Perhaps mostly due to perception, or either by lived experience, the Orthodox church is noted for its large cathedral type churches that are large, ceremonial, and ornate, especially in Europe and elsewhere in other Orthodox lands. Take for example the past twelve months, many of those who live in war-torn Ukraine, are often interviewed by news reporters in incredibly stunning churches. It is quite the spectacle to behold such beautify. This visual and pomp is often what a seeker or non-Orthodox person is attracted to. As Orthodox in America, to be viewed and compared to in such a way is a great source of joy. For this reflection, let’s scale down and emphasize the splendor of the smaller church which is more the norm in the Orthodox Church in America (OCA), where we take cathedral church that we do our best to try and replicate. T
The small church has incredible importance and value, although it may not carry the pomp of churches in Europe and elsewhere. I have one particular small church in mind: ours. Our church is as much a jewel in America, as larger Orthodox churches throughout the world are. Our church is quite beautiful; we have lovely iconography & liturgical appointments, yet the past 15 months and what is taking place inside our church, is both transformative and is a reflection of God’s love for us. While a cathedral by virtue of its resources can be a source of beauty, let us not look down upon the local parish and what it is able to achieve.
The backbone of Holy Trinity these days is firmly rooted in humility, shared love, and deep interpersonal relationships. Holy Trinity places a high priority on such relationships, which can be difficult to duplicate in larger churches. Loving each person is the single most important component to what we are building at Holy Trinity. These are free gifts which God has provided us with, and the result is the shining glory of the little local 106-year-old Orthodox church in Willimantic, Connecticut, a beacon of light, a port and safe haven for the weary and heavy-laden.
Let us give thanks to the Lord.