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Thread: My first Divine Liturgy experience.

  1. #1

    My first Divine Liturgy experience.

    It was a really amazing experience and I’m still kind of taking it all in. I’ll fill in anything I forget later.
    So, I arrived and a nice fellow helped me find a place to stand. In this church, there are pews, so I stood there, just following everyone’s lead. During prayer, we kneeled while the priest led the service. There are little speakers on the floor so he can be heard from every part of the church. The choir sang intermittently in gorgeous 4 part harmony that was better in tune than any church choir I’ve heard in person. (except perhaps the Phoenix Symphony’s choir)
    Later on, everyone sat in the pews. I noticed priests carrying incense down the aisles. It was really beautiful, and didn’t bother my allergies at all.
    Then there was the eucharist. Not being formally Orthodox yet, I didn’t take that, but I was given a piece of blessed bread.
    Afterward was fellowship, and I met the priest and several of the deacons. We discussed my interest in the Orthodox faith, how I came to it, etc. I was then invited to the introduction to orthodoxy class (which I plan to attend). I was rather clumsy in speaking at that time though, as the new experience of liturgy was very vivid and fresh in my mind.
    After that, I went for fellowship. I met a fellow named Phil at a table with his friends and his mother. During our get to know you chat, I mentioned my interest in Russian language and culture, and Phil told me he is Russian. Then his mother Ludmilla speaks up to introduce herself in a very thick, distinct Russian accent. We had a brief exchange in Russian, and Ludmilla left. I was left at the table with Phil and his friends. They’re very nice, but mostly talk about silly movies and such. lolz Phil was interested in my work, so I gave him my url. It’s nice to know some native speakers to practice with.

    Special thanks to TER, eduardo, and others who have helped me along this path. ~hugs~
    Quote Originally Posted by Torchbearer
    what works can never be discussed online. there is only one language the government understands, and until the people start speaking it by the magazine full... things will remain the same.
    Hear/buy my music here "government is the enemy of liberty"-RP Support me on Patreon here Ephesians 6:12



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  3. #2
    Awesome. I had to wait a few days to post my experience. Like you said, I also feel clumsy trying to put words to what the body, mind, and soul experience in the presence of the full Trinity, the Communion of Saints, and the Choirs of Angelic Hosts.
    Last edited by RJB; 11-10-2013 at 03:05 PM.

  4. #3
    Glory to God for all things!
    I feel rejuvenated and spiritually recharged after each liturgy, and attending gives me the hope, courage, and strength to face the week ahead and all it's difficulties. I pray both of you find the same benefit in your attending and participation, and that the Holy Spirit fills you and guides you in all things.
    +
    'These things I command you, that you love one another.' - Jesus Christ

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by TER View Post
    Glory to God for all things!
    I feel rejuvenated and spiritually recharged after each liturgy, and attending gives me the hope, courage, and strength to face the week ahead and all it's difficulties. I pray both of you find the same benefit in your attending and participation, and that the Holy Spirit fills you and guides you in all things.
    I do as well! The music, atmosphere, liturgical chant, etc-it's all very inspiring in a very unique way that I haven't experienced in even the most elaborate protestant churches.
    Quote Originally Posted by Torchbearer
    what works can never be discussed online. there is only one language the government understands, and until the people start speaking it by the magazine full... things will remain the same.
    Hear/buy my music here "government is the enemy of liberty"-RP Support me on Patreon here Ephesians 6:12

  6. #5
    Inspiring.
    Diversity finds unity in the message of freedom.

    Dilige et quod vis fac. ~ Saint Augustine

    Quote Originally Posted by phill4paul View Post
    Above all I think everyone needs to understand that neither the Bundys nor Finicum were militia or had prior military training. They were, first and foremost, Ranchers who had about all the shit they could take.
    Quote Originally Posted by HOLLYWOOD View Post
    If anything, this situation has proved the government is nothing but a dictatorship backed by deadly force... no different than the dictatorships in the banana republics, just more polished and cleverly propagandized.
    "I'll believe in good cops when they start turning bad cops in."

    Quote Originally Posted by tod evans View Post
    In a free society there will be bigotry, and racism, and sexism and religious disputes and, and, and.......
    I don't want to live in a cookie cutter, federally mandated society.
    Give me messy freedom every time!

