Where Do the Bible Readings Come from at a Greek Church?
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While attending a Greek Orthodox church service, you may notice that there are often a series of readings that you will encounter during the service. At a typical Divine Liturgy service, which is the service that is done on most Sundays, there are usually two types of readings – the Epistle Reading and the Gospel Reading. Sometimes, there may also be a type of reading known as the Matins Gospel Reading.
Selecting which scriptures are being read on a given day isn’t an accident. This is something that is carefully thought out. Here’s more information about how we find the different types of readings in the Greek church:
Webster’s Dictionary defines lectionary as “a book or list of lections for the church year.” A “lection” is defined as “a liturgical reading for a particular day.” Each reading that you encounter in the Orthodox Christian Church for a given day had been predetermined by the church. The readings were hand selected with specific purposes in mind and they are designed to follow the events of the church year and to celebrate different things from the Bible and from Church History. Each Epistle and Gospel reading that is selected comes from this lectionary.
There are usually two types of readings that are found in the Divine Liturgy service, which is the typical service that is done on Sunday mornings and often other times during the week. These are the Epistle Readings and the Gospel Readings. Both the Epistle and Gospel have their own Lectionary and both are usually done towards the beginning of the service.
The Epistle is read by someone who had been hand selected by the congregation and the parish usually sits when it is being read. Shortly after, the Gospel is read by a priest or someone else who had been ordained, like a deacon on bishop. Each Divine Liturgy service has a different selection of readings that are chosen according to the church calendar.
When you arrive at church, you don’t need to guess as to which readings will be told during the service. You can find the information online and most churches actually provide the information for you, either by the priest announcing it or because it is written on a handout that you grab when walking into the church. If you have further questions about this, you should ask your priest or other clergy member.
The Religion section on GreekBoston.com was written by Greeks to help people understand some of the traditions of the Orthodox Christian religion, which is a religion practiced by people in countries such as Greece, Russia, United States, and other nations throughout the world. This article is not a substitute for information found in the Holy Bible or by our church fathers, priests, and other clergy members.
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