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Old-school Christianity: St. Luke Orthodox preserves the ways of the ancient church

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Old-school Christianity: St. Luke Orthodox preserves the ways of the ancient church

Father Basil Henry at St. Luke’s Orthodox Church in Anniston. Photo: Trent Penny/The Anniston Star

Icons — images of Christ and of angels and saints — line the walls inside St. Luke Orthodox Christian Church in Anniston. There are no pews. During services, the priest sometimes swings a censer of burning incense toward the icons and toward the altar and toward the people, filling the sanctuary with a sweet smoke that tends to linger well after the service.

All these practices might be a bit jarring for a first-time visitor to an Orthodox church, but Father Basil Henry, pastor at St. Luke, says they are as old as Christianity itself, and Orthodox Christians have worshiped this way for 2,000 years.