The Origins of Orthodox Worship

On Earth As In Heaven


While it is true that Orthodox worship serves as a fulfillment of old covenant worship—being fulfilled in and through the risen Christ—the ultimate parallel or comparison that should be drawn is between the Orthodox worship on earth and that which exists in eternity (or, in “heaven”).

It is easy to discern the type-fulfillment relationships between the old covenant shadows and the new covenant fulfillment. For example, the seven-branched candelabras of the temple and those of an Orthodox altar; the budded rod of Aaron and the budded Cross from which the priestly blessing is given; the ark of the covenant in the most holy place of the temple and the tabernacle and “Mary of the Sign” iconography in the apse of a traditional Orthodox church building; etc.

However, what both the worship of the old covenant and that of the new share most in common is that they are both patterned after the worship which occurs in the throne room of the Lord in eternity. As with the prayer of the Lord, we worship

“on earth as it is in heaven.”

It would seem apparent, then, that anyone who desires to worship the Lord properly (and we know that worship is serious business, as Nadab and Abihu exemplify, cf. Lev. 10:1-3) should desire to worship the Lord as it is done in heaven.

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About Fr. John A. Peck

Director of the Preachers Institute, priest in the Orthodox Church in America, award-winning graphic designer and media consultant, and non-profit administrator.
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