Domestic Church

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Within the Orthodox Christian faith, each Christian family is considered a Domestic Church, being the smallest unit of Christian community, faith, and practice. It is in the Christian home that one lives out the Orthodox faith. The Gospel of Matthew records Jesus as saying "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." (18.20 NAB) What is the Christian home if not two or more gathered in the Name of Christ? Each family, being part of the Church, is charged with much the same ministry as the parish church; namely worship, Christian fellowship, charity, education in the faith, growth in virtue, evangelism, hospitality and works of mercy. The "religious life" is not limited to those who have taken monastic or priestly vows. Rather, all Christians are called to religious life. As St. Benedict said of his monastery, the Christian home, too, is to be "a school for the Lord's service."

Worship in the Domestic Church

Worship in the traditional Orthodox home general centers around the Icon corner (sometimes called a "home altar"), which is typically placed in a prominent location in the living room or dining room of the home. This customarily consists of one or more icons and often a shelf or table on which are placed various devotional items.

It is here that the Orthodox family comes together for prayer. Several Orthodox prayer books and devotional manuals are available which provide the customary prayers. These are typically based upon the Hours that are observed in monastic institutions, simplified for use by the family. (See the article on Icon corners.)

Fellowship in the Domestic Church

Education in the Domestic Church

Outreach in the Domestic Church

See Also

External Links

For Further Reading

  • Coniaris, Fr. Anthony. Making God Real in the Orthodox Christian Home (ASIN B0006COYQS)
  • Robinson, David. The Family Cloister: Benedictine Wisdom for the Home (ISBN 0824518276)

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