The Temple of God ó an island of Heaven on our sinful earth
by Bishop Alexander (Mileant); Translated by Seraphim Larin / /Fr. Herman (Ciuba)
The significance of the Church building
A church, or temple, is a building consecrated to God and
intended for divine worship. The Lord is invisibly present in the church and
receives our prayers there; as He said: "Where two or three are
gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst
of them" (Matt. ). Since
"the powers of heaven invisibly serve with us" in the church, it may
be considered a bit of heaven on earth or an island of the kingdom of heaven.
In this brochure, we will acquaint the reader with
the historical development of the church building, its architectural forms, the
arrangement of its interior and the significance of various objects found
within it. We will discuss the main church services, rules for behavior in
church and preparation for Confession and Holy Communion.
The church is the center of our spiritual life. In
it we are spiritually reborn and transformed. In it we receive Holy Communion,
which gives us eternal life. In it we receive Godís blessing upon married life
in the sacrament of Matrimony. In it we are also sent off on our journey to
everlasting life in the funeral service. In the church there is a special
awareness of Godís grace. When a believer has prayed in church, he goes forth
cleansed, comforted and spiritually strengthened.
Drawn by the grace of God, believers have always
striven to frequent the church. As the righteous psalmist said of old, "O
Lord, I have loved the beauty of Thy house, and the place where Thy glory
dwelleth. ... I was glad because of them that said unto me: Let us go into the
house of the Lord" (Psalms 26:8 [LXX 25:7]; 122:1 [LXX 121:1]).