Fort the last few months I have been listening to the podcast “Worship in Spirit and Truth” by Fr Thomas Hopko. This is a very detailed look at the Orthodox Divine Liturgy from the very origins of worship in the Old an New Testaments through to a line by line review of the text itself. It is by no means finished, and will unlikely be for some time (more fodder for the iPhone!!!). In fact I heard Fr Thomas on a recording of a lecture series joke at it’s length recently. Seriously, we are at episode 32 and have just started the opening audible words of the Priest at it’s beginning “Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages”.
Fr Tom does take delightful tangents in many of his talks and podcasts, but this is one of the points I like about his style; they make take different roads but are always entertaining. Are all the pieces of information vital to our knowledge and Salvation?; perhaps not but they will not hurt either. I remember listening to the podcasts on the vesting of the Priest and Deacon – a process that takes me around 10 minutes including the careful reading of the vesting prayers. I was aware of the scriptural references in the prayers, but not to the fullest extent. I will say, however, that I did find the seven, almost hour long podcasts a little much; but the origins of the vestments and the prayers are no longer a mystery to me.
To pick favourites in this series is a little hard to do, and your interests may vary. I found the discussion of the importance in the role of the Laity spelled out in “As Clergy And Laity” very insightful, and in “Practical Preparations For Liturgy” an insightful examination of how and why things need to be in order to begin this Divine Service a solid wake up call for all Orthodox Christians. Highly Recommended.
P.S – It may just be a coincidence but one could be mistaken that Father Thomas Hopko and Presvytera and Dr. Jeannie Constantinou are engaged in a reverse race to their respective destinations. Presvytera Jeannie is currently at episode 130 of Search the Scriptures, her introduction to the Bible. Episode 130 finds us in Isaiah as an opening look at the Prophets of the Old Testament. All in good jest, I have both of these series on my iPhone as well.