The Special Services are often referred to as Non-sacramental Services in the sense that they are events of community worship which are not usually counted among the major Sacraments. However, they clearly have a sacramental quality in the sense that they reveal the presence of the Holy Trinity. Many of these Services, such as the Funeral, the Blessing of Water, and the Entrance into Monastic Life, just to name a few, are very significant to the life of the Church. The various Blessings are brief ceremonies which are occasional and do not necessarily involve directly the entire parish community.
Fr. George Nicozisin explains the Orthodox Christian perspective on Glossolalia, or Speaking in Tongues. He recounts the two forms of Glossolalia, as well as St. Paul's discussion of it in the New Testament. Ultimately, Nicozisin informs the reader that The Orthodox Church regards Glossolalia as a minor gift.
From the time of their conversion to Christianity, beginning in the ninth century, the Slavs were given not only their first written language but also the potential to create an indigenous Christian literature of their own. The Byzantine Christian literary inheritance which was imparted to them through the writings of the Fathers and lives of the saints was multifaceted in its emphases. At its center stood the reality of God, manifested in his personal relationship with the created order and with man in particular. The fact that man often rejected his legitimate relationship with God became the contrasting theme of this literature. But despite man's indifference and denial, God's presence in the world, especially through Jesus Christ, gave the created order a greater credibility and limitless potential. The world was something that could be believed in for 'it was very good.' One could suffer for it because of its Godrootedness, just as one could also be sanctified in it for the very same reason. These themes recur again and again in Slavic literature through the centuries and especially in its contemporary manifestations.
Rev. George Mastrantonis provides a concise presentation of our Lord's Sermon on the Mount, it's entire text, as well as a short interpretation of the Sermon for the faithful today as it is pronounced by the Eastern Orthodox Church.
The life and character of an Orthodox Christian is in large measure shaped, nourished, and enriched by the liturgy or worship of the Church. Replete with biblical readings, imagery, and expressions, the texts of the liturgy set forth in doxological form the Church's authentic and living tradition. In the liturgy, the Orthodox Christian is in constant touch with the fundamental truths of the faith. Worship becomes a theology of fervent prayer, a living sacrifice of praise of a biblical people, a vision of the spiritual world, a betrothal with the Holy Spirit, and foretaste of the things to come.Paschal in character and essentially eschatological in spirit, Orthodox worship while continuously rehearsing the mighty works of God in history, joyously celebrates the kingdom of God already come and already given to us as the pledge of our salvation through the birth, death, and resurrection of Christ.
There are special experiences in our corporate life as Orthodox Christians when ;the perception of God's presence and actions is heightened and celebrated. We call these events of the Church Sacraments. Traditionally, the Sacraments have been known as Mysteries in the Orthodox Church. This description emphasizes that in these special events of the Church, God discloses Himself through the prayers and actions of His people.
Prayer is the basis of our Christian life, the source of our experience of Jesus as the Risen Lord. Yet how few Christians know how to pray with any depth! For most of us, prayer means little more than standing in the pews for an hour or so on Sunday morning or perhaps reciting, in a mechanical fashion, prayers once learned by rote during childhood. Our prayer life-and thus our life as Christians-remains, for the most part, at this superficial level.