Tears in Church: How to Deal With Them?

‘Crying Portrait’ by Ivana Besevic

 “Eyes are clearer than words. Words sometimes only obscure the point. As they say, the eyes are a mirror of the soul. One can understand a lot from the eyes: whether a person is cheerful, pensive, or sad for some reason. Expressions like “sparks from the eyes” and “a sizzling look” have been known for a long time. Just take a good look at the person and everything will become clear. Eyes also shed tears. The Orbita reporter asked Maxim Fedoryachenko, the rector of the Entry of the Mother of God into the Temple Church in Vodianoye settlement, what the tears in the church can reveal.

Father, what do Christian books say about tears?

Tears can have different sources, they do not necessarily mean the same thing. There are tears of repentance, tears of joy, and tears of temptation – for example, when the devil tempts a person, tries to get them out of the church and make them leave. An individual comes to church and realizes that something wrong goes on. People often come to me and say: “Father, I can’t go to church, because when I go there, I start crying, I don’t know why it’s like that, it scares me, and that’s why I’m afraid to go to church.” People don’t know why this is happening but it’s definitely a demonic temptation.

A viewer wrote to us that when she walks into the church and takes part in worship, she cries. She tries to distract herself with different thoughts, but it doesn’t seem to last long and she starts crying again. What happens to her?

First, you need to understand what a church is like in general. A church is a unique place. It is not like the house we live in or the public facilities we visit. It is natural for a person who enters a church to have some feelings that are hard to compare to the feelings they usually have in their life. When we enter the church and see the holy icons around us, i. e. the images of people who spent their lives in holiness and fought against sin, it is natural that, even if we do not realize this, we begin to feel that our lives are not perfect. We are not the people we should be. That’s when tears might appear and make us realize that we are far from perfect. We probably don’t even beg for it because our lives are filled with the usual daily tasks and trifles. We waste most of our lives on these things, and when we go to church, we feel the amount of sins that sits on our souls, the incongruity between our lives and the lives we need to live in order to equip ourselves for the eternal life. When you realize it, you start to cry. This fact can’t help but upset us, it can’t but bring about a condition in which tears will flow down our cheeks.

It is not only women who cry in church, but also men, though it is less common for them to cry for any reason. This shows that we do understand what our lives should be like, but in reality they do not conform.

Tears aren’t necessarily just water that comes out of our eyes. In spiritual books, tears are not always a physical phenomenon. Tears can also be a sign of repentance in the spiritual sense. This is when your soul is broken, when you feel sad, when you realize that you have to do something. When you recognize your sins, tears of repentance are not a liquid but an inner contrition, an internal lament – I dare say, a cry to God about the failure of our spiritual life.

Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds
Source: http://gorlovka-eparhia.com.ua/slyozy-v-hrame-kak-reagirovat-video/

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  1. Sure wish I had this article in 2010 when I was a catechumen. It would’ve explained a lot. Mind, I’ve been in church circles of one form or another my entire life…as a layperson as well as in ministry. I had witnessed bizarre and over the top emotionality in a diversity of religious venues, but I was absolutely shocked and a little embarrassed when the tears came to me as an Orthodox catechumen and even from time to time after my Chrismation. I was like ‘what in the world am I crying for?” but decided to just roll with it as it were. When I saw it happen to other folks, then I realized I wasn’t just “losing it.” It’s good to see a fuller explanation because now I understand a lot better. Mind, I’ve not experienced tears as much as in the first few years, but who knows what the future may hold? I figure if it happens, it happens…

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