When you read or hear the word “Orthodox”, you may think of the Jewish religion or of your local orthodontist. But Orthodox Christianity is completely different from these. As Christians, Orthodox believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior and that he died on the cross and resurrected three days later.
Inside any Orthodox Church you can find many colorful icons (paintings of saints). Orthodox Christians venerate icons by kissing them showing respect and thankfulness for the saint. Veneration is often mistaken as idol worshiping because the icons are painted on material, but icons are not idols. They are windows to heaven instead of being substitutes for God.
Inside a church you can also explore the five senses. Sight:
All the beautiful icons and the vestments that the priests, deacons and altar servers wear adorn the Church. Vestments are special robes that are worn by clergy (priests, deacons and altar servers). Hearing:
The melodious music sung by the choir praise God. Taste:
If you are Orthodox Christian you can receive Holy Communion, the body and blood of Christ. Or if you are not Orthodox, you can receive
blessed bread at the end of the service. Smell: Many times during services the deacon or priest censes sweet-scented incense around the church. Touch: The icons and Communion cup are things we kiss and hold.
The Orthodox Christian Church also has special gifts called sacraments like Holy Communion. Holy Communion can only be received by Orthodox Christians who have fasted and confessed recently. Confession, also a holy sacrament, is when you confess your sins to a priest privately. At the end of the confession, the priest asks God’s forgiveness for the sins you have committed.
There are many other sacraments that you can find out about it. Come and visit an Orthodox Christian Church!