For those that have grown up in the church, are on the fringes, or even completely new to Orthodoxy, the Tradition Explained series walks you through the most sacred and beloved traditions that can often leave us with more questions than answers.


processions in the liturgy


Have you wondered why the priest and alter servers circle the congregation? Learn the meaning behind the Small and Great Entrance. 

why do orthodox priests grow beards?


A tradition before it was a trend, most Orthodox priests will grow a beard. Have you ever wondered why?

no musical instruments


Many other Christian denominations will use musical instruments in their worship music, ranging from the old-school organ to a full-scale indie rock band. Orthodoxy is very different because the only instrument used is the human voice. 

wedding crowns

It's the climax of the Orthodox wedding service, but what is the tradition behind the crowning ceremony?


There's a rhyme and reason behind the set up of the iconostasis at the front of the church.

burning incense

All the senses are engaged when walking into an Eastern Orthodox church; Our eyes are fixed on the iconography which surrounds the walls , our hands are lifted in the signing of the Cross, our voices follow along to the hymns of the service, our mouths consume the Body and Blood of Christ, and we are filled with the beauty of the sweet-smelling fragrance which is emitted from the incense burning. With our senses fully engaged, our minds and hearts are uplifted towards God in prayer.

name days

IHere are some ways you can celebrate the spiritual significance of your name day:

- Try to go to church for a service commemorating the feast day.

- Read about the saint and reflect on what lessons their life teaches you 

- Read or chat the troparion (hymn) of your saint.

the powerful role of the theotokos

Orthodox Christians believe the Mother of God to be the number one source of intercession between them and Christ. This is because, in the Bible, we see Mary intercede for a bridal party when they run out of wine, asking her Son to perform a miracle. This is why we as Orthodox Christians ask for our Mother of the Church to intercede for us to her Son.

why do we stand in church

Imagine Jesus Christ was standing in the front of the church, conducting the service Himself. Would you be sitting? Would you be leaning against a pillar or wall, shifting your weight from foot to foot? Would you be chatting to the person next to you? Of course not! You would be standing straight, attentive, totally focused on His every word. This is how we should be every time we are in a church service.

 intercession of the saints

Orthodox Christians often ask for the intercessions of the saints, turning to them for prayer. What is that all about?

we do we light candles?

One of the first thing you'll notice when walking into an Orthodox Church are the candles in the sandbox. Here is the reason we light them.

why we cross ourselves

Orthodox Christians make the sign of the cross in a very particular way.

prayer ropes

Prayer ropes - they ain't just for your παππού. Prayer ropes are used to help focus the mind and the hands during prayer.

send in your requests!

Keen to request a tradition explained?