Monday, August 2, 2010

The Doctrine of the Orthodox Church: Worship & Sacraments

The Doctrine of the Orthodox Church: Worship & Sacraments: "By its theological richness, spiritual significance, and variety, the worship of the Orthodox Church represents one of the most significant factors in this church's continuity and identity. It helps to account for the survival of Christianity during the many centuries of Muslim rule in the Middle East and the Balkans when the liturgy was the only source of religious knowledge or experience. Since liturgical practice was practically the only religious expression legally authorized in the former Soviet Union, the continuous existence of Orthodox communities in the region was also centred almost exclusively around the liturgy.

The concept that the church is most authentically itself when the congregation of the faithful is gathered together in worship is a basic expression of Eastern Christian experience. Without that concept it is impossible to understand the fundamentals of church structure in Orthodoxy, with the bishop functioning in his essential roles of teacher and high priest in the liturgy. Similarly, the personal experience of man's participation in divine life is understood in the framework of the continuous liturgical action of the community."

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