The Russian Orthodox Church in Ireland
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Liturgy and Worship

Worshipping in The Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, 46 Arbour Hill, Dublin 7

Service Schedule 3rd or 4th weekend of each month: Vespers & Divine Liturgy

Calendar / Languages OC / Slavonic, English, Greek

You will notice immediately that there are no pews in the church. In general, they are not favoured by the Orthodox because we feel it is appropriate to pray standing in the presence of God and pews restrict the freedom and spontaneity of worship. If you find it difficult to stand throughout the service it is quite acceptable to sit (it is, however, customary to stand for the reading of the Gospel and during the consecration of the Holy Gifts at the Divine Liturgy).

The icon screen (iconostasis) that delineates the sanctuary has a twofold significance. It reminds us of the fact that we are pilgrims on the way to the kingdom of heaven and that this must be the basic purpose of our lives in this world. Equally, the icons of Christ and the saints turned toward us proclaim the good news that, in Christ, our fallen human nature is already redeemed and taken up into the life of heaven: “Christ has entered, ..., into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf” (Heb. 9, 24). Thus, the iconostasis does not separate heaven and earth, the sanctuary and the nave, but rather unites them.

The general structure of the Liturgy will be familiar to Western Christians. It consists of psalms, Epistle and Gospel readings, the Creed and the prayer of consecration, followed by the Lord’s prayer and the Communion. The Liturgy takes the form of a dialogue between celebrant and people, in which the function of the choir is to give voice to the prayer of the congregation. Intercessory prayer, in the form of litanies chanted by a deacon to which the choir responds “Lord, have mercy” or “Grant this, O Lord”, occupies a prominent place. In the Orthodox tradition, services are always sung without musical accompaniment, as the human voice is felt to be the fittest instrument for the praise of God.

Although Holy Communion is reserved to Orthodox Christians who are duly prepared, there are many ways in which all “who enter in faith, reverence, and in the fear of God” can participate in worship. Firstly, by being quietly open to the presence of God in this holy place and by attending to the words and actions of the services. English translations of the services may be bought at the bookstore or borrowed from the back of the church, but may we suggest that you study them before or after the service; there is much that may be missed if one is absorbed in the printed text.

You will see people lighting candles; this is done in honour of Christ and His Saints, whose invisible presences are manifested by the icons. Likewise, the icons are censed during the services, as are the people. This is done in reverence to the image of God which abides in each of us. Small bread rolls (prosfora) are offered at the Liturgy with the names of those, living and departed, for whom we wish to pray. These are taken to the offertory table in the sanctuary, where the priest removes a small portion and places it on the paten next to the bread which is to be consecrated, praying for those for whom it is offered. The prosfora are then taken to the back of the church where they are collected after the service by those who have offered them. At the end of the Liturgy, everyone is invited to come and venerate the Cross and to receive a small piece of prosfora as a sign of Christian fellowship. On Sundays, tea is served in the parish hall after the Liturgy and you are most welcome to join us. At the Vigil service, all who wish may come to venerate the Book of the Gospels and to receive a blessing, and on Great Feasts, there is also an anointing with oil (Ps. 23, 5) and a distribution of blessed bread and wine.

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