturgy of St. Basil, and this is the form we celebrate in our churches on Sundays and week days throughout the year. We pray in the ancient way of the apostles and early church.

Even when Orthodox Christians pray privately in our homes, we pray in an ancient manner. Traditionally, we follow a prayer rule, with the advice of our spiritual father, at regular appointed times, standing in a designated quiet and private place. Most Orthodox have a prayer corner in their home where they say their morning and evening prayers. We pray with ancient written prayers, adding our own supplications at the end. We worship with our whole bodies, giving our full attention, speaking out loud, singing psalms, standing, making prostrations, lighting candles, burning incense and looking at icons. Through our regular habit of prayer we experience the fire of God's holy love; we give it space within us to do its cleansing and healing work as a breath of the Holy Spirit, and to use it as light and power for daily living.

We don't pray in an ancient manner simply because its ancient, but because our worship expresses our faith in action. This faith, the Orthodox faith, was "handed once to the saints" (Jude 3), passed on in Holy Tradition to the apostles by Jesus Christ, and then handed down from one generation to the next, without addition or subtraction.

To learn more about our faith and prayer, come worship with us!
Find our schedule here, or contact Fr. Matthew for more information.