On Tuesday, August 2, 2011, not long after 6:30pm, I found myself facedown on the floor at Christ the Savior Orthodox Church, in Chicago, Illinois. There were less than a dozen people in the church, including the priest and singers. It was dark and warm, though cooler than the city outside. The service was the Canon of Supplication to the Mother of God. There were a few pews along the edge of the church, but aside from the prostrations, people stood for the length of the service. The church was beautiful, in a way only an Orthodox church can be. Some of the older Catholic churches come close, it is true, but one must seek out the diamonds in the rough.
In the service, we gave glory to God, and we sought the intercession of Mary, most Holy Mother of God. I did not know the words, so it was difficult to chant and sing along, but the service was in English. I attempted to make the sign of the cross when the others did, to bow when they did, and to lie facedown on the ground when they did. I probably stood out like a sore thumb, but no one gave me any odd looks.
When the service ended, I walked out into the Chicago air, but I think the real breath of fresh air had been inside. Such beauty and reverence is so rare in our Western churches. In my oft-interrupted search for the Church, my sympathies have tended to lean Catholic, and still do, but even the Catholic Church could learn something about worship from the Orthodox.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; both now and for ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.