Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill, center, welcomes relics of the Saint Spyridon, Bishop of Trimythous from Corfu, Greece, during a service at the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow on Sept. 21, 2018. (Igor Palkin, Russian Orthodox Church Press Service via AP)

Photos of the Week

(RNS) — Each week Religion News Service presents a gallery of photos of religious expression around the world. This week’s gallery includes images of Spanish Castellers, Pchum Ben in Cambodia and more.

Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill, center, welcomes relics of the Saint Spyridon, Bishop of Trimythous from Corfu, Greece, during a service at the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow on Sept. 21, 2018. (Igor Palkin, Russian Orthodox Church Press Service via AP)

 This image is available for web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

Devotees prepare to immerse idols of elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesha in the Arabian Sea, marking the end of the 10-day long Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Mumbai, India, on Sept. 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

Covered in prayer shawls, ultra-orthodox Jewish men of the Cohanim Priestly caste participate in a blessing during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, at the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray in Jerusalem's old city, on Sept. 26, 2018. The Cohanim, believed to be descendants of priests who served God in the Jewish Temple before it was destroyed, perform a blessing ceremony of the Jewish people three times a year during the festivals of Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

Participants make human towers or "Castellers" during the Saint Merce celebrations in San Jaime square in Barcelona, Spain, on Sept. 24, 2018. The tradition of building human towers or "castells" dates back to the 18th century and takes place during festivals in Catalonia, where "colles" or teams compete to build the tallest and most complicated towers. The Roman Catholic feast day of Our Lady of Mercy, La Mare de Déu de la Mercè in Catalan, is Sept. 24. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

Villagers head back to their homes after making an offering of food to deceased ancestors at a Buddhist pagoda on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, early Sept. 28, 2018. Cambodians are celebrating the traditional 15-day Pchum Ben festival to pay respect to deceased relatives. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

Pope Francis arrives in his popemobile for a Holy Mass at the Shrine of the Mother of God, in Aglona, Latvia, on Sept. 24, 2018. Francis visited Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to mark their 100th anniversaries of independence and to encourage the faith in the Baltics, which saw five decades of Soviet-imposed religious repression and state-sponsored atheism. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)

A devotee carries a living goddess locally known as Kumari, center, to a chariot during the Indra Jatra festival in Kathmandu, Nepal, on Sept. 24, 2018. Indra is considered the Hindu god of rain and the festival marks the end of the rainy season. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)

The father of Mohammad Taha Eghadami, a 4-year-old boy who was killed in Saturday's terror attack on a military parade, mourns over his coffin during a mass funeral ceremony for the victims, in southwestern city of Ahvaz, Iran, on Sept. 24, 2018. Thousands of mourners gathered at the Sarallah Mosque on Ahvaz's Taleghani junction, carrying caskets in the sweltering heat. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Chinese artist Yuan Xikun, right, unveils a bust sculpture he created of the late Billy Graham in a ceremony in Charlotte, N.C., on Sept. 28, 2018. A statue, "Billy Graham as Sower," on the left, and the bust, "Billy Graham as Messenger of Hope," are intended to be the final two sculptures Yuan produces. Photo courtesy of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

Buddhist monks have lunch during a charity event celebrating Pchum Ben, or Ancestors' Day, at a Buddhist pagoda, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on Sept. 26, 2018. Cambodians celebrate the traditional 15-day Pchum Ben festival to pay respect to deceased relatives. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)


  1. Pomp and circumstance. Crowns and robes. And all of the lovely, lovely gold. They certainly look like Princes of THIS World.

  2. And there I thought you would like men in dresses.

    But at least they don’t have pointy hats, eh?

  3. Nope. Never have enjoyed drag. And especially, ecclesiastical drag.

    As for pointy hats? No need when you can make a reasonable approximation to a CROWN.

  4. Not really a “reasonable approximation to a crown”; it IS a crown. When the Patriarchs of Constantinople were designated the administrative heads responsible for the “Rum millet” (all the Orthodox Christians) in their realm, they then adopted the Byzantine Imperial crown, robe (sakkos), and eagle rugs as appropriate to the person fulfilling that role.

    And of course, since in Orthodoxy all bishops are theoretically equal, all the other bishops gradually adopted that gear to show they were as good as he was, even though they did not fulfill the same role as the Patriarch of Constantinople did.

  5. I was trying to be kind, absent knowing the actual history, which you thoughtfully provided.

  6. Nothing says “simple carpenter” like crowns and gold brocade.

  7. without the church Christ’s message would have been localized. Most likely died off

  8. When speaking of Christ’s message, something about rich men, desert quadrupeds, whited sepulchers, and storing treasures on earth also comes to mind, but not much about bishops and crowns.

