It was sort of surprising to find that it was kind of relaxed. It was like people felt at home in church.
One of the things that surprised me when I became Orthodox was that it wasn’t really stuffy. I thought it was going to be, with all this love of extravagant beauty, that it would be very formal and rigid. It was sort of surprising to find that it was kind of relaxed. It was like people felt at home in church. Some people are making the sign of the Cross, some people aren’t. Some people are bowing, other people aren’t. It wasn’t like everybody had to do everything rigidly in lockstep. There was room for personal expression of devotion. I think it’s analogous, maybe to a wedding reception, where you want it to be beautiful, you want it to be extravagant, you want everything to be as gorgeous as it can be, but you don’t then sit at the table being stiff and formal and fussy. You relax, you feel at home. You’re full of joy to be there. That’s sort of the mood you’ll see in an orthodox church.