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by RJB View Post
    Awesome. I had to wait a few days to post my experience. Like you said, I also feel clumsy trying to put words to what the body, mind, and soul experience in the presence of the full Trinity, the Communion of Saints, and the Choirs of Angelic Hosts.
    Speaking of that, I am reminded of my conversation with deacon Abrahams (IIR his name properly). He asked about my current church and I called it "baptist" when I meant to say "non-denominational". lolz :/ It's funny now, but was quite embarrassing at the time.
    Quote Originally Posted by Torchbearer
    what works can never be discussed online. there is only one language the government understands, and until the people start speaking it by the magazine full... things will remain the same.
    Hear/buy my music here "government is the enemy of liberty"-RP Support me on Patreon here Ephesians 6:12

  8. #7
    If you ever get the chance you should also check out the Tridentine Mass, I think it's equally as powerful. There are quite a few churches that offer it in Phoenix:

    St Thomas the Apostle Church
    2312 E. Campbell Ave.
    Phoenix, AZ 85016

    St. Catherine of Siena
    6200 S. Central Ave.
    Phoenix, AZ 85042

    Queen of the Holy Rosary Traditional Roman Catholic Church
    2533 W. Myrtle Ave.
    Phoenix, AZ 85051

    Our Lady of Quito Chapel
    9009 S. 18th St.
    Phoenix, AZ 85040

    Our Lady of Sorrows Church & Retreat House (This church belongs to the Society of St. Puis X currently not in communion with Rome, but reconciliation talks are ongoing)
    750 E. Baseline Rd.
    Phoenix, AZ 85040

    St Thomas the Apostle Church
    2312 E. Campbell Ave.
    Phoenix, AZ 85016

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by eduardo89 View Post
    If you ever get the chance you should also check out the Tridentine Mass, I think it's equally as powerful. There are quite a few churches that offer it in Phoenix:

    St Thomas the Apostle Church
    2312 E. Campbell Ave.
    Phoenix, AZ 85016

    St. Catherine of Siena
    6200 S. Central Ave.
    Phoenix, AZ 85042

    Queen of the Holy Rosary Traditional Roman Catholic Church
    2533 W. Myrtle Ave.
    Phoenix, AZ 85051

    Our Lady of Quito Chapel
    9009 S. 18th St.
    Phoenix, AZ 85040

    Our Lady of Sorrows Church & Retreat House (This church belongs to the Society of St. Puis X currently not in communion with Rome, but reconciliation talks are ongoing)
    750 E. Baseline Rd.
    Phoenix, AZ 85040

    St Thomas the Apostle Church
    2312 E. Campbell Ave.
    Phoenix, AZ 85016
    +rep ~hugs~
    Quote Originally Posted by Torchbearer
    what works can never be discussed online. there is only one language the government understands, and until the people start speaking it by the magazine full... things will remain the same.
    Hear/buy my music here "government is the enemy of liberty"-RP Support me on Patreon here Ephesians 6:12



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  11. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by eduardo89 View Post
    If you ever get the chance you should also check out the Tridentine Mass, I think it's equally as powerful. There are quite a few churches that offer it in Phoenix:
    The Byzantine Catholic rite I hear is really good as well. I've never attended, but the friends I know fell in love.

  12. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by RJB View Post
    The Byzantine Catholic rite I hear is really good as well. I've never attended, but the friends I know fell in love.
    I went to a Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church for Christmas Mass a few years with my family when I was younger. They use the Byzantine Rite Divine Liturgy. It's very similar to the Eastern Orthodox Divine Liturgy.

  13. #11
    It gladdens me to hear of your experience! Mine was very similar and it can be very overwhelming at first. I came from working at a non denominational church to my first Divine Liturgy and I was in awe the whole time. I was afraid I wouldn't connect with the people, but I quickly found out how "normal" everyone is. I expected a bunch of fundamental monastics, but found nothing but love...the Holy Spirit is certainly present!

    Keep us abreast of your journey, sounds like you're on "the right path" (sorry, bad Orthodox pun lol).

