|ST. JAMES ORTHODOX CHURCH
|VICARIATE FOR THE PALESTINIAN & JORDANIAN
CHRISTIAN ORTHODOX COMMUNITIES IN AMERICA
Question - What is the meaning behind the censing done by the priest or deacon?
The Psalmist is quoted as saying, “Let my prayer arise in Thy sight as incense and the lifting up of my
hands be an evening sacrifice.” (Ps 140) Censing is done in the Orthodox Church as a reminder to lift
our hearts in prayer up to God.
Question - Why do you enter the Church from the east?
Orthodox build churches facing East to represent the light. The sun sets in the west, therefore one
enters from the world of darkness into a world of light.
Question - Why do the priests have beards?
Orthodox Christian piety begins in the Holy Tradition of the Old Testament. Our relationship to the
Lord God, holiness, worship, and morality was formed in the ancient times of the Bible. At the time of
the foundation of the priesthood, the Lord gave the following commandments to the priests during
periods of mourning, And ye shall not shave your head for the dead [a pagan practice] with a baldness
on the top; and they shall not shave their beard... (Lev. 21:5), and to all men in general, Ye shall not
make a round cutting of the hair of your head, nor disfigure your beard (Lev. 19:27). The significance
of these commandments is to illustrate that the clergy are to devote themselves completely to serving
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