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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. 18:20). 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]).

Published with the kind permission of Bishop Alexander Mileant

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