  14. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew5 View Post
    It gladdens me to hear of your experience! Mine was very similar and it can be very overwhelming at first. I came from working at a non denominational church to my first Divine Liturgy and I was in awe the whole time. I was afraid I wouldn't connect with the people, but I quickly found out how "normal" everyone is. I expected a bunch of fundamental monastics, but found nothing but love...the Holy Spirit is certainly present!

    Keep us abreast of your journey, sounds like you're on "the right path" (sorry, bad Orthodox pun lol).
    Okay. I plan on beginning catechumen this week-which my parish calls "introduction to Orthodoxy". As I understand it, the conversion process takes about a year-varying on the various factors involved in any individual's journey. (you're right, that was a bad pun but I appreciate your positive attitude ~hugs~)
    Quote Originally Posted by Torchbearer
    what works can never be discussed online. there is only one language the government understands, and until the people start speaking it by the magazine full... things will remain the same.
    Hear/buy my music here "government is the enemy of liberty"-RP Support me on Patreon here Ephesians 6:12

  15. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by heavenlyboy34 View Post
    Okay. I plan on beginning catechumen this week-which my parish calls "introduction to Orthodoxy". As I understand it, the conversion process takes about a year-varying on the various factors involved in any individual's journey. (you're right, that was a bad pun but I appreciate your positive attitude ~hugs~)
    Yes, most Bishops prefer an Inquirer to go through the entire liturgical cycle of the church year. However, depending on what experience you bring and your knowledge of "the basics", they will shorten it some times. Our Bishop shortened it to 7 months, but we had a lot of one-on-one time with our priest as we were the only two students.

  16. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew5 View Post
    Yes, most Bishops prefer an Inquirer to go through the entire liturgical cycle of the church year. However, depending on what experience you bring and your knowledge of "the basics", they will shorten it some times. Our Bishop shortened it to 7 months, but we had a lot of one-on-one time with our priest as we were the only two students.
    Well, tonight was my first class. Pretty interesting, and only a few other students. A lot of comparing/contrasting Orthodoxy/Economia and Catholic Scholasticism. Also dealt with salvation, Grace, and a few other basics. Reading assignment-Romans 5&6.

    ETA: I noticed the old ladies who have been in the church a long time can cross themselves after prayer much quicker than I. Totally jealous. :/ lolz...I'll get it eventually.
    Last edited by heavenlyboy34; 11-13-2013 at 12:36 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Torchbearer
    what works can never be discussed online. there is only one language the government understands, and until the people start speaking it by the magazine full... things will remain the same.
    Hear/buy my music here "government is the enemy of liberty"-RP Support me on Patreon here Ephesians 6:12

  17. #15
    The Holy Eucharist


    Rev. Thomas Fitzgerald


    "We knew not whether we were in heaven or on earth, for surely there is no such splendor or beauty anywhere on earth. We cannot describe it to you; we only know that God dwells there among men and that their Service surpasses the worship of all other places..."


    In the latter part of the tenth century, Vladimir the Prince of Kiev sent envoys to various Christian centers to study their form of worship. These are the words the envoys uttered when they reported their presence at the celebration of the Eucharist in the Great Church of Holy Wisdom in Constantinople. The profound experience expressed by the Russian envoys has been one shared by many throughout the centuries who have witnessed for the first time the beautiful and inspiring Divine Liturgy of the Orthodox Church.

    The Holy Eucharist is the oldest experience of Christian Worship as well as the most distinctive. Eucharist comes from the Greek word which means thanksgiving. In a particular sense, the word describes the most important form of the Church's attitude toward all of life. The origin of the Eucharist is traced to the Last Supper at which Christ instructed His disciples to offer bread and wine in His memory. The Eucharist is the most distinctive event of Orthodox worship because in it the Church gathers to remember and celebrate the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ and, thereby, to participate in the mystery of Salvation.

    In the Orthodox Church, the Eucharist is also known as the Divine Liturgy. The word liturgy means people's work; this description serves to emphasize the corporate character of the Eucharist. When an Orthodox attends the Divine Liturgy, it is not as an isolated person who comes simply to hear a sermon.

