From the Priest
“We knew not whether we were in heaven or on earth, for surely there is no such splendor or beauty anywhere upon earth. We cannot describe it to you: only this we know, that God dwells there among humans, and that their service surpasses the worship of all other places. For we cannot forget that beauty.”
This description was given by two men after attending their first worship service in an Orthodox Church over one thousand years ago. Today, you can witness this same beauty, and this same union of heaven and earth, taking place in the services at St. Herman of Alaska Orthodox Church in Port Townsend, Washington.
Our parish is a member of the Orthodox Christian Church, which is also known as the Eastern Orthodox Church. But really, Orthodoxy is simply Christianity. It is the Church that Christ founded nearly two thousand years ago; it is the faith that the early Fathers and the martyrs defended; it is the sacraments that enable us to become “gods by grace”; it is the hospital where we undergo spiritual therapy.
The Orthodox Church might seem foreign to you. That’s understandable. There are 260 million Orthodox Christians in the world today, but Orthodoxy in America is still relatively young. Around Port Townsend, I’m still frequently asked if I’m part of the “Russian church”. (Don’t worry! All of our services are in English!)
If you are looking for authentic Christianity in the world today, if you long for true peace and joy, or even if you are simply curious about Orthodoxy, I encourage you with the same words Christ spoke to his disciples when they asked where he was staying: “Come and see”. Please visit us! Come to one of our services!
I hope that you will come away with the same feeling as those witnesses a thousand years ago: “We knew not whether we were in heaven or on earth… For we cannot forget that beauty.”
God bless you,
Fr. Daniel Lattier, Rector