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A space for resources to help RE teachers and their students explore the Christian faith
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Inside an Orthodox Church

Explore the key features of an Orthodox church

  • What is it like to go to an Orthodox Church?
  • Why are candles lit?
  • What is an icon? Why is it there?
  • What is the Divine Liturgy?

View this timeline to answer these questions and more...

Going into the church
I go to an Orthodox Church. When I come into the church I make the sign of the cross because I am entering the house of God. I then go and kiss the icons and light candles by them. Icons are pictures that are symbols for something bigger than the picture itself.
Kiss the Icon
We kiss icons and bow before them because they represent people and events we admire.
We have icons on the walls and on special stands in our church to help us think about Jesus Christ, his life, and about the saints. If it is a special festival the icon in the centre of the church will show the festival we are celebrating.
Worship on Sundays
On Sundays, the icon is of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead because we celebrate this every Sunday. People kiss icons and light candles in front of them. The candle is: - A sign of love for the person shown in the icon - A sign of a prayer In church we stand most of the time. Sometimes, especially in Lent, we make prostrations – that is we lie down. We feel a deep respect for the church as the house of God, but we also feel that it is our home, so we are happy there and feel free just like we do at our homes.
The table set out for communion.
The Holy Table is set out with bread and wine, ready for Holy Communion.
Taking Holy Communion
During the main service on Sunday we take Holy Communion. We sing hymns and then we read from the New Testament. After the reading there is some teaching. After we have prayed for lots of people the bread and wine that are going to be used for Holy Communion are brought to the Holy Table. Holy Communion is given to us on a spoon from the chalice - the special cup for Communion. We take Holy Communion from the time that we are baptised.