    Rather, he comes as a member of the Community of Faith who participates in the very purpose of the Church, which is the Worship of the Holy Trinity. Therefore, the Eucharist is truly the center of the life of the Church and the principal means of spiritual development, both for the individual Christian and the Church as a whole. Not only does the Eucharist embody and express the Christian faith in a unique way, but it also enhances and deepens our faith in the Trinity. This sacrament-mystery is the experience toward which all the other activities of the Church are directed and from which they receive their direction.

    The Eucharist, the principal sacrament mystery of the Orthodox Church, is not so much a text to be studied, but rather an experience of communion with the Living God in which prayer , music, gestures, the material creation, art and architecture come into full orchestration. The Eucharist is a celebration of faith which touches not only the mind but also the emotions and the senses.

    Throughout the centuries, Christians have seen many dimensions in the Eucharist. The various titles which have come to describe the rite bear witness to the richness of its meaning. The Eucharist has been known as the Holy offering, the Holy Mysteries, the Mystic Supper, and the Holy Communion. The Orthodox Church recognizes the many facets of the Eucharist and wisely refuses to over-emphasize one element to the detirement of the others. In so doing, Orthodoxy has clearly avoided reducing the Eucharist to a simple memorial of the Last Supper which is only occasionally observed. Following the teachings of both Scripture and Tradition, the Orthodox Church believes that Christ is truly present with His people in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. The Eucharistic gifts of bread and wine become for us His Body and His Blood. We affirm that these Holy Gifts are transfigured into the first fruits of the New Creation in which ultimately God will be "all in all".

    As it is celebrated today, the Divine Liturgy is a product of historical development. The fundamental core of the liturgy dates from the time of Christ and the Apostles. To this, prayers, hymns, and gestures have been added throughout the centuries. The liturgy achieved a basic framework by the ninth century.

    There are three forms of the Eucharist presently in use in the Orthodox Church: (more at link)
    +
    'These things I command you, that you love one another.' - Jesus Christ

  18. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by heavenlyboy34 View Post
    Well, tonight was my first class. Pretty interesting, and only a few other students. A lot of comparing/contrasting Orthodoxy/Economia and Catholic Scholasticism. Also dealt with salvation, Grace, and a few other basics. Reading assignment-Romans 5&6.

    ETA: I noticed the old ladies who have been in the church a long time can cross themselves after prayer much quicker than I. Totally jealous. :/ lolz...I'll get it eventually.
    lol! in their old age, they probably feel like they have little time left and have to get in any as many prayers and prostations they can! As for you, don't rush!
    +
    'These things I command you, that you love one another.' - Jesus Christ



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  20. #17
    +
    'These things I command you, that you love one another.' - Jesus Christ

  21. #18
    ///
    Last edited by TER; 11-13-2013 at 11:13 PM.
    +
    'These things I command you, that you love one another.' - Jesus Christ

  22. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by heavenlyboy34 View Post
    ETA: I noticed the old ladies who have been in the church a long time can cross themselves after prayer much quicker than I. Totally jealous. :/ lolz...I'll get it eventually.
    Don't be jealous, slowly shows much more reverence for the action than robotically rushing through it. You'll notice many priest do it slowly and our priest encouraged us to do the same. May you always be thinking when you make the sign of the cross!

  23. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew5 View Post
    Don't be jealous, slowly shows much more reverence for the action than robotically rushing through it. You'll notice many priest do it slowly and our priest encouraged us to do the same. May you always be thinking when you make the sign of the cross!
    Thanks. I was half joking when I said I was jealous. I'm not naturally patient-especially with myself, so this whole process is trying but rewarding. I have a somewhat similar relationship to my karate-I feel that my technique tends to be poor and my progress slow, but my sempais disagree.
    Quote Originally Posted by Torchbearer
    what works can never be discussed online. there is only one language the government understands, and until the people start speaking it by the magazine full... things will remain the same.
    Hear/buy my music here "government is the enemy of liberty"-RP Support me on Patreon here Ephesians 6:12

  24. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew5 View Post
    Don't be jealous, slowly shows much more reverence for the action than robotically rushing through it. You'll notice many priest do it slowly and our priest encouraged us to do the same. May you always be thinking when you make the sign of the cross!
    I agree with this. I watched a great youtube video about this sort of thing, not just about doing the sign of the cross slowly, deliberately, and with reverence, but also talking about the Catholic custom of genuflecting when in front of the Tabernacle. I'll try and find it because it explained why we shouldn't rush things.

