-- a place for Episcopalian Students and Alumni of the University to meet --

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Great Vespers

This week our Canterbury Fellowship traveled to St. Nicholas Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Greenwood, VA to participate in their service of Great Vespers.  For many of us, it was a first experience of Vespers and quite possibly the first time any of us had participated in an Eastern liturgy.  In the Episcopal Church, we fall into the Western liturgical tradition.  Of course there are many differences between the two, but perhaps the two that struck me the most were the building's architecture and how the congregation remained standing for the entirety of an hour, plus, service.

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church Nave
In many traditionally Western churches -- that is those that trace their heritage back to Rome -- we see a much different floor plan than we do in the Eastern churches.  For example, both East & West haven a narthex, nave, and sanctuary; however, in the Easter tradition, the separation between the nave and the sanctuary has been maintained by a partition: thus reminding us of the design of the Temple in Jerusalem, where you have a separation between where the common people gathered, where the Jewish people gathered, and then the place where only the priests were allowed to enter-- the holy of Holies.  And during our visit we also learned that in the early church, the Nave was exclusively designated for Christians.  In fact non-Christians were asked to leave at certain points during the service.

Another interesting fact:  the Ukrainian Orthodox Christians at St. Nicholas's (and presumably many Orthodox Christians) sung the entire Vespers service.  It was absolutely beautiful.  If you would like to learn more about this particular parish, please visit their website HERE.

Of course, it wouldn't be a proper Canterbury meeting if we didn't enjoy a delicious dinner and the fellowship of our peers.  So afterwards, we traveled through the "wilderness" (haha) to Crozet Pizza, having a spectacular time!  The owners of this place make the best pizza I think I've had in a very long time.  Here's a picture of us at Crozet Pizza.

No comments:

Post a Comment