"Come and See that the Lord is God" (Psalm 34:8)
Traditional, Apostolic, Biblical
Our worship stems from the earliest centuries after Christ. In the Book of Revelation, St. John describes worship as it is in heaven, with the focus of worship around ab altar, with lampstands, incense, vested elders and heavenly singing. In this light, the historical church has always worshiped according to these heavenly patterns with utmost reverence and awe. Our liturgy was written by the Apostle Peter and codified by St. Gregory the Great in the sixth century. Our prayer of the psalms was arranged by St. Benedict of Nursia in the fifth century and stems from early Jewish worship. Although Orthodox worship can look antiquated and foreign, it is rooted in scripture and Church history, and is both life-giving and transformative.
What to Expect
Our worship involves the entire soul and body. We use holy images and incense, hoping to "taste and see that the Lord is God" (Psalm 34:8) with all of our senses. The ministers are clothed in vestments, taking away the glory of man and moving our hearts to contemplate the glory of God. We believe that we are transformed into God's image in the midst of this traditional worshiping. Moreover, we believe whenever two or more are gathered, there should be scripture, prayer and food. Acts 2:42-47 says 'And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers ... And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts ...' This is at the heart of our life at St. Benedict parish.
Orthodox worship is the worship of the historical Church. In a spirit of joy and vigor, Orthodoxy has preserved and maintained its worship through every century in various cultural expressions. While Orthodox worship can look strange to those who are not used to it today, it should be reassuring that nearly all Christians in history would have felt at home within it. It is biblical, historical, therapeutic and life-changing. You are most welcome to come and join us in this holy work to be God's people.
Why Prayer to the Saints
Praying to the saints has also been a fundamental practice of the Christian Church since its earliest years. Early documents consistently refer to this practice, and it was only questioned in recent times. But why? The simple answer is, our God is the “God of the living, not the dead” (Mk. 12:26–27). When the Orthodox talk about praying to saints we are not talking about “worshiping” saints. Worship belongs to God alone. However, we are supposed to ask one another for prayers. When we have a need or crisis, we go directly to Jesus Christ and we ask our brothers and sisters for prayer. “The prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). In the same way, we ask the saints to pray for us. But aren’t they dead? The historical Church would say, “No.”
In Christ, we are all alive and all together. There is no separation. “Neither death nor life…nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us” (Rom. 8:38). In Christ, we are all together as one body, “surrounded by a host of witness” (Hb. 12:1) and, “come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem…to the church of the firstborn” (Hb. 12:22). So, in a historical Christian point-of-view, to ask one’s friend to pray for you and to ask St. Patrick for prayers is substantially the same thing. After all, scripture is clear about what the “saints” in heaven are doing. They are at the altar of God interceding for us (Rev. 8:3,4).