Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Assumption of the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Cathedral by Simon Sager

This experience was different than I expected. In all honesty, I had never heard of Greek Orthodoxy before my time in Denver. Going into this experience I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I certainly didn’t picture the service being held in a dome or for it to be so Greek infused. I didn’t anticipate much of the service being spoken in Greek. I was also surprised to see the service so well attended.
Maybe it is because I have my final paper topic at the front of my mind or maybe it is because music truly is the way I communicate and grow spiritually, but the music in the service was really what struck me. The vast majority of the service had some sort of musical quality to it. In fact, there were no spoken words until 45 minutes into the service. Everything before that, be it scripture, prayers or other readings, was either chanted by them men standing near the Alter in front of us or sang by the choir standing on the balcony behind us. Because the acoustics of the room were so great and often times the singing happened from the balcony behind us, I sometimes couldn’t tell who was singing. This was a little off putting at first but after a while I grew to really like not knowing who was singing. It allowed me to really focus on the words that were being sung/chanted instead of focusing on the person who was singing. I was able to hear the message without any distractions and take the words to heart.
The whole point of my final paper is going to be that music, in a religious sense, provides something special. Music is a medium that allows us to communicate with God. The fact that the majority of this service had music ingrained into it proves this point. Obviously, the people who attended this church feel that music helps us to communicate with God and that music allows us to hear God’s voice. I am very glad that I got to have the experience of going to this Greek service before writing my final paper. I think that it affirmed my belief that music is one the most spiritual practices in existence. Even though I did not always know what was happening throughout the service, I could still feel God’s presence throughout. In my opinion, this is because of the music. Music has power and going to this service just reaffirmed my strong belief that God uses music to speak to people.

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