    You gain nothing from robotically doing actions, you should slow down and contemplate them. Not just when doing the sign of the cross or genuflecting, but importantly during prayer, while following the Mass/Divine Liturgy, when confessing your sins, etc.

  25. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by eduardo89 View Post
    I agree with this. I watched a great youtube video about this sort of thing, not just about doing the sign of the cross slowly, deliberately, and with reverence, but also talking about the Catholic custom of genuflecting when in front of the Tabernacle. I'll try and find it because it explained why we shouldn't rush things.

    You gain nothing from robotically doing actions, you should slow down and contemplate them. Not just when doing the sign of the cross or genuflecting, but importantly during prayer, while following the Mass/Divine Liturgy, when confessing your sins, etc.
    +rep (I wish) and all good points. One of the things I try to do is remember when passing in front of the altar or royal doors any time I'm in the nave. I even feel weird turning my back to it...not out of some religious obligation, but I try to do that to remind me of the holiness of the space.

    Bless those elderly parishioners, but I'm not one for sitting and chatting much when in the nave either. I'd much rather do it in the narthex. Again, just my personal method of remembrance.

    All that we do in our lives and while at the temple are not some meaningless filler that has been added, we all know mass/divine liturgy is long enough. Everything has meaning and it's important not to lose that meaning.

  26. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by eduardo89 View Post
    I agree with this. I watched a great youtube video about this sort of thing, not just about doing the sign of the cross slowly, deliberately, and with reverence, but also talking about the Catholic custom of genuflecting when in front of the Tabernacle. I'll try and find it because it explained why we shouldn't rush things.

    You gain nothing from robotically doing actions, you should slow down and contemplate them. Not just when doing the sign of the cross or genuflecting, but importantly during prayer, while following the Mass/Divine Liturgy, when confessing your sins, etc.
    You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to eduardo89 again.
    :/ ~hugs~ Спасибо.
    Quote Originally Posted by Torchbearer
    what works can never be discussed online. there is only one language the government understands, and until the people start speaking it by the magazine full... things will remain the same.
    Hear/buy my music here "government is the enemy of liberty"-RP Support me on Patreon here Ephesians 6:12

  27. #24
    Things went more smoothly this week. Nothing new to add except that my ride was on time this week so I heard all of Dr Salamy's sermon. Made sure to be more thoughtful and deliberate in prayer and crossing myself as others above have mentioned^^. If y'all are interested in what happens in the future, I'll keep this updated. If not and it's boring or whatever, let me know and I'll just keep it in my blog until something major happens. ~hugs~

    ETA: adding more per RJB's request. This week's epistle text was Gallations 2:16-20 and the gospel was Luke 12:16-21 .Chris discussed it from the Orthodox perspective. I always get the sense that the Orthodox take scripture much more seriously than my previous non-denominational ministers.
    It seems that the choir was even better this week. Definitely the most in-tune choir I've heard in person except perhaps the Phoenix Symphony chorus. The lack of instruments seems to make the text more powerful.
    Chris has started a challenge to read the New Testament from Matthew 1-Revelation 22 a bit at a time. I decided I will do it.
    ETA 2: The likes of FF would've been horrified that I kiss the icons along with my fellow parishoners ...but too bad. :P
    (more to come if I can think of anything worth noting)
    ETA 3: Forgot to mention that a big part of the sermon was the orthodox view of the Trinity. Rather reminded me of Augustine's efforts to teach the subject to the Pelagians. It seems quite basic to me, but it's always good to reflect on these things from different POVs.
    Last edited by heavenlyboy34; 11-18-2013 at 04:09 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Torchbearer
    what works can never be discussed online. there is only one language the government understands, and until the people start speaking it by the magazine full... things will remain the same.
    Hear/buy my music here "government is the enemy of liberty"-RP Support me on Patreon here Ephesians 6:12



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  29. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by heavenlyboy34 View Post
    If y'all are interested in what happens in the future, I'll keep this updated. If not and it's boring or whatever, let me know and I'll just keep it in my blog until something major happens. ~hugs~
    This is good. This is actual experience vs opinion. You're further along than me, but it reminds me of the excitement I had going from atheist to not just the realization that God exist, but that he loves me! Keep posting.

