FAQ & 




The Divine Liturgy that is typically celebrated was written by Saint John Chrysostom of Constantinople around 400 A.D. ​A typical Sunday liturgy lasts about 90 minutes, while weekday liturgies run for a shorter duration. The first half is focused on hymns, scripture, and the sermon, and the second half is focused on the consecration and distribution of the Eucharist.


Strictly speaking, there is no dress code at church. Most Orthodox Christians still adhere to the principle of dressing in their 'Sunday Best' for Church. Although this dress code will look different to different people (ranging from smart casual to dresses and suits), the intention behind this is to reflect respect and honour as we stand in the presence of God. Both men and women are encouraged to dress modestly and humbly, as to not draw unnecessary attention to themselves in a space of worship. However, everyone is invited to come along to church, and a lack of nice clothes should never prevent you from coming to services—the important thing is for us to worship together.




The first thing anyone notices upon entering any Orthodox Church is the sandbox full of lit candles. We see people making an offering, taking the candle, lighting it, saying a prayer and placing the candle in the sand. What's that all about?​

Lighting a candle is a symbolic gesture to accompany a time of prayer. When we do this, we reflect upon the salvation that the Lord has worked for us, and also recommitment and renew our Baptismal vow to “Let our light so shine before men, that they may see [our] good works and give glory to [our] Father who is in Heaven.” (Matt. 5:16)

The lighting of the candle should always be accompanied by words of prayer. For the living we will ask the mercy and the protection of God, while for the departed the divine mercy and their eternal salvation. Christ said, “I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) Jesus Christ IS that light. He is the light that shines for us in the midst this world of darkness. Thus, the candle comes to signify Christ illuminating our own souls.


You may have realised by now that the Orthodox are very symbolic in their worship. Using incense symbolises prayer that ascends the throne of God. “Let my prayer rise as  an incense before You…” (Psalm 141:2).  This devotional medium creates a climate of devout prayer, allowing us to “lift up our hearts.” 

It is an ancient practice that can be dated to Abrahamic tradition. Moses obeying God constructed and placed on the stage of Martyrdom altar of incense (Ex. 30: 1-10). In the Old Testament,  incense had to be offered at the beginning of the day in the morning and evening with the lighting of Light (Ex. 30: 7-8). This practice was passed onto the early Church and continues to be a powerful symbol of our worship and prayer.



The Sacrament of Baptism was instituted by Christ Himself and is the gateway into the other Sacraments of the Church. You can learn more about that here.

Maybe you were baptised into another Christian denomination or maybe you don't belong to the Christian faith at all, but are curious about Orthodoxy. 

You are free to stay for the entire Liturgy service. The only aspect you cannot participate in is Holy Communion (The Eucharist).


Orthodox Christians believe that the Eucharist is the body and blood of Christ. It is our most treasured Sacrament. For us, receiving communion does not just mean being in communion with Christ, but also with his entire Body as the united Orthodox Church. Being a member of this Body (through baptism) is necessary to then participate in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. 

However, you can eat the 'antidoron' (bread) offered at the end of the service. This bread is blessed, but not consecrated like the Eucharist is, so anyone visiting the church is welcome to it.



Icons are pictorial representations of Biblical scenes from the life of Jesus Christ, historical events in the life of the Church, and portraits of the saints; you'll find them in every Orthodox Church. You may be surprised to learn that holy icons have been used for prayer since the first centuries of Christianity. History tells us, for example, of the existence of an icon of Christ during his lifetime, the Icon-Not-Made-With-Hands, and of icons of the Theotokos written by the Apostle and Evangelist Luke.


When Orthodox Christians enter a Church they venerate these images with a kiss, not in worship, but in respect for what is represented in the image. You might think of this kiss as one you would offer to your dearest loved one, or most respected elder. If you are a non-Orthodox visitor, you are not required to venerate the icons in the Narthex of the Church, though you may do so if you wish.



During the Liturgy, you'll notice two processions. the first is the “Small Entrance,” when the Holy Gospel book is walked around the church. This symbolises Jesus Christ coming into the world as the “Word of God” to teach, instruct and prepare us for the Kingdom of God.


The “Great Entrance” is the procession of the holy gifts of bread and wine which occurs after the Gospel Reading. The previously prepared and covered gifts are taken in procession from inside the Altar Sanctuary, out into the congregation, down the centre aisle, back into the Sanctuary through the Royal Door, where they are then consecrated into the Body and Blood of Christ. The “Great Entrance” symbolises Jesus Christ coming into the world not only to teach, instruct and to prepare us for the Kingdom of God, but also to offer Himself for us on the Cross as a sacrifice of Love. In other words, it symbolises everything God has done for us in Christ to save us and bring us into eternal life with Him. 




Have a tumblr and want some Orthodox content on your dash? Our blog is updated regularly with quotes, articles, images and the stories of saints to keep your faith focused.


Through the Grace of God


A blog run by CYC NSW's former president Elena. It is a great source of spiritual inspiration from the early Church Fathers and Mothers and the writings of the saints. There is also an instagram account that posts regularly.

Orthodoxy Today


This blog is maintained by Fr. Johannes Jacobse, a priest in the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of America and is a great resource for those wanting to deepen their faith.


"Be the Bee" Youth Ministries

"Be The Bee" is a YouTube series run by GOA's Department of Youth & Young Adult Ministries. There are 100 videos that touch on issues specific to young people in the Orthodox faith.



Theoria is a youtube channel devoted to producing quality videos about Orthodox life, dogma, and spirituality, and distributing them for free on youtube.


Ancient Faith Ministries

This blog is maintained by Fr. Johannes Jacobse, a priest in the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of America and is a great resource for those wanting to deepen their faith.


"Being Orthodox"

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia has information on a variety of topics for people keen to know more about the faith. Just check out the "Being Orthodox" tab on their menu bar.

The Orthodox Way

by Bishop Kallistos Ware

This short book is a basic but practical look into Orthodox theology. Bishop Kallistos Ware shows the meaning of Orthodox doctrine for the life of the individual Christian, showing how Orthodoxy is not just as a system of beliefs, practices and customs but indeed as the Way. A good read for cradle Orthodox Christians wanting to understand their faith better, those who are curious or those who are interesting in converting to Eastern Orthodoxy.