Wednesday, February 27, 2002

Orthodox Church in America

I came across the website of the Orthodox Church in America, which has its roots in the Russian Orthodox tradition. A book about the history of Orthodoxy in America, beginning with the arrival of Russian missionaries to the Aleuts on Kodiac Island in Alaska, is published at the website. There is also a page of stunning icons.

I attended an OCA church in Seattle, St. Spiridon Orthodox Cathedral (complete with brilliant blue onion domes!) for about three years. I was very drawn to the high liturgy that encompasses all the senses: the smell of incense and candles burning; the colors of the icons and brocaded vestments; the brightness of the lights and candles glinting off polished brass candlestands; the sound of the chanting; the touch of crossing oneself or kissing an icon; the physicality of standing for the entire service, as well as the freedom to move about with no pews; the taste of the Eucharist (but only if you were Orthodox).

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