  30. #26
    Please do post! Your journey is inspirational to those who have walked in similar steps before as well as those who are just beginning.
    +
    'These things I command you, that you love one another.' - Jesus Christ

  31. #27

    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by TER View Post
    Please do post! Your journey is inspirational to those who have walked in similar steps before as well as those who are just beginning.
    Glad you all appreciate it. ~hugs~
    Quote Originally Posted by Torchbearer
    what works can never be discussed online. there is only one language the government understands, and until the people start speaking it by the magazine full... things will remain the same.
    Hear/buy my music here "government is the enemy of liberty"-RP Support me on Patreon here Ephesians 6:12

  32. #28

    Thumbs up

    This is rather off-topic, but pretty neat IMO. Dr Salamy published this short piece 3 months ago. Nice to have such a pro-peace spiritual father!

    I am writing this to you with a heavy heart after listening to Secretary of State Kerry's speech regarding American military action against Syria. Though nothing definitive has been announced, it appears that the United States is leaning heavily towards military action against Syria at this time. I am writing to ask each of you to pray for the peace from above, for peace in our world and peace for all the people of Syria.


    Whatever one's political leanings may be, we as Antiochian Orthodox Christians must always remember that our spiritual roots are in Syria. According to Acts 11:26, the disciples were for the first time called Christians in Antioch. Our patriarch, His Beatitude JOHN X lives in Syria. The Antiochian Patriarchate has many archdioceses in Syria, which include Aleppo, Homs, Hama and others. The churches, monasteries, bishops, priests, monks and nuns living in Syria safeguard some of the most ancient Christian relics and holy sites that the world has ever known. There are hundreds of thousands of our Orthodox brothers and sisters who live in Syria, some who have been killed during this conflict and others having been displaced from their homes becoming refugees. Many of our parishioners from St. George are from Syria and many still have family who live there. And of course, we all know of our two beloved bishops who were kidnapped many months ago and still remain missing. If ever there was a time for prayer, today is the day.


    I gave an interview yesterday to KFYI radio (550 AM) denouncing any violence from any of the parties involved, asking rather that a peaceable solution be sought to resolve the crisis in Syria. In fairness to KFYI, they were forthright in replaying my comments not taking them out of context and keeping the quotes as whole as their time allotments allowed. It is a good witness for Antiochian Christians here in Phoenix and throughout our nation of the United States of America.


    With that being said, we will say special prayers for Syria this Sunday at Divine Liturgy. I encourage you all to attend this week, and to encourage others to join us for these prayers. Do not be afraid to use your social media outlets to spread this news. Facebook, Twitter and others have a powerful ability to advertise information freely. Take advantage of that and help us get the word out.


    And most importantly, please remember all of the people of Syria in your God-pleasing prayers. There is no solution to any conflict without God's help; we must ask Him to send His grace upon us all, upon our leaders and upon the international community to do what is right: morally and ethically. Peace only comes from God, and in a world that is suffering so greatly, we will come together as an Antiochian Orthodox parish family and beseech Him to grant that peace to us and to all mankind.

    Your father in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the King of Peace,

    Fr. Chris Salamy
    Quote Originally Posted by Torchbearer
    what works can never be discussed online. there is only one language the government understands, and until the people start speaking it by the magazine full... things will remain the same.
    Hear/buy my music here "government is the enemy of liberty"-RP Support me on Patreon here Ephesians 6:12

  33. #29
    Kind of minor thing...it was my understanding that Orthodox hug and kiss a lot, but I rarely see that done at my church. I am disappoint. :/
    Quote Originally Posted by Torchbearer
    what works can never be discussed online. there is only one language the government understands, and until the people start speaking it by the magazine full... things will remain the same.
    Hear/buy my music here "government is the enemy of liberty"-RP Support me on Patreon here Ephesians 6:12

  34. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by heavenlyboy34 View Post
    Kind of minor thing...it was my understanding that Orthodox hug and kiss a lot, but I rarely see that done at my church. I am disappoint. :/
    Our parish does, both formally and informally. We're Russian-based though, maybe it's cultural?

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