SO YOU ARE AN ACOLYTE!
Acolytes are not new to the Church's Worship service. Acolytes have helped with the worship service since the year 250 A.D., over 1,750 years. The word acolyte means a "companion" or "one who helps". You will be serving as a companion or helper to your Pastor: performing a number of important functions before, during, and after worship. You are an important participant in the worship service.
Why do we Acolyte?
The lighting of the altar candles in the worship service is a symbol of Jesus coming into the presence of the worshiping community.
To acolyte at worship is to bring:
• CELEBRATION (we light candles at a birthday party),
• REVERENCE (we light candles at memorial sites),
• and ANTICIPATION (marking something special – like candlelight dinners).
Purpose of Acolyte training
To maximize the spiritual benefit offered to altar boys in serving before the Holy Altar of Christ our God by encouraging participation in and enhancing knowledge of the Divine Services of the Orthodox (right glory) Church, and nurturing the awe of serving the Living God.
- Encourage Participation
- Provide practical training guidelines (altar etiquette, teleturgical actions, care of the altar, clergy interaction, etc.)
- Provide structure to altar service
- Enhance Knowledge
- Provide theoretical training guidelines (meaning of Divine Liturgy, Eucharistic theology, prayers, Christian ascetical life, etc.)
- Nurture Awe
- Instill respect in altar boys
- Initiate altar boys into the mystical experience of the Church's worship
- Maintain focus on Christ as Offered and Offerer
- Identify, nurture, and encourage priestly vocations