: At this section you can find pictures and thoughts relative to Christian Churches I visit during my trip. My goal is to attend the Sunday Holy Liturgy at the nearest Orthodox Christian church available around me. I am also interested in visiting churches of other Christian denominations, and even mosques and other spiritual places, but this would be in terms of curiosity and not some kind of multi-spiritual approach.
The very reason for this page being here is because I am interested in the different expressions of the Christian Orthodox faith. I believe that Orthodoxy is (and should be) something ecumenical (that is, for all, and by all). Not restricted to ethnic orientation of any kind. When I first attended the Divine Liturgy in English I was amased and my horizons were broadened realising that going to such a church or doing this and that in the Sunday Service is not something Greek, it’s not something Russian or Serbian or I don’t know – It’s just Orthodox..
Apart from pictures of the Churches and some thoughts on the Service, at the end of every post you can find and listen to an audio file of the Service attended. This can be the whole Divine Liturgy or part of it, Matins (Orthros), Vespers, Compline etc. The reason why I upload audio files as well, is because someone may be interested in listening how the Orthodox Service sounds like in an other language.
Map of the Churches
Firstly and most importantly I would like to express my feelings in regard to the spiritual journey I had in the States. Very full on a personal level, and very happy for the state of the Orthodox Church as I experienced it for 3 months in the North America, attending Services in Bulgarian, Antiochian and Greek Orthodox Churches.
Full and happy because I loved the following:
In the majority of the Churches I had been in the States, there was massive participation in the Holy Communion. It is very beautiful to see that the ones who participate in the Service are focused on the core and on the very reason why we have the Service, and this is no other than the the Eucharist -receiving Christ.
In the majority of the Churches I had been, the Divine Liturgy was mainly in English. While I adore the Divine Liturgy in Greek (as I consider it a poetic masterpiece), the simplicity of the English language and the ability to understand absolutely everything is not to be underestimated.
In the majority of the Churches I had been, there was a beautiful order. Upon the entrance there was usually some parishioners that would give you a leaflet with the readings of the day. Usually they would also facilitate the process of receiving the Holy Communion orderly – guiding the faithful, line of seats after a line. The congregations were silent and peaceful. According to my understanding, the people were focused on what’s going on. It was clear that they were there. I don’t recall any incidence of being annoyed by people talking to each other and there was, in the majority again, nice, devout environment (especially in the smaller temples).
In all of the Churches I had been, there was very vivid and powerful sermons. To-the-point, direct, related to everyday life, without pompous terms all the time, with a bit of fun and with lots of examples, analogies, allegories.
In the majority of the churches I had been, there was coffee and some food (sweets usually) after the Service. Which was nice, because you get to know better your fellow parishioners.
In half of the churches there was a choir with females and males, and not just 2-3 persons chanting. I enjoyed this a lot as I fancy a more participatory singing, even if the chants are not only in Byzantine.