The services are not held for the saints – photo journal from the Chapel of Saint Joseph the Hesychast
The services are not held for the saints and the churches are not raised for them.
They are made for us.
Saints are gods by grace in the heaven of delight, united with God. They do not need our pitiful grimaces. We need to honor them, not to satisfy their shortcomings, but because we constantly need to be led by their example and give them the opportunity to help us.
The service is not for the saint, the service is not for the priest, the service is not for the chanter, the service is for the man in the church – whether he is a layman or a monk, or has the role of a priest, chanter or a simple praying faithful.
The service is not an intellectual gathering, it is not a show because man is not a spectating being but a prayerful being.
So, if the man in the church does not pray to the full, it means that the priest, the canon, the chanter, the altar boy and all the others who contribute to the service must judge themselves to see if this harm has been done because of him.
The role of the church
At the moment when someone can no longer pray – because it is difficult for us to pray incessantly and with his mind scattered for hours – then the believer will fall from the height of the prayer, like on a net, on the words of the songs and the spiritual images – mainly icons – in the church.
The church and the service are an immersive setting in which all our senses are immersed in the spiritual reality of God. The hearing through the sermons and the words of the songs, the vision through the architecture, the icons and the way of illumination in the different moments of the service, the smell through the incense, the tinkling through the use of prayer ropes, the veneration of icons and the holy unction and the taste through holy bread, holy water and especially through the Holy Communion.
So the services are not held for the saints. They are held for us. Hence, even if we really cannot attend the services in place, at least let us follow via live streaming or a similar method.
The photos are from the first liturgy served by Abbot Ephraim of Vatopedi in the chapel of Saint Joseph the Hesychast after his canonization. The chapel is located in the cell of Elder Joseph of Vatopedi, a few minutes away from the Vatoped monastery in Mount Athos.
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