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I had read two books on Orthodox Christianity. Thats it. So obviously, I had no idea what to expect when I visited St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church for its Sixth Hour Prayer service. What I did know was that for some time now, Id felt a deep desire to silence myself before the Lord, and felt led to do this mid-week in a local church. A faith tradition dating back almost 2,000 years ago, I figured Orthodoxy would have much to offer in the way of ancient worship practices.


A kind lady walked into the church with me and directed me to the chapel. Prayer services werent held in the Sanctuary, but in a smaller room filled with short, wooden pews and a variety of iconic images. In the center at the front, there was an open window with a drawn curtain in front of it. Off stage right, there was a rotating lectern displaying two or three older-looking books. I walked past the icon painting sitting on a wooden stand in the center of the small entrance and settled into an empty pew, two rows from the back. I wasnt opposed to mingling with others that day, but more than anything, Id come to sit in the fellowship of silence with our Father.


Right away, I noticed the room had a pleasant aroma. I observed several glass containers, about the size of a votive candle holder, suspended in front of more paintings on the wall. In these days of essential oils, I felt myself relaxing as I deeply inhaled the scent of burning incense. Slowly, I exhaled and felt stress releasing some of its tight grip on my shoulders. I sat in the very silence Id been craving and waited for the service to begin.


Forty-some years on this earth, and this was the first time Id ever experienced prayer with my Orthodox brothers and sisters...


I'm thrilled to share this piece with my friends at The Mudroom. Click here to read the rest of the article.


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