  9. The Conversion of Emperor Constantine started the journey to make Christianity into a world religion. I believe it was the will of God that Rome become the seat of Christianity. I do not think it was by accident that Christ was born as a subject of the Roman Empire. the trappings of the Roman Empire and later the Byzantine Empire spread Christianity. The Renaissance and the age of Discovery eventually led to the age of the Colonial Empires and Christianity went with them. There is a reason and purpose that Rome played a central role in Christ’s life.

  10. The pomp & glory don’t really have anything to do with the faith taught by Jesus. To me it flies in the face of pretty much everything that he taught. It was just last Sunday’s Gospel reading where the disciples were arguing about who was greatest in the Kingdom. Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.”

    It doesn’t look anything like that is taking place in this photo from Russia.

  11. It doesn’t look like you understand anything about how Orthodox liturgical worship strives to manifest the Kingdom of Heaven and its worship here on earth. #Biblicalworship

  12. I don’t really see anything biblical about it. Christian worship, what little is described in the New Testament, is plain and simple. They gathered to pray, sing songs, hymns and spiritual psalms and to share in the eucharist. There are no exotic buildings and extravagant wardrobes. No special headgear to tell everyone who is the most important.

    One manifests the Kingdom of Heaven on earth by joining in the faith taught by Jesus in the 2nd great commandment; to love our neighbor as ourselves and everything that would represent in our civil life with one another.

  13. Read the Bible again. “Many lights” (Acts 20:8) Special robes, golden crowns, incense, prostrations (Revelation 4, etc.). As I said, Orthodox liturgical worship strives to manifest the Kingdom of Heaven and its worship here on earth.

    One should indeed manifest the Kingdom of Heaven on earth by following the 2nd great commandment (and I would add that it is equally important for us to follow the 1st great commandment.)

    But when it comes to manifesting the WORSHIP of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, the Orthodox got it right.

  14. David
    You have the luxury of a man in the 21st century to negate a 2 thousand year old Church and all that the Church did to spread the word of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you were a man from the 1st century AD you would be begging God the means as to how his word could be spread around the world and be ever so thankful when the lord reveals to you that 300 years later a great Emperor named Constantine will embrace his words and through the Roman Empire spread it across the world.

  15. Anyone been to heaven and seen all of the streets paved with gold, the crowns, the gold, the gates of pearl or diamonds, the gold, and all of the vast wealth displayed? Thought not.

    As you note yourself, all of those trappings of ancient potentates were MEN grabbing on to the appurtenances of POWER and WEALTH of other MEN. Sounds like earthly values, not heavenly values.

    I once had an orthodox priest onThese Very Pages explain the “economy” of divorce in the ortho Church. Sounded like exactly th3 same rationale as the catholic idea of annulment. There is always a way around the clear words of Jesus when it comes to human behavior, as I noted below with wealth.

  16. Seems like much religious headgear comes from imitating the headgear of others.

  17. Yes Ben, the Apostle John saw the crowns, robes, incense, etc., of the heavenly worship. So your “Thought not” doesn’t hold up.

    My noting the origin of the specific shape of Orthodox miters in Byzantine fashion consciousness in no way negates the ultimate Heavenly (and Biblical) origin of the general style of Orthodox worship.

    As to “the clear words of Jesus when it comes to human behavior”, Jesus left no instructions at all as to the kind of clothing his ministers were to wear in worship. The Church is therefore free to do as it wishes in this matter. The Orthodox have taken as their general guide the sort of heavenly worship depicted in the Bible. That you do not approve of their choice probably doesn’t bother them in the least.

  18. Sadly you fail to understand two things with your “biblical” worship. The original Koine Greek in Acts denotes the little oil lamps used at the time to light a darkened room, it denotes a utilitarian purpose, not something grandiose. The Revelation is metaphorical, not literal, it speaks of the time of the writer, not some prophetic future.

    Moving on.

  19. Let’s hope that their choices don’t leave them at the lefthand of Jesus at the 2nd Coming.

  20. Which says nothing about the opulence or ostentatious ritual of the photograph in question.

  21. Actually, the members of the Church and the Apostles, long before Constantine, had already started spreading the simple message of Jesus Christ far & wide, as they followed the Great Commission.

  22. It’s one’s basic, bog standard neighborhood. There is nothing opulent about it. Please, spare us your photo of the local convent of sisters!

