The rule of prayer is the rule of faith. We pray what we believe and we believe what we pray. Christ handed down to His apostles, not only the rule of faith (the Doctrine of the Apostles), but also the rule of prayer (The Worship of the Apostles). “When you pray, say; Our Father Who art in heaven...” (Luke 11:2).
When St. Paul gave his instructions to the Corinthians on the celebration of communion, he delivered to them what he received from the Lord, repeating the very words that Christ spoke when He gave thanks, broke the bread and said, “Take eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” (I Cor. 11:24)
Can we know what the worship of the ancient Church was like and can it be experienced in our current situation?” The answer is YES! The ancient worship services of the Church have been preserved and handed down to us through the apostolic tradition, and are being used today not only by churches united to the ancient patriarchates in the East (Antioch, Jerusalem, Alexandria and Constantinople), but also by churches here in North America made up largely of former evangelical, Protestant and charismatic Christians who have been united to those ancient sees.
At first glance, these services may seem foreign, flowery and long. But a careful examination of the prayers and hymns reveals that the Orthodox Christian Faith, once for all handed down to us is imprinted in the worship itself.
The word “liturgy” means the work of the people. The worship of the Church is the corporate work of the Royal Priesthood (I Pet. 2:9). The Liturgy is an action in which a group of people become something corporately that they had not been as a mere collection of individuals. Christ stands at the head of the congregation as the Great High Priest...a Minister [Greek - leitourgos] (or Liturgist) of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man. (Heb. 8:2)
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