Schedule of Services
Description of Services
"Divine Liturgy" - Liturgy is our main worship service and centers around the Sacrament of Holy Communion. During Liturgy, there are also various hymns, litanies of intercession, readings from the Epistles and Gospels, and a sermon. The Greek work "λειτουργία" ("liturgy") is used throughout the Bible, but in English is instead often rendered as "ministering to the Lord" or "worship." Liturgy literally means "the work of the people." Thus, the Divine Liturgy is understood as God's action taking place in the midst of those who have assembled together in His name. The Divine Liturgy of the Orthodox Church has its roots in the Old Testament worship of the Tabernacle and Temple, and has an organic and unbroken connection to the earliest liturgy used in the apostolic era. Liturgy is usually about an hour and 15 minutes in length.
"Vespers" - The name Vespers comes from the Greek word "ἑσπέρα," which means "evening." Thus, it is an evening prayer service centered around the setting of the sun and the beginning of the new day (according to the Jewish sense of time, with the new day beginning at sundown). During Vespers, there are Psalm readings, litanies of intercession, and various hymns about a special event or saint being remembered on that particular date. Saturday evening Vespers focus on the Resurrection of Christ as a preparation for keeping "the Lord's Day." Vespers is usually 35 - 45 minutes in length.
"Orthros" - The word "Orthros" (in Greek, "ὄρθρος") means "daybreak." Orthros is an early morning service, and is very similar to the "Matins" service in the Western Christian traditions. During Orthros, there are Psalm readings, litanies, hymns, and a Gospel reading. The Sunday morning Orthros services focuses on the theme of the Resurrection, and moves seamlessly into the Divine Liturgy. Orthros is usually an hour to an hour and 15 minutes in length.
"Akathists" - Akathist comes from the Greek word "Ἀκάθιστος," which literally means "not seated." As with most other Orthodox services, if possible, the faithful stand in reverence in order to remain attentive in their prayer and worship. The Akathist service is a series of poetic hymns in honor of a particular feast, saint, or special event. There are many different Akathist services; commonly used Akathists are addressed to Christ, the Nativity, the Cross, the Virgin Mary, the patron saint of the church community, etc. An Akathist is usually 35 - 40 minutes in length.
Other services - Beyond the common services listed above, there are other services that are served during special times of the year. Examples of these would be special services during Advent, the Apostles and Dormition fasts, and Great Lent.
Description of Special Lenten Services
For those of us who are new to these services (or by way of reminder), here is a description of the special services we are having during Great Lent: