CHRIST has enlightened all things by his presence; he has renewed the world by his divine Spirit; souls are made new; for a house has been dedicated to the glory of the Lord, where too Christ our God makes new the hearts of the faithful for the salvation of mortals.
At the Morning Office on September 13, the Feast of the Dedication of the Church of the Resurrection in Jerusalem.
The power of assembling in church for the Orthodox liturgy – effective even for those who are not yet deep in the faith – is described by St Maximus the Confessor:
THIS, indeed, is why the blessed old man believed that every Christian should be exhorted – and he never failed to do this – to frequent God’s holy church and never to abandon the holy synaxis [i.e. assembly] accomplished therein because of the holy angels who remain there and who take note each time people enter and present themselves to God, and they make supplications for them; likewise because of the grace of the Holy Spirit which is always invisibly present, but in a special way at the time of the holy synaxis.
This grace transforms and changes each person who is found there and in fact remolds him in proportion to what is more divine in him and leads him to what is revealed through the mysteries which are celebrated, even if he does not himself feel this because he is still among those who are children in Christ, unable to see either into the depths of the reality or the grace operating in it, which is revealed through each of the divine symbols of salvation being accomplished, and which proceeds according to the order and progression from preliminaries to the end of everything.
St Maximus the Confessor (c. 580 – 13 August 662), in “The Church’s Mystagogy” chapter 24 (tr. George C. Berthold, “Classics of Western Spirituality” series, pp. 206-207).
AS we celebrate the dedication of the all-sacred temple of your Resurrection, we glorify you, O Lord, who hallowed and perfected it by your perfect grace; you delight in the mystic and sacred rites that are performed in it by faithful men; you accept from the hands of your servants unbloody and immaculate sacrifices and in return you give to those who rightly offer them cleansing of sins and your great mercy.
At Vespers. Translations by Archimandrite Ephrem Lash (Anastasis).