In addition to the temple where we meet and worship on Saturday, Sunday, feast days and various other occasions, it is a part of normal Orthodox Christian life to have regular services in the home, usually in the “beautiful corner” set aside for such purposes. We all know about morning and evening prayers and house blessings, but there are other services that can be done in the home as “reader services”. Most of the services of the daily cycle can be done this way (except for the Divine Liturgy and other sacraments). In places without a priest, this has been a necessary means of keeping the life of the church going.
Many years ago, Alexey and Susan Young were new converts and pilgrims to the St. Herman of Alaska Monastery. They were instructed to do reader services at home as they could, since they were not near a local parish. They set up a storage shed in their backyard as a little chapel, and began to do the Ninth Hour, eventually adding Vespers. A curious neighbor happened to see them and commented:
“Every afternoon, I see you go into your shed for a while, and when you come out you look so peaceful. What do you do in there?” to which Alexey replied, “Come and see!”.
Out of that little effort to do services in the home, and share it with others, a new Orthodox parish was born, and Alexey was eventually ordained a priest to serve there!
August is filled with important feast days such as Holy Transfiguration, Holy Dormition and St Herman of Alaska. There will be Vigil and Liturgy services for these feasts at St. Nicholas. We will not be able to do the daily Paraklesis service, which is traditionally done during the evenings of the Dormition fast. This is a good opportunity for you do this service at home as you can!
In order to make this easier, You will find the full service on this page that you can download and place on your tablet or phone. It is in PDF format. Instructions in italics show you how to do this service as a “reader at home”. If you know the tones, or have sung this with us at St. Nicholas in the past, you can sing it at home. If you don’t know the melodies, you can simply chant it, singing only in your heart!