General Information: Orthodox Worship
These links provide an overview of Orthodox worship. For more on the particulars
of how we worship see the many articles on the "Living
an Orthodox Life: Worship" page.
Worship & Sacraments, an excerpt from The
Orthodox Church, by Bishop Kallistos (Ware).
"The Holies for the Holy": An Overview
of the Divine Liturgy, by Fr. Michael Pomazansky. This is an excellent
introduction to the main Orthodox service of worship.
Liturgy and Spirituality, by Hieromonk [now Bishop] Athanasije JEVTIĆ. Chapter 8 from Christ: The Alpha and Omega.
Divine Services, by Archpriest Seraphim Slobodskoy. See also The
on the Services of the Church, from the Russian Orthodox Cathedral
of St. John the Baptist.
Great Feast Days of the Orthodox Church.
John Whiteford's Liturgical Resources Page
to the Divine Liturgy, by the Rev. George
Mastrantonis. This is an account of the meaning of the original act of
the Holy Eucharist, its enactment by the Church, the historical development
of the Divine Liturgies as well as a diagram of the established Divine
Liturgy, according to the Eastern Orthodox Church.
Space: Notes on the Space and Time-Shapes of Byzantine Liturgy
A Note on Churches, by Archbishop Chrysostomos
of Etna. Concerning the terms used for the English word "church"
and how we should view and treat the House of God.
Where Can One Go in an Orthodox Church?.
of God, by the Rev. Thomas Fitzgerald, Holy Cross School of Theology. A brief overview of holy space.
Orthodox House of Worship: Informative and Interpretive Homilies on
Liturgical Themes, by Metropolitan Augustinos of Florina. This indispensable
work from one of the most revered archpastors of our day contains a series
of homilies on almost every aspect of Orthodox worship. Topics include
not only the Divine Services but also the Church buildings, the holy items
used in worship, the participants (Clergy, Altar boys, etc.). The
author's very approachable and piously-written works are widely read in
Greece and have been made available in recent years through the Institute
for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies—the
publisher of Dr. Constantine Cavarnos' books.
The Divine Liturgies Music Project, by St. Anthony's Monastery in Florence, AZ.
On the Divine Liturgy: Orthodox Homilies, Vol. I and II, by Metropolitan
Augustinos of Florina. Also from the Institute for Byzantine and Modern
Greek Studies, these two books take the reader through each section of
the Divine Liturgy. The instruction is in the form of homilies that not
only inform but also inspire. Volume I explains the Liturgy of the Catechumens
(the first half of the Divine Liturgy), and Volume II explains the Liturgy
of the Faithful (the second half).
Note: On the following three commentaries, see the important article Three
Byzantine Commentaries on the Divine Liturgy: A Comparative Treatment,
by Bishop Auxentios of Photiki and Fr. James Thornton.
On the Divine Liturgy. One of the chief
Byzantine commentaries, by St. Germanus of Constantinople.
The Church's Mystagogy, by St. Maximus the Confessor. Contained in Maximus
Confessor, Selected Writings in the Classics of Western Spirituality
A Commentary on the Divine Liturgy, by St. Nicholas Cabasilas. Another
classic Byzantine commentary.
Festal Menaion (St. Tikhon Seminary Press): the first
eighty pages and four appendices of this book offer one of the best overviews
of the structure and meaning of the liturgical cycle and services found
in English. Two of the appendices are especially helpful: "The Service
Books of the Orthodox Church" and a "Glossary" of liturgical
The Lenten Triodion (Faber & Faber): contains a wealth
of information about fasting, as well as many of the liturgical texts
for Great Lent. It also includes the richly eloquent and other-worldly
"Canon of St. Andrew of Crete." This canon of repentance, which
can be prayed throughout the year, is alone worth the price of the book.
Service Book of the Holy Orthodox-Catholic Apostolic Church (a.k.a, "Hapgood"),
by Isabel Florence Hapgood (Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese):
a reprint of a classic which no English-speaking Orthodox Christian can
afford to be without. Contains a unique compilation of the most oft-used
services, a pictorial elucidation of the symbolism found in Orthodox churches
and rites, and many helpful appendices.
Church services, that is, all the daily services, together with the entire arrangement
of the church's icons, candles, censing, singing, chanting, movements
of the clergy, as well as the services for various needs (e.g., Molebens,
Pannikhidas, etc.); then services in the home, also using ecclesiastical
objects such as sanctified icons, holy oil, candles, holy water, the Cross,
and incense—all of these holy things together acting upon all the
senses—sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste—are the cloths
that wipe clean the senses of a deadened soul. They are the strongest
and only reliable way to do it.... The entire structure of our Church
services, with their tone, meaning, power of faith, and especially the
grace concealed within them, have an invincible power to drive away the
spirit of the world.
— St. Theophan the Recluse, The Path to Salvation, p. 254