  23. You’re so funny. Just a hoot, you and they.

  24. As if trying to gather or claim to oneself all that the headgear means or represents for the other?

  25. I plan on visiting Preservation Park within the week.

  26. I am well aware of the use of oil lamps. Their sizes actually vary greatly. What you probably do not know is that the traditional illumination used by Orthodox Churches is precisely these oil lamps. And they still call them by the same name used in the New Testament Koine: “Lampades”. Beeswax candles are frequently used to supplement them, but oil lamps remain the traditional choice. And there are usually many of them, just as in Acts.

    The Revelation seen by the Apostle John provides a window into heavenly worship. As such, it is not bound to the time of the seer, but is timeless.

  27. Certainly such should be the prayer of us all.

  28. As an artist it says a tremendous amount.
    -It says that the greatest age of Europe was during the last 2000 years.
    -It says that the Catholics brought about the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. The Renaissance changed Christianity and gave artistic expression to Judaism. The greatest art, architecture, music, paintings, sculptures came about due to the Renaissance
    -The age of discovery led to the new world and to the Colonial age and by that changed the world.

  29. They could not get far. Christ’s word needed the laws, infrastructure, and much more that was part of the Roman Empire. Only then did Christianity become a world faith.

  30. The Age of Discovery didn’t actually discover anything. Nothing found was lost! As a native North American, I can tell you from the experience of my ancestors that it was one of the worst things brought down upon their heads; death, disease, slavery, child abduction, assimilation, linguistic, cultural & religious suppression, and on & on. It was a living nightmare. The worst that human beings could do to other human beings. A story that is repeated over and over by the indigenous people of every land “discovered” by white Europeans.

  31. Christianity was not promulgated anywhere outside the Roman empire by the Conversion of Constantine. And Christianity had already permeated the Empire prior to Constantine. His conversion basically stopped the persecution and encouraged the Church to become this assimilated monstrosity so foreign to the simple faith taught by Jesus. And unrecognized by Christians already established in other areas when brought to their shores by the priests who accompanied the soldiers of the European Conquest.

  32. From the point of view of the European the “New” (I know – this land is not new) world was “discovered”. As a Native American born in this century you must know that your ancestors could not maintain isolation. If not Europeans then it would have been the Chinese, Hindus or Muslims. They were all Sea faring civilizations. The Chinese almost realized the industrial age long before Christian Europe but a King stopped it.
    The Hindus already traveled to South East Asia by sea, a distance of 2 thousand miles, on a regular basis and transformed SE Asia into greater India. They also traveled to the east coast of Africa, a distance of 4 thousand miles. Arab traders traveled even further and did that longer than Europeans
    Looking back Native Americans would only have had a choice. Personally Native Americans would have done best under or should I say “along with” a Hindu/Buddhist culture. We would have got along well. I am originally from Sri Lanka.

  33. There is a drastic difference in meeting new people who come on a friendly journey of discovery and who wish to make new trading partners, learn and trade technologies, have cultural exchanges, etc. As to being invaded by people who come to conquer, make what is yours, theirs and also enslave you to steal the resources they covet.

  34. I’m rubber and you’re glue, everything mean that you say to me, bounces off me and sticks to you.

    Na, na, na, na, na ,na!

  35. Precisely. Although sometimes it may just be that the adopting group thinks it looks cool, with little bearing to any specific religious purpose. Much Hasidic garb is based on what the Polish-Lithuanian aristocracy was wearing when Hasidism developed. Whereas from what I understand, Mormons believe that the endowment clothing is what the Jewish priests actually wore, and that they are re-creating the Temple service.

  36. I agree and most major civilizations have faced both. Speaking of Hinduism the world traded with the subcontinent, Rome and Egypt were her biggest customers.
    At the same time invaders like the white huns (Mongolian invaders), Muslims and some Europeans came to invade, plunder and Convert.
    The big difference being Hinduism developed an advanced and sophisticated militaries with massive fortresses and vast number of weapons.including a massive population base. Even then defeat happened more often than victory.

  37. Glue? …. if you’ve glue and a bag that could explain some things.

  38. The Christian Roman Empire missionized Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania, Russia, Moravia, Dalmatia, Croatia, as well as Greece – which had to be reconverted after it became populated with pagan slavs. So the conversion of Constantine most certainly did set in motion the Empire’s conversion of eastern Europe.

  39. Aren’t you speaking about the Byzantine Empire, 700 years after the time of Constantine. God only knows what may have happened in that time that had nothing to do with Constantine.

    Moving on, there isn’t anything to see here.

  40. The “Byzantine Empire” is simply the biased and condescending Western name for the Christian Roman Empire, which existed for over a thousand years. Constantine was the one who refounded the Empire as a Christian one, setting in motion the Empire’s support for Christianity and its patronizing subsequent missionary projects.

  41. Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah!

    Moving on. There is nothing to learn here.

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