On Sunday morning we usually have around 100 people in Church, adults and children. The beauty of Orthodox worship must be experienced to be understood. Matins is a service of morning prayer which begins at 9am. The main service, however is the Divine Liturgy which begins at 10am. The Divine Liturgy expresses the entire Christian faith in a continuous song of praise and prayer addressed to God. It is focused on God, not on us. There is nothing just for amusement or entertainment. Since much of the service is the same every week, worshipers know it and can participate personally, either by singing along or just by prayerful attention. Worshipers are surrounded by icons (pictures of Christ and the saints), which remind us that we are participating, while on earth, in the worship of all the angels and saints in heaven. The entire service (except for the sermon) is sung, in English, to Russian and Byzantine melodies and chants. No organ or other instruments are used. The words are all from Scripture or ancient Christian texts — no rhyming metrical hymns are used.
You may find the article below by Frederica Matthewes Greene helpful.
You are welcome to join us for Vespers at 6:30pm on Wednesday evenings. Times of services are subject to change, especially during Great Lent. Please see the calendar for this week’s specific schedule.
The cycle of services in the Orthodox Church begins in the evening at the setting of the sun with the service of Vespers. The rich depth of the service is described by Fr. Thomas Hopko, “The service of Vespers takes us through creation, sin, and salvation in Christ. It leads us to the meditation of God’s word and the glorification of his love for men. It instructs us and allows us to praise God for the particular events or persons whose memory is celebrated and made present to us in the Church. It prepares us for the sleep of the night and the dawn of the new day to come. On the eves of the Divine Liturgy, it begins our movement into the most perfect communion with God in the sacramental mysteries.”
As the cycle continues, our Church awakens to the service of Matins We celebrate the Matins service on Sundays at 9am, just before Divine Liturgy. We gather together continuing our day that began the night before with Vespers. “The Matins service of the Church unites the elements of morning psalmody and prayer with meditation on the Biblical canticles, the Gospel reading, and the particular theme of the day in the given verses and hymns,” says Fr. Hopko. “The themes of God’s revelation and light are also always central to the morning service of the Church.”
On major feasts of the Church, and always on the Lord’s Day, we gather together to celebrate the Divine Liturgy. This beautiful, ancient liturgy is the culmination of the service cycle.