Nov. 12 - St. John the Merciful

The Divine Liturgy is the coming together of the heavenly Kingdom with earthly life. The Church of heaven, the Church triumphant, and the church here on earth, the Church Militant, join in this grand celebration to glorify God and to be in union with Him. We come to this service to be transformed through the partaking of Holy Communion.

Before Orthodox Christianity spread to what is now Russia, Prince Vladimir of Kiev (in present day Ukraine) sent emissaries to Constantinople (then the capital of the Roman Empire and the center of Christianity) to seek out a new religion for his people. When they experienced the Divine Liturgy at the Hagia Sophia Cathedral there here is what they reported:

“We knew not whether we were in heaven or on earth. For on earth there is no such splendor or beauty, and we are at a loss how to describe it. We only know that God dwells there among men and their service is fairer than the ceremonies of other nations. For we cannot forget the beauty.” — Vladimir’s emissaries D.D. 987